Sit-down meals help create our community. They make people talk to one another, introducing us to new friends and teachers. Although we might not find a new best friend over turkey tetrazzini, the tables of ten make our campus seem a little smaller; they give us nine more people to know, nine more familiar faces on the walk from the Koch to the MSB.
These acquaintances are part of what makes Deerfield such a special, friendly place: we make eye contact, we say hi, we smile. It’s not much, but it makes a difference. Any community can foster close friendships; the glory of Deerfield is the unity among people who might not know one another, but who are bound by the Deerfield experience.
The word “stress” is thrown around a lot these days. We use it to describe our day, our assignments, even our lives. It is true that we suffer a lot of stress here, and there’s no doubt that everyone feels pressure from schoolwork. But the term has become an excuse for unhappiness, for shirking our duties and ignoring the bigger picture.
I think that the community we build here helps us to tackle stress; we can relax with our friends or meet new people and temporarily forget about our math homework. In my opinion, eliminating any sit-down meals would be shooting ourselves in the foot because we would abandon a classic Deerfield Tradition and eliminate a method of coping with stress. I view sit-down as a precious time to pause, to drop our own problems and to focus on other people. Over the years, it’s become an essential part of my day and those of thousands of past Deerfield students.
The problem of an ever-increasing pace of life here should be dealt with, but not at the expense of our customs and our heritage.