Merrick

About Merrick

Junior

Aerospace Engineering

Minor: Arabic Year: Junior Hometown: Norfolk, Virginia Campus Involvement: AFROTC, Honors Program, Women in Aviation, O-Team, Resident Advisor Why I chose Embry-Riddle: I chose Embry-Riddle for the passionate and studious campus atmosphere. Everyone seemed so motivated and friendly! I immediately wanted to contribute to that positive environment.

Spring Break & Schedule Changes

Happy March everyone! I am currently blogging from Northern Virginia, in quarantine for the n-th day, and WOW at the current global situation with COVID-19 currently afflicting the world…but honestly we should’ve left this one in 2019.

BUT FIRST, let’s flash back to the beginning of March when college students were about to go on Spring Break, COVID-19 seemed like a distant tragedy, and life only seemed stressful at average levels.

Greetings from Key West! Our postcard decal.

I spent Spring break with one of my best friends in Key West, Florida and even though it was still Florida, being on *basically* an island for a week was absolutely well needed. In the current situation, confined from the great public domain with a strict and paranoid 6ft rule of distancing from strangers, I am feeling greatly nostalgic of a week ago when I was happily soaking up sunshine and basking in the glory of constantly being sun kissed and barefoot with salt water hair and always a little bit sandy, despite all the showers I took.

A short lived windy bike ride to the Southern Most Point in the USA.
Being one with nature (currently reminiscing from inside my house).
A potato head selfie from the plane.

Key West had an extremely casual, laid back, go with the flow atmosphere which is completely opposite of my usually very busy and structured life. During the last few days of Spring Break we got an official university communication email saying that Spring Break would be extended two days into the following week and online classes would be happening until early April. At first this sounded like a fantastic and fun idea, until reality set in when we returned. When we got back to Daytona Beach, stores were starting to run out of food, the media seemed to be spreading paranoia, and everyone was panicking. A few days later residence halls were vacating and I prepared to come back to Virginia as there was talk about canceling flights and limiting domestic travel across state lines.

Fast forward a week and I’m in a quarantined lifestyle with online classes until the end of the semester, metros shut down inside Washington DC, Uber and Lyft currently closed, and Amazon not delivering groceries anymore, yikes!

To be continued folks, will report back soon, COVID-19 updates are around the corner!

Half Way & Happenings

Happy February everyone! Back again blogging from Daytona Beach, Speed Week has calmed downed, and we’ve been having some particularly mild weather: a bit cold and rainy, but Florida tends to be wonky before getting to the consistent sunshine with afternoon showers (aka nap time).

Valentine’s Day recently passed and February is flying by! Things around the corner include *drum roll please* Mid-term exams, the Spring PT test… and also, Spring Break! We’re almost half way through Spring semester and I can barely believe it! 

My sister sent me a very positive card, a super cute scrunchie, and some Namaste socks for V-day! I love care packages.

Some notable things I get to do with my position this semester in ROTC as the Mission Support Group, Force Support Squadron, Deputy Commander, aside from assist the Squadron Commander, are plan Dining Out, a yearly event where all cadets and cadre wear Service Dress (the fancy blues), gather for a meal, celebrate notable accomplishments of the Cadet Wing, and announce new Wing Staff for the following semester. I also have the amazing opportunity to team up with an upperclassman cadet and organize an Air Force Retirement Ceremony for a Major in our cadre. I have the privilege of gaining insight to this exciting event at a very young point in my career, which makes this opportunity THAT much cooler.

Another super cool thing I do in my position that I’ve particularly had a lot of fun with in preparation for Dining Out, is collaborating with other Professional Officer Course (POC) cadets to design the logo that will be on the Dining Out gift. I’ve got to work with a particularly talented POC cadet who I also collaborated with to help design the Spring 2020 AFROTC Detachment 157 Semester Patch.

Additionally, being an RA has been even more fun lately because I helped to organize a Tye-Dye event that will be happening shortly. I’ve attached the flyer I designed below, but essentially it’s an Area Initiative as a community builder for the residence hall I live in where we invite residents to come de-stress and get creative, and colorful!

Additionally, I recently solidified my summer plans, which was a huge stress relief and also an opportunity I anticipate to be extremely challenging and fun. I will be participating in Project GO Study Abroad in Morocco working on Arabic Year 4. More details to come on that, and I am very excited to give some future updates on my Arabic learning experience. Keep on keeping on folks. Will report back soon!

