September 2012

Hi everyone, my name is Matthew Colan and I will be one of your student blog writers for this year at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Hopefully you will be able to learn about the experiences of the day to day life of a college student at ERAU over the course of the year. But first let me introduce myself to get to know me a little better.

I was born in Port Jefferson, New York and moved to northern Vermont at the age of four. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a love for all things aviation. My parents believe it is because the first thing I saw when I was born was an airplane. Even as an infant, they say I would always be looking at an airplane flying across the sky. My first flight on an airplane was at the tender age of three. I remember almost nothing of the flight except it was early in the morning and there was a little bit of rain.

As I got older, my other grandfather began introducing me to model aviation. I always knew he flew model airplanes, but now he was beginning to teach me how to fly. He taught me how to fly Radio Control, and I flew those for a couple of years. In 2005, he introduced me to Control-line, a different form of model airplanes. Once I learned how to fly control-line, I started to compete. We eventually went to the National Championships in Muncie, Indiana in 2011. At that contest I was fortunate enough to place third in the advanced class and second in the senior class. We both went back to Muncie later that year so I could compete at the Team Trials. At that contest, I obtained the junior spot on the United States world team. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the world championships because the event occurred during the same week as Freshman Orientation at Embry-Riddle.

Fast forward to the present day, I just finished up my fourth week of classes. I have been at Embry-Riddle for a month and can’t believe time has gone by so quickly. My major is Aeronautical Science, which is the degree program to become a professional pilot. Currently, I am working on obtaining my Private Pilot license. A lot of class time is spent in the air, and in my opinion is the best classroom in the world! I currently live in Doolittle Hall, one of the four freshman dorms. I also became a member of two clubs on campus and also part of an intramural flag football team. Our first game was earlier this week, and unfortunately we came up a little short in getting the win. Since the team is comprised mostly of freshman, we didn’t know all of the rules to flag football and penalties got the best of us.

The two clubs I am a member of is the Radio Control Airplane Club and the Sport Aviation Club. The Sport Aviation club gives opportunities to go to airshows at almost no cost, and also give you the opportunity to fly some really cool airplanes. Just last weekend, I was able to take a ride in an aerobatic glider and fly in a Pitts S-2B. One of my friends let me use his GoPro camera, and I got the flight on video. I put it up on Youtube here if you would like to watch it.

This weekend, I will be attending an airshow at Cocoa Beach with the Sport Aviation Club. I will talk about it in my next blog entry. I also have a model airplane under construction in my dorm that I hopefully will be able to fly by the next blog entry as well.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me. You can also add me as a friend on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. If you do wish to add me as a friend on Facebook, send me a message to let me know that you read the student blog so that I know it is not spam. If you have a Youtube account, you can subscribe to my Youtube channel. Thank you for reading my story and I hope you will consider Embry-Riddle as your college of choice. You will not be disappointed!

Matthew Colan

October 3, 2010

A month has gone by already? It’s so unbelievable to think that just over 40 days ago, I was back home in California. I loved my life back home, don’t get me wrong, but it feels like this is where I belong. Last blog, I just introduced myself, so let me say a little about what’s been going on since I got here.

Move-in day was August 25th. Knowing how hectic things can be during this time, settling in was relatively a breeze! Anywho—I live in Adams Hall, 5th floor (i.e the penthouse). Honors program got me here. See, if you apply early enough (by the beginning of the Spring), you might get an invitation from Dr. Kain, the honors program coordinator, asking you to apply for the honors program. Not everyone gets it, but if you have enough AP/IB credits and a good SAT score, all you have to do is send in an essay and your resume, and hope for the best! For those of you who think that it’s more work (and therefore a waste of time), don’t fret!! Actually, we get many credits waived just for taking honors courses. For example, since I already had most of my general education credits out of the way from high school courses, the honors seminar replaced my Speech credit! Such a great feeling, especially since I’m not a very good public speaker. Did I mention the material perks too? Well, this year we all got free iPads. We thought it was a joke, too, until we opened our gift bags at the Honors Banquet the eve of move-in day. We also get priority registration for next semester, which is a great perk, considering freshmen are usually the last to pick.

Next big event was Orientation week. It was definitely a lot more pumped up than I would have thought. The highlight of the week was the O-team, who is in charge of easing us through all the activities and to-dos of the week. Saturday morning, I was sitting quietly in my room when I hear a mob of screaming maniacs coming down the hall. I open the door slowly to see who is outside, and a hand reaches in and drags me outside. We are paraded down to the elevators where packs of people are stuffed inside, and the O-team starts screaming ‘O, O, O, O’, which is their motto. Although I was a tad taken back at first, they took us to the ‘Food Dude’, who is a former “The Next Food Network Star” contestant, who taught us how to stay healthy while in college. Trust me it is a lot better than it sounds. We also had a quite humorous skit by our RAs (Residence Advisors) about safety, then a nice re-make of Deal or No Deal—aptly named Beat the Banker for copyright purposes. When it came time to say goodbye to my parents, I was glad I had a few friends with me.

The second week of school, the University Diversity Office set up a scavenger hunt for women only, where we had to run around the school for a good hour looking for clues. It was so tiring, but I got to meet my mentors. The program is called FIRST (Female Initiatives: Reaching Success Together), where Freshman girls in Engineering, Space Physics and Engineering Physics are set up with older girls, who will act as their mentors throughout the year.

