It’s no secret that the parking lot has been a source of conflict between the junior and senior classes this year. Each day students who drive to school commence a fearsome battle to secure a precious spot in the Marlborough parking lot. The victors get to enjoy a quick walk to class and easy access to their cars, while the losers are sullenly turned away and sent to search for parking on the nearby street, Arden. Maybe you have been the victim of a senior’s death stare as they trek to school or have heard their complaints echoing from the senior lounge. Possibly you have been entirely oblivious to the crisis around you. If you have been so fortunate to have been relishing in this blissful ignorance I’m jealous, because as a senior the Marlborough parking lot is at the forefront of my mind.
I always knew that coming to Marlborough meant I would have a long morning commute. I was prepared for that. What I wasn’t prepared for was having to arrive at school 45 minutes early just to park my car. I cringe each night as I scroll to set my alarm for the intolerable hour of 6 a.m. Losing precious sleep is painful. What’s even more painful is arriving at school half an hour early and still not securing a parking spot. Based on my experiences, if you arrive at school after 8 a.m., an empty coveted spot is rare. Instead, you face a mad hunt down Arden to either squeeze between your classmates’ cars or miraculously find an open spot that isn’t half a mile away.
While the size and logistics of the Marlborough parking lot have always left latecomers parking in the surrounding neighborhood, this year is different. With a much larger Junior class there simply is not enough room to accommodate the volume of student drivers. Even though the school will now allow students to park behind one another and stack their cars, I believe there will be an added layer of pressure to the early morning parking battles. Students will now leave index cards with their name and emails on their dashboards if they are in a ‘stacked’ car spot. But what do you do if your car is blocked in and you are on a frantic mission to pick up your iced vanilla latte before your next class? Or maybe you have a much more serious reason to leave campus, yet you cannot get a hold of the student who parked behind you. The added spots will not be accessible. Therefore, I believe that we should be more selective in choosing which cars get the luxury of parking in the lot.
I am aware not everyone is a fan of the hierarchy that exists between classes and that I am biased, but seniors should have priority when it comes to parking spaces. Let me explain. Imagine that you are a studious and driven senior who is on their way to a lab or meeting for their honors research project. You are frantic to get to your meeting and back for your next quiz, however, your car is a few blocks away. You would be mad at the juniors who got to park within steps from your classroom. If you are not convinced by my cry for empathy, think of it this way: logistically it makes sense for seniors to park closer to school. As the grade with the most off campus privileges and assumably the most off campus obligations, we should have the most accessible parking. I believe that filling the lot with seniors first each morning and reserving the parking spots that can not be blocked in for seniors only would be the most effective solution. While every senior would not be guaranteed one of these prime spots, those that do would get to enjoy easy access to their car.
While I think that specifying which students get to park in the lot would be beneficial to both juniors and seniors, as students would have more realistic ideas of what time they should arrive at school, I also think it would lessen the stress on the security guards. Each morning I watch as the Marlborough security guards maneuver the chaotic flow of cars that floods the lot promptly at 8 a.m. Personally, I am incredibly grateful for their guidance as I try to actually park my car within the lines. I believe that having fewer heavily-caffeinated students pouring into the lot would lessen the chaos the security guards deal with each morning, allowing them to focus on checking students in and maintaining order.
With a more clear and planned out rule regarding which students can park in the lot, both students and the Marlborough staff would face less stress and more civility between the junior and senior classes would be restored, at least temporarily.