Home & Holidays

Happy December everyone! I’m currently blogging from Norfolk, Virginia. I’m home for the holidays and enjoying the rest and relaxation that comes along with it. I’ve spent the past couple days enjoying spending time with family, eating good food, watching the newest season of the Mandalorian on Disney +, going to Hot Yoga, and sleeping!

One of my favorite parts about being home for the holidays is spending time with family, including this Christmas pup!

I finished out the semester strong and I’m mentally preparing to take on spring classes and looking forward to summer plans! I’m currently applying to a few backup study abroad programs focused on language studies for my Arabic maintenance and improvement. Since this summer will be the last before I graduate and commission from Air Force ROTC into Active Duty Air Force, this will be my last chance to study abroad.

COVID-19 rules and regulations are paramount when considering any study abroad options and opportunities, but it can never hurt to keep your options open and apply to what interests you! I like options, so having a main plan and a few backup plans is my typical style. Since global and local conditions are ever-changing it’s hard to predict if I will actually be able to travel this summer, but if I am I will be!

I recently spent some time fishing with my dad for rockfish and it was so much fun! We left at about 3:00 am, drove 2 hours north to the dock, and stayed out on a charter boat until about 3pm with fresh fish! A very fun experience.

Fishing with my dad!

In preparation for Spring semester, I’m resting up and enjoying the break. Time to decompress is extremely important and while I am still doing some behind the scenes work for ROTC and Student Court on the break, I am definitely taking time to catch up on rest too. Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!

Online Classes & Group Projects

Happy December everyone! I’m currently blogging from my hometown of Norfolk, VA where I just finished up the Fall 2020 semester online! Today I’m going to be giving some tips of how to navigate online classes and group projects.

My first tip, and probably the theme of all my tips is that communication is key! This comes into play especially if/when you have questions or don’t understand a concept in class and need clarification. Reach out to your Teacher’s Assistant (TA)! TA’s are typically the ones grading homework and holding virtual Office Hours, in addition to Supplemental Instruction (SI) sessions per the recommendation of your professor. A TA is usually a Masters, or Graduate student who is taking classes or doing research at ERAU, so I find they are more relatable to talk to (closer in age) and help explain concepts in more understandable ways because they were probably taking the same classes only a few years ago. If your class doesn’t have a TA, you can always reach out to a TA for a different section of the same class and since the material is the same, they should be able to help you too.

Screenshot of the automatic messaging system attached to Canvas that makes communicating with professors and TAs super easy!

Reach out to your professors! Email and Canvas message will be your best friends. The messaging system on Canvas is extremely easy to use. First go to Inbox from the Canvas homepage, then Compose, and you are able to select your course and message your professors instantly!

One of my professors availability this past semester was 24 hours a day. While that seems a little extreme, the point is your professors are there for you if you need help and they want to support you. My professor gave us his email and phone number and told us we could email, text, call, FaceTime, or Canvas message if we needed anything. If your professor has more structured office hours, you can always reach out to your TA, another class section’s TA, a different professor for the same class, or a different professor in the same department for help outside of your own professor’s availability.

Make a study group! Navigating group projects can be difficult sometimes, but if you already built a relationship with the people in your class, it makes reaching out and collaborating much easier! Some of my favorite Apps to use when working on Lab Reports or Group projects are GroupMe, which makes group messaging super easy and efficient, GoogleDocs which is the perfect way to divide and conquer a lab report because multiple people can make edits at the same time, and of course Zoom, MicrosoftTeams, and FaceTime for video calls and group meetings.

Hold your friends accountable! When working in groups on Lab Reports, group projects, and other collaborative assignments, set deadline reminders in your phone’s calendar and remind your peers when the due dates are approaching! Be a good group partner by being active in your group, completing your sections in a timely manner, and collaborating and communicating when needed to ensure everyone is on the same page! Some professors have Peer Evaluation sheets that you are required to hand in as an assignment to accompany group projects or presentations. Be honest on your Peer Evals! If a member in the group isn’t pulling their weight, let the professor know. Don’t let your learning or your grade suffer because your team member didn’t complete their portion of the assignment or didn’t perform as well as you needed them to.

My favorite Canvas homepage screen to see at the end of the semester!

