Discomfort invades the locker rooms

Students+change+in+the+locker+room+to+get+ready+for+their+PE+class.+%E2%80%9CThis+is+a+safe+place+to+grow+comfortable+with+changing+your+clothes+in+a+public+space+because+when+you+go+to+college%2C+you+are+going+to+have+to+live+with+roommates%2C%E2%80%9D+Ame+Secrist+said.+

Karla Lee

Students change in the locker room to get ready for their PE class. “This is a safe place to grow comfortable with changing your clothes in a public space because when you go to college, you are going to have to live with roommates,” Ame Secrist said.

Changing in a locker room can be a major stressor and discomfort-inducing experience for many students due to a sheer lack of privacy surrounding the locker room environment.

When students start out changing in the locker rooms, many head for the bathrooms or shower stalls to avoid undressing in front of others. 

The number of students heading for stalls or bathrooms, however, causes a number of issues. This is because, in the eyes of many, there is a lack of bathroom stalls in the locker rooms typically creating a line to change in them.

According to Eric Zhai, a junior at Carlmont, this buildup of students waiting in line can make it difficult for students to get to class on time. 

“They should add more stalls because that way [locker rooms] could have more privacy for those [students] who need it,” Zhai said. 

Phone usage in locker rooms is also a concern for many such as Shriya Bevara, a senior at Carlmont, due to the fear of being photographed or videotaped while changing.

“As someone who has been in the locker room and has to change in there, I was always concerned about whether I’d be in [pictures] while changing,” Bevara said.

According to Ame Secrist, a PE teacher at Carlmont, staff members try their best to stop this issue by enforcing rules regarding pictures and videos being taken in the locker rooms and stopping students who attempt to break these rules. 

Another issue that many students have with locker rooms is many in high school are often insecure when changing in the locker rooms due to their lack of self-esteem regarding their own bodies making them uncomfortable changing around others.

I felt insecure many times, but I always ask myself, ‘Should I care? No. Do I care? No.’ I just kept telling myself that until the point where I should just not care anymore, and it worked out”

— Shriya Bevara

“I felt insecure many times, but I always ask myself, ‘Should I care? No. Do I care? No.’ I just kept telling myself that until the point where I should just not care anymore, and it worked out,” Bevera said.

Many students often become more comfortable as time passes, like Roxie Erpenbeck, a freshman at Carlmont High School who has been changing in locker rooms since sixth grade.

“I’m mostly trying to get out on time because I have a class far away, so I don’t feel insecure,” Erpenbeck said. 

However, some students never felt comfortable changing in the locker rooms, no matter how long they’ve done it. 

“It was weird at first, and I definitely got more used to it, but I never got fully comfortable changing in front of other people, so I always rushed it and tried to get out first,” Zhai said.

PE teachers maintain that they try their best to make the environment as comfortable as possible for their students. Secrist recommends that if students ever have a problem with changing in the locker rooms that they talk to a PE teacher, who will help solve the issue as best as possible. 

“Sometimes if a kid doesn’t feel comfortable with changing near the office in the locker room where I can see them, they could come to talk to me about the placement of their locker because some students prefer changing in the back away from everybody,” said Secrist.

If students feel insecure changing in a locker room, Bevara suggests focusing on themselves rather than others around them. 

“This may seem a bit harsh, but don’t look around because it adds on to the anxiety. Don’t pay attention to your surroundings that much. Just focus on your own business, focus on yourself, and you don’t need to feel uncomfortable,” Bevara said.