Hi Kari, that first term in college is tough. Hang in there!
The dining hall in each school is different, but your basic principles should be the same:
1. don't wait till you are 'too tired and hungry to make good choices.' Find SOME sort of snack you can carry--fruit, string cheese, crackers, yogurt--so you don't go so long between meal times. Maybe you can carry yogurt and fruit away with you at breakfast and lunch to make into morning and afternoon snacks?
2. by now you should have some idea what the range of options is. If it's cafeteria style, go for the veggies and fruits first, then the proteins, then the carbs. If you like milk, make it (or other dairy) part of your life.
3. Don't be afraid to ask what is in the more complex dishes. You need the information and most schools are more savvy about students' nutritional awareness, so they should be willing to answer (if they aren't, consider making a noise about it to student affairs: you're paying, you should know what you are getting).
4. If you aren't SO hungry (b/c of the snack) you should be able to manage portion control better (that was always my bugbear in college--stress/emotional eating)
5. Pick your beverages well. Juices have tons of sugar, but they are often a slightly better choice than pop.
Maybe you can arrange for 'care packages' from home, with things like protein bars and other non-spoil healthy items?
The "Lonely" part is actually a part of the whole eating thing--or, at least, it can contribute. Looking for people who share an interest of yours, or just someone who looks friendly, can help alleviate loneliness. Staying in your dorm room is the best way to STAY lonely--get yourself out and about. BUT having said that, lonely times can be very valuable for exploring your inside self (the part of you that i-pods, mp-3 players, cell phones and the like drown out.) Don't be afraid of being alone.
Keep smiling, and good luck as you move into finals.
Edited by: BRITOMART at: 11/13/2012 (12:01)