Give Thanks

The last few weeks have been pretty stressful for me. Between classes, homework, tests, interviews, club meetings, and a social life, I haven’t had much time to relax at all. Thankfully, Thanksgiving break came just at the right time and was a much needed break from all of the busyness that school brings. Although I did not have the privilege of going home for the five day break, I was able to spend time in Orlando.

My Thanksgiving break was not full of home cooked meals, family time, cold weather, or relaxation; instead it was filled with theme park food, driving, sunshine, and a lack of sleep, although I wouldn’t have changed it. I was able to spend the break at the Disney World Parks, at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, as well as in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Orlando.

Although I did not travel to my home in Washington State, I still felt like I was on the go a lot. The first day of break I went to Tampa and St. Petersburg just to explore the cities, since I had never been there before. It was a really awesome experience because I got to drive across central Florida and along the west coast for awhile. One of my favorite things to do is to go on adventures to places I have never been before, and because of this passion, I made it my goal to explore the whole state of Florida while I am at Embry-Riddle for four years. This Thanksgiving break seemed like the perfect opportunity to start on the path to my goal, so I did.

The next few days of break were filled with Disney magic. I had never been to Disney World while the Christmas decorations were up, so I took full advantage of every minute I had to enjoy the holiday festivities. I was so excited to see the full size gingerbread house inside the Grand Floridian Resort, as well as the Osborne Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (The Osborne Light Show is a light show that is synced with holiday music and is truly amazing to see in person. It is put on each year during the holiday season.) Each morning I woke up early so that I could make it to one of the parks right when it opened, and then I would jump between parks, Downtown Disney, and the Disney resorts throughout the day. Anytime you spend a day at Disney you are sure to have a great experience, but also end the day absolutely exhausted. I was there so much that my Thanksgiving dinner was a famous Disney turkey leg that I bought in the Hollywood Studios park!

Christmas tree at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

Christmas tree at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Gingerbread House that is entirely edible at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

Gingerbread house that is entirely edible at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Being funny and eating a famous  Disney turkey leg for Thanksgiving dinner!

Being funny and eating a famous Disney turkey leg for Thanksgiving dinner!

The Osborne Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios

The Osborne Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

In addition to my fun-filled days at Disney World, I also spent a day at the Universal theme parks. I had never been to Universal in Orlando before, so I was excited to get to experience rides that were new to me. I started the day off early at the Islands of Adventure park where I decided to ride the Hulk first. I never realized how intense the roller coasters are at Universal until I got on the Hulk, but being the adrenaline junkie that I am, I absolutely loved it! The rest of the day was spent visiting Harry Potter World, sipping on the famous Butterbeer (it’s non-alcoholic, of course), and riding more rides in the Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios parks.

Universal Globe

Hogwarts at Universal's Islands of Adventure Park

Hogwarts at Universal’s Islands of Adventure Park

Delicious frozen Butterbeer

Delicious frozen Butterbeer

 

Suess Landing in Universal's Islands of Adventures Park

Suess Landing in Universal’s Islands of Adventures Park

Although it felt like my entire Thanksgiving break was go, go, go, and I did not get to spend it with my family, I am still so thankful for the opportunities I had to experience new things while I was here in Florida over break. My advice to you is to always be thankful for the people in your life, no matter if they are near or far, the life you are living, even if it does seem to be go, go, go all the time, and the opportunities you are given.

Until next time,

Lindsey

School, Space, and Stuff

Oh man, I’ve really been neglecting my dear readers – it’s been a while since my last post! Luckily I have plenty on which to fill you in!

Beautiful shot of the new COAS and new Quad, courtesy of my friend Johanna Petrocelli.

Beautiful shot of the new COAS and new Quad, courtesy of my friend Johanna Petrocelli.

