(Graphic By Angelica Rivera)

Becoming a college freshman is the start of a positive and exciting new journey for those entering adulthood. 

Most freshman are eager to start their new lives of independence and freedom; however, negative thoughts of the dreaded “Freshman 15” are often clouding the minds of these new young adults. 

The “Freshman 15” is a term that refers to the amount of weight, in pounds, that is supposedly inevitably gained by college students in just their first academic year. What many may not know is that the “Freshman 15” proves to be more for alliterative purposes, rather than scientific factuality.

According to U.S. News Health, “the average amount of weight gained is around two to five pounds” which is far less than the spoken 15 pounds and is “only slightly more than peers who aren’t attending college.” 

College students are still young and a lot of times our bodies are still developing as we enter adulthood, so it is completely normal and acceptable for our weight to fluctuate as we enter this exciting new chapter of our lives.

However, the negative stigma surrounding the “Freshman 15” has started taking a toll on the mental health of young adults, as many freshman students find themselves paranoid and fearful about gaining weight- a natural part of growing up and changing lifestyles. 

The harmful term is even affecting young highschoolers, causing them to dread their first year of college and pressuring themselves to find a “perfect” healthy lifestyle beforehand. 

Anxieties focused around these supposed 15 pounds that students will gain, can lead to even bigger and more harmful issues to arise, like the start of eating disorders and excessive exercise as a way to avoid this. 

“Starting college means you are already more vulnerable to eating disorders” says U.S. News Health. “Eating disorders often arise during life transitions, and the most common age of onset of eating disorders seems to be the late teens.”

It would be beneficial to remove the “Freshman 15” from our vocabularies, and instead focus on promoting a healthy but realistic lifestyle for college students.

So, as you enter your first year of college, forget about what you have heard about the infamous “Freshman 15,” be kind to both your body and your mind, and focus on the exciting new journey ahead of you.