About Waverly

Sophomore

Homeland Security

Major: Homeland Security
Minors: International Relations and Terrorism Studies
Hometown: San Diego, California
Why I chose Embry-Riddle: The reputable education, the outstanding prestige and the endless amount of opportunity!
Campus Involvement: Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, Women in Aviation, The Ninety-Nines, Homeland Security Student Association.

The Secrets to Staying #ERAUFit: How to Stay on TOP of Your College Life.

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“Let the beauty of what you love, be what you do.” – Rumi

Location: ERAU

When I first came to college, there were a ton of various activities going on. Freshman year was so exciting yet so overwhelming because I was so thrilled about classes, flight, events, joining clubs & organizations, you name it! It wasn’t actually until my sophomore year that I realized things were buckling down; I had to prioritize. So what is the first step toward college success? Confidence. You can’t expect to succeed if you aren’t feeling determined!

TIME Magazine asked several students on what their secrets were to success in college- it’s probably not what you’d think! Leading off the confidence note, college is here to inspire you, to nurture you and to grow you. It’s up to you to determine your college experience. Let that soak in!

In that case, it’s important to pursue passion, not A’s. Wherever your passion takes you, you’re sure to succeed. If you go into a class with the wrong mindset, it can truthfully determine your success in that class. Ambition and innovation secede grades every time. Go into a class with curiosity, interest and attraction- not just a simple willpower to pass or make a good test grade. There is no substitute for the joy of doing something you enjoy and doing it well.

Get comfortable with failing. Sometimes, you’re going to have a bad test score, that’s ok. Actually, sometimes failing can be the best educator. You learn from mistakes and move on.

Set goals and make them real. If you really want to manage your time wisely, set realistic short term and long term goals, and give them a deadline. This will motivate you to work toward your goals without excuses. It will also help you develop a crystalized vision.

Make a personal connection to your studies. Leading off the growth aspect, it’s important to view your studies as something that is going to benefit and cultivate you as a young professional. College is a time to develop into you and who you want to be. Learning is about you. If you look at it this way, you’ll be sure to work harder and gain much more than just facts and concrete information; you’ll be able to see things in other perspectives and all different types of angles and be able to apply it to your everyday life.

Be active. This doesn’t mean just physically, but mentally as well. It’s important to indulge yourself in all the facilities and amenities your college offers such as a physical fitness center, tutor labs, study groups, clubs & organizations, etc. Expand your web network through Alumni associations (www.ERAUAlumni.org) or clubs on campus. Utilize tutor labs when you are unsure of a topic in class. Stay active at the fitness center (http://bit.ly/1sjI1UY) or join an intramural team and choose healthy options in the dining areas (www.eraudining.com). I couldn’t stress enough how much this will help you to flourish in your college career!

Find a way to contribute. Whether it be through an eco-club, a job, or even helping out a fellow classmate, find a way to give back to your university. Not only does this help you get out of your comfort zone, but it allows you appreciate the community around you and it grows your networking web. Try it!

Manage your time. I really stress this one because when I was a freshman, I wanted to join everything. First semester can be pretty overwhelming, especially if you’re coming from across the country like I did. Let your first semester be a trial phase on what you are truly interested in. Be picky about which clubs/organizations and activities you would like to partake in. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too selective with my time, and I ended up being slumped by spring semester (side note: Sophomore slump is a real thing, google it!). So choose activities that truly interest you and will benefit you. Also, take time to plan out your schedule around your classes e.g. when you will be studying, working out, eating dinner, hanging out with friends, etc. and stick to it! The earlier you learn these tactics the better off you’ll be in the long run. Form good habits now!

Go after what you love. You’ve already decided you want to go to college, now what could stop you? Sometimes, between the general education requirements and prerequisites, a must-do for any major, it’s easy to get caught up in the routine of everything and lose sight of your intellectual interests and gifts. If you see this happening, try to take at least one class that really sparks your interest every semester. Ever since I started college at Embry-Riddle, I’ve always had at least one class each semester that has made me super excited to learn more! Don’t forget why you’re at college in the first place- to find, learn, and ripen the thing(s) you are so passionate about. If you have the passion, use it. That’s how dreams are achieved.

