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Students - How do you do it?

I'm a prof., and I read the Chronicle of Higher Education forums as well as PeerTrainer. One frequent topic of conversation over there is "disrespectful" behavior in class. While some of the things described are worse than disrespectful, eating comes in for a lot of comment by professors.

Personally, I've never thought about it twice. I've had many students who worked straight through lunch in my lab (which is a biohazard zone -- no eating) and if they didn't snack on something in one of their classes they would be going 12 hours between meals. So if a student pulls out the trail mix while I'm lecturing, no big deal. However, it appears that I am seriously in the minority -- most take it as a personal insult.

So for those of you who are full-time undergrads (or med students, for whom I think this is also true), how do you accomplish the several-small-meals-in-a-day recommended for losing weight? Offend your profs? Eat while walking between classes? Specifically schedule your day with time for food?

Sun. Jul 2, 9:06pm

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I am a recently graduated engineering student and I generally went 18 hrs a day and definitely pulled my fair share of all-nighters. I also graduated a full year ahead of schedule so one might say I brought it on myself.

My professors were totally understanding. However my diet was aweful. I ate a snickers with a diet coke during my first class for breakfast, I would grab something at the dining hall for lunch and then I would have snacks and dinner in the lab (which was also no food due the presence of electronic equipment that stops working if you spill pop on it in the right spot). As long as we ate our food at one of the long study tables in the middle of the lab and had bottles with lids fastened, no one would say a thing. Even the library had a designated place where students could study and eat (but no library material was allowed).

I should note that I went to a school that offered only engineering and science degrees which tend to be rigorous, and although food could be disruptive in some environments, most professors knew very well how large a workload most students had and I never had a professor get pissy if I needed a snack during class. Certain classes were only offered at certain times, so although I tried to schedule a lunch hour it wasn't always possible. I did draw the line at eating a 'meal' in class though. However sometimes the best I could do would be to grab something and get into the room fast enough to have 5-10 minutes to eat before class started. I was hardly the only one to do so either.

As for losing weight? I didn't. I gained 45 pounds while I was in school. I've lost 20 of it and would like to lose 10 more. A saner schedule and more nutricious food in the dining hall would have helped. Also my choices for snacks were limited to vending machines since I rarely left campus and only went back to my room to shower and sleep.

Sunday, July 02, 2006, 10:40 PM

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I used to have profs that would freak out if you had food. I would litterally leave the class " going to the washroom" and go grab an apple or something and eat it on my way back. Most students gain weight. This year I plan on using our school gym and working out. Also bagging lunches helps a lot.

I find planning my meals and NOT bringing cash is the best way not to fill up on food that you can buy at school. You save probably hundreds of dollars a year by taking food from home and you are saving your waist line too!

I'm glad a prof is concerned about their students! You should come teach at my university!! =)

Monday, July 03, 2006, 10:17 AM

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During my first 2.5 years of undergrad, I gained about 20 pounds. I worked out regularly and walked everywhere, but ate WAY too much with the unlimited dining hall access (3-4 bowls of cereal, or 2 bagels loaded with peanut butter was typical for breakfast, for example). When I also started working 25 hours in addition to classes, I basically ate around the clock just to stay awake. So, despite 4-5 hours at the gym, walking and horseback riding twice a week, I still gained weight.

I lost some weight in the last two years when I switched schools, lived in an apartment and was commuting with a solid 50 min of walking to get to and from school. But, I'd still do things like eat 3-4 Luna bars for "lunch" because it was easy to eat during or between classes.

I didn't really lose weight until started eating a more balanced diet and just eating less in general.

Monday, July 03, 2006, 11:14 AM

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In 4 years of college, I maybe had one or two professors that didn't allow food in their classrooms. So, I didn't eat in their classes. Otherwise, students ate in every class.

I found it annoying when people would eat loud or smelly foods, so I'd avoid crunchy foods or, like, tuna fish. I never thought it was insulting if you weren't interrupting or bothering anyone. I hope I didn't offend too many professors, but really I had no idea it would bother them!

Monday, July 03, 2006, 11:19 AM

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You put your body through more than it should go through when you go to school. Late nights, early mornings, poor food choices available for my budget, plus no time to eat.... I guess it's just one of those life experience things people talk about.

I went to school full time and worked full time so I may be a little different.. but I made time to eat- on the shuttle, walking to class, I found study halls where you could eat (or where you could hide so people wouldn't know you were eating), I even had to juggle eating at work- because of my hours there were no breaks so I had to sneak food in the backroom (food wasn't allowed there either), and I always drank lots of water (thank you Nalgene for your 64oz bottles that you can clip to the outside of your bag). All this time I was activly trying to loose weight- it worked quite well. Not sure why, maybe smaller portions and a lot of calorie burning.

All in all if I had to do it again I couldn't. I put my body through hell for 4 years- I don't want to do it again. College and healthy lifestyle don't mix.

Monday, July 03, 2006, 12:37 PM

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