Jez

About Jez

Senior

Aviation Maintenance Science

Age: 17
Hometown: Issaquah, WA
Favorite TV Series: Band of Brothers
Favorite Band: Bloodhound Gang
Career goal: To be an officer in the Air Force
Interests: Music, extreme sports, military, foreign languages

November 3, 2005

What’s happenin’, readers? My legs hurt so bad right now! I just got back from about 10 hours of volunteering for ROTC at the air show.I worked as a cashier at my booth, where we were selling hot dogs to raise money for Air Force. It got kinda crazy at times, but I stayed busy and even got to use my French skills 🙂 The show itself was pretty cool, and there are still planes roaring overhead as we speak. One of the perks of being at Riddle is that you’re right next to the airport so you don’t even have to leave your dorm sometimes to see this stuff.

Last Monday we had a hurricane day. I know I was always way stoked when we had a snow day up in Washington, which wasn’t often, but I thought it was pretty sweet telling my friends back home I got the day off because a hurricane was passing over. Except for a lot of rain, it really wasn’t that bad. It did, however, drop to about 66 degrees during the day, which combined with wind chilland the fact that we’re used to the weather being about 20 degrees higher, it was fairly brutal. In my maintenance classes, we were expecting we’d have to make up that missed day on Friday, which was University Day i.e. no school, but the FAA cut us some slack and let us slide, so we everyone got a three-day weekend and all was well.

So, time management. It’s gotten better I have to say. I’ve spent some time working on my foreign languages, which was fun, and I haven’t forgotten as much as I thought I would have, luckily. I also got to read more, but I’m still not too far in my book. I still should probably study some more though. I realized I study a lot better and am a lot more productive when I work alone in the library, so that’s what I’ll plan on doing from now on.

Yesterday, Carlos Mencia came to Riddle, for those of you who know your comedy. I didn’t go because I was having homemade lasagna (very good, very good). Cake and ice cream, too. From what I hear from everyone that went, he was hilarious.

Other than all that, everything’s been going pretty great these past two weeks. I’ve met so many new people, it’s great. For some reason, it feels like you meet people so much faster in college than you do in high school. So that’s been cool, making a bunch of new friends from different places. I’ve also relearned to appreciate my freedom here a lot more, so I just did a lot more stuff that I wouldn’t have done earlier in my experience in Daytona so far. Life’s pretty good. One more little piece of advice, for college or in general: if you ever feel like you are being forced to give up something you value in your life, take a step back a reevaluate what’s really more important to you, because chances are, anything that makes you give up what you love is something you would be much better off without.

Don’t be shy with your questions, a lot of you have already sent me really good questions, so just keep on asking away! (If it takes me a couple days to get back to you, don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you, I’m just really busy, plus I don’t have my own computer, so I just might not have access at the time.) So, kenyonj@erau.edu

Later!

October 20, 2005

Hey, readers! I don’t even know where to begin today, this past week was so crazy. Most people had mid-terms last week, which is stressful enough, but in AMS we had our actual finals. On the one hand it’s good to know that Tuesday I can start over on a clean slate, but the finality was pretty hard to deal with, especially since I almost failed one of my classes. Being sick for a week definitely screwed me over in a lot of ways. Since we don’t really get homework in my program, everything is really based on quizzes and tests, which until last week, I was convinced we’d had more of, so the fact that I had kind of messed a few up wouldn’t really matter, but it did. Anyway, the important part is that I did pass.

What sucks is that I really need more money for school, and my GPA right now isn’t all that good. I still have another term to raise it, but I don’t know if I can get it high enough to be very competitive for an ROTC scholarship. Fortunately, I did pretty well on the AFOQT, surprisingly my verbal section was really strong and was actually better than my math. Hopefully that will at least help me out a little in the selection process in the future. Since I was a junior in high school last year, apparently I wasn’t eligible for the 4-year scholarship, so I’m just gonna keep on trying until hopefully I get one, one of these days. If you are considering doing ROTC and you are a senior, I highly recommend applying for the 4 year scholarship as you are under no obligation to the Air Force your freshman year.