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(For more tips, email: giannotw@my.erau.edu)

007 Study Abroad Continued.

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After Swindon, we took a two hour bus ride to London where we stayed for five days. I was excited to revisit the city and see how things had changed. Actually, nothing had really changed at all! Last time I was in London was during the summer as well, so the weather wasn’t too different. This Southern California girl definitely couldn’t handle the cold weather at night.

We did the touristy things like see Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London. We also went on a few “Spy Walks” around the city where we learned about the history of espionage through British lens’.

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The next day we visited the Churchill War Museum, where we got to visit Churchill’s underground war rooms, which were kept exactly in tact since the war. It was definitely neat to be a part of history.

Afterward, we got a VIP tour of the US Embassy in London (thanks Jose!) where we got to hear great advice from a speaker in the Embassy and receive a tour of the facility. It is the largest American embassy in Western Europe and it used to be the headquarters of the General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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The last day, the group got a tour of Buckingham Palace. The trip was complete with a plane ride from Heathrow to Dublin, a 10 hour layover in Dublin and a plane ride back to New York and onto Florida. I really enjoyed my time abroad.

A little advice: if you are considering going abroad, please do it! However, make sure you plan well. It’s not like going on a trip with your family where you’re more comfortable. You and only you are responsible for yourself, and no place is like the United States, so be prepared before you go. Also, stay hydrated and sleep! To be honest, the most sleep I got was 4 hours a night. I never adjusted to the time change because I wasn’t motivated enough. Sometimes when you’re so excited about the travel, you forget to rest. From that, you become dehydrated and sick. I learned from my lessons, but it was still so worth it. I’m not a very good influence on that part, haha.

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In addition, pack light and bring proper clothing. All I brought was 1 check-in bag and a backpack, and that may have been too much. Of course, you have some room for luxury, but a 50 pound bag isn’t fun to lug up four heights of hostel stairs.

Overall, keep an open mind and be willing to learn- even about yourself. Travel makes you learn a lot more than you thought you could and gives you a great perspective on things so if you have the opportunity, seize it. You’ll regret it if you don’t. 

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If you have any questions about studying abroad through Embry-Riddle, please email me at giannotw@my.erau.edu.

007 Study Abroad Continued.

10154897_10203209384772142_272986979081192414_nC-130s over Normandy! Kid in a candy store moment. It was so neat seeing 5 of them or so casually flying over at extremely low altitudes. All of Normandy was filled with great patriotism; we were all a part of something bigger in remembering those who had fought for our soil and freedom.

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In the streets of Normandy, France, squandering for crepes

After Normandy, we took a ferry and headed back to England. Here, we first went to Swindon to check out the German Enigma machine at Bletchley Park. If you don’t know much about the machine, the British used it to decode messages that the Germans were sending to one another during WWII. The whole place used to be a huge intelligence base.

The next day, we went to the Culture in Conflict conference at the Defense Academy of the UK. It was a three day conference consisting of various speakers from all over the world- people from the military, government agencies, companies like Lockheed Martin, civilian contractors, and intelligence companies to the Israeli Air Force.

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Cranfield University/Defense Academy of the UK

It’s things like this that confirm my passions. Hearing these people speak from all over the world was very eye opening. Most of them had spent time in Middle Eastern regions like Beirut or places in Afghanistan doing research. I was intimidated, but I was inspired. I couldn’t take many pictures here…sorry, guys! But the memory of this conference will remain ingrained in my mind forever.

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Bath, UK

We had a free day in Swindon, so a few of us decided to visit Bath. Bath is a place that is exactly as it sounds; it’s famous for its ancient Roman Baths.

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Somehow, I managed to come across this quote while I was abroad:

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It definitely struck me. This trip had opened my heart up to many possibilities in terms of where I could take my career. I never knew how many petals this rose of the intelligence field could have. And wow, am I amazed. Studying abroad is such a great idea if you’re thirsting for more knowledge. I went only knowing so few things and came back so much richer than before. Let travel change you. You learn a lot about yourself, too.. which is probably the most important thing you could understand, especially when you’re trying to find out, well, what you want to “do.” Make your passion so big that you can’t fully grasp it even if you travel the world. You can never know enough about your passion.. I guess that’s what makes it what it is. That’s what makes you discover brand new petals of the flower over and over again.

