Steven

About Steven

Junior

Aerospace Engineering

Age: 20
Hometown: Arcadia, CA

April 12

Greetings Internet Friends,

Welcome to the countdown. We are looking at only three weeks left. If I could in some way explain the excitement and anticipation I am feeling right now I would, but this is just so unreal. I talked about this last time but I am way excited for the next year because I am coming up on the end of my trek towards a Bachelor’s Degree. That is something that is really truly exciting because when you get to this point you realize that you have been going to school for about 15 years and you have almost reached the goal that everyone set for you all those years ago.

Well enough of the day dreaming. Let’s report the news. Three weeks to go folks. I don’t how close you are to the end of your semester, but let me fill you in on college life. Time flies during the semester. In high school, your semester might extend over winter break and even when your semester changes your classes are relatively the same thing every semester. That’s kind of how my high school seemed at least. But, when you get to college it is straight through 16 weeks and out. No slowing down or breaks. The time goes extremely fast and here at Riddle we are on the semester system. Universities on the quarter system only push through 10 weeks and then the quarter is over. All I’m saying is be prepared to hit the ground running when you get to college. If you kick your legs a little before you hit the ground, you have a little momentum built up and you don’t get run over. Either that or tuck and roll. Learn to adapt so that when you enter this different style you just roll with the changes. Okay, those were kind of awkward but I think the point got across. College is fast paced. Be ready for it.

I think the reason I got on that is because I just looked at my schedule and saw things starting to stack up. My classes are beginning to come to a close and final assignments and exams are lurking around the corner. I am fortunate enough that nothing is lining up on top of each other. I will have a steady flow of work for the next few weeks. Next week, I have an advanced engineering math exam early in the week and a thermodynamics exam late in the week. I also have to throw in a couple of homework assignments in the middle there with a Tech Report Writing Paper rough draft due. The week after that I have a resume and cover letter due and preparation for my final exams including one final that might take place on the last class meeting. Then finals for three days and it’s all over. I am really going to have to stay focused and just keep working. There will be stress, oh yes, but this is the time I really enjoy. It’s a time to test my ability to work under pressure. And then when the three push is over, I get that chance to just sit down and take a look back. You look at everything you accomplished and you just feel awesome.

Oh the other thing to take into account when you start to get into finals is how you balance your time and how much you focus on your work. I’m sure you all have had the experiences currently towards the end of the year when your friends start wanting to have fun. The summer is calling to you and there are little fun events around campus involving end of the year celebration. The college scene is amplified ten fold. There are concerts, parties, campus functions, student organization events. Being that I am staying for summer, I can hear that sweet beach calling my name. There have also been tons of other events that are totally exciting. There is a concert coming up this weekend hosted by Touch ‘N Go. If I remember correctly, country music star Gary Allan will be performing. I’m not exactly a country music fan but the concert environment is always a great time. The University Block Party Event is coming up as well. I have never been to one but I’m told it is a lot of fun and from the sounds of all the activities and events planned I’m sure it will be a great day. Last week we went to the Up ‘Til Dawn Finale event which is a 7PM to 7AM party in the University Center. A lot of fun and I encourage you to join in the event not only for the fun, but also for the cause. I seriously encourage you to consider getting involved with Up ‘Til Dawn and at the very least, attend their events. These along with all the events of the other student organizations you get involved with provide for a really busy social life. Remember to stay on top of your work because that is why you are spending all this money to be here after all.

As far as what I have been up to, I will be attending that concert this weekend. I am currently working on my application to become a Morale Captain for Up ‘Til Dawn. I am also starting to get involved with ERFSEDS (Embry-Riddle Future Space Explorers and Developers Society). I am also preparing for my move off campus. That is a big deal. When the first semester was over, I just had to pack up some clothes to take home with me. This time, I have to pack up everything I own which now includes some furniture I bought throughout the year. Fortunately the move is only down the street to an apartment and not all the way back to California. Oh yea, my apartment. It’s pretty sweet. I will be living with Cat and we have been accepted and left our deposit so the apartment is ours. We will be here all Summer taking Summer session courses and working.

It is now 11PM and for the first time all year, I am going to get to bed on a Wednesday night before midnight. This is a good sign. I hope all is well with everyone. If anyone is taking a tour or visiting the campus and you see me around, stop me and say hi.

Until we meet again,
Steve

March 29

Welcome back friends!

We have begun our final leg of the journey. We are now one month away from the end of my first year here at Embry-Riddle. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I am totally excited to be done with this year. This has nothing to do with Riddle. It has everything to do with the things to come in the next year or so.

