Happy July everyone! I’m currently blogging from Fairbanks, Alaska and the 60 degree summers are a stark contrast to summer weather in Daytona Beach. I stayed in my hometown of Norfolk, Virginia for about a month and am going to be in Alaska until I return to ERAU in August for the Fall 2021 semester.
I am looking forward to my final half of summer being filled with a smooth conclusion of my summer Arabic classes through the University of Arizona and post Project GO program testing, as much hiking as possible, and visits to all the Alaska coffee shops. Currently in the Fairbanks summer the sun shines almost all day, sunset is at approximately midnight and sunrise happens at about 3:00 AM. Since the night time only consists of sunlight and a few hours of dusk/dawn transition, my schedule has shifted a bit too. I intend to spend my Winter Break between the fall and spring semester in Fairbanks as well, but during that time I expect the temperatures will be about 40 below with lots of snow and only about 3 hours of sunlight everyday.
My Alaska Summer online class schedule:
I typically wake up around 4:00 AM, do yoga, make breakfast and coffee, then hop on my Language Partner meetings from 5:00-6:00 AM, have a 30 minute break filled with another cup of coffee or tea, then I go to my professor’s Office Hours or meet with my program’s director or coordinators, followed by a total of four hours of class, then an hour of tutoring.
I am typically finished with class obligations by noon, just in time to make lunch, workout, and finish homework. Usually in the evenings I’ve been having fun enjoying Fairbank’s food truck scene for an afternoon snack or dinner, and going on evening hikes (since the sun doesn’t set until midnight). In my free time I have also been reading Bear Tales for the Ages: From Alaska and Beyond by Larry Kanuit, because Alaska has peaked my wilderness curiosity. In addition to my goal to try every coffee shop in the city while I’m here for the rest of the summer, I also have a goal to safely spot some wildlife, including but not limited to: a bald eagle, a moose, and a bear (from a VERY safe distance away). Bonus exploration: A few days ago I went to see Cruella in theaters which was very fun too!
As my life keeps changing and evolving, each day becomes more exciting and I am always looking forward to what adventures lie ahead. Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!
Happy July everyone! I’m currently blogging from Fairbanks, Alaska, savoring the last few weeks of summer and starting to prep for back to school life in the Fall 2021 semester at ERAU-DB.
For me, this means working out on a regular basis, my summer classes coming to an end in the upcoming weeks, and trying to fit in as many fun experiences as possible. With summer classes concluding, this also means more intense studying for finals and post Project GO Arabic language program testing. Some of the moments I’ve been enjoying lately include coffee shop stops, walking to get ice cream around the corner from my house (during particularly hot summer evenings), hiking, picking fresh berries, and cooking!
Dorm life doesn’t allow for many cooking opportunities, so I’m trying to fit in as many delicious comfort foods as possible before returning to campus. Since I am an avid breakfast (at all times of the day) lover, my favorite fun meal is pancakes for dinner! While in the dorm, microwave pancakes are a quick and fun option, but it’s hard to replace the experience of dancing around a kitchen, making real pancakes with the people you love.
A typical school/work day includes balancing my mental/physical health by taking breaks after online classes to stretch/do yoga, workout, go for a walk, or listen to music. In the evenings my favorite activities to unwind are reading, cooking, listening to music/podcasts, or phone calls with family and friends. I am also a big fan of late afternoon naps!
Lately, I’ve had quite a few meetings to prep for upcoming work in Air Force ROTC, Student Court, and Orientation Team. Additionally, I have very much been enjoying a “9:00am-5:00pm” work philosophy. I am most productive during the “work day” then after 5:00pm I reserve time for relaxing and recharging. Since candles aren’t allowed in the dorms, I love enjoying them at home to signify the “end” of a long work day. While more restrictions are being lifted as we come to the end of the height of the pandemic and mask-free is the new normal once again, other countries/states/cities are still experiencing rises in COVID-19 cases… so I am preferring my social activities to take place mostly outdoors in wide open spaces when possible, and spending most of my other time at home.
Over the past year, with quarantining, online courses, and overall lots more time spent at home, I’ve learned the importance of how the space around you can potentially effect you and your mental health more than you realize. Because of this I’ve started making my bed on a regular basis, and feeling more refreshed keeping my living space clean, diffusing essential oils, listening to peaceful music, and (when allowed) opening windows for fresh air, as well as lighting candles.
