Early Tuesday morning, as the sun rises through the windows of New Side in Peirce Hall, a fresh stack of newspapers and a full shelf of mugs welcome a small but dedicated group of students who attend breakfast early every morning. All sit in silence. Despite a sense of solitude, there is a feeling of community among these early Peirce-goers. “It’s a quiet fellowship,” said Hannah Wendlandt ’19, who considers herself and her friends “veteran 7:30 [a.m.] breakfast people.”
The silence that fills Peirce early in the morning is not uncomfortable; in fact, it is what many like most about these mornings. “I personally like to get work done. I like to wake up. I just like the process of coming to breakfast, eating breakfast when it’s quiet,” Ella Wilson ’19 said. Though the silence is not confining, regulars feel a responsibility to preserve it: The sound of typing or the occasional turn of a page are considered socially acceptable; talking, however, is not.
This dedication to quiet explains why so few people sit in groups at this time. Everyone has their own agenda. “There’s a shared understanding that everyone’s in their own little world [in the morning] … you have to be,” said Milo Eder ’20.
Given the small number of students in Peirce at this time, the quiet comes as no surprise.
An average of 186 students eat at Peirce between 7:30 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. on a given weekday, according to Christopher Wisbey, resident director of AVI.
While students arrive at Peirce early for various reasons, such as an 8:10 a.m. class or an early practice, others come there to finish work before the day begins or are simply early risers. Regardless, it is always the same people, each arriving alone and at different times. Though each goes about their day individually, there is still a sense of unity among them. “A distinct group of people all have kind of the same ritual, which is getting up and going to breakfast,” said Wendlandt.
As a result, early morning Peirce-goers begin to “visually know” each other, as Eder describes it.
“Even if I don’t know [someone I see in Peirce personally], I know who they are visually because I see them every day at the same place, at the same time,” they said. It is this recognition that Eder says fosters solidarity among early Peirce-goers. They believe that there is something unifying about each of these individuals simultaneously pursuing the same endeavors early in the morning, even those as simple as eating breakfast.