Spring semester is well under way, and I certainly understand why they call it the “semester of death” – five 300-level EP classes together aren’t easy! I’m learning things from designing camera lenses to programming microprocessors to how to design a satellite form the ground up, and boy is it a lot of material. College always has a point where it really hits you what your major is, which is usually around the third year. The first couple still feel pretty high-schooly course-wise, with general calculus and physics, maybe delving into some advanced mechanics like solids or fluids, but overall it’s very general. Once you start taking 300-level classes like Spacecraft Systems Engineering, you really start to get a look at what you’ll be doing for the rest of your life… and you better hope you love it! Which I really do.

It’s crazy to think that I’m almost done with my third year of college. My advisor has been dropping words like “thesis” and “GRE” and I’m just like, yeah but that’s way later – except it’s not anymore! I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about grad school lately, and I think I’m going to do a PhD in Planetary Science, and have even started looking at some schools – really leaning towards UC Boulder; they have a great program, and Colorado is gorgeous. Nonetheless I still have two years left here at ERAU, so I’m trying not to get too ahead of myself.

Time does fly though, we’ve already started registering for fall classes. I’ll be taking three undergrad courses: Space Physics, Electricity and Magnetism, and Senior Design, as well as two grad courses: Advanced Planetary Science (excited for this one!) and a PhD course titled Computational Atmospheric Dynamics that my advisor teaches and talked me into taking (nervous for this one!) He says that PhD classes aren’t much harder, but he already has his PhD, so how can I really trust that? :P Nonetheless, it’ll be good knowledge to have for when I write my thesis, which will be on computational atmospheric dynamics, so I can see why he wants me in the class.

My work in the lab is going well. I’ve been working on learning FORTRAN to make some changes to our 1D wave model (yes, people do still use FORTRAN!) The other day I was able to successfully implement a feature that allows multiple simulations to be run in a row, without having to come back and reset the parameters. For example, we can run a 1 meter wave, a 2 meter wave, and a 3 meter wave all in a row, and then just get all the results at once to compare, rather than having to go back to the lab in between just to change one number and hit start. I’m very proud that I was able to get that working – FORTRAN is a very different beast from the modern-day programming languages I’m used to working with!

My parents and I at KSC!

My parents and I at KSC on my birthday

So what else has been going on with my life in the last couple months… Well, I turned 21 in February, and celebrated by (can you guess?) a trip to KSC! My parents came down to both visit me and escape the frozen wasteland, and it was a lot of fun. We did the Cape Canaveral: Then and Now tour, which was about 3 and a half hours of bussing around to different historical buildings and launch sites. We even got to go into a couple of the intact control rooms from which they controlled some of the first manned launches! It was a very cool tour, and a very fun birthday. And totally more fun than waking up the morning after your 21st birthday and not even remembering it (though I did go at midnight on my birthday for a long island iced tea at Applebees, so I didn’t completely ignore that right of passage.)

Me with Sally the Space Hamster

Me with Sally the Space Hamster

For my birthday I got a 1/200 scale model of the Saturn V rocket from my parents, which looks gorgeous next to my 1/200 scale model of Space Shuttle Discovery. I also got a lot of birthday money in the mail, which I used to purchase a new furry hamster friend (living alone gets lonely.) Her name is Sally, named, of course, after Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, and she is hilarious and adorable. I built her cage out of a plastic bin (trust me, I’m an engineer), and decorated it with lots of fun space stickers… which she keeps eating, but we’re working on that.

Some of the stickers that I have up in her cage

Some of the stickers that I have up in her cage

She likes her spaceship :)

She likes her spaceship :)

Teaching her to eat my homework

Teaching her to eat my homework



 

Obligatory picture of my boyfriend and I with Disney ears in front of the castle - that crane thing kinda ruined it though >:(

Obligatory picture of my boyfriend and I with Disney ears in front of the castle – that crane thing kinda ruined it though >:(

I also got to visit Magic Kingdom for the first time in February, and it’s name is well-deserved. It really is pretty magical, and very well-done. It was a super fun trip. I’ve also gotten to see a couple more launches in the last month – one from KSC, one from campus – and attended a really cool colloquium about weather on other planets. Planetary atmospheres are incredibly interesting, I could definitely see myself doing that for my PhD.

