Charting the Everyday–Kelsey Knoche


For each of the last seven days, I chose one aspect of my everyday life to take a quick picture of. I had never before  so much about all of the little things I do each and everyday from the I wake up in the morning until the time I fall asleep at night. My life, as a college student, has become so routine, and each of the things I do everyday so commonplace, that I really hadn’t thought about the little things.

As I began noting these little things, snapping pictures as I went, I also started to think about what each of these aspects mean in the context of my life and our society. Each of these tasks or things, as mundane as they may seem, can be traced back to norms that have been set and defined by society. The majority of the routines I chose to single out are things that are ingrained in the routine of my everyday life, whether they are things I need to do to survive (like drinking water or eating), or things I do for entertainment (like watching television).

This in-depth look at the aspects of my everyday life that I have typically taken for granted showed me how important each of these aspects are in establishing my identity and also in explaining our society and culture. We have to do things like eat food and drink water each day, we choose to listen to music in the car, and we are encouraged to to appear presentably when in public.

Day 1: Getting Ready

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Every weekday morning I clamp and slide two sides of a plastic and ceramic device heated to over 400 degrees Fahrenheit through chunks of my hair, over and over again until it’s straight and smooth enough to leave the house. My morning routine is monotonous at this point that I know, down to the minute, exactly how long it will take me to shower, do my hair and make up, and get out the door for class or work. Especially as a woman, appearance is something that is very important to maintain. In our society, it is established that especially when doing things like going to work or to school, we should look put together and presentable. For women, this often means things like make-up and hair products.

Day 2: Drinking Water

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Cold, clear, clean. Water. This is one aspect of my everyday life that has truly become routine. Each morning, I fill up my blue, cylindrical Camelbak water bottle, and each night I pour a cup to keep by my bed. Easy access to clean, running, drinkable water is something that I know we take for granted in the United States–in other countries, people may not be as fortunate. In addition to my Camelbak bottle, in my apartment I have a Brita filtered pitcher (as seen in the picture). Even though studies have shown that regular tap water is typically safe to drink, companies like Brita are still able to convince consumers like me that their filtering products are a necessary safety precaution.

Day 3: Using Technology at Work

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I spend hours sitting in front of the screen, typing and clicking. At work, about 85% of the tasks I have to complete require a computer. This was none more evident than last week when my computer became infested with a virus that knocked my computer out of commission for more than a day. I was forced to handwrite things I normally type and rely on others to print out forms and documents. What would we do without computers? E-mail especially has made communicating at work very simple, especially with jobs like my own where I  spend quite a bit of time working with people in departments in different areas of my building. I’m able to save time and energy by typing out messages and sending them electronically, but what effect does that have on my social skills? I interact with fewer people in person, because typing an e-mail is less work than climbing two flights of stairs.

Day 4: Watching TV

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Much like computers, televisions have also become a major part of our everyday lives. These devices have evolved from boxy, heavy, bulky, expensive to light, easy to move, and affordable. This particular television is in my bedroom. When thought about in detail, television is peculiar. A number of different channels, depending on your subscription, playing everything from recorded reality shows to live sporting events. We watch things that have already happened, or are happening as we watch, sometimes thousands of miles away. Television for me is an escape, a way to focus on something else after a long day, or watch something engaging that has captured my interest.

Day 5: Cooking Dinner


Of all of the aspects I focused on over the seven days, this was the one that caused me to think the most. Even on this night, where I just heated frozen chicken taquitos so I could get started quickly on my homework, preparing food took a considerable amount of time. Just over 7 minutes to heat up to 400 degrees, another minute or two to unwrap the packaging and place them on the cooking sheet, and then 12 minutes to cook. Then, when my food was finally ready, the quick meal took just about 4 minutes to eat. I had never thought about how much longer it takes to prepare food than it does to eat it! It got me really thinking about what those numbers would be like if I had actually cooked a real meal.

Day 6: Clothing


Each morning I sift through my messy, crowded closet in search of something to wear. What I end up choosing always depends on whether I’m headed to class, or work, or somewhere else. Clothing is something that really shapes a person’s identity, and no two closets are alike. For me, it’s important to have a huge variety of clothes. If I’m headed to class, to do homework, or to take an exam, it has to be comfortable. If I’m headed to work it has to be appropriate, neat, and dressy enough. There are set expectations within society about what you should wear in certain situations, and I largely abide by that. There are items in my closet I’d wear to class that I’d never wear for a work meeting, and vice versa.

Day 7: Transportation


I’m lucky enough to have my car at school and to have a parking permit on campus that allows me to drive to class since I live off campus. Much like technology, transportation is one thing that I really depend on and don’t realize how much so until I don’t have it. On Monday, in the aftermath of the snow storm, my car was stuck in a parking spot due to piles of snow behind it, leading me to be late to work, and to class as well. My  car allows me to be efficient with my time, as a quick trip to the grocery store will take only minutes, whereas my freshman year I used to have to rely on lengthy bus trips (or even cabs!).


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