Eliza Zachowicz—As a Junior in college, I am almost embarrassed to say this. But, until yesterday, I had never eaten alone in the dining hall.
This may come as a shock to some or all of you, because it isn’t abnormal to eat alone, this was just something I was afraid of doing. Don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of times when I ate at home by myself, or even in the Union. However, for some strange reason, I was terrified of going up to the dining hall, swiping in, and navigating on my own.
Instead, I’ve always found a buddy. My friends are generally always down to grab a meal, no matter where, so I’ve never been “forced” to eat by myself. But this weekend, my suitemate and closest friend hadn’t arrived to campus yet. My staff members from my building had already grabbed lunch and I had slept late. On top of all that, I had eaten with 12 people for every meal every day for 6 days. It wasn’t bad eating with my giant family of friends, but you can’t just stay quiet at that type of meal. Everyone wants to chat, understandably.
Since I had other things to do, a lack of cash and absolutely no food in my dorm, I faced my college fear and went to Harrison by myself. That’s right, all alone, just me and my phone against the world. I made a bee line towards the cereal, got my bowl of Reese’s Puffs, added some milk, and grabbed a table where I could see the door. I texted my mom, ate my cereal and I didn’t think this was possible, but I actually enjoyed it.
I ate my cereal with no interruptions. I sat on my phone without feeling bad for ignoring other people. And, now this was the best part, I didn’t have to wait for anybody. It was incredible, a quick meal with some me-time.
Don’t get me wrong, this is definitely not something I plan on getting in the habit of, mostly because if I eat without Faith, I know she won’t forgive me (I won’t, Faith, I promise). But now, after 2.5 years of fearing it, more if you count senior year me who got anxious about it weekly, I know that I can do this.
Eating in the dining hall alone sounds like this huge deal. But no one sat there and pointed at me. I didn’t fear people whispering about me because I was alone. And, thankfully, there was no awkwardness.
So if you’re anything like me, and have a fear of going to the dining hall by yourself, I say just go for it. You might actually enjoy it. And that goes for anything. Step out of your comfort zone this semester and try something new!