Katie Takacs’s Charting the Everyday

Summary Paragraph

Through analyzing mundane aspects of my everyday life for seven days, I have allowed myself to recognize the true nature behind each part of my daily existence. Working, using the elevator, being bored, sleeping, putting on makeup, taking the bus to class, and walking down hallways are all things that I do each and every day. Because of this, I never thought that they needed to be analyzed. This shows that both myself, as well as the American culture, take for granted their lives if something they deem to be important isn’t happening. Not analyzing my everyday life is like saying that unless something exciting is happening to me, my life is not worth paying attention to. Perhaps this is something that power structures thrive on. For retail of makeup, mattresses, social networks, elevators, and transportation, companies count on the fact that humans will not question their functions. After analyzing my everyday life, I found much of it defines my identity as a student at the University of Maryland. As a female student, I wear makeup to appeal to fellow classmates. I work to afford extracurricular activities. I admire my bed for allowing me to release all my weight and lay horizontally. I inevitably become bored. I rely on the bus, and the elevator allows me to be lazy. All of these things define what is the typical college student. Just because these things are typical, however, doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve to be explored the same way exceptional events in our lives are. In each of the days below, I explore the ordinary events of my everyday life, and turn them into something that is worth considering.

Day One: Working in Tawes


While I sit at work, tons of things go through my mind besides the one thing that actually should: work. I think about what I’m going to eat when I get home, the nap I’m going to take, or what Netflix show I’m going to watch. Today I decided to try something new while I was at work, and focus solely on the tasks I was given. It turns out that I wasn’t even bored during my time at the English department in Tawes Hall. Society pairs such a negative connotation with the words work or part-time job. I let society’s view of how one should feel at work transfer onto my feelings, and therefore not giving my job the time of day to express that it could actually be fun and enriching. Society’s preconceived notions of what a person’s experience will be like at work already dictate a person’s actual experience before they even clock-in.

 Day Two: Riding the Elevator


Waiting for the elevator to pick me up on my floor annoys me. Waiting for the elevator to drop every other floor off before it reaches mine annoys me. When getting to my apartment, it seems as if the elevator dictates when, and how fast, I’ll get up to the sixth floor and into my cozy apartment. When I think about how the elevator is ultimately in charge, I wonder why I don’t make myself in charge of how quickly I get up to my apartment. The resolution is simple really – just take the stairs. Maybe it’s because I follow the herd of students pouring off the bus into my apartment building, which immediately flocks to the elevator. Or maybe it’s because I’m lazy, and I don’t feel like walking six flights of stairs. Whatever the reason, I still rely on using the elevator and allow myself to become annoyed each time. This fact seems strange to me when this is one conflict in life that has an easy fix.

Day Three: Being Bored – Social Networking


Whenever I’m bored, I immediately turn to social networks to keep me occupied. The truth is, however, I don’t even like Facebook much anymore. At first it was fun to keep up with what all my friends were doing, but now it is something I only use when I am bored. When I thought about it, I questioned why I used something to occupy myself that I don’t even like. Why not find a more interesting way to spend my time? Social networks have become so engrained in our minds that it’s a habit to visit them. Whenever I’m bored and I slide the unlock code on my phone, my hands know immediately where my social network apps are and click directly on them. Humans want to not be bored so badly that we turn to things that we truly don’t enjoy just to keep us engaged.

Day Four: Sleeping


When you walk into a bedroom, the main focus of the room is the bed. Having a bed located in the bedroom already dictates where a person should sleep and how a person should sleep. It is common nature that a person resorts to the bedroom and sleeps horizontally. It would seem that the way something as remote and intimate as sleeping should be done would be up to each individual. However, from our common knowledge in society, as well as higher forces such as mattress stores, people are accustomed to sleeping in a bed. This ultimately forces people to purchase a mattress. If the idea of the mattress wasn’t so commonplace, there could be a variety of different ways that people chose to sleep.

Day Five: Putting on Makeup


Waking up in the morning, putting on makeup is one of the first things I do. I don’t put on makeup because I think I need it, but I put on makeup because this is what society expects from females. Although makeup is used to help people look and feel prettier, when thinking about it, this is not the main function of makeup. If it were, there would be makeup for both males and females. In reality, makeup is mainly a product that companies sell to make mass amounts of money. The higher power of media uses advertisements of beautiful women to entice females into buying their products, and therefore the cycle of wearing makeup continues. I wear makeup because advertisements show what ‘beautiful’ women look like, which is someone with a face painted with makeup.

Day Six: Riding the Bus


Using the bus as my main mode of transportation seems to be the most convenient way to get to class. However, the complexities of the bus transportation system express that there is much more than meets the eye. When thinking about it, students put a lot of faith in the DOTS system, as well as the buses themselves. What seems as simple as walking out of my building onto the bus is actually a task full of schedule checking. I must make sure that I am ready for class by a specific time in order to make the bus. On days when the weather is bad, I have to make sure that the buses are even running in the first place. On the weekends, I plan accordingly so that I can take the bus to downtown College Park. Something as simple as the bus actually has a large impact on the planning of my days. This power structure is something that is inherently present when analyzing the function of the transportation system.

Day Seven: Walking Down the Hallway


The hallway in my apartment building is long. Extremely long. Until now, I’ve never thought about the length of it, or analyzed anything about it. When walking down the hallway, I always stay on the right side. When someone passes, I make sure to make way for them. This idea of walking down hallways resembles driving. Just as a driver doesn’t swerve on the road, someone walking down the hallway doesn’t do cartwheels down the hallway or run zigzag to their room. Just the same, when someone is driving, they make sure to stay on their own side of the road to leave room for the other person to pass. Sometimes when I am walking down my long hallway, however, I daydream of running down it, doing cartwheels and running zigzag until I reach my room. Because hallways take on the same norms as driving, I know that these types of things are inappropriate, and so I take my commonplace walk down my commonplace hallway the same way every day.


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