The Week Before Finals Week

Carly slamming face-first into an inflatable go brr.

Sooooo finals week is coming, but there’s been no shortage of stuff to do. This weekend, we had EagleFest, which was moved indoors due to the rain. However, the Touch-N-Go, the entertainment division, pulled off a great event. There was free ice cream, cake on a stick, candies, donuts, plants… anything!

And the capstone: sets of inflatables plus an outdoor zipline. The inflatable obstacle course I went on was modeled on Wipeout’s big red balls, and we’ll just say that I wouldn’t win Wipeout.

The physics professors are having a field day: if Carly launches herself at a 30-degree angle at 2 m/s, then how long does it take her to fall flat on the ground? Brownie points to anyone who solves this.

I was a little too short to get back on top, so I ended up walking along the sides. A few of my other friends chose to do the inflatable obstacle course race, and it was pretty fun to watch.

That’s when we headed over to the zipline. Touch-N-Go had somehow gotten a portable zipline company, so I was able to zipline down Legacy Walk towards the Henderson Welcome Center. It was raining during part of the day, so the zipline had to shut down at points, but it was so worth it to wait in the line.

Zipline go brr.

It was a fun weekend.

As for the rest of this week, I’ve been anticipating finals. I’ve finished two classes already, but I do have more work to do. I’ve turned in and had my EGR 115 project graded, and I’m happy with the grade I got. I also took my chemistry lab practical on Tuesday, and there’s no more work in that class.

I’m still working on my HON 250 class, which is about video games. The final assignments relate to our project, where we design our own video game based on ERAU, Daytona Beach, or somewhere significant in Florida. Our video game is about a fictional ERAU campus on a fictional world. I’m in charge of the narrative.

I’m also working on my EGR 101 project. Our team is making a tennis ball launcher for dogs, called the Fetch for Fun! ball launcher. If I had a dog, and it was for sale, I would totally buy the ball launcher: it’s cost-effective, designed by a small business, yet still hand-built with care. We show it off to the professor next week.

As for my other classes, math and physics, we haven’t been doing any projects. In physics, we’re talking about rotational motion, and my professor brought a spinning circle to class. It proved his point well and also made us dizzy.

Wheeeeeee! And yes, those are cats on my mask.

When I stood on it and slowly spun, I’m not going to lie, I felt like a video game character. Either way, it’s been a fun week here at Riddle. See you in the next post, and hopefully at Riddle! (:

New Traditions & Social Connections

Happy April folks! I am currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida and the spring semester is so close yet so far from being over! Homework is slowing down as projects, tests, quizzes, and finals are picking up and we only have a few weeks between us and summer!

Some brief updates: I got rehired as an RA for next year and I got assigned a new building which I am so happy about! I also discovered a new affinity for iced chai tea lattes, and my favorite finals go-to drink… iced cappuccinos! Stopping by the Starbucks on campus in between classes or studying for a quick pick-me-up has been a recent favorite of mine.

I started a few weeks ago FaceTiming my sister every Sunday evening, its been an important highlight that I look forward to every week amongst the chaos and busy flow of both of our lives. Giving time and energy to people you love is one of the most rewarding feelings! FaceTiming with people you miss may also help you feel more connected, especially in our current era of social distancing and masked living. 

My sister’s pup Daisy who I also get to see over FaceTime every Sunday!!

I am one shot away from being fully vaccinated and I am very excited to be done! Traveling is one of my favorite activities and not being able to go abroad the past two summers has definitely hit me hard. I deleted my social media accounts at the beginning of the semester to take a small mental break and post-finals I am considering re-downloading them to stay connected with my friends that are graduating and moving away for the summer. I have also been looking into Pinterest lately as there’s some super cool inspiration and motivation that helps me feel more connected. 

Making friends is definitely challenging and the social life component is usually a very important aspect of college connections! I’ve supplemented “normal” hanging out with friends by sharing digital connections with my friends in the meantime. Usually this consists of sending music recommendations (Spotify!), workout or yoga videos (typically Popsugar Fitness or YogaWithAdriene), cool podcasts we want to share (NPR’s Shortwave on Spotify), or show/movie recommendations on Disney+, Netflix, or Hulu. 

Shortwave is a super cool podcast that is fairly short and is perfect for a study break, walk between classes, or something to listen to if you are curious and like learning more about the world in between switching your laundry!

