The Harbinger Online

Annabelle Cook Final Senior Column: The Lunchtime Evolution

Meal times are sacred to me.

The time I set aside to chow down on Noodles & Company mac and cheese accompanied by an episode of “Gossip Girl” is a time I would never sacrifice. Being voted Harbinger’s “Grossest Eater,” even the simplest act of eating in front of someone implies I have a lot of trust in them. I can’t consume a single taco without leaving Salty Iguana with salsa-splattered sleeves.LCM_7320

Point being, where I eat and who  I eat with is important to me. And that’s how I know the Harbinger has impacted my life: it’s changed my lunch plans.  

Freshman year was the typical indoor cafeteria experience (back in my day, the courtyard was still under construction). Like every other kid in there, I was still finding my nook of the school amidst the sea of Vera Bradley lunch boxes. At this point, the J-Room existed solely as a classroom to me.

Sophomore year was a turning point in deciding where in the school I would appease my midday hunger. As a section editor, I finally felt like I had “made it” enough to eat in the J-Room. However, I sat in my comfort zone on the corner couch  — not actually participating in the upperclassmen chicken sandwich fan club or contributing any conversation worthy of making it on the quote boards.

Junior year, I left my couch-flower tendencies behind. As part of a tight-knit first lunch clan, we made group trips to the café (as Lizzie called it) to buy mozzarella sticks in bulk. We were crowding around a desktop while Reser and Harrison cycled through Beyoncé music videos or debating over photosynthesis with Kaleigh, Lucy and Lizzie. Peyton and Mac? They were the Pringle vendors. LCM_7374

This year, in true ~adult~ fashion, I’ve moved into the real world. I’ll often leave to grab Panera or Goodcents, or even just drive around, relishing in the long-awaited freedom, independence and novelty of being off-campus during the school day. Of course, when I’m not motoring around PV, I return back to my J-Room roots and pitch into to the lunchtime student journalism buzz. 

Room 521 is home base. Where else could you find a place where the floors are eternally sticky, “Ooh Yeah” is our anthem, and the daily argument is whether or not to keep the window open?

So, to the J-Room and all the “kooky nuts” in it, thank you for making me feel like I have a place to eat endless chicken sandwiches piled with — what everyone else deems — too much ketchup.

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Annabelle Cook

Annabelle Cook
Annabelle Cook is a Co-Online Editor, writer, designer, and copy editor. In her 7th semester on staff, she has developed content for the online, social media, and print platforms and won awards at NSPA/JEA National Conventions. Outside of Harbinger, she is a part of Student Council, SHARE, Junior Board, and more. Catch her at Einstein Bros. Bagels on any given Saturday. »

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