Living on college has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have made lots of friends, studied in a really supportive environment and been involved in some really cool experiences.
Before I moved to college, I had no idea what to expect. I was just a shy teenager from Mitchell (a small country town in South West Queensland) who had never spent much time in the ‘big smoke’. I didn’t know anyone in Toowoomba, didn’t know what university was going to be like and wasn’t sure what to expect of college. Needless to say, I was one of those people who asked lots of ridiculous questions. For me though, one of my biggest concerns was food.
I love food, I love cooking and baking and I can be fussy about what I eat. I remember always helping my Mum and Nana in the kitchen when I was little. By the time I was 10 years old, I was driving my mum insane, offering to cook spaghetti bolognaise and jam drop bikkies for dinner every night.
When my friends from school found out that I was going to be living on college, they started asking me lots of questions, the most common being the ones about food, ‘What’s the food like?’ ‘But what if you don’t want to eat dinner between 6pm and 7pm?’ and so on.
My answers to these questions were quite simple… I live in the self-catered block at Steele Rudd College. What that means is that I cook for myself and get to eat what I want, when I want, but I still get the same benefits as all the other residents. I can make my own dinner and take it to the dining hall to eat with my friends from other blocks or, if I don’t feel like cooking, I can purchase meal vouchers from the office and eat the same food as everyone else in the dining hall.
I love the flexibility of living in self-catered accommodation, I don’t have to cook if I don’t feel like it, but I can also make extravagant meals at midnight if I so desire. Some nights, depending on my budget and enthusiasm to hit the supermarket, I am quite content eating some 2 minute noodles.
Other nights, I have the choice to listen to my stomach and make almost anything, and it’s like I work in a bakery or gourmet restaurant. I make things like cakes and biscuits or salmon with prawns and scallops in a creamy garlic white wine sauce, with asparagus and garlic and rosemary potatoes, or a beef, mushroom and red wine pie with mashed potato, carrots, beans and gravy. Mmmm, thinking about food is making me hungry again!
As much as I love to cook for myself, I enjoy the nights when my block is invited to things like inauguration dinner, the semi-formal and formal dinners, Residential Shield dinner and themed food nights. These are always great fun and who doesn’t love getting dressed up!
Most of all, we just love to have fun. Sometimes we do this by having our own little dinner parties where we get together and all contribute something awesome.
So, whether you are like me and love to cook or just want to have a bit more freedom around the times you eat, give self-catering a go. If you don’t like it, you can always move to one of the other blocks and have all of your meals cooked for you.
Which do you prefer, cooking for yourself or having others cook for you?