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.

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!

Getting Back in the Swing of Things

Hi all!

I feel I haven’t posted in a very long time and for that I apologize. This summer flew by! Let me begin by catching you up on the end of my summer and then sharing some news about this year.

First things first, my internship ended on a very high note! I got to give the introduction speech to our internship closing ceremony. My mom traveled from Colorado to come explore San Francisco with me and tour SFO. We had a blast visiting Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square. Of course we visited In n’ Out and went to many of San Fran’s touristy areas. At the end of it all, I was very excited to head home for a week before returning for RA (Resident Adviser), SGA (Student Government Association), and O-Team training. You will understand once you go home for a break… Breaks = time to catch up on all your doctors appointments!

I came back three weeks before school began for RA, SGA, and Orientation Team training. These trainings were very fun because I got to see all my friends again! I also had the chance to slowly adjust back to living on campus and having a different type of busy schedule.

RA training with my old roommate, Delaney!

Orientation went amazing! This incoming class was so involved and eager to integrate into our Eagle family. I loved that all our events throughout Orientation Week were packed. It makes me happy to see that so many students were pushing themselves to go meet other new students. My residence hall wing is also fantastic! The residents are always asking questions about becoming involved and it is quite the social floor, which is not typical of the Honors LLC (Living Learning Community).

Working Orientation!

In other news, Chris came to visit this weekend! The agenda included Disney World Hollywood Studios, Tia Cori’s Tacos, Chicken Salad Chick, a photoshoot, car shopping, and Crazy Rich Asians at the nice local theater. We had such a great time that saying goodbye this morning was extra difficult. Long weekends are always great for friends and family to come, but it also makes me sad when they have to leave.

Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios

Driving around Daytona Beach eating all the yummy food!

My personal favorite – Tia Cori’s Tacos!

As for this semester’s courses, they are the most challenging yet. I have accepted that I am at the core of all my education. What I am learning now is very in-depth and difficult concepts, but I feel my focus in class will allow me to take this knowledge and apply it in interviews and on the job. I love having such professional professors who really know their stuff! For example, my Management of Operations and Production professor used to be quite high up in UPS. His knowledge makes the coursework even more applicable and understandable.

In honor of my last first day, here is my first first day!

While I am busier than ever, I am excited to share that my summer classes and high school credit have pushed my graduation to THIS MAY! I am beyond excited and the reality of it all hit yesterday when I received the email to apply for graduation. I feel that I am ready for this next step in life. I hope to show everyone through my career search and final semesters here at Embry-Riddle!

I will be going back to posting bi-weekly, so check back in soon! ~ Maddie

Fall Semester & AFROTC

Happy August everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach and the Fall 2018 semester is about to begin!

The past couple days have been filled with late nights and early mornings, but instead of studying or AFROTC, the latest concentration has been on move-ins of residents as a Resident Advisor and new student orientation from the perspective of an O-Teamer. An O-Teamer is an Orientation Team Ambassador (ie team member) and Orientation Team is essentially a group of enthusiastic, positive, motivated individuals who come together to welcome students to campus. To sum up the past week, orientation has certainly been very busy, but also a lot of fun. From Paint-U, Glowcade, to the beach bash, the magic show, the movie viewings, the magicians, and the hypnotists, the past couple weeks have been eventful in preparation for student arrival.

A fellow O-Teamer and I before Paint-U!

In other news, AFROTC is starting up again and I’m feeling slightly reminiscent into my AS100 year as I look forward to my AS200 year and meeting all the new AS100s. One year ago I was new to Embry-Riddle, AFROTC, engineering, and Florida. Just looking at how far I’ve come in one year absolutely amazes me and gets me so excited to see all the potential of younger generations as I’m actively contributing to the culture and atmosphere at Embry-Riddle. When I first started college I didn’t know anyone, and I was very nervous. This year I have such a strong support system of people I’ve met only less than one year ago, but feel like I’ve known my entire life. Riddle changed from a foreign place to a home, and I didn’t even realize that was possible when I first arrived. As the Air Force’s birthday approaches, and AFROTC prepares its annual celebration I’m looking back at photos from last year and how I greatly appreciated the irreplaceable connection with the people who surround me. We really were and are such a close community. I am so proud to be a part of our detachment.

