College is full of adjustments — suddenly, you're living with roommates, you have increased responsibility and accountability in classes, and you're sharing a bathroom with 30 other girls, all of whom have different quirks and schedules. But like others before you, you will learn how to adapt, and how to survive a communal bathroom in your college residence hall. (And you thought sharing your bathroom with your little sister was tough.)
I know it sounds like a less than ideal situation — and that's because it is. You will have little to no privacy while living in a residence hall, unless your roommate is out for the night, or you're taking a shower (and even then, there will likely be a line of girls outside waiting for you to finish up so that they can get in after you). Preparing yourself now to adapt to less privacy before school starts is going to set you up for a drama-free year — at least in your bathroom.
Ironically, running into hallmates in the bathroom who you would otherwise never see can set you up with new friendships. Who knows? You may meet your new best friend or study buddy in the middle of flossing your teeth. Regardless, set yourself up for a good year by following these five tips, and I promise that you will survive sharing a college communal bathroom. Your personal hygiene and sanity can thank me later.
1. Always Wear Flip-Flops
Athlete's foot is real! Wear flip-flops when showering, and shoes in general when going into the restroom. Although the floors will usually be mopped weekly, they are breeding with bacteria that you don't want to take to your room, especially into your bed. A basic pair of rubber flip-flops will do you good.
2. Shower During Off-Hours
When I lived in a dorm, the peak time to take a shower was between 6:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. If you wanted to take a shower during that time period, you were stuck waiting in a crazy long line. I always took my showers at night to avoid the rush, when I could have a quiet moment to myself, and nab my favorite shower stall. (Yes, when living in dorms, you will have a favorite shower stall — usually the one that has the best water pressure. )
3. Do Your Part To Keep The Bathroom Clean
Every day, janitorial staff will come in and clean inside the restrooms, usually in the middle of the afternoon when everyone is in class. If you can barely see your own bathroom counter at home because of the mess on top, imagine the mess that accumulates from a residence hall full of women. Do your part, and try to help keep this area clean. This means not leaving toothpaste in the sink, or hair in the shower drain. Proper disposal of pads and tampons also goes a long way.
4. Buy A Robe
You may think that a towel will suffice to get you from the shower to your bedroom. It's only a couple of feet, right? Yep, but then there are the guys from the next hall down who just happen to make a floor visit, or the parents who come up to see their daughter's room. Those moments can turn awkward — if not downright uncomfortable — real quick.
5. Keep It All In Perspective
Life for the next nine months is going to be different. Adjustments to the way you have gone about doing certain things will have to be made. But that's life. Your hallmates have all been raised differently from you, and encountering this is one of the best things you will experience in college. Just know that this isn't forever.