It’s Okay to Eat Alone in the Cafeteria

When you think about college, you most likely envision all the people you’ll meet and the friends you’ll make. It’s true, college life provides lots of opportunities for all of that.

There are times, however, when you’ll be faced with being alone and doing new things on your own. One of those instances might be when it’s time to eat at the campus cafeteria.

There will most likely be times when the people you usually eat with will be busy studying, playing a sport, running an errand, or doing some other activity. In that case, you’re faced with eating alone or skipping a meal altogether. The latter isn’t a good idea since eating regular meals is part of staying healthy. Eating alone, however, might be a new concept for you and a social obstacle you’ll need to overcome.

There Are Advantages

Believe it or not, there are several potential benefits to eating alone in the college cafeteria.

Going to eat by yourself:

  • Provides you with some added mental time and space. Eating by yourself in the cafeteria can give you some moments to think about solutions to academic, personal, or other stressors. Or, you can simply use the time as an opportunity to give yourself a mental breather and not think about anything specific at all. Allow your mind some free time to wander.
  • Gives you an opportunity to introduce yourself to someone new. You might find others eating by themselves when you get to the cafeteria. If you’re feeling up to it, ask if you can join them. It might be the perfect opportunity to make a new friend or meet someone you were hoping to get to know.
  • Offers some additional time for you to focus on academics or get in touch with the special people in your life. Eating alone is an ideal time to accomplish two things at once. You can eat a meal and prep/study for an upcoming class or test at the same time. Or it might be the perfect time to send an overdue text or email to family or friends from home.
  • Provides the perfect time to do some people watching. It’s usually an interesting pastime and you might learn something. Use your time to observe how others carry themselves, interact with others, what they’re eating, etc. You might get some social tips or find a new entree you want to try.

Most Importantly, Don’t Sweat It

At first, it might take a little courage to eat alone in the cafeteria but your key takeaway is this: don’t attach too much meaning to the situation. You’ll realize that students eat by themselves way more often than you’d think. In a short time, you’ll realize that stressing over the situation isn’t worth it and most importantly, you’ll satisfy your hunger pangs and have the energy to continue with your day.