Me with Eric Whitacre! Composer extraordinaire

Me with Eric Whitacre! Composer extraordinaire

For those of you who don’t know me, beyond being a total space geek I’m also an avid musician. Well, used to be… my one dislike about ERAU is its lack of any music program. So, unfortunately, my saxophone sits neglected in my closet. Nonetheless, in high school I was in every possible band – music was my life (I even have a saxophone tattoo.) But I digress. Last week, my favorite band composer was in Orlando giving an informal Q&A at UCF, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on a ticket. Eric Whitacre! He’s unbelievably cool – and I told him that at the end when I got to meet him. His talk was both funny and inspiring; he told us stories of how he got inspiration for some of his pieces, and had a lot of advice for aspiring musicians. It was a fantastic evening, and really made me miss band. And I got him to sign one of my favorite band pieces. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: living so close to Orlando really presents a lot of opportunities! Because EVERYONE visits Orlando at one time or another. And it’s only about an hour drive.

Well, I guess that’s all I have for you guys for now – I’ll try to write more often, sorry about that! I’ve got some cool projects on my radar that you’ll definitely get to hear about once they get going. I’m still waiting to hear back about my internship applications to NASA and SETI, so maybe in my next entry I’ll have some good news to share. *fingers crossed*

Until next time!

And feel free to email me, I don’t bite. :)
schroel2@my.erau.edu

January 16, 2011

Hello, hello everyone! Hope you had amazing break and are ready to—for most of you—end your senior year. I’m assuming you heard of the snow storm that pounded on most of the East…well let’s just say it had a much larger impact for us Riddlers, so I suppose that’s where I should start. Most of the student body was scheduled to come back either Monday or Tuesday of this week. Needless to say, because of the storm, everyone ended up rescheduling their flights—or just coming in very late into the week! See, only two airlines fly into Daytona (U.S Airways and Delta), and these airplanes only fly into two places (Atlanta and Charlotte). Of course, they just happened to be right in the middle of one of the worst snowstorms ever! My roommate and I, for example, ended up having to fly into MCO (Orlando) after having been diverted countless times. I was one of the lucky few who actually got back to campus on time, however, after having to fly San Francisco-Philadelphia-Orlando! My room mate had to spend the night in Charlotte! It’s insanity at its worst, people. I believe some people are still stuck somewhere…

On the bright side, that news is the worst I can report about my break. Although I didn’t get to see my high school friends like most of the people here, I did get to relax (yes that’s a word us Engineers seldom use…but well deserved indeed!) I knocked down another Disney park off my list—Disneyland in southern California! After a 6-hour drive, I got to experience the original park for a good 2 days before having to head back home (boo!) It was great, to say the least. The holiday decorations were amazing. I’m really starting to consider an internship with them…thoughts? Only the ones in Asia to go!

Besides all that, not much happened. I finally got to see my new house! We bought it way back in June, but because it was still under construction, the construction company gave us the keys in September, when I was already here. My parents did a great job of decorating the whole house! I just wish I could say better about the gloomy/rainy/foggy/COLD weather I experienced in December. On the bright side, I did drive to San Francisco quite a lot! Met some family members there, too. Oh, and I found a new obsession—erasers from Chinatown!

Anywho, back to Riddle. Once all of my friends made it back, we made a few (a lot) of Walmart runs to buy food, since we had to throw it away at the end of last semester. Wednesday was our first day of classes. I’m really liking my new schedule! I don’t start classes until 10:30. For a night owl like me, it’s great. Gives me the whole morning to do homework…erm…I mean review for my tests…

I’m also very glad to only have 5 classes—tech report, which in all honesty I think it’s the class that is going to kill me, physics, math, honors, and a class on CATIA (a graphical communications program). I’m also starting to look into new clubs, or maybe even start one of my own! Disney runs a contest where students create/design a ride, restaurant, etc…The finalists are sent to Disney for 10 days, with a possibility of an internship at Walt Disney Imagineering. It’s called ImagiNations (http://disney.go.com/disneycareers/imaginations/). We’ll see where this takes me.

