Micro Aggression: Heated Up About Lunch

  The bell goes off, signaling the beginning of the lunch. Immediately, the cafeteria is packed with students waiting in line to buy their lunch or scrambling to find a table that has not been claimed yet. However, the most chaotic area of the cafeteria is near the microwaves. Students push and shove through the […]


The bell goes off, signaling the beginning of the lunch. Immediately, the cafeteria is packed with students waiting in line to buy their lunch or scrambling to find a table that has not been claimed yet. However, the most chaotic area of the cafeteria is near the microwaves. Students push and shove through the crowd in an attempt to heat up the lunch they have been waiting all day to eat. The process to using a microwave can be a very complex and stressful one, and many CB students have some incredibly strong opinions on the microwave system in the cafeteria.

While it’s nice to warm up leftover pizza from last nights dinner, there are some downsides to using them.

The biggest issue of the microwaves in the cafeteria is how long it takes to actually use one. Everyone is pressed for time during lunch. Many students have a lot that they need to accomplish during this 35 minute break. They need to eat their lunch so they can be energized for the rest of their day, study for that test that they have next set, and take a break from the stresses of school and socialize with those around them. Students should not have to worry about spending more than five minutes reheating their food. Natalie Storm (’18) complains that she is often spending about half her lunch waiting to heat her food up.

Hot Pocket lover Emma Busch (‘20), agrees with Natalie.

“The lines are really long, and the microwaves don’t work well,” the sophomore says.

It is definitely a downer when one endures the long wait for an open microwave just for them to realize that after all their efforts, the food is still not fully warmed up. However, maybe it’s not the microwave’s fault that it’s not meeting its users’ expectations. Maybe it is the users who don’t use them properly. Since everyone is in a rush to get their lunch heated up so they can go meet up with their friends, people will attempt to share the microwave with one or two other students. While sharing helps to provide an inclusive community, it may not always be the most effective way to use a microwave.

Emma has observed this act many times when using the microwave. She’s noticed that students “stack [food] and it takes like ten minutes to heat up.” She then continues on to address the fact that when they are packed with multiple containers, they no longer rotate. Natalie Storm also believes that this is a real issue regarding the microwaves.

“People forget how microwaves work sometimes. They try and jam it packed with a bunch of stuff, and they don’t understand that the little table moves for a reason, not just for something to look at. Often times, you have a microwave with like five Tupperware’s in it.”

Lizzie Blake (‘20) reminisces on her time using the cafeteria microwaves: “it was a mistake.”

While being cautious about how many things to put in the microwave, it’s also important to be aware about what is being put into it. Lizzie doesn’t like that most of them are “dirty and smell weird.”

“Soup can be a little problematic if it bubbles, so be prepared for that,” Natalie warns. She also believes that microwave popcorn is to blame for the messy and smelly microwaves.

“I think we should have a rule at school: one bag of popcorn a day. All the microwaves do not need to smell like popcorn. I don’t want my chicken and rice to smell and taste like buttery popcorn.”

It is okay to microwave whatever food you want, but a good microwave user knows that if the food does make a mess, clean it up. Natalie (and I’m sure many others) would agree with this statement.

“If your food makes a mess in the microwave, clean it up. I would rather wait for you to clean it up than get sauce on the bottom of my Tupperware. I don’t have time to go clean up my lunch now because I’ve already spent half my lunch in the cafeteria.”

Finally, the last problem with the microwaves is that the plastic utensils are located in the same are.

“If you are trying to get a fork, good luck.” Natalie says.

So if there are so many problems with the microwave system in the cafeteria, how can it be improved? Emma personally thinks that the forks should be moved because “sometimes it can get a bit hectic”.

Lizzie and Natalie agree that there should be a designated line for using the microwaves. Creating a line would allow the process to be more organized and less chaotic. This could also lead to the monitoring of what gets put into the microwave and for how long.

Since no one has all day to wait to heat up their lunch, Natalie thinks that the school should have a time limit.

“If there is a way to program a limit into the microwaves, we should do that,” she says. While Natalie’s idea of programming a microwave may be a little difficult to achieve, she does make a point that the time entered into the microwave should be limited and reasonable.

The environment surrounding the microwave section of the cafeteria is for sure chaotic, stressful, and not the most productive. That is not the microwaves fault though. If students want to see a change in the system of using the microwaves, then it is up to them to create the ideal microwaving environment.

Emma believes that manners are important.

“Wait in line and if you are sharing the microwave, don’t stop it in the middle of the time just to take yours out and not the other person’s.”

“At a school microwave, the maximum [time] should be two minutes,” Natalie says. “You come to school to heat up your food. Not cook it. You should make your food at home then bring it to school to heat it up. We do not have enough time to be putting five minutes on the microwaves. It’s ridiculous. Lunch is only 35 minutes long … and if I give 20 minutes to heating up my food then [my schedule] is all messed up.”

She also thinks that a quick fix to these issues is to just be aware of what is happening around you. If someone needs to grab a fork or spoon, let them by so they can quickly get one and go eat.

All the girls can agree that the plate in the microwave should be able to move while heating food up. If it is necessary to put a couple of containers into the microwave at once, then make sure that it can at least operate the way it was designed to. It cannot hurt you — it will only result in your food being thoroughly warmed up.

If the Christian Brothers High School community can come together to work towards creating a better and more enjoyable microwaving experience, the lives of its students will be made easier. It will allow them to stop worrying about heating up food and focus more on refueling themselves for the rest of the day. A more efficient microwave system would greatly benefit the students as it would help take one more thing off their very full plates.

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