Will report back soon folks! Good luck on finals and keep on keeping on!

Sleep & Busy Schedules

Happy November folks! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Thanksgiving is about two and a half weeks away and I feel like I’m on the last uphill sprint before finals. I am so excited to go back to Virginia and eat good food and catch up on sleep! 

Florida has been getting colder lately, and when I recently took my Fitness Assessment for AFROTC it was probably one of the chilliest mornings yet. In-person PTs have been canceled for ROTC on ERAU’s DB campus for the rest of the semester but we still do “virtual workouts”. Essentially we are given workouts to complete individually to maintain our fitness on personal accountability, rather than gather in person with socially distant procedures for group PT sessions.

This past week has been extremely busy! I have had lots of tests, quizzes, and presentations, and I am very tired. My plans for Thanksgiving and Winter break include lots of sleep!

 My daily plan for Friday is to wake up at approximately 0500, do my morning yoga routine, go as a spotter (essentially a repetition counter or time keeper) for the AFROTC Fitness Assessment, return to my room, take an Aerospace Engineering Materials Exam, take an Experimental Aerodynamics quiz, go workout and get smoothies for lunch (Friday is $5.00 smoothie day at Smoothie King in Daytona Beach and after a midday run on a Friday, a smoothie is the best way to start the weekend off on the right foot!), finish the day by working on Aerospace Structures I homework, and my AFROTC Flight is holding a socially distanced Flight Goal of an Improv Night in the evening that I plan on attending. Very busy!

My Student Court Associate Justice headshot in my SGA Court polo!
My (personal favorite) Student Court Associate Justice headshot in my court robe that makes me feel like I’m a Wizard in Harry Potter!

I have a fully packed schedule every day and there is never a moment where I don’t have something that I could be doing. For example, there seems to be an exponential amount of need for me to be working on a homework assignment for various classes, studying or preparing for an upcoming test/quiz, trying to get a head start (or most of the time realistically trying to keep up) on deadlines for my Experimental Aerodynamics labs, sending or replying to emails, working on scholarship applications, and sleeping! 

In my free time you will usually find me working out, doing yoga, studying, or sleeping… so maybe it isn’t really free time? I am looking forward to actual free time over winter break, I can’t remember the last time I actively planned on doing nothing, and successfully followed through with it. Only a few more weeks left! Will report back soon. Keep on keeping on folks!

Back to Reality

The year 2020 felt like something you would see in a movie. The world has seen a handful of unfortunate events and circumstances unroll that will make this year go down in history. I left Florida back in April when the pandemic was starting to break out. I was fortunate enough to go back home and stay over the summer with my family in South Korea. I recently made my return to the US as I prepare myself for the fall semester. It’s time to get the gears turning but during my “jet-lag period”, I was able to reflect on a summer break that I will never forget.

Korea has somewhat flattened the curve in terms of COVID so during my stay, all businesses and services were open to the public with very little restrictions. Everyone was wearing masks and health precautions were in place. Most new cases were quickly identified and announced by the government to avoid contact with impacted places or people, so it felt strangely normal considering the gruesome situation of this pandemic.

Me and my family got to spend some quality time as we stayed home most of the time. We did some local traveling to places that were isolated in nature as we attempted to physically and socially distance ourselves from crowded places.

A small town near Ji-ri san (famous mountain range in south west Korea)
Gang-neung (Coastal city on the east coast of Korea)
Sok-cho (Another coastal city on the east coast) & Mt. Seorak (famous mountain range in the east coast of Korea)

I got to enjoy a ton of natural landscape and scenic views of Korea and it definitely helped with the isolation part of self-quarantine. Summer in Korea is very similar to that of Florida where the humidity and the 80-90 degrees weather makes it tough to do anything active outside. However, getting to enjoy a bit of a cool sea breeze and the shades of trees on the side of a mountain, it was nice to get some fresh air and a change of scenery.

On my way back to the states, I was able to enjoy the entire row of Delta’s A350-900 to myself as the flight was operating at its minimum capacity. All the seats were spread out and none of the middle seats were available for purchase. Everyone at the airport was wearing masks and it was definitely a strange travel experience.

