Locking up senseless social norms


Most students would rather lug heavy belongings around school than use a locker. This unnecessary social norm creates difficulties for students that could be avoided by simply using a locker. Graphic by Jaden Cho

My first time using a locker was in third grade. That year, my usual back-to-school anxieties were replaced with fantasies about how I would decorate my locker. I bought a sparkly pink chandelier and a fluffy rug in the same shade and arranged magnets of all shapes and sizes. As I stepped back to admire my handiwork, I felt a wave of immeasurable pride.

However, as a freshman, I had greater concerns than picking out locker decor. 

As I entered the building on my first day of high school, I reminded myself of the unwritten rules I had picked up. Never grab a tray in the cafeteria. Avoid the SAC at all costs. Most importantly, do not use a locker.

Naively, I didn’t recognize the problem with these rules. If other students didn’t use a locker, then I figured there was no reason to. After all, I only had four classes a day, as opposed to eight or nine in past years, and most of my textbooks were online. 

My backpack was lighter than ever, yet I still didn’t have enough room for a necessity: my jacket. 

After a few months of lugging my coat from class to class, I grew tired of the inconvenience. I began to question why such a nuisance was preferable to using a locker. A year later, I still find myself wondering why lockers are even “uncool” in the first place.

A locker’s use is remarkably flexible. Its purpose is completely at the discretion of the student using it. While it may seem inconvenient to stop by a locker after every class, nine-minute passing periods make it possible to drop off materials without being tardy. Plus, locker-location requests can be made, allowing students to choose a convenient spot for their schedule. 

This type of flexibility would solve all of my problems. I could put away my wet jacket if it rains and change out of my clunky boots when it snows. I could leave my folders behind after class instead of carrying them around all day, and my posture would likely reap the benefits. 

While the choice is left to each student, I look forward to using a locker next year. They’re useful, practical and admittedly fun to decorate. Even more so, I refuse to let such an irrational stigma interfere with my comfort and convenience. 

I don’t know where these unwritten rules came from or why they exist. I don’t know why students continue to blindly follow senseless norms whose only purpose is to create hassle. Nevertheless, I do know that I’m done succumbing to these arbitrary expectations. 

If given the chance, lockers can act as more than a storage unit. Using a locker can teach a lesson about standing up against popular belief and unspoken norms. 

Leave your fears and massive binders behind. Locker-users aren’t losers.