Spotted: A Wild Day Student in its Natural Habitat

Eric Frankel ’23 in Features | April 1, 2022

The migration begins early in the morning. Coming out of their cars, day students slink onto the roads of Lawrenceville’s campus before intermingling with the boarding population. After their days end, they stalk back to far-off parking lots to go home for another night of rest. The Day Student is a peculiar creature, and hopefully, after reading this article you too can either understand them or be a better one yourself! 

Day students have plenty of easy identifiers, the most glaring being the backpacks. A good day student will have one of everything, and I mean everything. In my cavernous North Face bag I have three books for leisure (that I haven’t touched in weeks), a tote bag, a water bottle, four highlighters, a mini bottle of bubbles, cinnamon ltoids, athletic tape, Lactaid®, and three extra covid tests. If you stay ready, you don't have to get ready. In addition to the backpack, the wild day student benefits greatly from driving a car, which they can use to store more things like raincoats, old homework, and putrid rotting sports equipment that they’re too lazy to take into their homes and clean. As a day student driver myself, I make it my responsibility to make my car the forefront of my personality. Making keychains visible, loud, and swinging them as you walk creates maximum effect. Scientists now believe the sound of jangling keys acts like a mating call to certain day students. Working it into conversation is equally as important, “oh—driving here in this weather?” “I think I left some starbucks in MY CAR,” “sorry I’m late—traffic was terrible.” Driving to and from campus on one's own time allows for the mighty luxury of the natural phenomenon known as ‘second dinner’. While Abbott and Irwin’s cuisine can get us through the day, nothing compares to the catharsis of munching, like an animal, on leftovers in the kitchen: backpack and shoes still on, fridge door ajar. A day at Lawrenceville just makes homemade day-old pasta so delectable. 

Beware though new day students, as some of us feel ashamed and attempt to camouflage ourselves into the boarder population. This survival tactic costs much—mostly hours of privacy. As day students have no place on campus with complete privacy, they spend the day in the wild some predator around every corner. I’ve heard tales of students remaining on campus into the deep dark hours of late study hall. Tired parents picking up energetic children at 11:00PM every night of the week: Oh the humanity! I used to dread the phrase ‘day student energy’ and cast it off like the plague (or a covid test spit funnel), but I’ve come to embrace it. 

I am a day student! I have home friends whom I get to see often, I get to have family dinners frequently, I’m not bound by the same rules of check-in (that is, if I’m not on campus), and who cares if I must carry three to four different bags for all my school work and athletic gear, because I get to light candles in my room. I may never know the happenings of my house after hours, and day student FOMO is real, but I love my migrational existence. Lawrenceville can be a bit ~much~ from time to time; sometimes hiding in a cave 15 minutes away is the best medicine.