What Are High School Locker Rooms Like?

Updated March 14, 2019
Teen girl in locker room

If you are new to high school, the prospect of sharing a locker room during PE can cause lack of sleep. Despite what you might imagine or see in movies, high school locker rooms aren't as bad as you think. Many actually offer some privacy for changing.

What Teens Can Expect

If you have never entered a high school locker room, it can be hard for you to imagine what you should expect from the communal showering down to the changing area and lockers. Explore the design of locker rooms and changing areas to calm your nerves.

Locker Room Design

Most locker rooms will have several rows of lockers that are about chest high along with benches for you to use for changing. A separate room that contains showers will also be available. The lockers provide some privacy for those that are shy or worried about others seeing their bodies. Additionally, teenager Caitlin Soard notes that "some locker rooms have bathroom or shower stalls that you can have a little privacy in as well." The design of the locker room is generally the same for boys and girls.

The Showers

Showering within a high school locker room might be the scariest part. "Some gym locker rooms have a communal shower, which is usually just a bunch of showerheads lined along the wall, or they may have individual shower stalls where you can wash up," according to Soard. The lack of privacy might cause anxiety but "you may or may not have to take a shower after your gym class." If you do need to shower in front of your classmates, just remember "everyone has to do it, and it probably isn't as bad as you think it will be." Additionally, "if your school has a pool, then you will probably have to take a shower before getting in the water."

Lockers and Locks

Typically, everyone will be given a designated locker and possibly a lock. You might also be required to bring your own. According to Soard, "for girls especially, locking your locker room locker is probably a good idea. If you carry a purse, any sort of valuable item such as a cell phone or MP3 player, or money with you to school, then you should lock it away safely in your locker to deter thieves. Locker combinations might be able to be set to something you can easily remember, though most locker locks have a pre-set combination."

Teen opening a locker

Changing in a Locker Room

Whether or not you have to shower, it's a fact that you will be required to change from your clothes into gym wear. "Since everyone will be doing this at the same time, chances are most people will be worrying about themselves and not you", according to freshman Gavin Betts. Additionally, the arrangement of the lockers in most high school locker rooms will allow a certain amount of privacy since only so many students will be in a specific area at a time. According to Soard, "friends can have a lot of fun while getting ready for gym class, even if most of that fun is light-hearted complaining about the physical education activities."

Bullying for Teens in Locker Rooms

You've seen it in movies where someone steals your clothes or possibly beats someone up in the locker room. Sometimes a joke even gets taken too far. Soard points out that "there is a fine line between good-natured teasing or joking around and bullying. Bullying is considered anything that hurts a person's feelings, physical body, or forces them to do something against their will. Most schools have a zero tolerance policy for bullies and bullying, so if you or a friend gets into trouble with a bully in a locker room, always report it to a teacher or parent immediately. If you are the bully, then keep in mind that not only is bullying not nice, it can get you in some serious trouble with your school, such as suspension and even expulsion from school. A few examples of bullying might be teasing, provoking fights, or physical or mental abuse."

Feeling Comfortable in the Locker Room

Changing in front of people can make even the most confident of people feel a bit uncomfortable. All teens, even the "popular" ones have something they don't like about themselves. And it is really hard to hide it when your body is on display in a locker room. To survive a locker room in high school, try out a few different survival tips from high school teens Garrett Betts and Cassie Holmes.

Teen basketball player in locker room
  • If you are worried about privacy, choose a locker that is in the corner. This will give you the most coverage area.
  • When taking a shower, be quick and keep your eyes forward.
  • Sometimes the school locks are tricky, it can be beneficial to buy your own instead.
  • Remember to put everything in your locker and lock it. This includes shoes.
  • Try using a beach towel to help cover yourself while changing.
  • Have your friends make a makeshift privacy curtain by standing in front of you. You can then reciprocate for them.
  • Keep your locker close to your friends so that you feel more comfortable and change together.
  • Using a towel with velcro can make sure that it won't fall off after showering
  • For showering, buy a body wash that works as a shampoo to avoid multiple bottles.

Teens and High School Locker Rooms

High school locker rooms are not one of your favorite places as teens. Since everyone is at a different stage of development, changing can be awkward to say the least. Surviving your school's locker room is a part of growing up, and if you have the right attitude, it can even be fun!

What Are High School Locker Rooms Like?