Rachel

About Rachel

Sophomore

Aerospace Engineering with minor in Space Studies

University 101 Peer Mentor, Orientation Team Ambassador, National Panhellenic Conference Recruitment Counselor, Sorority Life Member, Secretary of Project Haiti. Born and raised in Orlando, Florida. Loves Disney, Netflix and eating sushi.

Greek Week Recap

The craziest week of any fraternity or sorority member’s life has finally come to a close!

For those of you have no idea what I’m talking about – I’m talking about Greek Week! This week takes place every spring semester and consists of different events that each fraternity and sorority can participate in to show pride for their organization. Think of it like a mini version of the Olympics! So all of the sororities go against each other in the events, and the winners of each event get points so they can become Greek Week Champions. This was a crazy year for my sorority, Sigma Sigma Sigma, because we were defending our title.

Day #1: Tug-of-War

The first event of Greek Week was the classic game of Tug-of-War. Each fraternity and sorority created a team of five of their strongest members to go against other teams. Each team stands on opposite sides of the same rope, and as you would expect, they pull until the loser’s flag passes the pole. Tri Sigma’s team lost the first round to Theta Phi Alpha, but won the second round against Alpha Xi Delta, so we ended up placing second in Tug-of-War!IMG_1584

Day #2: Bubble Soccer

Bubble Soccer was the one event I was supposed to participate in! Bubble Soccer is just like regular soccer, except each person has to wear a giant bubble suit. This is entertaining because if people get too close, they start bouncing off one another! Unfortunately for us, the weather on this day wasn’t very permitting, so Bubble Soccer ended up being canceled.

Day #3: Boat Race

My favorite event in Greek Week has to be the Boat Race because it requires athletic skill and creativity. Each team has to construct a boat that they will be able to paddle across the pool without it falling apart. The team with the fastest time out of two attempts wins first place! My roommate Sierra was the one who made our boat, and she was also one of people to ride in it, along with Clare, one of our new members. During their first attempt, the boat capsized. Luckily, we had the chance at a second attempt! Sierra decided to go in the boat alone this time, which was good because it meant less weight, but it also meant less power. Somehow she was able to use both of her arms to paddle and she KILLED it! Because of Sierra’s smarts, we won first place in the Boat Race!

Day #4: Chariot Race

The Chariot Race – when the engineers at Embry-Riddle are truly put to the test. This race is very similar to the Boat Race, but instead of a boat, each team has to make a “chariot”. Not only do they have to make a chariot, but they must also have someone ride in it. This was our weakest event by far. Our team’s chariot broke on our first attempt, so we ended up placing in third.IMG_1579

Day #5: Softball Game, Dime & Rice Wars

The last day of Greek Week consisted of the Women’s Softball Game, which also celebrated Alpha Xi Delta’s Light It Up Blue week! In order for each organization to get points for their team, they need a certain percentage of their members to attend the game. Although we had a great turn out from our sorority, it wasn’t enough to make us the Greek Week champions and we ended up placing in second. But although we weren’t the overall winners for Greek Week this year, we did win in other aspects, which brings me to the Dime and Rice Wars…

Rice Wars was put on by one of the fraternities, Lambda Chi Alpha. Because their philanthropy is Feeding America, they decided to award points to the fraternity and sorority that brought in the most pounds of rice, so that it could be donated to a local food bank. Tri Sigma went rice crazy and we donated over 800 pounds of rice! It felt great knowing that our contributions would be feeding hungry families.IMG_5573IMG_1503

Dime Wars is when each organization has a bucket and earns points for every dime that is put in. The catch is that anything that isn’t a dime subtracts points. This was the craziest part of the week, because people were bringing in hundreds of dollars in dimes. The best thing about Dime Wars was that the money in each bucket went to that organizations philanthropy. At the end of the week, Sigma Sigma Sigma raised $680 for our philanthropy, the Robbie Page Memorial Fund, which supports play therapy for children in hospitals.

So although Sigma Sigma Sigma got second place in Greek Week overall, we definitely killed it when it came to supporting not only our own philanthropy, but others as well! Can’t wait for next year!

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It’s great to be a Tri Sigma!

A Much Needed Break!

Hey everyone!

Let me start off by saying how sorry I am for not posting any cool entries lately! My life has been insane. Classes have definitely been keeping me on my toes! Which leads me to the topic of this entry…

Spring Break!