We’re in London next. I’m excited to visit again.

More coming!

Giant’s Causeway & Normandy, France.

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On Wednesday we went to Giant’s Causeway up in Northern Ireland – an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns (mostly hexagonally shaped). These uniquely shaped columns along the ocean are the result of an ancient volcanic eruption on the Northern Ireland coast. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

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We arrived in Lisieux, France on Thursday night for the 70th Anniversary of D-Day on Friday, June 6. The celebration was incredible. A bunch of important people, from Obama and Queen Elizabeth to the US Secretary of the Army, to name a few, were there. We started by going to a museum to see a 1,000 year old script written on William the Conqueror, followed by a stop for crepes. I had never seen so much busy-ness in a foreign country. The gendarmerie (French military force) were on every street corner asking every car where they were going and who was in the car. The security was very serious. We headed to Arromache beach first for the celebration; the beach was completely covered with D-Day re-enactors, military tanks and vehicles.

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After that, we headed to Omaha beach, one of the beaches where the US fought on. We also visited the American cemetery above Omaha, where Obama had previously spoken a few hours before. That night we headed back to town and had a great talk about D-Day over dinner. Needless to say, we were all speechless.

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I loved France. It was a perfect time to put my French to the test and I don’t think I spoke English once except to the students with me. I want to go back already! Please mom…

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On Saturday, the D-Day festivities continued. We went to Utah beach (another US beach) and a few museums. We also went to a neat festival in the town and grabbed a couple eclairs and jambon et fromage baguettes. We also got to meet the Secretary of the US Army and some secret service. That was definitely neat. It was also nice to see a lot of American military present at the celebration, they had already been there for about a week beforehand.

DCIM100GOPROView from my room in France

Today, we decided to go to Juno beach where the Canadians fought. These beaches were very solemn but had freedom written all over them. Some of the German bunkers were still intact and we got to walk inside of them. There aren’t many times where you can say you’re just hanging out on top of an old World War German bunker at the beach, especially on the D-Day 70th Anniversary. These past 3 days were a blessing.

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We took the bus back onto the ferry to England and drove to Swindon, where we will be staying until Friday when we head to London. Tomorrow we’ll be going to Bletchley Park, where we’ll get to see the German Enigma Code Breaker. Very excited!

007 Study Abroad: Belfast, Ireland.

IMG_84702.5 Week Study Abroad in Ireland, France, Great Britain

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Greetings from Ireland! Location: Belfast Peace Walls

Official Day 2 has just ended and it’s 10pm in Belfast right now, but feels like it’s 5pm! Most of us arrived in Belfast on Sunday. After a 6 hour flight, sleep deprived, hungry, and after having an interesting encounter with customs, we were ready to go to bed. Of course, with the time change, we couldn’t until later that night. So, that day we walked around the streets of Belfast gathering up Belgium chocolates, last minute essentials, and a crazy amount of shepherds pie. Our hostel, the Vagabonds, is extremely nice and is filled with various free souls (mostly students) from all over the world. Every hall is decorated with historical pieces of Belfast and sprinkled memories. It’s cozy and quaint. I couldn’t complain.

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IMG_8394Inside the hostel

BpHN3uXIEAAxXrVDowntown Belfast

IMG_8425For the beginning portion of Summer A, us students took two main courses: HS 405, Emerging Topics In Homeland Security and HS 325, Terrorism: Ideologies, Origins, and Goals. We mostly discussed the time of the Troubles here in Belfast, the time of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and their experiences with the British Government.

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(this peace wall was intended to separate the Catholics from the Protestants during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The city people do not plan on taking the wall down anytime soon.)

