Tim Kaine Stops At Davidson

Tim Kaine Stops At Davidson

The vice presedential nominee paid the College a visit this past week.
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On Wednesday, October 12th around 3:00 pm I headed to the front of Chambers, awkwardly navigating the caution tape and thin, white ropes requesting that people not step on the grass. I finally made it into what looked like a line, hovering, unsure how to proceed.

Luckily, I was approached by an older woman, a volunteer tag draped around her neck, who explained to get into the rally I would need to fill out a volunteer form, which would serve as my ticket. I checked a few boxes, despite knowing that I definitely do not have time to phone bank or go door to door asking for votes.

When they finally let people into the area in front of the stage, I rushed to the front. And then the waiting began. I hadn’t really thought about how the line started at 3 but Kaine’s speech wasn’t due until 5, but it suddenly hit me while standing in the bright sun in a long-sleeve shirt. Once my friends got there, I finally conceded and just sat on the ground. I wasn’t the only one, there were people nearby me watching Netflix on the ground.

Around 4:30 is when things actually got started. After the National Anthem led by the Nuances and the pledge of allegiance led by Dana Ferguson, a Davidson alum and member of the electoral college came out and spoke. He was followed by a member of congress, then Dan Blue III who was running for North Carolina Treasurer, and finally, Alma Adams, another member of congress, who at one point, speaking of Donald Trump, said “Bless his heart”. They each spoke about their own feelings on government, particularly in the state of North Carolina, and how they feel Hilary Clinton is a better choice over her opponent.

Then the clock struck 5:00, but nothing happened. We waited. And waited. And waited. Then finally, nearly half an hour late, Kaine came out. He greeted everyone with a wave, and then asked us if we’d seen the recent presidential debate. He spent the greater part of his speech unpacking the debate and the differences in policy, focusing on economic plans, college and important issues. He spoke eloquently, seeming a much different person than during the Vice-Presidential Debate. He pointed out how independent analysts have said Clinton’s plan will be better for the economy than Trump’s. He explained that Clinton intends to make college debt-free and free for families who make under $125,000 a year. He then attacked Trump for his recent comments about women, and asserted the need for reforms to ensure equality, especially for people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Kaine ended his speech by encouraging attendees to vote and then he stepped off the stage. I expected him to retreat inside, but instead, he walked up to the crowd and began shaking hands and signing autographs. I managed to shove my hand out between two people, and actually got two handshakes on accident. Kaine smiled at me and thanked me for coming.

While Kaine spoke about information that could have been easily found online (as Clinton and Trump’s policies and opinions are fairly well-known), and the rally involved a lot of cheering and booing at appropriate moments, I still felt it was a beneficial experience. Reading information online is one thing, but hearing it specifically from the candidate running and getting a sense of the community’s feelings on each topic felt somehow more informative and valuable. If you get a chance to attend one, I highly recommend it, if just to understand what goes on.

Cover Image Credit: Emi Moore

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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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Finding Empathy in Trump's America

Since when did asking if we should pay taxes for public healthcare become a legitimate question?

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Moving to New York City at the age of 19 to pursue a summer internship in public art was bold. I have never lived alone before. It is my first time having to feed and care for myself without the assistance of college. Although I often hear that moving to new york is never a bad idea, I have found myself in doubt sometimes. This city is expensive. I'm renting a room in Brooklyn that has no closet, AC, and is the size of my bed (a full by the way). I went to get a grilled cheese, and it cost sixteen dollars. But there are benefits.

Just a walk down the street reveals art murals so vast I could inspect them forever. I see everyone from guys with their shorts hanging off their butts to men in suits. I have seen art from the beginning of our species arrival on this planet at the MET. I have seen installations at the Guggenheim that encouraged me to think about how people perceive the roles of wives in China. I have been led blindfolded through a sound installation in City Hall Park that highlighted air pollution and the experiences of those with breathing ailments. I have kissed someone in Central Park on top of the Shakespeare Garden. I have walked around Chinatown and grabbed dinner at a random restaurant. I have tried tiramisu tea at this cute Chinese place and the best salad of my life at Chopt. I have taken the subway in the opposite direction of where I was headed. I have gotten lost in Grand Central Station. I have seen more Starbucks in this city than I have in my whole life. I have been angry at environmental injustice. I have cried because I have also seen so much plight.

