Field Notes – Student Center Post 1


I walk into the dining hall on October 4, the first time I’ve been in the dining hall since Freshman year. Nostalgic? Not really, but interesting to see not much has changed. The staff at the dining hall was aggressively guarding the front entrance and sent glaring stares and questions our way as we entered to observe. Also like I remembered, the dining hall is mostly split, boys sit with boys and girls sit with girls. A group a few tables in from the entrance gossip about their friend who is, “whipped”.There are minimal large groups, tables have different groups at them, no table is completely full. To my surprise, there are a lot of people sitting alone, either on their mobile devices or are typing away on a computer. I count 16 people on their phones, as I count this number the smell of syrup fills my nostrils and I am reminded that they serve breakfast till 11. Despite it being breakfast, they are selling cookies, favorite part of my freshman dining hall vistits. As I scan above the tables and out into the back of the dining hall I see that numerous people where baseball caps. As I exit the main dining hall area, I see pumpkins and hay displayed outside of our concession area and make my way past that area toward another dining hall room.

On my walk, I see various promotions for fall break, study abroad tours and weekend activities on campus. There are also T.V’s on the wall which play slide shows of various updates for the fall semester. Ironically there is a jesuit note taking display which reminds me people have been taking notes or jottings for far longer than I’ve been alive. I make my way into the entrance of the next dining hall and the room itself is more illuminated that the previous dining hall. Between the dining halls blue bricks align the walls in the space. There are far less people in this room, I suspect this is because this dining hall has different food options at a higher price. Mostly people are dressed casually, possible due to it being before noon which is early for college students. I do see one girls in heels and question why and where are they going. Those who are eating in this dining hall are mostly alone, there is only one group of people chatting at a back table. I look outside the large windows on the left as you enter the dining hall and as I come closer to the windows I can see the top of Hagan Arena, Bellarmine, the Perch and most of the science center.

As I left the large window area I saw a boy throw his trash in the recycle. I carried on and went back to the walkway between the two dining halls and observed there were various advertisements for big name products, coca cola for example. A midnight bowling trip and hawks on hawk mountain posters also caught my eye and I quickly glanced over them. I then sat in the couch area outside of the dining hall where one of my classmates was sitting, along with a blonde haired boy who was sound asleep with headphones in and his feet propped up. As I sit I took time to solely observe the people walking down the steps and into the dining hall. Three students wore Penn t-shirts and one girl who passed by me wore fuzzy pink flip flops. One students attire especially caught my eye, she was wearing a crop top and had bright blue ends of her hair, more turquoise actually then blue. After observing people entering and leaving the dining hall I made my way back up the stairs into the theater area. As I made my way up the stairs past our few banquet halls in the upper level, there were displays of Jesuit history laid out on the walls, including jesuit service trips to places like Africa and China. I had never noticed these displayed despite being in the banquet halls twice a year for the past four years. As I arrived back to the theater area, our starting point, I gazed upward and saw there were 8 greek life signs hung from the ceiling, all different colors with different symbols. *End Field notes*



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