Life on the second floor of Webster Hall


Jack Tierney

A student walks into Webster Residence Hall on High Avenue at UW Oshkosh.

Owen Peterson, columnist

Of all the things that one could fear going into their first semester of college, I feared dorm life the most.
It wasn’t the immense workload that was inevitably going to be dumped upon me or the responsibility of having to live on my own for the first time, but instead the idea of having to share a communal bathroom with 59 other male students that inspired fear within me.

I have now spent a month living on the second floor of Webster Hall.

How does it measure up to my expectations? Well, it is absolutely worse than I ever could have imagined.
Let’s start with the worst aspect of the floor: the bathroom.

The state of the bathroom can be summarized in one word: “Ew.” From the astounding amount of unflushed toilets to floors that always seem to be wet for whatever reason, it always feels like I should be wearing a hazmat suit in there.

Even the sinks, which one would think would be the cleanest part of a bathroom (assuming that there even is one), are always a disgusting mix of facial hair and little chunks of food from people rinsing out their bowls, making them the last things I want to put my hands near.

The stalls are not in great shape either as it isn’t uncommon to end up with one that does not have a functioning door (or if you’re really unlucky, the one that doesn’t have a door at all).

Each stall is uniquely decorated with etches and scribblings that provide wisdom such as “Pooping is Cool” and “Fuck Steve Jobs,” and for some reason, almost every stall features at least one insult directed at a person named “Jaron.” I have a feeling this mysterious man predates my stay here by at least a few years, but I hope he knows his legacy will forever be etched into the stalls of a college dorm bathroom.

The showers are surprisingly not that awful, aside from the collection of underwear and shampoo bottles that have been growing slowly but steadily over the last month.

In particular, this one pair of red underwear has been sitting in the same spot since about the fourth day of the semester, which always perplexes me. The owner must either not know that the underwear is theirs each time they walk past it or they just haven’t taken a shower in almost a month. I’m not sure which is worse.

The real issue with the showers lies in the lack of privacy. Now maybe it’s just me, but I do not find it desirable to be showering in the same room as other people. Sure, there are pinned-up tarps that are supposed to function as curtains, but it never quite feels like enough.

The simple solution to this issue would just be to shower at a time where nobody else showers, but according to my observations, that time frame only exists from about midnight to 5:30 a.m., so good luck with that.

My grievances with the floor do not end when I leave the bathroom, however. The hallway is a whole different monster, and a putrid and noisy one at that.

The odor that fills the hallway is a strange combination of cologne, sweat and day-old food. This is no faint smell though. The second you enter the floor from the stairwell, it hits hard and fast.

Less disgusting but equally as obnoxious are the sounds of the hallway. Besides the fact that most rooms seem intent on blasting music at the loudest possible volume and yelling for most of the day, the single most irritating thing is the constant slamming of doors. It genuinely amazes me that something as simple as closing a door gently could be such an issue.

Not only do I have the pleasure of hearing all the dorm doors slam shut, I am conveniently also located two doors down from the military-grade door to the stairwell that is near impossible to close in a quiet manner.

The most important lesson I have learned from living on the second floor of Webster Hall is that in college, privacy is a privilege, not a right.

Nowhere is this more true than your own room. I don’t think it really matters if you know your roommate ahead of time or not. It’s always going to be quite the adjustment having to live in such a small space with a stranger.

This adjustment can be especially difficult if one does not get along with their roommate. I was fortunate enough to get a reasonable roommate, so it would seem that I avoided the greatest roadblock one can have while adjusting to living in a dorm.

Still, if the idea of having to always be so confined with another person is as unappealing to anyone else as it is to me, I would recommend adopting my method of spending the vast majority of your day either wandering aimlessly around the campus or doing homework in the corner of Reeve.