I don’t usually have a ton of free time, so sometimes while I’m eating dinner I will watch a show or a movie for a few moments before hopping back into my to-do lists. Recently I’ve checked out on Netflix – Nadiya’s Time To Eat and Nadiya Bakes, both which I highly recommend for a light hearted good vibes simple cooking show that helps me look forward to being able to cook again in a kitchen this summer. I also recently watched Onward, Ferdinand, and Lilo and Stitch on Disney+ which are all extremely cute and have bright colors and end on happy notes!

Keep on keeping on folks! Will report back soon with final projects, finals, and life updates!

April & Air Force Updates

Happy April everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, we’re about two weeks out from finals and my life is currently hectic. I find that when I am faced with a lot of assignments and not a lot of time I rely heavily on routines and lists. Some of my favorite tried and true routines that I’ve found which work best for me include being very productive while I do laundry and drink coffee!

Something really interesting that I have been thinking about lately in my *limited* free time has been that there is a huge difference between free time and availability, although the two are often confused! A lot of times in college you will most likely be asked when you have class, meaning that the time you don’t have class is “negotiable availability”, but its very important to schedule in free time during your weeks to prevent burnout!

A super cute stress survival guide with fun tips that I find online I wanted to share!

Something very exciting that I got to do this week was submit my “dream sheet”! A dream sheet is an Air Force Form 53 where you list out six potential career fields you want once you enter active duty. You rank the six choices from your top to your least favorite choice. My top three were Intelligence, Information Operations, and Public Affairs, but there’s always a chance I get engineering too (because of my degree in Aerospace Engineering).

The reason I don’t want to be a professional engineer post college is simple, I’m not passionate about it! I am extremely grateful that on my fourth of five years working towards a degree in Aerospace Engineering I have been as successful as I have and that I only have one more year left. I am graduating May 2022 and I am so excited!!

My puppy niece Daisy with a big stick, also showing that if there is will, there is a way!

My time at Riddle has opened my eyes to things I am passionate about though, including joining the Air Force post college thanks to Air Force ROTC solidifying my already prospective goals from the time I was in high school. While in college I also realized I was very passionate about language learning!

Riddle is a heavily tech reliant school and while it does have many great programs outside of engineering and pilot training, I was already too far in when I realized I really liked languages! I made the conscious decision to follow through on earning my Aerospace Engineering degree in hopes that in my career post college in the Active Duty Air Force I will be able to use my language skills more frequently.

Riddle does offer options to minor in a variety of language studies, but if you’re in higher level classes the language programs aren’t extremely extensive. I’ve supplemented this by spending all my summers participating in language learning programs like Project Global Officer, available to all branches of ROTC students, in order to maintain and expand my Arabic fluency. If there is a will, there is a way!

I hope this inspires you to find out what you’re truly passionate about and consider if there is a way to be practical as well as have some fun along the way pursuing your goals and seeking new opportunities! More exciting updates to come, keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!

April & Pandemic Adjustments

Happy April everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida and I have been incredibly busy lately. We have about a month left of school until finals and I feel like there is SO much to do before then.

Most of my classes have final exams and final projects, so the entire month of April is crazy slammed for me. In other news I am scheduled to get my first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in a few days and will be receiving the second dose of the vaccine during finals (so I am really hoping I don’t have any negative side effects because finals will happen whether I feel dizzy or not). I am hoping my professors will have some leniency given that the current day and age is full of a lot of unusual circumstances and getting vaccinated is a priority of the university (and my health).

My in-person study abroad program plans in Meknes, Morocco have changed to completely online due to the global pandemic. This means my summer plans for where I will be completing my online classes are up in the air. Typically in the past while I’m done online courses I’ve house-hopped with my family, but at the moment given the nature of travel restrictions, other than committing to bringing my laptop with me to log into Zoom, it’s difficult for me to solidify plans of where I will actually be.

A common theme that I’ve found reoccurring in my life recently is uncertainty, specifically having to do with plans for the future. My advice to you from one person who is going through it to another, is to take everything one day at a time.

I love to-do lists and setting milestones for timelines of where I want to be in completing assignments leading up to their due dates. I also recently deep cleaned by room! Washing my sheets and bedding, cleaning my floors, organizing my living space, and overall refreshing where I study, sleep, and workout has a big impact on my mental health, often an impact I don’t realize until I’ve reorganized and cleaned and feel so much better in the space around me.

Aircraft I designed for my AE 413 Aircraft Stability and Control class using Matlab

I’ve talked about time management and balance before, and as being busy seems to be a lifestyle for me, I’ve been setting aside time every day to stretch and do yoga or fit in a quick workout as a break between assignments. Sometimes taking a break and looking away from a problem or a page you’ve been working on for a while is just the thing your mind needs to process what you’re working on. 