Happy July everyone! I am currently blogging from Norfolk, Virginia where I am enjoying my last few days on the East Coast until the in person Fall semester at Riddle starts again. I’ve had the great opportunity to see family and explore yoga and spin classes, frequent coffee shops, and visit the beach as much as possible in my hometown and I’m getting ready to start the second half of my summer classes (Summer B Term), and begin preparing for the semester of my final year at Riddle… before I graduate in Spring 2022!
I am so excited for my last year. I will be an RA in a different Residence Hall and am happy to get back to all my fun extracurriculars. My last year will include Air Force ROTC, being a Peer Mentor for University 101 classes, being an Associate Justice on the Student Government Association’s (SGA’s) Student Court, and of course being an Orientation Team Leader!
Although my summers are still busy with my summer classes for Arabic studies, they are significantly more relaxed than the hustle and bustle of the Fall and Spring semesters. That being said I have had the luxury as of lately to have the time to briefly relax in between my studies.
My favorite quick snacks in between classes lately have been chips and salsa, hummus with cucumbers or carrots, unsalted mixed nuts, fresh cherries or watermelon, and frozen banana slices with almond butter, dark chocolate, and sea salt.
Frozen banana slices are one of my new favorite study break treats and can even be made in a dorm room! I started by slicing about 3 bananas that were about to go bad, melting chocolate (which can be done with chocolate chips in a microwave for about 15 second intervals, stirring in between), then laying my banana slices flat on tin foil before dolloping with almond butter (or your favorite nut or seed butter), melted chocolate, and sea salt! After all your slices are covered, lay them them flat in the freezer for about 30 minutes, and you will have a super tasty treat that can be transferred to a bag or Tupperware container in the freezer for whenever you need a study break!
Happy June everyone! I’m currently blogging from Norfolk, Virginia and my evening was pretty great. I finished my online classes by (yet again) doing some YouTube workout videos, taking a short walk around the neighborhood with my sister and her dog, going to a spin class, going to the grocery store, coming home to water plants, have dinner, and relax.
Today I figured out a quick life-hack for online classes and wanted to share. To start, I am typically a semi-on the-go person, so sitting down for 4-6 hours of Zoom class everyday (not including other digital meetings) makes me very tired and towards the end of the days I usually get uncomfortable staying still and sitting. Today, I figured out by placing my laptop on a tall table, then on top of a wooden box (books, magazines, anything you have), I am able to elevate my laptop to approximately eye-level so that I can do my classes while standing. If you have a stand up desk arrangement, a tall counter, or a raised bed this arrangement also works.
From experience living in the dorms on ERAU’s DB campus, you have the option to submit a Maintenance Request form to get your bed height raised or lowered. Throughout the past year I did most of my online classes by placing my laptop on my bed and standing up beside the bed. My go-to school supply is also a clipboard, so that I can do my homework practically anywhere (typically I will lay on the floor, but can also move to a desk, chair, or bed depending on what is most comfortable at the moment).
Being home I tried out a few different online class spaces and am still in the process of experimenting, but I would like to officially announce that a DIY stand up desk (aka box on table) is working for me and standing instead of sitting helped me feel so much better today.
My other top online class hack is simple: drink water! I try to refill my water during breaks, but will definitely ask politely to my professors during class to take a quick water break. (I am in a class of one, so if you are in a larger class where cameras are not required you typically will already have this liberty.) Also, I like having coffee with me in the mornings, sometimes some quick snacks throughout the day like trail mix, carrots and hummus, or fruit and yogurt, as well as hot tea for my afternoon sessions. I’ve found that snacking throughout the day and drinking plenty of water keeps me focused and happy!
If you don’t have a ton of control of the environment you are taking classes in, if you’re home, in the dorms, or at a friend or family’s house, focus on the little details that are in your control. For example, I like to open the blinds to use natural lighting while I’m in online class if possible, set oil diffusers, have little plants in the room with me, and clean my space at the end of every day so the next morning I have the opportunity to reset my workspace and start fresh. The little details make all the difference, so even if you are in a shared space you can still carve out a piece for you to feel comfortable to learn in. Hope this helps encourage or inspire you to recharge and reset with online classes even if you’re in the same space everyday. Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!
