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

 

 

October 2011

Six months ago, on April 28 at 12:30 AM, I received a phone call from my Mother saying that a tornado had come through at 12:15 AM. I was sound asleep when I received this phone call because the next day was the last day of my junior year at ERAU. My home, my Grandparents, and Aunt/Uncle’s home were destroyed. Luckily no one was injured and everyone is still with us today.

Today my Grandparent’s home and my Aunt/Uncle’s home are rebuilt. My home is still in progress, but we hope to be moved in by Thanksgiving. Over the month of October, I went home for the weekend to see the progress of the house. Everything is looking great and is on schedule for us to move in right before Thanksgiving. I would like to thank Embry-Riddle and its staff for being there for me through this hard time. Homes can be replaced, but family can’t.

On October 22-23 I participated in the 2011 Ocala Aerobatic Competition in the Advanced and Freestyle class. School comes first on my list and with my busy schedule I did not get any practicing going into this event. Having Friday the 21 st off from school for Fall Break though made it easy for me to leave for the event early and get to the field to practice the day before the contest. Friday I was able to get in three practice rounds before the contest started on Saturday the 22 nd .

The first day of the contest we completed three full rounds and I was very consistent and placed 2 nd and 3 rd throughout the rounds. By the end of the day I was in 3 rd place. I figure with hardly any practice this is not too bad! The second day of the event on Sunday we flew one more round and I ended up finishing 3 rd in my class. I also competed in the Freestyle contest and this is where all the pilots fly to a four minute music mix demonstrating all styles of aerobatic flying. I ended up coming in first in this class. Overall it was not a bad weekend. This contest was a test for me to see how much practice I need before the Southeast Regional’s Contest that is November 4 th thru the 6 th in Jacksonville, FL.

The end of the 2011 Aerobatic Competition is coming to the end and it all ends at the Southeast Regional’s, which is in Jacksonville, FL. This event is where the top 10 pilots from each of the five classes get invited to compete to see who is the best in the Southeast Region. I ended up finishing 5 th in the Region for the points race, so I was invited to compete against the top pilots in the region. School is still keeping me busy, but I have been able to sneak in a few practice rounds after class!

This is it for this month, between competing in Radio Control Airplanes, flying home, and school; I have been a busy student this month! Check back next month for updates on the Southeast Regional’s, and updates on the current progress of rebuilding home. Thanks for reading!

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!

December 1, 2008

Hello again, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I know I did. I just got back from a wonderful 6 days off! I went to my roommate’s grandparent’s house for Thanksgiving in Ocala, FL. What a wonderful trip. The food was so amazing and they are pretty much like a second family to me. It was definitely a well-needed break. The week before Thanksgiving was extremely busy for me. But, weekend before full of studying and hard work really paid off. I got A’s on all of my papers, presentations, and tests! Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Just work hard, have fun, and anything is possible.

I now have 3 days left in the semester! Wow, all that is left between now and Christmas break is one test and one paper. Success!!! If I can recommend anything to you future college students, I would urge you to work extremely hard in the beginning of the semester. Therefore, the stress level is lower at the end. If you work hard at the beginning of the school year when you are extremely motivated, you can maintain a high grade point average before finals hit. As a result, you have a buffer for the extremely high workload at the end of the semester. This has worked extremely well for me. A lot of students get extremely stressed during finals. However, if you make a constant effort to succeed during the semester, you’ll be just fine. Don’t wait until the end to start cracking the books.

This will most likely be my last entry of the semester. After December 4th, I will be halfway through with my senior year. I’m so excited! I will then jump on a jet plane for Dallas, TX to see my family. I will be back at Embry-Riddle the 5th of January to finish up my last 4 classes. Wow, what an experience. I look forward to sharing my memories and experiences with you all next semester. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

November 30, 2008

Amazing is the word that I would use to describe the past two weeks. I am amazed that I finished and presented all my group projects with no major hiccups. In fact, the presentations went really well; one teacher told me I did a good job and looked completely comfortable talking in front of everyone. I was glad she said that because I used to get quite nervous getting up and speaking in front of a class, but I have figured out that the more prepared I am the less nervous I am. Time management is essential in college and it’s something that I’m constantly trying to work on. For example, sometimes I should go back to my room and study; however, I end up sitting in the UC talking to people or back in the dorms visiting with my neighbors. Due to some of my choices over the last week I ended up not studying as much as I wanted to for my math test and now I have to take the final. Oh well, you live and learn!

I left Daytona on Wednesday with some friends to go home with them for Thanksgiving. We headed up to Georgia and spent actual Thanksgiving there and then we went to North Carolina for another Thanksgiving on Saturday. I had a good time and ate a lot of wonderful food! We spent quite a bit of time driving but that was good because it allowed me to get some homework done and catch up on some much needed sleep. I talked to my mom and she told me that it snowed back home, so when I go home in nine days there will hopefully be snow on the ground!

In my last entry, I mentioned how I was going to the Silver Wings and Arnold Air Society Regional Conclave since our school was hosting it and I am the Regional Vice-President. The conclave is a gathering of all the Silver Wings chapters and Arnold Air squadrons in a region. We had people attend from Florida State University, University of South Florida, and a few other schools. The event kicked off on Friday and we all headed to Daytona Lagoon for three hours of laser tag and go-karts. I hadn’t been to Daytona Lagoon before and I had so much fun racing go-karts! Saturday, we had meetings all day on how everything is going at each school and we shared community service ideas. That night, I got to get all dressed up and attend the formal dinner. The dinner was good and we got to listen to a retired Major General talk about some of his experiences. On Sunday, everybody headed home and back to school. If you are thinking about coming to ERAU and you want to get involved on campus, you should consider Silver Wings because we do community service, help you network, and we have a lot of fun!

I decorated my little Christmas tree and have been listening to Christmas music for the past week. I’m so excited to have the holidays here again! My next entry will come after I have finished finals and am home, so I’ll probably post some pictures of snow!

If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to send them my way!

Until next time,
Kaleigh

November 18th, 2008

Hey guys!!!
It is FREEZING here!!!! Well for Florida it is freezing at least! I have had at least 3 layers on every day this week! AH!

My week this week began with a test at 8:00 am Monday consisting of a project, a physics test, a physics lab final, a weather test, a math test, and me trying very hard not to go insane!!! This week is also the first week flight team picks back up since Regionals, so that will be fun!!! I am excited to get back on top of things. If you all have read anything about our flight team published by people at the school, it is to their knowledge apparently that nationals are in San Jose in May, well they aren’t. They are actually in Saint Louis.

I don’t remember if I have mentioned it but there are some roommate problems within our suite… so one of the girls is moving out. Actually to my knowledge she was supposed to leave already but she’s not gone yet… I am not sure what the hold up is to tell you the truth. We thought everything would be fine and dandy after our first little meeting with the RA and RD but…. NOPE! It’s almost impossible not to have trouble with 8 girls in one room. A little life update as well… 6 of the 8 of us came here with boyfriends from home.. now 5 of the 8 of us have new boyfriends haha– and one of us is in the works of having a new one. My how things can change.

As stressful as things have gotten with classes and tests and all, I am still trying my hardest and won’t trade Riddle in for any other school. It’s amazing still!!!! Ohh yeah and the shuttle launch = AWESOME! Even though I have seen them before because I am from Florida.. they are still amazing every time you see them! Have a GREAT Thanksgiving!!! and I will be back in touch with you all after the break… when I have a major report due :-( AHHH
-Elizabeth