Students arrive to school each day ready to learn and branch out. However, when constantly burdened with homework and getting to classes on time, heavy backpacks just weigh students down. At the beginning of freshman year, each student receives a locker specifically for use throughout their four years at TL to remedy this problem—or at least that is the goal. Having a locker gives students a sense of belonging, as it is their own special one-by-one-by-three-foot part of the school. However, at TL, many students don’t use a locker because it “is too much work to get the combo again” as freshman, Nina Rodriguez claims. Students are given combinations to keep and eventually remember. Some fail this test on the second day of school and never give it a second thought. Each student gets a combination on the first day but lose or forget it almost right away. The students who don’t want to bother getting their combination again from the office are forced to carry all their books and notebooks with them, or leave books at home and hope they don’t leave materials behind. But, they can proudly say they have stuck to their principles and have not ventured into the office to request their combination again. You go girl.
Over time, lockers have lost their appeal of reliability and usefulness. Students either carry around all their materials or switch out their books at home depending on the day of the week. Nina Rodriguez states, “I usually make sure I bring the materials I need and nothing more since I walk home.” Switching books out at home is a smart strategy until you grab the A day notebook on the B day or forget books needed for a Monday schedule. If the materials were in your locker, you could quickly correct the mistake but, when you forget your materials at home, you have to call your family to bring your books, or creatively think of a great excuse to tell your teacher. An anonymous student claims that she told one of her teachers that her “cat threw up on her homework,” to get out of having to admit that she brought the wrong books.
Some students resort to sharing a locker with another friend who remembers their combination. This strategy helps build friendships, but it becomes a problem when you don’t remember the combination and your friend is sick. Then, you get to practice your creative story telling again.
The alternative is to remember your combination, and use your locker. This allows you to have a place to store your books you don’t currently need without the worry of long term back problems. Using a locker also enables students to decorate their little part of TL. You can add a mirror, a picture of your favorite celebrity, your favorite quotes, important dates (like my birthday), and extra pens and pencils. Some students also find heading to their locker is the only time they see some of their friends.
Carrying around all your materials on your back can create a lot of problems that wouldn’t have been there before had a locker been used. “A heavy backpack can pull on the neck muscles, contributing to headache, shoulder pain, lower back pain, and/or neck and arm pain.” (spine-health.com) Heavy backpacks are more harmful than helpful. In your best interest, you should try to bring yourself to use a locker or figure out a way to lighten the load as the slight pains in your back and neck you feel now could lead to a back problem later on that won’t be as easy to fix in the future. But, if you are still set on carrying all school materials, make sure to have both straps over your shoulders as that can help reduce the impact on your neck and back.
So, what is the ideal solution? It really depends on you. Decide what works best for you, but if you are not using your locker due to fear of asking for it again from the office, quickly get over that, walk into the office and cheerfully ask Ms. Tremolada, “May I please have my locker combination again?”