The Secrets to Staying #ERAUFit: How to Stay on TOP of Your College Life.

ERAUfit2

“Let the beauty of what you love, be what you do.” – Rumi

Location: ERAU

When I first came to college, there were a ton of various activities going on. Freshman year was so exciting yet so overwhelming because I was so thrilled about classes, flight, events, joining clubs & organizations, you name it! It wasn’t actually until my sophomore year that I realized things were buckling down; I had to prioritize. So what is the first step toward college success? Confidence. You can’t expect to succeed if you aren’t feeling determined!

TIME Magazine asked several students on what their secrets were to success in college- it’s probably not what you’d think! Leading off the confidence note, college is here to inspire you, to nurture you and to grow you. It’s up to you to determine your college experience. Let that soak in!

In that case, it’s important to pursue passion, not A’s. Wherever your passion takes you, you’re sure to succeed. If you go into a class with the wrong mindset, it can truthfully determine your success in that class. Ambition and innovation secede grades every time. Go into a class with curiosity, interest and attraction- not just a simple willpower to pass or make a good test grade. There is no substitute for the joy of doing something you enjoy and doing it well.

Get comfortable with failing. Sometimes, you’re going to have a bad test score, that’s ok. Actually, sometimes failing can be the best educator. You learn from mistakes and move on.

Set goals and make them real. If you really want to manage your time wisely, set realistic short term and long term goals, and give them a deadline. This will motivate you to work toward your goals without excuses. It will also help you develop a crystalized vision.

Make a personal connection to your studies. Leading off the growth aspect, it’s important to view your studies as something that is going to benefit and cultivate you as a young professional. College is a time to develop into you and who you want to be. Learning is about you. If you look at it this way, you’ll be sure to work harder and gain much more than just facts and concrete information; you’ll be able to see things in other perspectives and all different types of angles and be able to apply it to your everyday life.

Be active. This doesn’t mean just physically, but mentally as well. It’s important to indulge yourself in all the facilities and amenities your college offers such as a physical fitness center, tutor labs, study groups, clubs & organizations, etc. Expand your web network through Alumni associations (www.ERAUAlumni.org) or clubs on campus. Utilize tutor labs when you are unsure of a topic in class. Stay active at the fitness center (http://bit.ly/1sjI1UY) or join an intramural team and choose healthy options in the dining areas (www.eraudining.com). I couldn’t stress enough how much this will help you to flourish in your college career!

Find a way to contribute. Whether it be through an eco-club, a job, or even helping out a fellow classmate, find a way to give back to your university. Not only does this help you get out of your comfort zone, but it allows you appreciate the community around you and it grows your networking web. Try it!

Manage your time. I really stress this one because when I was a freshman, I wanted to join everything. First semester can be pretty overwhelming, especially if you’re coming from across the country like I did. Let your first semester be a trial phase on what you are truly interested in. Be picky about which clubs/organizations and activities you would like to partake in. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too selective with my time, and I ended up being slumped by spring semester (side note: Sophomore slump is a real thing, google it!). So choose activities that truly interest you and will benefit you. Also, take time to plan out your schedule around your classes e.g. when you will be studying, working out, eating dinner, hanging out with friends, etc. and stick to it! The earlier you learn these tactics the better off you’ll be in the long run. Form good habits now!

Go after what you love. You’ve already decided you want to go to college, now what could stop you? Sometimes, between the general education requirements and prerequisites, a must-do for any major, it’s easy to get caught up in the routine of everything and lose sight of your intellectual interests and gifts. If you see this happening, try to take at least one class that really sparks your interest every semester. Ever since I started college at Embry-Riddle, I’ve always had at least one class each semester that has made me super excited to learn more! Don’t forget why you’re at college in the first place- to find, learn, and ripen the thing(s) you are so passionate about. If you have the passion, use it. That’s how dreams are achieved.

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(For more tips, email: giannotw@my.erau.edu)

007 Study Abroad Continued.

10154897_10203209384772142_272986979081192414_nC-130s over Normandy! Kid in a candy store moment. It was so neat seeing 5 of them or so casually flying over at extremely low altitudes. All of Normandy was filled with great patriotism; we were all a part of something bigger in remembering those who had fought for our soil and freedom.

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In the streets of Normandy, France, squandering for crepes

After Normandy, we took a ferry and headed back to England. Here, we first went to Swindon to check out the German Enigma machine at Bletchley Park. If you don’t know much about the machine, the British used it to decode messages that the Germans were sending to one another during WWII. The whole place used to be a huge intelligence base.