The future of our semester is in the unknown and it is slightly intimidating as we prepare to open up to our full capacity. The university is doing the best they can to minimize the spread of the disease, but it’s hard to imagine this semester looking anything like our previous semesters here. Our best bet is to be cautious and aware of those around us and to do our best to practice active mask-wearing and social distancing inside and outside of classrooms. Here’s to the rest of 2020 and hopefully a healthy fall semester.

This little guy knows what’s up

Balance & Busy Schedules

Happy August everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida pulling a power weekend (meaning I’m on call working at my Resident Advisor position) after following a power week of working 12+ hours daily jumping from Orientation Team activities to RA move in shifts and I feel like I haven’t had time to catch my breath, even though classes haven’t actually started yet.

I’ve spent most of August hopping from trainings and working with the same people (masks ON Eagles). My residents are finally moving in and I’m very excited to meet everyone, even if it is primarily over email, GroupMe, or Zoom meetings. Between door decorations, hall decorations, bulletin boards, presentations, meetings, welcome and orientation events, it’s a wonder I’ve even been getting sleep lately. We LOVE good time management skills.

Much to my surprise, I’ve still found time to do yoga every morning and alternate my calisthenic workout days with my cardio days in between my busy schedule. I am a firm believer that people make time for what is important to them. For example, if you’re feeling exhausted and overwhelmed with obligations and options make a list and prioritize your commitments. Be SURE to include your commitments to your self care too! Mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health are very important to a well balanced lifestyle.

O Team with my favorite leader!

Most questions I get related to college life from new students are centered around academics, which are extremely important, but not to the extent that you neglect your well being.

Story time! My first semester of college I was getting between 4-6 hours of sleep every night and I was mentally not in a great place, even though I was giving academics the majority of my attention. While there may be many outlying influencing factors in this, my second semester of college I made an agreement with myself to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Amazingly, I found that my final letter grades were identical in ratio to my first semester, with no deviations.

Only did my grades start improving when I started focusing on my ACTUAL wellbeing, my overall health, and balancing my time between myself and everything else.

O-Team is our favorite team!

In high school, middle school, and elementary school I took a fair share of mental health days, didn’t go to class on my birthday, and most certainly didn’t go to school if I was sick. When I got to college I was extremely stressed and constantly felt like I was trying to catch up and compete to not fall behind in the work culture.

What you give your time and energy to is SO important, and a little self care goes a LONG way. If I am crunched on time and need to decide on an extra hour of sleep or an hour of working out, my answer constantly changes depending on how I’m feeling and what I need to accomplish for that day or for the next day. You have to make the best decisions for yourself. Set boundaries. Don’t stretch yourself too thin! Prioritize your time, energy, and commitments, while reflecting back on your needs.

Will report back soon folks! Keep on keeping on!

Moving In & Dorm Room MUSTS

Happy August everyone! I am currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida and I’m officially moved in!

My sister drove me down from Virginia Beach and now I’m in Florida! 

I’m not sure if you can tell, but I’m smiling in this picture!

This year has brought a lot of changes globally and locally, as well as personally for me. Adjusting to all these changes builds resilience and helps to overcome adversity in the future.

Going into my fourth year at ERAU, the past three years I’ve had the amazing opportunity to live and work in the same resident hall, but this year things are changing! It’s definitely an uncomfortable switch, but these are uncomfortable times in general and thus far in my life I’ve learned a positive attitude and a little optimism go a long way. That being said, please enjoy these before and after photos of my new living space courtesy of my sister’s and my efforts.

Before of my dorm room!
Me, ready to clean and unpack (also smiling)!

Some dorm rooms necessities that I recommend for everyone include, but are not limited to:

An essential oil diffuser! I absolutely ADORE mine and when my space smells clean it helps me to feel a lot more relaxed and productive.

A Keurig! If you are a coffee, tea, hot cocoa, or instant broth/instant noodle consumer, Keurigs come in a bunch of cool colors and sizes that are perfect for a dorm room and since I thrive in living conditions that include both morning coffee and afternoon/evening/late night tea this is the perfect fit for my living space.

Snacks! My dorm room and overall college living essentials (especially on the BUSY days) are snacks! I personally like granola, nuts, cereal like Cheerios, dark chocolate chips, dried fruit, granola bars, apple sauce, protein powder for quick protein shakes if you’re in a hurry, and other drinks like Gatorade and Coconut water.

