The bathroom. It’s the one place that most people can go to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether intentional or not, the bathroom is seen as a sanctuary, somewhere one is truly able to be alone with one’s thoughts. What most people don’t realize is that in one of the bathrooms of Providence’s Upper School, there are some new, thought provoking media to keep folks living the examined life, as Socrates suggested, at a rather unexpected moment.
At the beginning of this school year, a series of posters with the name “Toilet Talk” were introduced to the bathrooms on the third floor near the lit department. These posters change every month, and the topics they address vary from difficult issues like cyberbullying to more positive themes like self esteem. While this is all fine and well, their sudden appearance has raised some questions. How did they get here? Why are they here? Who put them there, and for what reason? After some investigation, answers have come to light.
The mysterious posters originated from a group of individuals known as the Counselor Clique, a group of high school counselors across the country who support one another and offer advice regarding high school counseling. Whether it’s tips for college applications or decorations for the counselor’s office, the Counselor Clique has counselors covered.
Mrs.Kesney McCarthy, Upper School counselor, decided to utilize the Counselor Clique’s wide variety of tools in order to better help students face their daily challenges. The Toilet Talk posters are intended to make mental health issues more accessible, and less taboo.
“With everything that goes on in day to day life, it’s very important to take care of oneself,” McCarthy explained. “And sometimes just seeing a poster with information is the best way to get the conversation started.”
The posters are located in the stalls of the bathroom, and with their bright color schemes, cartoon pictures, and links to websites with more information, they provide a fun and interesting way to learn about important topics such as self care, internet etiquette, and positive changes that can be made in the community in order to create a better high school experience for everyone.
Michael Collins ‘21 commented on the recent appearance of the posters, saying, “They offer a lot of interesting information on topics that are important for maintaining a good school experience. They’re a little wordy, but effective.”
One thing that has perhaps led to not enough recognition for these helpful posters is their unfortunate position in the bathroom stalls. In order to view the posters one has to lock oneself in the stall to get a good look. While this may be effective while using the bathroom, attempts to share the information could be awkward.
Abby Rossini ‘21 reflected on the posters in the bathroom, “I think the intentions of the posters are good; the positions just aren’t as accessible as one might hope.”
In spite of this, the general reception of the Toilet Talk posters is quite positive. If nothing else, they provide something interesting to think about regarding mental health and self care and facilitate positive changes for students and their community.