Fall Break

Well, Fall Break is now behind us which means that there’s about six to seven more weeks left of the fall semester. I’m amazed at how fast we’ve gotten to this point and everything that’s happened since the beginning of the semester until now.


Tennessee is so beautiful.

For Fall Break, I went home with my roommate to Tennessee, and needless to say, I was really excited since I’ve never been to to Tennessee before. We left Port Orange at 5 a.m. and embarked on a 10-hour road trip north. We encountered scenic roads, strange billboards, and interesting individuals: All the hallmarks of a great road trip.


The architecture is beautiful as well.

When traveling through the country, I-95 is typically the only interstate I used, so traveling on I-75 was different for me. I saw things that I normally wouldn’t see on I-95, got to pass through cities I’ve never visited before, and got a better understanding of the United States geographically.


I also visited Nashville International Airport.

Once we made it through Georgia, I was greeted by the large, looming mountains of Tennessee. Coming from a place like New Jersey, where the land is constantly flat with no major land changes, this was a real treat: I’ve never seen mountain formations like this before, and with fall rapidly approaching, the browning of the trees made me feel like I was in New England. Coincidentally, the homes in the area where my roommate lived were modeled after New England homes. I guess if I had to compare, Tennessee has a rural Pennsylvania vibe to it.

My Canon 5D Mark III died, so I had to use my roommate's Nikon D7000 for the day.

My Canon 5D Mark III died, so I had to use my roommate’s Nikon D7000 for the day.

The next two days involved sight-seeing around town and Nashville. While I’m not a huge fan of country music, Nashville wasn’t too bad. Then again, I really only spent time around the state capital building and the bicentennial park so I didn’t really get to see Nashville in its entirety. It’s kind of like trying to see all of New York City in one day: It’s impossible. I do plan on coming back to Tennessee though. There’s so much I want to do, and now that I have an idea of what the state is like, it’ll be easier to budget my time.


So. Many. Mountains.

Sunday morning, we left my roommate’s house at 5 a.m. but this time took the scenic route home instead of the direct way we took there. The scenic route involved heading east into the mountains by North Carolina, southwest to Georgia, and then south back to Florida. Even though the route added an extra five hours to our journey, I think it was worth it. Tennessee just has something really unique and beautiful about it which no other state I’ve been to seems to have. Driving on the mountain roads with the morning fog was awe inspiring, and sharing the backroads with bikers was equally breath-taking. Passing through Georgia and Florida was pretty normal with nothing important to report. After driving non-stop, we managed to make it back to our apartment around 10 p.m.

The famous US 129 Harley Davidson store.

The famous US 129 Harley Davidson store.

I think this Fall Break will go down as one of the many highlights of 2016. I got out of my comfort zone, traveled to places I’ve never been to before, and got to see a lot of things that I didn’t know existed. Most importantly, the break gave me time to rethink my life and relax from all of the stress this semester has accumulated. I learned that I need to pace myself and take things one step at a time, which may seem cliché, but is probably something that will save me from breaking down one day.

With that said, I’m going to try hard to finish this semester on a strong note. Until my next blog entry, stay curious and be safe.

Unexpected Very Long Weekend

As many of you know, the ERAU Daytona Beach campus has been closed from Thursday to Saturday morning due to Hurricane Matthew. Embry-Riddle announced on Saturday that classes would resume on Tuesday. This leaves time for students and faculty to return home in the Daytona Beach area. Many have driven away from Daytona heading west and north to places such as Tampa and Atlanta. I know people that even flew away north to escape the hurricane.

Knowing that the storm was approaching the state of Florida and that Volusia County would require evacuation, I left Daytona Beach on Wednesday night after classes and headed to my friend’s house in the Orlando area. On Thursday morning, we went to buy soil bags to protect the house from potential flooding. The store didn’t have any sand bags in stock.

The next morning, we woke up and Hurricane Matthew had already passed and was continuing on its way to the north. Compared to the east coast of Florida, Orlando was not badly hit by the storm. From the location I was, there wasn’t any debris on the ground. I am still in Orlando since my apartment does not have electricity. I will head back to Daytona once the power will be restored, hopefully before classes start on Tuesday.