All of the students at Riddle just came back from their Spring Break vacation, and I was so excited to have a week where I didn’t have to worry about studying for tests or fitting things into my schedule. Since Daytona Beach is now the Spring Break hot spot for college students, I decided to get out of Florida and go to the best place to avoid crowds – the middle of nowhere.

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Spring Break house!

A group of 30 of my closest friends decided to rent a house up in Blue Ridge, Georgia for the whole week of Spring Break. The house was absolutely gorgeous – and also conveniently located on the edge of the mountain. Since we were basically in the middle of nowhere, the trip offered a chance to get connected to nature. One day during the week, a group of us decided to hike up Blood Mountain, which was a total of eight miles. Now, I’m not a hiker by any means, so going uphill was treacherous, but once we got to the summit of the mountain, the view made the fire in my calves worth it!

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Another day of the week, a couple of us decided to make the hour drive to the Atlanta Zoo. It was a lot of fun seeing what animals the zoo had to offer. My favorite part of the trip was going to the petting zoo (which was for children) and brushing the goats!

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Blood Mountain, Blue Ridge, GA

My best part about my trip to Georgia was being able to celebrate my 20th birthday! This was my first year not being home for my special day, so it was hard not having my traditional birthday dinner with my family. But I was surrounded by 30 of the greatest people I have ever met, so they definitely made my 20th one to remember!

Now that I am back from my much needed break, I am ready to continue the semester with a fresh outlook! Time to get focused!

The Happiest Place on Earth

As an Orientation Ambassador and a Women’s Ambassador, incoming students always ask me the same question: What do you do for fun in Daytona Beach? During my freshman year here at Embry-Riddle, a lot of my weekend time was dedicated to doing homework or just lounging around campus. This year I have made a huge 180!

One day, my big (sorority) sister, Melani, and I were working in First Year Programs and discussing how much we missed going to Disney World and why we weren’t taking advantage of how close it was. Naturally, all this talk got us so excited that we spontaneously bought annual passes.

Luckily, our past two weekends haven’t been as busy as usual, so Melani and I were able to visit Epcot and Hollywood Studios, both of which made us feel like we were ten year olds again!

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Melani and I wearing our Minnie Ears!

We visited Epcot with our friends Conor and Zach and it was the best day I’ve had in a long time. The four of us got to go on Mission: Space, Epcot’s famous ride that actually makes you feel like you’re making a mission to Mars. The rest of the day we walked around and admired each country we came across. The best part was going to Japan and eating the best sushi!

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Melani, Conor, Zach, and I at Epcot!

It was Melani’s first time visiting Hollywood Studios, so she thoroughly enjoyed every ride and show that we went on. We screamed on the Tower of Terror, sang till our throats were sore at the Frozen Sing-A-Long, and even got to meet different Disney characters! The highlight of my day was meeting Kylo Ren, the villain from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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Dream come true!

So when incoming students ask me what a Riddle kid does for fun, I am not going to hesitate suggesting going to one of the theme parks in Orlando, especially Disney World! These past two weekends have served as a great break from the engineering world and I can’t wait to spend more time at the “Happiest Place on Earth”!

Spring Study Tips

Hey everyone!!

I hope you all had an amazing winter break and are ready to jump into the new spring semester! Since things around here have been moving pretty slowly for me, I thought it would be a great time to share some of my study tips. If you have bad study habits right now, it’s not too late to correct them!

