MIT Admissions

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Snively '11

Mar 2, 2009

Dorm Bathrooms

Posted in: Life & Culture

Every so often I am begged to write a blog entry about a specific subject. Begged. We're talking knees, clasped hands, tears, and offers of first borns. The topic in question? Bathrooms.

Apparently bathrooms are a hot topic among applying students. I think back and I realize that I've gotten asked about bathrooms before and during most of my dorm tours I end up having to explain how bathrooms work here, so I guess I could give you a bathroom primer.

Now, I only live in one dorm, so I can't speak for all the dorm bathrooms (which I'll leave to blog readers to describe in the comments), but I've had some experience with the bathrooms of the other dorms and have heard some stories, so I'll just do the best I can.

Burton-Conner, my dorm, has bathrooms. Yay! We don't have to use the bucket! First, the biggies:

1) The bathrooms are coed
2) The bathrooms do not have locks on them
3) Yes, two people may very well be showering in the same bathroom at the same time
4) Nobody cares

That's right guys, if you get into MIT there's a high likelihood that you'll get to stand 6 inches away from a naked senior on just your first or second day here! That goes for you too ladies, naked guys standing just 6 inches away! Oo la la!

There's a slight caveat though.

Those 6 inches are tiled, so unless you've got x-ray vision or some crazy quantum tunneling ability, those 6 inches might as well be 6 miles.

But maybe talking about this is a little abrupt, let's start from the beginning. In Burton-Conner there are suites of people that live together, kind of like mini-apartments. The suite I'm sitting in right now houses 8 people, the largest suite on our floor. It is comprised of both males and females (in fact, only one dorm at MIT is single sex, all the rest are coed) and we get along swimmingly. In addition to our suites there are several others, one of which is single sex.

Dorms = coed.
Floors = coed.
Suites = potentially single sex, if you manage to do rooming right (but we'll save that for a later entry).

There are 7 bedrooms, one kitchen, a lounge, and two bathrooms per suite. Each bathroom is normally left open, indicating that nobody is using it.

Upon entering a bathroom you are usually faced with one of three things, either sinks, showers, or a toilet. Starting with sinks . . .

This particular bathroom has two sinks and a little shelf above it. The shelf is a convenient place for the necessities: gel, deodorant, toothbrushes, razors, contacts, cologne, lalalalala!

Variations on a theme

As you can see in that last picture, Dorothy is bad at getting out of pictures, and there are additional shelves in each bathroom for more storage.

Next are the actual toilets. Nothing too exciting here, just a typical stall with toilet. As a general rule there is only one toilet per bathroom (at least in Burton-Conner), evidence that my dorm doesn't encourage cooperative bowel relief sessions.

Other dorms? Well . . . .


Several dorms have bathrooms with multiple stalls and are coed as well, but again, nobody cares. It's not like somebody's going to walk in, kick open your stall door, plop down on your lap and start up a conversation.

Next, duh duh duuuuuh, the showers! As I said earlier, there may be multiple showers per bathroom, but they're quite separate.

Then again, there are also bathrooms with just one shower.

There are also some people who are extremely excited about their toothbrushes.

Now, since we're going to have guys and dolls in the same bathrooms we should probably talk about some rules. These rules probably differ from bathroom to bathroom, but these are the rules for our suite.

1) If the door is open, you may enter the bathroom.
2) If the door is closed you MUST knock.
3) If nobody replies, you may enter, cursing the last restroom user for not propping the door open when they were done.
4) If somebody replies, wait patiently for them to be done using the bathroom.
5) If you hear somebody in the shower, knock hard. Generally they will say "come in" and then you can shower too.

That's it, just that simple.

"But college students are slobs, who cleans the bathrooms?"

In Burton-Conner? The cleaning staff! Not so for all the other dorms. I don't know specifics for each one, but I know that in Simmons nobody cleans the bathrooms for you : (

Two ply? Only on special occasions

Fans? Nope, windows!

Foot disease? Probably, always wear flip-flops.

Accidental walk-ins? None that I've heard of.

From my experience, there are so many things at MIT that are important, difficult, and take adjusting to, worrying about bathrooms just isn't that critical. We're grown ups now, just be civil and polite and everybody gets along alright. You may not be used to having to share a bathroom with a girl or a guy, but you'll find that very little changes (except the length of the hair you find in the shower), so don't sweat the small stuff and worry more about, well, anything, more than bathrooms at MIT.

