Ask The Staff: Recentering


Tuesday, October 5, 2021

We’re back! The Weingarten Center staff has returned to the office. While there are comforts of home that are missed, it’s also refreshing to see each other’s faces (the unmasked half, that is!) and to connect with students on campus again. Returning to the office is certainly an adjustment, so we asked about everyone’s favorite ways to decompress and recenters themselves.

Now that we have returned to campus, how do you recenter and decompress during the workday?

A way for me to recenter myself is to listen to music. It helps me to relax so that I focus on the task at hand.  – Lauren

When I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed at work, I recenter myself by getting out of the office and going for a walk. I highly recommend the Bio Pond (officially known as the James G. Kaskey Memorial Park), The Woodlands cemetery and arboretum, Clark Park, and, for a longer outing with transportation, Bartram’s Garden. – Ryan 

Recentering is a daily experience, for I never know what awaits each day. Will the Septa bus be crowded with passengers? Did I make the right decision to travel to Locust Walk during a non-peak time to avoid the crush of students? How can I display my delight at seeing a colleague while my smile is hidden behind a mask? Reaping the moments and appreciating the small acts of kindness serve as my way of recentering daily. – Jane 

Going to the bio pond and seeing all the plants, turtles, and frogs 🙂 – Amrou

I try to do mindful meditation for at 10 minutes (max of 20) during my lunch hour. It helps to ease anxiety and feel a little more refreshed for the remainder of the day. – Alia

My absolute favorite way to recenter now is to listen to lofi music (Live Youtube Stream)! When I wake up really early, however, my meditation practice is to pray and read the Bible; I want to be more consistent with this, but it’s extremely centering when I do it! – Gabe

Doing crossword puzzles! Also, I love visiting the turtles and toads at the bio pond. It’s a little oasis in the middle of campus. – Jackie

Biking to and from campus has allowed me to get some exercise and fresh air while on my commute. – Jen

One of the things I missed during the remote period was the chance to connect with colleagues informally. Sharing a good talk or a laugh with a colleague while going for a walk around campus or getting lunch helps me recenter. – Julianne

Ask The Staff: Philadelphia Favorites


Thursday, December 17, 2020

In January 2021, many students will return to Philadelphia or move here for the first time. In preparation, we asked our staff for their Philly favorites in hopes of inspiring your own adventures.

What’s your favorite thing about Philadelphia?

“When was the last time that you visited The Franklin Institute? This museum brings out the child in the adult. Crawling through the human heart rises to the top of my list as a memorable, favorite experience. It has been a few years since my last “crawl,” but I look forward to snaking through the ventricles.” – Jane

“My favorite thing about Philly is the food. I’ve discovered a new restaurant every week this entire summer for outdoor dining. It’s always a great experience and, even being born and raised here, this was such a surprise for me.” – Alia

“What I love about Philly is the variety available in everything. There is literally something for everyone and every occasion.  Every type of food you can think of, great museums, concerts, athletics, high-end or casual, funky shops, and elegant boutiques. If you want it, you can find it here–it keeps life interesting!”– Valerie

“It is kind of cheesy, but the thing I love most about Philadelphia is that my brothers live here. I have three brothers who live in the area and before I moved back to Philadelphia, I missed them so much! Now I see them all the time. I also love Philadelphia’s Magic Garden on South Street. I always take friends there when they come to visit! “ – Erica

“Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods. In the city, I love the Arts; they add culture to the city. As for a place on campus, I loved Beijing restaurant – used to be on Spruce street.” – Pat 

“I feel incredibly lucky to have access to the Wissahickon Valley Park, which offers 1800 acres and 50+ miles of trails for hiking and biking all within the city limits. I’m always encouraging Penn students to venture there by riding a bike up the Schuylkill River Trail or catching the 125 bus from Market Street to the Wissahickon Transportation Center.” -Ryan 

“One of my favorite things about Philly is all the great cafés and restaurants. My all-time favorite café is Red Hook Tea & Coffee, which is just down the block from me in my Queen Village neighborhood. Pre-COVID, I enjoyed sitting in their window seats for hours catching up with friends over coffee.  Nowadays, I make a point to get take out from them about once a week to help them stay in business (and indulge my cravings for their delicious sandwiches!).” – Julianne 

“My favorite thing about Philly would have to be the bookstores, especially Black-owned and operated bookstores. There are few Black-owned bookstores around the world, but Philadelphia is a city where there are many to choose from. I love Harriett’s, Hakim‘s, Amalgam, Uncle Bobbie’s, Black and Nobel, Black Reserve, Books & Stuff. I love them all. They are great community spaces with tons of resources and always shining a spotlight on emerging authors.” – Daris

“I love all the concerts and comedy shows that Philadelphia offers. From small black box theaters like Good Good Comedy Theatre in Chinatown, to big arenas like the Wells Fargo Center, I’ve gotten to see so many of my favorite performers. I look forward to live shows being a thing again!” – Jackie

Ask the Staff: End-of-Day Transitions


Wednesday, November 11, 2020
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Staying connected is more essential than ever. Ask The Staff is a column that will provide glimpses into the diverse lives of our Weingarten Center staff. Get to know us!

How do you transition out of your workday and into “home mode”?

“Soon as 5pm hits, I order ahead to pick up a drink from my local Starbucks. The staff already recognize me, even with my mask on. It’s fattening but it’s a small joy that I look forward to.” – Alia

“Walking is therapeutic for my physical and emotional well-being. My aim is to walk at least 90 minutes daily, so my walk after 5pm is essential in maintaining an equilibrium. Listening to an audiobook while exploring a local neighborhood symbolizes my way of life.” – Jane

“At the end of my workday, I like to take a few moments to reflect. Sometimes this means writing in my journal, doing a guided meditation, or a yoga sequence to help combat the effects of sitting for most of my day. After that, I will start cooking dinner (my new quarantine hobby!) and watch an episode of The Crown or The Great British Baking show to fully unwind.” – Jordi 

I start my workday with a walk in the morning. In the evening, I spend time peeking into the fridge and/or pantry to explore what is there that can be transformed into dinner.” -Rashmi 

“After work, I like to lose myself in the kitchen. Whether I’m braiding challah bread, peeling vegetables, or grilling outdoors, I love the way preparing food to share with my family immerses me in my senses after a long day of Zoom meetings.“ – Aaron 

“I power down and close my laptop, switch off the power strip, and walk away from my desk. I try not to do anything on the computer “after hours” so that even if I don’t have a physical separation of living space and working space, I can still feel like I’m off-duty.”  Julianne

“Transitioning from work to home needs to be a bit more intentional these days because I have no commute. I like to sit in the living room and get away from my phone and other screens. Sometimes I just light a candle or put on some soothing music. I try to remember that whatever happened today, tomorrow is a new day.” – Jen

“It’s not always very easy for me to transition into ‘home mode’ actually. I often have to leave my bedroom (current office) and start cooking or run an errand to detach from my workday. Otherwise, I’ll take a good nap!” – Gabe

“I take my dog, Dewey, to the local dog park. It’s my favorite way to unwind, get fresh air, mingle with neighbors, and pet a bunch of pups. I think sometimes I’m having more fun than him!” – Jackie