The Dangers of Groton’s Dining Culture


Courtesy of C. Zheng ’23

Under the pressures of Groton’s cutthroat “grind culture,” it has become a common occurrence for Groton students to prioritize school work above all else. However, it is perhaps too far to allow the things that keep us alive — primarily, eating three full meals a day — to be shoved to second priority. 


The return of Sukie’s bagel stand has been a prime example of the ways students take shortcuts in fulfilling their basic needs to accomplish work. “My workload is definitely a factor in deciding trips to the dining hall,” said Lauren Dubois ’25. The presence of a bagel stand provides an appealing alternative to a time-consuming dining hall meal, as students can simply visit the bagel stand instead during their Free blocks, saving precious time. As Lauren shared, it has become a common sentiment that “even though lunch could be a time for a break, it often turns into extra time for work.”


However, getting a bagel does not only cut down on the amount of time spent not working, but cuts out on an essential aspect of our diets and health from our routine. According to the Mayo Clinic, children between the ages of fourteen to eighteen should ingest five to six and a half ounces of protein daily, a nutrient intake not found in the contents of one of Sukie’s bagels — no matter how delicious.


With the recent events of finals week, the abundance of quick bites in the schoolhouse, and snacktime activities offered as study breaks – such as dorm feeds, and ice cream socials – many students feel enticed  to skip the dining hall entirely and force an extra hour of review. 


Another challenge is the brutal Monday scheduling that many students share. Between the combination of the timing of flex block and plus thirties, lunch is shortened to an all-too-quick thirty minutes, further pressuring students to seek solace in snacks and the bagel stand.   


While Groton students live by the notion that schoolwork must always come first, we have to consider the cost of such rigor to our mental and physical well-being. While practically speaking, our lunch block allows for plenty of time to make a trip to the dining hall and consume a complete meal, the stress of impending work may convince us that every wasted minute from schoolwork detracts from our success. However, the reality of skipping or limiting meals is the opposite:


Wellness Program Manager Taylor Poucel said that skipping meals “can affect our brain function and the way we actually perform in class, so to skip meals actually would probably be doing us more of a disservice in the classroom.”


Rather than treating mealtimes as a thief of productivity, we must recognize that they exist only to nourish us as both humans and students. Ms. Poucel explained that students can learn to build healthier meal plates with the help of our consulting nutritionist.


Because eating three full meals a day is imperative to our health and success at Groton, as students, we must reevaluate our priorities to make time for consuming whole, nutritious meals. No matter how full the workload or how much spare time is left in the day, health should always come first.