Hey, everybody! What’s up? I’m an Aviation Maintenance Science major from Issaquah, WA but originally Virginia. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Northwest, which I’m sure many of you are, Issaquah is about 20 miles east of downtown Seattle, and one of the homes of the band Modest Mouse, if you know them. I’m seventeen because I graduated early to make a long story short. I live on the second floor of McKay Hall and am participating in Air Force ROTC. Now that my little intro is done, I’ll get onto the stuff you might want to know.
First up is move-in day. Move-in day for me wasn’t very traditional. My flight left Seattle at 5AM, and I got in to Daytona at 9PM. It was nothing short of exhausting because I had two stops, one in Salt Lake City and the other in Atlanta, and since I flew down by myself I had to be keeping track of all my stuff the whole time even though I never had a chance to go to bed the night before. The trip down was a blast though, and all of you who would be flying down next semester or next year, I definitely recommend coming down by yourself, as that is the way to go. It’s actually a lot less stressful too, because ‘rents tend to freak out last minute about whether or not you have everything. Anyway, when I finally got here, one of my roommates, Tifany, came out to help me get my stuff into our dorm. Since I got here so late I basically missed everything we were supposed to do like residence hall meetings and setting up student accounts and stuff, but that’s basically all that goes on the first day, besides meeting the people on your floor and making friends, obviously. The rest of orientation week, I spent figuring out where everything is (which really isn’t too hard since the campus isn’t very big), and getting adjusted to the new environment. Nothing was really mandatory, so I just went to whatever I felt like going to.
Since I’m in AMS, my deal with classes are pretty different from everyone else’s. I’m doing the A&P part first, so I can get my A&P license, and then finish up all my academics afterwards. I start my AMS classes at 0730 and finish at 1530 every day, but for those of you who think that’s too much class for college, don’t worry because nobody besides us AMS/ROTC people spend that much time in class. For example, when I come back to my dorm to eat at like 1230, my roommate Kerrie hasn’t even left for class yet. In addition, on Mondays I have Lead Lab from 1530-1730 and Wednesdays I have my Air Force class 1530-1630. PT (physical training) for Air Force is Wednesday and Friday 0615-0715, but I’ll get to all that in a bit. Even though my schedule is pretty long, it’s really not that bad at all. I have three AMS classes, 2 of them are 2 hours long and the other is 3 hours long. Since they’re FAA regulated, you can’t be late unless you feel like making class up later, and if you miss more than two days, you automatically fail the course. Skipping class in AMS really isn’t something you want to do. Even though my classes are long, I really don’t mind at all, because 1) I know I’m learning things I am actually gonna need to know, and 2) we get to DO stuff, like go to the hangar and work in lab. We also don’t really have homework, just studying, so basically your performance in class depends on how much time you want to spend studying in your spare time. It sounds stupid coming from me because I have the hardest time sitting myself down to study these days. It’s all good though, I really like what I’m doing.
For the girls, you might think being one of four girls in your classes would be distracting, what with a bunch of guys around all the time, but it really isn’t. I actually think its much more distracting when you’re in classes where the ratio is about half and half, because then you’re all trying to figure what guys you like and all that. But being surrounded by dudes all day, I don’t really even notice them because I’m already really used to them being there that I don’t really even think about it. So that much you don’t have to worry about, I don’t think. Studying on the other hand, like I said, can be difficult when it’s up to you to get your work done and your friends are doing other stuff.
Social life. That was definitely a big concern of mine before I got here. Honestly, I’m still getting used to my schedule so I’ve been too tired or busy to go out much since I’ve gotten here. One of the perks of living on campus, though, is that most of your friends are close by, so hanging out at all hours is no trouble. My second night here, I went to this party with my roommates, and I get at least 3 party invitations a weekend, so this place is by no means dead, especially if you like to have fun. Life is really just what you make it. If you want to have fun, no one’s holding you back. If you are interested in a frat or a sorority… well, let me just put it this way: they won’t give you the opportunity to say you didn’t join because you didn’t know. You’ll know about them, alright. Personally, the whole sorority thing doesn’t interest me at all. One of the nice things about college is that popularity is not at all the hype it was in high school, so you can just be yourself and make really good friends that you have a lot of fun with.
About the area, I haven’t been around Daytona that much since I got here. When I visited last year (Halloween until election day, an ugly time to be in Florida) I went to the beach and stuff with my mom and saw the main touristy stuff, and that was pretty fun. I walked to K-mart about two weekends ago, and I’ll just say Daytona Beach is one of the most pedestrian unfriendly places I have ever heard of, but I made it.
Saving the best for last, ROTC. The first week, I had to get up at 0400 to get to NSOP, but let me tell you, it was worth every second of it. ROTC is one of those things that if you aren’t that into it now, chances are you won’t be later, but I’m absolutely loving it. It’s the highlight of my day. Since my high school didn’t have JROTC and I was too young to ever enlist, I came with minimal knowledge of drill, other than what I learned from watching war movies 24/7, and some pretty bad coordination. Luckily, though, it’s starting to come along alright. Back home when I was thinking about college and ROTC, I thought if one thing was going to turn me off about ROTC, it was going to be the PT. Somehow I couldn’t really imagine waking up at five to run and do calisthenics would be fun, but it so is. The best part is seeing how much farther you can get than you probably thought you could have. Plus, you’re doing it all with your friends, so that can give you a bit of a boost as well. I got Graves’ Disease when I was 11, and one of my many symptoms was that I couldn’t run more than 100 feet to save my life. After I got my medication and everything was straightened out for the most part, I started working on my endurance and running is a lot easier these days. So if you’re thinking you might want to do ROTC but you aren’t looking forward to morning PT, just start running and working out and you’ll be fine. If I can do it, you can do it. For us girls I’d say it’s a pretty good accomplishment to finish, since we have smaller hearts and lungs and everything, and we still do the same stuff as the guys, so we know we’re working harder. The fact that we do the same PT but have different minimum PFT scores is an inconsistency I still haven’t figured out yet, but whatever. PT is a party and a half. I took the AFOQT this morning (by that I mean yesterday because is 0500 and I have yet to go to bed) and it was way too long. It wasn’t all that bad, for the most part it was a lot like the SAT with an easier verbal section. It just kinda sucked because we were told we were going to be taking the new version that was short by comparison but we ended up getting the old one, including sections we were told not to study because they said we wouldn’t be taking them. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this before, but when you’re on a plane after a couple hours, maybe 2, you know how everyone starts coughing all the time and then by the time you’re off the plane you’re feeling all sick? That’s sort of how I felt, so I’m a little congested right now. Other than being longer than I would have liked, it wasn’t too bad.
It is definitely time for bed now, I don’t want to mess myself up too bad for the rest of the week. If any of you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.