Advice for Awkward People

Dear Sarah,

I’m an incoming first-year and I’m anxious about a lot of things, but what really frightens me are certain invasions of privacy that come with group living.

I don’t like the idea of breathing the same air as another person while I poop. Feeling my most vulnerable, skivies around my ankles, and separated by another human at their most vulnerable by a short wall. I can’t plan what kind of noises and smells they’ll be subjected to, and that just makes me feel impolite.

It’s not like I can just stop pooping because I will never stop eating Chipotle, but I don’t know how to get over my fears.

I’ve heard stories about “poop stalemates” where two people try to poop at the same time, both trying to wait the other out to poop in peace. This sounds like a nightmare, and I don’t want to leave something so important to my happiness up to a game of nerve.

I’m very attached to my morning routine ­— poop, shower, brush teeth, poop, rinse, get dressed, do make-up, eat breakfast. Without it the whole day won’t feel right.

How do I poop in college?

Seriously, Please Help I Need Comfort To Ease Rectum


This is a concern I, too, had as a first-year student, clinging to my modesty. But fear not, because there is hope. There are ways to make this dilemma easier to face.

I became well-known on my floor for my “poop bag,” that I kept stocked with flushable wipes and a can of Febreeze. Going in equipped with more creature comforts can make being a creature more comfortable.

Plus, stalls aren’t the only option, depending on how far you’re willing to walk. Many of the dorm lobbies have one-room bathrooms that you can lock up and shut away from the world.

And on campus during the day, there are a few one-room spots I prefer, and I’ll let you in on my secret: the third floor of Baker Hall at the top of the spiral, the fourth floor of Gates down the hallways next to Rashid auditorium, and the third floor of the Cohon Center next to the elevator.

But truly, when it comes down to it, you can’t keep screening nature’s calls or you’ll have to call the doctor. This is part of being human and the sooner you get comfortable with it, the better life is.

Happy pooping,
Sarah Gutekunst

Need advice? Send queries to advice@thetartan.org.