Getting Ready to Soar

The career fair is finally here. We have all been preparing extremely hard for it and putting all our time and energy into finding the perfect opportunities to continue our growth in our chosen career fields. Whether you are a freshman going to scout out future employers, or a senior hoping to score that dream job or internship, we all take the fair seriously. On top of that, it is the stressful season of the semester where mid-terms start to become prevalent and we all wish we had about three extra hours in the day. But we all have been working on our resumes, finding the perfect clothes, and preparing the perfect elevator speech to impress potential employers all while studying like there is no tomorrow and crushing all our tests.

Kara and I helping each other get through the semester

I feel this year’s career fair will be incredible. They have gotten so many employers to come out, and even though we have class most professors understand how important this opportunity is to us. Professors have been incredibly helpful with tips and checking resumes and it is so nice to have that support to make you feel career fair ready. In addition, we all have the help and support of each other to make it through this stressful and exciting opportunity.

Rory and I at last year’s career fair trying not to be nervous

Even though this week will be a lot of work, we Eagles have a lot to look forward to this week with Homecoming. There are many sporting events to go out and support from ice hockey to soccer or even if you want to participate in the fun there is a 5k on Saturday morning. Then, later Saturday night homecoming ends with a free concert performed by AJR with fireworks to top the night off. Keep your eyes out for all the homecoming activities and show your eagle spirit. I wish everyone luck this week.

Perks & Personal Favorites

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

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

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

Tea- best hot and while studying

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

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

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

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

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

My friend Kara and I on a homework break

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

Fall & Fresh Updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!

A New Semester

Hello Everyone! I hope everyone has had an amazing summer and stayed safe during hurricane Dorian. To mark the beginning of the new semester at sophomore standing, I wanted to write a little advice for the new freshmen coming in.  I know that starting college can be a little scary at first, it is in fact a lot different than high school. Professors are casual and laid back, you live in an unfamiliar place, there are new faces, and your success is entirely up to you. Your hands are no longer being held by faculty like in high school. This can be a lot for new students and from what I have learned, this can cause anxiety and depression issues among new students due to the massive amount of stress and change.

Rest assured that everyone at Embry-riddle wants you to succeed. We have countless options available to benefit all students. I wanted to start off on the topic of mental health. Obviously, everyone is excited to start their new college life, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any anxious feelings going around. Also, depending on the person, you may be feeling a little bit more nervous then others. It is completely okay to feel like this, my first semester was a whirlwind of nervous scared feelings. Eventually everyone settles in and gets used to the newness of being a college student. But not everyone stops feeling that way. Now, let me just say it is still completely normal to feel that way, but its important to know that there are options for help if needed. Embry-Riddle’s Health and Wellness Center has more to it then just a place to go if you’re feeling a little sick. It’s also a place you can rely on to talk to someone about any negative feelings you may be having.

My biggest advice to all new students is ask for help when you need it. Talk to your professors when you’re having trouble in class, talk to your academic advisors when you feel concerned about your schedule, classes, and major. Asking for help is one of the biggest factors of success at Embry-Riddle, especially when you’re a new student. Another big help that you can go to if you’re having trouble in classes is the tutoring options here at Riddle. For example, if you’re having trouble in math, writing, physics, engineering, or chemistry/bio, “A Squared” is the perfect place to be. It’s the Academic Advancement Center, home to tutoring labs in the College of Arts & Sciences. Riddle even has digital labs where you can get help making Powerpoint presentations, using Photoshop, making videos, and even learn how to better your speech capabilities. Use these options if you need them because they will help you.

Another Big Word of Advice I have for everyone, and you will hear this a thousand times over, GET INVOLVED. In high school you are pushed to get involved as much as possible, but I think we all kind of brushed it off and continued to do what we were doing. Now, it’s one of those super-important key factors that can only lead to success. What you get involved in now will only look good on your resume for future jobs. It’s highly recommended that you consider joining a student organization, sorority/fraternity, a school project, a club, or even study abroad. I have spoken to so many people that have gotten amazing jobs not because of their impressive GPA, but because of their involvement in extra curricular activities. Employers want to see what you did to expand yourself. I went to a meeting for communication majors, where graduates from the Communication major at Riddle talked about how they got their jobs and what they did in college. The first speaker said she got her job because of her involvement in clubs, the next speaker said her interviewer just asked her questions about her study abroad time, and the last speaker got her internship from projects, which led to a big career for her. I know we all roll our eyes a little when teachers talk about getting involved, but it all is important.