Spring picture of my niece pup Daisy!

In the past I’ve found myself staying up thinking about how to complete engineering problems, so I like to “shut off” my working brain and switch into relaxation mode at the end of every day. I do this by setting a bedtime routine as best I can by having my shower “mark” the end of my homework for the day, and setting my oil diffusers with calming oil blends. I’ve found while being in the same environment of my room, the small changes such as setting up my bed for sleep make a big difference in my mindset and switching from work mode to off mode.

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

I Got the COVID Vaccine

Hey yo, just got the vaccine check. That means that I have anti-body-ody-ody-ody-odies!

So, as the post says, I got the COVID vaccine! I got the first dose of the Pfizer one on Tuesday, April 6, 2021- exactly one year after I committed to Embry-Riddle.

Vaccines opened up to all part and full-time Florida residents on Monday, April 5. On Friday, I had registered for a vaccine at 12 PM at the Walgreens about a mile south, so I was good to go. Since I’m not from Florida, I had to bring two proof of residency documents.

For all on-campus students, the Embry-Riddle Housing Department offers a proof-of-residence letter. For the other, since I have an on-campus job, I printed out my W-2 form with my ERAU box address on it.

I arrived about ten minutes early and checked in, having already filled out the vaccine informed consent form. Once they looked over my proof of residency, I was good to go. They stapled my receipt (it was free, billed to my insurance) to an information packet about the vaccine, and then directed me to the waiting area.

Pfizer vaccine information sheet.

Since I’d already signed the informed consent form, I waited around in the waiting room until my name was called. The vaccine itself was like a normal shot; I was called into a private room where someone administered the vaccine. It was a tiny needle and didn’t really hurt; in fact, it was one of the least painful shots I’d ever gotten. I can’t watch needles go into a person, but I’m not afraid of them, which is pretty lucky.

Once I was done, I got the infamous CDC vaccination card:

Since the shot was done, I underwent the mandatory 15 minute waiting period. This period is to ensure that I didn’t have a serious reaction to the vaccine, and once it was up, I was free to go. I continued the rest of my day like normal, and I can’t say I’ve felt too many side effects from the first dose of the vaccine.

I’ve heard the second one is worse, but this one’s fine. I haven’t had any side effects at all, which is really nice. I’m excited that vaccines are becoming available for people who want them. I’ll see you in the next post and hopefully at Riddle!

Graduating?

Upcoming Ceremonies | Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide

My last semester at ERAU is finally coming to an end. After four years and four different flight ratings, I will be graduating this May. The thought of graduating hasn’t hit me yet, because of how unique this year has been with the pandemic. Unfortunately, the graduation will not be in person, and the ceremony will be held virtually. It is a bit disappointing to end a huge chapter of my life with a virtual presentation, but I’m excited for what will come next. I finished my last flight course, which is the multi-engine add-on rating this March, and my application for graduation was accepted.

My four flight ratings that I’ve received at Riddle

This semester has definitely been a challenge for a lot of us as our breaks (three-day weekends and the spring break) were all taken away in order to prevent students from traveling during a pandemic. As a result of this, many of the students are burned out and exhausted from school and flying. There is still a month of school left and quite frankly, I am looking forward to being done in May. It is critical to balance work and play, especially when you can’t hang out with friends as freely as you used to before the pandemic. Many of my friends and I discuss how exhausted we are, and I keep telling them to focus on their personal mental health rather than overworking themselves.

My plan for after graduating is currently to work towards getting my Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) license in order to teach people how to fly while building my hours for the regionals. I want to spend some time off in the summer and hopefully travel around the country to visit friends and family now that the country is slowly opening up. I am also planning on getting my vaccine soon, and I encourage everyone else to go get theirs.

It’s a unique situation I find myself in as a college graduate from the pandemic class. However, I like to stay optimistic as the world and the aviation industry slowly recovers, and I hope that things will go back to how it was before 2020. Our awesome campus doesn’t feel normal as it isn’t as full and alive as it used to be.

I Got A Big Sorority Sister Surprise!

“Ever loyal, ever lasting, ever big/little.” – My Instagram Caption

So, as you may have previously read, I joined the Theta Phi Alpha sorority back in mid-February. One of the most well-known aspects of a sorority is the Big and the Little Sister- or simply the Big and the Little. In our chapter of Theta Phi Alpha, each new member gets an older mentor to help her acclimate to the sorority.

The process begins with the Big and Little bios. Each potential Big and Little will fill out an information sheet with contact information (the “bio”). Each Big receives the Little bios, while the Littles receive the Big bios. From there, the Bigs and Littles can reach out to each other during a period called “Big/Little dating,” where the point is for each Little to meet each Big.

