By Richard Coca
From burrito bowls to the ever-coveted grilled cheese and tomato soup combo, Stern Dining embodied the magical experience that was freshman year. No other dining hall had me biking away from the Sapp Center as quickly as Stern did.
Living in all-frosh dorm, rarely did I ever have to schedule lunch with a friend, or even worse: reschedule after being flaked on. Stern Dining welcomed all. Regardless of where you lived, if you knew someone in a dorm, you’d likely be able to sit down at any table, strike up conversations and make new friends.
As a sophomore, this is no longer the case. Walking into Stern this year, it gave me joy to see all the familiar dining hall workers from last year. Even seeing the long line for the burrito bowl made me happy because some things never change. However, once I walked out of Stern Dining and into the dining hall, I realized that I no longer knew the faces of the people I saw around me. The tables, now solely reserved for frosh, now seemed to carry a type of melancholy. Walking past the freshmen eating and laughing together, I can’t help but reminisce on last year.
ining and into the dining hall, I realized that I no longer knew the faces of the people I saw around me. The tables, now solely reserved for frosh, now seemed to carry a type of melancholy. Walking past the freshmen eating and laughing together, I can’t help but reminisce on last year.
Stern Dining saw me last year at my best and worst. It saw me coming in to eat breakfast at 7 a.m. post-rollouts, dressed in a giraffe onesie. It saw me sleep-deprived at 3 a.m., working on MATH 51 p-sets. It saw me rushing from classes to inhale a burrito bowl in seconds. But most importantly, it nourished both my body and my soul. Yes, the food from the dining hall still hits the spot, but the friendly conversations constantly kept me sane and happy. But, then again, change can be good.
The raising of the new dorm banners is quite literally the first sign that Stern Dining has changed. Eating at Stern with friends, one can’t help but think about those who are missing. Sophomore year has proved that getting a large group of friends together might actually be harder than CHEM 31. Yet, when it does happen, Stern regains its glow, and you can’t help but smile for all the current frosh making memories in the place that frosh-me once called home.
Contact Richard Coca at richcoca ‘at’ stanford.edu.