Speedweek & Summer

Happy February everyone! I am currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida, it’s going to be sunny and 85 degrees this week, and this weekend is going to be rainy and in the 50s…cold fronts are no fun!

This week is Speedweek at the Daytona International Speedway, but the racing season really started off with the Rolex 24 hour race, the Busch clash, some more qualifiers, and next weekend the Daytona 500. Every year AFROTC cadets volunteer at the speedway and work different race shifts, this past year a lot of other sports teams on campus volunteered too.

This week I start to hear back from a variety of summer programs I applied to in order to go abroad to a country in the Middle East to continue studying Arabic. I applied to programs in Jordan, Morocco, and Oman.

This week is going to be kind of hectic for me, but as usual I’m generally a busy person. I have PT, Arabic and Solid Mechanics homework due tomorrow, as well as updated Bulletin Boards for my wing in the hallway for my Resident Advisor position, followed by a lab report due on Tuesday, funds request forms, meetings, AFROTC leadership laboratory and more PT, and a Solid Mechanics test on Friday.

It’s times like this where I think back to my equally busy summers and appreciate the way I am constantly in the flow of working hard and making progress towards my future. Being in the middle of everything also gets me thinking about the future and how sometime between the next week and the next few months I’ll finalize my summer plans and figure out where I am studying abroad and which dialect of Arabic I’ll be focusing on. All very exciting things, but sometimes a little stressful not knowing what direction I’ll be going in. I just tell myself to keep trusting the process.

Will report back soon folks, midterms are around the corner, keep on keeping on!

HBD & Homesickness?

Happy January folks! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach and it’s cold! You might be telling yourself, well it’s winter, but last week was 80 degrees and now the nights are in the 40s! You may say, okay, well wear a jacket and it’s warmer in the sun, and I agree those are great solutions, except when you’re at PT before the sun is up and it’s also extremely windy! Florida cold fronts are no fun, all in favor of bringing back beach weather say, “I!”.

As I sit here typing this blog, in between finishing an Electrical Engineering lab report, sending a slew of emails, finishing some essays, and in preparation to do homework for my Arabic and Solid Dynamics classes I have to add, I’m tired!

I worked a 12 hour shift yesterday at the Rolex 24 hour race at the Daytona International Speedway, so Sunday was my only “weekend”, if you constitute more than 12 hours of homework as a break? To say the least, I am looking forward to the end of this week and hopefully getting 12 hours of sleep!

In other news, my sister turned 28 last week! So, HBD-Happy Birthday!!! To a wonderful human, mentor, role model, overall good person who I aim to be like.

Something a friend who lives in Arizona asked me recently is, “How do you help your residents cope with homesickness?” I wanted to address this on my blog because you are not alone! There are so many college students who feel homesick, and I am here to offer you some great tips.

Tip 1: The Counseling Center, you can absolutely go to counseling to talk about your day or how you’re feeling, and they are professionals! 

Tip 2: Text/call/FaceTime/social media message your family when you miss them, or set up specific times or days in the week where you can sit down and talk to them! If it’s important to your mental health, add it to your schedule, that way you ensure it is your priority.

Tip 3: Make friends! College is full of people looking to find their “people.” My friends and I call it our vibe tribe, which isn’t necessarily what you have to call it, but have someone you can talk to, hangout with, study with, or just do nothing with. Homesickness dissipates when you are having fun and aren’t feeling lonely.

Some of my tribe & I!

Tip 4: Join a club, organization, ROTC, or a sports team! Be a part of something bigger than yourself. ERAU had an Activity Fair last week and there are SO many clubs and groups you can be a part of, it filled up the entire Lawn with tables! And if you can’t find the right club for you, you can always make your own! All you need is some friends and one faculty advisor and you’re in business.

There are so many things you can do to find a sense of community and a true “home away from home”. Find your people, find your place, and do your thing! Will report back soon. Keep on keeping on folks.

Updates & Welcome Back

Happy January everyone! I am currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida, still reminiscing on winter break, but back a few days before classes start for my RA position doing Spring Training and preparing the residence halls for students to return.

Part of this prep includes the “new year new me” philosophy and I took part by getting a well needed hair cut.

Although I do love my friends at school, I have also found myself missing being around my family tribe at home. I got to travel a little bit along the east coast over winter break going to southern Virginia to Philly to DC then back Florida.