Happy June everyone! I’m currently blogging from Norfolk, Virginia where I am in the midst of online Arabic classes, and a study-filled summer with school, Language Partner meetings, tutoring sessions, Program coordinators, professors, and (of course) homework. Pros of online classes in the summer include that they can be done from the comfort of your own home. Cons of online classes include that sometimes it is difficult to be inside and sitting in front of a computer all day, especially when the weather is beautiful.
I find balancing online classes and course loads are almost harder than in person obligations because your brain is being exercised all day, while your body is stagnant. With the pandemic, society began to shed a light on mental health and prioritizing self care in a practical ways by incorporating small “wins” into everyday life.
This summer my small wins have been squeezing in YouTube workout videos before and after my 4 to 6 hour sessions of online classes, playing with pets in between my 5 minute computer breaks, and trying my best to stay off the computer and in front of a screen when I don’t have to. I’m the only student in my current online language program level so when I’m in class, tutoring sessions, or meeting a language partner it requires 100% of my attention. To balance being plugged in and continuously staring at a screen all day, I’ve been enjoying the silence of walking my sister’s dog after class or meditating, and trying to get as much sleep as possible.
I typically get tired by the end of the day from studying so I look forward to good food, exercising, and hitting a hot yoga or spin class to decompress. My day consists of opposites: only working my brain, then only working my body. While I would prefer more variation in my routine, right now this is what’s working for me with my current schedule.
In addition to classes I’ve been keeping up with behind the scenes work for Orientation Team and Student Court. I’ve been trying to squeeze in reading, watching new movies on Disney + (like Luca and Raya and the Last Dragon), doing face masks, taking salt baths, sun bathing by the pool, walks on the beach, and other fun ways to decompress like listening to music and doing yoga. BUT, sometimes I’m exhausted from classes and I don’t have the energy to do much but sleep after a long day, and that’s okay too because when I’m tired it’s my body telling me I need rest, even if I haven’t done much physical activity.
I’ve found when my routine changes semi-drastically (cue the intensive summer language program), my go-to ways to decompress can sometimes feel more like things on a to-do list than actual time to relax. Relaxing can look different in different phases of your life, and even day-to-day, hour-to-hour, or minute-to-minute. Recognizing and checking in with where your body and mind are at, in order to know what you need is extremely important because it is always changing! Sometimes our go-to activities become more “things we have to do” and less so “the ways we decompress”.
I’m at a changing phase of my life, so I’m still figuring out how to navigate decompressing from being constantly plugged into my computer and my phone all day. Using technology to communicate with my teachers, tutors, language partners, program coordinators, AND everyday life and school obligations (not to mention keeping in contact with friends and family which typically happens mostly online) is challenging, but the key is balance, which is a process.
Happy June everyone! I am currently blogging from Norfolk, VA and I have some news! Life updates: since the Spring 2021 semester has concluded I got my second 4.0 GPA semester in the B.S. Aerospace Engineering program. This is my fourth out of five years at Riddle, and with only two semesters left… I am very excited!
Small life update: I recently bought a car from a friend who graduated and moved away! I recently drove from Florida back to Virginia, and will be spending my first month of online summer classes in Norfolk and Virginia Beach on Meknes time, before maybe traveling a bit in July and doing my online classes from some places I’ve never been before (stay tuned)! Thus, my May schedule has been filled with traveling back to my home state of Virginia, virtual Zoom meetings for Orientation Team and SGA Student Court, pre-program testing and orientations for my summer Arabic classes through Project GO, the University of Arizona, and the Arab American Language Institute in Meknes, Morocco, sunbathing and working out, and reading and finishing the book Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.
My recent transitional go-tos for staying fit this summer and focusing more on eating healthy and resting/recharging have been going to Hot Yoga in my hometown. Typically Yoga Studios, gyms, and other fitness establishments offer starting specials and since I’ll be back for a month it’s definitely fun to try new things! I’m looking into trying a Spin Class which is essentially a workout on a stationary bike that looks fun too. In addition to being able to venture into fitness studios, I’ve been doing yoga on my own outside in the mornings and I am looking forward to being able to get some sunrise surfing sessions in before June ends. Also, my Youtube fitness class faves are still Yoga With Adriene, Chloe Ting, and POPSUGAR Fitness.
