10 Things You Miss About Connecticut College While Abroad

10 Things You Miss About Connecticut College While Abroad

Studying away is amazing, but there are some things to feel homesick for.
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Everyone tells you that you'll be having too much fun studying abroad to miss home, and that's true for the most part. But there are some endearing parts of Connecticut College that I have found myself missing in the month that I have been in Italy:

1. Everything being ten minutes from your room, at the most.

At Conn, you can roll out of bed fifteen minutes before class and make it there with time to spare. At night, dinner and friends are just a quick walk away. When you leave all that behind and choose to study in a city in Europe, your feet and legs are in for a bit of a shock. Walking between classes can take twenty minutes, and maneuvering through the city is a workout without the help of public transportation. It's satisfying to have your phone tell you you've reached your step goal every hour, but I know my feet will be thankful to take on Conn's sidewalks after months and miles of cobblestones.

2. Sundae Sundays.

As annoying as it can be to wait in line only to find your favorite flavor has run out, having the candy at the toppings bar to sneak back to your room is worth it. Giving yourself gelato Sundays isn't so bad, though.

3. Dryers.

If you thought doing laundry at Conn took up time, you haven't gone abroad! Parts of Europe just don't believe in dryers. Some people are lucky enough to have a dryer built into their washing machine, but where I am, the living room has been filled with drying racks for days as the seven of us living in the apartment wait for our clothes to be at least halfway dry. Once we're back at Conn, getting to fold warm clothes straight out of the dryer is going to feel like a blessing.

4. Hearing the Coast Guard's cannons go off.

I hadn't even realized this was a sound I was so used to until the cannon on Gianicolo Hill in Rome went off on our first days here, and I was the only one not to jump. It goes off every day at noon, and every time I hear it I think of the boom that echoes across Route 32 from our neighbors at the Coast Guard.

5. The Harris staff.

They're so friendly; it's impossible not to miss them. The staff here in Rome is great, but nobody could replace the people working in Harris!

6. Camel-Everything.

Camel cookies, camel waffles, camel-shaped decor everywhere you look in Cro... At Conn, our odd mascot is everywhere. Not only is it hard to find a single camel in European cities like Rome, but its hard to find good cookies and waffles, too!

7. Self-Scheduled Exams.

We haven't even had exams yet, but I know I'm going to miss being able to choose when and where I take my finals. The idea of the professor sitting in the room watching you struggle isn't a fun one, either. Life without the honor code making you feel comfortable leaving your backpack at the library overnight and allowing you to procrastinate until the last possible day of self-scheduled finals is going to be rough.

8. The Arbo.

Most people study away in cities, which aren't exactly the place to find a literal forest in your backyard, like we do at Conn. Taking walks around the water, lying in the grass during Arbofest, and exploring the rocks and nature paths are all serene moments you don't get very often living in a city unless you really go looking for them.

9. Floralia.

When it came to deciding between fall and spring for studying away, the fact that I would be missing Floralia at the end of the year was one of the first things I thought of. It'll be hard finding such a perfect way to end the semester outside Conn. I'll have to live vicariously through stories and pictures on Facebook.

10. Seeing your friends every day.

Whether you planned on hanging out or you just spotted them while walking to class, it's hard to go very long without seeing the same people at Conn. While studying away, you have to work around distance and time differences, deal with missing texts for hours, and arrange FaceTime and phone calls at odd hours. Most of your calls involve telling them to come visit you, though, so hopefully you'll see them soon enough.

Cover Image Credit: LinkedIn

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Your Wait time At Theme Parks Is Not Unfair, You're Just Impatient

Your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself.

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Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios "unboxed" on June 30, 2018. My friend and I decided to brave the crowds on opening day. We got to the park around 7 AM only to find out that the park opened around 6 AM. Upon some more scrolling through multiple Disney Annual Passholder Facebook groups, we discovered that people were waiting outside the park as early as 1 AM.

We knew we'd be waiting in line for the bulk of the Toy Story Land unboxing day. There were four main lines in the new land: the line to enter the land; the line for Slinky Dog Dash, the new roller coaster; the line for Alien Spinning Saucers, the easier of the new rides in the land; Toy Story Mania, the (now old news) arcade-type ride; and the new quick-service restaurant, Woody's Lunchbox (complete with grilled cheese and "grown-up drinks").

