It was the first day of the week of Golden Bear Orientation, or GBO. I woke up extra early in the morning, anticipating a long line for the showers in the dorm bathrooms. I followed this ritual throughout GBO week, and I was relieved to skip all of the rush and bustle that comes with multiple people getting ready at once. As the days passed, to my utter surprise I realized that it didn’t matter what time I showered in the morning, because at that time, I was the sole user of the shower stalls.
I have grown accustomed to starting each day with an early morning shower. Back home, I would wake up early to shower, have a light breakfast and catch the bus to school. My parents did the same before leaving for work. The weekends were no different, except that we’d all wake up much later. It was the same routine with my extended family as well. When I would visit India every year to spend time with relatives, there’d always be a dispute over who would shower first.
In fact, before my first semester at UC Berkeley, my biggest worry about staying in the dorms was scrambling to find an open shower stall in the morning. A couple days after moving in, it dawned on me how vastly different everyone’s showering ritual is.
While I was in the habit of showering in the mornings, my peers were all for showering at night before going to bed. I’ve had multiple fiery debates with my friends over showering at night compared to showering in the morning. For me personally, showering is what truly wakes me up and sets the tone for the rest of the day. A quick five-minute shower is all I need to feel refreshed and ready to take on the day. While I cannot imagine a productive morning without showering, all groggy from just waking up, my friends question my decision of going to sleep without showering away the grime and sweat of the day. To this, I argue that waiting seven (more or less) hours before eventually showering in the morning achieves the same end result, but with the added bonus of feeling energized.
One of the main motivations for the night shower group is the opportunity to have longer, more relaxed showers that allow people to unwind before bed. For some, quick morning showers just don’t do that for them. It’s crazy how just a discrepancy in timing for showering can determine whether certain people feel calm or invigorated.
The differences don’t stop there, however. I’ve always been one to shower in silence or occasionally hum a tune or two if I’m in a particularly good mood. While singing or listening to music in the shower is fairly common, I was flabbergasted to hear someone listening to a podcast in the next stall. This sheds light on how different people view the activity. I like to be left alone with my thoughts while others might want to drown out the world with music. And then there are some who take the opportunity to listen to interesting podcasts and stay entertained.
Who would have thought that something as simple as showering could mean so many different things for different people!
Contact Nandita Radhakrishnan at [email protected].