I hope I was able to provide a little bit of insight, or even inspiration. I know it’s all new and different, but don’t worry! Everyone here was once in your shoes and everyone helps and supports each other!

Hurrication & Misc. Happenings

Happy September folks! Howdy and welcome back! The first week of school came, then Hurricane Dorian came, and now the second (first?) week of school is happening once again.

Although, as I’m sure a few of my other Engineering pals out there have experienced, the hurrication was a nice “break”, and by break I mean it was lovely to be able to take my leisurely time doing homework and getting a jump start into planning for all my classes. The downfall of this break though, is of course that this coming week will probably be a tad bit squished with all the missed material.

Currently reminiscing to the week before the fall semester started during Orientation with my fellow O-teamer friend Kara.
Paint U with O-team!
Orientation Team retreat in August!

Orientation Retreat is essentially a highly condensed summer camp bonding experience for a few days that works magic for the O-team and takes us from a bunch of individuals to a highly functioning super team. I cannot exactly explain it, but to sum it up I learned about 80 people’s names and life stories over the course of about 3 days. I love O-team.

I am super excited for this school year, and for fall, as it’s my favorite season. Although fall in Florida isn’t exactly the coldest season, my birthday is in late October and hopefully by around that time the weather should be getting into the 70s at night, which is absolutely perfect for camp fires! The fire pits in the courtyard between New Hall Phase 1 and New Hall Phase 2 have been my go to, as well as my RA staff’s go to gathering place for s’mores and staff bonding. RA’s have weekly staff meetings, and honestly taking a break from homework and having s’mores with the staff while we do weekly recaps is a pretty cool and unique spin on traditional meetings… and it’s even better with the crisp air that accompanies cool autumn evenings!

In other news, I recently road tripped to St. Augustine for the day over the hurrication and got three new air plant babies for my dorm room that I am very excited about. I had a lot of plants in my dorm last year but I didn’t have the chance to take them back to school when summer ended because of all my traveling, so I’m currently rebuilding my collection. I love air plants, succulents and cacti, and hardy herbs that are low maintenance but smell good (and also the addition of fresh herbs to meals is a life hack for making dorm food taste SO much better).

My new air plants!

Will report back soon. Keep on keeping on y’all. Enjoy getting back into the swing of things, as I’m sure I will be!

Transitions & Training

Happy August everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida, yes that’s right folks the eagle has landed!

In the past week I’ve been all over the country in my journey and travels to finally get all my things packed and ready to come back to school. I concluded my summer studies of third year Arabic at the University of Arizona with a series of reading, writing, and spoken examinations, then hopped on a plane and “high tailed” it back to my city in Virginia for about a day, before road tripping back to the lovely humid state of Florida. The change from 5% humidity in Arizona to 90% humidity in Florida is drastic but, fear not, do-able.

Turkish coffee my friend from Libya made my roommate and I while we were studying for our final Arabic exams!

Now that I am back in Florida and reunited with my beloved Keurig and seemingly endless supply of coffee and tea, I realized that Daytona Beach really does feel like home. My cozy room, blogging in the morning from bed with a cup of tea and an airport view, amazing sunsets, my favorite run loop, beach vibes. While the school year isn’t in full swing yet I’m back at RA training prepping hall decorations, door tags, and bulletin boards, and have my Orientation Retreat rolling up in only a few days too. There’s almost an entire month of preparation for new students to come in the fall and I am extremely excited.

Coffee from a cafe in Tucson

In other news I’m half way moved into my dorm room (ha). Somehow I forgot to bring hangers and haven’t had a chance to hang up any of my clothes yet… so I’m one Walmart trip or one amazon order away from being unpacked. I also omitted plants from my journey to Florida but I am in the market for some so look out for updates on that! Also my road trip from Norfolk, VA to Daytona Beach, FL with the ‘rents and my pup Kita was one for the books. Sleeping in the back seat with a sweet dog was absolutely fantastic.