The very last thing I must mention is my fellow blogger/friend’s new video series, where he will be answering your questions on youtube. Look out for that on his blog! You can also always ask me specific questions too, especially all you females out there! Contact me on my e-mail (adrianaosegueda@hotmail.com or Osegueda@my.erau.edu) or facebook, where you will find all my vacation pictures (facebook.com/itsadri). Look forward to hearing from all of you as you reach the end of your high school years and start deciding on colleges! Best of luck.

November 28, 2010

Food, food galore! These past few weeks have been filled with stress and work, but as always, lots of fun. This time: Disney, a glider, and, of course, a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with my family.The highlight of these past few weeks has been a trip to Disney, organized by the First Generation program. Although I myself am not, anyone is allowed to attend the meetings and trips. However, anyone who is a first generation student competes for scholarships (and come on, who doesn’t want money for college!). For $25 each, my roommate, my boyfriend and I went to the most amazing place in the world.

If you didn’t know from my earlier entries, I am the biggest Disney fanatic out there. Seriously, I know anything and everything there is to know about the parks (just ask my friends!). Of course, I was more than thrilled to go when I found out about it. Can you believe I hadn’t been there for 2 years? That’s a new record for me for sure.

Anyhow, we left at around 8 in the morning to go. I couldn’t sleep the night before! We spent our entire day in the park. I was the tour guide for my group of friends, of course. The beautiful holiday decorations Disney is known for were up around the place. The park was fairly empty because of the season, which meant smaller waiting times. Although we had to leave early (6 pm!), Jim and I still managed to buy ourselves some Mickey ears from the hat shop down Main Street. My collection is now up to about 10…

Speaking of numbers, almost half of my classes are now over! We ended our EGR-101 class (introduction to engineering) with a glider project. This has to be by far one of the easiest things we’ve had to do in this class! Over 100 pages worth of technical reports and one balsa wood glider later, I am kind of glad this was over….This week was Thanksgiving. Not only did I have the thrill of having found out that my first class is now at 10:30—which means I get to sleep in–,but I also got to spend most of the week down in Miami. Because I live so far away, I couldn’t fly home. A friend of mine lives down there, so she was kind enough to give me a ride back to my old home.

I stayed over at my great aunt Ceres’s and spent a night with my high school friends. Speaking of, I finally got my IB diploma!!! IB is an international association that allows students to receive an international diploma on top of their regular high school diploma. After having worked 2 years for it, I am so glad it is now in my hand.

When visiting high school, I also got to see some of my old teachers. Needless to say I had to speak to the class, and, well, let’s just say the girls were happy with the “Riddle Ratio”. Kudos to all you “Reefers” reading this!

What is the best part about this holiday? Why, the food, of course! My Cuban side was overjoyed when my family prepared some delicacies traditional to the island. Pan con lechon, natilla, churrasco….all really bad things for your health, but oh so good at the same time! We had American classics as well, of course, like turkey, mashed potatoes, etc…All with a Latino kick.Needless to say, next few weeks will be crazy! Computing final project due on Wednesday, finals in 2 weeks…but on the bright side, I’ll be home in 2 and a half weeks!! Wish me luck!

October 14, 2008

In my first blog, I told the new freshman to get out of the dorms and visit Central Florida. For those of you that will come down for a visit, it is important to not only have a tour of campus, but also to visit what Central Florida has to offer. While some will say there is absolutely nothing to do in Daytona Beach, it is just because they have done it already and eventually the sound of racecars, motorcycles and spring breakers does become redundant. I am from Port Orange, about 10 minutes outside of Daytona Beach so I can understand. However, I like to visit a few of the lesser known and well-known attractions. But first, the traditional Daytona attractions.