My cleaned and organized room!

My space definitely feels a lot homier now, as I tend to be a bit of a nomad and love to travel and take on new adventures. The last three summers since I’ve started college I’ve spent learning Arabic through Project GO and hopping around from the University of Kansas, to the University of Arizona, and this past summer I was supposed to travel to Meknes, Morocco to continue those studies before the global pandemic struck. My plans for next summer are to travel to Amman, Jordan and continue my Arabic studies with the aid of a Boren scholarship I received to continue my Arabic language explorations.

Keep on keeping on folks! Will report back soon, hopefully with a lot of my trainings complete and even more excitement for the adventure into the future.

Wrapping Up & Recapping

Happy August everyone! I am currently blogging from the road to Daytona Beach on an approximately 11 hour drive from Virginia Beach, Virginia back to ERAU-DB for the Fall 2020 semester (amidst a pandemic)! I will be recapping on my summer and my past week.

I am recently finishing up a slew of tests and final exams for the second semester of my ARB 406 Class – Advanced Arabic II, that I took this summer online through Project Global Officer (Project GO) via the University of Arizona. It has been a BUSY week to say the least, and a busy summer, and a busy year, but for now let’s focus on this past week leading up to my journey back to campus. I am arriving early this year because I have Resident Advisor (RA), Orientation Team (O-Team), Student Government Association (SGA) Student Court, and Peer Mentor Training for my position in University 101 (UNIV – 101) courses this year. I’m sure August will fly by, I have no problem staying busy!

This past week, I had two reading/writing tests for one hour each, a comprehensive two hour final exam, a three hour reading and listening test, an oral video project in Moroccan Arabic dialect, and an Oral Proficiency Interview for Project GO.

I’m definitely ending a chapter of my summer life, as the past two months Monday through Friday I’ve been in class, meetings, tutoring, language partner sessions, and study hall from 11:30am until 7:00pm everyday, not including homework, studying, projects, virtual zoom tours around the city in Meknes, Morocco on the weekends, cooking clubs, and cultural activities like guest speakers, presentations, and movies. When I tell people I took summer classes online, they don’t anticipate that I spent over 40 hours a week as culturally and linguistically “immersed” as I could be without leaving the USA. Because my routine was so busily scheduled recently, this past summer flew by for me! Things that have kept me sane were weekends in the backyard with my family, and cooking delicious vegan comfort food with my mother.

Vegan nachos via my mom and my dinner endeavors during my last week of final exams for my summer Arabic class.
Vegan pizza!
A pool day this past summer with my family!

The highlight of my summer was definitely spending it (virtually of course) in class with my friends speaking Arabic, going surfing at sunrise before my classes began, and discovering workout videos on Youtube (Popsugar Fitness and YogaWithAdriene are my faves!).

Some of my classes have already switched to online and it will definitely be strange to wear a mask around campus now, but I feel hopeful about the Fall semester and excited to embrace the changes needed to keep us safe!

Keep on keeping on folks, stay safe, and I will report back soon!

Routines & Realizations

Happy July everyone! I am currently blogging from Virginia Beach, Virginia and I am loving the hot weather, despite having online classes that I keep me inside for most of the days.

The year 2020 in general has looked abnormal for a lot of people. I was originally supposed to be studying Arabic from Meknes, Morocco but right now I have officially finished my first semester of an intensive advanced Arabic course online through Project GO with the University of Arizona, which is how I spend 40+ hours a week dedicating my time.

When I’m not studying, in class, doing homework, meeting with professors, tutors, and language partners on Zoom calls I have had the amazing opportunity to go surfing in the mornings at sunrise. I even saw some dolphins in the water very close to my board recently! Moments like that remind me, despite how limiting my rigorous school schedule is all year round, it’s up to me to find a balance where I am enjoying life and finding happiness despite current situations.

Additionally, one of my favorite life hacks for online class is realizing that I can position my laptop on my kitchen counter while I’m in class so I can stand instead of sit which makes a HUGE difference in my overall mood and how my body feels (considering its approximately 8+ hours a day on Zoom calls).

