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If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of soon-to-be college freshmen, there are probably some things on your mind that you’d rather not talk about. You know you’ll probably share a room with someone. And you know you definitely won’t have a private bathroom. So how are you going to find some occasional privacy? And how are you going to ever get used to using a bathroom that’s not your “home bowl”?
Here is a list of five essentials for surviving the dorm bathroom. Pack these to stay healthy, regular and sane during your first year away from home.
Headphones – Did you know that more than half of Americans bring their cell phones with them into the bathroom? In addition to checking Facebook, playing games and catching up on texts, many are listening to music on their headphones to try to maintain their privacy in the communal bathroom. Try it!
Mini air freshener – Give a quick spritz to freshen the air before and after your visit. My favorite is Poopourri (poopourri.com). It’s so refreshing and will be a big hit in your dorm.
Hand wipes – Some are tempted to skip the bathroom because a stall doesn’t have the proper supplies. Bring along wet wipes so you’re ready for anything, even to wipe down a questionable toilet seat.
Flip flops - Don’t be that kid who braves the bathroom floors and showers barefoot. Many types of bacteria, viruses, and fungi thrive in warm, moist environments like bathrooms and showering areas. Proper footwear can prevent plantar warts (caused by HPV), athlete's foot, and staph and strep infections. Remember: never wear another person's shower shoes, and don't lend out your own.
Good To Go – As you’re learning to transition to the communal bathroom, it would be helpful to take Good To Go, a natural four-day regimen of fiber supplements and gentle laxatives to help you stay regular when you’re in a new setting. Don’t wait until you’re constipated and be forced to rely on a laxative - they’re unpredictable. Diarrhea is bad. Diarrhea in a shared bathroom is really bad!
As a mother and a doctor, I understand much of what you’re going through. Here are a few other useful tips for the college freshman:
Make time for exercise. Nothing is better at naturally relieving stress than regular exercise. Your first few weeks away from home will be full of stress. Make time to move around. Bonus: the gym is a great place to meet new people.
It’s easy to resort to fast food and delivery pizza in college. Which means it’s easy to gain weight! Make the most of your calories by throwing at least one high fiber, low fat meal in the mix each day.
Life is changing fast. Give yourself time to adjust and if you need to, don’t hesitate to talk to your RA or seek out the resources of your college counseling center.
Keep in mind that everyone around you is as overwhelmed as you are. Give it time. Pretty soon college will be your new home away from home.