The library locker dilemma

Pexels. New lockers in the library building are stirring up problems

Convenience turned to nuisance

As a long-time university student, I’ve come to realize that not only is getting a locker a necessity (since there’s just too much damn stuff to carry around with me all day) but that its location is also important. Every year, since my first semester, I’ve had a locker in the library building because this is a good spot in between all my classes, as well as the area I spend most of my time doing school work.

As a result, this past summer when I saw new lockers being installed in the library building at the end of its longtime renovation project, I got excited, not by their grey appearance which literally matches everything else in the hallway (I mean seriously, don’t even get me started, but to my best knowledge other colours do exist), but rather by the prospect of getting a brand-new locker. Unfortunately, I didn’t anticipate that I would have as much trouble as I did opening said locker door.

Despite attempting to get a head start by purchasing my locker the day before classes began, this attempt ultimately failed, as the majority of my time over the course of the first three days were spent going back and forth between my locker and waiting in line at the URSU desk in order to have my locker problems addressed and resolved.

While many people typically have difficulty opening up their combination lock, sadly for me, this was the easiest part. It was opening my locker door after getting the lock off that was the dilemma.

Although the lockers in the library building are brand new, they are far from perfect. Firstly, they have a weird design, with no obvious place to grip to pull the door open; something I realized after entering my combination and staring at my locker for a while before swallowing my pride and asking someone down the hall if they knew how to open them, while at the same time explaining that I am not a first-year (no offence).

Secondly, because they are so new, they are extremely stiff and an individual has to exert maximum effort just to open the door. While one would think that this effort would only be necessary the first time, unfortunately many of them still don’t open up easily over time. In all my years at university, I have never had as many locker problems as I did at the start of this semester. Having to go through three lockers in just three days, before I was able to get one I could actually use.

My first locker didn’t even open because a piece was bent; something another student brought to my attention. My second locker door required a great deal of effort to actually open and close. Each time I closed the door, I couldn’t reopen it myself and had to ask another student walking by for their help, and they, too, struggled to open it. Even though I thought that maybe I could solve the problem myself by opening and closing the door a few times to loosen it up, this did absolutely nothing.

Stressed, frustrated, and irritated, I left a request at the URSU desk for my locker to be looked at. By noon the following day, my shoulder was sore from having to carry my stuff around with me all over the school. I headed back to the URSU desk, yet again, hoping that my locker had been looked at and fixed. Unfortunately, facilities had not yet gotten to it and because doing so may take a week or more, I was offered a third locker. Despite my reluctance to get another locker in the same building, I decided I would take my chances and hope for the best because I didn’t want to switch to a locker in a less convenient location. While this third locker thankfully opened up, it still frequently sticks, making it difficult to open.

It is absolutely ridiculous that these newly installed lockers have already become a major problem, not only for myself, but for other students as well who I have seen experiencing similar difficulties to pull open their door.

As with any renovation project, this one began late and took a while, only finishing at the end of August with the lockers being installed just a few days before the start of the fall semester. As a result, this time crunch not only gave URSU staff very limited time to get all the locks put on, but also prevented the lockers from being checked over to ensure that they open and function properly. I understand that renovation projects run into unintended dilemmas and take longer than planned, but that should have been considered when the library building renovation project first began.

My frustration and anger is not aimed at URSU staff, since they weren’t informed of the problematic lockers, but rather directed towards the management of this renovation project. While I’m obviously no renovation expert, I believe there is a responsibility to not only complete the renovation, but also to check everything afterwards to ensure safety and proper functionality. Unfortunately, it is with this second aspect that the renovation project management failed, as it seems none of the lockers were actually checked before they were given out to students.

I understand that more time was needed to check over these lockers, but in all honesty, I would rather have waited an extra day or two for my locker in order to get a functional one rather than experiencing frustration and stress and wasting my time going back and forth to the URSU desk. Lockers are a necessity for university students and, because they aren’t free, I don’t think it is too much to ask to have a locker that actually opens smoothly and properly.

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