Sharing a Bathroom in College

The bathroom: a place where most people prefer privacy, cleanliness, and peace. If you’re used to tranquility in the bathroom and are new to the college scene, you may be in for a rude awakening.

While sharing a bathroom goes with the territory of dorm living, there are tips to keep your sanity (and your privacy). Learning how to share a bathroom will allow you to focus on the bigger business of your classes, homework, and social activities.

1. Timing is everything. If you prefer total privacy in the bathroom, there are generally three options: early in the morning, mid-day when people are in class, and late at night. Showering in the afternoon has the added advantage of being cleaner since the college cleaning service most likely comes in just after the morning rush.

2. Keep it simple. If your schedule dictates that you spend time in the bathroom along with everyone else, it’s best to keep your routine simple. Organize all bathroom products in one place like a plastic shower caddy. Some college bathrooms have lockers for you to store products and towels, etc. You may want to keep an extra towel in your locker, as college students are known for pranks like stealing your towel while you’re in the shower.

3. Clean up after yourself. To the extent that you clean up your own messes, the bathroom will be that much cleaner. And you can set an example for your fellow students by wiping water off the counter and hanging up your towels.

4. Minimize conversation about sensitive topics in the bathroom. It may feel natural to gossip or to discuss confidential information with your dorm mate when you’re getting ready in the bathroom. Unless you want that information to be broadcast across campus, it’s best to discuss private topics in private locations.

5. Do part of your bathroom routine in your dorm room. You may find it’s more relaxing and private to dry your hair or apply makeup in your dorm room. This is really only an option if your roommate has the same schedule and is doing other things in the room (not sleeping).

6. Be gracious. In the bathroom (like anywhere else), it’s important to take your turn when waiting for a shower or a sink. Don’t monopolize the counter or mirror space, and don’t insist on talking with people if they don’t want to. Some people are not morning people and don’t care to chat in the bathroom. If someone acts cold toward you in the bathroom, chalk it up to this person needing privacy and not wanting to be approached while doing their business.

Sharing a bathroom in college may help prepare you to share a bathroom with your future mate and children. While it may not be the cleanest or most private experience you’ll ever have, sharing a bathroom helps to build character as you learn how to share space and respect personal boundaries.