  1. Study a few hours each day: This is a very important tip because college students have a tendency to procrastinate and cram right before a test. Doing this won’t help you! It is much more effective when you study for something over the course of several days, because your brain will absorb the material better. This includes reviewing old notes or making a quick study guide.
  2. Find your perfect atmosphere: When you study, make sure you find a spot that’s best for you. If you like quiet spaces, get a private study room so you won’t be disturbed. Once you find your place, study there consistently so your brain will recognize it as a study atmosphere. Don’t study on your bed, because your brain associates your bed with sleep and this will only make you drowsy while studying.
  3. Avoid interruptions: This is a big one for those who can’t escape their social life! Make sure you only use the technology that is necessary for your study session. Turn off your phone so you won’t be interrupted by text messages, phone calls, and social media. This will cut your study time down by a lot because you won’t be distracted.
  4. Take breaksOut of all the tips on this list, this is the one you should pay the most attention to! It is very important that you take breaks when you’re studying. When you find yourself daydreaming, take five minutes to stand up and stretch.This will make sure that your brain keeps absorbing the information you need!
  5. Stay organized: This is my favorite tip because my planner is my life! If you don’t already have a planner (either physical or technological), get one! Writing down your whole schedule and crossing things off as you do them will make you feel so accomplished. It’s also wise to color code everything (i.e. Math is green, Greek Life is pink, work is yellow) so that it appears more organized.
  6. Study groups: If you don’t already have a study group, make friends with the people in your classes and make one! Meeting with a group of people every week is a great idea because you get to bounce ideas off of each other and learn different study techniques.
  7. Make questions while you study: While you’re going through your homework, write down any questions you may have, that way you can ask your professor about them later. This will help you understand the material while also getting face time with your professor.
  8. Nourish your body: Eat healthy! A healthy body means a healthy mind, so eat things that are good for you, drink a lot of water, and keep your caffeine intake to a minimum. Although people use coffee as their go-to for studying, it will only help you for a short period of time and then make you crash.
  9. Stay positive: This may seem too obvious, but it is always a good idea to keep a positive attitude while you’re studying. If you are having negative thoughts, this will make you more stressed and your brain won’t absorb as much information!
  10. Learn shortcuts & strategies: When you’re studying, try to make visual cues and acronyms so that you can remember the information easier. Also, don’t hesitate to ask your professor for any study suggestions. The professor may give you information about your upcoming test, which will help you out a lot!

 

If you follow these ten important study tips, I guarantee your grades will go up and your semester will be a breeze!

Happy spring everyone!

Turkey, Family & The National Dog Show

I am back from Thanksgiving break! I am so thankful for the fact that I was able to get three days off of school so I could go home and spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my family and friends. It was definitely a break well-needed.

In classic Thanksgiving fashion, my mother made a turkey and my grandparents came over to my house to visit. While my family was making food, I got to watch The National Dog Show (a personal tradition of mine), and I was so impressed by the winner. The dog that won the “Best in Show” title was a Skye terrier named Good Time Charlie and he was so cute!

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My mom and I kissing my 100 year old Grandpa Bob!

After Thanksgiving dinner, my mother and I went early Black Friday shopping and I was able to get new clothes.  I also bought a Darth Vader mug (I love Star Wars), but I couldn’t find it when I was packing up for Daytona, so I guess my mom hid it away for Christmas.

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Connor and I at Universal Studios

On the day of Black Friday, I decided to stay away from the malls and instead go to Universal Studios with one of my Sigma sisters, Connor! Although I work at Universal, this was really exciting for me because I never get to go there during the holiday season. The best thing about going on Black Friday was that since everyone was out shopping, the park wasn’t too busy and we were able to go on all the rides we wanted to!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving break and is ready to tackle finals!

Change is Good!

As the fall semester comes to a close, it is time to start preparing for the spring! You may think it’s crazy that we’re already getting ready for something that is still months down the road, but that’s college for you. The end of the semester is when students start deciding what classes they want to enroll in and what leadership positions they want to take on. After finding out about my classes and my positions, all I can say is that I’m excited for the spring!

One of the things that excites me for the spring is that I will finally be starting my Engineering Science classes for the Aerospace Engineering program! These classes will include Dynamics, Fluids, and Solids, which are the three classes that are the building blocks for all of the engineering fields. These classes are also three of the most difficult classes on campus and when they are taken together they are known on campus as “The Gauntlet”. It is called this because it is the last true test and once you get through “The Gauntlet”, you can get through anything. I’m looking forward to taking this challenge head-on!

Next spring I will also be taking on a leadership position in my sorority, Tri Sigma. I will serve as Eta Tau’s 2016 Vice President of New Member Education, which is one of the most important positions on the Executive Board. This is because I will be responsible for educating all of our new members for the spring and fall semesters about everything Sigma Sigma Sigma! This excites me because I will be able to share my passion and knowledge for Sigma with our new members and hopefully they will love it just as much as I do. The position will also bring me closer to my sisters, which will be great. Kealey and Lindsey, who are other My Life @ Riddle bloggers, will also be serving on the exec board! Kealey will be Vice President of Operations and Lindsey will be Treasurer. I’m looking forward to spending more time with these two, as exec members and sisters!

Another organization I had the honor of being selected for is the Women’s Ambassador Program. This program’s goal is to strengthen the bond between prospective female students, current students, and alumni while also creating a healthier and more diverse University atmosphere. Since Embry-Riddle’s female population makes up about 18 percent of the student population, the program aims to increase female student enrollment and retention. I’m so excited to be a new ambassador because it was something I have wanted to do since coming to the campus, and now I will be able to positively impact the college experiences of young women!

