A lunchroom debate

CC Lodge, Staff Writer

Amidst the stress of a school day, I find refuge in the golden 30 minutes that is my lunch period. With the various seating options available at Dulaney for students to choose from, some students may be met with more stress in deciding where to spend this break. The classic cafeteria, satellite cafeteria and outdoor seating each have positive characteristics to offer, but debate stands as to which lunch setting is the definitive best. 

The classic cafeteria is the largest, typically well-filled and noisy with the freeing of pent-up conversations. It’s the perfect place for the multi-tasking sort who are good at talking while eating. A student survey surprisingly reports, however, that only 18.9% of respondents enjoy the classic cafeteria best. When asked to elaborate, many respondents said they enjoy the cafeteria’s size and social atmosphere. Or, they simply tag along because their friends eat there. Another reason students pick the classic café is its exclusive characteristic of being the only place you can sit if you need to buy a school lunch. Nonetheless, the chaos and crowdedness of the lunchroom keep me at bay.

Personally, at lunchtime, I enjoy a quieter setting where I can talk to a small group of friends without much background noise. The satellite cafeteria attracts many students for this reason, with 49.1% of survey respondents preferring it. Fitting with the cafeteria’s name, many students responded that they enjoy its secluded, quiet and clean nature. The round tables are another plus, allowing for easy communication between all tablemates. An overlooked upside of this lunchroom are the comfortably backed chairs- something I miss when eating on a backless bench in the classic. For the students who like to sit alone or catch up on work during lunch, there are almost always quiet tables where you can keep to yourself too. As one student said, the satellite is less stimulating in general.

Weather permitting, outdoor seating is another great location for lunch. The American Psychological Association has proven that eating outside is good for the mind and soul, and I concur. Getting to have a breath of fresh air after being cooped up in classrooms all morning is always relieving, and 30.2% of survey respondents agree. A few stated they appreciate the outdoors’ airflow and lack of smell. With the spectacle of our school’s ducklings roaming the courtyard in the spring, eating lunch outside can be both relaxing and entertaining. After being on screens all day, some Vitamin D can’t hurt our generation- it’s even been proven to boost your mood!

My hierarchy of Dulaney’s main lunch locations has outdoor seating placed at the top (on a nice day), followed by the pleasant alternative of the satellite cafeteria and finally the classic cafeteria at the bottom. I will admit that the school-bought lunch factor makes me less likely to swear off the classic café entirely, but I don’t think it’s enough to outshine the contrasting peace and quiet of the other two spots.