What if Brandeis was the friends we made along the way? This simple and seemingly nonsensical question has been on my mind since the moment I decided to hang up my meal plan and call it a career.

For three years, I had devoured meals in Brandeis like an absolute machine. I have articles written in this newspaper about the doors leading into Brandeis and the optimal ways to carry to-go boxes back to one’s dorm.

I documented my complaints about salsa going AWOL from the omelet station, which returned for only one week in order to subside the public backlash my article filled into the Creighton community. To this day, that pitiful PR meltdown is the only offense Brandeis has committed against me.

Needless to say, Brandeis and I go way back. We’ve built each other up these last few years, pushing each other to become the best we can be – unlike Harper, who has turned into some pay-to-enter monstrosity.

In turn, it’s time we all admit how much Brandeis has meant to us because regardless of your opinion about the food, it is more than just a place to get food.

Among the other articles I’ve published in the Creightonian, a couple talked about the intimate nature of meals. One, in particular, talked about how food naturally unifies us through the preparation, cooking, completion, and consumption of meals.

While Brandeis eliminates most of these stages, it’s the final one that made me want to write that article in the first place.

Breaking bread with another person is a small yet magically intimate moment that we don’t always get to do. As I noted in an article several weeks ago, people move off campus and begin eating meals in their apartments or houses, and because of people’s schedules, it’s sometimes done alone.

Those same groups of roommates who went to the upper deck of Brandeis around 7 p.m. almost nightly and sat at tables around my sophomore year roommates and I are still faces I recognize around campus today.

Do I know them? Not even one. But do I remember them? Hell yeah, and I bet they’re great dudes too.

You see, what makes the meal is never the flavor profile; instead, it’s the people who enjoy that flavor profile alongside you. It’s seeing someone walking by, asking them if they want to join you, and then having a stimu- lating conversation about whatever comes to mind.

And if you enjoy the food like I did, trips just become better.

Furthermore, it’s because I look back on the meals I ate alone in Brandeis with a sense of irrational embarrassment brought about by my own sense of insecurity that I can fully acknowledge the power of those meals I did share with others.

Some of the most paradigm-shifting and manically hilarious conversations I’ve ever had have happened in that dining hall. Even if you don’t enjoy the food, I think everyone can admit to some degree that life is just better once you’ve scanned that card.

In that bustling hall is that nostalgic cafeteria vibe with all the social and physical nourishment that I always have and always will yearn for. So, although I’ve graduated from eating in the dining halls, and I’m happy that I’ve moved on, no one can tell me otherwise: Brandeis slaps.

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