We’ve all been there. You’re walking along just fine until an inexperienced, inconsiderate fool cuts you off. You try to get around this halfwit, but they somehow block every mode of escape and now you’re stuck. Bubbles of boiling rage begin to accumulate underneath your usually chill demeanor, threatening to burst. What is this feeling? No, it’s not road rage. It’s something far worse: dining hall hatred.In a school with 8500+ undergrads and only two dining halls, there are bound to be capacity issues during meal times. Hence why the university stalls daytime classes so every student doesn’t go to lunch at the same time.
Wait, they don’t do that?
So at 12:20, thousands of hungry college students head to the dining hall at the same time??
Oh yeah, that’s right. That is what they do.Grabbing food with that many people is next to impossible. You want a burger at burger night? Have fun in line, see you in three years. Need a drink? Hope you don’t mind filling your cup while uncomfortably shoulder-touching multiple strangers. Want to browse around and see what’s cooking today? HAHAHA nice try, just give up and grab a slice of pizza before another person bumps your tray with their backpack. Each nudge and line-cut you endure during this cafeteria gridlock nightmare is infuriating, but once you have your food there’s finally relief, right? Wrong. Because now you have to sit down.As you wander up and down the aisles of crammed tables, you wonder why you even came here at all. For South Dining Hall regulars, nothing is more outrageous than the fact that the other side isn’t open, even though there is clearly no place for you to sit. Unless you count the open chairs in the middle of the table, but those are basically off limits. You’d rather walk around aimlessly than sit directly next to strangers.Just when all hope seems to be lost and you think of pulling a Cady Heron and eating in the bathroom, Heaven’s grace falls down upon you and you see a group getting up to leave. Did they get here early or are they just really fast eaters? Doesn’t matter – all you know is that they’re angels who have granted you the privilege of dining in peace.
If this experience is all too familiar to you and you’d like some coping strategies to deal with dining hall hatred, here are a few. First piece of advice: don’t go to the dining hall. Or go, but not during rush hour times. Grab-n-go is always an option, or you can eat at Subway until you lose all your flex points and shamefully return to meal swipes. If rush hour is unavoidable, though, there is still hope. Develop a mental “happy place” and visit it as you wait for that guy in front of you to finish picking up 25 hot wings one-by-one. Another strategy would be to go to the dining hall wearing a large sheet over your body like a ghost. This might feel strange/stupid/bizarre, but you can rest assured that people won’t want to crowd your space if you look like a crazy person.However you deal with dining hall hatred, know you’re not alone in your struggle. It’s hard to stay calm when everyone seems like an idiot, but if you keep in mind that we’re all just trying our best, it may be possible to stay in zen mode. That is, until a middle school field trip arrives – then all bets are off.