The next day, we went to the Culture in Conflict conference at the Defense Academy of the UK. It was a three day conference consisting of various speakers from all over the world- people from the military, government agencies, companies like Lockheed Martin, civilian contractors, and intelligence companies to the Israeli Air Force.

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Cranfield University/Defense Academy of the UK

It’s things like this that confirm my passions. Hearing these people speak from all over the world was very eye opening. Most of them had spent time in Middle Eastern regions like Beirut or places in Afghanistan doing research. I was intimidated, but I was inspired. I couldn’t take many pictures here…sorry, guys! But the memory of this conference will remain ingrained in my mind forever.

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Bath, UK

We had a free day in Swindon, so a few of us decided to visit Bath. Bath is a place that is exactly as it sounds; it’s famous for its ancient Roman Baths.

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Somehow, I managed to come across this quote while I was abroad:

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It definitely struck me. This trip had opened my heart up to many possibilities in terms of where I could take my career. I never knew how many petals this rose of the intelligence field could have. And wow, am I amazed. Studying abroad is such a great idea if you’re thirsting for more knowledge. I went only knowing so few things and came back so much richer than before. Let travel change you. You learn a lot about yourself, too.. which is probably the most important thing you could understand, especially when you’re trying to find out, well, what you want to “do.” Make your passion so big that you can’t fully grasp it even if you travel the world. You can never know enough about your passion.. I guess that’s what makes it what it is. That’s what makes you discover brand new petals of the flower over and over again.

We’re in London next. I’m excited to visit again.

More coming!

20 going FL200

POSITION: Home!

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)

Machin’ through Maximum Operating Altitude.

Modeling for sponsor Scheyden Precision Eyewear
Ayrton Senna said it perfectly: “On a given day, a given circumstance, you think you have a limit. And you then go for this limit and you touch this limit, and you think, ‘Okay, this is the limit’. And so you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high.”

What a few weeks it’s been! Classes have been the usual, various club meetings taking place, and I am progressing through my Commercial over at ATP. This past weekend was Fall Break and my mom came to Orlando to visit. It was nice to have San Diego come to me for a few days. :) This upcoming week is Homecoming and you know what that means! The Annual Sigma Sigma Sigma Halloween Fashion Show! This Wednesday, Oct 30 at 8pm in the Student Center. Be sure to get your ticket early!

First off, what is Maximum Operating Altitude? It’s the highest altitude an airplane can reach for structural or pressurization reasons. An airplane could go higher toward ‘absolute altitude,’ however, the equipment will not allow it. After hearing this quote from Senna this past week, I was reminded of the limitations I even continue to place on myself. We all have these ‘maximum operating altitudes’ we place on ourselves and most of us don’t even know it. And those limits are present in our everyday thoughts: “That’s too hard.” “I’m too lazy.” “I can’t do this.” “I can’t do that.” But, once you put yourself in a constant pattern of limitation, you place yourself in a fixed state of being. You can’t grow. Limits are these evil things that we all fear because we are too afraid, too lazy, too comfortable to break them. The reality of it is the fact that these limits are self-imposed. The only limits you have are the ones you set yourself. No one else has the power to give you limits- but you. You choose them. You have the ability to make a choice and say, “this is my maximum operating altitude, I’m done” OR you can equip yourself with the determination to go a little further.

  Courtesy of Scheyden Precision Eyewear
Most of us think we have reached our limit when we fail to realize a simple extra push is all it takes to break that barrier. An airplane has to be equipped properly or else it physically cannot push through its maximum operating altitude. You have the potential to break through your limits if you allow yourself to be equipped with determination, passion, perseverance and most importantly: belief. A limit is not a limit until you give it the power to be one. You can let your maximum operating altitude defeat you, or you can choose to overcome it. Your heart is free. Have the courage to follow it. What’s keeping your throttle at idle?
And so you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/ayrtonsenn348838.html#SWHjPf6isLgih0u2.99
And so you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/ayrtonsenn348838.html#SWHjPf6isLgih0u2.99

Gulfstream Grandeur.

POSTION: Embry-Riddle

For those of you who don’t know, a Gulfstream III was recently donated to Embry-Riddle’s Aviation Maintenance Science Program! And if you didn’t know, a Gulfstream is my favorite type of (modern day) aircraft. We got the amazing opportunity to check it out today. Needless to say, I was a kid in a candy store!

Near the Embry-Riddle Maintenance Hangar, GIII

Getting my Gulfstream loving!

