The 7:29 Train

The 7:29 train is always 3 to 7 minutes late. By the time it reaches Manayunk, it’s about half full. Most of us getting on are under the age of 30 and almost all of us are caffeinated.

A couple weeks ago, I swapped my student ID for a transpass, thus beginning my daily routine on the train. I can’t really complain; my commute is about 20 minutes and I spend it listening to music or people watching.

I do a lot of the latter. I blame my qualitative research professor for instilling this fascination with observation in me. In her class, we completed a semester long project where we picked a setting to essentially people watch for over 20 hours. I picked Starbucks, of course, and although the setting was basic, my research conclusions were fascinating. I wrote my term paper on the notion of “familiar strangers,” the concept that complete strangers can become part of an informal community, just by routinely showing up.

I think I found my familiar strangers.

The 7:29 train has its own cast of characters, just as the Starbucks in Bryn Mawr did.

First there’s the delicate smoker. She always stands at the entrance of the stairway, smoking a cigarette and glancing at her watch. She wears light sweaters–exclusively in pastel hues–that compliment her lithe frame. Sometimes a black cursive black tattoo peaks out, right underneath her collar bone. Every day, I wonder what it says.

Then there’s the Bucknell wrestling coach. He usually gets on the train right ahead of me. His wardrobe consists of different Bucknell polos and khakis, and he carries a briefcase. He’s athletically built, as a wrestling coach should be I guess, and I mentally named him “Chad.” He’s probably named something less stereotypical. I should probably stop thinking in cliches

I like to sit by the door, as does a blonde woman who loves to read her Kindle. Her Louis Vuitton bag has a handmade string bracelet attached to it and she gets off at the same station as me. Every day, without fail, she digs out her wallet and selects a number of bills and a specific amount of change before our stop. Once she gets off the train, she goes to Dunkin’ Donuts, presumably to get her regular order. I bet she’s a latte kind of gal.

The serious ticket master always comes around after the third stop and makes it a point to tell everyone that tickets are cheaper to buy at the station. Two business girls from Penn State usually have the best clothes and gossip in hushed tones all the way into Philly. Sometimes there’s a little boy, whose sneakered feet don’t touch the ground, and his mom lets him hold a metal Starwars lunchbox that holds a variety of  action figures.

These are my familiar strangers. They’re part of my routine and I notice when they’re gone.

Sometimes I wonder what they think about me. Maybe they notice the brunette girl who rather wear flip-flops than flats, new to the working world but a Starbucks enthusiast, the newbie to the train who’s just trying to fit in. Or maybe they don’t notice me at all, because I am after all, a stranger. 

To everyone else in the world–and maybe to one another–the riders of the 7:29 train are just passerby’s in the commotion of commuting. But to me, they’re part of my daily routine and now part of my story. I may never meet them, but they mean something to me just because they show up.

Likes & Favorites: “Adulting,” Defined

Adult•ing (verb): The act of trying to be an adult, categorized by a general state of confusion, freedom, happiness & exhaustion, with an onset about age 22 or 23. Similar to freshman year of college, except now you’re just a freshman of real life.

Hi, my name is Kasia and I’m currently adulting.

This term “adulting” has recently popped up among my friends, and I feel like it perfectly describes where we are right now. We are not really adults, we’re merely pretending we are because we have no clue what we’re doing. “Adulting” is not the same as “being an adult.” Adulting is being professional during the work week and then acting like a college kid on the weekends.

I realize why most people fear adulthood. It’s when you have to have all your sh*t together all. the. time. Gone are the days where you can sleep through your 8:30 class, throw on sweatpants and drown your fatigue in lattes (okay, we can still do that last one). Now we have to show up, work hard and be responsible.

I’m not saying I don’t enjoy it. I’m just saying adulting is a weird place to be in. Every adult doesn’t remember “adulting” but every college grad wants it to run its course.

Maybe it’ll all make sense eventually (here’s hoping right?). But until then, here are some of the things that I’ve liked while going through this (weird/fun/confusing) transition.

The Birchbox for clothes

Adults need good clothes right? And when do I really have time to shop? Luckily, there’s something called StitchFix and it’s amazing. Basically you fill out a comprehensive style profile, throw in your Pinterest style board (we all have one) and a *~stylist~* picks clothes for you and sends it to your door. It’s a $20 styling fee that goes to your first purchase, then you pay for what you keep and send back the rest for free. It’s basically perfect. Click here and get started because you don’t have an excuse not to.

Healthy ice cream

Summer may be over but that doesn’t mean the heat is. I was really craving ice cream one night but didn’t feel like going out to WaWa to get some (#struggles), so I created my own ice cream. Bonus: it’s healthy.

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{Ingredients: 1 banana | Handful of strawberries | 1 cup of milk| Coconut flakes (optional)| Chocolate chips (optional)}

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 5 minutes

1.  Peel and slice the banana. Cut up the strawberries. Put in a freezer bag and freeze for a couple hours.

2. Throw fruit into a blender with the milk. Add coconut (or other frozen fruit!). Blend well.

3. Put back into the freezer for about an hour.

Easy. Delicious. Healthy.

