If You're Ever In Atlanta, Georgia

If You're Ever In Atlanta, Georgia

Wisdom, Justice, Moderation
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As sung by the infamous Ray Charles, “Georgia on my mind,” the peach state treated me well as I was on an academic conference. For five days I was lucky enough to spend time in Atlanta, explore the city, and see what it had to offer.

The World of Coke

Although I am not much of a soda drinker, I felt that it was necessary to try the variety of Coke products; when traveling to somewhere new, it’s important to immerse yourself in the culture, which is why I felt that it was important to drink the sparkling beverage.

CNN

If you are interested in communication and media, journalism, or broadcasting, this is the place to tour. For about an hour, I learned the history of CNN, took a tour of the entire center, saw eye-grabbing images taken by CNN photojournalists, and saw where the CNN employees work, which is essentially in a room with about one hundred computers. From the looks of it, they are constantly looking for news. When they find enough information, it’s likely it will be discussed on TV. Additionally, I saw where the broadcasters are filmed; the room contained large pieces of equipment such as cameras, microphones, and of course, the green screen! Fun fact about this tour: I went up the longest freestanding escalator- 196 feet long!

Civil Rights Museum

Unfortunately, I was not able to visit the museum because we ran out of time. I know, how could you visit anywhere in the South without going to a civil or human rights museum?? Anyway, I have heard wonderful things about the center, ranging from the art pieces, personal stories, and artifacts. If I am ever in Atlanta again, I will make sure I take a tour.

SkyView Atlanta


Ferris wheels are kinda my thing. So when I saw the ride as I was exploring the city, I knew I had to go on. A group of us went on in the evening, and needless to say, it was breathtaking. With the Centennial Olympic park lit up, the bright buildings, the luminous Bank of America, and the fast-paced nightlife, the ferris wheel gave me the opportunity to view the entire city.

Take An Uber

If you’re traveling in Atlanta, whether that be for work or just for a weekend to get away, it’s likely that you didn’t bring your car. This is where an Uber comes into play. I have taken many Ubers while being at college, but the ten minute car ride I had with my group of friends compared nothing to being back at school. We got to know the driver pretty quickly into the ride. We talked about where we are from and why we were visiting Atlanta. He eventually opened up about himself and later claimed that he is a songwriter. Not just a songwriter, though. A songwriter for Mariah Carey! We were all blown away. As we exchanged goodbyes, we weren’t sure if he was bluffing. We looked up his name, and come to find out, he was the real deal!

Long story short, always take an Uber. Who knows who you’ll encounter in the short car ride.

Cover Image Credit: Ian Schneider

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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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My Mom Didn't Want To Take My Sick Sister To The Hospital Because We're Not Here Legally

The rights and protections illegal immigrants have in hospitals

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"I don't think she should go to the hospital," my mom told me as we took my sister to the hospital. "But mom, she is sick and her temperature is at 106 degrees, we need to go" I responded. My mom and I arrived at the hospital 4 minutes later and watched as she was taken through the doors of the emergency room. My mother and I then were told to sit in the waiting area with the other people.

An hour or two later, I had noticed that my mother was still nervous about being in the hospital. "Do you think that they will be looking in the hospitals for people like us?" My mother asked me. I tried to reassure her by saying, "no, we're in what's called a sensitive location, the immigration authorities don't usually search for people like us here at a hospital," however, she continued to remain worried. We sat in the public waiting room for another hour before we heard a doctor called my mother's name.

As my mother left, entering the private area of the hospital, I continued to sit in the waiting room, since they were only allowing one person at a time at the moment; they said something about my sister being susceptible to germs and such, and that they wanted her to have the least exposure possible. In order to calm myself, I started to just observe other people around the room, and just as I began to look out the nearby window, I saw a car that said "Homeland Security" pull up and my hands began to shake.

I immediately went up to the front desk to see if I could be in the same room as my sister in order for the immigration authorities not to see me. My efforts were denied and I was told to go back to my seat, however, the receptionist before I went back to my seat told me to say, "I have the right to remain silent," and pointed her eyes toward the authorities walking through the sliding doors.

My palms began to sweat as they went up to each individual person, asking for their citizenship status, with each answering either, "American" or "Citizen." Then a man came up to me and asked me the same question, "Ma'am, what is your citizenship status?" "I have the right to remain silent," I replied. Then he looked at me for a moment, gave me a glare, then walked up to the front desk. I had a deep sigh of relief as he was at the front desk talking to the receptionist, and grabbed a magazine as fast as I could to not look suspicious.

"I am looking for a family called _____. Are they here at your hospital?" he asked at the front desk. After the receptionist nodded yes, he then demanded that he be guided to the room my family was in. As he was saying this, the hairs on the back of my neck began to stick straight up. What would I do without my mom and sister if they were deported!

"No sir, unless you have a warrant or are a member of the family, I cannot let you into their hospital room," the receptionist responded; she glanced at me while saying this. "Ma'am do you know that it is illegal for anyone to be harboring illegal immigrants," he told her. "Knowingly yes, however, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act states that we medical staff cannot reveal any patient information without patient consent. You cannot even go to that area of the hospital without a warrant," she said.

The officer looked angrily at her when she said this. He then began to go through documents on the front desk itself when she yelled "Stop! Those documents have confidential patient information and you are not allowed to go through them!" "Yes I can!" he shouted, "Without a warrant, you cannot!"

"Well tell me, ma'am, what can I do," he then asked her. "What you can do is to look at information in plain view, such as this," she replied, pointing at a paper that stated the details of a fundraiser at the hospital next week. "You can only look at what you see, such as this paper, but you cannot touch any document in order to see information under it, not a peek," she said confidently.

He looked even more frustrated and was incredibly infuriated with her. He then turned around facing me and shouted, "Everyone in this room, show me some ID that indicates your legal status, or you will be questioned by immigration authorities." The receptionist by the looks of her face had enough of this and yelled, "You do not have to give them anything! You all have the right to not be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures." She then turned to the officer and said "I recommend that you reread our constitution sir, and in fact, California State Law. "Everyone who enters this country is entitled to the rights stated in the Constitution of the United States, regardless of their citizenship status."

The officer looked at her in shock, since he was used to getting his way, and after ordering the other officers to leave, left the hospital. As soon as the car left, everyone got up and cheered for the brave receptionist for her actions. She tried to brush it off because of her feeling embarrassed, yet at the end of the clapping said: "If you guys have any questions regarding your rights in a hospital, I'm your girl."

Soon after everyone sat down again, she called me up to the desk and put her hand on mine. "Everything is going to be alright," she said, "and you can go see your sister now, I'm sure your mother wants you to join her also." I thanked her and ran into the private area of the hospital. However, I looked back one last time and smiled as I saw the receptionist continue her work as if nothing had happened. "I guess not all heroes have to wear capes," I muttered, and then went down another hallway that led to my sister's room.

Further reading to understand your rights:

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Cover Image Credit:

Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

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