Here is another blog post from our student contributor, Christopher!
Every student at Northeastern has a student ID card (aka the Husky Card) that basically acts as a key to life on campus. You need it to get into your dorm; you need it to print documents; you need it to do laundry; and you can use it to pay for things at almost any food or retail location within a 10 mile radius of Northeastern University. However, its most important task is getting you access to the food in the dining halls around campus. Swipes refill every Sunday. And in a basic week if you are eating the normal 2 to 3 meals a day, your swipes are sure to be gone by Friday. This means for the rest of the weekend you will be fending for yourself in order to eat. Or even worse, in my opinion, you don’t use all your swipes and end up wasting 2 or 3 meals. That’s wasted money! Double take, that’s YOUR wasted money and it’s not coming back.
Because handling and using swipes takes so much skill, I have decided to write about the different plans a student can have and the different places on campus to use up swipes.
At this point you should know or have at least heard that there are 5 different meal plans that you can choose from at Northeastern: 19 a week, 15 a week, 10 a week, 5 a week (only available for upperclassmen), and the Profiler with its own subdivisions of choices for students. The first 4 are pretty self explanatory, but I’m sure there are some people who may not know about the Profiler very well, so allow me to explain.
The Profiler is a non-refundable meal plan option that offers meals in block sums of 25, 50, 86, and 110. It last the whole academic year and expires on August 23, 2014. Now, you might think to yourself, “Why would I even consider the Profiler as an option?” Well if it helps - with the Profiler you never have to worry about wasting any meal swipes in a week because the swipes are there for the whole year. And did I mention that even the largest Profiler option is still cheaper than the 5 swipes a week plan?
Now, let’s talk about the weekly swipes. Here is a quick scenario: It’s Friday morning and you have one meal swipe left. You are not sure what the weekend is going to bring, so you weigh your options.
- You could use one of those guest swipes. But what happens when you actually get a guest?
- You can just buy food all weekend, but that cost money (sad face).
What do you do? Honestly, I would say take the loss because I can’t help you. The only thing I can do here is teach you how to NOT end up in this position and spend less money. Here are the ways to survive with each meal plan.
19 meal swipes weekly
You would literally need to eat an ungodly amount of food daily to finish this before Friday. Actually, you would have to be the type of person to go to the dining hall 3 times a day, on a normal eating schedule, to even try and finish this by Saturday. For you I have no advice, just a question: How often are you actually finishing all these swipes in a week? Seriously?
Don’t worry, I get it. You’re a Super Sayian. Good for you.
15 meal swipes weekly
The 15 weekly is tricky. In the sense, you feel as though you have enough for the week, so you just use a swipe and then end up totally miscalculating your week. A smart person with this meal plan would not want to just waste these swipes, but instead understand that between Sundays and Saturdays a person normally eats 18 to 21 meals. So this means that if used correctly, a person should be able to get through a full week without starving and only having to go through one day of buying breakfast, lunch, and dinner (brunch, linner, snacks, or whatever people in college actually eat). My advice is that when on the 15 meal plan, you look at the situation as if you have three meals that you can buy in a week. Spread out the times when you buy from restaurants and such, and do so only to change up the flavors entering your mouth when you get tired of the dining halls.
10 meal swipes weekly
I just want to start off by saying if you have this plan, you are worthy of respect and most definitely a survivor of Northeastern. This meal plan is designed for those people who take great time to schedule their weeks; this meal plan is designed for those people with the tongue tasting ability of Chef Ramsey; this meal plan was designed for the freshmen who said, “I can’t wait to have a kitchen.” The deal with the 10 weekly is that it does take a bit of coordination, because essentially, you get 2 swipes every day in a 5 day span. So how do you live? Actually, it’s a lot easier than you think.
All you have to do is to decide which one meal a day is the cheapest for you to buy. If you eat a light breakfast, but like a heavy dinner, then start buying breakfast (and vice versa). An option that I also think works is to just come to the conclusion that you will buy lunch every day. First of all, let’s be real. No one is waking up early enough to get breakfast every day (unless it’s exam week), and most times you end up having 2 meals a day anyway. Also, the majority of restaurants always do lunch specials. This means that you can get more bang for your buck in the time frame of 12 to 5. On top of that, you will always have the guest swipe option for 10 emergency meals.
Yep. That’s got you written all over it.
5 meal swipes weekly
You obviously have a kitchen. I mean, you have to. You are probably an upper-class student with an apartment that has some type of kitchen that allows you to at least to fry an egg. If any of that is false, you better figure out your life and what you will be doing for food this semester. Stealing breath mints from offices is not an option. Neither is signing up for every club on campus to get the free food they offer. No, just no.
Anyone with a Profiler meal plan knows good and well that you’d have to be wasteful to just blow through all your swipes in a month. The Profiler plan is all about moderation. Sometimes you eat at the dining hall. Sometimes you eat out. You have the ability to mix and match your options because your meals don’t expire at week’s end. Take advantage of that. If you have a kitchen then that is even better. Just go to the dining hall whenever you don’t feel like cooking.
No matter what meal plan option you get, there will always be the question of what to do with all those swipes. I guess this is why the campus not only has 3 dining halls (Stetson East, Stetson West, and International village), but also 4 optional eateries (Outtakes, Rebecca’s Café, Deli On the Go, and The West End).Whoa, wait a minute… 3+4 that’s a total of SEVEN locations where you can use your swipes! Holy Pineapples. So, good luck to you and I hope you use your meal swipes wisely!