September 30, 2004

My name is Sergio and I am one of the journal writers for the 2004-2005 school year here at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach campus. Let me start off by telling you a bit about myself then I will talk about my experience thus far here at Riddle.

I am from Pico Rivera, California which is a mid-sized city that lies 15 minutes east of Los Angeles. I have always liked airplanes, have enjoyed flying to many places, and loved aviation; these reasons are what brought me here to Embry-Riddle. I am a freshman here at Embry-Riddle and I am studying Aeronautical Science. For those of you still not sure, the Aeronautical Science program is kind of like a dual program, you receive both a university curriculum (English, humanities, etc.) as well as actual flight training. Most, if not all, aeronautical science graduates go on to become professional pilots after graduation. My goal is to one day become an airline pilot.

That’s a background on me and why I am here, now my experience, which I admit, has been quite hectic.

From the moment I arrived here, people were welcoming and very helpful in assisting others and me to his or her respective dormitory. I got lucky and I am staying in McKay Hall which was built sort of as a motel, it sure looks like one. The dorms here are nice and are furnished with everything to cover your basic needs. Check-in was easy and the campus is small enough that no walk is longer than 15 minutes long. After a half-week of orientation events and a good weekend, we started school; this is where it got quite hectic.

I have a 17 unit course load which translates into 6 classes with 1 flight course. If I am to advise anything to high school students, it would be to take as many Advanced Placement mathematical, physics, and English courses as possible. Personally, I am not one for general education classes, so I finished my entire math and half my required physics credits for the Aeronautical Science program in high school. Anyways, classes were great for 3 days, but then Hurricane Frances crept towards Florida. We were evacuated at which time I relocated to Halifax Medical Center, a hospital across the street, and volunteered until the hurricane passed. It was quite an experience. At times, other volunteers and I worked for about 30-50 hours without any sleep. It was something I never experienced, not to mention, my first hurricane. Soon after returning to campus, we received word that we would get evacuated for Hurricane Ivan. I decided to fly back home into LAX and stayed there for a week. I returned to campus on September 19 and just completed my first week of school. Now, Hurricane Jeanne is on its way. I have to get going in preparation for that.

As for flight here, I haven’t flown due to all the hurricanes, but I know I will be flying soon. I have no hours or experience, so I am waiting how it turns out.

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