My parents always told me that they never figured out what they wanted to do with their lives until they were well into college. I know personally several people who changed their majors 3 times in the span of a few months. Therefore, it was only natural to receive weird looks and snickers as a child when I knew exactly what to do with my life at such a young age.
I was born and raised in a country where violence is a daily occurrence and I spent 9 years of my life there. No, I’m not talking about the United States, but a far less known country in the middle of Central America–El Salvador. Although my parents always provided the best for my brother Luis (who is 5 years younger than I) and me, there was not much of an opportunity to move up the ladder. It came as a surprise to my mom and dad when I told them I wanted to do something related to the skies. My mother worked in Iberia as a saleswoman, and that was the closest anyone could get to the clouds without being a pilot. I don’t know exactly what pushed me in that direction. Maybe it was the thrill of the conquest of the unknown, and maybe it was just a secret desire to have been born as a bird.
In 2002, a breakthrough happened. My dad got offered a job in Miami, Florida. Our first apartment here, which was offered to him by his company for a few months, was located only a few miles from Miami International Airport. I delighted myself every night sitting on the balcony staring at the airplanes land, much to my mother’s disapproval, since we were so high up in the air. When it came time to buy our new house, I bothered my dad to be near airplanes. I guess it worked, since we ended up just 2 miles from Tamiami Airport.
Fast forward to the present, my family now lives in San Ramon, California (which is about an hour east of San Francisco). I stand where I always dreamed of being. I am an Aerospace Engineering major (my eyesight prevents me from being a pilot) at one of the best schools in the country. I have to admit, though, that Embry-Riddle wasn’t exactly my first choice. Neither my parents nor I had heard of this school–maybe since we had lived abroad for so long. After doing some research during my senior year, I narrowed my choices to 7 schools–SUPAERO in southern France, Georgia Tech, UTexas-Austin, UCF, UF, and Florida Institute of Technology and, of course, Riddle. After visiting most of these schools at the end of the fall, my pick became evident. Honestly, the campus did not catch my eye at first. It is a more suburban city than I was used to back in Miami, and the school itself is pretty small compared to the other state schools I was used to. However, after pondering on it for a while, and after visiting the amazing labs around, I couldn’t resist.
So far, I don’t regret my choice at all. You get to really know the people around you. The best advice I have is come to the open houses the campus offers in the fall and the spring (I believe they are held in October and April). I met some of the best friends I have in those days. Another great tip? Whatever school you decide on going to, Facebook-stalk your future classmates! Well, maybe just join the c/o 2015 pages that are cropping up around the net. Hands down, this is the best way to find others with the same interests as you do, and you never know! Your best friend might be just a click away!
P.S: Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have–whether you’re a girl seeking a friend (the “Riddle Ratio” is pretty evident–though most people you ask exaggerate it.), or you’re just seeking unbiased advice from a college freshman. My e-mail is up top (firstname.lastname@example.org), or you can also find me on Facebook (facebook.com/itsadri)