I have only been in Charlotte at the DNC for 5 days with my classmates and professors, but within that short amount of time I have come to know many of them profoundly better than I would have in a regular classroom setting. Anyway, we went out to breakfast this morning to Maddie’s Diner for the second time and afterwards took a final group picture. We then headed to the convention center and once we were there everyone went their separate ways. I sat in on the women’s council with Gillian and Carole. We witnessed Dr. Jill Biden and Michelle Obama speak, among other notable speakers. After that meeting I contacted Max so that we can meet up and try another round of pavement pounding.
I met him and Allison at Panera Bread where I also made the acquaintance of a student from UNC-Chapel Hill, Burcu Bozkurt. Shortly after, Max and I headed out and scoured the streets for protesters but had a difficult time encountering any. Dr. DeWitt notified us that he was at Panera Bread so we headed back there after having walked around for about an hour and a half. While there I started to engage in conversation with other individuals and was able to administer several surveys. Max left to try the street scouring strategy again while I continued to administer surveys to potential, appropriate participants and had tremendous success (who had obvious showings of political activism in the form of t-shirt, buttons, etc). Rain started pouring outside and I was glad I stayed.
After the rain subsided, a scene developed outside in which a girl was arrested for planting a flag on the exterior wall of the parking lot across the street. I went out to see what was going on and at that time Max had come back. We went for another round of street searching and actually encountered several activists that provided us with very complete and unique surveys and interview answers. We headed back to Panera one last time when Dr. DeWitt notified us that that was where we would meet before we headed out the MSNBC watch party. We regrouped and while on our way to the party we encountered our good British friend Shaphrah Dixon, who, to our great surprise, provided us with two tickets for the Time Warner Arena. We decided that Carole would be one of the two to go, and a coin toss decided that I would be the second.
I was excited at first but when we had to wait standing for over two hours in front of the barricaded arena without an explanation from the Secret Service, FBI, or police as to why people were not being let in I became very upset. In the end, we were told the arena was full to capacity and so everyone dispersed. Carole and I headed to the MSNBC watch party (which did not exist) only to find out on our way there that everyone except Ernesto (who was on the arena floor) had gone back to the hotel. From the MSNBC center we headed to the convention center so I could pick up some gift items, and then we sat in a watch party for about a half hour before leaving and heading home (and coming across another, this time bigger, Occupy protest).In conclusion, this experience has been unforgettable. The research experience and social connections with my peers and others which I have gained are invaluable. I would like to thank Dr. DeWitt and Dr. Azriel for being such amazing professors on this trip and allowing us to conduct, develop, and guide our own research but at the same time always being there for us if we needed advice. More field study classes such as this need to be implemented in the curriculum of other social sciences in order to facilitate critical real world application of concepts learned that cannot be simulated or replicated in the classroom or on campus.