The very first time I came to Kenyon, I was tagging along with my sister on her accepted student visit. We did the standard things: took a tour, wandered around Gambier, but to me, nothing compared to Peirce.
My eyes popped when I saw the food and drink stretched out before me. I ate myself sick — still don’t have regrets. But as a first-year, a week or two into freshman year, the bloom was off the rose. At the end of the day, Peirce is just another cafeteria, but should we complain? No — we are here, this is where we eat, no matter how we feel about the food. Why can’t every day be like that visit day where we fell in love with the locally sourced bacon in the breakfast line?
1. Try everything: Just fill your plate up — ice cream, pizza, all the salad bar fixings, vegetarian meal, couple of bagels, at least two glasses of chocolate milk. Take the time to reflect on what it was like to be a prospie, trying to get your money’s worth out of the college trip, staring wide eyed at all the students, and thinking to yourself how all these schools look the same so you have to find some way to differentiate them.
2. Eat fast food for three days first: When you first visited Kenyon, you were probably in the middle of a big multi-state college tour. Maybe you had spent the last couple of days in the backseat of the family car while your parents lectured you about supplements and the upcoming SAT subject tests. To keep the energy up, there was a stop for bad hamburgers every couple hundred miles. After that, fresh salad and rotisserie pork would seem like a godsend.
3. Eat from the Market for a week: Experience the world of non-compulsory dining halls for a bit just like your friends at big universities. It is a blessing and a curse to be forced into a four-year meal plan. It sure saves time, but sometimes the expense can seem a bit ridiculous. So try living out of your combination mini-fridge/microwave for a week, I’m sure you’ll be running back to those prepared meals long before you run out of ramen flavors.
4. Make it your own: One of the great things about going to a dining hall on a college visit is all the options: pizza, pasta dishes, salad bar, fries, desserts, you name it. But after a few weeks eating in a dining hall, you notice the similarities and the repetitions. Refuse to accept this — there are a million creations out there for you to make. (Bonus — the extra time spent in the servery will remind you of what it was like when you stumbled around trying to get your meal the first time you ate here.)
5. Give in and love it: Fill your plate up, take a window seat on New Side and remember the thousands of dollars you’re paying for that food and the fact that for all your complaining you’re eating a good meal and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it… Taste better yet?