I can feel their gazes while I sit there in class, this monstrous blue-and-white bag sitting beside me. In the bag are my best friends: some cheesy, some salty, and some plain. These are adjectives that could very well describe your friends too. They happen to be life giving sustenance for a commuter such as myself.
I want to explain myself to those people passing me on campus or seeing me every other day in class. No, this big bag is not simply because I need food every hour. No, it’s not because I am simply too cheap to pay for the meal plans or buy something at a local café here at school. No, it’s not because I enjoy eating crunchy foods in a quiet lecture hall. The main reason is because I literally have no other time to do anything else. But, for your sakes, I will go over some truths found in the other statements.
I do eat a lot. I weigh very little, but my appetite is not as petite. Theoretically, I could go to school and back without eating, but that brings in the idea that going to an hour-long lecture is all that there is. In reality, my day extends much further than that. With the classes I take there are also two forty-minute drives, one on my way to campus and the other on my way back home. Or, as the case may be on some days, to work. Carrying this lunchbox around with me and even eating in class sometimes is out of necessity: I wake up at five, go to my morning job, drive to school, attend class, then head to more work and get back home at six or seven. This brings me to my second point.
The lunchbox is partially because I am too cheap to buy the meal plan, but who can blame me? Even the commuter option is thousands of dollars. If I’m lucky enough to have parents who buy food at home, why not just bring that free food to school with me? There’s also the problem that even if I did purchase a meal plan, I’d never get to use it. Often times, as soon as class is over I’m running to catch the bus and get back to my car. If I’m not eating in class, odds are I am eating while driving to my next location. So, meal plans and eating in an actual cafeteria just wouldn’t work with my schedule.
As for the third point, I do not enjoy eating my crunchy foods during class. I know I look ridiculous putting Oreos and M&Ms in my vanilla yogurt. I understand that it’s distracting, but so are the games you play on your computer screen during class. I hope you can forgive me like I have forgiven you.
If you see a student lugging around a lunchbox, don’t judge. Maybe they are like me, with no time other than class to eat. Maybe they just like food. A lot. Maybe there’s some other reason they carry this companion around with them everywhere. Who knows? Either way, they are just students trying to get by, same as all of us.
Hannah Desrosiers is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.