Staff Writer Matthew Gay and Social Media Editor Talia Bloom unpack just how stressful finding food at this school is.

Navigating our lovely dining halls is an unpredictable phenomenon. You never know what foods they are out of, how packed it will be, or what you will get yelled at about. However, all dining halls are not created equal. There are certain ones you can depend upon, and others you most definitely cannot. Thus, please enjoy our numbered list of how anxiety-provoking each dining hall makes us: from most to least anxious.

  1. JJs

While JJ’s is very stressful when it’s packed, it’s also incredibly anxiety-inducing when it’s empty because something just feels wrong. When JJ’s has just opened and into the early afternoon, when no music is playing, no TVs are on, and there’s hardly any people, it feels like a liminal space—and not in a good way. When it comes to anxiety, with JJ’s you really just can’t win. Our advice is to just get in and get out as quickly as possible. (Note from Talia: as I was explaining this article to my friend in JJs, I dropped my entire container of french fries on the ground. Do not recommend.)

  1. John Jay

Next up, we’ve got John Jay. John Jay is quite simply so stressful. For one, it is always a thousand degrees. The heat will have you sweating from the moment you walk into the room. Also, you are bound to see literally every single person you know there. Anonymity? Never heard of her. John Jay is also just so inconsistent. We could walk in and there could be no plain pasta. What happened to our safe foods?? Note: this does not apply to the chia pudding, my one stable and trusted food group at this school.

  1. Ferris

At number three, we have Ferris Booth Commons. This dining hall’s threshold for inducing anxiety varies greatly depending on what time you go. If you’re looking for a serene, slow-moving dining experience, Ferris at 7:30 am (right when they open) is a lovely space for that. However, during normal lunch and dinner hours, good luck not having an anxiety attack or punching someone in the face. Ferris can have extremely long lines for quite literally everything, limited seating, and people moving around the space so slowly and with such little awareness that it’s sometimes comical. The upstairs seating situation is a labyrinth to navigate, with bags on the backs of chairs and on the floor and 18 chairs pulled up to one table. We would highly recommend getting up early and treating yourself to a delectable Ferris biscuit and omelet before your 8:40 class, but other than that, take your Xanax before braving Ferris. 

  1. Diana

Like Ferris, Diana can also be very crowded, but there are significantly less lines to contend with, and once you know the lay of the land, Diana can be a quite lovely experience– just don’t count on having a place to sit. Another stressful factor with Diana is their constant changing of the menu, specifically the pizza crust. Why is it rectangular on Monday, flatbread on Wednesday, and deep dish on Friday? We’ll never know. And what’s with the smoothie station’s schedule? A good general rule of thumb to make your Diana experience as stress-free as possible is to have a good game plan. For example, don’t try to go back for a water bottle after you’ve loaded up your burrito bowl sky high. It’s just not going to happen unless you’re highly versed in crowd-weaving etiquette. And, like Ferris, try to go at an off time like 2:30 when they’re about to close before dinner or 9:30 when they’re about to close for the night. 

  1. Faculty House

Faculty House is full of contradictions. On the one hand, it can be a nice lunch spot with good food and desserts. On the other hand, its round tables can be extremely anxiety inducing– and that’s if you’re able to find somewhere to sit at all. It’s also not the most geographically desirable for Barnard students, which makes the traffic less concentrated, but it can also be very disappointing to walk all the way from Milbank only to discover that you don’t like the food they’re serving that day and there’s nowhere to sit. Personally, we prefer to go to Faculty House when the weather is nice enough that you can take your food and sit outside on Law Bridge so that you can avoid the seating hassle altogether. 

  1. Hewitt

We must preface this by saying that we only brave Hewitt for breakfast. Lunch and dinner is simply too crowded. However, Hewitt breakfast tends to be a truly wonderful experience. It is spacious, not crowded, and light streams in to say good morning. It’s easy to sit alone and do work unbothered. The smoothies are consistent and delicious; you always know what foods will be available. Points docked for: the unnecessarily stressful sorting of your trash, always knowing at least three people there. Having to talk to people is a lot sometimes.

  1. Mike’s Sub Shop

Chef Mike’s is pretty tame in comparison to the rest of the list on the anxiety-inducing front. There can be long lines, but there is a lot of room for the lines to back up so it’s rarely an issue. The workers are always super sweet and approachable, and you get a ton of food. The only caveat with Chef Mike’s is, like a lot of the other dining options on the list, there is not nearly enough seating. But they do package the sandwiches to-go, so it’s super easy to enjoy your sub with some friends on Low Beach. 

Not ranked:

Chef Don’s

Combined, we’ve been here once. It was crowded and stressful. However, sample size wise, we do not feel it would be fair to rank. The end.

Dining Hall via Bwog Archives