Spontaneously American

Sometimes I do this thing when I make spontaneous decisions while I’m slightly under the influence of alcohol (See here for an example). Last weekend was Made In America, a two-day music festival in Philly and this year Beyonce was headlining. On Friday night, I bought tickets for Saturday to go with Ryan, his best friend Gabes and the ever fabulous Krista. No, I couldn’t really afford to go, but yes it was worth the memories. Adulthood means responsibility, but without spontaneity, what’s the point of being young?

My big girl apartment

Big moves last weekend for my big girl apartment. In approximately 8 hours, my family and I (with the help of Haley!) assembled a bed frame, IKEA dresser and couch. And then Haley and I bought a rug from the Home Depot. Pro tip: hit up the Depot if you’re looking for quality yet cheap rugs. It’s literally the softest rug I’ve ever felt, btw.

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{It’s getting there!}

Jams on Jams

If you haven’t heard Downtown by Macklemore, listen to it immediately. Also watch the music video because it’s epic.

I also made a playlist of feel good jams because why not? It’s a work in progress, so if you have any suggestions let me know!

spotify:user:126141011:playlist:2hyhDqoK6CRSZFsM795j0O

Liking having free weekends & Favoriting not having homework

12 Tips to Survive Your First Day at Work

It’s official: I’m a real adult now. 

Aka I survived my first day at my big girl job.

It was stressful for sure. But also super exciting and kind of exhilarating. Of course I hit some bumps along the way (as I’m sure everyone does…right?), so I thought of some tips I learned on my first day to help you on yours! Welcome to the real world.

Pack a lunch

Sure there’s a Chipotle only 0.67 miles from your office (not like you checked…) but that first day, you don’t know how long you’ll have for lunch or what your company’s policy is about eating out. So be safe, make a PB&J and proudly rock that brown paper bag.

Wear comfortable shoes commuting & change at the office

I learned this the hard way… I don’t care how cute those flats are, they’re going to give you blisters in the 10 minute walk between getting off the train and into your office. Then you’ll be cringing in pain/begging any of your new co workers for band aids. Instead, wear flip flops or comfy shoes while you commute/walk to the office and the change into your flats/heels once you get there. That way you also have another option when your feet are absolutely killing you at the end of the day.

Ask where the bathroom is

And the supply closet. And the kitchen. And your desk. Better to ask the secretary/office manager than wander around like an idiot.

Bring a notebook

Sure you can scribble down every detail about how to set up your phone on a tiny post-it note OR you can look professional AF and show up with a notebook, ready to work.

Make friends with the IT department

More likely than not, you’re going to meet with IT to get your email, phone, etc. set up on the first day. Ask them how they’re doing. How long have they been there? Do they have kids? Make small talk because they’ll be the people who will save your life when your computer crashes at 4:49 pm and your report is due at 5.

Keep your morning routine

If you usually have coffee in the morning, see if they have a coffee maker in the office or grab some Starbucks before you get in. Usually have a snack around 11 am? Grab something small from your packed lunch and munch on it at your desk. Of course you’ll develop a new work morning routine, but incorporating little things you usually do can help you feel more at home.

Do some research & read up

On my first day, one of my supervisors told me where the shared drive was on my computer and suggested I look through it. There were A LOT of folders. However, actually reading the majority of them gave me an idea of the projects my team was working on, the company’s organization system and the format of its files/reports. Ask if you have access to what your team is working on. Or start Googling your company & stalk it on LinkedIn. You’ll feel a little more in the loop of what’s actually going on.

Change your computer’s background

If you’re allowed to, change your computer’s background from the boring default screen to tasteful and office appropriate picture. Start making it feel like YOUR desk instead of just a random place you sit for 8 hours.

Walk around

Seriously. Don’t just be chained to your desk all day. You’re going to get antsy and stiff and no one expects you to stay stationary the whole day. Go take a walk. Say hi to people. You’ll feel better after you take a stroll.

Start organizing your inbox

The real world comes with a lot of emails. Like more than you can ever fathom. You look away for 2 minutes and suddenly your inbox is full again. That being said, start organizing your inbox so in three weeks you don’t have 467 unread messages that you should have read, well, yesterday. Even if you don’t really know how to organize your folders or what to delete, just do something. You can always reorganize or categorize once you have more of an idea what you’re doing but at least you’ll feel somewhat productive.

Stay until at least 5:15pm

Or just watch to see what people do at the end of the day. Does everyone shut down exactly at 5pm? Or do most people linger until 5:30/6? You don’t want to be that newbie that peaces out at 4:59 when people stay for another hour.

Be patient

The first day may be weird, exciting, scary, stressful, overwhelming and awesome all at the same time. But you’ll get it. Just hang in there and know that everyone started where you are. And one day you’ll look back and remember how clueless you were and be thankful because you finally figured it out.

You’ve got this. Go rock the real world.