For my journey through the seemingly-inconsequential aspects of my everyday life, I discovered some fascinating things about what I take for granted on a day-to-day basis. Throughout my seven day journey, I explored the things I thought would be the most mundane. I focused on the chairs I sit in, the routes I walk through campus, when I get bored, the times I use electricity in a given day, the things that I throw away, my eating habits, and the things that make me laugh. By analyzing these things under a close lens and trying to see them anew, I found that much of what I take for granted actually defines much of my identity as a scholar at a research university. I exist within spaces that are designed to make me engage with higher education in very specific ways. I analyze these aspects in detail below.
Day 1: The Chairs in Which I Sit
At the University of Maryland, the chairs in most classrooms are positioned to face forward. When I paused to think about this, when entering the classroom as a student, the chairs already dictate what kind of learning will take place. The positioning of the chairs, especially in room like the lecture hall in Susquehanna that are bolted to the floor, face all the students forward to receive information from the professor. This immediately sets up what the power dynamic will be in the class; professors teach, students listen. If we shifted our chairs a bit to face each other, there would be massive repercussions for how learning would be practiced in the classrooms here.
Day 2: Walking Through Campus