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Penn State Dining Hall Etiquette

There are definite benefits to eating at the dining halls. Each one has its own strengths: West has its famous cookies; Pollock is super classy; and East has never been shut down for health code violations, which is something to be said.

Despite all of these good qualities, eating at the dining halls can quickly become a bad experience if people don’t follow some common courtesies. Now I’m not asking for everybody to prepare for dinner with the queen, but that doesn’t mean that you can go around acting like an animal. There are some necessary rules that everybody should be on the same page for:

  • Stand in line at the waffle machine: Your tray is NOT an acceptable substitute for you in the waffle machine line. You could get another person to wait for you and then can tag team in once that person gets to the front, that would be fine. Nobody wants to wait in line — especially for the waffles — but you need to suck it up like the rest of us.
  • Throw away your food quickly: When you scrape your plates off into the compost garbage bin, do it fast. Keep in mind that holding a tray can become tiring if it’s for a long time, although it’s possible that I’m just weak.
  • Have your card out before you enter: If you have to wait in line to get into the dining hall, then there is no reason to not have your id card out when you get to the front of the line.
  • Only fill one glass at the soda fountain at a time: If there is a line behind you, limit yourself to one glass at the fountain machine.  I understand the want to splurge and fill two glasses, just in case you finish the first one, but keep in mind that other people are waiting.
  • Don’t take too long in the salad line: You are making your own salad, not a piece of art. I don’t know what could possibly take that long, because there are only like ten options of what you can put on it, and if you don’t know what you like on your salad at this point in your life, then you probably shouldn’t be in the salad line in the first place.
  • Watch where your tray is going: Very few things can cause a panic attack quite like somebody bumping into me with a tray. I immediately think that food just splashed all over my clothes. Plus, depending on how much momentum you have going, you could really bruise somebody.
  • Don’t cut in line: I know that it isn’t elementary school anymore, but the “no cuts, no buts, no coconuts” rule still exists. Nobody will ever call you out on cutting though, because it’s impossible to do so without looking like a fatass who can’t wait one more turn to get your food. If you’re a cutter, you shouldn’t mistake the fact that nobody will call you out for cutting with people being okay with it.  Everybody will think that you’re a douchebag.

So as your meal points slowly dwindle down to zero as you stress eat through finals week, keep in mind these basic common courtesies. Otherwise, you may end up being the most hated person in the dining hall.

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