A Look into Sarah Horn’s Everyday Life

Summarizing Paragraph:

In taking a closer look into my everyday life, the mundane and ubiquitous characteristics that make up my daily schedule began to showcase more than I give them credit, and I soon realized that many aspects of my life actually greatly accentuate my social class and identity as a college student at the University of Maryland. For seven consecutive days, I examined one aspect of my everyday life in a new way; I actually took the time to scrutinize and critique my seemingly ordinary actions and daily rituals. Over the seven days I took a look at my time in between classes, rolling silverware at work, walking home, French homework, daily showers, cooking food, and bedtime. I found that in the unexceptional parts of my life, I actually take for granted many of the amenities, luxuries, and abilities that I have, even in something as simple as going to bed. This seven-day examination of my life made me truly realize that everything I do and take for granted actually constitutes my entire life and being, and even the little things add up to making me who I am. As a college student, I noticed how simple things were able to weave together and that without one aspect of life I could not fully complete everything else. For example, without a job, I could not afford my apartment…without an apartment, I could not take a daily shower…without a daily shower, I could not go to class… and so on. Each little thing actually plays a big role in my life, which makes me appreciate even the mundane and boring parts. Taking the time to actually analyze and examine the little parts of life is truly helpful to realizing the things that make you tick, the things you value, and especially the things that bore you, which eventually lead to dynamic action. I was able to learn a great deal about myself throughout this seven-day analytical journey, and I further examine the aforementioned aspects below.

Day 1: In Between Classes


Each day, I have an oddly spaced break in between classes from 12 PM to 1:30 PM–long enough to sit down and take a small break, but not quite long enough to actually accomplish much once I decide how I want to spend my time. After walking to the library from my first class, I usually end up with about an hour and fifteen minutes of awkward downtime; I choose to sit at the same corner cubby, complete with wall dividers that basically block me from others’ vision, to eat a quick lunch and give up on productive homework efforts, thus resorting to wasting time on Facebook and Twitter. It is these awkward breaks of downtime that I find the most boring part of the day, perhaps because I do not have enough time to fully engage myself in something productive, so I resort to surface-level entertainment like refreshing social media pages and reading pop culture Buzzfeed articles. As part of a culture that values progress and constantly moving forward, I tend to not value static time where I am not accomplishing something noticeably dynamic.

Day 2: Rolling Silverware


As part of my job as a restaurant waitress 4 nights a week, one of my duties is to pre-roll silverware into a napkin for the next day’s customers. As mundane and excruciatingly boring this repetitive task may be, it is part of my responsibility as a worker to prepare and help other workers be prepared for the next day of work. The task is time consuming, which is why neglecting my responsibility could be detrimental to the flow of work the next day if other workers were forced to pick up my slack. I realize my place as part of a team effort to make the restaurant flow as smoothly and efficiently as possible, because if the restaurant succeeds, I succeed as well. As a college student, I needed a job to be able to save money to pay off student loans, as well as finance my everyday expenses (books, food, supplies, etc.). Even being given monotonous duties such as silverware rolling should not be taken for granted because this simple task means that I at least have a steady job and income which will help me finish my degree and move on to a career that is more personally rewarding and interesting.

Day 3: Walking Home


Each day on my walk home, I do not take time to notice much around me–my only focus is finally getting home after a long day of classes. After taking a look deeper into what my everyday walk looks like, I started to examine the specific route I take to get home, where “home” is, and what that says about me. I currently live in a six-person apartment in Old Leonardtown with three of my sorority sisters and two of our friends in different sororities. To get home, I walk through the bottom of McKeldin Mall to Fraternity Row, past my sorority house to Old Leonardtown. I realized that even my route home speaks about my social class as a part of Greek life–a community that consists of primarily white, middle class students. If I belonged to any other student organization or community such as the living-learning program Civicus or the Black Student Union, it would drastically change where I call home on campus and how others perceive me.

Day 4: French Homework


As a French studies minor, I devote a great amount of time towards reading, writing, and practicing the French language in order to keep up in my classes. While most homework is usually regarded as “boring”, I continually struggle with staying on task and focused especially when working on French homework. Since overcoming the language barrier is a key element in understanding the concepts related to the readings and homework, I often find myself taking the easy way out of reading passages in French by having the reading on one web window and Google Translate up and ready in another web window. Instead of taking the time to look up words, phrases, and verb conjugations in a more reliable French-English dictionary, I trust in a less-reliable surface level translator for convenience and time efficiency. Furthermore, I feel the most bored because I am constantly surrounded by the English language, which I find more relatable and thus more attention-grabbing than a screen full of French words that I don’t understand.

Day 5: Showers


Every single morning, I wake up an hour and a half before class in order to take time to take a long, refreshing shower, get dressed and get ready for the day. My roommates and I all value our morning showers so greatly that we would all probably rather be late or skip class than miss getting a shower. It’s interesting that we all rely so heavily on daily showers because before the year 1850, the shower as we know it today hadn’t even been invented, and even then it was a luxury to have enough clean running water to bathe under. While I take my small 3×10 foot apartment shower for granted, I realize that others in many other countries still view showers with the slightest bit of water-pressure as an amenity.  Furthermore, my reliance on and expectation of having a functional, clean, and heated water shower speaks to my social class as a citizen that can afford a college apartment lifestyle that includes hot running water and a flushable toilet, or what I call “basic amenities”.

Day 6: Cooking


Food is a basic necessity of life. As someone who eats two to three times per day, much of my day often revolves around food–where I can eat, when I can eat, and what I can eat. To make things a bit easier with my often hectic schedule, I like to pre-prepare meals before classes. The only problem with cooking is that in on-campus apartments, stoves are equipped with a technology that reduces heat to stove-tops in order to save energy and reduce the risk of house-fires… a.k.a my water takes about 20-30 minutes to actually come to a boil. In a culture where we constantly search for instant results and virtually nonexistent wait times, it is easy to get annoyed with the hassle of taking time out for cooking your own food. However, as someone who tries to make healthy and smart decisions about what I eat, resorting to on-campus food isn’t an option, so I remain bothered by the time and effort put into making my own home-cooked food.

Day 7: Bedtime


Whenever I come home from a stressful day at school, am looking for somewhere to lay and watch Netflix all day, or want to rest my head at night, the first place I go is to my bed. The size, quality, softness and warmth of a bed often are extremely scrutinized–all the way from boxy, twin-sized, boxes with springs that they call “dorm beds” to king-sized, Swedish memory foam, 5-star-hotel angel clouds, we analyze every aspect of a bed and often only deem some worthy of our resting place. Since I live on campus, I was unfortunately supplied with one of the aforementioned dorm beds, and so, like many other students, purchased a memory foam mattress pad to make sleep more bearable. We often take for granted comfort and luxury, especially because beds were once as simple as piles of hay on a hard, cold dirt floor. As a college student who greatly appreciates every good night’s sleep, I consider myself lucky (and thankful) that the technology associated with beds has since far progressed.


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