Speaking of clubs, the Student Activities office organized an Activities Fair on Legacy Walk (between the school buildings), which showcased all of the possible ways to get involved around campus. As I walked down the path, I couldn’t believe how many things to do there are! I found clubs anywhere from Airsoft to several different cultural groups, to a club for gamers to even a Civil Air Patrol! I guess it does make up for our lack of a football team…. Come on, how many schools can say they have their own air acrobatics team?? Or a skydiving club?? Like many would say around here, ‘Only at Riddle’.

I joined a few clubs (a few too many some would say). Right now, I’m sticking with only a few: Touch N Go Productions (they’re amazing. They are in charge of organizing all the activities. Check them out @touch-n-go.org), the women’s Baja team (which is the only all-women’s mini-Baja team in the world!), and, of course, the FIRST program.

Two weeks ago, when I wrote my first journal, was my birthday. I was feeling very down, since I wouldn’t get to spend my 18th birthday with my family. However, at exactly midnight, my roommate Bharvi and the rest of my good friends threw me a surprise birthday party in my room. I can honestly say that I’ve never been more grateful to someone before. Later that day, we went to my friend’s grandmother’s vacation home, where they baked me a cake and had a Pixar movie night just for me (I absolutely love anything Disney and Pixar). A great tip, which came up on the Facebook c/o 2015 page, was to meet people before you get to college. Embry-Riddle has two open houses in October and April. This is a fantastic way to meet up with the people who will potentially be your best friends in college.

When it comes to the academics, college is much simpler than I would have thought. Most teachers make us have a schedule to manage our time and so far, it’s worked like a charm. I got through 3 tests for far, and right now, my team and I are working on a satellite for EGR-101 (which is an introduction to engineering). What amazes me the most is that at this school is that most teachers use airplanes or rockets when explaining concepts. In physics, for example, half of our problems deal with an alien and a rocket ship. Again, only at Riddle.

Before closing for now, I would like to send out sincere congratulations to the Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) freshmen on their graduation this week. They are now midshipmen, and a step closer to becoming officers! They work very hard (Physical training 5 days/week, 10 hours tutoring mandatory/week) and deserve our thank you for serving our country.

I’m all done for this week! Remember you can always e-mail/contact me on facebook if you have any questions.

January 25, 2009

The spring semester got off to a great start! I couldn’t ask for better. Things have been working very well and I feel a lot more confident in myself. So far classes are going great, and I love all my professors. This semester I have all female professors…woot woot! It’s a new refreshed feeling compared to last semester where I had 2 female professors. I feel like I’m learning a lot now and love the learning opportunity. I have my first exam of the semester next Monday in WX 201. So far, in that class, we covered the atmosphere, solar radiation, and seasons. The professor is very low key but fun and knows a lot about weather and geometry and tries her best to make sure we understand the facts and concepts.

With my flight training, I’m currently on financial hold [yes the economy is hitting hard on my pockets], but while I sort out my financial situation, I am doing observer flights with my best friend and now third roommate Derrick, and will be doing landing clinics on Saturdays at 8:00 a.m. to keep up to speed. I am also preparing to take my Private Pilot Written exam by late next week. A few of my good friends, Darryl and Kayla, just started working on their private pilot license and are having a blast so far. I am so proud of them and wish them all the best. They have been really good friends to me so far and I know they are going to succeed in their endeavors.

As for clubs, I am still involved with First Gen and TFO. I will return to the Avion this coming Sunday in hopes that I can still have the same editor position I had last semester. Also, my third roommate Derrick and I joined ERRSA last Wednesday. ERRSA stands for the Embry-Riddle Resident Student Association. It’s basically a way for students to represent their halls and try to fix some of the problems we have in the dorms such as infrastructure, Internet etc. It’s a very good association to be a part of, and a great way to be involved on campus and for community service hours, and just for the individual that wants to make an impact. Just this weekend, ERRSA had a retreat and went to a vacation house in Orlando. Sadly I and Derrick were not able to attend because of the time that we joined and budgeting issues. However, they all had fun and enjoyed the weekend away from campus.

This weekend, we had the Rolex 24 at the Daytona Speedway! It was very loud and you could hear the crowd cheering. It was a cool experience. We got to see the private jets parked up on the ramp and even saw a few take off Sunday afternoon. Saturday night there were fireworks! I am looking forward to the Daytona 500, which lasts an entire week and is a bigger event.

So far, I haven’t really missed family as much as I did the beginning of last semester. I still talk to my mom a lot and every once in a while a cousin or aunt. I have become a lot more responsible and even though I have the cushion of student loans and work and parents helping me out, I am learning to appreciate what I have and to live within my means. Not because the resources are available does not mean one should go out and be impulsive.

Even though it’s really early, I and my friends are planning a cruise to the Bahamas for spring break. It’s still in the planning stages, it looks like a go and I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I’ll keep you guys posted.

[For those of you guys that didn’t know… Barak Obama is now President… WHOOO HOOO]

My friends Kayla and Hemali got their cartilages pierced last Thursday, while last Friday, Derrick and I got our ear lobes pierced! It still hurts but not bad. Today, Kayla got her hair stuck in the earring. Derrick and I sat her down and took it out, it was a painful experience for her but she appreciated our help.

One last thing, on Sunday, my girlfriend and I celebrated 8 months of being together. Even though she is still in New York City and I’m here in Daytona, we still have our relationship going.

Remember, if you guys have any questions or comments, I appreciate them a lot. Thanks to you guys that emailed me. I wish you guys all the best, and until next time, be safe!

Andre’ McIntosh