Eating Your Way to an F


Last week a student took a test with a basket full of fried chicken fingers on his desk. You know the sound that greasy paper makes? Crunchy and wet all at the same time.

“Are you really going to eat that while taking the test?” I asked.

“Don’t worry, I can manage it,” he replied.

Hmmm, I thought. I wasn’t worried about your eating skills. In fact, I had always hoped all my students had mastered the art of eating before entering college. I was more concerned the rest of the class would be distracted by the food choice — a choice that is loud and likely to cause to uncontrollable cravings. Just what you want when taking a test.

In my opinion, greasy chicken fingers in a paper-lined basket are as bad as the dreaded bag of chips.  The sound of a chip bag being opened in a quiet classroom is akin to finger nails on a chalkboard. Worse, I find the offending chip-eating student will then try to chomp each chip slowly, as if that lessens the sound. It doesn’t. It only prolongs the madness.

As a compromise, I asked my students to recommend low auditory, low olfactory foods for in-class snacking. This easy recipe for blueberry muffins was suggested by Nicholas Esser. Nick, a self-proclaimed foodie, highly recommends these easy to chew muffins as a quiet, in-class eating option. I recommend bringing one for your teacher too.

  • nickessernow

    First off. I hate when people are crunching on loud snacks during class. You really couldn’t scarf down that bag of chips before class. Pull it together people. The crunch crunch is a little much. Eat a granola bar. Or a cookie or the best muffins ever. I have made them tons of times and they are great!!!

  • Emily Rolnick

    I cannot STAND when people eat near me, let alone in the class I’m stuck in for the next two hours. In my 3 hour, twice a week math class, there are two girls, who are about 17 or 18. Fresh out of high school, with a purse that costs more than my monthly car payment, I clearly already dislike them. Besides the fact they never stop talking during lectures, and bothering my (attractive) teacher about irrelevant topics, like how much they LOVE Pretty Little Liars, and they will just L I T E R A L L Y DIIIIIEEEE, if they don’t make it home to watch. Another thing about these girls: they seem to go on a field trip to the supermarket before every single class, together. Because every class, the same two annoying girls walk in to my THREE HOUR math class, with enough munchies to last the entirety of the class. With a family size bag of potato chips, I hear your every crunch, and I want to crunch your face in the way you’re crunching the chips. It also doesn’t help that I typically walk into class starving, because I haven’t eaten in hours. Besides the chips, they also have a Halloween bag of candy, cookies and oh, an apple. The LOUDEST food in the world. And they’re behind me chomping. AND they haven’t even offered my any food. I guess they can’t hear my stomach growling like a lion over their t-rex chomps. I hate them. Don’t eat behind me. But if you do, share. With everyone. Please… I’m hungry….

  • Joe

    Nice post!

  • Alyssa Pecorella

    I cannot stand when people eat in a classroom! it’s hard enough to pay attention during class, but when i get distracted all i think about is that one thing. Being a student, I’ve learned how to block out certain things, but food is my weakness. The smell, the look, and the delicious taste… who wouldn’t get distracted, just thinking about it I’m getting hungry. During class time it shouldn’t matter, but during a test.. OMG no way, i absolutely hate getting distracted, let alone getting distracted by mouth watering food has to be the worst feeling ever. My classes are using in the afternoon, and I’m not a morning person, so i normally eat after all my afternoon classes are over. That means i don’t eat until 2:50pm. So, brining food to class is extremely disrespectful because not only are you distracting people, you’re being really disrespectful!!

  • Amber B

    this is hilarious, I wonder what my teacher thinks of me? I’ve never eaten in class though

  • Gustav

    I think eating should be banned in all class rooms for many reasons. First because it is a huge distraction to not only the students but the teacher. Everyone in class is there to learn and better themselves and a person choosing to distract them because they are to selfish to eat before or after class. There have been countless times I have been starving before a class but I never went and got a meal and ate it right in front of my classmates. The second way this distract students is that they tend to focus on the food, not only that butt the smell can be very distracting if it has a strong odor.