Due to the gravity of Hurricane Matthew and the damage it made, ERAU students are enjoying a long five day weekend. This weekend is also Thanksgiving weekend back in Canada (Columbus Day in the US). Many will take these extra days off to cleanup debris around their house. Others will try to get some homework done. As of Saturday, many areas of Volusia County were still without power. It might take a few days before 100% of the residents get their lights back on.

Industry/Career Expo Postponed

Embry-Riddle has decided on Wednesday to cancel the annual “Career Fair”  due to the hurricane. The majority of the company information sessions and the interview day on Friday were cancelled as well. Career Services announced that the event will be postponed until the 2017 Spring semester. Keep checking your emails because Career Services will soon announce the new date for the expo!

Until next time!


Summer Plans

Finals are now over for Embry-Riddle students! For some, it’s finally summer and it is time to rest and relax. For others, jobs and internships are starting in the following weeks.

In my last blog, I mentioned that I would be flying on Delta’s first Airbus A321 flight on May 2. However, the airline made a last minute equipment change and postponed the inaugural  flight. I therefore cancelled my trip to Atlanta on that day.

Last week, my friend flew down from Canada and visited me in Daytona Beach. We enjoyed the beach and warm weather before leaving Florida on Saturday to drive my car up to Canada. The drive from Daytona to Montreal is about 1,400 miles and two days of driving. The first day, we drove close to 1,000 miles and stopped for the night close to Philadelphia. The second day, we drove about seven hours to see my brother in Boston. The next day, we drove the last five hours to Canada. I was exhausted after arriving home in the late afternoon!

Photo Credits: Air Canada

Photo Credits: Air Canada

Now I barely have time to rest since I am starting a summer internship at Air Canada in Network Planning on Wednesday of this week. For the first two weeks of the internship, I will be working with the Aircraft Programs team. It is the department that buys and leases aircraft for Air Canada. After that, I will be spending the rest of my internship in Network Planning. Stay tuned all summer to learn more about my internship!

I hope everyone enjoys their summer!


Contact the author at berniern@y.erau.edu

A Quick Winter Vacation Update

Happy New Year Folks!

Here is a quick update on my winter break. After the Christmas celebrations, my family and I flew to South Florida. My parents rented a condo in the Palm Beach area until March. We spent about a week there and I felt like home since Daytona Beach is only 190 miles up north.

During my stay in Florida, I went to the BB&T in Sunrise to watch the hockey game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Florida Panthers. This classic matchup happens annually before the end of the year.

This game is very special for both teams. This game happens at the end of the year because there are many Eastern Canadian hockey fans that fly to South Florida to enjoy the warm weather. The arena is usually filled up when the Canadiens are in town. However, the attendance is of only about 50% on average during other regular season games.

During the National Anthem before puck drop, there were more fans singing the “Oh Canada” than the US Anthem! The Canadian National Anthem was even sang in French. I would actually say there are more Canadiens fans in the stands than the local team. There are a lot of noise and cheers when the Canadiens score a goal. Way more than the Panthers!

We ended up losing the game, but it was still fun to be there!

A few days before New Year’s Eve, some of our Texan friends came to visit us for a few days in Florida. I haven’t seen the family for the past year in a half. The last time I saw them before I moved back to Montreal, after I graduated college in San Antonio. It was great to spend some time with them even though it was only for a few days. We played golf and celebrated the beginning of 2016 with them!

One night, we all ate dinner at “Chez L’Épicier,” a French Canadian restaurant owned by a reputed chef. Even some of the waiters spoke French! Below is a picture of one of the dessert they have on their menu. It is called “The Club Sandwich.” Carved pieces of cake replace the sandwich, fried pieces of pineapple act as the fries, and shredded honeydew melon plays the role of the coleslaw. It was delicious!

The Club Sandwich

The Club Sandwich

I’m currently writing this story at 33,000 feet above sea level on my way to Canada. I will spend the end of the week up north before returning to Daytona. I plan to see my friends and go ski in the cold weather!

Until next time!


It’s a Wrap!

The 2015 Fall semester has just ended! After a stressful week and a half of studying and testing, you can now relax for more than a month until school starts again in mid-January! If you did not know, ERAU has added an extra week of break this year compared to the previous years.

