This video details a new trend in dating among 18-29 year olds. Technology plays a bigger and bigger role in the daily lives of this demographic, it begins to change the way they operate. Dating online and using phone applications to meet people in your area is quickly becoming an accepted practice. Although there is still a stigma about the type of people who use these tools, individuals still feel that it is something that they would try, if they haven’t already.
“I’m not sure,” replies Jeymi Ramirez, a freshman at East Carolina University, when asked how old she is, “In my country, we don’t really need birth certificates.” Eventually she settles on 18. At the age of 16 Ramirez left San Pedro Sula, a city in the northern part of Honduras, fearing for her life. Gangs rule the government, violence is ignored, and having an accurate birth certificate is of no importance. In 2012 she gained asylum in the United States. Ramirez was one of 141 individuals from Honduras to do so that year, up from only five in 2004.
Honduras has repeatedly been the murder capital of the world in studies done by the UNDOC. Honduras is located in Central America just 200 miles south of Mexico sitting right above Nicaragua, with the Caribbean Sea on the east and Guatemala to the south. gangs have gained more power, more individuals have fled to the United States for safety. Their journey is a difficult one, and not all are granted asylum. In 2010, the rate of homicides per 100,000 people in the United States was 4.6, in Honduras it was 82.1. However, in the past decade other countries have responded to the turmoil by significantly increasing their rate of asylum. San Pedro Sula, Ramirez’s hometown, is ranked the 2012 most dangerous city in the world by a Mexican think-tank, Citizen Council for Public Security, Justice and Peace, with 1,218 homicides that year. Chicago, widely regarded as the United States’ most dangerous city, had 506 homicides in 2012.
San Pedro Sula, Ramirez’s hometown particularly is ranked the 2012 most dangerous city in the world by a Mexican think-tank, Citizen Council for Public Security, Justice and Peace. It is located in the northern part of Honduras, not far from the border of Guatemala to the west. She grew up wanting to be a doctor, but eventually realized that schooling in Honduras wasn’t going to get her there. Almost 14% of school-age children have no access to education, and of those that attend school, 46% never complete primary school according to Program for the Development of the Organization of the United Nations.
In San Pedro, Jeymi was far from safe. Her biological father died when she was about five months old. By the age of 15, her stepfather was estranged from the family. The fact that he was unwanted did not keep him from coming around. Ramirez repeatedly states that she felt threatened by her stepfather.
There was nothing the Ramirez family could do to keep him away, even the police were useless. “The police do nothing,” Ramirez says, of the many incidents that happened regarding her family, “The government doesn’t protect the people.” This became an even bigger issue when a local gang leader because interested in her. She had never met him, she didn’t even know his name. She still has no idea how he found out about her, or where he saw her. Other gang members began showing up at her home, telling her they were going to take her away. The would steal from the Ramirez home, and threatened her multiple times. Police never took action, even though they were made aware of the situation. Jeymi and her family were on their own.
Jeymi wanted to have a safer life and a better education than she could have in San Pedro. She knew she had to act. Her sisters Vanessa and Brenda had already made it out, Vanessa to New York and Brenda to Raleigh, NC. They helped her figure out a plan.
In August of 2009 her sister Vanessa, who lives in New York, had paid a coyote $7,000 to bring Ramirez and her 4-year-old niece, Vanessa Ramirez-Espinoza, to the States. A coyote is smuggler who takes people across the Mexico-United States border. This service has become more and more expensive over the years. They would travel through Guatemala and Mexico and eventually arrive in Texas. “It is never just on person who takes you,” Jeymi says of coyotes. One takes you a certain distance and another picks you up. Two days after leaving Honduras, with the first coyote, they have reached the mountains in Guatemala. Jeymi and her niece are in a truck with eight other Hondurans, when the coyote looks at her and says “If you want to keep going you have to have sex with me.” He made it clear that if she said no, he would leave her. “He just said it” Ramirez says, her cheeks turning red and her voice getting quieter, still shocked that he was so brazen. When she said no, he stopped the truck and left Jeymi and Vanessa at the bottom of the mountain.
