Check Out the New Student Union!

Hi all!

Happy fall! October begins the month of warm drinks and sweaters (yes, even in Florida because the classrooms can be chilly)! October also marks the opening of the new Student Union at the Daytona Beach campus! While I wanted to be one of the first 50 students in to get a Starbucks card or grab some free coffee and Krispy Kreme, I accidentally overslept. Hey hey now, classes at noon make it very hard to get up at 8 am these days.

Here are some pictures of the beauty!

Things I love about the new Student Union:

  1. It looks amazing and futuristic. I think this is an icon of the university. When I go home and show my friends my school, I will show them pictures of this big beauty.
  2. There is new food! Qdoba opened up and it is delicious! Chick-Fil-a now how a full menu. And the Starbucks is the prettiest one I have visited (and this says a lot since I’ve visited my fair share).
  3. The space was made for students. There are so many study spaces, computers, and socializing areas.
  4. The bookstore – please stop by! It is bigger and better than ever.
  5. There are areas specifically for space launch and airport viewing. Welcome to Embry-Riddle folks!
  6. I feel I am off-campus, which can be nice when you live on-campus. It makes me feel like I am at a fancy mall almost.
  7. There is outdoor space that looks and feels very nice. There are even speakers and lawn chairs out there!
  8. Event spaces from the future also reside on the first floor. Please excuse me while I try to find a reason to book one of those!

Outdoor dining spaces

Starbucks

Starry sky

Starbucks seating

More study/social space

Beautiful windows

Dining

Seating outside of Starbucks

Real plants!

Overall, are we finally getting that big school feeling but our small school feeling? I guess we can have it all!

P.S. Sorry for the picture quality. I will try to find a better way to upload them since they are clear on my phone and computer, just not once uploaded…

Thanks for bearing with me and enjoy!

October & AFROTC

Happy October everyone! October is my favorite month and everything about fall is also the best. I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida.

Small (yet critical) life update: I passed the AFOQT! The AFOQT, which stands for the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test is a standardized test that all cadets in AFROTC detachments across the country take to determine if they are apt to become Air Force Officers.

Now, there is SO much more than just the AFOQT that goes into preparing to commission as an officer in the United States Air Force. Although I’m not officially there yet, the journey I’m on includes a lot of early morning trainings, leadership laboratory sessions, physical training with the rest of the cadet wing (along with working out outside of scheduled PT sessions), and of course working on the class requirements for my degree!

Being a cadet in AFROTC here at Embry Riddle has honestly been one of the most rewarding experiences and is hands down what I’m most proud to be a part of on campus. A phrase that is constantly reiterated to cadets here is that we are a family, and it’s extremely true! We workout together, we study together, we overcome obstacles together, and we get a flight of about twenty people who are always willing to grab dinner, its a pretty good deal.

Some of my favorite wingmen and I after a workout.

We recently celebrated the Air Force’s birthday and had a series of competitions within the wing between flights in events such as capture the flag, tug of war, relay races, and a poster and flag contest.

My Flight with the Colonel after a tug of war contest!

Just to clarify- the wing is composed of every cadet in AFROTC, which is then subdivided into groups, squadrons, and flights. Within flights of about twenty people there are subdivisions as well, but for right now we’ll just focus on big picture terminology.

Another exciting thing about going to college in Daytona Beach, being a part of Detachment 157, and going to Embry Riddle, is the exciting opportunities cadets have that are specific to this area. Some of my favorites are beach workouts and the Speedway run! Most recently we completed a morale physical training session on the beach where we got to workout by running and performing calisthenics right along the coastline as the sun rose. The weather here in Florida is typically in the upper 80s in October, and the early mornings are the perfect time to get exercise in, especially surrounded by a family of 400 members, AND at the beach. It really doesn’t get better than this folks, I’m motivated just thinking about it.

Flight picture after a beach PT!

Will report back soon!

DeLand Auto Cross Solo Sunday Funday

This past weekend I had the pleasure of participating in my third solo Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) autocross competition, along with about 8 other Embry-Riddle students. “Solo” is the SCCA brand name for autocross competition. Solo events are driving skill competitions that emphasize the driver’s ability and the car’s handling capabilities. A driving a course is set up using traffic cones as a guide in a low hazard location, such as a parking lot or inactive airstrip. In our case we used a section of DeLand Municipal airport that is no longer used, due to the deterioration of the pavement.

