There is one place on this campus that has done more for me than any other. The Chalmers bathroom. Not the one near the math classrooms, but the one right next to the lounge. The one where you walk in and get hit by the strange double door system and see what seems like any normal high school girls bathroom. Dingy lighting, an unflattering mirror and gossiping students.
This might seem like a weird place to be noting, considering the fact that it’s a bathroom and what goes on in the bathroom is nothing any respectable girl should be writing about. But here I am, writing about it. Except, for me, this bathroom defined a lot of my high school experience. It was a place where I cried, talked, hid and laughed more than I ever had.
After receiving a straight up 53 percent on a chem honors test, I knew exactly what to do. Sprint to the Chalmers bathroom. I stood in a stall and cried while texting one of my best friends, Emory Kim. She ran inside and did the unthinkable. Crawled under that disgusting stall to comfort me. At the time, I was just grateful for the support. But it was here that I realized how important my friendships are and how lucky I was to meet the people I did at Harvard-Westlake.
After getting a junior year internship, I ran to this bathroom to call my mom and scream excitedly because I didn’t want anyone to hear. I went on and on about how my photography class gave me the interest and the resources to apply for it in the first place. How if it hadn’t been for the visual arts elective requirement, I might not be pursuing something I was passionate about.
After every dean meeting, I went to the bathroom with my friend to freak out about the looming college process. Each reminder about taking the SAT and submitting applications brought us back to talk about our difficulties in the privacy of the Chalmers bathroom. Despite all the stress, we found solace in confiding in each other. It helped me recognize that no matter how difficult the school seemed and no matter how impossible it felt, it would work out.
After every third period class, I asked Eun Seo (Elly) to come to the bathroom with me (girls only travel to the bathroom in packs). We talked about everything that had happened and laughed about our embarrassing moments. Even though we were overwhelmed with the pressure, taking a second to stop and catch up made my day exponentially better. It was only five minutes but it made me feel like I could handle everything.
Every time I cried, laughed and talked in this bathroom I gained another sense of what my identity was becoming at Harvard-Westlake. I don’t know what I’m going to do in college without that unnecessary second door.