Arriving to a new school and going to the cafeteria for the first time can be an intimidating moment. You might wonder: where do I sit? What is there to eat? Who do I sit with? However, you can rest easy, because this is not your average high school cafeteria. This is Reisner, the campus dining hall.
The first thing anyone needs to know is that the dining hall is generally open from 7am to 7pm; however, meals aren’t normally prepared until their assigned time. These are the same hours for your meal swipes (7-10:30 a.m. for breakfast, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. for lunch and 3:30 p.m.-8 p.m. for dinner).
Now that we have the basics out of the way, on to my personal guide to this delicious labyrinth.
First and foremost, get there early, but not too early. As I mentioned earlier, there are only a few hours throughout the day that you’ll be able to get the most out of this experience. Though this is common knowledge, the dining hall tends to get busy during this time. While there is usually some food for everyone, there’s going to be less of it.
However, I’m rarely early to anything myself. So for those late risers and classroom sprinters who have enough on their time plate as it, I suggest you have a go-to food. You’ll figure out what yours is quickly, trust me. Personally, I’m always making a beeline for that pizza, although not everyone’s taste buds welcome greasy campus pizza with open arms.
It is especially helpful to be friendly to staff and at the very least use the basics of please and thank you. They’re people just like us too, and some are even students. You never know, you might end up late to dinner and not have any pizza left, only to be saved from the jaws of hunger at the last minute by the awesome campus pizza guy going the extra mile to make sure you’re fed before closing. All purely hypothetical, of course.
Though it has been said that an ounce of a cure is worth a pound of prevention. Therefore, it may be best to plan when you’re going to eat ahead of time, especially if you’re on a meal plan of two meals a day. I know I’d rather not have a vending machine pop tart for dinner, but I wouldn’t mind it during the morning rush.
Besides, maybe some friends are free at the same time as you and can join you. As obvious as it may be, eating with friends is usually better than eating alone.
However, there isn’t anything wrong with eating alone. It’s something that happens to everyone on campus at some point. Either your friends can’t make it at the same time as you, or you just want to relax and have a bite on your own. Whatever the reason may be, don’t worry; most people are too busy doing their own thing to think anything of it, and those that do (on rare occasions) aren’t the people whose opinion you’re going to value.