Cafeteria Cliques Surround Every Lunch Table

From my experience of eating in the cafeteria two or three times every day, I’ve come to learn that you can tell a lot about who a person is just based on their actions there.

That may sound impossible, but I’ve picked up on trends and patterns in which I can categorize different groups of people.

First off, there’s the “in between classes” eater. I’m talking about the kids who come in with their backpacks, head directly for the sandwich line and grab a wrap and a drink, then sit down at a table usually facing a clock and every few seconds looking back up to make sure he or she still has a few minutes before class starts.

You can usually tell who these people are because if you’re in line with them, no matter what station, they continually sigh to themselves with the look like, “Why are you moving so slowly right now?”

Then there’s another group I like to simply classify as “the crew.”

A “crew” usually consists of 7-10 friends who all occupy one of the big round tables even when there are not enough seats they pull up more for everyone, and talk obnoxiously loud throughout their meal.

“The crew” is never in a rush and always seems to be in a good mood no matter what time of day it is.

Think about it, you’ll never see a full round table in the cafeteria of quiet kids; everybody’s always smiling, laughing and having a good time.

An undeniable way to identify a “crew,” as everyone’s finishing up at their table, a few kids will crumple up some napkins and start shooting into their friends empty glass as if their playing pong.

Then there are “the hoarders.” You know who they are, you’ve seen them before. I’m talking about the kid who’s waiting by the grill for the next cheeseburger while he’s already holding one in his hand.

These are the kids walking back to their table with six slices of pizza on their plates. You’re not going to eat every slice, I guarantee it! One day, I’m going to follow one of these kids back to their table just to see if they finish it all. If they do, I’d actually be impressed and have no room to talk.

It’s not like they don’t know what they’re doing either. They carry those three grilled cheeses back to their table with pride as if to say, “Yeah, these are all for me. Jealous?”

Moving on to group specific to just the girls, there’s the “dieting group.” This group of usually four girls will come into the cafeteria and get a small salad and a glass of water.

The thing is, 80 percent of the time, these girls really don’t need to be dieting!

Girls who weigh around 130 lbs really don’t need to shed 20 lbs!

The best part is they’re all counterproductive when it comes to their diet as in, they’ll drink beer the night before not realizing that completely throws off their supposed diet.

“Ew, are you really about to eat bread with your salad? You’re not losing any weight while eating those carbs. Ugh, I’m still feeling those 12 beers from last night, but that’s basically like water, so I’m not messing up my diet right?”

Finally coming to my favorite group, there’s the “fresh out of the gym” group.

These are the guys coming straight from the gym, still wearing their sweaty workout clothes, ready to load up on protein. As they’re walking in you’ll think to yourself, “Oh god, these kids are going to eat everything…can’t wait to see it.”

But whenever you see them heading to their table all they ever have is a small plate with about 15 hardboiled eggs on it and a glass of milk. Bonus points if any of them are wearing a “” shirt and carrying a GNC bottle with an already made protein shake in it.

However, on the weekends all of these groups get thrown out and there are only two new groups that every student seems to fall into: The “zombies” and the “sames.”

The “zombies” are basically exactly what it sounds like. I mean the students who come down for their first meal of the day around 3 p.m. and stumble in wearing pajama pants and sandals with their eyes barely open enough to know where they are. I’m always so tempted to go sit at the same table as one of them and see if they notice I’m there. I imagine if I’m really quiet, they wouldn’t figure it out. And even though their eating at 3 p.m., it would be only right for them to be eating a bowl of cereal and scrambled eggs (thank you, UT, for still serving breakfast throughout the day on weekends).

Then there’s the other group, the “Sames.” Basically these are the people who are still wearing exactly the same clothes they wore the night before to go out, exposing they didn’t sleep in their own dorm last night. For guys, it can be tough to identify as wearing jeans and a nice shirt could be a normal daily outfit.

But for girls on the other hand, there’s no hiding it when you walk into the cafeteria wearing heels, a skirt, and an “under 21” wristband from the club.

So next time you’re in the cafeteria, look around and I guarantee you’ll be able to identify someone who could be classified in every single one of those groups.

John Jacobs can be reached at

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