On that note, the whole bronchitis thing didn’t mix too well with ROTC. I haven’t missed any ROTC stuff since Lead Lab, but I got totally screwed over for PT. My lungs got really weak from all that coughing, so now I can’t even run a quarter mile until I start wheezing. We had our PFTs (Physical Fitness Test) this week and I had to get a waiver for it because I absolutely could not run. This pissed me off for a couple reasons, one, that I feel like a total quitter, two, I know I could have passed all the events before I got sick and three, I might have to do remedial PT (basically an extra morning of PT every week if you didn’t pass all the events), but I’m still waiting for my flight commander to get back to me on that one.

With all the things I have to do for school and no one to remind me to do them, I’ve gotten way stressed out. I even had a dream the other night that I forgot to go to Lead Lab, and then I got so confused that I also almost forgot to go to my Air Force GMC class. (That class is basically where we learn about military standards and the history of the Air Force, and all that other basic stuff.) It was a pretty bad scene, so I’m gonna make pretty sure that I show up for Lead Lab today.

I know a lot of you will probably be wondering about dorm life and spending so much time with other people that you don’t know. I can be pretty introverted myself, so I understand those of you who require alone time. The first six weeks or so of being here, I hardly had any time to myself. Oddly enough though, I didn’t really feel like I needed it. I used to need some kind of time to myself like once a day, but that need sort of fell away for a while. Plus, your friends really do become like your family. But with more work piling on me, I felt a much greater need to be on my own, but when I was doing a million things at once, it was kinda hard to get people to leave me alone, or to find a quiet place to study. This weekend I basically spent in bed recovering from all the stress. I even spent 15 hours sleeping on Friday night, I was that tired. All I did was read my book, sleep and listen to music. Eventually, I want to start back up learning my languages, too, but I think that’s going to require some more separation from other people.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, ROTC is doing a base visit to Shaw AFB in Charleston, SC. Since it’s all free, I’m strongly considering going. That’s another on the perks of ROTC, free vacations. After that I think I might actually end up going home for a week instead of staying here as planned. It’s going to be really expensive but my mom said she’d pay for it so I guess that’s all good. It’s hard to explain, I’m not homesick, but I still really want to go home. I think it’s basically all the stress of school that makes me want to go somewhere where I can forget about it. Plus, after graduation I won’t have that many opportunities to go home anymore, so I might as well go back while I can.

My goal for the rest of the term is to make a lot more time for productive studying, to have more time to read, because I like reading a lot and it should help me unwind from school stress, and to be more involved in ROTC. Since I got sick I started slacking off with all the optional stuff we do, and I’m not cool with that. I have to keep reminding myself that being in ROTC is a privilegeand I should treat it as such. So we’ll see how all that goes, and if I can actually make time for everything. The main thing in college, like everyone says, is time management. In two weeks, I’ll update you on whether or not I’ve actually had enough discipline to do everything I’m supposed to.

I’d best be going now. With some luck, I’ll have more interesting things to report on next entry. Any questions- you know the drill: kenyonj@erau.edu

‘Til next time!

October 6, 2005

Hey everybody! I’m sorry, I won’t have all that much to report on for this installment as I was sick with bronchitis this past week and definitely have not been up to much. To start off with, though, I’ll just say that taking care of yourself really is as important as people say it is. The past couple weeks I kind of went on thinking that I was invincible, and 0-4 hours of sleep a night for a week would cut it. Not so. Trying to tough it out all the time isn’t always the way to go. With a whole bunch of class hours and PT in the mornings, I didn’t realize that I couldn’t get away with running myself into the ground like that. Anyway, I paid for it, feeling sicker than I have in a while and missing a total of about four days of class.

