The Door Less Traveled


Jakob Yulo , Staff Writer

Paper Lion staff writer investigates an FHS doorway mystery.

On December 7th, 2022, during the transition between periods three and four, I made an analytical observation of one of the most mundane things in the school — doors. More specifically, the set of three doors which correspond to the 130s wing. This set of doors are connected by the long hallway right next to the bus lot, which allows students to go back and forth between classes without needing to go through the hassle that is the hallway cluster near the library. The catch for this shortcut is simple: the outdoors. And during the cold December, most students find themselves in a strange predicament when going through these sets of doors: traffic. 

Traffic is common in a school full of students — but this specific circumstance of traffic produced an interesting observation. On December 7th, nine people went through the left door; four people went through the middle door; and 73 people went through the right door. That is almost an 85% preference to one specific door! Why is this door the favorite amongst the others? Well, someone needs to answer that question with a series of context clues from observing this specific event — and I am that someone who is going to do so.

First, it depends on which way you’re going. If you are going outside, you have the three doors at your disposal; but if you are going inside, you only have one door to go through. This is because only one door is unlocked from the outside, and unless you have students from the other side opening up the other doors for you, you’re going to have to pick that door. 

Secondly, it depends on the person in front of you. If that person is walking towards a specific door — which is most likely the one that’s unlocked — then it is more likely that you will go through that same door. This is called the bandwagon effect, which is when you do something because another person is doing it regardless of what you would do otherwise. 

And finally, it depends on your bias. Yes, even though I just mentioned the bandwagon effect, the hand you favor more in activities is also a major factor in which door you pick. You drive on the right side of the road. You walk on the right side of the hallway. According to Caroline Spry from La Trobe University, “Over 90% of people are right handed,”  preferring their right hand for the more important tasks, and that includes your decision making. What you decide is right is based on what direction you’re facing, which is why people, even when going outside where they have more doors to their disposal, still pick the right door.

Is there a solution to this situation? Who knows. Maybe a different door could be unlocked to allow students to pass through faster. Perhaps doors could be abolished all together. Inventing teleportation would be a good substitute, too. But for now, make sure you bring your coat. 

* Photo by Madison Sosnowski