College Advice From A Senior

Honestly, graduation seems years (not weeks!) away still…

Sometimes I look around and wonder where the time went, since college seemed to flash by in the blink of an eye. Other times it felt so slow- waiting for the weekend, excited for the next trip I was taking, waiting for an internship. But here I am now just weeks away from graduating, and I’ve been thinking a bit about what I’ve done right vs wrong during my time here. When I work at admissions events, I get a lot of questions, including “What would you change if you could do it all again?” So here’s my advice.

GET INVOLVED. Join an organization you’re passionate about. Here’s how.
It can be intimidating walking into a club meeting where everyone seems to know everyone and you don’t. However, that’s exactly what you should do! ERAU hosts the activities fair every semester a month or so in, and that’s usually when club meeting attendance spikes. You can also get involved in things like Greek life, but I’ve found that most people who go Greek stay Greek.

My challenge to you is as follows: walk around the activity fair (especially to collect free stuff) and make note of every registered student organization (RSO) you’re interested in. If it’s a non-Greek and non-honor society organization, the meetings should be free and open to all. Go to one meeting to see what the club is about – just one. If you like the club, maybe join and go to more meetings! If you’re unsure, go to another meeting to figure it out. Finally, if you don’t like the club, no harm and no foul, it was just one meeting. I will note that some clubs do have a small membership fee, but that’s usually to get heavily involved- our rocketry clubs typically do that.

I personally think that there’s something for everyone here. We have honor societies based on major (usually they’re invite or application-based), professional organizations (like the Society of Women Engineers or Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers), and fun organizations (sailing club, hockey club, tennis club, etc) as well as Division II and intramural sports.

The Women’s Ambassador Mentoring Program (WAMP) Ice Cream Social in Fall 2023.

Studies are important but so is experience.
Your GPA is not everything. Obviously don’t neglect your studies, but it’s not an end-all be-all for internships and jobs. If you get a C in one class, it won’t be the end of the world- heck, it’s even happened to me! What I’ve found to be equally as important is the experience and skills you have. They don’t even have to be super technical. Half of engineering is the technical problem, and the other half is being able to work with people. I haven’t gotten a very heavy technical question, but I have gotten a lot of behavioral “tell me about a time when” questions. From my experience, getting your first internship is the hardest.

Don’t just go to class- make sure you understand.
Like I mentioned, your GPA isn’t everything- but it’s still important. Go to tutoring, email your professors, go to their office hours, get the help you need when you need it, not the day before the test. This will enable you to get stuff done early so you can do more cool things. It’ll also lower your stress!

Leave your dorm for fun events, too!
And by fun, I mean do something that you find fun. That could be the beach, airshows, club events, the Skyline Social events on Fridays… anything. In the real world they talk about a work-like balance, but I think it’s important to have a school-life balance too. It’s also something that I struggled with a bit (since I’m a bit of a workaholic) but I’ve enjoyed the times that I got out and did something fun. This was made possible in part by me starting my homework early!

A SWE event from junior year… with dogs!

If you’re not an aeronautical science student… try and go on a flight with someone.
Where else are you going to find a university where a good chunk of the students are pilots? A fun fact about is ERAU is that you can shadow a flight in one of the Riddle planes. It’s pretty easy- all you need is a friend who’s a flight student and your student ID card, the EagleCard. You go to the flight operations building with your friend and ask to shadow the flight and as long as it’s fine with the flight instructor and flight supervisor, you can do it. I’ve done this in the ERAU Diamond DA-42s and those things are very nice to fly in.

If your friends aren’t aeronautical science, or you feel like a very expensive meal, there are several flight schools in the area you can rent a plane from. I’ve also done this– I’m not a pilot, but several of my friends are, which means that I’ve paid for my share of the flight costs and gone flying with them.

My view from the back seat of Riddle’s DA-42.

Volunteer in a way that’s fun and fulfilling for YOU. Most of my volunteering time was done with the Society of Women Engineers. I spent three years on the Introduce a Girl to Engineering Workshop (IGEW) committee before transitioning to a different leadership role in SWE, but I volunteered for IGEW all three years I was on the committee. ERAU even wrote an article about it! I’ve also volunteered in other capacities, such as for Preview Day and Open House.

SWE volunteers from the Museum of Arts and Science’s International Day of Women and Girls In Science event.

Finally… This is your college experience. Make the most of it.
My college experience is vastly different from some other people, and that’s okay. College will help you figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life and give you amazing memories to last a lifetime. I’m a very social person, so I enjoyed social clubs, but if you’re more solitary you may not like all of the activities that I did, and that’s okay.

Change majors if you aren’t happy with the major you’re in. Switch classes if you realize that there’s a professor whose teaching style better matches your learning style. Do things that make you happy and surround yourself with people that have similar interests. I’ve had the time of my life at ERAU, and it’s hard to think that it’s coming to an end. This isn’t my last post quite yet, so I’ll see you in the next post!

This entry was posted in 2023 - 2024 and tagged , , , by Carly. Bookmark the permalink.

About Carly

Major: Aerospace Engineering
Hometown:Berea, Kentucky
Campus Involvement: Honors Program mentor, Women's Ambassador, Society of Women Engineers, Aerospace Engineering Student Advisory Board
Why I chose Embry-Riddle: I chose Embry-Riddle because I fell in love with the campus the moment I saw it through a plane window. The campus tour was amazing, and the campus seemed like a place I'd want to call home for the next few years.

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