September 14

Welcome to my online journal of life at Embry-Riddle. I hope you will find my stories helpful, informative, and interesting whether you are a current or prospective student, parent, or faculty member. Whew— quite a mouthful, but very true!

I certainly will never claim to be an expert on campus events, classes, etc… but I will do my absolute best to describe the activities of at least one freshman on campus— me!

So, let’s get started! I have an exciting two weeks to recap:

Being a Washingtonian through-and-through, the trip to the opposite side of the country was quite a journey with “lay-overs” and such.

However, I count myself blessed considering that one of my suitemates in Wood Hall DROVE from Canada (north of WA). I did have a difficult time taking 18 years of accumulated stuff with me. Many things, of course, stayed at home.

When we finally picked up all of the baggage and the rental car at Jacksonville Intl., we stayed the night in St. Augustine. My sister graduated there from Flagler College last December, so we were very familiar with the area. It’s always a blast to walk the streets of the beautiful old town and get delicious food and gifts from chocolate to purses to flip-flops (Can you tell this was written by a girl 😉 ).

We drove on to Daytona and stayed in a gorgeous hotel resort right on the beach. My mom got a great deal on the room and I enjoyed every minute of staying there! So, I highly recommend the Ocean Walk Resort to y’all (Look at me using southern words already!).

At the dinner for the Honors Program, we met some great staff from Riddle. I sat with a girl from Illinois named Kaleigh and her family since I hadn’t met my roommate yet. Not much later, Kaleigh and I discovered we would both be on Wood floor 5 and be online journal writers. We are already good buddies. What are the odds? After the event, I finally met my Navy ROTC roommate- Kerry. We are very similar in that we both like quiet study and/or alone time and aren’t interested in being big partygoers. We do, however, enjoy watching chick flicks and going to the beach with friends from the dorm, Facebook, classes, and/or ROTC. The best way to put it 🙂 We are outgoing in a non-irresponsible way!

By the way, the Honors Program is awesome- don’t be afraid to apply!

You get priority registration (i.e. you pick the classes and teachers YOU want before anyone else. That way, they don’t fill up before you can even breathe.), a free personal PC that comes equipped with GPS, great Honors Seminar classes where it’s all about reading great literature and discussing deep topics, and you make close friends!

But, let’s get back to my first week: Orientation was perfect for getting used to campus, getting all the information you could possibly want, and meeting other freshmen. I won some free things and had great food, too. Using up meal plans was unbelievably fun. We had 14 like normal, but because Orientation began on Wednesday, there were plenty of extras that we could use on drinks, snacks, cereal, fruit, and more!

Orientation came to a great end with the luau. Free t-shirts, Polynesian dancers, games, and BBQ… perfect! The next day, I enjoyed my last full day with my parents. We decided to drive back up to Saint Augustine to visit the Gator Farm. Fun, fun! How can you visit FL without seein’ some gators?

Next, we stopped at a fancy seafood restaurant for dinner. Yum! And of course, the day ended at… Wal-Mart! It’s just what every college student needs… and Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Linens & Things, and Target…

On Sunday, I couldn’t believe it was almost time to say goodbye! We went to church at Riverbend Community and I was so pleased to find it felt like home. Many of their pastors went to the same seminary that ours did, so the teaching was right on. I know my faith in God will get me through these difficult but exciting years. My prayer is that I will be a testimony of Christ to everyone on campus.

I couldn’t help but cry as I hugged my dad and mom goodbye. True, I will see them in four months (My dad in about two; he’s coming the first week of November to visit.), but it was just the thought that I had a new home; that Arlington house will never really be part of my everyday life anymore. But, my family always will! Time, new friends, and cell phones made the separation easier, but it still wasn’t a pleasant first week without them.

In celebration of completing the first five days of classes, Kaleigh and I walked to the nearby Volusia Mall. We don’t have cars or bikes and it’s not that far anyway. We found some great deals because of the Labor Day weekend. I had to eat at Chick-fil-A since we don’t have those back home. Then, after more ROTC shopping for Kaleigh, we went across the street to Olive Garden. That’s always been one of my favorite restaurants. It was starting to rain, so we quickly rushed back to the dorms.

On Sunday, I got a ride to Riverbend again. It was just what I needed after a week of new things and sometimes overwhelming experiences. I felt kind of alone, but at church, I met some more people from ER and we’re going to start up a Bible study. Should be great! Plus, I’ve even been able to let people know about the Sunday services and a few from my floor are glad I can help them with carpooling. I’m very excited for next week!

Labor Day came and it was time to go to the beach! A guy I met on Facebook and at breakfast that day, Ben, was willing to take Caroline (girl on my floor) and I. The sun was out the waves were high… lovely! We even stopped at a bookstore and then a DVD/CD/Record store and found some great reads and flicks. I even got a nice gift for my dad.

(I won’t say what it is since he might read this someday! 🙂 )

Enough about my weekend, I bet you want to hear about the classes.

Well, Calculus seemed daunting at first, but once I got used to Prof.

Spradlin’s teaching style, I realized that I have experience with everything we’ll be learning, so it should be a fairly comfortable review but also challenge me to become more apt. Most teachers put all of the assignments and grading rubrics on Blackboard (ER’s online site), so it’s not too hard to stay on top of things.

Engineering Physics 101 is a great class! It’s like University 101, but obviously, for EP and Space Physics students. We get to know each other by doing introductions in the front of the class and are free to ask Dr. Olivero any questions we’d like. We will also hear from interesting guest speakers. The class actually ends before Thanksgiving and the only assignments are keeping a journal and writing a short paper on an aerospace subject.

I already spoke on the Honors Seminar classes, but I must mention my excellent teacher, Dr. Kain. He is very fun to listen to and does a great job of presenting points of view from all kinds of beliefs.

Graphical Drawing/CATIA for Engineers has also been fun. It only happens twice a week, but we learn about lettering correctly and how to make diagrams. This information will be very valuable for our future jobs in the industry!  Professor Sun is very patient and very artistic. I’m excited to learn from her!

Chemistry is by far the most challenging class I have this semester.

Dr. Cameron knows what he is doing and expects us to be proficient at working chemistry problems. It is a huge learning curve for me, but I’m planning to go to tutoring as often as I need.

And I haven’t been to a chemistry lab yet, but I’m very intrigued to see what I will learn in that once-a-week experience!

I apologize for the length of this excerpt, but I imagine I won’t have quite as much to say once I get used to college life. Thanks for listening! Feel free to ask any questions or make comments. I’ll do my best to get back to you!

I’m going to go check out the new fitness center. Looks amazing!

Until next time…

Natalie Ann

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Hope to see you there!

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