Ah, Northern Lights Dining. I’ve spent these years living in the residence halls subsisting on your daily offerings. Through that time I’ve come to know you, to anticipate your fickle ways. I’ve even briefly worked within you, scrubbing plates and spoons, slicing meat, stacking plasticware, handing out meals.
We’ve been through much together, NLD. Through your renovation in 2019, through good times, through the depths of COVID quarantine, even through supply shortages and worker shortages. You’ve seen me at my best and at my worst. You’ve seen me ready for career day headshots and hungover in my pajamas.
And now, oh NLD, we are nearing our final farewell. Our final days together have come. Don’t mourn our time together, don’t cry. For although you may miss my gold dining plan, I shall not. No, NLD, you will not be missed.
Many have been the days when I entered your doors hungry and departed both hungry and defeated. Many the days when I avoided nourishing myself altogether, just to escape your unpalatable fare. Many the days when my stomach has loudly protested your meals, sending me urgently to the bathroom.
Ah, NLD, I cannot blame my peers who toil within your steamy corridors. I can only pity them now for their poor wages, disorganized leadership, unforgiving schedules and rude treatment by fellow diners. No, I can only blame the monolith, the entity itself. I can only blame you, Northern Lights Dining, for our collective suffering.
In years hence when I wake from a sound sleep, gagging on the memory of your boiled, bagged eggs, I can only blame you.
Farewell to your bizarre jalapeno bacon. Its flavor’s purpose has always been a mystery to me, and my intestines have never tolerated it well.
Adieu to your semi-edible breaded fish. Many have been the times my peers warned me away from this dish for fear of food poisoning.
Goodbye to your crunchy pasta, your undercooked rice, your dubious couscous. And to your soggy onion rings, your spongy chicken and your faux tacos drenched in lettuce and cheese spray. I shall always fondly remember your oily potatoes, the staple of my college diet.
So long to your broken ice cream machine, your occasionally empty vegan station, your smoking sandwich oven and the broken soda machine that makes everyone’s water turn a light shade of brown on occasion.
On my final day within your hallowed walls, I will drop to my knees in eternal gratitude for the knowledge that I shall never experience any of these things again. The wisdom I’ve gleaned from your errors will forever inform my cooking. My pavlovian response to the smell of boiled eggs will always stay with me. Goodbye, NLD.