The dining hall is one place at Simon's Rock where food is served and often consumed. For most people on the meal plan, it's the central location for those activities.
There is seating inside and on the balcony. Though there is supposed to be a space downstairs for sitting, as that is why Sodexho was given the Old Student Union, the space is not being used and the doors are locked. Often friends will sit in the same general area of the dining hall at each meal, but fortunately these seating arrangements are not nearly as rigid and predictable as those in high school. Take advantage of this; sit with as many different groups as possible for your first few weeks and you will get to know all sorts of interesting people.
The dining hall should mostly explain itself. It contains drink machines, the ice cream freezer, the breads, cereals, a salad bar, pizza and many other delicious options. There are many little things that you might not notice. Go exploring. Look thoroughly though all the little things at the salad bar, it can be rewarding. If you are not satisfied with your options or really like something that they don’t put out often, make use of the suggestion jar. It might help. Of course, sometimes suggestions are ignored. It's amusing to read Sodexho's responses to various suggestions as they are posted on the bulletin board above the suggestion jar.
Some say the trays are unnecessary because they take up space at the table and make for more dish washing. Alumni report that from the mid-80s to the early 2000s, the trays were different and arguably cooler: they were black, perfect for sledding, and had things like "Tray Of Dead Babies" or "Tray of Suffering" written on them.
Be polite towards the people working in the Dining Hall. They don't need you being an asshole to make their already crappy job crappier. Also, don't make a mess just for the sake of making a mess--it's okay if you're a spaz sometimes, but pouring salt everywhere just because it's fun? Makes you a dick.
Watch what other people eat. You might find good ideas. For example, some people enjoy dipping the bread in the oil and vinegar available at the salad bar. For more ideas, try the dining hall hacks page.
Jay - Jay, who once was almost always found sitting at the swipe-in counter, now only works on the weekends and before noon. Jay is your neighborhood friendly gentleman. He knows nearly everything about everyone, is opinionated, funny, and very easy to talk to. Don’t have your ID card? No problem, Jay will have learned your name and will check you in anyway. Be nice to him; he’s everybody’s friend.
Be Healthy - Proper diet and sufficient sleep will keep your immune system strong and protect you from this winter’s Hippie Death Plague. Make sure to get enough protein from meat, beans, milk, cheese, and nuts, especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan, in which case you should avoid some of these and eat more of the others. Eating fruits and vegetables will give you vitamins, but it couldn’t hurt to take a multivitamin as well. However, eating nothing but multivitamins and Doritos does not count as a healthy diet.
Fun Fact! - The cafeteria at our school is run by a company called Sodexho that also caters for prisons such as Rikers Island Penitentiary. This may explain the terrible quality of the food. However, Sodexho can surprise you sometimes, usually when the adminstration wants to impress parents, VIPs or outsiders in general.
Breakfast Try toasting a bagel, then adding eggs and whatever meat they have on it to make a sandwich. Delicious. Adding salt and vinegar to french fries improves the flavor greatly. Steal unripe fruit and store it in your room. Get some tea bags while you're at it.
General Toast two pieces of bread. Assemble a cheese-dominant sandwich with the toasted bread. Now squish it down between two plates. This is where the magic happens: run that bad boy back through the toaster. Voila! Bootleg melty sandwich.