I’ve been finding solace in working out with my friends or my sister from different parts of the country via Zoom, listening to music, podcasts, or classic Disney movies while I bake, and going for bike rides. 

I have really been loving roasting vegetables and baking because they make the entire house smell delicious while I’m inside all day and then I have delicious food to eat when I finish studying! Recently I’ve endeavored on vegan dark chocolate brownies, banana bread (2 different recipes), and a banana tarte tatin inspired by Nadiya’s Time To Eat on Netflix.

More vegan treats! From top left to right: more banana bread, almond vanilla berry puff pastries, dark chocolate brownies with walnuts and chocolate chips, and banana tarte tatin inspired by Nadiya’s Time To Eat on Netflix!

The plants that are thriving and keeping me sane in the garden recently are three types of basil, rosemary, beets, peppers (bell, banana, and jalapeño), beets, asparagus, thyme, and a plethora of other beauties that are bringing my happiness during this time.

I’ve also been trying to keep a semi-solid morning routine by waking up and putting a face mask or letting a face wash sit while I set essential oil diffusers, light candles, burn incense, start making coffee, do morning yoga, meditate, and/or read or write for a few minutes then continue on my day with either watering the plants, working out, going surfing, finishing some homework or last minute studying, and making breakfast.

My days are usually pretty packed until the late evenings around 7pm when I do another short workout and some yoga before showering, finishing up more homework/studying, eating dinner and repeating the process. In the chaos and long days my free time in the mornings are definitely my most favorite and sacred part of my day where I get to reflect and connect with my wellbeing before channeling my energy towards school all day.

Keep on keeping on folks, stay safe, and I will report back soon into my second semester of intense online advanced arabic!

The Beach and the Sand

Proper Social Distancing on the Beach

We are officially halfway done with summer B which is only 6 weeks long but it sure does make you have a busy 6 weeks of studies. These first 3 weeks have been so busy going to class every day and cramming 15 weeks of materials into less than half the time. Being halfway done and so close to being in my last semester calls for a well-needed break, so I decided to head to the beach. With current times, it is the most important thing to remain social distancing everywhere and continue to measure the dangers of activities. This means my friends and I struggled a little bit to be able to find a beach that was very uncrowded and without a doubt we found one at Ormond Beach. Everyone was very respectful and we were all at least 12-15 ft apart and there were not many large groups. It was very comforting to see people adhering to the new public etiquette practices and made me feel a lot safer at the beach. It was the perfect afternoon. The sun stayed out for the whole day, the waves were soothing to hear, and water was the perfect temperature. I could not have thought of a better way to relax with a couple of friends. It was a nice and safe way to be off campus for a short period of time and allowed us to get some sun.

The Beautiful Waves

Now that my lovely beach afternoon is done, I am headed back to my studies to finish the semester off strong and prepare myself for my final semester this fall. This summer has been very different, but I am glad to be taking it easy before the hustle of the fall semester. I cannot wait to see what this fall holds for me and my friends here at Embry-Riddle.

Back to School!

Summer B in-person classes have just started, and I have been preparing for this week by getting hand sanitizer, masks with filter, and travel Lysol wipes to bring with me to class. Being in-person for class after the quarantine was different, to say the least, but a good different to ease into the new social norm of wearing face masks and social-distancing.

My supplies for the week

Before I even went to class, I got my mandatory wellness check like I have been all summer. Today, there was someone who checked to make sure I had my wellness check done on my way into the engineering building where my class was being held, and they were ready to take anyone’s temperature who had not already gotten one. The professor came into class and had a clear face shield for us to be able to see his full face. The class went very well, and we all cleaned our computer stations with Lysol wipes before we left the classroom for the day. All of this may seem like a lot, but it is good to have the new cleaning and social standards on campus and to know that both faculty and staff are looking out for each other.

Me social distancing and wearing a mask in class

This past week has been a nice way to prepare to come back in the fall, and see what is expected for when more students are here. I am hopeful that this summer semester will go smoothly, and I am faithful everyone will help each other stay safe and healthy by wearing masks and social distancing. I am excited to see everyone come back for the fall and resume a more normal social and school life than the past few months have provided. Stay safe everyone, and remember to wear a mask, wash your hands often, and social distance!