The Start of Something Amazing

“Too busy to be sad, too positive to be doubtful, too optimistic to be fearful, and too determined to be defeated.”
 
These words were on a picture hanging outside the front office of Thompson Intermediate, the middle school I attended in Houston, Texas. I am now going to be a junior at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and I’m still repeating these words daily. These words are ingrained in my head, have come to life in my actions, and perfectly describe my drive and determination ever since I was a little girl. I’ve never been your ordinary kid/student/teenager. I think anyone who knows me can tell you that.  I’ve always had an insatiable passion for motorsports and racing. You can thank my dad for that. He got me started at a young age. Jeff Gordon was always my hero growing up and I’d watch the races religiously every weekend with my parents.
 

I started at an early age. I’m on the left and my sister is on the right.

Then that one a-ha moment hit me. You know that feeling, where everything is right in the world and you know exactly what you’re supposed to be doing for the rest of your life? Something just clicks inside of you and you know that one thing that you can’t live without? Well, I had that moment when I was only 9 years old. I knew that being a part of the racing industry was where I was supposed to be. From then on I had set my goals high and have never looked back.

I knew that my dream job would be an engineer working for Hendrick Motorsports, one of the most prestigious teams in NASCAR. As a 5th grader I wrote a letter to Mr. Hendrick, telling him that he would be my boss in about 15 years. Every decision I’ve made since then has been reflective of these dreams. I would usually study a little harder, stay up a little later, and would write those extra words on my essay. I’ve always gone above and beyond, wondering if I would someday have anything to show for it.

My first time at Daytona International Speedway and first time at a track on theNASCAR circuit. Such an incredible feeling setting foot on the track I dreamedof being at as a little girl.

It’s crazy where your dreams can take you. It’s even crazier where hard work, persistence, and determination can take you.I’ve just completed my second year of college and I’m already living my dreams. I may not be at Hendrick Motorsports yet, but I am well on my way. I feel like the most blessed girl in the world right now and have so many people who have helped me get this far. I’ll get to that later though. That’s another story in itself. But the one thing that makes me unique, is that I’m not only doing this for myself. I’m not the only one I’m focusing on here. I’m not working towards a role as a woman in motorsports for my personal gain. I know you’re probably thinking, what could I possibly be talking about?I am here to inspire children, students, and women to chase their dreams. I know countless people who are unhappy with their jobs because it’s not truly what they want to be doing. They never went after what they love. It may have seemed too impossible or out of reach. But let me tell you:
 
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
 
You can’t be afraid to venture into the unordinary, to get a little uncomfortable, to feel a little pain. And this is what it comes down to. You can’t throw in the towel as soon as you start to hurt or experience your first failure. If I had done this, do you know where I would be right now? I’d probably be back home with my parents, playing my NASCAR video games, and pretending to be the mechanic on the TV screen. I was not meant to be at home on the couch. And you’re not either!I truly feel that this blog is the start of something amazing for me, and for all my followers. I am absolutely ecstatic to share my experiences with you about my previous internship at Larsen Motorsports, my experiences at Embry-Riddle, as well as my summer internship with NASCAR. I can only hope that I inspire you all to go after what you love.I know I sure did and I don’t regret a single step of my journey.

Goodbye island life

This is probably the only blog from an Embry-Riddle student who started two first days at this University, 5 years apart.

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that one year ago, I was a Key West trolley tour guide.  I entertained tourists with facts of the island and repeated the same corny jokes to them every day, sometimes with a few originals.  Chances are good that if you visited Key West and rode on an orange and green trolley over the past year, I was your bus driver and guide.  I also drove the Key West haunted tours, a type of meet and greet with Key West characters like Robert the doll as well as the other types of spirits….not necessarily the ones found in haunted houses.  I found myself living on the island by accident.  I went to be a dog sitter for two weeks and ended staying almost a year!  You might say I caught what the locals call the “Keys Disease” and it’s hard to resist.  People come for a visit but never leave.  It’s said on the island that if you show up to work every day, you have a job.  If two weeks later you’re still showing up on time, they’ll make you the manager.  Well, sure enough, the dog left town with its owner and I stayed.  As well as being a tour guide, I worked other side jobs such as newspaper delivery boy, bakeshop dishwasher, and event security (a.k.a. bouncer).

The island life was a relaxing and good one.  It is hard to resist the sunniest place in Florida with the least amount of rain.  It ‘s truly Paradise except, endless renditions of Jimmy Buffett songs blaring down from Duval Street.  One day I woke up with one more hangover and realized I wasn’t moving forward with my life.  It was time for me to progress forward on my flight plan for life.

This was the culmination of a restlessness that I tried to resolve, and it brought me through many different experiences.  These included several semesters at a state university, a shopkeeper in South Beach, and an unpaid Internship for Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in DC.  This was right after I withdrew myself from Embry Riddle; I wanted to try something different in life. But my passions drew me back.

On August 27, 2012, my second first day of college began.  Once again excited to be making progress, living in campus dorms, and starting from where I had left off, but more focused on my degree: Aviation Business Administration.  In one week, I will be curing my desires, dusting off the backpack and train hopping across Europe to appease my wandering soul.  In one month, I will be attending classes with the Study Abroad program in Berlin, and in one year, I will be an Embry-Riddle alumnus. It’s a long way from the old island life, and it feels great!