freshman 15
n. The number of pounds that many students gain in their first year of college; the often observed phenomenon of weight gain among first year college students.
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Yolanda Davis heard about the dreaded phenomenon before heading off to New Orleans for her freshman year at Xavier University and wanted no part of it. Wendy Moses had likewise heard the tales before settling in as a freshman at Emory University in Atlanta but never imagined it would happen to her.

The two Fort Worth, Texas, women found themselves face to face with the so-called Freshman 15, the alleged propensity of students to put on up to 15 pounds when they first go off to college. Whether established fact or national folklore remains an open question, but for many of the roughly 1.5 million young people who enter college each fall, the Freshman 15 becomes a living, breathing reality.
—Geoffrey A. Campbell, “Snacks, stress pack on the pounds for some college entrants,” Forth Worth Star-Telegram, August 16, 2003
Health educators at Georgetown and American universities say that the Freshman Fifteen have been on the scene as long as they have.

"It seems fairly common," said Carol Day, a director in the Health Education Services office at Georgetown. "Everything completely changes for students when they get to college — their environment, every area of their life, not the least of which is food."

Carol blamed "fast-food options" and "schedule shifts" for many of the extra pounds. When students "find themselves up half the night studying or writing papers, they order pizza for a break or a social activity. And sometimes social life involves drinking, so there are the alcohol calories, which they often don't think about adding in."

Georgetown offers nutrition counseling to any student, freshman or not, Carol said. She noted that Freshman Fifteen problems aren't the exclusive province of women. "Weight gain is a problem for both men and women," she said.
—Bob Levey, “Dealing with the Dreaded 'Freshman Fifteen',” The Washington Post, October 23, 2002
1985 (earliest)
The 1,820 freshmen at Northwestern are almost grown-ups now, old enough to live on pizza and candy, go out for a midnight snack and stay up till 3 a.m.

It was all supposed to be wonderful, and sometimes it is, but they are also getting fat and feeling sleepy. They miss their homes, their rooms, their friends and, most of all, their parents, terribly.

They have freshman blues and Freshman 15, the latter referring to how many pounds many freshmen gain.
—Barbara Brotman, “Forget the calendar, for freshmen this is a leap year for growing up,” Chicago Tribune, November 05, 1985