At the end of the semester, in a flurry of finals and stress-ridden assignments, many students can look back at the late-night Village Market pizza and the decision to take the elevator to the second floor with nothing but regret – and the freshman 15.
The term refers to gaining 15 pounds within the first year of college, stereotypically a consequence of plentiful dorm food. Many students are unaware of the facilities available to help them to help burn off those dreaded extra pounds.
“I definitely experienced the freshman 15. After high school I was completely burnt out and pretty much stopped exercising altogether during my freshman year,” said Alicia Trobaugh, senior and political science major. “I gained probably around 10 to 15 pounds within the first few months of college.”
Nutritionist Teresa Leu said that on average, students gain up to five pounds, although she has seen some cases where students have gained up to 15. She believes malnourishment and a lack of exercise are major factors in student weight gain.
“(Weight gain) is preventable with education. The PNAC (Peers Nutrition Assessment Clinic) educates freshmen and individuals of all class standings about how to eat so they can prevent weight gain,” she said.
Although the University offers the classes and opportunities to maintain health, students feel a lack of information around campus limits accessibility. Trobaugh took advantage of campus programs such as intramural soccer, and also looked into other options such as gym facilities, the swimming pool or physical education courses.
“I wish I had known about the athletic facilities sooner,” she said. “Maybe I could’ve avoided that weight gain.”
Bryce Schussel, head athletic trainer at SF State, believes that the unhealthy behavior leading up to the freshman 15 is largely due to poor diet, in addition to a lack of exercise.
“Being away from home for the first time, you can fall into some bad habits,” said Schussel. “They’re eating three meals at the dining hall where it’s all-you-can-eat, so they’re usually getting portions that are bigger than what they’re normally used to eating.”
Undeclared freshman Jarek McClay said that he hasn’t noticed any weight gain and hopes that he won’t have a freshman 15 experience because he always tries to bring his own lunch and stay active.
He believes weight gain can be a problem for some students and more signs should be put up for classes and club activities around campus. McClay is currently in his second semester, yet like many students, he has barely heard of the athletic facilities on campus.
“I knew about the swimming pool and the mat rooms because I’ve had some classes in there before, but other than that, nothing else really,” McClay said.
The main gym offers basketball, volleyball and indoor soccer games during recreation hours.
Jenny Sears, student fitness manager for the campus recreation department, believes that the freshman 15 is preventable.
“There’s a lot of different things students can do to stay in shape. We have a lot of wonderful programs here on campus,” said Sears. “We have all sorts of different things based on different likes and dislikes.”