Oh, greenboxes — the trusty food capsules that keep us fed beyond the walls of the dining halls. As a third-year, green boxes are nothing new, but it was only this semester that I developed a true appreciation for this reliable green clamshell.
There was one day before fall break where I holed myself up in my room, writing a paper for my English class and studying for hours. Realizing that I hadn’t eaten all day and that I was in fact very hungry, I scurried to Frary (thankfully only about 10 steps from my dorm room this year!) and grabbed a green box so that I could quickly return to my room to continue working.
As I meandered through each station of the dining hall, my mind was more focused on Suzan-Lori Parks’ “Venus” and Foucault’s repressive hypothesis – the topic of my English paper – than what exactly I was filling my green box with. When I returned to my room and finally saw my dinner choices all together, I let out a loud chuckle.
Inside the green box lay some agedashi tofu, curly fries, a handful of cucumber slices and jicama sticks, a spoonful of egg salad and a slice of coconut cake tucked neatly in the corner.
“I really just grabbed whatever I thought sounded good,” I thought to myself, laughing. “I didn’t think at all about how these things would work together.”
As I ate my smorgasbord of a meal, I started reflecting on my green boxing habits over the course of my time at Pomona thus far. Though I’ve never been that frequent of a green box-er, it humorously occurred to me that when I have green boxed, the contents (and their cohesiveness or lack thereof) have also reflected my state of mind.
I was reminded of the time last year when I green boxed brunch in order to study for an upcoming exam and forgot to put my bread in the toaster. I also remembered sweet moments from just earlier in this semester when I green boxed and had FaceTime dinner dates with friends from home, carefully choosing my food based on the wine that we would all decide to drink ‘together’ across different college campuses, time zones and coasts. Though this wasn’t my own experience, I also recalled my friend Bet-sua’s funny story in which she (like a genius) decided to green box fruit and yogurt one morning and blended up an entire smoothie in her dorm room.
“I realized that just as much as meals physically in the dining hall can be memorable, so too can green box meals eaten outside. They can remind you of the rhythm of college life you are currently in and even amusedly indicate that something may need to change,” she writes.”
I realized that as memorable as eating meals in the dining hall can be, green box meals eaten outside can be just as enduring. They can remind you of the rhythm of college life you are currently in and even amusedly indicate that something may need to change. For example, right now, I am unashamedly in my tofu and curly fry only-one-month-until-Thanksgiving era. The second-half-of-the-semester slump is setting in and I’m learning to ride with it, lightheartedly laughing at myself for my tired college student food choices. I am still taking the time to toast my bread, however and you should, too.
I know that I’m not the only one feeling tired as we trudge towards the holidays, with Thanksgiving somewhat within reach but then finals looming ominously in the corner. Although, I hope that the next time you green box, whether it is to study or call a friend or watch TV, you can look at its contents and get a good laugh. Perhaps some of you are, like me, unashamedly embracing a season of tofu and curly fries or whatever permutation of odd green box combinations. Maybe others of you feel steady and energized like Bet-sua, able to organize your green box in a way to concoct the perfect smoothie. But however you feel, I hope that your green box can put a smile on your face as we push through the last 50-ish days of the semester.
Emily Kim PO ’25 is from Irvine, California. She loves carrying around her Jellycat coffee purse even though it doesn’t help her actually look her age (everyone says she looks younger than 21).