Hello Ravens! I'm back, once again, with some more nifty Carleton Dining Hall Hacks. So far, I have taught you how to amp up your breakfast and master cafeteria mixology. Since beginning this series, many students have approached me with questions, concerns, and worst-case —Dining Hall— scenarios.  

In response to all of your #cafproblems, I will save the day and give you my best (and sneakiest) solutions, all of which have been suggested by YOU!

Problem: I'm a picky eater and feel anxious not knowing what is served each day. 

Solution: Check out the full Dining Hall menu online.

pizza, cake, spam, tea, coffee
Ben Sharer

I get it. Being picky just means you have highly selective standards about what you eat. It's totally okay that that thought of trekking all the way to the dining hall, only to find food that doesn't measure up to Mamma's, makes you anxious. I gotchu. By checking the menu online, you can view all of the food that will be available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in detail (they list absolutely everything down to the condiments), a week in advance. 

Problem: When I go to the dining hall, I like to shop around and visit all of the stations, but all the time spent waiting in lines makes my food get cold.

Solution: There is a microwave behind the dessert station. Use it.

tea, coffee
Ben Sharer

In order to access the microwave, you must ask. Also, the Dining Hall staff must put your food in for you because it is behind the general area and out of sight. So be polite and use this resource sparingly.  I consider this to be one of the holy grails of Carleton Dining Hall hacks. Few know about this wonderful contraption, but I assure you that it is real. Do not abuse the knowledge that I have bestowed upon you. 

Problem: My class schedule is insanely busy so I miss lunch every Monday and Wednesday.

Solution: Order a Bag Meal.

juice, vegetable, sandwich
Ben Sharer

A bag meal counts as a swipe into the Dining Hall. You need to order your meal at least 48 hours before the requested date. You can pick it up in the Dining Hall the day before or the day of. If you order lunch, you get a choice of side, drink, salad, sandwich, and dessert. Bonus: Recycle the paper bag. Use it for arts and crafts (paper bag puppets anyone?) or to ripen an avocado

Problem: My soup is always too hot.

Solution: Put your soup in a cup and then submerge it in another cup filled with ice water.

tea, milk, espresso, coffee
Ben Sharer

I may be a communications student, but I can assure you that this is science. Your soup will cool down quickly and you won't have to dilute it with ice cubes. Also, the cup method allows you to save a spoon by drinking your soup instead.  

Problem: I find the portions too small and always have to go back for seconds.

Solution: Be polite and smile. Sometimes this is enough to get bigger portions. 

Ben Sharer

The keyword here is 'sometimes'. In some cases, staff can't give out more than one serving due to demand. However, politely asking for seconds is always worth a try. Politeness goes a long way and—about to get super cliché here guys— you miss 100% of the shots you don't take. 

Problem: The dining hall never serves my favourite food.

Solution: Let the dining hall know! They listen.

beer, tea, coffee, pizza
Ben Sharer

The Carleton Dining Hall is all about feedback and giving students what they want. One time, I tweeted them that I wanted Mozzarella sticks and then they actually made me a batch.  Also, they have a program called Ravens Choice where you can fill out a suggestion ballot where you swipe your card and they choose one every month. 

Ben Sharer

Ta-da! All of your Carleton Dining Hall problems are fixed. You now can spend less time stressing over lunch and, in the words of Forrest Gump, that is one less thing. Now go and be a professional adult and do that eight-pager that you've been putting off.

What did you think of my hacks? Were you able to kiss your #cafproblems goodbye? If not, let us know what problems are still outstanding or what other fixes you'd like to see me try out. If you have some innovative solutions of your own, Carleton Dining Services and I would love to hear about it. Tweet us  at @spoon_carleton and @CarletonDining.