The thing that sucks about missing class and being in AMS is that because its FAA regulated, you have to make up all the class you missed with extra work. So I’ve got a bunch of make-up work I still have to do before class tomorrow, plus I have to plan out all my classes for the next few years for when I meet with my Air Force class instructor, do my math homework from last week and study for whatever quizzes and tests I missed and those that are coming up. I don’t know about everyone else here, but I definitely had a lot more work in high school than I’ve had here so far, so just because I’m complaining, don’t think it can’t be done.

In other sick day related news, I also had to miss Lead Lab last Monday. Fortunately, since I had numerous notes saying I had bronchitis, I got it excused and have the opportunity to make up the class I missed if I so choose. Basically, there was just no way in hell I was going to stand at attention for twenty minutes in the sun and march around campus with a fever. I also got on MRS for PT, which means I still had to show up, but instead of running and all that, I worked on the computer in the ROTC building.

Finally going back to class was difficult. When you don’t have someone yelling at you that you need to go to school, it can be hard to make yourself do it after having a five day weekend. All in all though, things are going okay. I’ve also gotta say I’m surprised to have gotten responses to my writing so quickly, that’s awesome. Keep ’em coming, I’m glad to hear from you. Once again, you can reach me with questions at kenyonj@erau.edu

September 22, 2005

Hey, everybody! What’s up? I’m an Aviation Maintenance Science major from Issaquah, WA but originally Virginia. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Northwest, which I’m sure many of you are, Issaquah is about 20 miles east of downtown Seattle, and one of the homes of the band Modest Mouse, if you know them. I’m seventeen because I graduated early to make a long story short. I live on the second floor of McKay Hall and am participating in Air Force ROTC. Now that my little intro is done, I’ll get onto the stuff you might want to know.

First up is move-in day. Move-in day for me wasn’t very traditional. My flight left Seattle at 5AM, and I got in to Daytona at 9PM. It was nothing short of exhausting because I had two stops, one in Salt Lake City and the other in Atlanta, and since I flew down by myself I had to be keeping track of all my stuff the whole time even though I never had a chance to go to bed the night before. The trip down was a blast though, and all of you who would be flying down next semester or next year, I definitely recommend coming down by yourself, as that is the way to go. It’s actually a lot less stressful too, because ‘rents tend to freak out last minute about whether or not you have everything. Anyway, when I finally got here, one of my roommates, Tifany, came out to help me get my stuff into our dorm. Since I got here so late I basically missed everything we were supposed to do like residence hall meetings and setting up student accounts and stuff, but that’s basically all that goes on the first day, besides meeting the people on your floor and making friends, obviously. The rest of orientation week, I spent figuring out where everything is (which really isn’t too hard since the campus isn’t very big), and getting adjusted to the new environment. Nothing was really mandatory, so I just went to whatever I felt like going to.

Since I’m in AMS, my deal with classes are pretty different from everyone else’s. I’m doing the A&P part first, so I can get my A&P license, and then finish up all my academics afterwards. I start my AMS classes at 0730 and finish at 1530 every day, but for those of you who think that’s too much class for college, don’t worry because nobody besides us AMS/ROTC people spend that much time in class. For example, when I come back to my dorm to eat at like 1230, my roommate Kerrie hasn’t even left for class yet. In addition, on Mondays I have Lead Lab from 1530-1730 and Wednesdays I have my Air Force class 1530-1630. PT (physical training) for Air Force is Wednesday and Friday 0615-0715, but I’ll get to all that in a bit. Even though my schedule is pretty long, it’s really not that bad at all. I have three AMS classes, 2 of them are 2 hours long and the other is 3 hours long. Since they’re FAA regulated, you can’t be late unless you feel like making class up later, and if you miss more than two days, you automatically fail the course. Skipping class in AMS really isn’t something you want to do. Even though my classes are long, I really don’t mind at all, because 1) I know I’m learning things I am actually gonna need to know, and 2) we get to DO stuff, like go to the hangar and work in lab. We also don’t really have homework, just studying, so basically your performance in class depends on how much time you want to spend studying in your spare time. It sounds stupid coming from me because I have the hardest time sitting myself down to study these days. It’s all good though, I really like what I’m doing.

