Picture this: it’s been a long day, filled with class assignments, tests, and studying. You’ve spent hours bent over a computer screen, eyes bleary and back stiff. You feel tired and overwhelmed, and, with night approaching, you decide that a warm shower is the best thing at the moment.
You make your way to the bathroom, shut all your doors, turn on the water, and step in. The warmth eases your tired bones, and the steam soothes all chills. It’s such a contrast to the stresses of the day that you find yourself standing under the water longer than normal, but you tell yourself it’s fine. A long shower for a long day.
But soon, you’ve lost track of time. The steam becomes stifling rather than soothing. The water is hotter than you thought, and no matter how much you turn the knob to the cool side, it never seems to get better.
You’re feeling dizzy, the air is too thick to breathe properly, so you stick your head out, desperately searching for an air vent to make things better. Only there’s no such thing in this bathroom, and the air only gets worse with each passing second.
The world suddenly tilts, and you’re left grasping at the walls to regain balance. Frantic, you do everything you can to finish the shower before you pass out. But those precious seconds are dwindling. Your vision dances with spots. You can’t stand up straight. And as you sink to the floor, the only thought left is how difficult breathing in a bathroom without a vent is.
For many of the ladies that live in the New Women’s East and West dorms, myself included, the above scenario isn’t dramatized. It happened to me in my freshman year. It happened again after living in West this year. It happened to suitemates and friends. And unless you fancy showering with all doors leading to the bathroom wide open, it’s almost inevitable.
Junior Grace Morgan says, “I can’t shower in complete privacy because the doors have to be open for me to breathe. I get really dizzy.”
Our bathrooms in East and West are small. The shower itself is about two and a half feet by two feet, three inches. The area outside of the shower is about two feet, nine inches by three feet, eight inches, marked by two doors that each lead to the respective rooms of the girls who share the bathroom.
Now, this isn’t a knock against the size of the bathroom; that cannot be helped. But given the small area, a hot shower means steam easily fills the bathroom before becoming trapped with no means of escape. It suffocates the space, and without a vent, it can make whoever showers desperately dizzy from lack of air.
Senior Marquisha Mathis says, “I fell out of the shower one time because it was so hot. I woke up, and I was on the floor. I don’t even remember falling, so there definitely needs to be a vent.”
Some might say that an easy solution is to leave the doors open while one showers. I’m lucky to be close enough with my roommate and suitemates that I can do that without feeling uncomfortable, but not everyone lives that same reality. Some simply value their privacy too much to leave the doors open, so they risk fainting instead.
Without a vent, showering in such a small space becomes a taxing effort that veers into dangerous territory. Dizziness can make a person stumble, and since bathrooms are notorious places to lose one’s footing, a person could easily fall and hit their head. These are accidents that can be avoided with the implementation of an air vent, and I’m not the only person who feels this way.
Junior Maddie Messick says, “A shower is a place to feel relaxed, not stressed about passing out. Our showers need a vent.”
We shouldn’t have to grapple with this when an air vent in the bathroom could help the problem. Without it, showering in such a small space poses a danger to students’ well-being.