    1. DAYTONA’S NASCAR Raceway: Car racing is what made Daytona Beach famous. After shifting from to the World’s Most Famous Beach to the raceway in 1959, Daytona has managed to remain the epicenter of automobile racing. However, unless you come down during a scheduled race, it will be difficult to truly get the racing experience that so many Riddle students get throughout the year. Luckily, Daytona USA can fill that NASCAR desire year round. In the compound connected to the raceway, you can learn to change tires like the pit crews, simulate driving in a race and try to walk up the racetrack’s 31 degree embankment. When I went, I couldn’t change the tire, finished last in my race and managed to fall up the raceway, quickly learning the word road rash. But, it sure beat sitting in the Grandstands in 100 degree weather next to Bubba and Billy who have not showered since Jeff Gordon was last liked in Daytona (hint: never).
    2. Driving on Daytona Beach: To continue your racing adventure, do like past racers and take advantage of an activity unique to Daytona’s coast. Though you will have to drive a sluggish 10 mph, it sure beats lugging around your beach necessities. I love lazy beach days, especially those where I literally drive to my spot, open my trunk and worship the sun for the next few hours. You just can’t get a lazier beach day.
    3. The Museum of Arts and Sciences: Hidden on Nova road, about three minutes from campus, is a little bit of refinement in Daytona at the Museum of Arts and Sciences. The museum houses many permanent cultural exhibits which include African, Cuban and Chinese art. It also has a section devoted to everything Americana and Coca-Cola and an upcoming Barbie exhibit. Take a walk in the 2.5 acre sculpture garden or stroll through the Florida History exhibit. Enjoy the 13-foot tall giant ground sloth fossil or sit back in the planetarium for a presentation of the stars set to the Beatles. It is $10.95 for Riddle students, but it is a small price to pay to beat the heat.
    4. Ocean Walk: Whether you want to see the latest movie, eat at Bubba Gump’s or see a concert at the Bandshell, Ocean Walk is all-inclusive. One of the most popular hot spots, it is located about 10 minutes from campus. Park in the parking garage across the street and take the walk-over to a dining and viewing treat.
    5. Ponce DeLeon Inlet Lighthouse: This is my favorite activity in Volusia County. Drive about 20 minutes down A1A from Ocean Walk to where you can drive no more. It costs $5 to check out the 121-year-old lighthouse, but it is worth the 175-foot climb. After getting your exercise, head over to the Lighthouse Landing Restaurant and Raw Bar for some shark or gator and a walk on the dock to check out the fisherman’s latest catch.

If you have time to leave Daytona, head down to Orlando for these next attractions:

