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Heartwarming Notes Left on Bathroom Walls

By Jennifer Gan

Photo by Ria Huang

I’ve never liked to look at the notes left on bathroom walls on campus. In my high school, notes stuck to the walls were either advertisements or mischievous drawings.

Until one day, right before one of my first presentations at BU, I was having butterflies in my stomach and decided to take a break in one of the bathroom stalls in a College of Arts and Sciences. I looked up, and next to the door knob I spied a small smiley face under the words “don’t stress.”

I know if I went to any of my friends or my classmates, they would tell me the same thing and probably throw a few more compliments at me. However, at that moment, I felt more empowered looking at pencil inscriptions on the wall. My anonymous friend on campus was there for me.

Ever since then, I started to notice the writings and illustrations on bathroom walls across campus: a cute dinosaur saying hi to you in the GSU bathroom, a multiple-choice question asking how your day has been in a CAS bathroom, or reminders for you to take a break in Mugar’s bathroom. Whatever the message is, these heartwarming notes create a strong connection between students and foster a sense of community, sans face-to-face interactions.

While navigating a rapidly developing academic world, mental health can be a struggle for college students. A simple note on the wall can mean a lot for someone juggling academic challenges by providing them support or inspiration.

Some posters on the stalls can gather people together and create solidarity. “I know you can get this kind of information anywhere on campus, but the flyers of town hall meetings and club events on the bathroom doors somehow made a deeper impression on me,” said Annie Guo (COM ‘24).

As an international student who felt overwhelmed and even isolated at times when school started in the fall, Guo actually stopped by to explore a few of the events promoted in campus restrooms.

Although some notes left on the walls can be offensive, the majority of notes in BU bathrooms that I’ve come across have been harmless. To those who scribble uplifting notes on stalls, thank you for your small act of kindness that infuses campus with positivity.

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