How to Minimize Your Mealtime Mayhem


Latin students line up for the beloved sandwich bar.

It’s 12:05 p.m. You’ve just finished three classes, and your stomach is rumbling. You didn’t have time to grab something to eat as you rushed out the door this morning, and the thoughts of toasted-to-perfection sandwiches and buttery pasta beckon you toward the double-doors to heaven. Yet, when you finally reach them, you open them to find you can’t even cram yourself inside. You finally secure a spot in line and trudge forward for the next 15 minutes.

Crap, you’ve been in the wrong line the whole time. You must have gotten the two confused somewhere in the chaos. The hangriness takes over you, and you decide it isn’t worth another 15 minutes of shuffling your feet for a bowl of noodles. By then, you won’t have enough time to eat anyways. So you push through the crowd to the pizza station and place two sad pieces on your plate. Worst. Lunch. Ever.

Nearly every student at Latin has been in a similar situation at one point in their high school career. If you’re lucky, you can move quickly through the cafeteria during the off times, ensuring dibs on your favorite food. Otherwise, there are only two distinct 35-minute periods when you can eat lunch. And with about 500 students, not including faculty and staff, the competition is fierce. Here are five tips on how to beat the mealtime mayhem:

Use the Kiosks
In the last few years, the kiosks have incorporated a variety of food offerings both upstairs and downstairs. From sushi to mac-n-cheese, most people will be able to find something appealing to their cravings. Junior Ethan Mullens has used the kiosks to his advantage throughout the years and believes it’s just as good as the cafeteria food. “They’re also useful when you are hungry in between classes and want to grab a quick snack,” he said. “Plus, I know the LC is usually hectic whether people are eating or doing their homework, so the tables by the kiosks are good for studying if other places in the school are busy or if you just want a change in scenery.”

Phone a Friend
You’re bound to have multiple friends who are already in line before you get there. Try politely asking for one of them to get your plate for you! Chances are, they’re aimlessly scrolling through their phone as they scoot towards the station, so shooting them a text would definitely be smart. Plus, if you were thinking about cutting to get up to your friend, this alternative could spare the annoyingness others who have waited their turn fair and square will feel.

Flash Passes
Junior Emily Mendelson came up with the concept of a “flash pass.” Much like Six Flags Great America, lunch flash passes could allow students to get to the front of the line, no questions asked. “I think it would be a fun, exclusive prize for students because, let’s face it, the lines can be a problem.” Communications prefect Evan Jones said this could potentially be worked into student government activities as a prize for the winner(s). “The seemingly endless sandwich bar line can ruin anyone’s day, and it could be a good prize to not have to deal with that for a day,” he said.
Free Blocks
Everyone has figured out this tactic by now, but free blocks are a godsend during the lunch hours. If you can hold off even 30 minutes, you can guarantee sparing yourself the wait. The 20 minutes between early and late lunch mean that not only the cafeteria is deserted, but the LC as well. Time is a precious thing to everyone at school, so cranking out that assignment during the actual lunch periods and then eating in 20 minutes flat is much more efficient.

The halls from your class to the cafeteria are a track, and you’re Usain Bolt. Just kidding, definitely don’t do this (only because the hallways are too narrow, you know?).