Eve Milusich ‘21

Mental Health Columnist

When back-to-school advertisements begin to pop up, so do back-to-school worries. The prospect of an awkwardly silent first class, an alarm on silent, and a 104 ̊ F move-in day are all cause for an anticipatory cringe. However, for those living with mental illness, typical back-to-school concerns may take on a different and damaging edge.

For students like myself who struggle with eating disorders, many anxieties relating to food, weight, or body image are all worsened by diet culture on college campuses, specifically talk of the Freshman Fifteen. Since my first day at Scripps, I’ve lost track of how many times that the seemingly inevitable and damning weight gain has been jokingly discussed over meals.

While these casual comments no doubt come from a genuine concern about adjusting to the meal plan, their impact is still keenly felt by those in recovery.

I honestly don’t want to hear about an alleged 15-pound flux, looming overhead like a dark, meatball-laden cloud. Especially not when I’m trying to perfect my spaghetti-twirling technique.

Frankly it knocks the magic out of my pasta, and instead, I find my fork tangled in mounting panic, irrational guilt and impending doom.

In the face of The Fifteen, there are some truths with which I’m using to push past the fear. So regardless of whether or not you struggle with an eating disorder. I hope they do the same for you.

Next time your mind jumps to thoughts of the Freshman Fifteen (and its accompanying Jaws theme song), pause for just a moment. Instead of immediately voicing your concerns, be aware of what others may struggle with, and consider how a diet-related comment would impact someone living with an ED.

Finally, remind yourself of the affirmations above. Everything you eat is serving its purpose, and being used for living and learning. Trust yourself, trust your body, and know that it is more than ok to “Treat. Yo. Self.”.


3.) Factor in your mental exertion as well. Think about everything you’ve accomplished today: physically, mentally, and emotionally.

2.) College requires more energy than you’d ever expect. Walking from campus to campus, and class to class is significant physical work, even without the addition of any activities/athletics.

1.) The foods we eat, from fruits to fries, are neither strictly “good” nor “bad”. They are just necessary energy.

As Andy Dwyer of Parks and Rec would say while he mightily punches the air, “Boom! That’s spaghetti!”