At the end of my sophomore year, I found myself sobbing into a cup of pudding at the Ratty.
Of course, by then, I had cried plenty of times. But this was the first time in college I’d ugly cried in public. I didn’t have the privacy of my room, or the drunken mutual understanding of a Keeney stairwell on a Saturday night: I was sitting immediately next to the apples and bananas, and I was crying. Audibly. Anyone trying to refill their coffee would have definitely heard my stifled sobs. They maybe would have even noticed the tears streaming down my face, splashing into vanilla custard.
This send-off isn’t about defining success or embracing uncertainty or taking active control of your happiness. Many bloggers have written about these topics—far better than I could. This send-off is about the low points of college.
Graduation is all too often a time when smiling is mandatory, and nostalgia overshadows reflection. The story of the past few years isn’t so neat, though. Success was not always inevitable, or expected. Not every pain became a teachable moment.
I want to talk about the low points, though, because they taught me that it’s okay to ask for help. As I was sitting in the Ratty, all I could worry about at the time was all the different ways I had already failed. I didn’t know what I was doing that summer, or where I was living. Switching majors was a terrible idea, and I’d never catch up to everyone else. My classes were tanking, and I was so behind in lecture that I didn’t even know how to be wrong anymore.
Everyone’s been there: you’re painfully, paralyzingly hung over, and you NEED to get to the Ratty for some TLC/CT Crunch. Your laptop is an insurmountable 6 feet way on your desk, but you simply must know what’s at the Ratty. It’s a very specific, yet, for many Brown students, shockingly common crisis.
Enter the Ratty App, the creation of Nate Parrott ‘17.5. Now, iPhone users (sorry, Android et al. owners) can check what’s cooking at the school’s biggest dining hall on a very aesthetically pleasing interface. In addition, you can add the menu to your phone’s Notification Center to check whether or not they’re serving grilled cheese (Ed. – probably.) with a simple downward swipe of a finger.
Even the most hung over Brunonian can figure that one out. That is, unless your phone is dead, in which case God help you and your poor soul.
Yesterday, The Brown Undergraduate Council of Students set up their own version of a Reddit-style AMA for President Christina Paxson. From 2:30-3:30pm they opened up a comment thread on their Facebook page and invited students to ask the president questions which she could respond to in real time.
There were 33 questions asked. Here are some things we learned:
Classes of ’16 and ’17 will not see a renovated Ratty.
Still, the new Ratty may not feel all that new.
Paxson will go anywhere with Margeurite.
Ah, chicken finger Friday: the long lines, the weekly arrival of honey mustard at the VDub, and, much to my chagrin, the consistent absence of fries. Why does the VDub, which seems to serve fries every other day and meal of the week, decide to forgo the crispy potatoes on chicken finger Friday, when it would be most obvious to include the oily side dish?
Chicken finger Friday is a staple of Brown dining, so much so that it caused a slight panic when cancelled, and uproar when moved, unannounced, to a different weekday. It’s marked by the noon and 1 p.m. rushes, the long line on the “ice cream machine” side of the VDub, and the forgotten, near-barren line on the “waffle maker” side.
Where are the fries??
People generally fall into two categories after they finish their meals and leave the Ratty. There are “Sorters” and there are “Rackers.” The Sorters clear the leftover trash on their plates, separating paper waste from food waste, and place their dishes, cups, and silverware into the appropriate containers. The Rackers shove their miscellaneous plate-cup-food-trash stacks onto the tray towers adjacent to the sorting system.
During breakfast at the Ratty on Monday I sat near the sorting/racking station and kept track of who racked and who sorted. To my surprise, the split was dead even. As I sorted my own plates, I left the Ratty disappointed that half of Brown students were too lazy to take six seconds to make the jobs of the men and women at Dining Services a little easier.
When I brought up this phenomenon to a friend who happened to be a Racker, he defended himself: If sorting really made life that much easier for kitchen staff, why do they even have racks out in the first place? So after my next meal I went into
lazy investigative journalism mode and asked the same question the first conveniently available BDS employee I saw, Arlindo.
For those who feel a little sick after their 100th consecutive delicious waffle cake for desert when dining at the Ratty, try a delightful, refreshing alternative: the Ratty orange creamsicle float. Here’s how you make it:
1. Grab a glass. Grumble to yourself about how ridiculously small the Ratty cups are compared to the V-Dub’s normal-sized ones.
2. Go to the soda machine that dispenses Fanta, located to the back left of the Ratty. Fill it up halfway.
3. Get some vanilla soft serve, located in the Bistro section. Grumble to yourself how the ice cream is so inconveniently located from the Fanta machine, and how walking/exercise is the worst.
4. Put the vanilla ice cream in the orange soda. Grab a spoon, stir it up, and enjoy!