While I was in Philadelphia I got to visit and meet a bunch of my cousins! We also celebrated my brother’s birthday by attending a Philadelphia Eagles versus the Dallas Cowboys football game at the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles ended up winning against Dallas and as you can imagine, the post game fireworks and overall atmosphere of the stadium was one of a kind. It’s fitting that I wanted the Philadelphia Eagles to win just as much as I want the Embry-Riddle Eagles to win.

Yes, there are a lot of us, and yes we took up an entire row of seats. I highly recommend going to NFL games with a large group. It was my first game and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

I am now off to finish hall decorations, make door tags, and do room inspections for my RA position. I also need to write some essays for applications for Study Abroad Programs for Summer 2020 to continue learning Arabic. Will include pictures of my hall decorations, classes I’ll be taking this semester once my schedule is finalized, and first week of school updates in my next post.

Keep on keeping on folks, happy New Year, and welcome back! Will report back soon!

Back in the Swing of Things & Spring

Happy January everyone! I am back blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida, it’s the first week of school and I can tell already that this semester is going to be a busy one. 

I started off my classes with AFROTC training on Wednesday morning, followed by my first day of class, meetings with my cadre, stopping by Ernie Central to get some paperwork approved for study abroad applications, my first RA hall tradition of the semester, and RA duty! I know that may seem like a lot for one day, but honestly that’s a typical day for me, always on the go and super busy. Along with classes I also had my first AFROTC Instructional training of the semester, and took a Fitness Diagnostic, which is an unofficial version of the Air Force’s PT test.

I appreciate being back at school because I get to come back to my room every evening and look at all my door decorations.

This year I decorated my hall with a movie theater theme. About once a month RA’s update their hall bulletin boards, this months theme was consent!

My hall bulletin board!

My Spring 2020 class schedule is now finalized and I got seats in all the classes I needed to be on track with my academic plan. I’m taking AFROTC Leadership Laboratory, AFROTC Air Force Management & Leadership, Electrical Engineering Fundamentals, Electrical Engineering Fundamentals Lab, Arabic, Solid Mechanics, and Jet Propulsion.

Will report back soon folks, hope everyone has a smooth transition getting back into the swing of things. Will report back soon!

Finishing 1st Semester & Family Time

Happy January everyone! I am currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida where I left after finals in 80 degree weather in December and returned to 80 degree weather in January. 

To provide a small bit of background, I set goals every semester, whether it be goals for my RA position, goals for my classes, my personal fitness, or my AFROTC position. I started off Fall 2019 semester riding the wave of my Spring 2019 semester GPA being the highest its been since I started my college career, so of course I made the goal of making Fall 2019 even better. I would like to officially report back saying that, while 18 credit Fall Semesters are not my favorite, I have proven fairly successful and I achieved my goal of raising the bar higher for my best semester GPA.

That being said, now I have a new goal to beat and maybe one day I’ll make it to that 4.0? Game on Spring 2020!

After finals, closing the residence halls, and a few plane rides, I made it back to Virginia safely for the holidays where I spent time relaxing, working out, watching the Grinch one too many times, reading, hiking, and drinking all the kombucha and tea.

Some of my favorite moments from Winter Break were going to an ornament making class with my family and a bunch of friends and cousins. (Yes, my non-conventional holiday experience included a Christmas palm plant instead of the traditional tree. I live by the beach!)

I made a clay gingerbread man ornament!

Another highlight from my time off from class was seeing my pup, she’s a pitbull named Kita and loves naps (JUST like me)!

We love a good restful vacation. I’m excited to be back to school though. Will report back soon. Big things to follow, stay tuned folks.

Travels & Thanksgiving

Greetings and salutations folks! I am currently blogging from Charleston, South Carolina at the airport en route back to Riddle in all my post Thanksgiving glory.

I started my break migrating north from Daytona Beach to Norfolk, Virginia where the November weather was blissfully crisp for about 5 seconds before I got cold and realized that my Florida wardrobe was not prepared for 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Once back in VA my family packed up and road tripped it to Charleston, South Carolina where I spent the remainder of my holiday. 

In Charleston, my family and I ran a 5k in the historical district on Thanksgiving morning, followed by heading back to our hotel to get ready then driving a few hours to our cousin’s house where we spent the remainder of the afternoon eating and napping.

We spent the rest of the break exploring the outdoor city market in downtown Charleston, stopping at local eateries and coffee shops, as well as sight seeing and of course making a stop at the beach.

I wish the Thanksgiving break had lasted longer, but because of how late the holiday fell in the month of November this year, upon getting back to school we only have one more week until finals!