The spring semester will be bringing on many changes, and I couldn’t be more excited! It will be the semester where I will grow as not only an engineering student, but as a leader as well. I guess change really is good!

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This is Halloween!

Finally, the weather is getting a little bit colder, which can only mean one thing! It is almost time for my favorite holiday – Halloween! Naturally during this time of year, I do whatever I can to celebrate the holiday in style. This includes getting involved in my sorority’s Halloween Fashion Show, decorating my room with skeletons and spider webs, collecting candy, and attending any special Halloween event I can find.

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Me and one of my Sigma sisters, Alissa, about to enter Magic Kingdom!

As a kind of tradition, earlier this month I drove to Orlando for Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights (HHN). HHN is Universal’s annual Halloween event, where there are a total of nine haunted houses for guests to walk through, along with different shows. Since I am from Orlando and currently a Universal employee, HHN is something I try to do every Halloween season, and this was my fourth year attending the event.

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Some of the Eta Tau sisters standing in front of Cinderella’s castle

This year I attended another theme park event that I have never gone to before – Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party! My Tri Sigma chapter, Eta Tau, decided that the event would be a great way to meet our sisters from Epsilon Rho, another chapter we have at St. Leo’s University. For those of you who do not know what Mickey’s Not So Scary is, it is Disney’s annual Halloween event. Since it is a family event, it is kid-friendly and not scary at all. It even features trick-or-treating for not just the children, but for the adults too! My sisters and I got to go on all of the best rides, like Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain and the Haunted Mansion (my favorite). The best part of the night for us was taking our bags and hitting all of the candy locations so we could stock up on sweets for the rest of the month.

Tonight is Tri Sigma’s 8th Annual Halloween Fashion Show! I am so excited because this will be my first time experiencing the fashion show and I even get to walk in it. This year I am going to be Cher from the 90s film Clueless, the Grumpy Carebear, and Spencer from Pretty Little Liars. Also, I am going to be in the show’s dance, which is a big deal because I am definitely not a dancer.

Happy Halloween everyone!

So Many Resumes…

Let me start off by saying I have never seen so many resumes before in my life!

This past week was Embry-Riddle’s Fall 2015 Career Expo! Everyone on campus was wearing their most professional attire, printing out their neat resumes, and carrying around leather-bound notepads. There were well-known engineering companies there, like NASA, Gulfstream, Rolls Royce, Rockwell Collins, and Boeing, along with plenty of airlines. In other words, it was a Riddle students dreamland.

This was my first time attending the Career Expo on campus, so it was definitely a new experience and I was a bit nervous. I tried to assemble my nicest outfit to give the impression that I was older than a sophomore in college and put as many engineering projects on my resume as I could. Let me also include that during this week I also caught the cold that was going around campus, so lucky me!

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Me and my Sigma sister, Frankie, at the Career Expo!

I started off the Career Expo by attending as many info sessions as my schedule would permit. I talked to some people at Gulfstream’s Mix & Mingle, and then attended GE Aviation’s info session later that night. This was a great idea because I learned more about these companies and what they wanted from their internship and co-op candidates!

The next day was the real thing! This was when the companies gathered in the ICI Center and set up their booths. For some companies there were lines all the way down to the door! My friend Matt and I both walked around the Expo together, telling each other about the companies we wanted to talk to and giving each other moral support. I talked to GE Aviation, RocaTech Solutions, Textron, and The Spaceship Company. This was a great experience for me because I got to work on my people skills, talking to complete strangers about my engineering experience and where I wanted to go in the industry.

At the end of the Career Expo, I came out (somewhat) victorious! I received a call later that night from GE Aviation and they told me that they wanted to interview me the next day. I almost freaked out at just the chance of being interviewed by such an amazing aviation company! During my interview with them, we talked about Orientation Team and icebreakers, and also about my experience in Haiti and what mangoes were. My interviewer had me describe what a mango was because he said he was a “Doritos” kind of guy. Overall, I think the interview went extremely well! In about a week or so, I will know whether or not I will be GE Aviation’s newest intern!

Fingers crossed!!