Nothing prepared me for the sheer number of homeless people asking for food in the subways and streets of New York City. These people are not trying to fund their drug addiction or anything like that. They are hungry, starving people who are just trying to make it day by day. For the first time in the dozens of subway trips I've taken into Manhatten, I saw someone give a homeless person cash and food. There is a horrid subhumanization of homeless people in this city. Every time I am on a subway with a homeless person, they say a statement that usually goes like this:

"Hello everyone. I want to apologize if I am causing any disturbance to your day. I have been homeless for three years, and usually, I can get a dollar or two for food. Today was a particularly bad day and I don't know what to do because I have nothing to eat. If any of you could find it in your hearts to spare me some food, it would be greatly appreciated. I apologize for any disturbances I have caused. Thank you for being willing to hear me speak. I hope you have a great day and a safe trip home. God bless you."

These are not the statements of the stereotyped homeless, yet I hear this speech so often, with some parts differing. Some have children. Some are veterans. Some have been homeless for a few years, others more. Almost all are elderly and have trouble walking.

It breaks my heart to see these homeless people, yet I have no idea what to do.

On Google Maps, I see homeless shelters. There are several in place. On the subways, I see an advertisement by the city government to help homeless people this winter by texting a specific number which can provide them with shelter and food. Clearly, something is not working if I see at least ten homeless people a day on my commute to East Village, Manhattan from north Brooklyn.

I thought the most significant difficulty I would encounter when moving to New York City would be learning independence, but I was wrong. It is seeing mass suffering face to face on a scale I've never encountered before. I have always known that immense suffering exists globally and that the extent is heartbreaking. And yet, it is different to see these homeless people before my own eyes and know that they are just trying to survive.

What kind of life is that? To strive for survival, and be unsure if you can even make it the night? What about happiness? Love? I see these people, and I can't fathom the thought of not giving more of my taxes to help fund government programs to help them. I can't face this suffering and feel in my heart that I would rather have some extra cash than have this homeless person have a safe bed and warm food for tonight. I just can't.

The other day, someone told me that they believe we shouldn't spend any of our taxes on public healthcare because if they can't afford to treatment because they're too poor, then it's their fault. The individual said that he shouldn't have to pay for others health because it has no relevance to his life. I was shocked and horrified. Sure, I don't know the homeless man or the person who is struggling with illness needing a hospital bed, but I don't have to. I have my humanity. I have empathy, compassion, care for these people because I recognize their suffering, and I feel this need to end it. I feel in my heart that I have to help this person because it is right. I don't know how to explain to someone why we should care about other people.

This day and age scare me. I don't want to live in a world where people don't have homes, and your child dies of cancer because you can't afford treatment. I don't want to live in a world where women don't have access to education and one in every three women is sexually assaulted or raped. I don't want to live in a world where people are forced to work in hazardous conditions below minimum wage. I don't want to live in a world where children are separated from their families because they were born in different countries. I don't want to live in a world where people adopt foster children so they could abuse the kids and spend the government money on themselves. I don't want to live in a world where being gay is a death sentence. I don't want to live in a world where animals die due to global warming and we do nothing about it.

I know you and I may not share the same beliefs or lives, but we are both human beings. We both want love and happiness. We both have cried. We both have experienced heartbreak. It does not matter that we are strangers because we all feel these things.

And that is why I am making a call for empathy. I am asking for us to acknowledge our shared humanity and say, "Enough is enough. I will not tolerate this anymore."

To step up and say, "No more needless suffering."

To say, "I am here for you" to every person suffering needlesly.

To feel your heart, and do what is right.

To hope for something better, and to know it is achievable because together, we can heal this world.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Min An from Pexels

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