As spring break comes to a close, it looks like the semester is just about half over. Which is weird, because I could have sworn it just started yesterday. And as students around Hopkins take a moment to revel in the months past, reflect on how the semester has been going, and recalibrate for a new round of learning and growing, I’ve come to a realization of my own.

I have way too many dining dollars left.

Like, I have so many. Maybe its because of the home-cooked food my parents freeze for me, or from the amount of free food I find all over. But I have realized that I need to ~accelerate~ the pace at which I use my dining dollars to make my meal plan worth it by the end of the semester.

And this puts me in a position I have not yet experienced. While last semester was spent counting meal swipes and dining dollars (even though I usually ended up with more than I needed for the week), now comes a period of excess and indulgence. I can literally get whatever I want from CharMar (Charles Market), you guys. Here’s a reflection of things I plan to consume more liberally in the coming weeks.

CharMar Deli Sandwiches

The sandwiches they make at CharMar are heavenly. I try to switch it up whenever I can (especially the massive selection of breads if you come decently early), but fresh mozzarella is one of my regulars. The sandwich is only $3.99, since I’m a vegetarian, and they go out of their way to swap out their gloves and clean their knives whenever I order. Plus, the sandwich comes with these rustic potato chips made in-house. This has been my staple lunch all semester, but it’s definitely going to continue.


Because why not. I’ll admit, smoothies are a bit pricey. But hey, why not. I have a meal plan to burn, and sometimes you just feel like drinking a bowl worth of fruit, you know? Also, CharMar has started selling this locally made, organic Icelandic strained yogurt smoothie called skyr, and it’s the best. Will buy more.


I’m trying to learn how to cook. Nothing fancy or intensive yet – largely for safety reasons – but I feel like I’m learning the basics of cooking (and the values of patience and protocol) from Orgo Lab. CharMar has a pretty great selection of vegetables I can use ingredients. The other day, I bought peppers, tomatoes, tortillas, limes, sauce, cayenne powder, beans, and made barbecue tacos. They were alright, I guess, but I’m learning!


I miss that place. Having unlimited meal swipes freshman year was amazing, and I haven’t really gone since I switched to all-dining-dollars. But, when I think about it, nothing beat a glass of milk, a bagel, and a cookie in between classes at the FFC. Swipes are a bit pricey on dining dollars, but I think I’m going to start going there more often. I’m a sucker for buffets, and it seems like the FFC has really stepped it up this semester, with a do-it-yourself wok station, a pudding bar, and a panini press along with the usuals.


Of course, this could all go terribly wrong and my new pace might have me run out of dining dollars before the end of the year. In which case I’ll stick to my mom’s vacuum-sealed food. But I think this is a trajectory which might just work, and I’m excited to use it as an exquisite opportunity to buy random and largely unnecessary foodstuffs across campus and truly make the most of my meal plan.