I am a freshman living in a college residence hall that has community bathrooms. And, let me tell you, I hate community bathrooms. Nonetheless, I've gotten pretty used to living with a shared restroom, but I have also experienced some gross situations and struggles.
First, let's start with the showers. Typically, there are two sections to each shower, the section where you put your stuff, and the section with the actual showerhead. These areas are divided by a shower curtain that almost never gets cleaned. Between the petrified conditioner and mystery splotches on this curtain, I always make an effort to avoid touching it whenever I can. I also only touch the very top part when sliding it, in hopes that's where the least amount of people have touched it. Another place I avoid touching at all costs are the walls of the shower. On the unfortunate occasion that my body grazes the wall, I feel like I need to be doused in hand sanitizer from head to toe. I never have to worry about touching my bare feet to the floor, however, thanks to the Old Navy flip flops I call shower shoes. My shower shoes and shower caddy are my best friends these days. Seeing how much hair is in the drain and on the walls is unsettling as well. In the bathroom I am assigned to, there are nine individual showers. On more than a few occasions, I have gone to shower and no one was in the bathroom and once I got into the shower, someone else had entered the bathroom to shower. The common denominator relating all of these instances is the fact that each person felt the need to go into the shower next to mine, even when there were eight other open showers. That is just awkward.
Speaking of unsanitary and rude things I have witnessed other people do in the bathroom, some of the girls on my floor feel the need to blast their music in the shower. And sometimes, multiple girls do this all at once. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this rude to do? Besides playing music, they don't rinse their toothpaste off the sides of the sink. And why do people not wash their hands? So often I see people not wash their hands or only use a pea-sized amount of Bath and Body Works hand sanitizer instead of washing their hands. This is gross! Because of this, I will forever be reluctant to touch the door handle. After all, we are in the middle of a pandemic!
Now onto weird things I've realized about myself while in my floor's community bathroom. First off, I constantly feel like my skincare routine is so inferior to other girls' on my floor. I see these girls using so many expensive-looking items on their face and having perfect skin while I'm in the bathroom. Maybe I should take a page out of their book. Second, whenever I see my RA in the restroom at the same time as me, I get the same feeling that everyone gets when they see their teacher at the grocery store. Lastly, it feels like a chore to go use the bathroom and shower. I don't know if it is because the restroom is far away or if it is public, but it takes so much effort to get up and go to it. If there is one lesson I have learned from using community bathrooms, it is that having a routine is essential. Planning when to shower each day based on my homework and daily activities has really helped me feel like using the shared bathroom is less of a chore.
Depending on if you are currently in a living situation that requires community bathrooms, an upperclassman with their own bathroom, or have never used a community bathroom, I hope this article was relatable, nostalgic, or insightful for you. I would also like to add a thank you to the custodial staff in residence halls, specifically in mine. They truly do a phenomenal job cleaning multiple times a day and keeping up with many college students. This is just what I have observed while living in a new environment and should serve as both a humorous and cautionary tale. The only scares I will be dealing with this Halloween are the horrors of college dorm community bathrooms.