The Air Force’s birthday in 2017!

I will be picking up my ABUs again pretty soon and as the semester kicks off I’m ready to be fully back in the swing of things. After spending the past month training and preparing for the school year to begin I’ve come to appreciate that no matter how much time you spend with any given group of people there is always something new you can learn from them every day. That beautiful phenomenon occurred to me as I bask in the nostalgic glory of how I’ve learned, grew, and bonded with the people that have been working besides me this past month.

Orientation Team group photo!

Will report back soon!

New City & New Semester Prep

Happy August everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida.

I have officially moved back to Embry-Riddle’s campus and am currently taking part in Resident Advisor training. This includes a lot of informative sessions, crisis response training, and scenario practice, plus prepping creative hall decorations in preparation for my new residents to move in. I will be a Resident Advisor this coming fall in the Honors Living and Learning Community in New Residence Hall and am very much looking forward to meeting all my new residents.

Aside from RA training, I am helping prepare for student arrivals at the end of this month with Orientation Team and will be participating in Orientation Training in the weeks to come before classes start as well.

On another note, I am all moved in and am excited to get back on my school routine. I just finished setting up my dorm!

Bed!

Tapestry!

Nice views from my window!

This will be my second year in AFROTC and I can’t wait for all my friends to move back. One of my friends who is also in AFROTC, happened to be living in the same town in Kansas that I was temporarily at this summer while learning Arabic. She comes back to Daytona Beach in a few days and I can’t wait because I’ll have a workout buddy again.

Photo from after an event during my first semester in AFROTC with my friend from Kansas (middle)!

(Shout out to my amazing mentor and workout buddy from last year who graduated in the spring.)

My mentor from freshman year!

To update on the Arabic aspect of my life:

I genuinely miss speaking Arabic so much and constantly being around people who I could communicate with in the language. I find myself frequently slipping Arabic words or phrases into my conversations and unfortunately it only seems to confuse the English speaking people I’m talking with (oops). I am hopefully going to be able to continue my Arabic studies in classes here at Riddle this fall, but if all else fails I will be sure to join some Arabic language centered or Islamic culture related clubs. I am very eager to meet more Arabic speakers on campus to practice my language skills with. On another note, I have been actively communicating via texts with my old Arabic classmates and our professor via our group chat. Texting in Arabic is more fun than it sounds, plus it helps me work on my spelling! I wish I had more face-to-face time with Arabic speakers here in Florida, but hopefully I’ll meet some new Arabic speaking friends soon. Side note: I just ordered a new Arabic keyboard cover for my laptop which I’m so excited about!

Will report back soon!

The ERAU 86/FRS/BRZ Club Official Video

I promised the ERAU 86/FRS/BRZ Club would get an official video and here it is! It took a ton of time to plan, film, and edit! However, it was well worth it. If you are an owner or enthusiast of the 86/FRS/BRZ, come join us! Leave a comment on this post and I will give you more info and get you connected with the club!

Summer B: EE in Berlin – Week 4

And just like that, four weeks have come and gone. I’m going to miss my time here in Berlin. It was, as all cliches go, a life-changing experience that I would definitely do again. In typical Billy Nguyen fashion however, life is not always a walk in the park.

A week ago, I lost my camera and have been absolutely devastated. There were some photos on the camera that I might never get back, but the memories that remained will always be with me. But, I’m relatively optimistic. I know that I will never see my camera again but there is big news on the horizon soon for me. That, or it could just be another jab at my ankles while I’m already knocked down.

