Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

The Pros and Cons of Communal Bathrooms

Let’s face it; freshman housing isn’t always the easiest. Between your less-than-stellar roommate, your RA who lives to write you up, and your possible isolation on Newton campus, you’ve got it pretty tough. But what’s the worst part of the freshman-living sitch? Communal. Bathrooms. Before you left for college, you made sure to pack all of your bathroom needs in your new handy-dandy shower caddy. You organized your shampoo, razor, body wash, and toothbrush in it perfectly. You have mentally prepared to share toilets with over thirty strangers. You are trying to come to terms with the fact that you have to walk multiple yards back to your room after a shower in your towel, risking your dignity every time you make the trek.

As a senior, I would like to state that I often miss the communal bathroom. Not only did I make friends there (don’t give me that look, you know it’s true), but I also appreciated not having to clean my own bathroom. I hope this isn’t weird, but some of my fondest memories from freshmen year took place in the communal bathroom. Musical showers? Applying makeup before going out (and by that I mean lurking in the mods)? Complaining with my floormates about the lack of paper towels? Precious memories that I will treasure forever. The single-bathroom suite life is nice in terms of privacy, but it certainly has its drawbacks. Let us take a few moments to analyze the pros and cons of communal bathrooms at BC to appreciate what we’ve got and what we will have in the future.



1.     No cleaning. You should relish the days when it’s not your responsibility to clean your own bathroom. There’s no need to buy cleaning supplies! I so miss the days when I was met with a clean bathroom each morning, taken care of by BC’s wonderful maintenance staff. There is no joy like that of washing your hands atop a clean counter.

2.     Not buying toilet paper, paper towels, or soap. You save a good chunk of money when you don’t have to buy paper products and soap for your bathroom. Living in a quad, my roommates and I go through toilet paper like it’s going out of style. We are constantly aware of when we need a refill. How nice is it to never have to worry about the availability of toilet paper? Yes, sometimes you get unlucky and end up in the stall with no TP (a tragedy, I know); however, most of the time, stalls are well stocked. The same goes for soap and paper towels.

3.     Rarely a wait for a toilet or shower. When your bathroom has 4-8 showers and toilets, odds are good that you’ll get one of them immediately. But when you’re a room of 4 girls with one shower and one toilet? Not so much. We have no choice but to wait due to our lack of options. You lucky freshmen and sophomores have a bevy of showers and toilets to choose from. No waiting for you!

4.     Bonding With Floor Mates. I know that at Orientation they tell you that you’ll make friends in the bathroom and you’re thinking to yourself, ‘WTF?’ But it’s true! When you’re putting on your makeup and brushing your teeth next to the same strangers everyday, you’re bound to become friends eventually. The shared bathroom situation can be awkward, so befriend one another to decrease the awkwardness as much as you can. Soon enough, the bathroom will become a social meeting place.

5.     Musical Showers. When my best friends and I used to shower at the same time, one of us often brought speakers into the bathroom so that we could jam while getting clean. There’s nothing more fun (honestly) than singing and dancing in the shower. Tip: play “Singing in the Shower” while partaking in this activity.

6.     Good Lighting. Communal bathrooms are generally well lit and have windows, which makes for a great makeup application atmosphere. The light in our single bathrooms is not flattering and generally lacking brightness. They also have a yellow tint to them, which really doesn’t flatter anyone.

7.     Windows In The Bathroom. Let’s face it; bathrooms get smelly and stuffy and gross sometimes. Between girls spraying hairspray all over the place, applying perfume, and creating steam in the showers, the bathrooms can get stuffy pretty quickly. How can you easily solve that problem? Open the windows! You HAVE them! We don’t! USE THEM! IF ONLY FOR THE SAKE OF SENIORS WHO AREN’T SO LUCKY! Not only do windows help strong odors to escape, but they also let fresh air and natural light into the bathroom. Embrace the window!



1.     Dirtiness. As clean as you try to be, there will always be that girl (or two) who doesn’t care about the other girls on her floor. She lets her makeup fall onto the countertop and doesn’t clean it up. She leaves her hair on the floor. Warning: these girls do not become cleaner as they get older. As often as the maintenance crew visits your bathroom, it seems like her dirtiness trumps their cleanliness.

2.     Lack of Privacy. One of the great things about living in a suite is bathroom privacy. There’s a door that you can close and lock; unlike suites, communal bathrooms lack privacy. I won’t delve into the details, but sometimes you just want alone time in the bathroom. This is something that you have to relinquish your freshmen year. Don’t worry; you’ll have privacy again eventually.

3.     Limited Outlets. Come Friday and Saturday night, everyone and their mother are in the bathroom primping and priming. Half of your floor is blowing out their hair, thus bogarting every available outlet. You’re forced to wait or seek refuge in your room where the lighting is mediocre and you’re straightening out your hair while sitting on the floor.

4.     Hair. Hair. Hair. I’m not sure how we’re not all bald yet with the amount of hair that falls out of our heads in the shower and throughout the day. Hair always finds its way into all the crevices of the bathroom, no matter how recently it was cleaned. Unfortunately, this issue affects communal bathrooms and suite bathrooms alike. Get used to it.

5.     Shower Shoes. Wearing shoes in the shower is not fun and feels silly. But, it’s a necessity when stepping into the same showers as thirty to forty other people. Not to worry; suite life does not require shower shoes. The misery will be over soon.

6.     Towel In The Hallways. You risk your dignity and nudity each time you walk back to your room. You’ve had nightmares about the day that your towel falls down in front of your entire floor. How to solve this problem? A robe! Tie it tightly around your waist and you’re protected from potential mishaps.

7.     Different Levels of Comfort. Every floor has that girl who is really, really comfortable being naked. She strolls about the bathroom like she’s the only one there. Solution? Try to not let it get to you. And if it does, say something to her or your RA. Few of us are used to sharing bathrooms with dozens of people when we arrive at college and have yet to learn about boundaries.

8.     That One Person Who Is Always In The Bathroom. You know who I’m talking about; that girl who takes forever and a day to apply her makeup and do her hair; the one who is never in a rush; the one who rips away any chance of privacy that you hoped for. Why is she always in the bathroom? The world may never know.


PHOTO SOURCE: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/405183297696804814/

Gabby is a senior at Boston College studying Marketing. She is a writer and a publicity team member for HerCampus BC. On campus, she is a Lead Heath Coach through the Office of Health promotion. She is also the Health and Wellness Coordinator for the Women In Business group. Her interests include nutrition, fitness, peanut butter, and Justin Timberlake. She studied in Sevilla, Spain for the 2014 Spring semester and is excited to return to her beloved Boston to finish off her Bean Town checklist before graduation!
Similar Reads👯‍♀️