“It’s really fucking expensive,” says Sierra Babbige, a former member of the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Equestrian Team, of why she quit riding. Between boarding, showing, outfits, travel and all the other little things that go into being a member of the team and competing at the college level, for Babbige, it just wasn’t feasible.
Equestrianism is consistently at the top of all the “most expensive” sports lists and power rankings. Even SB Nation, a well-known and credible sports news outlet, published an article by Bill Hanstock titled “You’re Poor: 10 Sports You Can’t Afford,” with Equestrianism topping the list.
Used for farming, hunting, battle and transportation, in ancient times horseback riding was an essential part of life. As new technology began to take the place of the horse, riding and showing became a sport reserved for the elite. In the 21st century less than 1 percent of Americans own horses, only 2 million out of a population of 313 according to the American Horse Council, and less than 2 percent of Americans are involved in the Equestrian industry in some way. It is safe to say that it is incredibly likely that the average American, a girl like Babbige, can’t afford to participate.
At almost 11 pm, Nicole West, a full time student at UNCW and a part time employee at Massage envy, stands in her kitchen preparing dinner. After work she stopped by the 24-hour Harris Teeter to pick up asparagus and bacon, all that is needed for her favorite quick dinner. West wraps each of the fresh stalks of asparagus in bacon with a skilled hand, places them on a pan, sticks it in the oven and waits patiently for a meal she has far too often, far too late at night.
West is one of the many college students who has had to sacrifice their eating habits and sleep schedule in order to keep the part-time job that pays for clothes, food, gas and other essentials. On top of a full class schedule and a robust social life, West works an average of 20 hours a week at Massage Envy in Mayfaire Town Center. Her job is to answer phones, greet customers and schedule appointments among other things, although the job itself isn’t laborious, the hours and lack of break time make it difficult for her to eat at regular hours.
They are a group of the population between kids and adults. They operate late at night an early in the morning. Their schedules can be unorganized or structures. This doesn’t depend on what classes they are taking or what jobs they have, it all comes down to how they are handling their new-found independence. Their parents are no longer making dinner for them, they don’t have an 8 hour school day five days a week. 18 to 23 year old college students are a diverse demographic trying and sometimes failing to prepare themselves for the real world, making dinner plans is a simple but sometimes daunting responsibility these individuals face.
Without the structure of parents who do the grocery shopping for them and a consistent school day every day, college students in 2014 find themselves making their own schedules from classes and studying to work and when to eat. Split into two categories, those who eat dinner from 5-8pm regularly and 8-11pm regularly. Dinner after 11pm is considered late night eating and does not count as dinner regardless of which meal of the day it is. Students eating habits depend on what time they wake up in the morning, when they have classes scheduled for the day and what kind of hours they work. The biggest part of that is their work schedule.
Although some establishments will cater to their student employees, most don’t, citing that it is the student’s responsibility to schedule their time efficiently. Employers must give equal treatment to those who are enrolled in school and those who are not. Giving an employee time for dinner between 5-8pm, what is considered regular dinner hours according to, is not possible. In North Carolina there is no law requiring that employees over the age of 16 must be given breaks, for rest or meals, during their shift. Although most employers do elect to give breaks, they are not always enough time for an individual to get a meal. A rest break is any break given for less than 20 minutes while a meal break is considered 30 minutes or more. Rest breaks are compensated while meal breaks are not.
This policy creates a problem for individuals working long shifts later in the day because unless the individual chooses to bring their own food into work, it is difficult to have a meal in such a small window of time. Student-employees have all types of schedules from early morning classes to allow for work at night to the converse, scheduling night classes to make themselves available for morning and afternoon shifts. The first scenario leads to a new possible new trend of late night eating, essentially students shift their entire day back in order to make it possible to eat dinner after work. These students wake up later in the day for later classes, they take afternoon naps, and they go to bed later at night to accommodate their work schedule.