In my incoming class (Beta Rho), there were two Littles, myself and one other girl, while there were four Bigs. I went on dates with three of the four Bigs, since one of the Bigs’ schedule did not match up with mine.

After that, we told our New Member Educator who we wanted as our bigs, and then it was her job to pair us up for the fun part: Big/Little Week!

Big/Little Week is the week where Bigs will send someone to deliver their gifts to their Littles. The Littles don’t know who their Big is until the reveal, and no one in the sorority will tell them, but they are free to speculate. During Big/Little Week, the Bigs also give their Littles gift baskets on each weekday. Here’s what my Day 1 basket looked like:

Reece’s are my favorite candy, but I ate them before I took this picture. Whoops.

It was really nice. Before I took the picture, I had eaten all three Reece’s cups that came in the basket. Each basket has a note in it, usually some painted canvas decorations, and food. The notes usually explain the day’s theme while also giving hints to who the Big is. However, there is no guarantee that the Big is honest in the hints…

This sort of process continued for the entire week. I’d get texts from a burner phone number that my Big had, and then she’d arrange to get gifts to me.

On Friday, at the arranged time, I went over to the College of Arts and Sciences and waited inside while the initiated members prepared the reveal. I waited with the other girl in my pledge class and one already initiated girl, who then walked us with our eyes closed in front of the Wright Flyers statue and Embry-Riddle sign.

The New Member Educator took a Polaroid picture of us with our Bigs behind us. We had to face forward while the picture developed and then when it developed, she handed it to us.

This is my Big!

The other new member and I turned around to find my Big behind me! From there, we hugged, laughed, and talked for a bit. We took more pictures and hung outside for a bit. An hour or so later, we went to dinner.

I met the rest of my sorority family, which is a line of Bigs and Littles. Everyone in Theta Phi Alpha is part of a family, and six of us went to Ichi Ni San, an Asian restaurant in Daytona. It was a great week with a great end; I enjoyed the entirety of Big/Little Week and was glad to meet my Big. Joining a sorority was a good idea, and if you’re considering it, I highly suggest looking into them.

See you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!

Updates & Free Time Tips

Happy March everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida, it’s a rainy and cold weekend and I have been so busy lately that the weeks are really flowing together. 

Typically mid March, students look forward to a well needed break for a week with Spring Break, but this semester due to the global pandemic, we are experiencing a “new normal”. We had our first “study” day that was enacted to replace Spring Break, but with assignments still due and office hours still being held, it felt more like a normal work day than a break. Spring break typically is a week where students are able to not think about school for a few days before the final push to finals season, so this semester is especially challenging without the scheduled period to decompress.

In recent news my study abroad program through Project GO in Meknes, Morocco has been officially canceled due to travel restrictions and is moving to either an in-person program in Tucson, Arizona at the University of Arizona or an online program which is essentially a Zoom class like I did last summer. The benefit of a Zoom class is that since you’re doing it from home you can be mask-less and aside from video calling, class seems semi normal!

Some things that I’ve found keeping me sane and hopeful lately are leaning into the small moments where I get free time and filling them with good music, online yoga videos like YogaWithAdriene on Youtube, watching a movie on Disney+ (or Netflix or Hulu), texting my sister and getting updates on my puppy niece, or ordering Chinese food or pizza on a Friday night in.

I have definitely been missing my puppy niece lately!

When I’m extremely busy with school I’ve found that that I typically sleep less and eat less healthy food. This is especially prevalent when I am busy back-to-back, with homework, projects, and tests on the weekends instead of opportunities for extra sleep or relaxation. Thankfully there is only about a month and I half of school left, and I am looking forward to a much needed break!

Some key take-aways I’ve learned over the years that are especially important when I’m busy are having good food and maintaining a good evening/morning routine to keep me energized (as well as good snacks). Some of my favorite snacks to keep on hand are fruit, nuts, granola, fig bars, granola bars, pita chips, honey, and of course either peanut butter or almond butter. I also always have oatmeal and coffee! Typically this is my go-to for breakfast but I have been known to eat some after dinner as dessert or for a snack!

A solo selfie (from alone in my room) to remind you that there are still smiles under the mask!

This semester and this time in the world are especially challenging for everyone right now, so with that I remind you that you are not alone! If you ever need anything the Center for Faith and Spirituality, the Counseling Center, and Health Services are available to support you! 

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

The College Essentials and Extras

What can I say except… you’re welcome!

