Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels

Ah yes, suite style bathrooms are considered to be the bee’s knees of college living, second only to a personal bathroom.  However, it isn’t without its share of issues.  In fact, sometimes you’ll wish you had a hall-style bathroom, but at the end of the day the close connection you build with your suite mates trumps all the bass of sharing a bathroom with them.

Before we get started, however, a distinction must be made.  At most colleges, residence halls operate under two systems: Hall-Style and Suite-Style.   Hall-style are your typical college movie style dorms.  Essentially, you’ll have you regular dorm room along with everyone else on the hall; except you will have a sink and medicine cabinet installed in the room.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s awesome, but here is the drawback.  You share one bathroom with about 20-25 other people depending on the size of your hall (which means you have to have expert shower timing).  On the plus side, a professional cleaning staff will clean the hall bathroom daily.  Now, Suite style is different.  You share a bathroom with your roommate, and your two next door neighbors.  However, there is no professional cleaning staff, it is instead up to the individual student to clean it.  That brings me to my first point:

1. Cleaning a Shared Bathroom.

If you are a neat-freak, like myself, then this should be smooth sailing, just clean whenever the mood suits you.  However, its a mountain of a task to clean an entire bathroom by yourself weekly.  With that said, you have six extra sets of hands to help you out.  Unfortunately, the eagerness of your roommate and suite mates is almost minimal.  BUT, if you can convince them to join you on this cleaning adventure then you are in the clear.  Also, a bit of caution.  When cleaning the bathroom with your suite mates make sure that you are using the same type of chemicals.  Why is this important you ask?  On my first outing cleaning with one of my suite mates we accidentally mixed two different chemicals and created ammonia, which isn’t by any means a good thing.

2. Privacy.

Simply put, there is none. The bathroom is a gateway into both of the rooms and often times the locks on the door don’t work or can be easily picked.  That being said, you are going to get to know your suite mates especially well if you are given a suite your freshmen year. In fact, if you find yourself ever wanting to hangout with someone or meet a new friend, just walk through the bathroom door and strike up a conversation with whoever is in there.  Another great benefit is that you have extra storage space and double of everything you have in your room.  So if you have super generous suite mates, you all can share refrigerators and microwaves, or they’ll let you borrow a chair if they can come watch the game on your TV.

3. Sharing the Actual Bathroom:  This is where things get a bit tricky.  Most suite style bathrooms  have at least two sinks and one shower.  The sink is not the major issue, however the shower is.  In the first few weeks you’ll find yourself possibly being last in line for the shower, but as time goes on and you all learn each others schedules, showering will be a lot more efficient.  My personal recommendation is to hold a meeting with your roommate and suite mates and write out a tentative schedule for classes and also design a cleaning schedule to make the experience a lot more painless.

Suite style bathrooms carry with them a certain amount of work that makes the trade off with hall style bathrooms more equivalent.  However, in my opinion there are way more pros than cons on the matter and the friendships that blossom out of sharing a bathroom are lifelong.

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the author

Carlton Smith is a junior at the College of William and Mary currently majoring in Government. He loves to sing and dance and is involved with one of his school's A Cappella groups known as DoubleTake. He has served as the Class of 2015's Vice President for the past three years.

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