September 10, 2007

If there’s one word to sum up these past two and a half weeks, it would undoubtedly be WOW. Just 15 days ago, I was furiously packing up all my clothes and stuff into the biggest suitcases I could find hoping to not forget important things like my multi-colored lamp or enough shampoo to last me three months. I was undoubtedly in panic mode and had only a few short hours to get everything done in time for my early morning flight the next day. Looking back, it seemed as though that day, August 20th, unexpectedly crept up to me. I had just graduated, just thrown a party to celebrate it and all if a sudden I was leaving New Jersey, and all the familiar things surrounding me to venture into uncharted territory at Embry Riddle. Okay, so it wasn’t uncharted, but it was still new to me, which definitely counts for something.

Let me backtrack and introduce my self. I’m Srinisha Shankar but you can call me  Spree. I’m 18 years old and am a freshman majoring in Aerospace Engineering at Riddle. I’m the first from my family to leave New Jersey, since my older sister (who just turned 21), decided to stay at a state college. I live with my Mama, Papa and Sis and every six months Grandma comes from India to stay with us for 6 months. I came from a school in New Jersey that was focused on Math and engineering so being in a school with an outstanding majority of guys is no news to me. It was a tiny little magnet school called the Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies and our graduating class consisted of 32 kids. It was awesome coming from a small school so Riddle’s size is a completely new experience for me. I’ll save the extra background info for later, now let’s fast forward to Monday, August 20.

We arrived at the really tiny Daytona Beach International Airport and I immediately felt at home. The sun was shining brightly through the windows, I wore my sunglass inside, and not one person gave me a dirty look. I could so get used to this, I thought. Making things better was a phone call I made to sis back home, “It’s thunder storming here and it’s so cold”, she said and I smiled, knowing I’d almost never have to deal with that terrible Jersey weather again.

Once in Daytona, Mom, Grandma and I checked into our hotel and spent the rest of the day shopping in the nearby Volusia Mall and exploring the university by car. The next day was the first unofficial day of the orientation ceremonies. Tuesday night was the honors banquet and it was held and it was held a local Yacht Club. Here all the Honors Students and their families were invited to have dinner with the Honors staff and get presents. This year our present was the ASUS GPS pocket PC. It’s so much fun especially because there’s this one game on there, called Bubble Breaker and it’s the perfect thing to keep your fingers occupied with when you’re waiting for a teacher or just really bored. That night I got to meet my roomie for the first time and we hit it off quite well. You’re always skeptical about what your roommate’s going to be like and I was so glad that mine was normal instead of some girl who was afraid of people.

Anyways, Tuesday was only the beginning of all the activities Riddle had planned for the incoming class. If I could give you the most important piece of advice to follow during Orientation week, it would definitely be to get there early. A half hour early is probably perfect if you don’t want to park a mile away and walk. We luckily did get there just as the doors were opening and almost sprinted to the people holding the “S” posters. Here we received the all-important orientation packet outlining all the activities we’d be participating in these next few days and for the weekend.  Today was possibly my favorite day because the morning started with Housing Check In! I, because I’m an honors student, received the privilege of living in Wood 5! I was so happy when I found out my residence hall was Wood over the summer and even more ecstatic when I found out I was in the top floor.

Grandma, Mom and I then hurried upstairs with suitcases in hand to see the room I was going to be spending the majority of my year in. Opening the door, I let out a sigh, relieved that the space wasn’t cramped but instead pretty spacious and the bathroom was actually clean. It certainly wasn’t home quite yet, but I knew I could get used to it. Having someone share my room was a bit of a new concept to me, but today, about two weeks later, I almost can’t imagine not having someone to talk to in the middle of the night, or have an automatic buddy, for when you don’t feel like walking by yourself. Having a roommate definitely has its perks. After mom made my bed and we did some more last minute shopping, we attended the over crowded convocation ceremony. It was certainly our fault that we came only 15 minutes before the ceremony started and had to park across the street in order to attend. Convocation is a tradition I’m assuming for every university to welcome all the incoming students, it was mildly fun. Then, at 8 I got to meet the rest of Wood 5 for the first time. We are one heck of a group here, and undoubtedly the self-proclaimed tightest hall and best buddies on campus. There are 8 girls (two others of whom are also Journal Writers) and the rest are guys. The majority of us are Honors AE students, so we have a lot of classes in common. Orientation week was starting to look real good, but wasn’t anywhere close to being done.

Some people slept in their dorm that night, but I decided to still stay with Mom and Grandma at the hotel. Thursday was a fairly busy day for Mom and Grandma but I had plenty of time to set my room up and hang out with people from my floor. It was the first time I had lunched with them and now it’s a daily ritual to go to lunch in a group of no less than 10. Like I said, we’ve come to be one big family here at Wood 5 and it’s pretty awesome. Thursday there was only one meeting for me and it was about how to get around campus and who to contact for different things. Mom and Grandma left on Thursday and it didn’t hit me that they’d be leaving until that night when I actually slept in my new own bed. Kind of scary and kind of really really exciting to know that you can finally have that independence you’ve been craving for.

Friday I woke up late and again our entire hall went to lunch together and then I attended this “For Women Only” Program. Incase you haven’t heard already, the guy to girl ratio at Riddle is about 1 to 8, so the girl community here is pretty tight, since you know the chances of seeing another girl soon is pretty slim. That night, there was a luau on the lawn and it was basically just to get to know your hall better. We made our mascot and competed in different cheesy games like the banana and spatula race or the one we started ourselves, the wheelbarrow! It was a ton of fun, but most of us retired early to our dorms so we could watch a movie and play cards in our hallway, both just as fun as playing limbo like we did during the Luau.

This weekend was filled with different activities we could participate in like the “Sundaes on Saturday” sponsored by the Embry-Riddle Resident Student Association (ERRSA) , barbeques sponsored by the Fraternities and Sororities and the hilarious comedic duo Alex McHale and Vic Henley. The best activity was undoubtedly the Hypnotist Tom Deluca. He was so insanely good it left you wondering if he paid the people to do the crazy things they did. One of the guys from our hall was chosen and he was made to believe that he was the savior of fruits and wasn’t allowed to let people touch his apples or pears. I would definitely not miss the show if I were you. That happened Monday night also known as…. The first day of classes!

My schedule this semester is almost amazing. I have an 8 A.M class every morning, but I end all my classes before 1oclock. Good and the bad I guess. The first two weeks of classes haven’t been too stressful even though thinking about my first Physics quiz tomorrow is stressing me out a bit. So this first entry is basically just an intro to my life at Embry-Riddle. I know you all are dying to know more about what I’m about and all the good and bad things that happen here, but this entry has gotten to be much longer than I had expected.

Here’s my contact info, feel free to email me whenever you’d like and I’d be more than happy to answer all those questions you’re too afraid to post on the discussion board.

Catch ya later!


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About Spree

**Hometown:** Edison, New Jersey **Why I Chose Embry-Riddle:** Embry-Riddle is a one-of-a-kind school bent on making dreams come true. Since I was young, I would look no where but up and ERAU is filled with like-minded people who literally reach for the stars every day.

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