First of all, I am now finishing my third year of college. Although I am not right on track to graduate in four years, I am still looking at the end of my college career and it is definitely approaching fast. If I work hard and stay on track, I should graduate in 4 years. That sets me to graduate during the Fall 2008 semester. It is really exciting to see all this work finally approaching the reward I’ve been working for. I am also looking forward to this next year because I will be moving off campus into my own apartment again. As I have said many times before, Campus housing is great, but nothing beats the freedom of your own place.

As far as current events go, I am working hard to keep up with all my work. This last week has been rather difficult. Coming back from Spring Break always is. You go from not having any schedule or work to do, to being right back in your normal routine. It is a hard transition. This year was especially difficult. I went out with a few friends the Monday night after we got back and we ended up in a crisis that was not anticipated. We ended up staying awake almost all night, which was not at all what we intended to do. We worked out the situation, but as a result of the energy and lack of sleep, I ended up getting sick. I spent all of Tuesday and Wednesday in bed trying to recover from my illness and this put me way behind. I was finally able to get to class on Thursday and turn in homework and get caught up. However, I took a hit in the energy department in the process. A lesson can be learned here I think. You will have to excuse my language, but sometimes sh*t happens. Sometimes you just can’t control a situation and it completely throws off your plans. You have to learn to work around an issue and make things work, even if that requires missing a day or two to recover from an illness. If you relax, gather your thoughts and work through the hard time, you will eventually get caught up. By the way, this process may result in a few late nights. That’s enough about that.

Spring Break was awesome. I turned 21 so as you can imagine, there was a bit of a celebration here. I’ll be honest, I did buy alcohol and I did drink. It was a great time and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. Another lesson here. Whether or not you choose to drink or party is your business. If you choose to drink/party, do so responsibly. Always drink responsibly, always designate a driver, and never do anything that could potentially risk your life or the lives of anybody you encounter. Just be smart about the situation. Back to me. So I did enjoy my Spring Break and I am going to be meeting my brother in Las Vegas in a few weeks to fully embrace my new found legality.

Well, that is about it for now. I have to get some rest so that I stay healthy for the next few weeks. They are going to be crazy. Four weeks left and I have at least one exam and one final in each class. That along with trying to find an internship or job for the Summer and planning my courses for the Fall. Trying to squeeze in some fun on the weekends including the Up ‘Til Dawn Finale Event and hanging out with friends. This month is going to be nuts! (That means awesome)

Until Next Time, Stay Cool
Steve

March 13

Hey Folks.

The End is in sight. We are about to leave for Spring Break, which is a real reality check as to how close we are to the end of the semester. This is the last week before we get a nice break from our routine lives. When we get back, there are only fives weeks left and then we are done. It is going to fly by. With this in mind though, I must note that these last two weeks have been a little bit tiring because of all the midterms I have been taking. I have had exams in almost every single class. And two weeks after we get back, I have more exams. It is really pushing but it keeps me on my toes. All those exams returned good results and I have set myself up for a good end to the semester.

Looking ahead academically, I have registered for summer session courses, which I did mention last journal. I have a little advice for those of you who ever decide to take summer session courses. If you register for courses, keep an eye on the capacity of the class. I learned from my advisor that the courses have to have around 10 students for the class to run. If not, that section is closed. I am beginning to realize I may have to rearrange my summer schedule because one of the courses I am registered for is most likely going to close for this very reason. Other than that, everything in that department is going well. I am waiting to see information about registering for the fall semester. This next year is going to be really exciting because I am approaching the higher level courses for the aerospace engineering degree and that makes me, being the dork that I am, very excited. Also, look sharp for news about Riddle switching to a 4-day school week. I have heard rumors about the university switching to this format for various reasons. It would be nice to always have 3-day weekends.

For those of you who don’t know, Bike Week just ended here in Daytona. It was cool to see a lot of awesome bikes, but the constant traffic and change in atmosphere around town was a pain. Not much to say about Bike Week except that you need to be careful both as an automobile driver or a motorcycle rider. I am sad to report that a Riddle student was involved in a motorcycle accident this past Sunday and he passed away. It is a tragedy and our hearts go out to his loved ones. Today, I also watched an accident unfold right in front of me. A motorcycle was cruising down Clyde Morris, just north of the campus, and a car pulled out right in front of him. He could not react in time and struck the back of the car flipping his bike and his body over the top and down the street. I have not heard anything on his current condition but he was fortunate enough that this occurred right in front of Halifax Medical Center and an ambulance, EVAC vehicle, and nurse just happened to be behind him headed toward the hospital. These situations are terrible and I can only hope that you heed my warning. Be Careful while driving and riding. Your life, along with the lives of everyone around you, hangs in the balance.

