Every ex-boy can relate his eating style to before, during, and after NMS. Before NMS I enjoyed my meals, but while in NMS I never tasted my food, I only swallowed it fast! Nowadays I eat a little slower but still amaze non-ex-boys with my speed.
Over the course of my 5 years in NMS I definitely visited the dining hall more than 5 times, however, these 5 visits to the dining hall represent a typical visit in each class. As most fresh NMS boys would later find out, the dining hall experience depends on the class you are in at the time.
Form 1 Visit
After the LAUSHI that was cadre course, school returns to normal with form 2 boys re-animating everywhere with an unchecked, uncensored and gleeful vengeance, there was no indication that the dining hall was one of the most dangerous places in school!
And you must get your master's food!
Each visit is a new battle, different obstacles and different enemies, the worst and most determined are form 2 boys who are crabs with claws unlike you the fresh meat. I slowly and painfully learned all the ways my hunger could be used against me and eventually lead to my own undoing.
When you are in form 1 the hall is like a hunting ground with you as the prey. Being the lowest in the food chain including the food hall chain, which meant eating senior boys leftovers, you could be used for anything from sweeping to representing your company in pole-volt. A typical hunger-induced visit would start with a quick visual sweep of all the potential hostiles in the hall, a nimble dash to the back of the godforsaken queue, and a prayer that you get the food before trouble gets to you.
In the dining hall, all those other school appointments are meaningless to a crab, if the dining hall boy does not like you, WAHALA! No OYEL for your master means JOB for you!
And you must get your master's food!
Form 2 Visit
Skip Ahead to form 2, now you are the prime hunter but hunted also. Between getting your food and your master's food, you must patch, eat, make life miserable for form 1 boys and dodge, Na wah! At this point, you would have realised that even the most useless appointments can clear the way for you in a jam, even company office boys are allowed to quickly get food!
The love-hate relationship between form 2 boys and form 3 dining hall boys is another matter. You are now experienced so you become the best to help them clean-up quickly and efficiently as form 1 boys are not as strong, but you don't want to do it! If you don't do it, you don't get good food, if you don't get good food, you buy JOB! Buy JOB, then you must dodge the hall!
But you must get your master's food!
Form 3 Visit
This is the first time you will understand that old dictum "appointment is better than rank" and an even more important one "It's not what you know but who you know". I had thought that being a provost was the best thing to be in form 3. I was steeped in ignorance!
The only people that can put on weight in NMS are dining hall boys and loaf boys, and they are excused some parades!
The first time I saw a dining hall boy's meal (my mate), I wanted to drop my badge! There was OYEL, soup, and enough meat. As he ate, it dawned on me that all my patching was in vain! I was working for them! I realised that every time provosts or senior boys came to empty the hall of junior boys, they ended up providing a feast for dining hall boys.
As to whom you know, when you want something in NMS, association comes easy! 2 boys are serving food, one solid, one soup and meat aka protein aka piece. The one serving solid will be your ROOMBEE from when you were in the end-room together in form 1, imagine! While the one serving soup and meat will be your STATEE, never mind that you are from different states. Meanwhile, you give what you don't have power over e.g. your sister whom you would have "given" to at least 6 senior boys before you get to form 3!
Form 4 Visit
By Form 4, you would stroll into the hall, form 5 boys hardly came, except for dinner, so you are lords of the manor, plotting all kinds of ways to capture junior boys to further your ambition for any appointment you are patching for. My favourite ploy was to stand by the food servers, so I could pick and choose my prey. By now the dining experience was so much different and you wouldn't even think you were in NMS, gisting with your mates, avoiding the form 5 boys that come and generally acting like the mouse that is home without the cat.
Form 5 Visit
Lords of all your survey! Going to the dining hall all the time is out of the question, you will have your diet brought to your room until RSM Bandi aka Sly catches you and makes sorry your middle name! From about a week to POP, you start going to the dining hall every day to stop those hopeless form 4 boys from hijacking your food, and for those last few days of forced attendance, you are like a form 1 boy again!