I wish I spent my break relaxing and sleeping a lot, but honestly I stayed up late doing homework in hotel lobbies, came to the airport early to knock out assignments before my flight, and hid out in multiple coffee shops during the trip trying to catch up on assignments. I came back from break a day early to do homework and work on projects before class on Monday too. It’s super difficult relaxing knowing I have a bunch of deadlines and final exams looming around the corner. On the bright side though, I suppose there is only a few weeks until the semester is over, and I plan to sleep a lot over winter break!

I hope all of you find your post Thanksgiving Break groove and proceed full speed ahead to finals season! Will report back soon. Winter break is around the corner, keep on keeping on!

Almost Break & Finals Anxiety??

Howdy & happy November folks! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach on quite possibly the coldest day of the semester thus far, a whopping 57 degrees Fahrenheit with overcast skies, spotty rain, and wind. Nothing says cold rainy days like, you guessed it, weekend classes (on not only Saturday, but Sunday too). And with finals looming around the corner, the cherry on top of that stress, is the anxiety of classes on the weekends. On a more positive note, Thanksgiving Break is about two weeks away so that is HUGE iridescent light at the end of the tunnel, but for those of us with back to back tests now on weekdays and weekends, it’s a life full of challenges…not to mention finals haven’t even started yet (AHH).

The metaphorical grind that you may have heard of referenced in pop culture truly extends to the life of college students, in particular Riddle students, faculty, and staff…yes we ALL work on the weekends, 21 days and counting, hollllla! Deadlines are approaching and I have to say in the midst of the seemingly endless back to back “work” days, the highlight of this has been that we’re all trucking through it together. The other night I went to gym after I finished up with one of my evening classes to meet up with some friends, knock out arms and abs before going on a run, and LET ME TELL YOU, the gym was PACKED. One thing Riddle students appreciate almost as much as the stress of classes, is the opportunity to destress (particularly in a way I absolutely recommend) with workouts!

Truly in the face of this adversity I must add that although I am challenged, tired, and sometimes flustered, I would not trade the experiences I am going through right now for anything because we are truly so privileged to be in the situation where we can even complain about problems of “too much school”. Shoutout to the surplus of opportunity for access to education, honestly we’re extremely blessed.

Group photo of the girls in my AFROTC class before a Morale training event the other weekend!

I am looking forward to Thanksgiving Break to unwind and recharge before grinding through finals. Don’t forget to stock up on your coffee, tea, and snacks! Will report back soon y’all, after I have had ample sleep and home cooked food over Thanksgiving (YUM), keep on keeping on!

Advice & AFROTC

Happy November folks! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, in the post midterm grind, and the semester ends in almost a month. Just like most of our students, time FLIES.

Coming to college is big transition, I’m three years in, a seasoned pro…just kidding! I’m still learning and growing everyday. My birthday was last week and I took a moment to consider this: before college I always had a plan for life, but somehow along the way I outgrew my plan, had some twists and turns, and here we are. So in the essence of reflection, here’s some advice for my younger self, what I wish I would’ve known coming to college:

As corny as it sounds, be yourself. You are multi faceted, you will not fit into every box you try, and you don’t have to! We are dynamic people with dynamic aspects of personality and interests.

My first year of college I struggled with feeling like I fit it. I’m majoring in Aerospace Engineering and I love planes! But I never seemed to be as plane obsessed as the people in my classes. I learned that I don’t have to pretend to be something I’m not. College is about finding yourself and embracing what makes you different. I love planes, but if I spend my free time doing yoga instead of researching them I’m no better or worse than anyone around me, just different. Embrace your differences! Expand your friend groups sooner than later. Have friends that you can talk to about classes, about ROTC, about home life, and friends that you can talk to when you want to unwind! Don’t feel bad for saying no to hanging out. Self care is extremely important. If you want to spend your Friday nights working out, doing face masks, and going to bed early… DO IT! You make the rules.

My mom sent me some shells for my birthday that I put my air plants in!

You’re not alone! AFROTC is something completely new to all freshmen, do not feel alone in figuring out how to balance school and ROTC. Find mentors! I still talk to my mentor from freshman year, who has since graduated, gotten married, and is an officer in the USAF. There are always people who have been through what you’re going through, who are going through it at the same time, and who will be going through it soon. Use your resources! Ask for help from those with knowledge, walk through it together with the people by your side, and share advice with those who have yet to experience what you’re going through. Never doubt yourself. You got this.

My friend and I post early morning beach PT!

Will report back soon y’all, keep on keeping on!