Magnet Drivers

A View From the Other Side


Ryan Hinske, SOA Guest Writer


Since my early days at SOA, I have heard myths and legends about the recklessness of the student drivers at Academic Magnet. As a freshman, I was shielded from this chaos in the temperate environment of the car line, where (mostly) responsible parent drivers dwelled. I had never witnessed the barbarous nature of the parking lot in the flesh, and had nearly forgotten its existence during the Dark Ages (2020).

My return to school for Junior year had instantly brought these tails to fruition, as I found myself caught in the abyss of stalled cars and aggressive SUVs with Magnet stickers clinging onto the back window for dear life.

If you drive, then you know what I mean when I say that the first honk is the most difficult. When I started driving to school and back, there were at least ten times where my hand hovered over the wheel, beckoning my brain to let it slam on the horn, but my brain wouldn’t allow it. Magnet drivers turned this hesitation into an uncensored frenzy.

Allow me to introduce you to “The Three-Way Stop.” In a perfect world, this is the point in the parking lot where every car waits its turn to file into the single narrow exit where the lot meets the car line. One car takes its turn, and the car behind it patiently waits for the other two stops to go before it takes its turn. Unfortunately, this is never the reality. Two cars go in a row, causing another car to slam on the breaks, causing a turn confusion, causing anger, causing not caring about the rules or anyone else, causing more cars to take their turns out of turn, turning turns into chaotic blurs.

But how do we sift through this chaos and determine that Magnet drivers are the root of this problem? Is this just SOA students’ way to hate on Magnet students, or are the tall tales actually not so tall?

As a proud AP Statistics student, I have been taught to conduct an experiment, not just base results off of surveying or word of mouth. Although the complexity of this potential experiment is limited, I decided to stand near the three-way stop, watch for cars cutting others off, and tally if their parking sticker was red or green (SOA or Magnet, respectively).

The results will shock you. From spending about ten minutes observing the traffic at the three way stop, I counted three SOA car cutoffs, six Magnet car cutoffs, and two unmarked car cutoffs (no sticker). From these short minutes, it appears that Magnet drivers cut off other drivers roughly twice as much as SOA drivers cut off other drivers.

Let us not conclude here. As a proud AP Statistics student, I have also been taught to identify lurking variables (I should also acknowledge the lack of replication for this experiment, but us staff writers have strict deadlines). Perhaps Magnet drivers are more aggressive because they park the furthest from the exit, which is located across from the SOA Middle School building. Sitting in that long line of cars must be irritating, and we SOA students don’t really know what it’s like to wait as long as they do. When they get to the three-way stop, perhaps they have been in the line for so long that they just can’t stand waiting any longer.
Perhaps the most aggressive SOA drivers get out of the parking lot early before the cars pile up, whereas the most aggressive Magnet drivers have a longer distance to cover, so what the average SOA driver sees are the most aggressive Magnet drivers and not SOA’s own.

Maybe, just maybe, if we add another exit or move the current exit to the middle of the parking lot, Magnet drivers won’t be so aggressive anymore, along with it just being more fair to everyone.

Let us not show hostility to our brothers and sisters that share our home. Let us not leverage our status by complaining about how bad their students are at driving. Let us join hands together and raise questions about the limited exits to our campus. Why do SOA kids get the luxury of being so much closer to the exit? Is this fair? Maybe, just maybe, if we add another exit or move the current exit to the middle of the parking lot, Magnet drivers won’t be so aggressive anymore, along with it just being more fair to everyone.There is one more factor to this experiment I have not mentioned. As I stood near a large tree across from the three-way-stop tallying my results, I noticed a mother driving her middle school child out of the parking lot. She proceeded to cut off other drivers immediately and race towards the exit. Now, if there is anything SOA and Magnet drivers should unite on, it’s that parents should NOT be allowed to pick up their children in the parking lot. This loophole is not only unfair to the students exiting the lot, but it is also unfair to the respectful parents who wait patiently in the car line. I’m not a proponent of the “Karen Movement” but if this continues, I might have to reconsider.

I like to put myself in others’ shoes when I’m frustrated at them. With Magnet drivers, I can do this and sympathize with their long journey to the exit. With parents like this, I do not feel the same way, and this inspires me to shift the entire focus of this editorial.

So SOA drivers, let’s refocus our anger and attention to the unruly parents that choose to cut the lines and pick their kids up in the parking lot, and let’s show our friends at Academic Magnet that we are grateful to be their neighbors and that we understand their impatience and frustration.