Comments (Closed after 30 days to reduce spam)

Just pulled an all nighter trying to finish my transfer application... And here's the first reward - I'm FIRST :D
And a question. The Transfer deadline is postmark or receipt? It's written that MIT must receive all material, but it's kinda different from freshman. So I'm a bit confused. Which is it?

Posted by: Vytautas on March 2, 2009

Great Insight on the Bathrooms of MIT ! Ha ha...

Posted by: Sharath Chandra on March 2, 2009

in next house, the showers are separated by a decently good wall, and wooden doors (from ceiling to floor) with locks..There are also a decent amount of space inside the shower area for you to change.

shout-out to parents worried about co-ed bathrooms: it is really not a big deal. after all-nighters, and psets that mushes your brain, bathrooms become just a place to clean yourself and you sometimes barely notice the person standing next to you.

Posted by: '12 on March 2, 2009

I live in Simmons and the bathrooms actually do get cleaned for us on occasion, but the reason they are not often cleaned is probably because only three people share each bathroom, so it's pretty easy to keep clean, and clean it yourself if need be.

Since there are only three people to a bathroom, they're usually fairly small, but very manageable.

Cute toothbrush Dorothy, cute.

Posted by: Jeremy '12 on March 2, 2009

Hey! THANX for this man! well people, Bathrooms DO form a very important part of our lives raspberry .So before making a decision, we should surely know whats in store for us, in every possible field! smile


Posted by: Suman Barua on March 2, 2009

EC is about the same, but opposite, 5-ish bathrooms per hall (~40 residents). only one has multiple showers + multiple stalls. 2 have multiple stalls but single shower, 2 are single-occupancy only. Those have locks on them so you can be alll alone. We use one of our multiple occupancy bathrooms as a single-occupancy (can't go in if someone else is in there, even just to pee) and it's kind of annoying but it's based on consensus. Every bedroom has a sink in it.

Posted by: lulu on March 2, 2009

In NW35 (New Ashdown), we have apartments, and there is a maximum of two people per apartment (for the undergraduates; it's three for the graduate students). Each apartment has its own bathroom (toilet, sink, and shower), so we only have to share a bathroom with one other person. Also, you might get lucky and get a true single (one bedroom, one kitchen, one bathroom; the doubles are two bedrooms, one kitchen, one bathroom, one living room), in which case you don't have to share the bathroom with anyone! w00t Phoenix Group!

Posted by: Connie '12 on March 2, 2009

I think it's kinda cute ,hmm,........not cute, more like home-ly, living together as one big huge family, looking out for each other , cooking and stuff.........heart warming..-sniff-..

Can't wait to be there...I hope I get in Burton Conner or exactly are the freshman dorms decided?

No offence, but Simmons makes me claustrophobic....the small windows...more like an isolation cell. Are the rooms really that small?

But I guess Baker's got the best view of the Charles river?

Posted by: jimmy '13 on March 2, 2009

I see a pretty awesome Gary Larson cartoon taped to one of the walls!

Nice post Snively!

Posted by: Ooh. Blog. on March 2, 2009

When people express disbelief about the coed bathrooms, I like to ask them: who uses your bathroom at home? For a large percentage of people, it's "me, mom and dad" or "me, mom, and brother," or "me, dad, and sister" or whatever. Ta-da. Most of you already USE coed bathrooms. BC's bathrooms are used basically the same way as your bathroom at home, except maybe you wouldn't brush your teeth at the same time someone else was showering. But that's about it.

Also, every suite I've ever lived in has basically had the same rules about bathroom use that Snively mentioned in this post.

Posted by: Laura on March 2, 2009

well everyone is sane and polite and problem, as long as i get to MIT.
tip: hey if you don't get accepted say to others you wouldn't go cause the bathrooms were coed...wink

Posted by: sepideh on March 2, 2009

The bathrooms at New are pretty much like your ones at home. The sinks are in the open, but the toilets/showers are behind lockable, normal doors. I think it's usually about 5ish people per bathroom.

Posted by: 0 on March 2, 2009

jimmy '13: I live in Simmons and have twelve windows in my room, does that help? My friends who have a corner room have 24 1/2.

Posted by: '12 on March 2, 2009

The bathrooms in Senior House are coed and single-occupancy. Each one has a toilet, sink, and shower, and with a couple of exceptions (e.g., bathrooms with locked showers and toilets but open sinks), they're all behind lockable doors.

