dissolvedgirl - Ages 18 to 22 and college life only comes around once in your lifetime. Living on a campus, eating dining hall food is a real challenge with IBS. I am so grateful I am much older and can eat the diet that works for me (low residue). We have had a few college students with IBS post and lend support, as you see above (congrats on your graduation and degree haktryn1110!). So please continue to post with us and vent. I do think "talking" to others with IBS issues greatly helps. Helps in coming to terms with the situation you are stuck with - IBS. That said, I do agree with haktryn1110 - the way you react to having IBS does help find some sort of control over the situation. This is where I am now in my life - 9 years after having an important part of my colon removed due to cancer, etc. This is the new me. I had to let go of the old me, long ago. Once I faced facts as they are and will be for the rest of my life, I handled my IBS symptoms much better. When I tried to fit in with others with normal colons (succumbing to peer pressure to eat foods and large meals, while dining out with people who can eat anything they want), it wasn't until I began to change how I handle my situation, that things got better for me. Here is what I do and what I would recommend for you:
Eat the foods that agree with YOUR GI tract (in my case, bananas and vanilla flavored Stonyfield yogurt)
Keep a daily food diary so you know which foods these are.
Eat small portions each meal (in my case, one half of a plain english muffin or bagel is plenty).
I eat about 4 small meals a day. No longer do I even try to eat 3 large meals, like I used to.
Exercise (sounds crazy but exercise does help IBS, try brisk walking or jogging, swimming laps, bicycling).
Drink plenty of water.
Avoid all foods that wreak havoc on your system. If you miss candy or treats, try just 5 M & M's, or one chocolate chip cookie, for examples).
And finally, the important one...
Learn to say no. In a nice but firm way.
Once I figured out it was best not to apologize for my IBS or educate others what it feels like to have IBS, I did much better managing it. I just eat a certain way, sometimes timing when I eat helps too, I say no to certain things if I have to (outings that might not be possible, for another example, I prefer seeing plays or movies before I eat, if I eat first and then get stuck in the middle of a row watching a play, that situation in itself just puts my nerves on edge, the "what if" I need a bathroom suddenly kind of worry, I just don't do it anymore!).....you just say to others, hey let's see an early movie or play and then eat afterwards.
This is when I order from the sides section of a menu (cup of soup or baked potato), meanwhile the people I'm with are ordering huge entrees. I just smile and lie - oh I'm not that hungry.
IMHO, it is perfectly acceptable to lie when you have IBS!
In my case too, it's all an illusion sometimes, I do often pretend my gut isn't heaving, doing it's own thing and that I do have a normal colon. When in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
You will find what works best for you dissolvedgirl. You will. Resolve yourself to having a different approach to your IBS next semester. Just tell yourself you WILL make this work. Positive thinking, approach.
I hope I've helped you some. Again, forget trying to explain it to anyone without IBS. They will never, ever understand. Change your approach to it and I sincerely believe that is 50% of the whole puzzle of IBS.