I’m Torn: The Dining Hall

[Life isn’t black and white. As much as we wish we simply loved or hated things, there is often that whole annoying gray area in the middle. Like, we hate how Walmart treats its employees…but we love the low prices! Or, we love how that boy makes us laugh….but we hate that he has no motivation in life. Damn you, gray area; you make decision-making that much more complicated!

There are so many difficult choices in life (do we love or hate high heels??), so we thought we’d sort through ‘em right here. Every week we will discuss another issue we are torn up about. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!]

Whether you call it the caf, the d-hall or the sh*t hole, you definitely have one. The dining hall is a place to meet with friends, grab a bite to eat or flirt with the sandwich guy. As college students, we spend endless amounts of time there, whether by choice or because our schools force us to pay for meal plans. And, just like every other serious relationship in our lives, this one has a lot of highs and a lot of lows.

Love it:

The lack of washing dishes – When you’re done eating, you can put your dishes on the conveyor belt and watch them disappear into the kitchen.

Stocking up on kitchen utensils…for free – Currently, I am the proud owner of a stolen spoon and fork. While my collection is particularly small, some of my friends have enough place settings to host a small dinner party. I recently heard that a certain “goody two shoes” friend of mine, gets a rush from stealing cutlery (knives in particular), from our dining hall.

The fact that you don’t actually have to cook anything – Yeah, I’m a big fan of not having to chop vegetables or boil water to make pasta. I have better things to do…like nap!

That one amazing food you can’t reproduce – My favorite is the raspberry bar. It never fails to brighten an otherwise bleak day. Everyone has that one (or two, or three) favorite food(s) that only the school chef can make.

The social aspect – Mealtime isn’t just for eating; it’s a social event. Whether you’re catching up with your girls, meeting with a study group or grabbing dinner with a new guy, there’s no better place than the dining hall.

Loathe it:

The effect on your weight– And it’s not just the “Freshman 15.” If you’re a picky eater like me, you lose weight. If your mom is a bad cook, you probably over-eat at school. Either way, you come home for vacation and everyone looks at you….worried.

The gross-factor – Just because there are antibacterial dispensers by the door, doesn’t mean you can’t get sick from eating in the dining hall. Today, I saw a girl break off a piece of an onion ring. With her hands. From a plate she didn’t even take. She also put back her hot dog when she realized she could get a fresher one. Eww – clearly her parents never taught her anything about cleanliness or respecting other people. And clearly I will be the one affected by that.

The awkward run ins – If you had a bad one-night-stand with him, you’ll probably see him in the dining hall. Sorry, but running into people you’d prefer never to see again is inevitable.

The lines – The best food always has the longest lines. And I have better things to do (lay around) than wait in line for some chicken teriyaki. Some weeks I even end up eating pizza or Lucky Charms 3 meals in a row because there is no wait.

The expense – Why does my lunch cost the same as that of a 250 lb basketball player? Every time I go into the dining hall, I pay a fixed meal price. Whether I’m grabbing a muffin before class, munching on a salad or scarfing down 15 plates of spaghetti, I still pay $9. Or maybe it’s $11. The point is, no muffin is worth that.

Well, you’ve heard what I have to say. Now it’s your turn: how do you feel about the dining hall?

[Photo courtesy of Gettysburg College.]

Can We Ever Be Satisfied?
Can We Ever Be Satisfied?
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