In American colleges and universities, the Freshman year is the first year of study. The equivalent of this in Nigerian universities is 'Year 1' or '100 Level.' Many schools refer to these first year students as Jambites, for the obvious reason, i.e. they had to pass JAMB (the university entrance examination) to gain admission into the university.
During my freshman year, I had to take an introductory course, which explained what American college life was all about. It was called 'US 101' (University Studies 101). It was in this class that I first heard the term 'Freshman 30.'
Now, if you already know what the Freshman 30 is, please bear with me as I attempt to explain it to those who might not be familiar with the term. (Chei! See grammar!)
The 'Freshman 30' refers to the 30 pounds of weight that a student gains (or is expected to gain) during his or her first year in college. In some schools, it is called the 'Freshman 15' as per 15-pound weight gain. Because each person's body is different, it varies. Some people gain less than 30 pounds, some people gain more than 30 pounds. In my case, I would say I came in around the 30-pound mark.
Because this is usually the first time most students live on their own, away from home, and because American kids generally don't cook (more like, can't cook), they are dependent on fast food, on-campus meals, etc. In some schools, where a meal plan was mandatory for freshmen, eating out was not 'an' option. It was the only option. That, I believe accounts for the weight gain.
As for Nigerian students, Jambites in particular, the reverse is true. What I observed during my two years at UNILAG, was that Jambites, and students in general, actually LOST weight in school. Eating out was a real luxury, and meal plans were non-existent. Most students either cooked their meals or ate at the numerous on-campus eateries or butteries (mini-restaurants attached to halls of residence). While I am not sure about the average weight loss for Jambites, I would not be surprised if it was close to the 30-pound mark.
Did you gain or lose weight during your first year of college? Kindly share.