I have always been food oriented. As in I love to eat. Not entirely because I love food, but because I love being able to sit down and talk. Fortunately, the dining hall at Groton checks both those boxes, which is one of the reasons why I am always there. Especially recently, as the weather is colder, and my mom is not here to tell me to put on a coat, I'm too cold to spend too much time outside.
On a usual morning, I am up at 7:10 in the morning and at breakfast by 7:30, as part of a routine that took a lot of trial and error. Many people opt for the extra 30 minutes of sleep before chapel, sacrificing an early morning meal for the cafe bagels in between classes. Therefore, the morning buzz in the dining hall is usually muffled as those that do wake up early fight off the early lull. But the fresh fruit and warm waffles make up for that loss, and it allows you to do some last-minute preparation for the day.
Amongst the mix of class, last-minute preparations for tests, or meetings with teachers, the lunch schedule is always hectic. However, this environment is when the dining hall is at its peak. The large room fills up with voices carrying from table to table. The tables themselves vary in size, adjusting to the flow of the mood. As we come up on Winter Formal, lunch also consists of the occasional formal proposal. Lower school students propose to those two forms above them, taking part in a tradition that far outdates anyone on the Circle now. A loud cheer follows every proposal, then a return to the busy conversations.
After afternoon activities, everyone makes their way back to the dining hall one last time for the day. In the chaos and structure of everyone's day-to-day lives, being able to sit down and eat with your friends or team gives a huge spell of relief. Every dinner is a break, an opportunity to clear your head of the stress and anxiousness of the rigor. Especially in the winter, as the days become shorter and seem to be more repetitive, meals allow for spontaneous conversations and moments to simply waste time away. This is where the nature of Groton’s size comes into play, by being able to talk to anyone, not about school, and have a genuine time. In the past week, topics at tables I have been at have ranged from our most recent all-school talk given by Arshay Cooper and his incredibly moving words about intentionality and how growing up affected him, to debating who will win the faculty’s challenge to see who will last the longest without their phone. No matter the topic, or who happens to be at the table, conversations speak to the character of people at this school. There will never be a dull discussion in the Dining Hall.