About half of all atomic elements heavier than iron are produced in the particular conditions occurring during stellar death. In the rapid neutron capture process, or r-process, neutrons from the stellar environment are quickly absorbed by stable nuclei. The isotopes produced in these conditions have neutron-proton imbalances much larger than stable matter, with properties that can be difficult to predict. In particular, systematic deviations from theoretical models have been observed in their beta-decay half-lives. In this colloquium I will review my recent experimental and theoretical efforts to develop a new model of beta-decay for key r-process nuclei, called waiting points. It will be shown that, unexpectedly, the nuclear orbital structure favors neutron over gamma emission in 83,84Ga, resulting in shorter half-lives when compared to calculations using a global model of the nucleus. This effect is found to explain the beta-decay half-life discrepancies with global models for all r-process waiting points beyond neutron magic numbers.