Cafeterias (Revisions)

November 26th, 2016

At precisely 11 a.m the double-glass doors to the cafeteria are propped open for lunch. The cafeteria transforms into a jungle as a herd of students both male and female feverishly dig out their IDs from their backpacks or pockets while forming a crude single- file line. Once the computer monitor beeps, confirming the payment of the meal, the line disassembles to various parts of the cafeteria.

Friends travel in their respective packs and file into booths, high tables and low tables in the same general area as the day before. The freshly wiped tables become cluttered with ID’s, cell phones and jangling keys. An array of colorful backpacks decorate the floor or empty chairs. As peers meet up in the food lines, conversations about classes and professors fill up the room.

Students see the cafeteria as a social place. They look more forward to seeing friends rather than eating the food.

According to The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), lunchtime in a cafeteria should be an enjoyable part of the day for students. It offers a break from class work and is a place to relax and socialize with peers.

“Where should we sit?” asks Ashley Peterson, even though she has a predestination f the general area in mind. Without hesitating for an answer, she navigates her way through the maze of tables and students to a high table.

“What’s there to eat today? Anything good? What’s in that far line?” are all follow up questions that Peterson often asks to whoever is accompanying her that day.

After meandering through all of her options, she finally settles for soup, which is her way of expressing that nothing else is good that day.

Even though students often complain about the food, they find themselves constantly coming back just to hangout. Morningside junior Ashley Peterson, is one of those students.

Peterson is a habitual cafeteria patron, despite her almost daily complaints of repetitiveness of the food provided.

Peterson commented that she would not miss the cafeteria after graduation because of the lack of variety of food each week. However, she does like that fact that it seems like a social place. Peterson’s description of the cafeteria mirrors what the AOTA states. “It’s a place to get away from homework and studying and a chance to see people who aren’t seen regularly.”

Sometimes the only time Peterson see’s her roommate is in the cafeteria. If neither of them have to be anywhere in a hurry, they stay and chat long after their plates are cleaned off.

“I look forward to my Savannah-time,” joked Peterson.

As for Morningside junior Ariana Rogers, she has a slightly different perspective on the cafeteria. She already misses the social aspect of it.

For her first two years of college, she lived on campus and had a meal plan. Now she is currently living in her own apartment off campus and no longer has a meal plan.

Now that Rogers is off campus, she prepares her own meals and mostly eats alone. “I can make whatever I’m hungry for at home and pay so much less for it than what the meal plan is worth.” aid Rogers. That is what she considers to be a benefit of not eating on campus. A con is that Rogers lacks the social interaction.

Rogers enjoyed going to the cafeteria for the most part, even if the food was just “pretty okay.” Often times her work at Subway conflicted with her eating at the cafeteria, but when she could go, she enjoyed bonding with roommates and hall mates.

“Looking at it from an outside perspective, I can definitely say that it does seem to be a place to hangout when there isn’t much time outside of classes and work and everything else that keeps the student body busy,” explained Rogers.

Even though students may have differing opinions on the food, most find themselves coming back multiple times a week. The social atmosphere and the ability to bond with fellow classmates is an important part of college life.

It’s pretty safe to say that the cafeteria, especially at Morningside, is a big part of college culture.


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