That was a sad note. On to something more cheerful. I went to the beach today for the first time since the beginning of the semester and it was beautiful outside. It was literally the perfect day to say hello to the ocean again. Random news, I have started working out again. I used to go to the gym every night back in California. I have been slacking so much since I got here and I am beginning to not like the way I look. So, I am finally getting back into shape. To go along with this, I got a sweet new case for my ipod and new earplugs to listen to music while running. The earplugs are sweet because they cancel out noise and enhance bass, just trust me on this one guys, its rockin’.

Most recently I have just been focusing on course work and there has been a lot of it. Keep sending me your emails with questions. I am glad that I can respond to your concerns and answer any questions you may have. Again, I apologize if I take a long time to respond. Give me some time, I try and answer as many as possible in between classes and homework and you can always post your questions on the discussion board. I hope everything is well with everyone and your families. Make sure to stop by in two weeks for my next journal.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and enjoy your Spring Break, whenever that may be.

Until next time

Peace Easy

February 26

Hello Again Internet Friends

I am so relieved that we are approaching Spring Break. That may seem like I am starting to celebrate prematurely, but I am just getting excited for that time of year. Over the last two weeks I took an exam in all 5 classes and did crazy amounts of homework. Now that I am done with those I am relaxing for a little bit. Although, I do have another two exams coming up very quickly, so the relaxation may be short lived. I have a Thermodynamics exam on Friday and an Advanced Engineering Mathematics exam on Monday. So much studying will be done between now and then.

In other news, but still along the education line, I will be registering for Summer Session courses this Wednesday. I am actually very excited about this because I am going to be getting back on track. My first two years of college I did not take as many credit hours as I could have each semester. So I was slightly behind. However, now that I am taking courses during the summer, I am back on track to graduate on time. It is definitely a good feeling. The other nice thing to think about is the idea of being able to get back into an apartment off campus again. I like the freedom of being in my own apartment.

Outside of classes, it has not been too eventful, though I have had a couple of fun weekends. Two weekends back, my brother visited me from California. That was a great weekend. It was awesome to see family and hang out all weekend. This past weekend, we worked the Daytona 500 – that was freezing cold and miserable. Well, let me specify, working in the morning in 45 degree weather was miserable. If you saw the race, you know how awesome it was and what a great ending to the race there was. That was a fun weekend mainly because it was a long weekend.

On a side note, I wanted to thank all of the people that have read my journals and emailed me with questions. It is always appreciated when you find out your writings can help other people get a full grasp of the university. I apologize if you have written me recently and I haven’t responded yet. I try to respond to everyone as quickly as possible in between my studying schedule. Keep sending your questions: vonkr497@erau.edu or post them on the discussion board.

Oh and one more note since I mentioned summer session courses. If you decide, once you have been here, to take summer session courses, always consider all your options. If you just need to take lower level humanities courses, consider taking them at a smaller community college. I am not speaking against the university. I am simply trying to save you some money in the long run. By taking lower level courses at a community college, you can save money per credit hour, speed up your graduation time, and maybe even open up room in your course schedule for a minor. Now, when you get to the upper level courses, I recommend you take them at your primary university. This is mainly because most community colleges won’t offer the upper level courses in an engineering specific degree and even if they do, you are better off taking them at your primary university. That is just my bi-weekly college advice for this journal.

I hope all is well with everyone and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Steve

February 14

The speed at which time passes when you are immersed in the events of a semester is simply mind-boggling. We are already one month into the semester and I can hardly believe how fast the time has come and gone. In just two and a half short months, the semester will be over and I will have completed my first year at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Not to mention I will be so close to being done with my degree. That is terribly exciting. Well, let me feel you in on the recent events around Riddle.

School has been relatively uneventful because I have been so focused on classes for these first couple of weeks. I’m taking a relatively large class load and I am trying to stay on top of all my work. Actually, the most eventful activity of the last week was the Up Til Dawn Date Auction. It’s an annual event on campus that the organization Up Til Dawn hosts to raise money for St. Jude’s Hospital. All the proceeds of the event go to that charity. I was actually fortunate enough to attend that event and I also won a date by bidding during the event. It was a lot of fun and I’m sure the date is going to be loads of fun. The more important fact is that the money goes to a terrific charity and I was happy to contribute.

On the weekends, we have been just trying to relax and enjoy ourselves. We just play poker and hang out around Daytona Beach. The prospect of events and weekends to come is looking really great. We have the Daytona 500 coming up this weekend at which many ERRSA members and myself will be working. We work the morning events and then we get to watch the end of the race. After that I have a friend coming to visit me in Daytona Beach for the weekend. That weekend is going to be followed by a weekend camping trip with friends. I don’t go into much detail about these other events because the most important to me is that I am going to be turning 21 years old on the 23rd of March. It is really going to be awesome. I am looking forward to the day when I am no longer considered underage.