Massage Envy, Pet Supermarket, and Captain Bill’s are three examples of work places that often hire students as employees and close at 9pm or later. None of these workplaces give more that 20 minute breaks to their employees. This is just enough time to sit down, check your emails and maybe eat a small snack, it is hardly enough time to eat a healthy dinner. For Massage Envy and Pet Supermarket this means the employee must wait until they leave at 10pm to get dinner. For Captain Bills, closing shifts do not end until around 11pm when the volleyball courts close and games end. Captain Bill’s serves alcohol and food to their customers who are hanging out or participating in volleyball games at the establishment, because it is a restaurant and bar it closes much later than places like Massage Envy and Pet Supermarket.
Sloane Philipp, a 21 year old Pet Supermarket employee has found herself in the same situation recently. Philipp has been working at Pet Supermarket for about two months now and has noticed a real change in her eating habits. Philipp values structure and is a dedicated student. She manages her time well, but after beginning her new job has realized just how much she can no longer get done in a day. During the week she has classes in the morning and usually goes into work at 3pm, a little after lunchtime. She works a 7 hour shift, getting off at 10pm.
“By that time,” Philip says, “I am always starving.” Philipp gets off work, goes straight home and cooks or grabs something from one of the fast food restaurants between Pet Supermarket on Oleander and her house on Wrightsville. Unless she wants to go to a bar and get a burger, her choices are very limited.
Unlike Philipp, who makes time to get groceries and plan for meals during the day, West is lucky to have places like Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods between her workplace and residence. These grocery stores stay open until midnight or later and are a great place to go get ingredients for a quick home-cooked meal. Even then however, bacon wrapped asparagus, West’s favorite quick fix for hunger, is not a meal that is healthy or is even what she wants 3 days out of the week.
Deanna Groth is another, even more extreme case of the new norm in dinner habits. Groth works an average of 15 hours per week at Captain Bill’s. She is lucky that she is a ref and only works as long as games are going on, but frequently will not get back to her apartment until 10 or even 11pm. By the time she gets off work, studying for the next day isn’t an option. All she wants to do is order a pizza and go to be. Groth has also made an effort to schedule her classes in a way that is conducive to maximum hours at work. What makes it somewhat easier for her is that her boyfriend works similar hours. They usually eat their late night dinners together, making it a little less of a hassle to fend for herself every night.
All of these women have found themselves compromising a normal schedule and a healthy diet for part time jobs. They have made a habit of eating late because they have to, quitting their job is not an option and some of their required classes are not available at night. Many college students have been in this same situation time and time again. Their boss is not able to give them enough time to eat at work so they become a part of a growing group of college students frequenting grocery stores long after normal business hours.
There are, however, notable exceptions to this rule. Deidre Leary a Junior at UNCW well into her nursing degree eats dinner at 6pm every night and is in bed by 11pm. She has a job as a nanny and a full course load but still makes the time to operate during business hours.
“I get up by 6am,” Leary says, “sometimes even earlier. I have to eat dinner by 6pm.” For Leary, schedule and structure are important. Getting 8 hours of sleep, making time for studying, working a part-time job, and having a healthy relationship with her boyfriend of almost two years is important to her. She gets up at 6am to make all this possible, to her eating a late dinner is not something that is forced on someone, it is the product of poor scheduling. Leary is one of the exceptions, not all college students have the ability to be as organized as her.
Leary however, does not negate the trend. She is fortunate enough to have gotten a job that does not require her after 5pm, making it possible for her to eat at the same time that she has always eaten at.
Late night eating is something almost all busy, stressed college students get used to. It is a part of life, they find which places they like to eat, what they can cook and be happy with at 10:30 at night, which grocery stores are still open and close to home. Student employees like West and Groth try not to see it as an inconvenience, though it almost always is, instead they consider it part of the experience. They think of it as a road they must cross to graduate into the real world, something they must learn to do before they settle down and revert back to the normalcy found in their parents
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