My dad driving us down to Riddle, with my favorite sleeping pit bull.

To sum it up I will be continuing my Arabic studies this semester as an independent study at Riddle, which is one of the classes I’m most excited about, aside from AFROTC starting up again, and of course being an RA on the sports student hall and getting to meet my residents, and leading my Orientation group. Overall, I’m just excited for the semester to start. That’s what’s popping in my life right now. Will report back as the looming Fall Semester approaches. Keep on keeping on.

Self Care & Semester Prep Thoughts

Happy end of July from Tucson, Arizona, from which I will shortly be migrating south for the winter back to Florida to my Daytona Beach home where RA training, Orientation Team, and AFROTC fall semester prep awaits me.

While going back to school in the fall is certainly exciting and I love being involved in so many great things on campus, I had a moment recently thinking about the future and all the obligations ahead of me… and honestly it was a little overwhelming. Then I took a step back and realized I was stressing myself out for no reason. I am where I am because I have overcome so many things and I have earned these opportunities that I sometimes refer to as “responsibilities”. 

Stopping to breathe and appreciate the Arizona clouds in monsoon season.

This blog goes out to my younger self who started college three years ago with a wild passion for trying new things, taking risks, and finding myself:

The first piece of advice I would tell my younger self, who was extremely eager to move to Florida and gain some real independence from high school life, is that while yes it’s good to get a running start and socialize and meet new people, be yourself above everything. I am naturally not very extroverted, and for some reason when I first moved to college I felt pressure that I needed to be, but in reality it was only in my head. 

College is about finding yourself and becoming more of who you are without limitations, so why was I imposing these rules of how I should act on myself? Maybe to fit in? But I learned the best part about college is you don’t have to “fit in” and I wish I would’ve realized that a lot earlier.

I spend my lunch breaks during the week eating peanut butter sandwiches laying under shady trees and listening to music with my roommate as a short break before we start afternoon office hours, tutoring, homework, and studying.

Now I suppose I am not your “conventional” college student, but really is anyone conventional? I used to dream of turning down plans on a Friday night to workout with some gal pals, do a face mask, practice yoga, read a book, and be in bed by 8pm, but I was never courageous enough to stand up for myself and do it! I always felt guilty and “obligated” to hang out with people, but I realized the stigma around being selfish and taking care of yourself is extremely blurred. You can’t be the best version of yourself if you’re burnt out and constantly running on empty. As a naturally introverted person I recharge when I am alone, and it’s important for my mental health!

Moral of the story is: Self care is SO important! I see no problem now turning down plans for self care, and I am so much happier now that I don’t make myself feel guilty for “me time”. At the end of a long, stressful, busy week it is WELL deserved to rest, and to always listen to your body (I am very guilty of this) when you start to get sick. Typically if I start to feel under the weather I go into a period of doubt where I think if I ignore my symptoms they will go away, I tell myself I’m too busy and don’t have time to be sick, but lets be real… this makes it worse! As soon as you feel yourself start to become a little under the weather, rest!

In the midst of my busy schedule I always ensure I have time to check in with myself, even if it’s just 5 minutes at the end of the day, to survey how I’m doing physically, mentally, and emotionally and to take a little time to work on those things if they’re not great. Take time for yourself in the midst of everything to breathe and check in, typically that’s when you need it most.

Arizona sunset from the top of a parking garage my roommate and I ventured to en route back to our dorms one evening.

Keep on keeping on folks! I’ll catch you back in a few weeks closer to the chaos and excitement of the new school year. Remember to be kind to others and yourself always!

Sunshine & San Diego

Happy July everyone! Also happy summer! I’m currently blogging from Tucson, Arizona with the temperatures in the 100+ everyday, typically around 108 and the intense sunshine and low humidity that accompanies the desert. 

The first semester of my third year level Arabic class has concluded with me obtaining a final grade of an A. I took a small vacation during fourth of July weekend to San Diego, California with some friends who also speak arabic, which was a great break. 

I’d never been to California before so this spontaneous road trip that began with my friends and I renting a car for the long weekend, stopping for snacks and coffee, then setting off, was so much fun. The drive from Arizona to California is only about five hours, for some that might feel like a lot, but the scenery of the desert, the mountains, and eventually the ocean, plus great music and four friends who had only met a month before was truly a wonderful adventure.