Unfortunately, this week’s entry is going to be rather short because I am swamped with studying for exams at the end of the week. I have both a solids and aerodynamics exam this Friday. So I am thrilled to death about all the reading I am doing. Before I close this entry, I do have one piece of advice about the start of new classes. When you start a new course every semester, take the time and be especially aware of the teaching style and speed of your professors. Each class will be different and you will have to adjust your approach for every class. Make sure you determine what it is going to take to pass your classes. If you establish customized and strictly defined study habits for every class at the beginning of the semester, you will be much more successful than you might originally think.

That’s all for this week. I hope all is well with everyone and keep your eyes on the weather and hope for the best for us here in Daytona Beach. We have had some nasty storms recently, but today is sunny and in the 70’s.

Until next time, thanks for stopping by.

January 30

. . . And the ball is rolling.

We are moving into a normal routine here at Riddle and everything is starting to settle down. We have been in classes for two weeks total and I am starting to get a feel for how much time I am going to have to allocate to each of my classes. Actually, I am quite surprised about how I am handling it so far. I am taking 18 credit hours this semester which is slightly over a full load. I thought that I was going to be weighted down really badly and already crying in a corner by now, but so far it seems like I will be okay. I have a lot of great professors, along with some interesting ones. For the most part, my classes should be awesome. It is really exciting to go to classes and, instead of just working through general ideas and concepts, get to work on real world application problems. When you finally get to apply all this knowledge to a real wing or aircraft problem, it makes you think that maybe the fifty million headaches you had in physics were worth it

Besides having good classes, I actually have fallen into a funk (funk is good in my dictionary) with lots of friends. When I first got here to Riddle I was tentatively moving into a freshman dorm since I already had two year of college under my belt and I was two years older then anyone living next to me. But I have soon come to find that these friends I couldn’t do without. We hang out on the weekends, eat together throughout the day, study together, play poker on the weekends and get together during the week to watch out favorite television shows. It has definitely become an environment I love. The other great aspect at Riddle regarding friends is that there are tons of people around you that share your same interests. What I am getting at is that outside my hall I also have some buddies that have been crucial to my education. I first met them in ERRSA (Embry-Riddle Resident Student Association) last semester where we realized we all had the same classes. So along with studying and doing homework together all the time, they are a great bunch of guys to hang around with on and off campus.

We just had the student activities fair last week and that is definitely an important part of your college experience. When I attended the California State University, Long Beach, then University President Dr. Robert Maxon told me that “If all you do is go to class, you aren’t getting a full education.” I learned very quickly how true that is and I will do everything I can to express to each new student I meet how incredibly important it is to get involved around campus. You meet tons of people, learn how to socialize in professional and casual scenarios, and most of the time you are participating in an activity you love. We have everything here and I promise you will find something you love. Take me for example. I just joined up with ERFSEDS (Embry-Riddle Future Space Explorers and Developers Society), the firearms enthusiasts club, and the skydiving club. All completely different interests yet all totally awesome organizations. Tell you what, if you are nervous about it when you get here, find me and I will gladly go around with you to look at the organizations.

What else has been going on . . . Super Bowl Sunday is coming up! Woohoo, even though the Saints won’t be there. I am totally excited for the launch scheduled for March this year. Daytona 500 is also coming up which is sweet. The Rolex 24 hour race just happened this weekend which was really fun and the Daytona 500 is coming up and it will be the first time I have ever attended. I’m really stoked about that. The only other thing is that Spring Break is quickly approaching. I know what you are thinking, it’s only January and I am thinking about spring break already. Hey, it comes up fast and I want to have an awesome time. Hopefully, if I can find a cheap trip, I want to head to Germany and the Netherlands to get in touch with some of my ancestry. I also have tons of friends who have coincidently decided to come to Daytona Beach this year for Spring Break. I wonder why? But that will be awesome because I will get to see my friends.

Other than that, classes aren’t too crazy yet and I am enjoying the material. Friends are great and I have a couple of great weekends coming up. Oh yea, I just was thinking about the weekend when all prospective students are invited to the campus. I believe it is called Preview Day, at it will be held April 14. If you read this and are planning on attending, make sure to stop me and say hello if you notice me. It would be great to see that my journals are read and see that they actually have helped some future Riddle students.

That’s all for now. Time to get some math homework done. As always, if you have any questions, comments or just want to here about some aspect of Riddle that I haven’t mentioned, shoot me an email at vonkr497@erau.edu <mailto:vonkr497@erau.edu> .

Until next time, stay cool.

January 17

Happy New Year!