My last final was on Tuesday and it had a speech. As I mentioned in a post in October, Speech is definitely not my easiest and favorite class since I am shy and dislike public speaking. My last final consisted of an impromptu speech. The professor makes you pick a few topics from a bag. You decide which topic you want to talk about and you have three minutes to prepare to present in front of the class. Trust me, it goes by very fast. The subject I selected was for communities to be more bicycles friendly. Can we find peace? I just had the time to write the few key points I wanted to talk about that it was already my turn to get up to the podium. About half way through my speech, I ran out of ideas and paused for about 25 seconds without knowing what to say. Then my professor suggested me that I could just sum up my speech. I felt so bad about my speech when I back to my seat. I got my grade a few days later and I did not do bad at all to my surprise! I was happy about it.

I was lucky to get to spend the rest of the week in warm Florida before heading back home in the cold for most of the break. Hey there is no snow yet at least! I will spend some time during Christmas Eve and Christmas to see my extended family, which I do not see often. A few days later, my family and I will board a plane bound to the Sunshine State to spend a week and a half in the West Palm Beach area. We rented a condo until March! I will definitely head there some time with my friends next semester. Just before the New Year, there is always a hockey game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, FL. We bought ticket to watch the game. It is interesting to see that there are more fans cheering for Montreal than the local team. That is because many Canadians travel to Southern Florida to escape the cold winter.

After New Year, I have decided that I will go back to Canada for a few days since we will still have two weeks of vacation before school starts. When I come back to Daytona before classes start, I might go visit the Carolina Aviation Museum with my friend Jack. The Airbus A320 that safely landed in the Hudson River in January 2009 sits at the museum. Can’t wait to see it!

Sunset from above on my flight from Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta.

Sunset from above on my flight from Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta.

Well I’m about to board my next flight to Montreal. Now, I would like you to sit back, relax, and enjoy this month of deserved vacation. Come back well rested to Daytona Beach in January and be ready to start the next semester!

Until next time!


Already Half of the Semester

I can’t believe we have already been through half of the fall semester. First, let’s go back to the beginning of the semester back in August.

About a week before the beginning of classes, I left Montreal, Canada and drove all the way south to Florida. The 1,400 miles drive takes 20 hours without traffic (I wish it took us 20 hours). Trust me, there is a lot of traffic between the New York area and Baltimore.

This year, I am living in an apartment with one of my friends. I spent a good amount of the week getting settled in the apartment which is 10 minute away from campus. I also spent many hours building IKEA furnitures. I built my bed, my dresser, the kitchen table, four chairs, and the sofa. Thanks to my mom for packing a small drill in my luggages.

I like living in an apartment off campus because I can have my own room and I am able to cook whenever I want. One thing I miss living on campus is the proximity. If I had a question on an assignment, I could just walk a few steps and knock on my friend’s door. The College of Business computer lab and the library were also a close reach.

For the fall semester, I have decided to take 18 credit hours. I am taking Speech, Western Humanities II (Renaissance to Postmodern), Airline Management, Business Law, Transportation Principles, and International Business.

Speech is definitely not my favorite class even though I know it will help me to develop skills to become a better public speaker. As of today, we have done four speeches.

The humanities class is also not in my top classes. Some of the material we are going over in class is the same than my history class from my sophomore year of high school. This class should be easy, but I already forgot the material from high school.

Airline Management is certainly my favorite class because it is an area I want to work for after I graduate from Embry-Riddle. So far, we learned about network structures (point-to-point and hub-and-spoke system), time banks, and important measures such as available seat-miles (ASMs) and revenue passenger-miles (RPMs). Now, we have just started talking about revenue management.

My longest class is Business Law with a duration of 3 hours, and we only have a break of five minute during the class. The good thing about this class is that we only meet once a week on every Monday.

In Transportation Principles, we have learned about the railroads and ports. I hope the aviation part comes soon because this is what I like the most.

My last class on my schedule is International Business. We are doing a project where we act as a U.S. based company selling a video game system trying to sell our product in foreign countries. I decided to pick Mexico since it borders the United States.

Well, this is all about my classes. I am enjoying my semester so far but I look forward to Fall Break so I can rest  for a few days.

Until next time!


Home At Last (or am I?)

