“You’ll get used to it,” they say. “It’s really not that awkward,” they say. Well, it’s been a semester and a half, and we’re still not convinced.
Whether or not you know everyone on your floor or hallway, bathroom encounters are always awkward. You sometimes make side-eye contact with that one girl three doors down from you as you hurry to brush your teeth or fix your hair. Other times, you try to pretend that you’re alone in the bathroom and no one can see you. Bathrooms are supposed to be sanctuaries, and college life has ripped that away from us.
We don’t mean to scare new freshmen, but the residential hall bathrooms here at UC Berkeley (like at most other schools) are a disaster. They’re often crowded, with some amassing lines at certain times of day when it’s recommended that you avoid the bathrooms. What happened to showering or pooping whenever you wanted to? Some of us remember that before we came to UC Berkeley, we heard horror stories of people not flushing, puke in the showers after drunken shenanigans in the frats and general uncleanliness. They’re mainly true.
We’ll say it. During your time in the dorms, you’re probably going to find pee on a toilet seat or two (people, learn to aim!) and toilet paper strewn around the stalls. You might even spot a random guy’s used underwear hanging from one of the shower curtain rods. Lack of ventilation and hot, steamy showers might even cause spores of mold to pop up. Fun! You never really know how gross college students are until you’ve walked into a shared bathroom.
Sure, lots of students say that you eventually ignore the fact that there’s a dude hacking up phlegm next to you as you wash your hands (not to mention the fact that there’s always water everywhere). And yeah, there are some people who can rock just a towel, but they’re rare creatures. It’s real hard.
If you’re a nervous defecator, whoo-boy, the shared bathrooms are not for you. Especially if you’re in the units — the flimsy stalls aren’t going to hold in those grunts, plops and farts, no way! And they won’t hold in anyone else’s either. It takes real guts to just let everything loose while the bathrooms are packed full of unsuspecting students. We often resort to using the select few acceptable bathrooms on campus to relieve ourselves.
The same applies for introverted students who haven’t made an effort to meet their floor or hall. If you’ve lived your whole life without being put into stressful social situations, it can be difficult to muster up the courage to accidentally walk in on two students having intercourse on the sinks.
Our hot tip to you freshmen is to try to get the mini-suites if you can and to never ever ever forget those shower shoes. Clog out.