Welcome back to Embry-Riddle for the Spring 2007 Semester. We are finally back after an extended Winter Break. What an amazing break it was. However, I do have some sad news. For those of you who don’t know, the Daytona Beach campus was struck by a tornado on Christmas Morning. The path of the tornado cut straight through the center of campus causing extensive damage to many structures including Spruance Hall, ICI center, an entire fleet of aircraft and one totaled maintenance hangar. It was unfortunate occurrence that damaged many buildings, but also so very fortunate that classes were not in session. The results of a tornado striking while students and faculty on campus would be devastating. There is something to be said, however, about the coordination and excellence in the faculty of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Shortly after the damage was done, the university administration started work to recover the losses the campus sustained. It is my understanding that emergency plans were in place for such an occasion including insurance, relocation possibilities, and recovery procedures. Companies were contacted, contractors were called in, and the staff was alerted. After pushing back the start of the semester one week to allow for extra time to prepare for the arrival of students, the campus was cleaned up, buildings and offices were restored or relocated, and staff prepared for the loss of a few days of instruction. It is also my understanding that 55 of the 57 aircraft lost to the weather were quickly replaced before the semester began to allow for flight training to continue. The amount of work that was accomplished in the short amount of allotted time is just amazing and is definitely applauded.

So, as unfortunate as it was to see the campus sustain a heavy loss, it did mean one very important thing to the students: One extra week of vacation. We ended up getting a little more time at home with friends and family before returning back to school. That was especially nice because it was time I got to spend relaxing and recovering from all the fun I had before trying to focus on my classes. If you read my earlier journals, you might remember that one of my hall mates, Boris from Bulgaria, returned to California with me. So, while he was staying with my family, I did my best to show him as much of Cali as I possibly could. There were some interesting adventures to be shared, but I will try and point out some of the major events.

First of all, we had to see the one of the keystones of Southern California and more specifically Hollywood. So, the first thing we did was visit the Hollywood sign. Actually, that’s a lie. The first thing we did was fall asleep for almost 18 hours straight. One of the things you might find in college life is that your body miraculously pushes through many long nights and days with very little sleep. However, that sleep depravation usually catches up with you at about the moment your butt touches that comfortable bed or sofa at home. Your mind finally relaxes, unless you had borderline grades, and your body just lets go. Probably some of the best sleep you will ever get. Then we woke up and ate a wonderful home-cooked meal (thank you mommy), and just hung out the rest of the evening. Then, the next day we went to see the Hollywood sign. A staple in the outside world’s view of Hollywood and the movie business. I give a word of caution to all those who intend to see the Hollywood sign at least once in their lives. You know how in the movies, sometimes they show the sign at night and it is all lit up. Yea, not true. If you try and see it at night, you are going to be looking at a very dark hillside. Go during the day. Trust me. By the way, we considered trying to transport the W of the sign to Riddle to place on top of Wood Hall, but we thought better to just leave it where it was. But, if you were thinking of getting out to the West Coast to see it, you better do it soon because you never know when it might just spring up in Florida.

We visited a lot of the other icons of LA and Hollywood as well. We stopped by the Mann’s Chinese Theater and the courtyard where the celebrities put their hands in the cement. Another note, the size of that place is very deceiving. On television, it appears that the courtyard is huge but I can cross from the sidewalk to the entrance in about 15 to 20 normal steps. We saw the Walk of Fame, the Kodak Theater the Two giant elephant statues in the Hollywood and Highland Plaza. Rodeo Drive (where that jerk Ron Jeremy cut me off in traffic), the Sunset Strip, and many celebrity homes.

We also tried to visit as many of the beach cities as possible. This way my friend could say he had seen both the Pacific and Atlantic in one month. We visited many of the locations frequently used for filming including Paramount studios, Disney Studios, Universal Studios, and many of the locations where that show The OC is filmed. We also took the time to go to Universal Studios Theme Park, which was awesome because I haven’t been there in a long time. The rides were awesome and the tour is really sweet because you get to see a lot of the buildings used in movies.

