August 19, 2012

How to successfully navigate Alliot

Hi guys! Three more days until orientation starts! I know all you first years must be pumped & I'm so excited to meet you all!

Last year, when I was a first year student, I was terrified of orientation. While I'm not shy, I'm also not a particularly outgoing person and I was a little worried about being out of my element and not knowing anyone. Obviously I made it through orientation okay (if you're nervous, remember that orientation is awkward but wonderful - I felt at home by the end of my first day!).

After orientation ends, all students return to campus. This isn't too big of a change, but it can definitely make eating in Alliot a little bit awkward. Here's why:

1. When ordering food at the egg station or stir-fry station, ordering sounds insanely complicated.

2. While there are trays out to carry all of your food to your table during orientation, there are considerably fewer trays during the rest of the school year. That means you either need to balance all of your plates, or go up several times to get everything you need.

3. After you get your food and head over to the tables, it looks like there are a trillion people sitting in the dining room...watching you.

4. With those trillion people in the dining room, it can be impossible to find your friends. Cue awkward wandering...

5. You regularly hear a hundred cups being dropped at once for no reason.

6. When you're done eating it looks like there's nowhere to put your dirty dishes.

Here are some tips to help you through your first few weeks in Alliot:

1. Ordering is easier than it sounds! If you can't follow along, just ask questions! Everyone knows that you're new and there will be no judgement. 

Harvey makes the eggs, & if you order from him enough he'll remember your order. For ordering eggs in the morning, you can ask for scrambled, egg whites, or fried eggs (they don't do eggs over easy). Also, if you want your eggs on a bagel, toast your bagel & hand them your plate when ordering - they'll make you an egg sandwich! Be sure to get to Alliot a little early on the days you want eggs - if you go right before class there will be a huge line.

Steve is the main cook at the stir fry station. For ordering here, just take a look at the ingredients and tell the chef which ones you want. You an also grab something from the salad bar to put in your dish. Steve can get a little grumpy when his station is really busy, but he's such a nice guy. Make friends with him & he'll be chatty & brighten your day! I love Steve, & I go to his station so much that he remembers that I don't like peppers in my food.

2. Definitely DO NOT try to balance all your plates at once. When someone drops a plate in Alliot, everyone in the dining hall claps for them. Embarrassing? Of yes, very. If you can balance things well, by all means do it! But if you're nervous that you'll drop something, there's no shame in taking several trips to get all your food.

3. Honestly, no one is watching you walk through Alliot. Okay, maybe that's not completely true, especially the first week of school when upperclassmen are checking out the freshmen and looking for their friends. But  after the first week or so, no one really watches you walk through Alliot. That being said, I know seniors that are still intimidated when they walk into the dining hall, especially when they're alone, so I totally understand if you're nervous!

4. Saint Mike's is a small school, but since we only have one dining hall, it can get pretty crowded. I suggest that you find a place to sit with your friends BEFORE you get food. That way you don't need to wait for them to sit down, nor will you need to do the awkward room scan searching for your friends.

5. Ah, the infamous Alliot cup drop. This usually starts when someone accidentally drops their cup, then everyone else follows suit and drops their empty cups too. It's kind of funny, kind of pointless. Basically it's just a Saint Mike's tradition! Be sure to pick your cup up afterwards to the Alliot staff don't need to clean it up for you.

6. There's a little area by the door into Alliot that has a trash can to dump your food into & a conveyor belt to put your trays, plates, cups, & silverware onto. It's simple - just throw your food out & plop your plate down, then you're on your way!

Eating in Alliot can be intimidating, but don't be nervous! Just find some friends or floor-mates to eat with & get friendly with the Alliot staff! I'll be posting more before orientation, but for now, happy packing!