Why You Should Go to ML Breakfast

8 mins read
Mary Lyons dormitory on September 10, 2018 on the campus of Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, PA. (Photo by Emma Ricci-De Lucca ’21)

I wondered about the food at Swarthmore after I was accepted. I asked some upperclassmen about their impressions of campus food, and I searched comments and complaints about campus food online. It seemed that quite a lot of people didn’t like the food here. But for me, I didn’t really care about the taste of food; I love everything besides cheese. However, when I first learned Sharples opens at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays, I was astonished, fearing I would begin my Sunday hungry. When I learned that I was assigned to Mary Lyon, I became even more nervous. I didn’t want to walk 20 minutes to buy sandwiches and coffee at Science Center Coffee Bar and then spend another 20 minutes to go back, even though I knew it was the only place to offer Sunday breakfast as early as 8:00 a.m. on campus. When I learned that Mary Lyon has a nice breakfast room, I felt better. I now know I have another choice for breakfast on weekends. Weekend breakfasts at Mary Lyon is a great choice for those who get up early on weekends. It provides delicious breakfast, and it’s a place to socialize.

I ate my first breakfast at Mary Lyon last week. I could use my meal plan to eat there, so I didn’t need to prepare extra cash. This was quite convenient. Then, I wrote down my order. I ordered an omelet with mushroom and tomatoes. Then, all I needed to do is wait. Finally, my omelet was done. I ate it and chatted with some friends who were also eating there.

There are many choices at Mary Lyon breakfast. For example, there are omelets, pancakes, and juice. The food here is of great quality, although this service is run by students here.

I prefer to eat at Mary Lyon instead of Sharples because it saves time. On Saturday mornings we have morning shuttles, so I only need about seven or eight minutes to go to Sharples. We don’t have morning shuttles on Sundays. Walking to Sharples isn’t that easy, because the distance from Mary Lyon to Sharples is long. Typically, I need around 15 minutes to walk to Sharples. But if I choose to eat at Mary Lyon, I just need one minute to go to the breakfast room. What’s more, the breakfast here begins at 9:00 a.m., and I can enjoy my breakfast an hour earlier.

I’m curious about why it’s hard to find a place to offer breakfast as early as 7:30 a.m. on weekends. Maybe there’s no such need for it, as some love late-night parties and find it difficult to get up early on Sundays. Perhaps the cost to open Sharples earlier on Sundays is prohibitive. I don’t have a perfect answer now. I find almost everyone gets up later, eats later, studies later, and sleeps later on weekends. Even libraries are open at 10:00 a.m. on weekends. Probably this is a major difference between high school life and college life. As a freshman, I have to accept this difference.

I care about weekend breakfasts because it’s my only chance to enjoy breakfast. Time isn’t that abundant on weekday mornings. After I wake up, I need some time to get out of bed. I check emails and Facebook. I can’t do anything else, just because I’m still too sleepy to think about more complicated stuff. When I use up that grace period, I have to get out of bed, no matter how unwilling I am. I just randomly pick my clothes and recheck whether I’ve put my assignment in my bag. After that, I wait for the shuttle. When the shuttle arrives at the Tunnel (the nearest shuttle stop to the back door of Sharples) or Parrish West, I often find I have only 20 or even 15 minutes left. Luckily, the breakfast at Sharples is quite predictable. I don’t need to worry about what to eat. But the drawback is that the only goal of breakfast on weekdays is to prevent me from feeling hungry. I have more free time on weekends, so I can fully enjoy the breakfast. Before I came to Swarthmore, my weekend breakfasts were usually the best breakfasts of the week. Now, Sharples doesn’t have anything special on weekends. But the breakfast room at Mary Lyon still provides me with a unique weekend breakfast experience.  From cashiers to eaters, everyone here lives in Mary Lyon. So, I’m more confident to chat with them, asking them about their feelings of the past week. When I’m eating at Sharples, I find nearly everyone to be strangers. So, I’m a bit shy to socialize with them. I just eat quietly alone and leave. Such difference differentiates weekend breakfasts at Mary Lyon, making them the best breakfasts on campus for me.

Mary Lyon is the most remote residence hall. As you can imagine, the remoteness has caused many inconveniences. Before commuting between Mary Lyon and more central parts of campus like Parrish Hall or the Science Center, I always ask myself whether what I do is worthy of the time. But Mary Lyon’s remoteness also makes it unique. We have Garnet shuttles and a nice breakfast room. There are also fewer parties here, making the nights quieter. I don’t fully understand Swat’s housing lottery system, but I believe residents of different dorm halls have different personal qualities. Sometimes the dorm halls are full of party lovers who don’t go to bed until 2:00 a.m. or even 4:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, while residents at some dorms are nerdier. I love the atmosphere at Mary Lyon. More importantly, I love its breakfast room. It provides great food and a place to socialize.


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