Cars compete within classes grouped by similar performance capabilities.  All runs through the course are timed, and the car in each class with the fastest time through the course is the winner of that class. There is only one car on any part of the course at a time. In other words, you will never be “wheel-to-wheel” with another car. At each event, drivers will get about 4-5 runs through the course. While speeds are no greater than those normally encountered in legal highway driving, the combination of concentration and car feedback creates an adrenaline pumping experience. The SCCA annually publishes the Solo Rules to classify a full range of imported and domestic sports cars, sedans, and purpose-built race cars, as well as to layout the rules behind Solo competition. The SCCA also publishes the Stock Classifications to make it easy to determine the stock Solo Class for most unmodified cars.

Solo/Autocross is the safest and most inexpensive form of “racing” for both driver and car.  The majority of drivers bring out their daily drivers, though there are those who bring modified streetcar “toys” as well as purpose built race cars.  Almost any kind of car is welcome as long as it meets restrictions on high-center-of-gravity or rollover tendency. The courses are set up to mitigate most risks to car and driver, with the worst damage coming in the form of a rubber scuff from hitting a cone, which will come right off with a good car wash.

If you enjoy technical, skill based driving and think you have what it takes to drive in a SCCA Solo event; I highly recommend participating in an event. I will include a link below where you can sign up for future events. Come out and join your fellow students in some friendly, yet competitive, driving competition.

Fall & Focusing on Commitments

Happy Fall everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida (yes, once again).

The first month of the semester is almost coming to an end and it truly has flown by. I’ve been so busy with classes, working out, homework, RA obligations, and trying to balance my work and school life. A key aspect of being successful when having a lot on your plate that I talked about before is balance. More specifically that can be boiled down to time management, i.e. planning and prioritizing, but in addition to those is staying true to yourself and your principles.

View from my dorm in the morning, I try to start every day with a positive outlook!

When I first got to college everyone told me to sign up for as much as possible and get very involved, then once I figured out what I liked the most and what I wanted to devote my time to, to narrow down what I was involved in to only what was most important to me. Embry-Riddle offers so many amazing clubs, extracurricular activities, and organizations on campus, but realistically it would be impossible to spread yourself so thin by trying to do everything, we’re only human. A kind of time management “rule” I’ve come up with for myself that’s helped me through college and life in general is that once I commit to something, it becomes my priority.

For example, if I find out two weeks in advance that a teacher is holding a Supplemental Instruction (SI) session before a test, I put it in my calendar and commit to it. Then, (also hypothetical) a week before the SI session, I find out an organization I’m involved in is volunteering for an event on campus scheduled for the same day and time as the SI session. This now presents a dilemma, because volunteering with friends would be more fun and the organization might be something I really care about, but I have to stay true to my word. Rule of thumb: even if the commitment is only to yourself, hold yourself accountable to your commitments. Reliability is a great skill to have and now is the perfect time to develop it. When I commit to something I give 100% of my effort, and you should too!

Photo from an AFROTC event!

Outside of being extremely busy lately, I am still trying to make time for myself and keep a positive attitude. Classes are challenging, and maintaining balance is sometimes difficult too, but parting words my friends: when you look at all of your responsibilities and commitments as items you have an opportunity to participate in or complete, your to-do list becomes less of a dread and more of something you’re lucky to be a part of.

Just keep swimming folks! Will report back soon!

Escaping for a Weekend

Hey everyone! I know current students are into the full swing of the fall semester and exams are coming up; however, sometimes it is nice to take a break and escape for a while. I personally have had a lot going on in my personal life and education wise, so I was due for a little getaway.

This past weekend I went to St. Augustine, FL and enjoyed the oldest city in the U.S. I have been a few times before but I never get sick of it. There is so much to do in the city and so much history. The National Registry of Historic Places practically has a plaque on every building.

During this trip, I visited the Alligator Farm and the Pirate Museum. I also hopped on the trolley for a tour around the city. Although I have been on the trolley quite a few times, you always get a different side of the story. The tour guide I had this time, who keep in mind was a 60-year old retired cop, brought up the fact that the KeKe challenge was pointless and dangerous; and that his eight-year-old granddaughter is obsessed with social media.