GIII

I was in a state of pure happiness. It’s moments like this that make all the hard work pay off – especially after having three tests! Sometimes it’s important to cherish the little things in life; details can be the most important things. The details that make you see how intricate life truly is. It’s important to realize how blessed we are in the midst of living a busy life. I ran out of the College of Aviation this afternoon completely stressing out over an upcoming test and saw this beautiful Gulfstream staring me in the face. Then it hit me.

GIII cockpit

 We all get caught up in the ‘doing’ of life that we forget the importance of ‘being.’ This causes us to get caught up in the ugly part of life and forget the beauty. We worry, we stress, we overanalyze, we overwork ourselves because we feel we have to live up to this “status quo,” yet we don’t realize that we are forgetting to actually live. It’s not that a Gulfstream taught me this, the concept has been there all along. But the Gulfstream was definitely a reminder for me to stop and smell the flowers. Sometimes if we stop for a moment in the midst of all our rushing, we see the things that bring us those rays of sunshine we often miss. Yes, I was worried about a test, but I was discreetly reminded of why I am doing what I do in the first place. Fear defeated by pure faith. Those are the moments you don’t want to miss.

Me and Sojung under the GIII wing!

On a side note: October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month!

The following weeks are broken down as listed below:

  • Oct. 1-6, General online safety. Raises safety awareness among Americans.
  • Oct. 7-13, Mobile online safety & security. Focuses on the need to protect our safety regardless of when and where we access the internet.
  • Oct. 14-20, Cyber education. Gears toward the advances and opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education.
  • Oct. 21-27, Cybercrime. Works to display how people can protect themselves from internet crimes.
  • Oct. 28-31, Cybersecurity and critical infrastructure. Fixates on the necessity to protect our critical infrastructure.

In the Homeland Security Student Association (HSSA), we have been discussing the upcoming weeks and how to spread the news about the importance of Cyber Security. If you didn’t know, hundreds of thousands of cyber attacks happen in just one hour every day in many different countries! It’s extremely important to know how you are protecting what you do on the internet.

  Life is such a gorgeous thing and in this case, it was complemented by a gorgeous airplane. Next time you find yourself anxious, worried, or unsure- just know that from those situations stem the greatest circumstances. Stop and smell the flowers every once in awhile.
It’s a beautiful life. Do it justice.
 
Blue Skies 

Sunny Standard Rate.

POSITION: Embry-Riddle

I took this photo the other day by the flight line and I had to add some insight.

Finally all settled down! Yes, after a couple weeks, I am back into the swing of things. It feels amazing to be back! I’ve been busy with classes, my sorority (Sigma Sigma Sigma), club meetings and I actually just got back from flying with a couple of friends. A thunderstorm rolled in and we just missed it as we turned on final. It’s never a dull day here in Florida!

Recruitment week is finished and Sigma Sigma Sigma recruited 15 new wonderful Purple Violets!

This past week we had a guest speaker; Dr. Bloom from the Prescott campus came to talk to us here in Daytona Beach. He gave us a lecture on the topic of ‘Deception.’ Embry-Riddle is trying to intertwine the programs at the Prescott campus here with us. Needless to say, it was a really neat experience!

In my Homeland Security class, aside from all the important stuff, we have been learning about all the different sectors within the field. Most people think of the TSA or Coast Guard when they think of Homeland Security, but actually, there are so many more branches such as intelligence, environmental security, defense, etc. The opportunities here are endless.

 This has been my view these past couple weeks.

In addition, October marks Cyber Security Month, so we will have some pretty interesting topics arising in class and in the Homeland Security Student Association! I am currently on the Public Relations Committee, so expect some cool information on Cyber Security Month when I post next week. I’ve been REALLY busy with switching majors and whatnot, so bear with me. Expect some flying pictures soon ;)

Blue Skies

Control Lock Removed.

POSITION: Embry-Riddle

Back for another year! It’s taken a little for me to get back into the swing of things, but I’m enjoying the excitement of it all. I am so excited to let you all in on what I am doing this year. I switched my major to Homeland Security with a minor in International Relations and Terrorism Studies. Yes, I will of course still be flying! However, I am now taking a different approach toward my studies and I am so excited to be able to fuel a bigger passion that I have had all my life. Stay tuned! This week is going to be the busiest out of the whole year, so I will fill everyone in next week on what has been going on. So many amazing things are on the horizon!

Before flight, us pilots have to remove the control lock from the yoke in order to actually turn the yoke. When the airplane is not being operated, the control lock basically locks the ailerons in place so that the wings are stable when rough winds are present. It’s crucial during large storms because this can be damaging to the aircraft’s wings.

