I can’t get used to going to the bathroom with other people around. How can I keep people from noticing the sound of me farting or peeing?
Xoxo, Anxious anus
Dear Anxious anus,
Due to the frequency of these bathroom related questions, I can say that Vassar students are having a bathroom crisis. I really do not blame any of you for confiding in me for a bit of loo advice. Neither Vassar, nor any of the other colleges we toured, warned us that we would develop serious digestive issues because we cannot go to the bathroom in front of our peers. If I would have known, I would have asked for a pamphlet on how to train my shy bladder, or as you described it best, my anxious anus.
Before dorm living, I thought I would have to relive my most embarrassing moment of having explosive diarrhea at a public bathroom where all the stalls were full. It’s one thing to be vulnerable in front of strangers, but to be among peers takes vulnerability to a whole different level.
Orientation week was not easy at all. How do you share with a group of strangers that you have a colon? It’s not like sharing your hometown or your hobbies, but it eventually catches up with you during your first post-seafood-at-the-Deece crisis. I can tell you that it is not you who decides when to share with your mates that you do, in fact, poop. Perhaps it is best to let your colon do all the talking. Admittedly, this is not an easy step to take. Alternatively, you can do what my friend did to buy time before taking such a huge step. So, this friend of mine always went to the bathroom in the Jewett basement to avoid people finding out her secret that she pooped at least once a day. I told her she shouldn’t be ashamed of that and that it was a sign of a healthy digestive tract.
Still, even if you try to hide it, evidence of going to the toilet is kinda hard to hide (As it’s obvious by how much Vassar students spend on bleach). If you do what my friend did, I think it will buy you time to warm up to the people living on your floor, enough to share with them that you go to the bathroom. It’s quite a difficult conversation, but you just have to get over the initial awkwardness.
Eventually you will be an upperclassman and you will be living in a TH, TA or SoCo. There you only have to tell a few people that you go to the bathroom. The silver lining in all of this is that they will not be in the bathroom with you when you go, so you can take as long as you want! It does get better. I promise.
Avid fiber eater,