Playing catch up on my life, I’ve been trying to do more things I don’t get to enjoy as frequently during the school year. I recently attended a Virtual Zumba Dance class taught by another O-Team member that was a ton of fun, and not something I would typically sign up for.
I’ve also been receiving the email newsletter that comes every Friday called Girls’ Night In and the daily (30 second read) newsletter called The Daily Good. Usually I get a ton of emails everyday and checking them can be stressful, so having a few fun reads with good recommendations makes looking at the official emails in my inbox more bearable.
Keep on keeping on folks! Will report back soon with virtual summer class and schedule updates!
Happy May everyone! I’m currently blogging from Savannah, GA where the local coffee shops and restaurants are treating me well. Today is officially two weeks past my second COVID-19 vaccination shot and I am so thrilled that society is readjusting to being mask-free and more holistically health conscious (meaning prioritizing mental AND physical wellness). Today ERAU-DB sent an official University Communications email from the Office of the President noting that face masks are now optional for everyone on campus according to CDC guidelines! This is such exciting news given the state of the past year and how the global pandemic has impacted everyday operations. Also, I start my Arabic online summer classes in about a week through Project GO! I officially closed off my fourth year (of five) at ERAU this Spring 2021 semester with a term GPA of 4.0. With only two more semesters left before I graduate and commission into the USAF through AFROTC, I have high hopes for one more successful year and now I am excited more than ever that it will be a year mask-free as well!
Orientation Team had our first summer meeting to start preparing for new students arrival to campus in August. The O-Team is bigger than ever and I am very happy to be able to get to know everyone and bond before we meet all the incoming students for Fall 2021. O-Team is a huge family made up of a diverse group of students and together, we span almost every organization on campus, including almost (if not) all majors, a variety of different backgrounds, and we come from all over the world. O-Team is a powerhouse full of helpful student resources, who together are knowledgeable about all things ERAU, are fluent in most languages, and full of positive energy. As a welcome team for those new to campus, your Orientation Leaders and ERAU experts, full of first hand experience and trained in all things ERAU, are here to help make your transition to college as simple, and as fun as possible!
I joined O-Team because the first student I met at ERAU helped me during Orientation, then as I moved into my Residence Hall that same O-Team leader was a Resident Advisor (RA) on my floor too! That same student ended up being one of my mentors throughout her time at ERAU before she graduated, one of my best friends, and even my Big in Greek Life! She pioneered the way for me at Riddle. Connections and friendships I had with upperclassman as a freshmen inspired and motivated me throughout my years in college. Those relationships inspire and motivate me today to reach my goals and help others do the same. While people come to college for the academics, the environment and the connections they make at the university are truly key players in why students choose to stay. Whether you’re a traditional extrovert, introvert, combination, or something completely different, college offers a social outlet for you to explore your interests through the variety of clubs, organizations, majors, minors, and extracurricular activities that ERAU has to offer. Our university gives you the tools you need to help you find out how to be true to yourself, explore your interests, find what you’re passionate about and what motivates you, and help you succeed as a student and as a professional in the workforce post-graduation.
Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon with more updates to follow on how summer classes are treating me and more preparation for the Fall 2021 semester!
So, you know how YouTube has YouTube Rewind filled with a recap of all of the year’s notable events? I decided that I’d do a Riddle one. So here’s my Riddle Rewind for the 2020-2021 academic year, starting in August and moving forward.
Of course move-in day makes the list. I was so excited to move in and get started at Embry-Riddle. I finally got to meet some of the people who I’d known online for months, and it was an amazing feeling.
The Rocket Launches
1-2 days into the semester, I went with my suitemates to the August SpaceX launch. We stumbled upon a bridge with a little concrete path under it, and that’s where we watched from. It was my first ever launch, and I didn’t know it yet, but there were many more to come. (I also watched the SpaceX Crew 1 launch and wrote about it here.)
