September 19, 2009

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

As a country, we're very familiar with the concept of freedom. Though we may ignore their presence, the freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, and press granted us by the First Amendment play a large part in our lives.

Too, as a generation we like to think we know about freedom. As college students, we're just beginning to explore life on our own, minus parents and minus rules. This freedom is something we welcome with open arms and something that practically defines college life.

So, we've got freedom covered, right? However, regardless of our great knowledge of freedom (which is something I sometimes doubt), there's something else we can't really come to grips with, and that is the concept of free.

Orientation events are of course geared toward freshmen and usually provide some kind of charge-free sustenance. Whether it be cinnamon doughnuts or turkey wraps, the "FREE FOOD!!!" lures the 'shmen in to whatever the event may be. And that is what they call a free lunch.

Wait a minute. I thought there was no such thing as a free lunch. Apparently I was wrong. But-! Not so fast. Remember all those thousands of dollars we're paying to the college this year and in years to come? Perhaps lunch wasn't so free after all.

The same realization rings true for our country. Perhaps we should pay attention to the circumstances leading up to the development of our Declaration-given rights. Better yet, maybe we should pay attention to what's happening now.

So, as a human, a freshman college student, and the latest advice-giver on what I'm sure is a long list of advice-givers, I'd just like to revisit that old cliche one more time. "There's no such thing as a free lunch." The point about the tuition is valid; the lunch is not actually free at all, not even close.

Orientation is to free lunch as life is to certain freedoms, like total freedom of religion or press. These things are unattainable but we attempt to attain them anyway. If there's no such thing as a free lunch, then we've got ourselves in trouble, because we can't truly fathom the concept of "free."

Today's challenge for you, then, is to contemplate what exactly is a "free lunch" and what does not deserve the term. Perhaps you'll find that some lunches really are free, or that most are actually very expensive. But all have the potential to make us think about their (free?) existence.


  1. Anonymous5:00 AM

    Taking a loose connection a little too far.

  2. Anonymous10:40 AM

    It doesn't really matter if it's technically free or not because the idea that it's free stems from the fact that tuition has already been paid by a third party (our parents) so we aren't reaching into our own wallets to get this food.