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Dorm living: Private bathroom would be nice

For college orientation back in August, 30 freshmen and I were crammed into a sweltering bus to Sequoia National Park in the spirit of making friends in the pristine outdoors.

For three days, I roughed it a tent and ate out of a cheap plastic bowl I bought at Target. It was a grand old time.

Unfortunately, there were no showers at Sequoia. I’m going to guess it’s because the government’s broke. Needless to say, by the third day, I was head-to-toe filthy. The second I got back on campus, I bolted to the showers and experienced a spiritual cleansing.

Here began my love-hate affair with my communal college bathroom.

My first night on campus, a junior nostalgically gushed, “The bathrooms in Lyon are to be cherished.” Compared to the bathrooms in the other dorms, the ones in Lyon are practically palatial. My dorm may lack air conditioning and adequate lighting, but the water pressure is perfect.

It’s a lovely place — two stalls, two showers and two sinks shared by seven people. It’s not a bad ratio. But truth to be told, sharing the bathroom with six other people took some getting used to, especially since two of the six people happened to be boys.

At the beginning of the school year, our section of the floor discussed whether we’d like segregated bathrooms or gender-neutral bathrooms. We were all apathetic about the matter, so we decided to try out gender-neutral bathrooms.

I hate to sound like a prude, but I assumed I would be uncomfortable. I wasn’t bothered to the point of protesting, but it was enough for me to avoid the bathroom for the first week, just in case of…who knows what.

After a while, I learned to stop being passive aggressive about going to the bathroom. I stopped psychoanalyzing how silly I looked flossing when other people were in the room. I put the toilet seat down and it (usually) stayed down. That was that.

I wish I had a scandalous story concerning all this, but I don’t. Showering literally two feet away from a guy I didn’t know last year wasn’t nearly as exciting as I thought it would be.

In retrospect, I was the perpetrator of any possible discomfort regarding the communal bathroom. I was the one who sang off-key to Taylor Swift in the showers, the one who compulsively left bobbi pins around the sink, and the one who locked herself out of her room, clad in a damp towel and shower shoes.

Of course, the boys next door walked by at that exact moment. And yes, it was mildly mortifying. I could go on, but I might make you uncomfortable too.

Despite all my misadventures, the junior was right when she said the Lyon bathrooms were to be cherished. The bathroom is conveniently located right across the hallway, and our wonderful custodian comes to clean it once a week. The tap water doesn’t even taste that bad. It’s great.

That said, if the housing gods are reading this: I’d still like to sign up for a room with a private bath next year, thanks!

Goeun Park graduated from Detroit Lakes High School and attends college in California.