The lobby outside John Jay looking uncharacteristically empty.

Rambunctious newsletter editor Zoe Sottile is just like you: scared to walk into John Jay alone.

We’ve all been there. You’re hungry. You’re craving a nice John Jay sushi roll, or maybe some of the miscellaneous pastes from the vegan station smeared on white bread. You text a friend to ask if they want to get dinner and they reply enthusiastically. You think, success! I’m a social butterfly! Dinner incoming.

Minutes later, there you are in the hallowed hall of Jonathan Jay. Your friend isn’t there yet so you decide to wait up against the wall for them to arrive, protected by the watchful gaze of the Public Safety officer. Students enter in boisterous groups; you watch jealously as they swipe in. You get hungrier. Seeing students walk out with a red velvet cookie in hand makes your mouth water. Whenever they glance out you, you want to whisper conspiratorially, “I promise I have friends. Look at me! Just waiting for a friend. My friend will be here soon.”

Soon, of course, there are more. A line begins to form between the dining hall and the Public Safety desk. There are jittery first-years, sleepy seniors in sweatpants, skinny track team boys. You try not to make eye contact. You’re not like them, you think. You don’t want to form a community here in this dark and lonely place. And your friend is on their way. In fact, they text you: “sorry, running late! omw”.

You feel a little better. Waiting outside feels a little bit like purgatory: you’re gonna get to heaven (aka tasteless pasta and weird salad) soon, you just have to wait a little bit. You’re atoning for your sins. Still in line, you start pondering what you did wrong. Is it because you shoved an entire bunch of bananas in your backpack the last time you went to John Jay dinner? Did you cut someone in the omelet line? Did you steal cutlery for yourself? Did you use the word “dialectical” in your CC class?

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. The texts keep coming: “ran into a friend!” “ahh so sorry still omw” “ill be there soon”. You are still in line. You don’t remember when you came into John Jay in the first place, and you can’t imagine leaving. This isn’t purgatory. This is Hell.

Image via Bwog Archives.