A mountain side view of the Pacific Ocean in San Diego.

We only had a few days to explore the city so we spent them at about three different beaches, Coronado, Pacific, and Imperial, watched fireworks seaside on the night of the fourth, and visited many 24 hour Mexican food places. We also briefly hiked along some coastal mountains and I thrived in all the vegan food options that San Diego had to offer. For the record, my love of chips and salsa has only increased. My favorite beach foods are now veggie pizza, apples, and chili powder covered mangoes. I commend California for satisfying my morning brunch and coffee shop needs as well. 

Sunset at the San Diego Harbor!

We also spent time in downtown San Diego exploring the harbor and all the restaurants and shops in Little Italy. Not to mention we had some quite entertaining encounters with Birds, the motorized scooters, not actual birds. They are an extremely popular form of transportation there and while they are an effective way to get around they are also so fun to play with when you’re with a group of friends. I highly encourage you to try them for the experience, if you have not.

In other news, I have just completed my first week in my second semester of third year Arabic at the University of Arizona and I have less than a month left here. My first semester flew by and while I am enjoying the nice break from studying engineering, the classes here are rigorous but definitely not as stressful, or perhaps I’ve just gotten better at managing stressful situations? Will comment more on this when school starts back up in the fall and my normal engineering and AFROTC schedule is back in full swing again.

Side note: I added some new stickers to my laptop case, a small Arizona one in the shape of the state and an Arabic one. 

My laptop case featuring two new stickers… I need to get some Riddle stickers to add to it when I get back to Florida.

The Arabic sticker says: ان مع العسر يسرا which means with every hardship comes ease.

Keep on keeping on folks and enjoy the summer, stay cool! Will report back soon!

Arabic & Eid

Happy June everyone! I’m currently blogging from Tucson, Arizona, where the air is hot and dry, I drink an unfathomable amount of water every day, and I study Arabic all of 7/7 days in a week.

Before I begin here’s a photo with my flight from Field Training on graduation day at the Propeller and Wings statue on Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.

Now that I’ve reminisced on my conclusion of AFROTC for the summer, when I arrived in Tucson at the beginning of June, Ramadan had a few more days left. Allow me to provide a small backstory:

A HUGE aspect of learning a new language is studying the culture of the language, the people who speak it, and the places where it’s spoken. Culture is a dynamic part of a society that can be experienced through food, clothing, religion, dialects, music, stories, and much more.

While the best way to gain exposure to a language is to study abroad and immerse yourself in all the country has to offer, in my case I am in Arizona, so I relish in my limited but still essential exposure to the Arab culture.

Religion plays a large part in the Arabic language and culture from certain phrases within the languages, to religious holidays celebrated widespread in countries throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa. Disclaimer: while not ALL Arabs practice Islam, and not ALL muslims speak Arabic, there is a large overlap.

Which brings me to my first topic of being in Arizona for the conclusion of the month of Ramadan, where muslims fast from sunrise to sunset with no food, water, chewing gum, or smoking. At the end of every day during this month long period the fast is typically broken by eating dates and having a large well balanced meal surrounded by family and friends. Now, at the conclusion of the entire month of Ramadan called Eid al-Fitr, Muslims gather in prayer and celebration, in which some of my classmates and I were welcomed with open arms to celebrate with the community in a huge outdoor park starting with prayer, then amazing food, and ending with great conversation.

Another student and I at the Eid al-Fitr celebration!

Aside from being able to celebrate Eid with so many wonderful people, in Project GO we also gain valuable knowledge and exposure to culture throughout weekly Dardasha events in which thus far we’ve had the pleasure of attending a performance from a Syrian violinist, meeting the Jordanian Ambassador to the United States of America, watching an Egyptian film, attending a Saudi cultural event, and talking with people from Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia about their countries and the role that language and culture play in everyday life.

I look forward to participating in many more cultural events this summer, continuing my Arabic studies, and hopefully some rain falling from the sky, as monsoon season thus far has been a dry one. Will report back soon, keep on keeping on folks!

!ما السلامة