by Hannah Paxton ’19
The recommendation board in the Raymond Dining Hall is a great resource, but like everything else, it can easily be abused. Students have the freedom to write whatever they want on sticky notes, from food requests to dishes they particularly liked, but sadly, the board also gives them the freedom to be rude and unappreciative to a staff that works extremely hard every day of the week.
This week alone numerous harshly-worded complaints were left on the board, some of them even carrying a tone of snark, one of which read “Tostadas, really?” There were objections to mislabeled foods, criticisms about not having enough of something, and protests about the main dish of the night. While these accusations are not wrong in and of themselves, there is a better way to word what you are trying to say.
Being in college can sometimes change the way we react to certain situations once we grow accustomed to the way things operate. After all, the last time we were served three meals on a daily basis without any effort of our own was when we were infants. Once we were older we became used to having to make our own meals from time to time and taking care of the dishes ourselves. But that all changes in college.
When you want to eat, all you have to do is walk to the dining hall where so many options are presented to you that it can often be difficult to make up your mind. The only effort required of us is to pick up a plate and silverware and later put it on a conveyor when we’re done. After a while the setting becomes less foreign and more like second nature. Now we hardly think about the food we eat, we just have it served to us.
Meanwhile, the dining hall staff takes care of everything else. They are the ones who are up in the early hours of the morning to prepare all of our food for the day. They are the ones who pay special attention to the needs of the students, mindful of allergies and maintaining variety from day to day. They are the ones who listen and respond to the requests we stick on that board.
It is easy to forget how fortunate we are that there is an entire group of people that works hard to make sure we are fed, but that does not mean that we should. While criticism is important and beneficial no matter the situation, it should be directed in a manner that keeps in mind the people to whom it is addressed.
The fact that we even have a board to write recommendations on is a privilege in itself, because it means that they truly care about what we as students want. If there is ever the need for criticism, just keep in mind that it’s a person to whom you are writing to and that your notes are actually seen and taken into consideration. A little bit of gratitude goes a long way.