Welcome and greetings from Daytona Beach, Florida. Thank you for visiting the University website and my journal. Over the next year, I will be documenting my experiences here at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and together we will experience the life of a student at one of the top universities in the country. I’m glad you’ve decided to spend some time reading my first journal and I hope that at the end of the encounter you are intrigued to return throughout the year. I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences with prospective students and their parents and hope that this journal, and all those that follow, are as informative and enjoyable for you as they will be for me.
Before I begin, I believe I should explain how my personal and educational situation might shine light on the university experience from a different angle. My name is Steve von Kriegenbergh and I am a 20-year old transfer student from California. It is my understanding that the majority of the journals being written are by first year college students. As a transfer student, I have completed two years of college level credits towards my major. I have also had the experience of living on my own while attending classes and working. My hope is that my experience will provide three advantages. The first is that it will allow all prospective students to see what life is like for a first year Riddle student. The second is that it will allow future freshman to see what college is like after securing a year or two of good grades under your belt. The last view, and most unique, will allow possible transfer students an opportunity to see what it’s like to be a new student all over again. My plan is to share lots of stories from present and past and to compare the two time periods to give a holistic and realistic view of college life. With that in mind, it’s off to the races and to the actual journal.
As you already know, I am a transfer student from California. Before transferring to Embry-Riddle, I attended the California State University, Long Beach where I began my college career as an aeronautical engineering major. Before college, I grew up in Arcadia, California and attended Arcadia High School. While in high school I focused on my drum line activities and very little on my academic work. This next story is the first in an ongoing list of life lessons that you should consider taking to heart.
When it comes to something as important as your education, never settle for less than your very best effort. I didn’t try very hard in my classes in high school. I barely got into college right after I graduated. It was not even the school I wanted to attend. I learned from my mistakes and worked hard during my first two years of college and earned the grades I needed to transfer to Embry-Riddle. When it comes to your education, push yourself until you have nothing left to give, and then give a little more.
So, I decided to attend Embry-Riddle after working two years at another University. Let me tell you, the excitement and anticipation of applying for this university was something I missed the first time around. I worked hard and was more than qualified for acceptance, but waiting for the response was still driving me nuts. The day I got accepted was one of the happiest days of my life. I didn’t get anything done at work that day. It was the achievement of a life goal for me. There was, however, one aspect of the whole situation that anchored down my excitement. A cloud of nervousness was sitting on the tail end of my acceptance. Call me crazy, but there was something about moving 2,600 miles across the country to a new life that made me think twice. I assume a lot of students that move away to college experience this whether they are going 3 miles or 3,000 miles. I have some advice for those of you who are thinking or might eventually think twice about your decision to start a new life at college. Do It! If this is something you have thought about for a long time then you need to go through with it. I was nervous about leaving my old life behind and going from one ocean to the other. I have been here at Riddle for three and a half weeks and not once have I regret my decision to attend. These past weeks have been filled with some of the greatest memories of my entire life. Do what it takes to get here. I made lots of sacrifices to be here but it is completely worth it.
It took lots of paperwork, hard work, and two separate plane tickets, but I got here and the first weeks at the University are everything I hoped for. I’ll admit I was slightly confused and disoriented at first because everything was new to me. Traveling to a new city by yourself with no personal transportation is not an easy thing to do, but it made for a few good chances to get to know city. I arrived a few days early and spent the day before residence hall move-in and orientation check-in exploring the city. I walked from my hotel near the racetrack, to the campus and then all the way to the beach and back. I saw a lot of the city and my feet were definitely tired at the end of the day. I personally felt the best part of the day was looking out over the Atlantic Ocean. For the first time in my life, the Ocean would be associated with a sunrise and not a sunset. I also got a chance to adjust to the time difference that day and I would highly recommend showing up at least a few days before check-in.
After a night of uninterruptible sleep, I woke up and made my way to the campus with all my luggage. A little bit of advice, show up to move-in early. I got there about 45 minutes after they opened the doors and I had quite a nice line to stand in. Fortunately, the residence hall staff was very friendly and thanks to the lovely ladies of soccer team, the move-in process went smoothly. During check-in you receive your keys for your room, mailbox and after a quick trip over to the ICI center, your Eagle card to open security key doors. All of the orientation teams and residence hall staff are extremely nice people. They are going to do everything they can to help you get settled in as best possible. The majority of the day is filled with just getting moved-in and then a Convocation ceremony, which is a nice gathering to attend to open the school year. But the best part of living in the residence hall was yet to come.
The number one reason to attend college is what I am about to tell you. Your hall mates are going to become one of the key aspects of your entertainment and success in college. You will spend a lot of your day socializing and studying with them. They become not only your friends but also your family and believe me, you are going to see them a lot. I am not exaggerating this at all. After being on the hall for only 5 days, I felt like I had been living with my new friends for weeks. You can even read about it through my new friend and next-door neighbor Cat (also a student journalist). We have all become extremely close friends. The other great thing about the residence halls is that typically people with similar majors are placed on the same hall and it makes for an ideal networking, socializing, and studying environment.
I got through orientation that was filled with all kinds of activities and meetings including orientation events, department meetings, a Hawaiian Luau, and performances by a magician and hypnotist. The 5 days went by extremely fast and it ended too soon but I’m glad I was able to enjoy it while it lasted. The next episode to endure would be the transition into a regular class schedule packed with lectures, homework, exams and all night study sessions. So far, I have enjoyed my classes. I know they are going to be difficult, but the professors are great teachers and as long as I stay focused, I’m sure I will succeed. I plan to stay busy with classes while getting involved with lots of activities and hanging out with friends. Remember, if all you do is go to class, you aren’t really experiencing college. I have joined the skydiving club because it is something I have always wanted to do and I have found lots in common with my hall mates. Apparently, we all love to relax at the beach, which we try to do at least once a week. We even spent a very cold night on the beach together staring at the stars and then waiting for the sun to rise the next morning. I even found a few shooting buddies to go with me to the range every once in a while (By the way, I in no way promote storing a weapon on campus and I abide by all rules pertaining to the ownership or possession of a weapon as set forth in the student handbook.) I was also just elected to the Embry-Riddle Resident Student Association general board to represent Wood Hall (Wood 5 Baby!). Just remember to keep up with your studies and get involved around campus. I know I am looking forward to every new week.
Well it is getting late and I have an exam in Computer Programming tomorrow. This first journal was just an introduction into my background and the first days in the university. As I keep writing, I will go into many more details about everyday life. Meanwhile, if you ever have any questions about anything I write about or just want to ask about any aspect of life between journal entries you can look me up in a variety of ways. For those of you with access to Facebook or Myspace, I can be easily looked up on there. You can also e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the future, all the journalist will also be watching the message boards and you can converse with us there. Until then, I bid you adieu and send all the best wishes with your current endeavors. Come back and check for updates and I hope to meet you all very soon…Steve