It is crazy to me that I am sitting in my house in Washington, writing a blog post right now. Where did freshman year go?! Although it is nice to be back in Washington, it feels like something is missing. I’ve realized that something is Florida.

What people don’t tell you about attending college out-of-state is that you will no longer have just one place to call home. Home for me now means the house I grew up in in Lake Tapps, Washington, as well as my cozy room in McKay Hall back in Daytona Beach, Florida. My life for the next three years consists of moving back and forth from home to home. I now know that no matter which home I am in, I will never feel “at home” again. Each place holds a part of me that the other one cannot. Now, I’m beginning to realize that it’s okay. Lake Tapps feels like home because of my family, the lake, the mountains, refreshing air, and the Evergreen trees. Daytona Beach feels like home because of school, friends, the warmth, and the beach. Each location is unique in its own way and each holds special memories.

The view of Mt. Rainier over (empty) Lake Tapps

The view of Mt. Rainier over (empty) Lake Tapps

Sunset over Daytona International Speedway

Sunset over Daytona International Speedway

It is so refreshing to be able to switch from location to location and still feel comfortable. I feel so blessed to attend a school which became my second home. The people I met and the experiences I had, at ERAU during my first year, were amazing. I never would have imagined that I would be missing school after only a week of summer vacation! However, somehow I am.

For now, I will continue to look for a summer job, pray for some warm weather in Washington, and enjoy being in the presence of my family. I wish all of you a wonderful summer and I will keep you updated on my summer adventures to come!

Until next time,


New Location, New Experiences

“Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It may get tough, but it’s a small price to pay for living a dream” -Peter McWilliams

This quote has been my motto ever since my senior year of high school, when I decided I wanted to go to school in Florida… 3, 140 miles away from my home in Lake Tapps, WA. Most of my friends were choosing to attend colleges either in the state of Washington or in the surrounding states. Everyone thought I was crazy for wanting to go to school all the way across the country, but this quote is what gave me the faith to pursue my dreams and move to Daytona Beach.

Throughout my first four months of college, I can tell you that I have been uncomfortable many times. But being uncomfortable in this case does not have to have a negative connotation. I believe that being uncomfortable can also mean living outside of our comfort zone, and I am a strong believer that stepping out of our comfort zone is what helps us to truly experience growth as a person.

Making the decision to attend ERAU in Daytona Beach has been the biggest and most difficult decision of my life so far, but I am positive that I made the right decision by coming here. I am able to pursue my major, which is Aviation Business Administration, and also network with so many people who are high-up in the aviation industry. Embry-Riddle provides so many opportunities for students to meet with industry professionals and the Career Expo is just one of them. Had I not come to ERAU, I am certain I would not be holding conversations with professionals who are high up in the aviation industry, especially as a first semester freshman!

My suite mates and I at the Career Expo on campus.

My suite mates and I at the Career Expo on campus.

Not only do I love my school and all the academic opportunities that are available here, but I also love to experience new things. By coming to ERAU, I have been able to do so many things that I never would have been able to do if I went to any other university. These are just a few examples…

The Florida coastline from 3000 ft above.

The Florida coastline from 3000 ft above.

Here at ERAU, flying is in our DNA. Even though I am not a pilot, I still have a passion for aviation. There is something so freeing about being thousands of feet above, looking down and seeing the buildings get smaller and smaller, and then looking to your left and to your right and watching the clouds float past your window.

I want to give you a peek at some of my experiences I have had throughout my first semester…

Me standing on the Daytona International Speedway finish line.

Me standing on the Daytona International Speedway finish line.

The USAF Thunderbirds flying over the beach for the Wings and Waves Air Show.

The USAF Thunderbirds flying over the beach for the Wings and Waves Air Show.


I got to stand in front of a C-17 at the NAS JAX Air Show.

Me standing in front of a C-17 at the NAS JAX Air Show.

I went boogie boarding at Ponce Inlet.

I went boogie boarding at Ponce Inlet.


I got to tour the observatory at ERAU and see the telescope on top of the COAS building.

I was able to see the ERAU telescope on top of the COAS building.

The original ERAU Waco.

The original ERAU Waco.

I got to spend a day at the "Happiest Place on Earth".

I got to spend a day at the “Happiest Place on Earth”.