Giving Up Our Letters to Help You Find Yours

The most stressful and exciting week in a sorority girl’s semester has finally come to a close! A couple of weeks ago, many young women from Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus found out which sorority they were meant to be in and ran home! For anyone who doesn’t know anything about Greek Life, I’ll give you a little overview…

Every semester, the Panhellenic sororities on campus hold recruitment for potential new members! “Which sororities are on the Daytona Beach campus?” you may be asking. Our location has three sororities to choose from: Alpha Xi Delta, Theta Phi Alpha, and Sigma Sigma Sigma. Although all three are very different, they are all great because of their values and philanthropies. The process is simple, the potential new members (or PNMs as we like to call them), go to the events that are held by each sorority, and eventually go through a mutual selection process to find out which one is their home!

Now since I am a sophomore who is already in a sorority, some might be wondering how all of this involves me. I was one of the fifteen young ladies on campus that was given the important job of being a Recruitment Guide, also known as a Rho Gamma. As a Rho Gamma, it is our job to help our PNMs with anything they need during recruitment. This ranges from supporting them when they decide which sorority they want to be in, helping them choose what they want to wear for each event, or even giving them a mint if they think their breath is smelling bad!

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My Recruitment Group!

Being a Rho Gamma was great, but there was one catch to the position. In order for us to support our PNMs without being biased toward our own sorority, we had to disaffiliate weeks before school began. This disaffiliation included never wearing letters in public, taking down all of our pictures
that showed which sorority we belonged to, and never talking to our sisters! For me, this was the hardest thing imaginable, because I currently live with several sisters in our sorority house and it was difficult not being able to talk to the people who you are the closest to.

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All the Rho Gammas running home after the Rho Gamma Reveal!

As I look back on my weeks as a Rho Gamma, I can truly say it was one of the most special things I have ever experienced. I was able to see the other side of recruitment, something I went through when I joined my sorority last spring. I bonded with Panhellenic women from other organizations on campus and learned more about their sororities. And the most special thing of all, I helped new members find their home, the organization that will help them grow into the women they are meant to be. Deciding to give up my letters to help them find theirs was probably the best decision I have ever made.

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Finally back with my sorority!

Go Greek!

The ERA of U

At Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, there are banners that are attached to the light posts with the famous saying, “The ERA of U”, a little play on the school’s acronym. Now that I am back for the fall, this quote is what motivates me to make my sophomore year the best one yet!

Although my freshman year at Riddle was nothing short of fantastic, like any hardworking student, I greeted summer with open arms and appreciated the chance for a break. My summer consisted of traveling outside of the United States for the first time in my life, seeing my first rocket launch, taking summer classes, and working at Universal Studios Orlando.

I kicked off my break by leaving the United States to travel to Gonaives, Haiti. It was my first time leaving the country, so of course I was a little timid. Some of you may be asking, “Rachel, what caused you to be so adventurous and act outside your comfort zone?” Well, my fellow students, I traveled to Haiti with an organization on campus called Project Haiti, which is one of the groups that make up the Clean Energy Club. The club’s overall goal is to not only to provide communities in Haiti with clean water, but to also educate them about sanitation and how to start up a business. Over the course of the school year, we designed and built a water pupurification system from scratch and traveled to Haiti and installed it at an orphanage in Gonaives. The experience was truly amazing. I met so many people and learned a lot about the Haitian culture. I even learned a little bit of Creole along the way!

Another highlight of my summer was visiting Kennedy Space Center (KSC) to see my first rocket launch, which was of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. It was my first time being to KSC, despite myself being a native Floridian. Everything about the launch was awesome, until the rocket actually exploded due to a faulty strut. I thought it was ironic that the rocket would explode on my first launch viewing. I had to tweet Elon Musk and tell him I was sorry I “jinxed” his launch, on his birthday. Although it was an overall failure, the launch only motivated me more to continue my degree in Aerospace Engineering, so I could one day design rockets. Ones that don’t blow up of course.

My summer adventures summarized my main point- that at Embry-Riddle, it really is the “Era” of “U”. Because of this university, I was able to help orphans in Haiti get clean water. Because of this university, I am able to learn more about my career goals and even become more passionate about it.

If there is one piece of advice I have for any new students at Riddle, it’s that you should make your college experience all about YOU. If you’ve always thought about joining the crew team, do it. If you want to join a sorority, do it. If you want to get your Level 1 certification for high power rocketry, do it. Why wouldn’t you do it? There is no better time to get involved than right now.

It’s really time for the “Era” of “U”!
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