Yesterday, we had two political tours around the city of Belfast; one tour from an ex member of the IRA and the other from an ex member of the UUP. To say the least, it was a very interesting experience because we got to hear both sides of the story during the times of the Troubles.DCIM100GOPRO

sa5sa6Oldest pub in Belfast

Today, we went to Queen’s University for a lecture. The University was beautiful! We listened to two professors from the Institute of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice; they mostly spoke about the time of the Troubles here in Northern Ireland. We certainly gained a few gems of wisdom on the conflict.

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DCIM100GOPROTomorrow, we’ll be hopping over to Giant’s Causeway for a tour of a great volcanic plateau on the ocean and experience old Irish castles and whiskey tasting. Thursday, we head to Normandy, France for the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

If you are interested in studying somewhere outside the US, definitely consider it for the future. You will gain a completely different perspective on not only social aspects, but also academics as well. And take the risk of going to somewhere foreign to you! The leap is totally worth it, after all.

Here’s a great quote on growth: “It is not that we love to be alone, but that we love to soar, and when we do soar, the company grows thinner and thinner until there is none at all. …We are not the less to aim at the summits though the multitude does not ascend them.”- Henry David Thoreau

Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and get uncomfortable. Safety does not always lie in security, which is why we grow when we are in unfamiliar situations. Allow yourself the chance for that growth.
Keep you posted.

20 going FL200

POSITION: Home!

San Diego, CA

So, it’s official… 20 going 20,000. Or FL200. I’ll let you take your pick.

It’s Christmas break now, my birthday was on the 16th, sorry I didn’t post earlier! I am now back from Embry-Riddle in beautiful Southern California where I was greeted off the airplane with an English bulldog puppy and an email stating I made the Honor Roll. (Go Eagles) It feels awesome to be finished with another great semester!

The year is almost over and I cannot fathom to this day, even, the beauty of where life has been taking me throughout college. Over-enthusiastic? Perhaps. Overly-passionate? Maybe.  But whatever it is that is strolling me along for this roller coaster of a journey- I am sure keeping all hands, feet, and arms inside at all times. I definitely don’t want to get off this ride.

Like 19 going 1,900 feet, I thought 20 going 2,000 would be too mediocre. FL200 was the perfect altitude, increasing from 1900 this past year because I think this past year I have grown more as a human than I have in all my 20 years. I’ve been blessed, lucky, fortuitous, whatever in the thesaurus compares.

This past year, everything has come on a tiptoe, silently working and becoming the colossal changes of my whole life. I had always known of what it meant to follow a dream, but I didn’t realize how narrow minded I had become in order to follow it- I thought I had to follow it by the path. And once I realized there was no strict, simple path (the Type A personality in me could not grasp) I stopped and let my heart talk back to me. This was when I truly knew what I wanted. I finally found the meaning of PASSION. It’s not an easy thing to face, nor it is truly an appealing phenomenon. Why? It’s hard work. It’s actually the most overused and the most under-served word today. But if you allow your passion to grow you, mold you, and surround you – your options are boundless.

Since the new year is coming up, consider your interests and an open mind in letting your passion do its thing. Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand. You won’t see results until you start working. Passion is the prerogative of the brave because the path that is worth treading is the path where the fewest have trekked. Hence why the word is so under-served. Find comfort in the uncomfortable. It may take a few seconds of bravery, but those miniscule moments will play a big role in your limits. Soon you’ll find it’s hard to reach a top speed.

Here’s to 20 going FL200 and to 2014.

Blue Skies (and White Skies for those who find themselves in colder temperatures)

Machin’ through Maximum Operating Altitude.

Modeling for sponsor Scheyden Precision Eyewear
Ayrton Senna said it perfectly: “On a given day, a given circumstance, you think you have a limit. And you then go for this limit and you touch this limit, and you think, ‘Okay, this is the limit’. And so you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high.”

What a few weeks it’s been! Classes have been the usual, various club meetings taking place, and I am progressing through my Commercial over at ATP. This past weekend was Fall Break and my mom came to Orlando to visit. It was nice to have San Diego come to me for a few days. :) This upcoming week is Homecoming and you know what that means! The Annual Sigma Sigma Sigma Halloween Fashion Show! This Wednesday, Oct 30 at 8pm in the Student Center. Be sure to get your ticket early!

