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Dining Hall Dynamics

Aidan talks about his student employment, working in the dining hall.

Aidan talks about his student employment, working in the dining hall.

For my entire time at Carleton, I have worked in the dining hall. While many people consider the dining hall work an undesirable job on campus, I love it! There are so many fun parts of the job, and it only gets better the more you work there. It has been one of my favorite communities on campus thus far. I am excited to share a little bit about my experiences working there with all of you.

Freshman Year

Coming into freshman year, I was really excited to make new friends. Working at the dining hall was one of the best ways for us workers to socialize. I ended up making so many great friends from working in the dining hall. You have all of the people on the shift to socialize with in addition to all of the people who are coming through the dining hall. During your freshman year when you still don’t know that many people, it is a great way to make new friends. It is really just mandatory socializing and a break from homework. 

dining hall manager visit
Fellow dining hall manager, Henry, from when I visited him over winter break.


As mentioned before, some of my best friends come from my work in the dining hall. Fellow admissions blogger, Fiona, and I worked together our freshman year, and our friendship continues now! It instills a sense of camaraderie among all the people who work there. Perhaps you’ll see a knowing nod from one worker to another. 

dining hall friends
(Other) Aidan, our old bosses Martha and Charlotte, and me reuniting at Hideaway!

Some of my closest friends from the dining halls are actually my old bosses. This isn’t as weird as it may sound because the managers at the dining hall are primarily other students. Back then, it seemed like their job was to make our job fun. Honestly, since becoming a manager that has ended up being true!


As mentioned, I started student managing at the dining hall this year. Honestly, it was kind of a stressful process to become one. It had my first ever real interview and job application. After your first year placement, there are many other options for student employment. I am so happy I trusted my gut instinct and followed through with it, though, because managing is in my opinion the best job on campus.

dining hall workers
My Wednesday Dinner shifts coworkers from fall term.

The best part for me is socializing. As a naturally pretty chatty person, having three hours where my primary responsibility is to chat with other students is nice. Our other job responsibilities aren’t incredibly fun or anything, but I really enjoy doing them. Changing the milk or working in the dish room kind of feels like a minigame. After our shifts, the workers all share a meal together, so we can get to know each other. It is a great way of building little communities on campus!

My Thoughts

While you might not be thrilled at getting assigned to work in the dining hall your freshman year, if you make the most of it and have fun, you’ll have a great time! Maybe even meet your best friends. Hope to meet some of you in the dining hall!

Aidan (he/him) is a rising Junior from Batavia, IL. He is a Religion and French and Francophone Studies double major with a Cross-Cultural Studies minor. You can often find him at the campus’s two dining halls chatting with other students while working as a student dining hall manager. He enjoys spending his time outside of class cooking and hanging out with his housemates in the Culinary Interest House and performing in Carleton’s sketch comedy group. Aidan also loves to broadcast music to the greater Northfield community on the college radio station, KRLX 88.1 FM. Meet the other bloggers!