Then there was Christmas. What to say about Christmas . . . ? Such an interesting holiday with my family. First of all, we celebrate Christmas differently on different sides of the family. On my Dad’s side, we celebrate on Christmas Eve. We get together in the evening, stuff our faces with food, socialize and then open some presents. It is definitely an interesting encounter. I am not trying to put my family down at all. I actually quite enjoy the time specifically because of my Grandfather. One, because I don’t see him that often. Two, because conversations with him are awesome. When you talk with my Grandpa, you know it is going to be fun. Sometimes you get a war story or a story about my father when he was young. Other times he wants to know all about your life. The typical questions: How are you doing? How is school? Are you working? When are you going to get married and give me some grandchildren? That’s the best one I think. But seriously, my grandfather is awesome. My family would not be here if it weren’t for him. Then on my mother’s side, it was a small Christmas this year. We celebrate on Christmas day. This year however, my aunt and her family were in Denmark with her husband’s family. So, it was just my family, my uncle and my grandmother. That is also an interesting evening. The schedule is typically the same. Eating, socializing and a few gifts, but that is not the most fun. The most fun comes during two parts of the evening. Jeopardy and conversations between my Mom and Grandmother. First of all, Jeopardy is just awesome so don’t even try and put it down. If you don’t like it, it’s because you can’t keep up with us smart people, ha-ha. The other fun is listening to my Mother and Grandmother converse and seeing how much of the conversation you can understand because they go back and forth between Spanish and English. Now, my siblings and I aren’t dumb, but we never took to learning other languages very well. So, it’s always fun to listen in on the conversations and see which of us could survive best in Mexico were we to be abandoned there. The holidays are totally awesome with my family and like I said, interesting.

After the holidays, we took to a much more leisurely lifestyle. We went to a Kings hockey game that was awesome. Sports don’t get much better than fighting, coming back from behind and evening the game, and then winning in a shootout. Hockey rules. A couple of days later we headed to the mountains for some snowboarding. It was Boris’ first time and he actually did really well. That’s another reason California rules. It’s one of the only places I know of that you can go snowboarding for the first half of the day and two hours later go surfing for the second half of the day. Nothing beats that deal.

Ummm . . . . . New Year . . . . . it was cool . . . . . I had a lot of fun with all my friends . . . . . let’s just leave it at that.

A couple of hockey games and movies later and it was time to leave. We packed up all of our stuff and then some. Loaded the cars and headed for the airport. It really was an awesome break. I loved spending time with my family and hanging out at home with friends again. At the same time, I missed my friends and this university. I was definitely ready to come home. Yea, Riddle is my home. I spend two thirds of the year here so it counts as home. One day of recovery time and it was back to classes. I had two today and it was awesome to get back. Then I realized all the work ahead of me and it wasn’t so awesome anymore. I have tons of friends and support though so it should be just fine.

We have a lot to look forward to this semester. Speed Week, another scheduled shuttle launch, Spring Break and good times with friends. It is definitely going to be interesting to experience the spring semester on the East Coast and I hope you come back to experience it with me.

Oh yea, a note I forgot up top. When you have to change your flight in an emergency like a tornado. They will try and charge obscene amounts of money to change the day. Fight them until the death about it. They may charge you just because ticket prices have gone up, but don’t give in to the $50 change date fee. Beg, worship, kiss ass, cry or do whatever it takes. Trust me, they give up eventually. Not because they feel you deserve the waiver for the fee. They just want you to shut up, but it works.

I hope everyone had a great holiday and I look forward to sharing a successful semester with you. Until next time, don’t take any wooden nickels and never pay too much for gas.

Respectfully,

Steve

December 11

Welcome back my virtual friends and thank you for joining me once again for the last leg of my Riddle Experiences in the year 2006.

That’s right, the countdown is on. T- 3 Finals and counting. We are in our final days here just waiting for the end to come at last. As I write this, I have already taken one final that was easier then I expected. It was a departmental final for EGR 115, which is a C programming course. I was very pleased with the ease of this exam because it was a multiple-choice exam.

Let me tell you a little something about department exams. They aren’t your friends. Lots of times they are multiple choice exams that allow no room to earn credit for all the work used to solve a problem. There are also too many discrepancies between classes. Some classes cover too much, some don’t cover enough. My personal opinion is that all classes should have finals tailored to what was covered in that specific course.

I understand that in some courses, like lower level calculus and physics, the departments need to make sure that every student understands basic principles before they can proceed. Hence, a standardized, department final is applicable. However, I think that in some cases a class may be rushed to cover enough information, if they were moving slowly in the first place, and the students may not be able to fully comprehend the vital principles if they understand them at all.

However, at the same time, this is college. Part of the challenge behind college is not only learning all the details about your field of study, but also learning to deal with a bunch of crap throughout the process. This is just one of those situations. That’s just my two cents. What’s the lesson to be learned here: Go to class, study hard and pray you have an easy finals week.

So in my last entry I said I would have some tips and advice for how to keep yourself moving in the weeks leading up to finals. First of all, listen to me now and hear me later: You need to keep up with your classes all semester long.

Many of you freshmen will be enrolled in an introduction to engineering course that does involve a project or two. Do not wait to work on those. I have many freshman friends on my hall. Some of them worked on their projects all semester long and were fine. Others waited too long and regretted the decision later. I myself pushed back a final programming project and ended up sitting in the programming lab for 11 hours straight. Not one of my finer moments.