The Online Class Meet-Up Lunch
In the fall semester, my HON150 class was completely online. We the students wanted to organize a get-together so we could finally meet each other. The first one was spontaneously organized, and then they just kept showing up after class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. A big group of us would walk over to the student union and get lunch together following social distancing guidelines.
The Caramel Waters and the Hangout Group
Although still around but not as prevalent, there was a group of freshmen in the fall semester called the Hangout group. They were usually found in the student union hanging out, doing work, and playing ping pong. We’d frequently go to iHOP/Waffle House on early Friday mornings (like, between 1-3 AM) and on random trips in the Daytona area. Sometimes we’d explore places at night like people in the horror movies, but thankfully, all of us lived. One time, we were in the union and some of the guys wanted waters. They made a joke to the barista that they’d like caramel waters, so the barista put some caramel in the water. I never had one, but I heard it was disgusting. 100/10 customer service.
The Hair Dye Experiments
I dyed my hair. Or, at least, tried to. Twice. And neither time did it really show up. My tiny YouTube channel also ended up flopping, but it was fun while it lasted. I’ve also learned that my hair will not dye without help. Oops.
Fire Friday took form on Halloween night after I won the costume contest. After the costume contest, everyone was running around in costume while a student burned wood pallets. It soon turned into a reoccurring event, but it ended up dying down in late March. They were fun while they lasted; a lot of people would come and hang out at the fire. It was also a great place for people to get to know each other.
The Only Correct Usage for Electric Longboards
Going along with Fire Fridays, people would bring their longboards and board on the sidewalk by the dorms. It was pretty fun to watch, and people would race each other. One of the most notable races was between two guys on electric longboards in the picture above. In my opinion, electric longboards are dangerous and could result in a major injury like a broken jaw. However, if you go slow(ish) on them while sitting down, they’re perfectly acceptable to use. I actually got to ride one like that, and I’ll admit, it was like riding a mini roller coaster.
Omigod You Guys: Joining a Sorority
I already kind of wrote about this one when I got a bid, and here, when I found out who my big was, so I’ll leave the links there. I will say that it was a really good decision; I love my sorority sisters. If you’re even remotely interested, investigate it!
Drives and Karaoke
While usually late at night, one of my friends and I started going out and driving while singing random songs in the car. These could range anywhere from World Burn from Mean Girls to Radioactive by Imagine Dragons. We’d also usually stop at Wawa or Buc-ee’s and get a slushie. The picture above was after my second COVID shot when the friend took me and my suitemate singing since I shouldn’t stay in bed all day. It was fun, though.
My Chaotic Good Honors Class
I don’t have a picture for this one, but I took Dr. Lear’s HON250 class and it was so much fun!! The class was about video games and naturally, she set up a class Discord where students could talk amongst themselves. It has several channels: general, memes, pet pictures, in-class instructions, in-class responses, and most notably, the quotes channel. The class Discord was a very popular means of communication and a good source of student bonding.
At the end of the year, we planned to have an in-class awards show. However, the last day of class was cancelled, so we did it over Google Forms and Discord. I was the Awards Chair, so I got role-assigning permissions from Dr. Lear, and I ended up winning Emailholic (most emails sent to professor) and And You Can Quote This! (most notable contributions to the quotes channel). They make absolutely no sense without context.
Going Splat “fOr My jOb”
EaglePalooza was… interesting. Embry-Riddle has no shortage of interesting things for students to do. I was covering the event on social media for one of my on-campus jobs, and it was pretty fun. I wrote about it here.
The Campus Pets
On the Daytona campus, there are plenty of stray cats. One is quite friendly, approaching the tables where people sit and watching us. The PAWS (Protecting Animal Wellness Society) club has named her Beep, and I always liked seeing her around. She reminded me of my cats who are here at home.
Finishing the Year
It was nice to end the schoolwork of the year, but I missed my friends as they moved out. Some people moved out before finals week, others moved out during and after. It was bittersweet, but at the same time, most of them are coming back for the fall 2021 semester, so I’ll see them again. The year ended with a lot of good memories, too many to put into just one blog post. I’m glad I got to have a semi-normal first year at Embry-Riddle, and I’m even more glad that I can say I go here.