As I was preparing for a flight the other day, I stared at the control lock and thought, “what would happen if I didn’t put the control lock in place after flight? What if I, figuratively, let the plane go through a storm without a control lock?” Bear with me. For example, when stormy events happen in our lives, we tend to run away. It’s only human nature. We throw on our control locks, become detached and abandon our aircraft. Most of the time, we fail to see what incredible growth such storms can create. I obviously don’t mean this literally, but what would you do if you could hold the reins in a certain situation?

 See, we all have this control lock that makes us feel safe. We feel as if it will protect us from any danger, when in reality, sometimes it’s crucial we throw our control locks out the window. We can’t grow if we are constantly locking our ‘steering wheel’ throughout life. It’s easy to stay in a comfortable situation because it appears safe, however it’s probably more dangerous to assume that you will still grow as a person if you stay in the same place. This couldn’t be more wrong. It locks your steering wheel.

I’m telling you to forget about those thoughts of staying comfortable because it’s “safe.” Explore your limits, set your standards, and allow yourself to grow. Sure, control locks are great when you are faced with stormy, or unsafe, situations – but you will never know how to steer your yoke if it is constantly locked. You can’t move from Point A expecting to get to Point B when you have no control over your momentum. But here’s the thing: you are completely capable of taking the steering wheel of your own life, and moving the yoke in any direction you please. The only thing that’s stopping you, is the illusion that the control lock is what’s going to make you stay in a safe place. To stay safe is to move. When will you remove it?

Blue Skies and broken control locks

 

Sail.

 LOCATION: San Diego, CA

Summer is over! My internship is done, bags are packed (kinda) and in less than 48 hours, I will be hopping on a plane back for another semester at the college of my dreams. Overall, my summer was pretty amazing. Flying, modeling and working at King Flight School has been nothing short of a blessing. As a side note, I’ll be the first to say, although I didn’t use King Flight Schools’ courses for my Private and Instrument training, I am currently using their program for my Commercial practical test (oral and flight). In all the years I have been flight training, I have never experienced a more interactive and engaging educational atmosphere aside from being in a classroom at Embry-Riddle. The material is very straight forward and easy to comprehend. I would suggest to any prospective student pilot to browse through the King Flight Schools material in order to grasp a foundational knowledge of flying. It is guaranteed to make you a better pilot!

This last week in San Diego has been way too bittersweet, but it’s actually been eye opening. From one coast to another, I’m forced with choices that promote and bring about change. Is it weird that I actually LOVE it? Every day, we are given the opportunity to live up to our fullest potential. Some people say “why?” Some people say “why not?” It could go like this: I could go to Florida, get off the plane and drag my suitcases to the nearest taxi with complete detachment from everything around me sulking into another semester. But, that’s not me. Why? Because being pushed out of my comfort zone has been the most rewarding process I could ever experience. And if I had abided by the walls, the resistance, the voice inside my head that tells me “stop!” before I’m about to do something great- I wouldn’t be where I am.

So instead of seeing your fear as a stop sign, see it as a green light. You are far more capable than you imagine yourself to be. If you are afraid, maybe you are doing something right. Don’t set self-imposed limits upon yourself. Why not? Because truly, they don’t exist. Yes, disregarding fear might preserve a perfect, failure-free life. But perfection can never be as respected as a steadfast attempt at doing something remarkable. So if you don’t steer your own ship, you risk staying in port. Which is even more dangerous because you aren’t allowing yourself to live up to your fullest potential.

Entangled in the cancerous discipline of security, I flung my life beneath the wheels of routine and before I knew it my life was gone.  I always wanted to sail the seven seas but I couldn’t afford it.  What I really couldn’t afford was not to go.” – Unknown

 Whatever you are doing: going off to college, traveling the world, even exploring your own neighborhood – it is the way you sail that will bring you to the current you want to be in. There are far more ships on our horizons than meets the eye. And there are reasons as to why we can’t see past such horizons – simply because there is more meant to be discovered. That reason fuels my ship alone.

I’m so excited for a great semester with new roommates, enticing new class work, awesome events and unforgettable moments with my Sigma sisters. What else will it bring?

See you on the flip side. Embry-Riddle bound.

