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Should you keep your toiletries in your dorm room?


An undergraduate at New Jersey's Seton Hall University unpacks her gear for the year. The big question: Where is she going to stick her toiletries?
An undergraduate at New Jersey's Seton Hall University unpacks her gear for the year. The big question: Where is she going to stick her toiletries?
© Noah Addis/Star Ledger/Corbis

Ah, college. What a wonderful time. You're on your own. New friends. New adventures. No nagging parents. Parties and 24-hour pizza delivery. For many, it's a dream come true — until, that is, you walk into your dorm's communal bathroom. Suddenly, you realize life is a series of trade-offs. You must endure the pain (and smell) of the public restroom in order to enjoy your newfound freedom.

Your bathroom at home was comfortable, perhaps inviting. Lavender scents; soft, plush towels; roll upon roll of cushy toilet paper. You could sit or stand in complete privacy. Read a magazine. Take a shower. Comb your locks. Shave your legs. Quiet. Peaceful. Serene, even. Going away to college changes all that. Now you must share a public bathroom with a building full of strangers. Clogged toilets. Soiled paper towels thrown helter-skelter on the floor. Drips of who knows what by the toilet and sink. What's behind door No. 1? You don't want to know.

A dorm restroom (there's no rest about it), just like any other public restroom, is beyond gross. Faucets are fountains of filth. Toilets manufacture more germs than Detroit makes cars. Does flushing help? Get serious. Every time you flush, fetid water brimming with bacteria, mostly from feces, spits back up, landing on the seat, the rim, shoes and toes, toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes, soap and lipstick. Shall we go on? It wouldn't be so bad if all those germs were yours. They're not. They're Julie's and Mike's from down the hall. They're Aasma's and Sandeep's from the floor below, plus a few from that guy's girlfriend who's always hanging out.

Considering what we just told you, do you think it's safe to stash your toothbrush, razors and other toiletries in the dorm bathroom, or is your room a better bet? Before you answer, take a deep breath, hold your nose and read on.


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