Editorials and Opinions

Branching out from the Student Center

By Shayna Sage
Published: April 2009

Loud, overwhelming, and cliquish. These are just a few words that come to mind when asked what it is like to have a meal in the cafeteria, or “Student Center. I do make a daily appearance in the cafeteria, but it’s only to buy my lunch, not to eat it there.

The increasingly popular trend of eating outside the cafeteria contributes to a generally more enjoyable meal. My personal experiences in the cafeteria have involved getting up to buy something and not having a seat when I return, being caught in the middle of a food fight, and missing phone calls due to the lack of service in the Student Center.

Now, the point of being released for lunch is not only to refuel, but also to have a break from classes. The thirty minutes outside the classroom are a chance to unwind and decompress from the first half of the day, for kids to stretch their legs and take a breather.

I don’t see how anyone can relax in the cafeteria when you can barely even hear your own thoughts over the noise. I’m not a big fan of loud noises, and when I’m trying to cram for a test or do some last minute homework during lunch, the cafeteria is not an ideal place.

Another major deterrent to eating in the Student Center is its general cleanliness, or lack thereof. By the middle of long block, when lunch is in full swing, the floors can be pretty gross, almost sickeningly so. Walking across the lunchroom, you’re likely to encounter sticky puddles, smushed sandwiches, and cookie crumbs.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that there aren’t people trying to be clean; it’s just that the undeniable truth is, teens are messy. In the cafeteria, it accumulates over the course of a hundred and five minutes and, in my opinion, the sight of smashed French fries and old bottle caps strewn all over the place doesn’t really help me enjoy my meal.

The constant scramble for chairs is yet another downside to eating in the Student Center. People are always on the lookout for empty chairs to swipe’€or even occupied chairs to swipe. On occasion, I have seen students have their seats literally pulled from under them. The unnecessary commotion is not only ridiculously childish, but extremely disturbing to the people trying to eat.

The entire cafeteria experience is simply not enjoyable, and there are few reasons to endure it when there are alternative lunch spots. In a school as big as Newton South, there are many possible dining areas preferable to the Student Center where students can sit comfortably in any arrangement they want.
In the hallways and lobbies, students don’t have to sit on hard chairs at a traditional round table littered with food and various bits of trash. And there are the added benefits of cell phone service, a quieter and more relaxed setting, a plethora of available seats, and most importantly, no food fights.

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