Exchanging the privacy of your bathroom at home for a community style bathroom in your college dorm is a big change. All the privacy from your home is suddenly gone and now you’re stuck showering with 4-5 other people (don’t worry there are stalls and curtains, but still).
I was lucky enough to have stayed on a college campus for a few weeks every summer so I’m used to living with that type of environment, but after talking to a few other incoming freshmen I realized that a lot of people were nervous about using a community style bathroom. So here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years:
1. Buy a shower caddy.
You’ve probably already heard this one before/already bought one, but I figured I’d better mention it anyway. You won’t have the hands to carry everything you need for a shower without this and it’s nice to have all your bathroom supplies in one thing so you can just pick it up and go whenever you have to shower.
2. Cover yourself.
The easiest way to do this is to buy a robe because I guarantee that you won’t want to change in the bathroom after your shower. You are going to want to go to your room for at least a little more privacy, if anything. Now, I’m a very self conscious person so this was probably the thing I was worried about the most, but I got into a routine where I got into a shower stall, undressed inside there, took my shower and then put my robe on with a towel on underneath my robe as well just for precaution, then I went back to my room to actually get dressed.
3. Cover your feet.
This is also probably something you’ve heard a million times when people talk about using a community bathroom in college so I won’t dwell on it too much, but yes, please cover your feet. You never know what germs are on the ground. Flip flops are your best option.
4. Decide which time works best for you.
Set up a routine of when you’re going to use the showers. Eventually everyone will fall into a routine so you will probably shower with the same people around the same time almost every day by the end of the school year. This was also something I was worried about so I ended up getting up earlier than everyone else, just so I could shower alone or with only 1 other person. Everyone thought I was crazy for getting up way earlier then I needed to be just to shower but it worked best for me and it never bothered me. So if you want to shower when the bathroom is at its emptiest, start paying attention to the busiest times. It may take a week or two to find that perfect time where the showers are almost dead, but eventually you will get there.
5. If you don’t have to do it in the bathroom, don’t.
The bathrooms are busy enough as it is so don’t get in the way of someone else's shower time when you don’t have to. For example, changing clothes after showering. The floor will be wet and the stall will be cramped, so unless you want your pants to have water from the floor of the shower on them, you should probably get dressed in your room. If you don’t feel comfortable changing in front of your roommate, tell them. You can always have them turn around when you are changing. I always just put my clothes on underneath my towel until I absolutely had to take it off. My roommate would just yell out “I’m changing!” and that was my hint to look away. As I’ve mentioned, you will fall into a routine about this stuff eventually.
6. Don’t take forever.
I’m assuming most of us haven’t really kept track of time when we showered at home because what was the rush? The rush this time is that there will be others who also need to shower, so don’t take a half hour shower if you can help it.
7. It will get better.
The whole system may be intimidating at first. You will feel awkward and exposed at points. But it will get better. You will get used to it and you won’t think twice about it by the end of first semester (TBH my friend was in a program at her college the summer between her senior and freshman year and she used the suite style bathrooms, where there's two dorms, with two people in each dorm, and they share a single bathroom. As in a single toilet and shower between them, and she HATED it. She is actually looking forward to moving the the community style bathrooms when she officially starts her freshman year this fall).
So don’t stress about something like this, and get excited because you’re moving to college soon!