Scud Running vs. A Fear of Scud Running

POSITION: CRQ

As the end of summer is approaching, lots of excitement has been stirring up for this upcoming year at Embry-Riddle. I’m getting anxious for another great semester full of awesome events and neat classes. Coming to the closing of summer I’m realizing that soon I will be done with my internship, stuffing a suitcase and hopping on a plane back to Florida. There’s this really cool quote I spotted the other day:

 and it struck me. Exactly a year ago from this very moment in time, I was fearful of leaving my home for the other side of the country.. a venture that didn’t necessarily look promising, but yet it was so alluring, so full of wonder. Following a dream can sometimes be tricky- you have to take risks. But what I realized is that it doesn’t matter if you are kicking and screaming along the way- the point is that you have still chosen to fight that fear. Risks are scary things, but would you rather be safe in shallow waters or push yourself into the deep end to discover the unfamiliar? We as human beings are floating in these tides which eventually lead to delicious quenches of adventure and abundance… but if the opportunity is omitted, we live our lives in shallows and miseries. Although we still float, we have to take the current when it serves us- or we will lose our ventures.

Out of every quote I’ve heard, this is the one I want to base a life off of. You are faced with two simple decisions when dealing with a risk. First, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it. Second, you have to decide whether or not you want it more than it your fear of it. It’s a simple Yes or No. How you go about it is up to you, but if I let an opportunity slip me by when I knew I wanted it more than the fearful impact it had on me, I would regret it, wouldn’t you? Because fear is a temporary feeling until you overcome it. Then when you fight against your fear, it gets easier until it’s gone permanently. To me, that’s worth the risk.

How do you feel when you’re in a risky situation with adrenaline rushing through your veins while you hold your own world in your hands? That’s like me when I’m in an airplane. You know something could go wrong, but you want the sky more than you are afraid of that magneto failing or your engine quitting. You decide that the period of time you are poised in between the earth and its atmosphere that you are going live in the moment and make a choice to grasp the enticing experience of what it means to choose faith over fear.

 But I’m not here in life to play in traffic patterns and do touch n goes. I’m here to go scud running along the mountains, breeze by the beach 20 feet off the coastal waters; flip an airplane on its back with an ocean in the sky. Because once you finally taste a glimpse of what it means to overcome what you are afraid of, it’s like you can fly the plane without the machine. And you never want go back.

So hello there, August… I have a feeling you are going to be a good one. :)

Blue Skies

Pilot’s Bag of Luck.

POSITION: CRQ
ALTIMETER: 29.92
 
What an amazing summer it’s been- and I can’t believe it’s almost over. One month left until I’m back underneath the Florida sun. As for this pilot, summer has been nothing short of awesome. Not only have I been enjoying my old friends, my family and these California sunsets- but I’ve been appreciating the ability to sit back, relax and get my fingers further in the aviation industry. Recently, I started my new job at King Flight Schools and it’s been such a blessing to be able to experience a different and refreshing work environment and be surrounded by others who share the same appetite for aviation. I never truly realized how much WORK goes into an aviation education program until I got to be behind the scenes of it all. Wow.. and I’m learning more and more every day. I’m barely a sophomore in college and I get to experience THIS! Well, in aviation, they say you start off with a full bag of luck and end with a full bag of experience.
 
Yes, all these things somehow ended up in my flight bag today. Thanks AOPA for the cool sticker! This photo sums up my summer flying: breezy and relaxing. I’ve still been up in the Citabria enjoying the So Cal scenery, but I’ve also been keeping up with Instrument work- we had some great IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions) here in San Diego last week. Now it’s sunny- I but can’t complain!
 
So far I’m loving my new job. When you’re in an environment that’s filled with gems and treasures you are so passionate about, it’s hard to keep focus! If you haven’t tried out King Flight Schools program- give it a look. Their program has great training guides for any certificate/rating you are going after.
 
So, you get the point- my summer is going great. I’m so busy, but honestly it’s worth it. For prospective students, when you attend college, make sure you are using your summers. I cannot stress it enough. Travel, learn, educate, just do. I never knew my summer would be so crazy working two jobs that I love, flying, volunteering, traveling and even prepping for the upcoming semester. Use your time wisely and network all you can- opportunities will come to you. In the aviation field, we have to start out with a bag of luck or unfortunately, the experience would never come. I can’t stress it enough how important it is to be fearless and pursue whatever drives you. It’s your bag to fill, not your parents, not your peers- it’s yours. Whether you are filling your bag day by day or filling it along the course of these next few years, fill it with things that will FULfill who you are. Otherwise it’s just going to sit. Empty. I don’t know about you, but when I look back in a few years I want to have a bag full of adventure and unforgettable endeavors where I wasn’t afraid to take a chance in order to truly fulfill who I was. So build up; plan an amazing summer, prepare for an even better semester. Keep adding to your bag. Luck now equals experience then. You just have to ask yourself if it’s worth taking.
 
What’s in your bag today?
 
Blue Skies