Anyway, let’s not dwell on the past. Actually, lets dwell on the past, but the fun part!

Last week, I traveled to the wonderful city of Budapest, which would make Hungary the fifth European country I’ve visited in my life. The city was originally split up into two different cities by the river. Not surprisingly, the names were Buda and Pest.

The city was super quirky and beautiful at the same time. Much like most major cities in Europe, a lot of the original architecture remained the same, though with some slight modern touches. Budapest’s transit system was also very unique in the offerings it provided.

The people we’ve encountered were super friendly, and the views were breathtaking. I definitely recommend visiting Budapest if you ever have the time to do so. Even if you can only do a day trip like I did, it’s totally worth it.

As I sit in my flat typing out this post, I know that another chapter of my life is coming to an end. While I’m very sad that it may be a while before I come back to Europe, the memories I’ve made and friends I’ve found are reminders of a time well spent in Berlin.

Traveling abroad is a surreal experience, and it makes me sad knowing that not a lot of people are as lucky as I am. Maybe that will change one day. For now, I think this is goodbye for now.

 

Finals & Nile Crocodiles

Happy July everyone! I’m currently blogging from Washington DC. (We’re not in Kansas anymore!)

In addition to all the usual events, my summer in Kansas concluded with an Arabic Homestay Dinner, conversation tables, presentations, a Saudi Arabian movie, an Oral Proficiency Exam, lunch field trips, dinners with our professor, a final exam consisting of listening, speaking, and writing portions, a final skit performance, and of course lots of coffee.

الحمد لله

I thankfully finished with an A in both semesters, but more importantly I made irreplaceable memories with my professor, tutors, and classmates. Also, thankfully, my last two weeks included more “mesa’a’ah” which is my newly discovered favorite Egyptian food.

Arabic Homestay Dinner at our tutor’s house!

Brief recap of the last two months:

After spending hours every day in person, emailing, texting, or calling each other I can honestly say I am so proud to have had the opportunity to study amongst likeminded individuals and to learn and develop language skills in such a supportive environment with my classmates, our tutor, and our professor.

I can now hold a conversation in Arabic, converse on a variety of topics, am more culturally aware, and confidently have a strong foundation of Arabic skills consisting of standard high language vocabulary and a lot of Egyptian dialect.

Family photo of our class with our classmate’s daughter!

For me learning Arabic was a chance to truly open my eyes to the beautiful diversities in the world, especially in Arabic speaking regions such as the Middle East where non-Arabic speakers commonly have a lot of misconceptions about not only language, but culture.

I have only begun my journey in understanding how culture contributes to perception, connotation, and communication. Educating myself is the start to contributing a more globally aware society, starting by breaking language barriers and expanding to clarifying misconceptions and squashing stereotypes. Learning Arabic has allowed me to start developing an understanding of culture and ways of life very different from what I, as a native English speaker, was typically used to. Despite cultural differences between geographical regions, languages bridge the gap between different people and creates an opportunity for communication and understanding to develop.

My classmate and I with our professor!

I would absolutely recommend Project GO to ROTC students, and I would highly encourage anyone up for a challenge to learn a new language as they have numerous benefits beyond the classroom. Learning languages truly helps to form more globally aware citizens. They broaden perspectives, open up doors for communication, educate people on culture, and can lead to amazing opportunities whether it be connecting people within your community, or meeting new people traveling abroad.

I am very thankful for this experience and excited to continue my quest learning Arabic inside and outside of the classroom in the years to come.

Visual representation of the word “ممكن” by my classmate and I, which doesn’t directly translate into English, but is ممكن a verb for maybe/sort of.

Side note: My professor is from Egypt, which houses the Nile River. In the Nile there are many crocodiles. Nile crocodiles can range from 15-20 feet long. Below is a visual representation of the size of a small (15-foot) crocodile, measured out by myself, my classmate, and our other classmate’s daughter.

One 15-foot Nile crocodile!

Will report back soon!