For the girls, you might think being one of four girls in your classes would be distracting, what with a bunch of guys around all the time, but it really isn’t. I actually think its much more distracting when you’re in classes where the ratio is about half and half, because then you’re all trying to figure what guys you like and all that. But being surrounded by dudes all day, I don’t really even notice them because I’m already really used to them being there that I don’t really even think about it. So that much you don’t have to worry about, I don’t think. Studying on the other hand, like I said, can be difficult when it’s up to you to get your work done and your friends are doing other stuff.

Social life. That was definitely a big concern of mine before I got here. Honestly, I’m still getting used to my schedule so I’ve been too tired or busy to go out much since I’ve gotten here. One of the perks of living on campus, though, is that most of your friends are close by, so hanging out at all hours is no trouble. My second night here, I went to this party with my roommates, and I get at least 3 party invitations a weekend, so this place is by no means dead, especially if you like to have fun. Life is really just what you make it. If you want to have fun, no one’s holding you back. If you are interested in a frat or a sorority… well, let me just put it this way: they won’t give you the opportunity to say you didn’t join because you didn’t know. You’ll know about them, alright. Personally, the whole sorority thing doesn’t interest me at all. One of the nice things about college is that popularity is not at all the hype it was in high school, so you can just be yourself and make really good friends that you have a lot of fun with.

About the area, I haven’t been around Daytona that much since I got here. When I visited last year (Halloween until election day, an ugly time to be in Florida) I went to the beach and stuff with my mom and saw the main touristy stuff, and that was pretty fun. I walked to K-mart about two weekends ago, and I’ll just say Daytona Beach is one of the most pedestrian unfriendly places I have ever heard of, but I made it.

Saving the best for last, ROTC. The first week, I had to get up at 0400 to get to NSOP, but let me tell you, it was worth every second of it. ROTC is one of those things that if you aren’t that into it now, chances are you won’t be later, but I’m absolutely loving it. It’s the highlight of my day. Since my high school didn’t have JROTC and I was too young to ever enlist, I came with minimal knowledge of drill, other than what I learned from watching war movies 24/7, and some pretty bad coordination. Luckily, though, it’s starting to come along alright. Back home when I was thinking about college and ROTC, I thought if one thing was going to turn me off about ROTC, it was going to be the PT. Somehow I couldn’t really imagine waking up at five to run and do calisthenics would be fun, but it so is. The best part is seeing how much farther you can get than you probably thought you could have. Plus, you’re doing it all with your friends, so that can give you a bit of a boost as well. I got Graves’ Disease when I was 11, and one of my many symptoms was that I couldn’t run more than 100 feet to save my life. After I got my medication and everything was straightened out for the most part, I started working on my endurance and running is a lot easier these days. So if you’re thinking you might want to do ROTC but you aren’t looking forward to morning PT, just start running and working out and you’ll be fine. If I can do it, you can do it. For us girls I’d say it’s a pretty good accomplishment to finish, since we have smaller hearts and lungs and everything, and we still do the same stuff as the guys, so we know we’re working harder. The fact that we do the same PT but have different minimum PFT scores is an inconsistency I still haven’t figured out yet, but whatever. PT is a party and a half. I took the AFOQT this morning (by that I mean yesterday because is 0500 and I have yet to go to bed) and it was way too long. It wasn’t all that bad, for the most part it was a lot like the SAT with an easier verbal section. It just kinda sucked because we were told we were going to be taking the new version that was short by comparison but we ended up getting the old one, including sections we were told not to study because they said we wouldn’t be taking them. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this before, but when you’re on a plane after a couple hours, maybe 2, you know how everyone starts coughing all the time and then by the time you’re off the plane you’re feeling all sick? That’s sort of how I felt, so I’m a little congested right now. Other than being longer than I would have liked, it wasn’t too bad.

It is definitely time for bed now, I don’t want to mess myself up too bad for the rest of the week. If any of you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at kenyonj@erau.edu.