IIA. "My once surfer flat stomach..." - The College Curse

College. Those T-shirts that have “COLLEGE” written across them disturb me. (Actually any t-shirt that has writing on it, a graphic tee, disturbs me.) I, a U.S. News & World Report Rankings groupie, find myself staring at the shirt in anticipation of it re-materializing into the name of the college where the person may/may not be attending. I get especially confused by the color combinations. White text on navy blue background and I think, “He/She must go to Yale….”

College is primarily a closed-off world where someone, somewhere is sitting down and studying. I am one of those students who prefer the main library on campus and while I can study with noise,can only study while being relatively immobile - that is to say, I usually have to sit down in front of a desk/table.

While growing up, this form of studying was not a threat. I never gained weight. Body fat was almost non-existent. Belly fat was a mythical idea only to become known by the commercials on T.V. (*No T.V. in college.)

I always had my mom’s cooking. Additionally I grew up with my brother and two cousins, basically three brothers, my uncles, and my dad, all of whom worked out daily. We had an exercise room that went from the basement to the backyard, complete with treadmill, a bench press, a weight-lifting contraption, among other items for which we became one of Modell’s/Sports Authority’s favorite customers.

Townsend Harris High School, google it, had a boot-camp like physical education curriculum that can rival any school in the country - (we already beat all you other NYC schools in that arena- fo’ sho’.) Lastly, dance topped the work-out regimen off like a cherry on a sundae, (a sundae that I never ate because it was too fattening)- dance provided that ladylike elegance to the overwhelmingly masculine-influenced exercises.

And with that, I had my surfer-flat stomach… Until College.

More specifically, this past year, junior year, of college.

Sure, there’s a gym on campus, but when is there time? Get dressed to go to gym, walk to gym (not that bad but every minute counts), work-out, walk back from gym, freshen up (whatever that encompasses), get dressed = LONG PROCESS.

I know that no one is looking at you when you work-out, (minus the awkward acquaintances that I seem to forever attract), but you can’t help but notice when someone has been sprinting effortlessly on the treadmill next to you for the past hour while you’re fighting with every fissure of your brain to keep up with them and not stop.

Let’s say I do get in my cardio work-out. Fine. I need to tone now. I need to take all that weight-lifting advice I’ve garnered over my lifetime and apply it. Till date, I have never been inside the weight room at the gym on campus. All I see are frat guys, jocks, people who workout in that special work-out gear; spandex sticking to their bodies, all discolored from sweat.

There is no clean surface on which to do my crunches. And so I leave, defeated, stuck in the limbo of calories burned where I can either tone up the muscles or continue on with my day, knowing that where I once burned calories, a layer of fat will form in the future despite my coffee -replacing -meals diet.

It’s just the college curse- at some point you must feel the transformation of muscle into fat with the trade-off of a decent grade on the next assignment.

Senior year is time for change from this cursed junior year and a return to the two years prior to that. Yes, I will attempt to go to the gym and the weight room.

But, I’m open for suggestions- all you college peeps, help a homefry out. Is there any easy way to usher myself in the off-limits weight room?

Until September 2011 - The College Curse shall be broken.