So you’re a freshman at USC? Welcome to campus! This is the year that you stop eating so much junk food, get in shape, and impress your friends and family. Right?


I don’t know how many people came to campus with that mentality (I know I definitely did), but I do know that I can count the number of people who stuck with it for the entire year on one hand. The truth is, life happens. Your parents aren’t here anymore, you don’t need to drive anywhere to get food, and that 2 AM order of pizza you thought sounded stupid when you were an all-state track star in high school sounds a lot more appealing now. The freshman 15 you’ve heard so much about? It may not be 15 pounds for you, but it’s definitely true to some extent. Avoidable? Definitely. Easily avoidable? Not a chance.

The truth is, life happens. With everything else going on during freshman year, it’s easy to forget about taking care of yourself. Virtually every event on campus has free food, and that means a lot more carbs in a lot more places than you thought possible. People on campus will tell you all about their late-night Chano’s runs, their preference of Blaze Pizza or Pizza Studio, and where their favorite ramen place is. Food is core part of the college experience, and gaining a few pounds along the way is hard to avoid. With that said, here are some pro tips for staying in shape.

They may have renamed it, but we still call it Chanos.

They may have renamed it, but we still call it Chanos.

  • Build exercise into your schedule. The on-campus gym, the Lyon Center, gets absolutely packed at peak hours, and the fact that it’s crowded is going to start becoming your go-to excuse during the week. Build time to workout into your schedule, and do it during non-peak hours so you don’t have a reason to slack off.
  • Beware the buffet. Here’s a piece of advice I once heard about eating at the dining halls as a freshman. “You’re going to be eating at a buffet every day. You do not want to look like someone who eats at a buffet every day.” Try new things and explore your options, but maybe you don’t need that fifth plate.
  • Weekends =/= calorie immunity. Just because you were really, really hungry before eating a burrito at 2 AM on Saturday does not mean that said burrito will magically disappear when you wake up the next day. Actions have consequences – make sure you understand them before going to the all-you-can-eat sushi bar.
    Tread lightly.

    Tread lightly.

  • Eat with friends. This has the double-benefit of giving you some mealtime companionship, as well as slightly guilting you into not pigging out. Unless your friends want to pig out with you. In which case, best of luck!
  • Don’t stress too much. In the end, even if you gain a few pounds, it’s not the end of the world. Learning from your mistakes if how we do better. Just be careful next time.

USC is a huge campus with plenty of ways to get active. Join intramurals, run at night, pick up longboarding. As long as you’re doing something, you’re on your way to being healthier, happier Trojan.

Now excuse me while I go get some tacos.