Upperclassmen face lunch on campus, other struggles without license, car

November 1, 2010 — by Will Edman

On a recent Wednesday, junior Eric Wang walked out of his class five minutes into the lunch period and began to search the quad for friends to eat with. However, he found that all of his friends had already driven off campus, and so he resigned to do homework in the library. Such a situation is routine for Wang, who, like many other upperclassmen, has no means of driving off campus at lunch.

“Every day, I have to walk home,” said Wang, who has a license but lacks a car. “Sometimes, I see my friends drive by and wave at me, but they can’t give me rides because they haven’t had their license for a year yet.”

Although most upperclassmen are older than 16, complications such as driving test appointments and the increasing price of insurance for teens make it difficult for many juniors and seniors to obtain licenses and cars.

Junior Ben Chung found that the DMV was not especially cooperative when he tried to schedule his license test.

“For some reason, the DMV cancelled my appointment, so I had to reschedule,” Chung said. “Without my license, lunch is boring and monotonous. Also, I can never leave my house unless my brother gives me a ride.”

Wang agreed, saying, “I’ll come into the quad during lunch and all my friends will be gone. Sometimes I have to eat my Cup of Noodles alone, and it makes for a pensive time.”

Some seniors who don’t have their licenses, such as Amol Aggarwal, do not experience the problems that juniors generally do during lunch.

“It’s not that bad,” Aggarwal said. “I have plenty of friends who have their licenses and can just take me off with them.”

Although many upperclassmen without licenses do not enjoy the time they are forced to spend in the quad, some students who do have their licenses actually prefer to stay on campus for lunch.

“I usually don’t go off because off-campus lunches are so expensive, and I stay on campus often to study for quizzes and tests,” said junior Annie Barco. “Also, a lot of my friends don’t have their licenses, and since I don’t want to break the law by driving them, I prefer to stay on campus with them.”

Although he does not have his license yet, Chung maintains that off-campus lunches are worth the extra money.
“People will spend less than $5 at the school, and off-campus they will spend more, like $5 to $9, so I save a lot more money than my friends,” he said. “But I still think the ability to go off campus would be worth the extra money, because the food is so much better.”

As the school year continues, the quad will begin to have fewer students as more upperclassmen obtain the means to go off campus during lunch. However, until then, juniors and seniors without licenses or cars will remain on campus, for better or for worse.

“I am sad that I can’t drive my brother’s sexy black car,” said Chung. “But I will be able to some day.”