Favorite On Campus Coffee Spots: Nivedina x Common Knowledge Cafe
From finishing up your first quarter at UChicago, to wrapping up your final year in the College, you've undoubtedly spent at least some portion of your time here frequenting your favorite on campus coffee shop.
Whether you gravitate towards these places for a quick shot of caffeine, a study break between classes or to meet up with friends, we've decided to feature MODA bloggers as a part of the Blog's ongoing On Campus Coffee Spots series to discover the intersections between campus culture, fashion and of course, caffeine! Keep scrolling for our unique profile on Nivedina Sarma, a first year Molecular Engineering major.
What kinds of RSOs and activities are you involved in on campus?
I write for the MODA blog, tutor at Ray Elementary through STARS, and dance and choreograph for Apsara. Related to my major, I'm one of the Associate Editors for The Triple Helix as well as a member of Benzene (the chemistry society). I also work at the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics on campus.
Why is Common Knowledge your favorite cafe on campus?
I like that Common Knowledge is tucked into the crossroads between the Learning Center and the Harper reading room. That means I can always grab something to drink and take it to study in a cubicle or one of the prettiest reading rooms in the world. My favorite thing about it is the chalkboard that says "Make Time for Our Coffee." It reminds me to take a minute amongst the bustle of the quarter and treat myself to something.
How often do you come here?
Almost every day!
What is the best type of activity to do here?
For me, Common Knowledge is great for everything - from hanging out with pals to working on p-sets with a small group or finishing up my readings by myself. The tables don't wobble, the noise level is just right, and the playlists are the perfect soundtrack both for getting work done and having fun conversations.
What's your go-to drink?
I like asking the baristas what they feel like making that day, and they always come up with something delicious. So far, my favorite has been a raspberry mocha, but they also make a killer chai.
Best item on the menu?
They have an awesome collection of loose-leaf teas, but since it's getting chillier outside I've been loving the chai a lot more.
What are you wearing?
I'm wearing my favorite pair of skinny-jeans - dark wash, of course. Now that it's fall, I've been wearing a lot more earth tones, hence the olive shirt. And my scarf is from my mom's closet, but we picked it out together a few years ago during a family trip to Cochin. It's so cozy. I love wearing pieces from India because they help me feel rooted in my cultures and remembering my roots gives me a filter of optimism and hope.
How would you describe your personal style?
In general, I love fashion because it's one of those art forms that requires us to participate in it before it can be complete. So my approach to fashion is to engage with pieces that help me feel both comfortable and confident, since I find myself being who I want to be when I'm wearing pieces that elevate me like that. In that vein, I love dresses and skirts. I'm also from Texas, so I'm used to getting to wear dresses almost all year. Now that I'm going to be living through bona fide winters, I've been enjoying layering pieces and playing with color and texture within the layers. My friends joke that I wear a lot of purple, so I'm also trying to branch out with my palette. My inspiration for that is Victoria Beckham because I've always loved how she makes color-blocking look so effortless and beautiful. I'm also a huge fan of statement pieces! Recently, I got a pair of lilac high tops and I LOVE them, so I'm frequently wearing those.
All images courtesy of Paul Lou. Check out his online photography portfolio here!