Here at Riddle you will learn to pull through no matter how much you procrastinate but believe me, the road is much less toilsome if you stay on track from day 1. Hell, even day 2 or 3. Just don’t wait until day 30 or 35 to start trying. That goes along with what I mentioned last journal about managing your time. Keep yourself balanced and on track.

Some other advice is never work on one thing for too long. This especially applies if you are having trouble arriving at a correct solution. Lots of times you need to take a step back for at least a couple of hours. If you are having problems, set down whatever it is you are working on, get some shut-eye and then try working on it again.

I was working on my Fluids project. We were trying a solution with an equation that should have been correct but our answers kept coming out wrong. It was late and we were tired so we decided to call it quits for the night. We came back to it the next day and realized that our equation was off because it was including a portion of area that we didn’t need examine. Sometimes all you need is a little rest.

Once I got past those weeks, I got a little break and we all had the opportunity of a lifetime. As you may or may not know, STS-116: Discovery launched this past Saturday. It was the first night launch in over 4 years.

It was actually scheduled for Thursday night but was scrubbed because of weather restrictions. Okay, first of all, to see any launch is an amazing event. We were lucky enough to witness a night launch, which was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. From where we were, we could see the lights from the pad, but it was still pitch black outside. The anticipation was incredible. Everyone around was totally stoked to be there and ready for the launch. The show that preceded the ignition of the main engine was incredible. At first, fire and smoke shot out sideways for probably the most expensive fire show to ever exist, and then the sun rose over the horizon. No Joke. When the shuttle was full power and beginning to lift off, I could have believed that the sun was rising. Night turned to day and the shuttle went rocketing into the night. If you ever get a chance to witness a launch, do not miss it. You will totally regret it if you do. I would not have traded this experience for anything.

Well, for this semester I think it’s time to bring this entry to a close. I have to finish preparations for three more exams. Oh, and for those of you who remember, I was moved off of Wood Hall into Adams this semester. As of the Spring Semester, I will again be a resident of Wood Hall. Exciting stuff for everyone involved. So I also have to go start packing.

I hope you have all had a prosperous year and happy holidays. Next we meet, it will be the year 2007 and I look forward to the opportunity to write about my holiday adventures.

My best wishes for a happy holiday and a wonderful new year.
Respectfully, Steven von Kriegenbergh

November 28

Hello again and welcome to the beginning of the end. There are now officially two and a half weeks left in the semester. What does this mean? It means PANIC! I’m not actually freaking out, but I do have a ton of work to get done in the next two weeks before finals.

First of all, I have to complete my engineering programming project. I am working on a program that asks for an ammunition type and rifle type and then it returns velocity, distance and accuracy results for that specific combination of ammo and gun. It’s a relatively simple program to write but takes a lot of time to create all the necessary files and functions for it to operate properly. The other project I have to finish is for my Fluid Mechanics course. It is basically two problems that I need to solve. However, much of the information needed to solve them must be researched away from class time and from outside sources. Once those are done I will be a little less stressed out. Then all I have to worry about are my very difficult finals.

I found out that I have three finals on one day. At least I think I do. I’m not 100% sure for the time being. But I think I have three finals on Tuesday of finals week and one final on Wednesday of finals week. Then I am home free and ready for a flight back to California. Finals are going to be nuts as far as studying for them goes. I will just be happy to get through them and move to winter break. By the way, I think now is a good time to express how important time management is for college success. You know how all your life your teachers and instructors tell you to learn to manage your work efficiently. They were serious. You need to learn to manage your time wisely. I have something due every day of this week. It makes your life much less stressful if you divide your attention appropriately throughout the week. To go along with that, make sure that a part of what you schedule during tough times is a little bit of fun. Working for 8 hours straight is very draining. You do not want to do it, trust me. Take for example Monday night. I will be studying and doing homework for Tuesday and Wednesday, but at 2100 hours I will be taking a break for one hour to watch the show Heroes with my friends. It will just make time flow more smoothly. I will be studying pretty hard over the next few weeks and I will let you in on any mistakes or tips I discover in my next journal entry.

On to events outside of class. Thanksgiving, although a nice break from class, was possibly the most boring week I have ever experienced in my entire life. The campus was completely empty and there was nothing to do. Many of the campus based food sources were closed or on very limited hours. My parents were kind enough to arrange a turkey dinner from Winn-Dixie market, but the store unexpectedly closed early (even earlier then their holiday hours) and we were unable to retrieve this dinner on Thanksgiving Day. So those of us that were left went scrounging around for food and the car ended up at Denny’s. Let me first say, I did not eat there. You know when you watch a movie about Thanksgiving or Christmas and the Dad screws up dinner or something just goes wrong. Then the whole family ends up at Denny’s, because it is the only place open, and it is just the most depressing thing ever. I could not bring myself to live out that infamous scenario and decided to not eat there. I ended up eating waffles back at the residence hall. We did end up picking up the turkey dinner the next day and having a great meal the next day. It was actually really nice because they gave us a full turkey. Although I recommend making sure you have the proper preparation tool for turkey because it is not easy to carve a turkey with plastic knives.