Sometimes it is nice to escape from all the craziness. Especially since my other passion is animals, I really enjoyed the Alligator Farm. They have all 23 species of crocodiles known to man, a handful of different birds, snakes (ew), and of course a whole lot of American Alligators. There was one crazy guy who was fearless when in the alligator pit. To the point where he smacked them on the snout if they got to close…several times!

Sitting at a table on the top floor overlooking the second-floor dining area

It was hot out, but it was worth it. After walking around the city some more I went to the famous Columbia Restaurant. Their bread…and salad…and everything else on the menu is fantastic! I have never had a bad experience there no matter which location I go to. I was again in good company, and although we were enjoying the time away from school, we still couldn’t stop talking about it.

A lot of people say, alright, no work talk or school talk; but when that is your life, for the time being, it is hard not to talk about it. Especially coming from an aviation school, you can’t not talk about aviation.

It was nice to get away. Especially since there are so many cities close to Riddle. They are great for weekend trips and even fall break. I know we are all cramming in the books and studies all the time but it is good to take a break.

Just remember, it’s always good to have a little fun!

Until next time,

Skye

Fall Semester Game Plan and Astro Skye Update

Alright, I can officially say that this semester is in FULL swing. I have dug my feet in the sand and stood my ground. There are quite a few waves trying to knock me down but I am managing. The first few weeks at my other job as a Flight Dispatcher at Flight Ops have been awesome! The job is very fast paced and nothing less than exciting. My classes are going well, managing straight A’s right now and hoping to keep it that way, but my first set of exams start next week so I might not get as much sleep as I hope! That’s the risk of being a college student am I right?! The good news is that I did have time to celebrate the new semester and I headed out to Caribbean Jacks here in Daytona Beach, FL. Caribbean Jerk Chicken Pasta, SOOO GOOD. I have always had that every time I go there.  The atmosphere is great and you can’t beat the view if you eat outside. They even have these rocking tables. They are sure to keep you quite entertained during your meal, and of course, I was in great company as well!

For the extra-curricular line-up this semester I am keeping it light. I have learned in the past that you can EASILY become overwhelmed with all of the clubs and activities on campus. With my job at flight ops and blogging, I am maxed out on working hours so I am limited. However, I have made room for one exciting new club: Med Club! This Sunday I start my training for my Certified First Responder (CFR) rating. The training runs about a month and a half or so training every Sunday from 1000-1400. It is a full-on course, syllabus and all. Yes, it does add the course load but I have been pretty good with keeping up with everything so far.

Now for those of you who followed me a couple years ago, you are probably wondering what happened to Astro Skye. Well, she is still here and doing better than ever! Not only have I been updating my website but I now have an Astro Skye Mentorship Program (ASMP). I currently have accepted three mentees and are working with them very closely. ASMP is my baby and I am happy to see where it goes!

As for the summer, I did present at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center once again every Friday for about a month. It was very fast-paced presenting five presentations each time, but I definitely enjoyed it. Once it stopped, it was weird not going to KSC every Friday!

Why I Chose Embry-Riddle

Happy fall!

Maybe not officially, but to me fall is in full swing. My routine has settled a bit more and you can believe that lots of pumpkin chai (made in the dorm) and Starbucks Caramel Spice Lattes with extra caramel are always in hand. While I do love my afternoon courses, I try to get out of my room and grab a coffee to get some work done before class. All the while I still get to sleep in, so that’s nice.

As we settle into classes, I wanted to shift my blog focus from preparing the incoming freshman and other students to sharing more general information about the university. You may be seeing more about student life, academics, on-campus jobs, and etc. I want to be real with you about my life at Riddle… See what I did there?

To begin this new series, if you will, I want to discuss why I chose Embry-Riddle. I think I can summarize this into a few points to keep this nice and simple. In my opinion, the school really sells itself. I have said this before, but if you can come tour the campus, you will fall in love. It happens to everyone. Especially with our brand new Student Union (pictures and post to come soon)!

1. The Name

The Embry-Riddle name is quite prestigious. It’s easy to forget how widely-known our school is in the aviation industry until you work in it. At my internship with United Airlines, everyone was blown away that I was a Riddle student. Not to mention any time it came up, I typically could find an alum who was happy to come join the conversation and network with me. Aviation is a tight-knit community. Having the name Embry-Riddle attached to you, on the top of your resume holds more weight than we may think.

