Myth or not, Freshman 15 has worked its way into our minds

There at least 15 things that freshmen look forward to in their first year of college: Parties, sports events, independence, meeting new people, a fresh start, having roommates, decorating their rooms, unlimited food options, choosing when to have classes, freedom to skip class, dating, staying up all night, joining Greek organizations, having specialized classes and growing as a person.

However, there are also the 15 things that freshmen don’t look forward to, as in the 15 pounds of weight that many are rumored to add to their physique during their first year of college.

That’s right: the infamous Freshman 15.

It has become an almost undeniable aspect of the college experience, viewed as inevitable and, of course, undesirable.

But one current research project rejects it as myth.

Charles Baum, a professor of economics at Middle Tennessee State University, examined the effects of college on a person’s weight over his or her lifetime. He found that the average weight gained by a college freshman is about one pound, considerably less than the perceived amount.

Regardless, the literal definition of Freshman 15 is something that weighs on the conscience of first-year students, even as they continue through their college experience and encounter terms like Sophomore 20, Junior 25 and Senior 30.

For many students at Detroit Mercy, the Freshman 15 feels like a real occurrence.

Marissa Moreno, a freshman nursing major, believes the phenomenon is real.

“On campus, there are a lot of unhealthy options to eat,” said Moreno. “But they are quick, easy and most readily available, so I eat them.”

The university has made efforts in recent years to provide healthier food options for students, including a gluten-free station in the Titan Dining Room.

But for sophomore bio-chemistry major and soccer player Carly Fiorido, a lack of availability sometimes makes it hard for her to maintain the eating habits that she desires.

As a vegetarian, she said it’s even more difficult to find healthy options on campus, which leads to eating more carbs and calories that are not beneficial.

Students interviewed agreed that the best way to eat healthier is to be in control of your diet by purchasing your own food and keeping consistently active.

As a member of Phi Kappa Theta, senior biology major Jacob Flyte lives off campus in a house with his fraternity brothers.

Although it was not his intention, he said that living elsewhere allowed him to avoid gaining the Freshman 15, and he has kept the pounds off.

“I think living off campus helps to not gain the Freshman 15 because you have to buy and pack your own food most of the time,” said Flyte. “If I’ve gained any weight since freshman year, I am happy to say that it is all muscle.”

Liz Mullen, a junior and health information management major, attributes her avoiding the Freshman 15 as related directly to running track and field at the university.

“Here on campus with the type of food options available, I feel that the Freshman 15 is possible,” she said. “But for me, being an athlete, it is easier not to gain that weight.”

That may not be typical for most college students.

As freshman Elizabeth Wyne put it, “I am a broke college student, so that means I have to deal with what I got.”