To summarize the week, I watched a lot of movies (both DVD’s and Riddle Vision), I beat “Call of Duty 3” for Xbox 360, and I slept a whole lot. By the way, when you live on campus, watch Riddle Vision and rent movies from ERRSA. It will save you a lot of money on movie rentals and provide recent popular movies for your viewing pleasure.

If I could suggest one thing about Turkey Day, it would be to go home for the Holiday. This is especially important the first year. If you can’t make it the next years then so be it, but try and get home the first year. It is important to enjoy time with your family who you have been away from for a long time.

That’s all for now. I hope everyone had a great holiday and a great next two weeks. Check back for another update in two weeks and if you want to see some pictures from this past week and have a Facebook, then look me up for an insight into the holiday on campus.

Until next time, Good Afternoon, Good Evening and Goodnight

November 13

Woohoo! The end is in sight!

Welcome Back To Riddle Folks! The end of the semester is fast approaching and it shows in every person on campus. Everybody is looking forward to Thanksgiving and their chances to go home for the holidays. However, it is a sad time for some students including myself. I will not be able to attend Thanksgiving back in California with my family. Unfortunately, the round-trip ticket to get home and back would have cost about $700. Don’t get me wrong. I love my family and they love me, but not that much. On a serious note though, I will miss my family this season and I look forward to getting to see them over Winter Break. But have no fear my online journal friends, 2,600 miles and $700 is not going to completely ruin my Holiday. There are many other students staying on campus including my totally awesome friend from Bulgaria, Boris. It will be his first Thanksgiving and we plan to show him all the traditions. We will also probably spend time hanging out around town and playing video games because video games rock! After Thanksgiving, our sights will be set on Winter Break, which I am very stoked about. Why? Because winter means snow and snow means snowboarding. That’s enough of that for now because it is making me wish I were back on the slopes already.

On to current events, I was moved off of Wood Hall this past week. I am officially a resident of Adams Hall 3rd Floor now. To be completely honest with you, I am split about how this situation was handled. For those of you who don’t know yet, many of the rooms on Adams and Wood Halls were tripled at the beginning of the semester. Throughout the semester the Department of Housing and Residence Life has been “de-tripling” the rooms and moving students around. I personally do not agree with breaking students away from their halls and the relationships they have built because it breaks up the social fabric for that student. However, I understand that they are trying to give each student what they paid for and that includes a room with only two residents occupying it. The other fact is that the policy states that whichever student turned in their paperwork last would be moved. So, I understand the situation and it teaches me to get my paperwork in order sooner next time. It was an unfortunate situation but I feel I am adapting well. I spend a lot of my time back on Wood Hall 5th Floor still because that is where all my friends are. I will admit that I do enjoy having more space in my new room to store all my stuff. I do not feel as cramped anymore and I am sure that this whole situation will work out for the best.

As far as the past two weeks are concerned, not too much has been happening. ERRSA just finished Residence Hall Week where we planned a weeks worth of events for the students. We have gone out and about around the city on the weekends. I have been looking into off-campus housing for next Fall. On-campus housing is not that bad, I am just used to having my own room and being able to do what I want, when I want. Hence, next year I will be living off-campus.

I also have been preparing to register for my classes for the Spring Semester. This is actually a very exciting time because I really feel like I am starting to get away from the general education part of college and into the meat and potatoes of aerospace engineering. My planned courses for next semester are Technical Report Writing, Advanced Engineering Mathematics I, Aerodynamics, Thermodynamics, Solid Mechanics, and Space Mechanics. Picking which courses to take is the easy part. Now I just have to find a schedule that is not too taxing on my health (by that I mean 8am classes) and with highly recommended professors. I will let you know how that all goes next journal entry.

Oh, and a side note. You should see The Prestige. That movie is freaking awesome. If you like movies that make you think, that movie is for you. I liked it so much, I am now reading the novel it is based on.

That’s all for now. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving Holiday. My next journal entry will be delivered right after the Holiday. Enjoy your family and make sure you take the time to acknowledge all the wonderful people and advantages you have in your lives. Never take your loved ones for granted and make the best of every thing and second you have.

Make sure to check back for my next entry. Same Bat Time! Same Bat Channel!