2. The Campus is Gorgeous

As I mentioned above, we have a new Student Union. More so, we have gorgeous new dorms (with even more being built right now for Fall 2019). There is the shiny COAS (College of Arts and Sciences) which is stunning with its dome encompassing the largest telescope in Florida. Anyways, *closes jaw* the new Student Union is beyond beautiful. Not only does it resemble an airplane/eagle, it has a new walkway surrounded by palm trees. Our tiny school is beginning to have big campus looks with the small feeling we all love. And I almost forgot… the beach is nearby and you literally walk to class watching planes take off from the airport right in front of your face. Enough said. Take a look for yourself on our Instagram.

3. The Professors are Top Notch

This is kind of nerdy, and I never really appreciated it until I was in class here, but the professors are the best in the industry. When you are reading the books written by your professor, really soaking in their years of experience, that is the stuff that helps you grow and become an industry expert too. My professors can bring their years of experience into the classroom and help me understand the ways of the business more than a regular, old PowerPoint ever could. One professor even offered internships at the end of the course since he owned an airport consulting company nearby.

4. I Wanted Something Different

This is more personal to me, but I just wanted change. I love home — do not get me wrong. I just felt everyone all purposely went to the same colleges and I wanted a fresh start. I enjoyed high school, but I wanted a unique college with students who could truly relate to me. Embry-Riddle is just this. When else do you find other young adults who stop walking and gawk at the airplanes in the sky or have a passion for rockets or drones or anything aerospace and aviation related really? This leads me to my next point…

5. It Felt Like Home

When my parents dropped me off, they were very comforted by the faculty, students, and staff repeatedly saying we are a family. This is true. Your professors genuinely care about you and how you are. Your bosses at your on-campus jobs care. Your peers care. Most of us are from areas far away from Daytona since we come for this specialty focus. This means we are all far from home, far from family. So we make our own. Normal state schools have many students who live nearby or at least in-state. Here we lean on each other a little more because in a sense, we all relate to one another.

Also, this point can be used to talk about the sense of community I felt when I walked onto the campus the first time. I felt like I belonged here and I cannot explain it. Every school I compared to Embry-Riddle’s environment. I knew I couldn’t miss out on all its opportunities and its quirkiness.

Until next time,

Maddie

I’m Back!

Well hello everyone! I am certainly glad to be back. For the current Eagles reading this, I hope your fall semester is going well, and for the future Eagles, I hope you’re getting ready for a great time.
After taking a year off to study Biology at Stetson, I am happy to say that I am back and in full swing. For those of you who don’t know, I am currently studying Aerospace Physiology. It is the newest major added to the list here at Riddle and I absolutely love it. First three weeks of school have been hectic since I am taking seventeen credits and working two jobs, but if you know me, I love to be nothing short of busy.
I am very happy to be back in Daytona and back at ERAU. The campus has changed with the addition of the student union, which I am very excited to see open in October (fingers crossed) but there is still the same atmosphere. Competitive, hungry, and of course, the sweet sound of airplanes.
I hope you are ready to follow along with my journey because I am certainly ready to be sharing it.
Stay tuned till next time and fly high!

September & Self Care

Happy September everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, where I currently predict I will be in for the next few months. Although when I typically think of September I think of Fall, here in Florida it still feels excessively like summer with the high temperatures and humidity. Fun fact: the first day of fall is September 22!

Classes have officially begun and are in full swing. This semester I’m taking 18 credits, which are comprised of classes such as Statics, Thermodynamics, Physics for Engineers III, Physics Lab for Engineers, Honors Calculus and Analytical Geometry III, Arabic, and of course my Air Force Leadership Laboratory and Air Force class. Outside of classes my schedule includes my duty day work shifts for my Resident Advisor position, homework, studying, working out either at the gym or outside when the weather isn’t too hot around campus, drinking coffee, and sleeping! I also attend the occasional group fitness class at the gym and like to add Boxing Conditioning, BodyPump, and Yoga sessions to my schedule when I can.

Trying not to take life (or yoga) too seriously!

