The Student Lounge, also dubbed “The Senior Lounge” is a space where Juniors and Seniors of Uni do various things including playing music, video games, relaxing on couches, eating, and most notably, foosball. While the lounge might be a haven for upperclassmen, it’s also notorious for its exclusivity. Due to this, the lounge is a mysterious place in Uni, unknown to many underclassmen.
The lounge is generally something students look forward to before their Junior year due to the implied rule that only Juniors and Seniors are allowed in. Even Jaewoon Jung, a Subfreshman who has only spent a few months at Uni, sensed that the lounge “seems kind of exclusive to them.” Mr. Bergandine, a teacher who has been at Uni since 1986, also portrayed the lounge as “not the most welcoming environment.” This long-standing tradition stays alive because the current Juniors/Seniors waited until they became Juniors to enter the lounge so they expect underclassmen to do the same, explained Minji Choi, a Senior and an everyday user of the lounge.
Choi described the room as “kind of disgusting but also chill” but also stated that it’s the “only place in the school where you can really feel comfortable.” As Choi spoke, I began to visualize an environment much like a home, but there was only one foolproof way to find out; I had to get into the lounge myself.
Upon entering, the first thing to catch my eye were the colorful handprints of alumni covering the walls. Slightly bigger than the Japanese room, the lounge was arranged with several couches and comfy chairs near the edges, with the foosball table dominating the center. Another key feature of the lounge, the stereo, was sitting on a ledge next to other musical devices such as CD players. While being slightly dirty, it wasn’t any different than the state of Uni outside the room.
Being a student-run space, the lounge is always subject to change. A new foosball table will be the newest addition to the room shortly but the room has already gone through many drastic changes in the past according to Mr. Leff, a teacher and alumni of Uni. “The biggest thing I noticed when I came back was that it was a Junior-Senior lounge as opposed to a Freshman through Senior lounge,” said Leff.
Leff also mentioned that as a teacher, he tries not to go in the lounge, even if there’s a loud ruckus since he feels that it’s a space specifically dedicated for students. Bergandine also corroborated Leff’s feelings, mentioning that he doesn’t spend much time near the lounge “for a variety of reasons.”
Along with our open lockers, Leff says the lounge is another symbol of freedom at Uni. The room has become somewhat of a sacred place for students as well as an important part of Uni’s student culture and will continue to grow and change as new students enter the lounge. Uni is a school of a tradition, and the student lounge continues to be a significant, although controversial, part of this school.