See you in the next post, and hopefully at Riddle! (Maybe you’ll even be in my orientation group…)
When I went in for my first appointment, the person administering the vaccine told me I didn’t have to come back exactly three weeks from the first shot (see CDC website here). That was good news for me since I got the first dose on a Tuesday and got the second on a Thursday. Since tomorrow (Friday) is a study day, I have all of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to recover before my first final on Monday.
The process for getting the second shot was pretty much the same. The only difference was that I didn’t need the proof of residency and health card information since it was on file. I simply had to bring my CDC vaccine card and fill out some paperwork. They administered the vaccine and said I’d have to stick around for 10-15 minutes, but I was free to walk around the store.
So what did I do? Arm circles, of course.
There’s a trend going around TikTok to swing your arm for a bit after the vaccine so it won’t get sore. I decided to try it, and it ended up working for me. I swung my arm in a circle for five or so minutes and it felt fine after. It’s still a little sore when I push heavily on it, but I can lie down indirectly on it in bed, so I’m going to consider that as “working.” I’m also going to put a general disclaimer that I’m not a medical professional, and it could be pure coincidence that it “worked” for me. This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such.
I felt fine for the rest of the day, just a bit tired. My arm was still sore, and I spent most of it in bed watching TikToks and scrolling through Instagram. The next morning, after sleeping for hours on end, I woke up with a slight fever, soreness, and chills. And I was very tired
I woke up around 12 PM, and I stayed in bed for the rest of the day. Five hours later, some of my friends and I ended up going to get slushies at Buc-ee’s and pizza from Domino’s. I got to feeling better after that, and while I do have a slight headache, I’m fine for the most part. The next day, I boarded over to the student union and back.
I took a final on Sunday and did fine, so I was pretty much back to normal. I could move my arm up and down without too much pain. Instead of hurting, it’s more sore, and that’s fine with me. I’ll be leaving for the summer before I can get the All Clear badge (two weeks after your second dose), so I’ll just get it when I come back for the fall. It’ll be really nice… the CDC says fully vaccinated people need not wear masks outside. As part of the Orientation Team working during hot August, that’ll be a great feeling.
Carly slamming face-first into an inflatable go brr.
Sooooo finals week is coming, but there’s been no shortage of stuff to do. This weekend, we had EagleFest, which was moved indoors due to the rain. However, the Touch-N-Go, the entertainment division, pulled off a great event. There was free ice cream, cake on a stick, candies, donuts, plants… anything!
And the capstone: sets of inflatables plus an outdoor zipline. The inflatable obstacle course I went on was modeled on Wipeout’s big red balls, and we’ll just say that I wouldn’t win Wipeout.
I was a little too short to get back on top, so I ended up walking along the sides. A few of my other friends chose to do the inflatable obstacle course race, and it was pretty fun to watch.
That’s when we headed over to the zipline. Touch-N-Go had somehow gotten a portable zipline company, so I was able to zipline down Legacy Walk towards the Henderson Welcome Center. It was raining during part of the day, so the zipline had to shut down at points, but it was so worth it to wait in the line.
It was a fun weekend.
As for the rest of this week, I’ve been anticipating finals. I’ve finished two classes already, but I do have more work to do. I’ve turned in and had my EGR 115 project graded, and I’m happy with the grade I got. I also took my chemistry lab practical on Tuesday, and there’s no more work in that class.
I’m still working on my HON 250 class, which is about video games. The final assignments relate to our project, where we design our own video game based on ERAU, Daytona Beach, or somewhere significant in Florida. Our video game is about a fictional ERAU campus on a fictional world. I’m in charge of the narrative.
I’m also working on my EGR 101 project. Our team is making a tennis ball launcher for dogs, called the Fetch for Fun! ball launcher. If I had a dog, and it was for sale, I would totally buy the ball launcher: it’s cost-effective, designed by a small business, yet still hand-built with care. We show it off to the professor next week.
As for my other classes, math and physics, we haven’t been doing any projects. In physics, we’re talking about rotational motion, and my professor brought a spinning circle to class. It proved his point well and also made us dizzy.
When I stood on it and slowly spun, I’m not going to lie, I felt like a video game character. Either way, it’s been a fun week here at Riddle. See you in the next post, and hopefully at Riddle! (: