Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

I’m sure this has happened to a lot of people, but I have never actually considered eating in a bathroom stall though–never really was desperate enough to eat while enveloped in bacteria. Anyway, despite being a time when students are supposed to relax–yep, thirty minutes of relaxation time, how gracious of our educational institutions–lunch time can be pretty stressful. When else do you have to ensure that you have people to socialize with (okay, I really need to stop with these questions)?

Here are some things to remember when it’s time to stuff your face:

1. Timing. This is essential. Fo rizzles. If you get to lunch too early, you’re awkwardly there sitting at a table alone. If you get there too late, you’ll probably be trying to squeeze into a table that is already way too full. Try to find that happy middle (I think that’s the phrase). Figure out the time that most people get there and you are good to go. If you are on the other side of the building – BOOK IT.

2.Travel in a pack. If you know some people in your lunch then that’s fantastic! So, when you’re going down to lunch try staying with that pack of people (or that one other person) and voilà, you’ll have a table of people to stick with for those precious thirty minutes. This also helps with decreasing the amount of “alone-at-the-table” time.

3. Location. Whatever you do, do not – I repeat, do not – sit near that group of freshman boys. Uh-uh, nope. They will throw grapes at you. Believe me, it happened to me before. I can tell you grape in your eye is not the best way to spend you lunch period. Also, I recommend avoiding trashcans. You never know when people will miss the trashcan and you’re stuck with gunk all over you.

 4. New people are cool. Say that you can’t make it in time to fit in with your table of acquaintances. So what? Try sitting with some new people. It could quite possibly end in failure, but what if it doesn’t? Maybe you will be able to meet a fantastic person who you would have never met before if you had not joined his or her lunch table. Go, I challenge you to take that risk and sit with a new person! 

5. Alternate seating areas. At some schools there are alternate seating areas, so you’re not obligated to stay in the cafeteria. At our rival school, they have special passes which allow students to eat outside on nice days. I know one kid at my school who decided to eat in one of the stairwells because he didn’t have any friends in his lunch period. You know, it’s not bad to have some alone time if you’re having a hectic day.

Lunch time can be tough. Maybe you’ll have some problems now, but when you look back on your high school lunchtime years, you’ll laugh. So, enjoy those thirty minutes of face-stuffing!

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the author

Jenny Zhang is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, who is thinking about majoring in economics (but that is definitely not set in stone). She has many talents such as falling asleep anywhere at any time (this can be verified by her roommate) and procrastinating. Jenny likes to spend a lot of her time on YouTube watching baby videos and obsessing over anything Jeremy Lin-related while eating various forms of food that are high in sugar and/or fat. She is currently trying to learn how to play Ultimate Frisbee to avoid the Freshman 15 and attempting to perfect her street-crossing techniques. Her spirit animal is a panda. You can follow her on Twitter @JenKnee_Z

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