The School Cafeteria and Social Interaction Essay

1689 Words 7 Pages
American culture is incubated and hatched in the cafeteria. Students go to the dining hall to get the food their bodies need for proper nourishment. But, food is by no means the only thing that students get at the cafeteria - they are also served with social interaction. The cafeteria is a place which some students love and which others dread. It is generally an integral part of children's social lives from elementary school all the way into college. Why is the cafeteria so important? Because, in the cafeteria, popularity is determined, friends are made, styles and fads are born, and the current news is broadcast. Our culture is defined and passed on over meals in the dining hall.

The cafeteria is not merely a place for small children;
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We look around to see who other people are eating with and what they are wearing. This is not a conscious action, but instead something that just happens. It sounds vain, but everyone does it whether they realize it or not. On a particular day, there might be students wearing anything from pajamas to formal clubbing clothes. The clothes that people wear generally tell a story about the person wearing them. Pajamas represent someone who just woke up. Clubbing clothes represent someone who is on stopping to eat before going out. Jeans or shorts with t-shirts represent someone during their normal routine of going to classes. In addition, the clothes we see show us what is in style and what is not. By observing what other people are wearing and how it looks on them, we can decide what to wear ourselves in the future.

While waiting in line to get in, the social interaction begins as well. As was mentioned before, we look around to see who is eating with who. Judgments of social status are made, both consciously and subconsciously. At the same time, we are looking around to see if there are other friends and acquaintances that we could sit with while eating. Often, individuals in different groups recognize each other and then introduce the members of their respective groups to each other. People meet each other and form relationships that are either discarded or developed into friendships. This process of looking for people to sit

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