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TEDxDrewUniversity Explores the Mysteries of Our Daily Lives

Experts tackle airfares, fashion vs. climate, lying to doctors and dates, and at-work bathroom habits

March 2024 – TEDxDrewUniversity welcomed attendees to explore “Everyday Under Wraps”, an event focused on lifting the veil on seemingly mundane habits, behaviors, and challenges.

The student-run organization brought in four guest speakers to present to a packed Drew University Concert Hall.

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TEDxDrewUniversity student leaders and event speakers

Amturi Borad, an osteopathic family medicine physician, began the event by answering why we lie to our doctors…and on first dates.

Borad explained that these lies protect us against fears of rejection and worries of disappointing others. Borad noted that in both instances, by not misrepresenting one’s self, people are more likely to improve quality of life.

“We don’t give one another a chance to show our true selves,” said Borad. “This lack of honesty leads to shallow connections, disappointment, and a cycle of failed attempts to find fulfilling relationships…and in a healthcare setting, the absence of honesty can have dire consequences.”

Next up was Barry Burd, professor of mathematics and computer science at Drew, who peeked beneath the hood at the frustration of airline pricing.

Burd referenced work from Carl de Marcken who studied the airfare optimization industry that promises to find users the best deals on flights. Burd explained how de Marcken’s work uncovered the source of the industry’s inconsistencies: a problem of scale and speed. The scale of the problem of searching for the best deal simply grows too quickly and involves too many factors for even the best hardware to keep up, making solving the problem infeasible.

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Amturi Borad kicked off the event

The upshot? Says Burd, “I don’t feel guilty when I don’t get the best price anymore. When I get a bad deal, it’s not my fault. I blame it all on the impossibility of solving the best-price problem.”

Irina Soriano, vice president of enablement and process excellence at Seismic, spoke next about the secrets behind female bathroom activities—or lack thereof—at work.

In discussing women letting go of their literal and proverbial [stuff], Soriano connected the covert concealment of bathroom business with the female tendency to carry other burdens around with them, including the weight of mental and emotion baggage, and delved into the impact on their mental wellness—stifling personal and professional growth.

“We hide our vulnerabilities, engage in comparison, and pass judgment, all driven by our self-doubt,” said Soriano. “This mental [expletive] we lug around in our heads inevitably gets projected onto other women. They, in turn, feel compelled to conceal their true selves in the workplace to avoid judgment. It becomes a continuous, exhausting cycle of hiding, driven by our collective insecurities.”

Last to speak was Sarene Alsharif, CEO and co-founder of Tad More Tailoring, LLC, who presented “How to Save the World with a Pair of Jeans.”

In her talk, Alsharif unveiled fashion’s standing as the second dirtiest industry in the world, trailing only that of oil.

“We need to understand that cheap clothes come at an extremely high cost to our environment,” said Alsharif, who used the process to make a single pair of jeans (much less the two billion pairs made annually) as an example.

She encouraged the audience to “approach our jean purchases like a marriage, not a fling,” and to buy high quality, use a tailor to make the garment last, wash them every 10 wears, and air dry when possible, to not only cut down on expending energy, but to not go through jeans too quickly.

Follow TEDxDrewUniversity on Instagram and learn about them on the ted.com website.

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