Because we were so early, we did not have to wait in line to get into the land. We decided to ride Alien Spinning Saucers first. The posted wait time was 150 minutes, but my friend timed the line and we only waited for 50 minutes. Next, we tried to find the line for Slinky Dog Dash. After receiving conflicting answers, the runaround, and even an, "I don't know, good luck," from multiple Cast Members, we exited the land to find the beginning of the Slinky line. We were then told that there was only one line to enter the park that eventually broke off into the Slinky line. We were not about to wait to get back into the area we just left, so we got a Fastpass for Toy Story Mania that we didn't plan on using in order to be let into the land sooner. We still had to wait for our time, so we decided to get the exclusive Little Green Man alien popcorn bin—this took an entire hour. We then used our Fastpass to enter the land, found the Slinky line, and proceeded to wait for two and a half hours only for the ride to shut down due to rain. But we've come this far and rain was not about to stop us. We waited an hour, still in line and under a covered area, for the rain to stop. Then, we waited another hour and a half to get on the ride from there once it reopened (mainly because they prioritized people who missed their Fastpass time due to the rain). After that, we used the mobile order feature on the My Disney Experience app to skip part of the line at Woody's Lunchbox.

Did you know that there is actually a psychological science to waiting? In the hospitality industry, this science is the difference between "perceived wait" and "actual wait." A perceived wait is how long you feel like you are waiting, while the actual wait is, of course, the real and factual time you wait. There are eight things that affect the perceived wait time: unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time, pre-process waits feel longer than in-process waits, anxiety makes waits feel longer, uncertain waits are longer than certain waits, unexplained waits are longer than explained waits, unfair waits are longer than equitable waits, people will wait longer for more valuable service and solo waiting feels longer than group waiting.

Our perceived wait time for Alien Spinning Saucers was short because we expected it to be longer. Our wait for the popcorn seemed longer because it was unoccupied and unexplained. Our wait for the rain to stop so the ride could reopen seemed shorter because it was explained. Our wait between the ride reopening and getting on the coaster seemed longer because it felt unfair for Disney to let so many Fastpass holders through while more people waited through the rain. Our entire wait for Slinky Dog Dash seemed longer because we were not told the wait time in the beginning. Our wait for our food after placing a mobile order seemed shorter because it was an in-process wait. We also didn't mind wait long wait times for any of these experiences because they were new and we placed more value on them than other rides or restaurants at Disney. The people who arrived at 1 AM just added five hours to their perceived wait

Some non-theme park examples of this science of waiting in the hospitality industry would be waiting at a restaurant, movie theater, hotel, performance or even grocery store. When I went to see "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the power went out in the theater right as we arrived. Not only did we have to wait for it to come back and for them to reset the projectors, I had to wait in a bit of anxiety because the power outage spooked me. It was only a 30-minute wait but felt so much longer. At the quick-service restaurant where I work, we track the time from when the guest places their order to the time they receive their food. Guests in the drive-thru will complain about 10 or more minute waits, when our screens tell us they have only been waiting four or five minutes. Their actual wait was the four or five minutes that we track because this is when they first request our service, but their perceived wait begins the moment they pull into the parking lot and join the line because this is when they begin interacting with our business. While in line, they are experiencing pre-process wait times; after placing the order, they experience in-process wait times.

Establishments in the hospitality industry do what they can to cut down on guests' wait times. For example, theme parks offer services like Disney's Fastpass or Universal's Express pass in order to cut down the time waiting in lines so guests have more time to buy food and merchandise. Stores like Target or Wal-Mart offer self-checkout to give guests that in-process wait time. Movie theaters allow you to check in and get tickets on a mobile app and some quick-service restaurants let you place mobile or online orders. So why do people still get so bent out of shape about being forced to wait?

