As students, we attend seven fifty minute periods a day. For someone with a full schedule, that doesn’t allow much downtime. The only break that many students get all day is a twenty-five minute break for lunch, and this is anything but relaxing. Waiting in line just to get lunch takes more than half the period, and finding somewhere to sit is more difficult than AP Chem.
However, there is a perfect solution. Recently, we have been allowed to sit on the field and eat our lunch outside. The brilliance of this idea makes me wonder why we haven’t always been able to do so. The weather is beautiful, there is space to spread out, and the quiet of the outdoors gives students a chance to recharge before the rest of their day. And, of course, this solution is social distancing friendly.
Sometimes the thought of eating in Tully prompts a collective groan from anyone who’s experienced the chaos. If your class is on the third or fourth floor, you have no choice but to accept that the odds of getting a seat are slim to none.
Outside, everyone is guaranteed a seat. The hectic atmosphere of Tully is replaced by a clear blue sky with the skyline as a backdrop. The sunshine is rejuvenating, the weather is idyllic, and simply being outside is an incredible mood booster. So not only is eating lunch outside an effective solution to the overcrowding in Tully, it can have a positive effect on students’ overall mental health.
Eating lunch outside gives students an opportunity to de-stress and think about something other than school. Kids play soccer, throw footballs, and teachers walk the track. Eating outside is reminiscent of treasured recess time in students’ middle school years—time lost once they become high schoolers. But the opportunity to eat outside has undoubtedly made lunch the enjoyable experience it is meant to be. An experience where students can sit comfortably, stretch their legs, hear their friends, enjoy their lunch, get some Vitamin D, and relish the endless positive aspects of spending some time outside.
As Junior Brooke Ghaly puts it, “I feel like I’m in a coming of age movie.” Eating outside is truly one of the best ideas the administration has put into effect, and I can’t express enough how much I appreciate being able to go outside. Lunch has become a time of day I look forward to most, rather than an anxiety-inducing thought about where I’ll sit, and when the seasons begin to change I will truly miss the opportunity to clear my mind and enjoy a true break from the school day.
Not only this, but the benefits of eating outside speak for itself. Not only does it lower blood pressure, but it is scientifically proven to reduce stress and increase happiness: both are imperative for combatting the challenges students face at Saint Ignatius. Now that the field is closed for the winter, we urge the faculty to continue this new tradition for years to come.