    1. Orlando Theme Parks: Deemed the “Happiest Place on Earth”, Disney seems to be the main attraction for every holiday to Florida. By the looks of post-Disney travelers in the Orlando airport, it also seems to be the happiest most exhausting adventure. Every parent, weighed down with Mickey souvenirs, has bags under their eyes while they are trying to reign in their Mouse-eared children. While my first trip to Disney World wasn’t after I won the Super Bowl, I was equally excited to be those little kids again. I bought a princess crown, gathered autographs from the characters and snuggled with Goofy at Breakfast with the Characters. But, there are so many more places to visit. My personal favorite is “Eating/Drinking around the World” at Epcot. Get a group of friends together and bounce between each represented country, stopping to enjoy the native food or beverage of choice, served by a native of the represented country. Brush up on your linguistic skills and walk through the eleven cultural pavilions, which include Japan, Norway and Mexico. So, whether you eat couscous in Morocco, drink tea in England or slurp up spaghetti in Italy, be sure to come thirsty or “Hungary.” After you fill you bellies, take a roller coaster ride in Universal, learn to growl at Animal Kingdom or get crowned at Disney World. You wouldn’t want to be the only person in the Orlando airport without Mickey Mouse ears, would you?
    2. City Walk: Once you enter big person land again, head to Universal City Walk for some grown up transitions. The area has everything from an IMAX theater to watch the latest Batman movie to dancing to reggae at the tribute to Bob Marley. If you don’t yet feel like growing up, you can play in paint alongside the Blue Man group or play alongside kids in the in-ground fountains.
    3. Cirque Du Soleil: Though tickets start at $52, the updated circus entertainment is well worth the price. No matter what seats you get, it is a front row, high-flying adventure of the five senses. Watch tight rope walkers skip along thin pieces of metal or ten-year-old Chinese acrobats do back flips off each other while keeping their Yo-Yos spinning. After the show, hop over next door to House of Blues to catch bands like All-American Rejects, Panic! At the Disco, MayDay Parade, and Rise Against. There are few seats, but there is no bad view of the stage.
    4. Mall at Millenia: Yes, I am a girl and I like to shop, especially at the Mall at Millenia. I claim it to be the “Second Happiest Place on Earth” (just following the Mall at America). Located at Exit78 just off of I-4, the Mall at Millenia is uniquely, yet easily, set up. When you walk into the mall, to the right is the affordable stores like Abercrombie and Express. To the left are the stores that have security guards on detail, like Gucci and Louis Vuitton. In the middle is a large food court with Cheesecake Factory and the Blue Martini. So, whether you want to actually buy something at Forever 21, Hollister or Zara or just dream in Burberry, Tiffany’s or Jimmy Choo, go for the shopping or go for the drooling. It sure beats the Daytona Mall.
    5. Mystery Theater: I love CSI: Vegas and Miami and always find myself guessing the killer well before Gil Grissom or Horatio Caine utter their accusations. If you are like me, Murder Watch Mystery Dinner Theater offers plays to get you involved first hand into the murder solving. They offer many different show topics and always include audience participation.

Finally, if Orlando is too touristy, take about an hour drive from Daytona to the next three places:

    1. St. Augustine: About an hour and half outside of Daytona, along A1A, is the oldest continuously occupied European-established city, St. Augustine. Located on a port and protected by the Fort Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine is now a historical and shopping hub. It is also home to Riddle’s greatest rival, Flagler College. In spite of the university, St. Augustine is beautiful whether you want to walk the cobble stone streets in search of shopping or spirits. I strongly suggest a visit to the fort, taking a ghost tour of the town or eating at my favorite restaurant, Columbia, for their plantains. Don’t forget your cameras either. You never know what might appear in the photographs later.
    2. Air Force Space & Missile Museum: Ok, so we go to an aviation school so what better place to visit than Cape Canaveral, home to many shuttle launches. The museum, located in nearby Kennedy Space Center, houses numerous historical space devices such as the one used to launch Alan Shepard and Virgil “Gus” Grissom into space. Take a drive around their Rocket Garden, home to the largest collection of rockets, missiles and other space related hardware. The Mercury Redstone and Jupiter C rockets are in permanent display and one of only two complete German V-2 engines lies in the Exhibit Hall. Go to see where aviation has been and where it is headed.
    3. Blue Springs: What is more Floridian than swimming with manatees? Ok, maybe hurricanes, flamingos and octogenarians are a bit more Floridian, but Blue Springs is non-destructive. The name alone tries to do the clear, blue water justice, but experiencing the 72 degree water is the only way to fully appreciate it. Go during a hot summer day to cool off or on a Florida-winter day to scuba dive. Whenever you come, the water temperature does not change.

If you have done it all during your trip or just want to plan some more trips for your next visit, here are some additional websites for other activities.

http://www.touristflorida.com/other.html – a good website for some more attractions.

http://www.daytonabeach.com/whattosee.cfm – can find special events for when you are here or just more ideas

Just remember, there are lots of things to do in Daytona Beach or the surrounding areas. You just have to know how to find them. And now you do.