Hello! My name is Alejandra (Ali) Gatas Johnson and I am your Dorms Declassified: Brown Survival Guide blogger. Living in a dorm with a roommate was one of the things that I was most excited but also nervous about for college. This blog is to help ease the concern and provide insight on residential life at Brown.
So, the other day I was talking with some of my friends about the housing lottery and which dorms were on their top list. We quickly got into a conversation about bathrooms: which dorms had the best bathrooms, bathroom etiquette, cleanliness, etc. We ultimately started debating whether private, semi-private, or communal dorm bathrooms were better … I know riveting conversation. But in all honesty, it is important to know where you personally stand on the issue. Bathrooms are a large part of the dorm experience.
I am team communal bathrooms. I understand that all bathroom forms have drawbacks and positive aspects, but I am partial to the no fuss communal bathrooms. I feel like communal bathrooms have a bad rep. People recoil at the idea of sharing a bathroom with their hallmates. Frankly, much of this bad press is unnecessary and plagued by exaggerated media representation and horror stories.
Here is why I advocate for the communal bathrooms:
- You don’t have to clean the bathrooms. Brown Facilities does a great job of keeping our public spaces clean. I struggle to do my own laundry, much less clean my own bathroom. I know that if I were to have a private bathroom (like they do in the suites), I would be living in a perpetual state of filth because I wouldn’t clean the bathroom like I should.
- There is anonymity. When you are sharing the bathroom with your floor, there are more suspects as to who smelled up the bathroom.
- There are multiple stalls and showers. When you have a private/semi-private bathroom you have to take turns on using the bathroom. Granted everyone’s schedule is different and I rarely shower at the same time as someone else now, but it is nice to know that no matter what I can shower, brush my teeth, and go to the bathroom when I want without relying on the fact that someone else isn’t using the bathroom.
- The communal bathrooms have privacy. The showers are not simply a bunch of showerheads in a room without any curtains. Brown dorms have shower curtains/stall doors for all showers and toilets. People do have their own space.
- You would still have to wear shower shoes even if you had a private/semi-private bathroom. Brown dorms are old and some germs never wash away (regardless if communal or not).
Because I must be fair, here is my personal list of communal bathroom’s drawbacks:
- People are messier when they don’t have to clean up after themselves.
- You have to carry your bathroom items to and from the bathroom. You have to buy and use a shower caddy.
- You can’t sing in the shower without everyone hearing you.
- Communal bathrooms are less “homey.”
Most of the first-year dorms have communal bathrooms! YAY! I promise it is not a bad thing.
If you have comments or questions about this column or anything related to Brown, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.