Whether it’s to fill an awkward gap in conversation or the result of waking up on the wrong side of the bed, the easiest thing to do is complain.
And further, when we must wait in a line or don’t get what we want, groaning and griping seem to be the body’s natural reaction.
But don’t use that as an excuse.
There’s a constant choice to either push aside our negative thoughts or to dwell in them. And, at Taylor, too often it seems we are quick to choose to direct our criticism to the work that our Dining Commons (DC) and LaRita Boren Student Center (the Stu) employees are laboring so hard to put forward.
But how many of us are actually seeking to help?
When looking under the student jobs tab on the Taylor Dashboard, there’s almost a 100% chance that a job listing to work at the DC can be found. Starting at $10 an hour, this student job pays higher than many other jobs on campus, and yet students still seem reluctant to take it.
Because of this, the DC remains understaffed while trying to serve the same amount of foot traffic, if not more, than it has had in previous years.
With COVID-19 still taking its toll, shifts are constantly changing due to employees being quarantined or having hours less available, and along with this, quarantine meal deliveries are still at a high. It can be hard to recognize the impact the pandemic is still having on our campus when mandates and precautions are seeming to be lifted day by day.
This goes for the Student Center as well. Due to supply chain issues, access to chicken was strained during the outbreak of COVID-19, putting a limit on the kinds of foods that our student dining areas could provide. Shifts were also hard to fill at the Student Center which resulted in taking away wraps and salads from Chick-fil-A.
“Unfortunately, poultry is one of the hardest things for us to obtain right now due to supply chain challenges,” the DC responded to a student comment card.
The result of these shortages in staff and supplies ends up being a bit longer lines and maybe an elongated wait time for the next refill of boom boom sauce.
And while that extra time waiting might just feel like the greatest struggle in the world, recognize that your ability to complain about something you have immediate access to is a great privilege.
What a benefit it is to have a whole dining commons to grumble about.
We are given access to food every day — three times a day if we choose to take advantage of that. Not only this, but we are given meal and drink options. Whether you’re in the mood for a sandwich, pasta or a solid burrito, the DC is the one place you can meet all those cravings within a walking distance.
Not only this, but the DC cultivates one of the largest centers of community on campus. With such a focus on intentional community, our campus is nothing without the DC.
Food is a communal activity that opens up conversation and culture with those around us. Within food is tradition and stories and history that we wouldn’t be able to interact with otherwise. Grabbing breakfast with a friend or stopping by for lunch with a classmate after a lecture creates communication and discussion.
Our DC and Student Center workers put in so much effort to make sure we are satisfied, yet it often goes unnoticed due to our own selfishness and lack of patience.
So, the next time you take a visit to one of our dining centers, make sure you thank the person behind the counter, whether that’s with a conversation or a smile. Appreciate the work our DC employees do, and if you’re willing and able, maybe take advantage of that $10 an hour pay and get into an apron yourself.