Posted by: Keri on March 2, 2009

Also, I've never worn flip-flops in the shower. Some people think I'm gross. I've never gotten anything like athlete's foot, though, and until I do, I'll keep showering shoeless.

Posted by: Keri on March 2, 2009


Posted by: Abdel-karim on March 2, 2009


Posted by: Abdel-karim on March 2, 2009

opss. . sorry about the caps

Posted by: 0 on March 2, 2009

Nice post, Snively. Wheeeeee. lol.

Posted by: Sheila '13 on March 2, 2009

How do you shower with a flip-flop on. I mean I can see myself brushing my teeth while wearing flip-flops but what if I need to clean my feet?

Posted by: Tiffany on March 2, 2009

nice post

When I was reading it, it reminded me of the bathroom scenes from "American Pie-Beta House" XD
I know thats not what your implying but it's just funny thinking about it.

When I visited and stayed at Simmons, and I must say that the bathrooms were reaaalllyyy clean--but very small--usually 2 dorms to a bathroom
and if you get lucky like some people I met, you'll have a bathroom to yourself (1 dorm)
...and when I say smalll...
U walk in, the sink is one step to your left, the toilet is right in front of you, and the bath is 2 steps to your right.

anyways, interesting post Snively ^_^

Posted by: TorffickA on March 2, 2009

I think they'll give it a look but that is if they receive it before they have already made their decisions. Good luck with your application!

Posted by: Hazem on March 2, 2009

i really dont think showering in close quarters is even a moderately important deal. if you are mature enough to go to college, then showering is the least of your worries. personally, as an athlete, i have regularly showered in a stall with four shower heads and no curtains... no big deal. its actually kinda nice because you can have a good little conversation with peers.

Posted by: anon on March 2, 2009

Bathrooms are serious problems. Studying and scratching your skin at the same time seems impossible.

Posted by: T-Bone on March 2, 2009

I mean we must keep ourselves clean!

Posted by: T-Bone on March 2, 2009

To the same end as anon,

2 words:
summer camp.

Posted by: Matt A. on March 2, 2009

Regarding EC -

There are some halls (mine being one of them) that don't have any single-occupancy bathrooms (seperate shower and toilet stalls within the bathrooms, of course, though) or knocking policy... people make it work. If anyone had a major issue, we would change policy. We do have sinks in our rooms, which helps.

Posted by: '12 on March 2, 2009

@ tiffany,

it is weird, and you miss showering without flip-flops, but you find a way around it. like maybe washing one foot first, and then the other one. there is a handle in the bathroom, so you can grasp onto it

Posted by: @ tiffany on March 2, 2009

OMG! This was my primary concern about leaving home for college: the bathrooms! But of course I was always too embarrassed to place a legitimate inquiry. Thanks for the blog Snively!

Posted by: 0 on March 2, 2009

Thanks, Snively for the bathroom post. I was wondering what the bathrooms looked liked.

Posted by: Steph on March 3, 2009

Do all MIT students have the same type of toothbrush? The one the girl is holding up looks very cute.

Posted by: Rediet Tesfaye on March 3, 2009

@ Rediet

i guess .... and yeah Dorothy's brush looks cute!

Posted by: SRV on March 3, 2009

Some suites on Burton side definitely have multiple toilets per bathroom. Just saying...

Posted by: Burtonite on March 3, 2009

Well I was only worried about the cleaning stuff. Thats no problem it seems, cool

Posted by: Huzaifa on March 5, 2009

Nice post Snively..! Loads of VERY important information there..! lol.. No seriously, nice post.. helpful as ever..

And I second torffickA about the Beta-House thing!

Posted by: Dhvanit on March 6, 2009

in the second to last picture, are those condoms on the second shelf? hahahaha so many different kinds...

Posted by: 0 on March 7, 2009

Nice showers!!! smile

Posted by: Alex on March 7, 2009


Posted by: Oo la la! on March 9, 2009

I share a bathroom with one other person [=)] in New (omg a boy). I also never wear flip-flops and occasionally walk around in a towel. *shrug* And it gets cleaned for us.

Posted by: Rachel '12 on March 9, 2009

lol, I love the walrus photo. great post!

Posted by: Megan ('13?) on March 12, 2009

well, thats what you call "A Handbook on for Bathroom users at MIT"

Posted by: DS on March 19, 2009

Comments have been closed.