Letters from the dorm

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 November, 2009, 12:00am

The alarm clock goes off and I grab my shower gel and shampoo. I hop into the shower and turn on the tap. I'm on autopilot as warm water pours over me, waking me up.

Five minutes into my shower, just as I start rinsing the lather from my hair, I feel a sudden chill. The water is turning from warm to cold. I try to turn the tap to its hottest setting but nothing happens. There's no choice but to rinse off in freezing cold water.

British autumn is officially here: the temperature dropped to 8 degrees Celsius last week. A hot shower is an important step to help you stay warm. I try to take my shower as soon as I roll out of bed.

But a lot of other people do this, too.

There are eight showers in my boarding house to cater for 80 girls. We can use the showers at any time except between midnight and 6am.

But often there will be a long queue of students waiting to shower just before school starts. They wait for the chance to use one of the three showers which are known for having the steadiest supply and warmest water, even on the coldest days.

But showering in the morning takes its toll. Getting up late means you are in for a bumpy ride to the start of the day. You have to queue for the showers, so you end up missing breakfast, and inevitably you will be told off.

Added to this is the stress of the shower running out of hot water. This happens frequently: if too many people have taken hot showers before you that morning, or the previous night, the boarding house's hot water is used up.

But if you haven't had a shower in 24 hours, you'll desperately need one, whether or not there's enough hot water. A cold shower will literally send shivers down your spine, but sometimes that's the only option.

As I am writing this, it is approaching midnight, apparently too late for a shower now. I will keep my fingers crossed for a warm shower tomorrow morning. And yes, I will get up extra early to increase my chances of getting hot water and having time for breakfast.