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.

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!

Recharging & Responsibilities

Happy October folks! I’m classically blogging from Daytona Beach, currently camped out at the ROTC building on a Sunday afternoon doing homework. Fall break was this past week and it was definitely well needed. I stayed local for the break hitting up coffee shops, catching up on sleep, and doing large quantities of homework.

As midterm time is among us, I had most of my tests before fall break, but midterms also mean RA deadlines! This means new hall door decorations, new bulletin boards, and more biweekly hall traditions! This also means time for the Fitness Assessment in AFROTC which consists of one minute of push-ups, one minute of sit-ups, and a 1.5 mile run for time.

At a local coffee shop close to campus drinking lavender chamomile tea and doing incompressible aerodynamics homework.

Something surprising that I realized over the break was… that I miss my friends! I know, this may not seem like an out of ordinary thing, but I almost don’t realize how inter-connected my everyday life is with the people around me. Now, if we zoom out a bit and look at the big picture four days is not a lot of time, but when you consider that I see my friends multiple times a day in different settings it feels off when they’re not around.

To put it in perspective: I wake up early and go to PT or to Leadership Laboratory (LLAB) with my AFROTC family, go to class until about 2pm, usually find myself back at the ROTC building a few more times for various meetings, paperwork, or presentations, then I workout with my ROTC friends, typically have an RA duty shift in the evenings or a staff meeting, then I go to sleep and copy paste and repeat Monday-Friday. 

I tend to not view myself as a very social person, because of how much I value my alone time to rest and recharge by doing yoga, meditating, or sleeping, but in reality I spend the majority of my days being social. The main point I’m getting out of this, is that I’m pretty much an introverted extrovert. Once I’m recharged after a day or two I thrive in the busy hustle of everyday life hopping between my friends from AFROTC, O team, RA, classes, etc.

Before the break I had a math test, a compressible aerodynamics test, and an incompressible test, a technical report document due, in addition to arabic homework and other meetings, presentations, and responsibilities. When I study, unless I’m doing practice problems in a group, I typically prefer to be in my room or reserve a study room in the library.

But in particular, when studying for my compressible aerodynamics test recently I found myself outgrowing my desk with my spread of papers so I migrated to my floor to go over material. After a few hours when I finished I got up and realized that my creative learning process may be a little unconventional, but it works… 

My post studying floor space before my compressible aerodynamics test.

I hope everyone bounces back to find your post Fall Break groove and keep pushing until Thanksgiving Break and finals. Will report back soon. Keep on keeping on!

Perks & Personal Favorites

Happy October folks! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach. I’ve come to appreciate a few aspects of Riddle recently that I may have taken for granted in my past years. Let’s begin:

  1. The 24 hour College of Business (COB) computer labs with free color printers (hello late night life hack!)
  2. Night Flight! This is a free safety escort service provided by the Campus Safety and Security Department where they send officers to pick you up anywhere on campus at night in a golf cart and take you to your next desired location. I have found this very beneficial when I lose track of time doing homework in the engineering building only to realize when I’m ready to leave it’s raining (thank you Florida weather), but genuinely thank you to the Night Flight team for keeping the students safe and making my life so much easier!
  3. Fitness classes at the Fitness Center: I’ve always loved them, but there’s still so many I’ve yet to try because every instructor is different and they’re all great. My personal favorites are Yoga, Boxing Conditioning, and Cycling, although I have heard good things about Pilates…
  4. The Academic Advancement Center (otherwise known as the A^2 Tutoring Lab) that has tutoring in SO many subjects, and even if you’re not taking a specific class and just have questions about subject material in those classes they’re super helpful (ie me when I get stuck coding Matlab or using CATIA)
  5. Some honorable mentions/personal favorites: AFROTC, because it’s a huge family and one of my absolute favorite parts about Riddle, and Arabic class, which is a close second.
14 Words for Love in Arabic from a poster I found during the summer

I would also like to include some Life Hacks for college in general:

Tea- best hot and while studying

Recently received a package of fall goodies in the mail from my grandma, inclusive of this amazingly fall smelling caffeine free tea which is perfect for late nights

Popcorn- best in the afternoon or at any time of night while doing homework (AFROTC cadets have a popcorn maker in the Cadet lounge and typically there is fresh popcorn multiple times a day which always smells and tastes great)

My photo from the AFROTC Fall 2019 Cadet Wing Organization Leadership Chart

Water- always, but especially if you are tired in class, as well as before & after workouts

Hoodies/Cozy sweaters- best worn during chilly fall nights making s’mores by the fire pits, or to the local COBB movie theater at Daytona One (which happens to be less than 5 minutes from campus and offers $5 movie tickets on Tuesdays!)

My friend Kara and I on a homework break

To sum it up, I’m busy but extremely grateful and I love Riddle and everything it has to offer. Will report back soon! 

Fall & Fresh Updates

Happy September everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, the official Autumn season begins September 23 and runs until December 21, I’ve been busy lately, and I’m trying my best to not be stressed.

I’ve found myself becoming a bit overwhelmed with the constant high speed flow of life recently, so as I woke up this past Sunday morning I took a couple minutes to set intentions for the week, write my to do list, and drink water. In the midst of the chaos when I find myself getting anxious about everything I need to accomplish for the day, I have to remind myself to take a step back, breathe, reset, relax, and take it one step at a time.

On a happier note, Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year, so despite Florida not having the most stereotypical autumn experience, I still try to make the best of it. I’m on my 3rd year at Riddle and thus far I have made it to a Floridian pumpkin patch every year (typically in late fall when the weather is in the low 80s).

As I currently drink my cup of coffee with pumpkin spice almond milk creamer and do homework in my room that smells like apples from my oil diffuser, as long as I don’t go outside, it’s basically fall, right? My prize possessions are definitely my calculator, my Keurig, my laptop, and my essential oil diffuser. Which you probably already deciphered because I drink a lot of tea/coffee, do a lot of homework, and I love yoga.

My newest fall essential oils that I am obsessed with! They make my entire room smell amazing. The scents are Maple Leaf, Fall Rain, and Harvest Moon.

As I note I would like to add my supply of “fall” flavored teas is growing. A classmate asked me the other day how many cups of tea I drink a day and I really had never thought about it, but I make tea all the time and typically always have a cup with me (in my reusable to-go cup of course).

Me enjoying the mere idea of fall even though it’s hot outside.

Now that we’ve caught up, as a Professional Officer Course (POC) cadet in AFROTC this year (under-classmen are referred to as General Military Course (GMC) cadets until after they return from Field Training the summer between their sophomore and junior years) I earned the privilege of being able to have a clipboard during training to conveniently carry around my orders, other needed papers for the day, and of course pens, sharpies, and a ruler.

Everyone’s clipboard is different, and in my opinion, essentially represents you as a person. I decided to decorate the top of my clipboard, which is covered by my daily orders in training to stay professional. My clipboard also has a large letter of my flight on the back, and my name which are the visible portions when conducting leadership laboratories (LLABs) and physical training (PT). 

To provide a small amount of background on my clipboard decorations, in the backyard of my house in Virginia we have a surfboard hung on the fence that we’ve been putting stickers on for years now. The stickers are from wherever we travel, and everyone in the family puts new ones on all the time, so the next time you look at it it’s constantly changing and growing. Naturally when I got my clipboard I had been gathering some smaller stickers from my travels and wanted to adopt the same philosophy. 

The top of my AFROTC clipboard that isn’t normally visible, but makes me happy knowing that it’s there!

Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!