  • Francisco Barajas

    It has always been a huge pet peeve of mine when people bring food near me in a place where no one else would normally eat. Whether it’s in class or on the bus for example, I cant stand when people are so ignorant and act as if they don’t know what it’s like to be on the flip-side of the situation and be near someone who is starving. Let’s not just rub it in there eyes, but also into their ears and their nose?! I can be sympathetic where someone might have been starving to death and for some emergency reason had to bring a snack to class. But there is no reason for them to bring an actual meal in. To me that is the point where you cross the line as being straight rude and ignorant. If everyone else got the memo that you were going to be bringing your own lunch to class, I can promise you that I would have walked in with my own five course meal and not had to hold my hunger until after class. I always get caught in this situation every now and then but never actually take the couple of minutes and thoroughly think about my feelings on it. Therefore I really enjoyed not just reading but also becoming part of this blog post!

  • Kristen Nicholson

    Reading this blog post not only made my stomach growl, but also reminded me of how rude people can be. I find it disrespectful to both your classmates who are deep in concentration during and exam, and your professor. I personally would be disgusted by the sound of a peer’s lip smacking, with breaded chicken flying onto their desk (especially during an exam). Other’s may be distracted by the smell of greasy goodness and would allow their brains to wander on to other things (such as what they wish to eat as soon as they race through their exam). If I was a professor I would be insulted by the student that was not taking my exam as serious as others, and treating it as a lunch hour. Out of respect, people should know better than to bring a meal to class, especially if they don’t have enough to supply for their peers and professor as a post exam fiesta.

    Working full-time and being a student on the go, I pack small snacks such as meal bars to eat between classes or during car rides. Something else that work’s for me is eating a hearty breakfast that will fill you up for a large portion of the day, and packing a meal replacement such as a protein shake. Consuming a protein shake during class is far less distracting to peers than fried chicken.

  • Gregory Salwen

    I witness this all the time and I cannot stand it! Very glad to see that you feel similiarly. Its disrespectful to “multi task” in the classroom, when the only focus a student should have is learning and being present. Great article!

  • Michael Giordano

    Being in class when a person is eating a full meal is one of the most annoying things to happen during class. It is one thing if the student is eating something quiet, like a muffin, or a granola bar but I have seen kids bring the widest variety of food into the classroom and it is totally distracting. Its one thing to have a snack, it doesn’t really bother people, but when you walk in with an entire deli sandwich on a hero with chips and a drink, its an entire different situation. Its distracting not only due to the sounds it makes when someones eating in a quiet class, but its just hard not to look at someone when they’re eating an entire meal in front of everyone. In short, I would recommend only bring small QUIET snacks to the classroom, maybe those muffins would be perfect for this type of dilemma.

  • Taylor Dawson

    In my opinion, there is a very short list of “classroom friendly foods”. Let it be known, that no hot food that will lead the rest of the class with growling stomachs makes this list. As a full time employee and night student, as much as I would like to say that I sympathize for this student trying to cram in a meal, I in fact have minimal pity. The best strategy to avoid annoying your fellow classmates/professors is to simply plan ahead! Not only will your peers thank you, but you also save a ton of money by bringing snacks from home! I must say, my absolute favorite is when one arrives late to class with a three course meal in hand…

  • Olivia Schiekofer

    Personally, I find eating in class incredibly distracting but I have fallen victim to the rumbling stomach during a lecture where I absolutely must break out a snack. I am conscious of my surroundings and try to be respectful to the other students around me and therefore I bring what I feel is a “classroom friendly snack.” There are many opinions as to what may classify as a classroom friendly snack and what may not. I have seen some of my peers come in with an entire leftover Thanksgiving buffet. What? This is not the time my friend. I have also seen teachers ban food from their classroom entirely which I do understand because of how distracting it is but sometimes you may not find the time to eat at home or in between classes. Quiet snacks if any snacks are the way to go. Maybe one day I’ll find the time to craft a list of “classroom friendly snacks.”

  • Anne

    I agree that students should bring a snack, especially for a 3 to 4 hour course, but I also agree that it should be a reasonable snack as in not loud when you chew so you don’t distract the person next to you, not a meal so you don’t distract others while eating, but a reasonable maybe healthy snack. I know throughout my courses I get so hungry even if I eat right before class, there’s just something about a classroom that makes me hungry! But I also don’t bring obnoxious food to class to distract myself, students, or even the professor. I don’t believe that is quite fair! A bottle of water, or a bag of soft cookies, or even some fruit snacks, and if it’s a bag try to open it before class that way you have easier access and not have to worry about the loud noises you could make.