First off, what is Maximum Operating Altitude? It’s the highest altitude an airplane can reach for structural or pressurization reasons. An airplane could go higher toward ‘absolute altitude,’ however, the equipment will not allow it. After hearing this quote from Senna this past week, I was reminded of the limitations I even continue to place on myself. We all have these ‘maximum operating altitudes’ we place on ourselves and most of us don’t even know it. And those limits are present in our everyday thoughts: “That’s too hard.” “I’m too lazy.” “I can’t do this.” “I can’t do that.” But, once you put yourself in a constant pattern of limitation, you place yourself in a fixed state of being. You can’t grow. Limits are these evil things that we all fear because we are too afraid, too lazy, too comfortable to break them. The reality of it is the fact that these limits are self-imposed. The only limits you have are the ones you set yourself. No one else has the power to give you limits- but you. You choose them. You have the ability to make a choice and say, “this is my maximum operating altitude, I’m done” OR you can equip yourself with the determination to go a little further.

  Courtesy of Scheyden Precision Eyewear
Most of us think we have reached our limit when we fail to realize a simple extra push is all it takes to break that barrier. An airplane has to be equipped properly or else it physically cannot push through its maximum operating altitude. You have the potential to break through your limits if you allow yourself to be equipped with determination, passion, perseverance and most importantly: belief. A limit is not a limit until you give it the power to be one. You can let your maximum operating altitude defeat you, or you can choose to overcome it. Your heart is free. Have the courage to follow it. What’s keeping your throttle at idle?
And so you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/ayrtonsenn348838.html#SWHjPf6isLgih0u2.99
And so you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/ayrtonsenn348838.html#SWHjPf6isLgih0u2.99

Gulfstream Grandeur.

POSTION: Embry-Riddle

For those of you who don’t know, a Gulfstream III was recently donated to Embry-Riddle’s Aviation Maintenance Science Program! And if you didn’t know, a Gulfstream is my favorite type of (modern day) aircraft. We got the amazing opportunity to check it out today. Needless to say, I was a kid in a candy store!

Near the Embry-Riddle Maintenance Hangar, GIII

Getting my Gulfstream loving!

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I was in a state of pure happiness. It’s moments like this that make all the hard work pay off – especially after having three tests! Sometimes it’s important to cherish the little things in life; details can be the most important things. The details that make you see how intricate life truly is. It’s important to realize how blessed we are in the midst of living a busy life. I ran out of the College of Aviation this afternoon completely stressing out over an upcoming test and saw this beautiful Gulfstream staring me in the face. Then it hit me.

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 We all get caught up in the ‘doing’ of life that we forget the importance of ‘being.’ This causes us to get caught up in the ugly part of life and forget the beauty. We worry, we stress, we overanalyze, we overwork ourselves because we feel we have to live up to this “status quo,” yet we don’t realize that we are forgetting to actually live. It’s not that a Gulfstream taught me this, the concept has been there all along. But the Gulfstream was definitely a reminder for me to stop and smell the flowers. Sometimes if we stop for a moment in the midst of all our rushing, we see the things that bring us those rays of sunshine we often miss. Yes, I was worried about a test, but I was discreetly reminded of why I am doing what I do in the first place. Fear defeated by pure faith. Those are the moments you don’t want to miss.

Me and Sojung under the GIII wing!

On a side note: October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month!

The following weeks are broken down as listed below:

  • Oct. 1-6, General online safety. Raises safety awareness among Americans.
  • Oct. 7-13, Mobile online safety & security. Focuses on the need to protect our safety regardless of when and where we access the internet.
  • Oct. 14-20, Cyber education. Gears toward the advances and opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education.
  • Oct. 21-27, Cybercrime. Works to display how people can protect themselves from internet crimes.
  • Oct. 28-31, Cybersecurity and critical infrastructure. Fixates on the necessity to protect our critical infrastructure.

In the Homeland Security Student Association (HSSA), we have been discussing the upcoming weeks and how to spread the news about the importance of Cyber Security. If you didn’t know, hundreds of thousands of cyber attacks happen in just one hour every day in many different countries! It’s extremely important to know how you are protecting what you do on the internet.