On Toy Story Land unboxing day, I witnessed a woman make a small scene about being forced to wait to exit the new land. Cast Members were regulating the flow of traffic in and out of the land due to the large crowd and the line that was in place to enter the land. Those exiting the land needed to wait while those entering moved forward from the line. Looking from the outside of the situation as I was, this all makes sense. However, the woman I saw may have felt that her wait was unfair or unexplained. She switched between her hands on her hips and her arms crossed, communicated with her body language that she was not happy. Her face was in a nasty scowl at those entering the land and the Cast Members in the area. She kept shaking her head at those in her group and when allowed to proceed out of the land, I could tell she was making snide comments about the wait.

At work, we sometimes run a double drive-thru in which team members with iPads will take orders outside and a sequencer will direct cars so that they stay in the correct order moving toward the window. In my experience as the sequencer, I will inform the drivers which car to follow, they will acknowledge me and then still proceed to dart in front of other cars just so they make it to the window maybe a whole minute sooner. Not only is this rude, but it puts this car and the cars around them at risk of receiving the wrong food because they are now out of order. We catch these instances more often than not, but it still adds stress and makes the other guests upset. Perhaps these guests feel like their wait is also unfair or unexplained, but if they look at the situation from the outside or from the restaurant's perspective, they would understand why they need to follow the blue Toyota.

The truth of the matter is that your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself. We all want instant gratification, I get it. But in reality, we have to wait for some things. It takes time to prepare a meal. It takes time to experience a ride at a theme park that everyone else wants to go on. It takes time to ring up groceries. It takes patience to live in this world.

So next time you find yourself waiting, take a minute to remember the difference between perceived and actual wait times. Think about the eight aspects of waiting that affect your perceived wait. Do what you can to realize why you are waiting or keep yourself occupied in this wait. Don't be impatient. That's no way to live your life.

Cover Image Credit:

Aranxa Esteve

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A Response to the proposed 3 californias, from a californian

The proposed "3 Californias" Bill is a joke, and not a very funny one.

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The proposed "3 Californias" Bill is a joke, and not a very funny one.

On November 6, 2018, the people of California will be voting. However, on this election day there will be something very new on the ballot: a proposal to split up California into 3 different states. The California we all know and love would be separated into 3 different states. Under this Bill the 3 states would be California, Northern California, and Southern California. Although many Californians can exaggerate and joke about the differences between the Northern and Southern parts of the state, most people would not want this official division.

This isn't the first time a variation of this Bill has been proposed. In 2013, venture capitalist, Tim Draper proposed a Bill that would separate California into 6 different states. However, this Bill did not receive enough support and never made it to the Ballot in 2016. A good majority of Californians saw this Bill as a joke. Why on earth would you want to separate 1 state into 6 pieces?

A few years later Tim Draper decided to revamp his failed Bill, this time with only splitting California into 3 pieces. With this revision, the Bill gained enough support to be on the ballot in 2018, which is how we ended up in this predicament.

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So, why? Why exactly should we split our beloved state into 3 pieces? Tim Draper believes that California, as it is right now, is too large and therefore ungovernable. With so many counties and social landscapes, it is too difficult to address the needs of the state given its vast size and population.

I'll give Tim Draper this point. California is massive. Being the third biggest state by land and the state with the largest population, California has a lot to deal with. However, Draper has a hidden agenda, just like most politicians.

Draper's hidden agenda involves lessening California's political power. California has 55 electoral votes, the most of any other state due to its large population size. As a presidential candidate, winning California is a big deal. In the 21st century, California has been a key state for the Democratic Party. When taking a closer look at how Draper proposes splitting California, you see why this Bill is a problem.

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Based on the map, the proposed 3 new states would be generally more even when it comes to past political party voting. Election races would become more competitive and close based on the how the borders of the states are drawn. By doing this, Draper is making it easier for the Republican Party. Additionally, this proposed plan is taking away California's political power. No longer would the state have 55 electoral votes. Rather, the 3 California's would become just like the rest of the states, not as a big of a win.

California is beloved because it has everything. From beaches to mountains, from large metropolitan areas to small rural towns, California has it all. Why would we divide the state when being whole is what makes it great?

The "3 Californias" Bill isn't just bad for the Democratic Party, but for all Californians.

Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, we're all Californians. Let's keep it that way.

Cover Image Credit:

Caitlin O'Leary

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