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The Act of Eating Alone

I remember at the beginning of freshman year feeling terrified to head to lunch (or anywhere) alone. I remember the endless pings on my phone from group chats with messages like “Dinner???” or “Anyone free?!” Those first few minutes of waiting for friends to arrive at the table I just snagged were some of the most awkward. I felt like everyone else around was silently judging me for having no friends to sit with.

Then one day, I realized that there were plenty of people sitting by themselves. They weren’t sitting there twiddling their thumbs, or with an unsettled “there are people coming soon, I promise” look on their face. They were just sitting there with their headphones in or with a book, simply content with enjoying their own company. No one judged their loneliness; sometimes being in college means that 99% of the time, your schedule won’t match up with your friends’ schedules, and that’s okay. 

Between classes, clubs, sports, and friends, we tend to forget about spending time with the most important people – ourselves. Some of my favorite afternoons have been spent with a coffee and a bagel, listening to music, with the sun shining through the windows. It’s a great way to get schoolwork and things you’ve putting off for forever (you know the ones) done. On the other hand, if you’re not feeling super-productive, whip out your laptop and watch a few episodes of your favorite show. Either way, don’t forget to schedule in some me-time once in a while.

Nevertheless, it is of course great to catch up with friends over dinner. It just doesn’t need to be what defines your dining experience. One of the most exciting parts of eating alone is that you never know who will end up joining you.

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