  Life is such a gorgeous thing and in this case, it was complemented by a gorgeous airplane. Next time you find yourself anxious, worried, or unsure- just know that from those situations stem the greatest circumstances. Stop and smell the flowers every once in awhile.
It’s a beautiful life. Do it justice.
 
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Sunny Standard Rate.

POSITION: Embry-Riddle

I took this photo the other day by the flight line and I had to add some insight.

Finally all settled down! Yes, after a couple weeks, I am back into the swing of things. It feels amazing to be back! I’ve been busy with classes, my sorority (Sigma Sigma Sigma), club meetings and I actually just got back from flying with a couple of friends. A thunderstorm rolled in and we just missed it as we turned on final. It’s never a dull day here in Florida!

Recruitment week is finished and Sigma Sigma Sigma recruited 15 new wonderful Purple Violets!

This past week we had a guest speaker; Dr. Bloom from the Prescott campus came to talk to us here in Daytona Beach. He gave us a lecture on the topic of ‘Deception.’ Embry-Riddle is trying to intertwine the programs at the Prescott campus here with us. Needless to say, it was a really neat experience!

In my Homeland Security class, aside from all the important stuff, we have been learning about all the different sectors within the field. Most people think of the TSA or Coast Guard when they think of Homeland Security, but actually, there are so many more branches such as intelligence, environmental security, defense, etc. The opportunities here are endless.

 This has been my view these past couple weeks.

In addition, October marks Cyber Security Month, so we will have some pretty interesting topics arising in class and in the Homeland Security Student Association! I am currently on the Public Relations Committee, so expect some cool information on Cyber Security Month when I post next week. I’ve been REALLY busy with switching majors and whatnot, so bear with me. Expect some flying pictures soon ;)

Blue Skies

Control Lock Removed.

POSITION: Embry-Riddle

Back for another year! It’s taken a little for me to get back into the swing of things, but I’m enjoying the excitement of it all. I am so excited to let you all in on what I am doing this year. I switched my major to Homeland Security with a minor in International Relations and Terrorism Studies. Yes, I will of course still be flying! However, I am now taking a different approach toward my studies and I am so excited to be able to fuel a bigger passion that I have had all my life. Stay tuned! This week is going to be the busiest out of the whole year, so I will fill everyone in next week on what has been going on. So many amazing things are on the horizon!

Before flight, us pilots have to remove the control lock from the yoke in order to actually turn the yoke. When the airplane is not being operated, the control lock basically locks the ailerons in place so that the wings are stable when rough winds are present. It’s crucial during large storms because this can be damaging to the aircraft’s wings.

As I was preparing for a flight the other day, I stared at the control lock and thought, “what would happen if I didn’t put the control lock in place after flight? What if I, figuratively, let the plane go through a storm without a control lock?” Bear with me. For example, when stormy events happen in our lives, we tend to run away. It’s only human nature. We throw on our control locks, become detached and abandon our aircraft. Most of the time, we fail to see what incredible growth such storms can create. I obviously don’t mean this literally, but what would you do if you could hold the reins in a certain situation?

 See, we all have this control lock that makes us feel safe. We feel as if it will protect us from any danger, when in reality, sometimes it’s crucial we throw our control locks out the window. We can’t grow if we are constantly locking our ‘steering wheel’ throughout life. It’s easy to stay in a comfortable situation because it appears safe, however it’s probably more dangerous to assume that you will still grow as a person if you stay in the same place. This couldn’t be more wrong. It locks your steering wheel.

I’m telling you to forget about those thoughts of staying comfortable because it’s “safe.” Explore your limits, set your standards, and allow yourself to grow. Sure, control locks are great when you are faced with stormy, or unsafe, situations – but you will never know how to steer your yoke if it is constantly locked. You can’t move from Point A expecting to get to Point B when you have no control over your momentum. But here’s the thing: you are completely capable of taking the steering wheel of your own life, and moving the yoke in any direction you please. The only thing that’s stopping you, is the illusion that the control lock is what’s going to make you stay in a safe place. To stay safe is to move. When will you remove it?

Blue Skies and broken control locks