As most of you know, college at Embry-Riddle is intense and while it’s good to be involved and stay busy, it’s always good to take time for yourself to unwind and relax too. Life is about balance, and overexerting yourself physically, mentally, or emotionally isn’t healthy at the moment, and is especially unhealthy in the long run. In my first year at Embry Riddle I’ve truly learned to appreciate the importance of balance, through trial and error of course. Recently, I’ve encountered a lot of changes in the pace of my life, I’ve traveled a lot, changed settings, changed schedules, but something that’s stayed with me throughout all that is a focus on balancing work and life.

My first semester at Riddle I hit the ground running, I was taking 16 credit hours, was really involved in AFROTC, and was trying to find myself and make friends on campus too. I completely immersed myself in classes, homework, and exercise, but on the downfall of not getting enough sleep, and not taking time for myself. About half way through my semester, I was walking back from my morning classes and realized that I was constantly rushing everywhere, and I never took time to stop and enjoy life, the weather, or even to take a moment to breathe. This is when I realized that as I was going through the motions of my day, I wasn’t really getting everything I could out of all the amazing experiences I was having. Being present 100% in everything I was doing is really the way I learned to make the most out of my experiences. Whether that meant putting my phone away in class or giving speakers in presentations my full attention, focusing on how my body feels when I’m working out, or building meaningful relationships with the people that I work, study, and live around such as classmates, professors, or even faculty members at the university.

Beach run with my AFROTC family!

My most recent focus this semester has been on proper sleep and self care. I started taking time at the end of every day to reflect on how to make the following day better, to breathe, and to do something for myself: such as reading something that’s not specifically for one of my classes, stretching, drinking tea, doing a face mask, or even cutting up some fruit to snack on while I do homework. Balance has given me an appreciation of the effort it takes to do well in my studies, but also the importance of happiness, and that how taking a few minutes every day to relax are crucial aspects to living my best, calm yet driven, lifestyle.

Stay motivated my friends. Will report back soon!

Closing Post

I have been extremely busy these past few weeks. I finished my internship, went home for a small vacation, drove back to Florida, and started school. I have a few key pointers that may seem obvious, but I feel should be restated. First, make sure to leave your internship on a positive note. Finish up any work you started and/or make sure to leave a copy of your notes, drafts, and work for coworkers. Although it is old fashioned, a hand written thank you note was also suggested. I sent my letter last week. Don’t feel intimidated. It’s not like it’s a personal letter to your grandma. Merely take the time to thank your coworkers and supervisors for x,y,z. My letter thanked everyone for their patience and guidance. I also included everyone’s name and a short sentence or two about a memory/particular thing I was thankful for. I genuinely enjoy writing letters. It’s important to leave a positive impact on wherever your internship was.

My “vacation” at home included completing a lot of chores. I went to the car shop three times in one week. I went to the DMV and dentist, which was not fun. I highly recommend that you make sure you visit your dentist, doctor, and any other locations that require you to be in your home state (aka DMV). There is always the option of going to the on-campus Health Services, but I find it easiest to schedule the doctor and dentist appointments in my hometown. Plus, when you are at home, you will be able to get the help from your parents. When I go to the dentist down in Florida, I will need to find a dentist, set up an appointment, make sure they take my insurance, and likely give them all my information from scratch.

A couple days before school started, I went to Target and saw many Embry-Riddle students. I walked by an aisle, and saw a mother excitedly telling her daughter to sit in a fluffy bean bag chair. For a split-second, I made eye contact with the daughter and she looked embarrassed. I remember the same feeling, but for all you incoming freshman, please let your parents spoil you and express their love for you, before they leave you for the semester. Additionally, I want to warn you of overbuying items that make clutter your dorm room. Make sure to start off with small purchases and slowly, gradually, add to your room. The worst thing is buying so many accessories and then not having any space for it. I also recommend buying a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, fruit cups, soup, mac and cheese cups, and a reusable water bottle. For one thing, it can be a hard adjustment when you must pick your meals for yourself. During my freshman year, I ate so many fried foods and dairy that my stomach was upset for most of the semester. If your parents offered to buy you anything, I would recommend asking for gift cards to your favorite restaurants or shops because you may not know what you need now, but later in the semester it will be great to have a gift card.

This has been a great experience blogging, but I am signing off for now. Good luck with studies, be safe, and try new things!