I am so glad that I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and attend ERAU. Peter McWilliams’ quote has held true for me throughout my first semester. Taking the risk of moving across the country, starting a new life, and beginning university is a daunting task for anyone, but it has definitely been worth all of the experiences I have already had, and will continue to have here in Florida. I am completely in love with my new life here at Embry-Riddle and I know that even though I am continuing to push myself to live outside my comfort zone, “it’s a small price to pay for living a dream”.





20 going FL200


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)

Fall Semester Comes to a Close

Greetings, everyone!

It’s official: Fall 2013 has ended and winter break is upon us. Although here in Daytona Beach it certainly doesn’t feel like it, with temperatures continuing to hover around the low-80s. Everybody back home loathes me this time of year, when they’re starting to get the big snow falls and I’m just wishing I could wear a sweatshirt. I suppose nobody is really ever happy with the weather they have. I got this photo from my aunt, taken outside her window:

and responded with this one, taken outside mine:

Usually my Facebook posts about the weather aren’t well-recieved. But it’s just so much fun. 😉

My last post was right before Thanksgiving break, so I suppose I can start there. I had a good time spending a few days back home, even though I spent a lot of the time working on homework and final projects. The end of the semester was poorly timed this year, because the week after the break was the last one, so everything is due. I don’t know what the general opinion is, but I think that the last week of classes is way more stressful than finals week. Finals week is actually pretty chill – you only have to go to school for finals, and have a lot of free time. Which is, of course, deceiving, because you really *should* be studying, and not staying up until 5 am playing Pokemon Y or anything along those lines. But I digress. Nonetheless, it was nice to see my family and friends back home, even though I’ve adapted to Florida and spent the whole three and a half days perpetually cold. It’s only funny to make fun of them for the weather when I’m not there, I suppose.

This is what was happening in my simulations for my Spaceflight project – the blue is the orbit of the Earth and the green is the orbit of the moon. Which isn’t so much an orbit, but a beeline straight out of the solar system.

I got back to Daytona early on Saturday, and had a massive homework assignment due at 11:59 PM that night. So much for having a break. I think I turned it in at like 11:58:43 or something like that – oops. Then it was final projects, papers, and exams for the next week and a half. My biggest project was probably the one for my Spaceflight Dynamics class, which involved simulating a three-body orbital problem in MATLAB. It was going well until I made some calculation error and was flinging the moon straight out of the solar system. But I ended up fixing that, woo! Aside from that and the ten page paper on black holes that I had to crank out in one night, everything else wasn’t too bad. I had finals in thermodynamics and astronomy that I thought were pieces of cake (not that I didn’t study, mind you.) The only thing that gave me real trouble was my EP 501 final exam – I only needed a 62 on the final to get an A in the class, thanks to my midterm exam and homework successes, and I was legitimately worried I didn’t even get that. But I managed to pull off a 78 (don’t even know how I scored that high, to be honest) and thus managed to secure my 4.0 Master’s GPA for another semester. Still waiting on grades for my undergrad classes, but from my calculations I am looking at straight A’s! Not to brag 🙂

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch as seen from campus!

Another cool feature of last week was SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch, which scrubbed on the first two launch dates but went off the third time. And I got to see it from campus! It was super cool; we went up to the top of the AMS building where there is an observation deck for watching planes go in and out of the airport, and got a really great view. Even saw the stage separations of the rocket!

Stage separations of the rocket as it went up into space!

This week I’ll spend some time helping pack up the labs to move over to the new College of Arts and Sciences building, and then I’m homebound on Wednesday for about a week and a half. It’s crazy how quickly this semester went; I feel like it just started yesterday. But that’s life I guess!

That’s all I have to talk about in this entry. Haven’t gotten word if I will be writing again next semester, but I hope to be able to continue to share my stories with you! Feel free to always email me questions, or just to say hey, and I wish you all a happy holiday season and a successful rest of the school year!

Also before I close out, I’d like to dedicate this entry to my dog, Skip, who passed away last Friday. We got Skip as a rescue in April of 2001, when he was thought to be 2-4 years old, so he had a long life, and was always very happy and full of energy. He was a really great dog, and we all miss him very much.

My brother and I with Skip, 2004