So every college has a basic packing list with stuff that you’ll need like sheets, blankets, and towels. But what about the stuff they don’t tell you to bring? Stuff that’s not absolutely necessary, but it’ll make your life a little easier? Or what about the stuff that nobody ever needs in their first year of college?

Well, I’ve made these lists for you. Here are a few things that I’ve found very, very, very helpful in my freshman year here at Riddle… and things I want to ship home. Please keep in mind that this list is subjective, and it’s just advice from me, someone who has way too much stuff in her dorm.

THE GOOD:

#1: An umbrella AND raincoat.
You’re going to school in Florida. It rains a lot. And in addition to that, there are plenty of popup showers. These storms can get pretty bad- I walked from my dorm to class during part of tropical storm Eta. (Disclaimer: it wasn’t bad, just windy and rainy. It was completely safe to walk.) It sucked, but my top half stayed dry due to the raincoat and umbrella. If you want, you can only bring one, but I highly suggest both unless you enjoy impromptu free baths.

#2: A bedside caddy/shelf, especially for lofted beds.
THIS IS A MUST!!! Without it, you’ll be getting out of bed to plug your phone in or reaching over the side of the bed. With mine, I’m also able to plop my laptop in there on the very few days I have to get up early. It’s very nice; when I register for my classes, all I have to do is pick up my umbrella.

#3: A vacuum cleaner.
I assume you’ll have at least one snack in your dorm, and your roommate will, too. People- all people- are messy. Don’t attract bugs.

#4: A super-long phone charger. And by super-long, I mean 10+ feet long.
You can always coil it up if it’s too long. A cord that’s too short won’t reach. Especially if you choose not to get a bedside caddy, get a long phone charger so it’ll reach from the outlet under/beside your bed into your bed.

#5: A back pillow.
Okay, so apparently studying in bed is bad for you, but you’ll probably do it anyways. Or you’ll want to

#6: Snacks.
Food is good. That’s all that needs to be said.

#7. A storage container that also works as a seat.
THESE THINGS ARE TO DIE FOR! I can store a bunch of my textbooks in it, throw the lid back on, and it’ll be a seat for my suitemate(s) if they want to come and sit in my half of the suite.

THE BAD:

#1: A mini-blender (or similar)
I used to make smoothies in it… and now I’m too lazy to use/clean it out. Unless you’re sure that you’re going to use it, don’t bother.

#2: More than, like, 7 pairs of shoes.
Fifteen was too many. During break, I threw a bunch in my suitcase, and by “a bunch,” I mean half of my stash. Only bring 1-3 pairs of dress shoes, and only one of those should be heels.

#3: That shirt you haven’t worn in, like, six months.
I brought waaaaaay too many clothes. As a general guideline for casual clothes, if you can see yourself wearing it at least once every 2-3 weeks, then wear it. If it’s something formal (like a blazer), take at least one.

#4: A popcorn maker.
Bagged popcorn is good.

In the end, whatever you want to bring is completely up to you. Some people bring small TVs and regret it; other people bring full-on couches for their dorms and are very happy with it. Whatever you bring, it’s a good idea to check your specific dorm’s schematics and size, which is found on the ERAU housing websites.

After your first semester, you’ll learn what you do and don’t use. If you can send some things home, that’s great! If you can’t, you can always take it home at the end of the year, sell it during the year, or repurpose it to do something else. This school does have several engineers; chances are that you’ll be or know one!

Good luck, and I’ll see you in the next post!

Balancing the Busy & Preventing Burnout

Happy March everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida, there’s approximately two full months of the Spring semester left, it’s Midterm season, its PT test season, and for me its a season highly saturated with Matlab coding. My go-tos for being very busy during this time are adding clay face masks to my nighttime routine (to help my skin combat wearing cloth face masks all day), drinking lots of coffee (and lots of water to balance the lots of coffee) and in the true nature of a college student – adding peanut butter and hot sauce to basically all my food for fast flavor for my microwave rice or noodles.

I am currently in the thick of it, in terms of being extremely busy. Something I struggle with balancing during the busiest times always seems to be powering down at the end of the day. Sometimes I have weeks of “on” mode, constantly go, go, go, next assignment next due date next quiz/test to study for, next time commitment, and it’s hard to actually slow down. While tapping into the productive flow state can be helpful for a few days or a few weeks, it is certainly not sustainable in the long term. That being said, I am absolutely guilty of planning my weeks ahead of time, scheduling my days with lists, and powering through by showing up for each item on my list. The thing most of us forget to prioritize in all that though, is time for ourselves!

Outside of yoga, coffee and conversation in car rides is one of may favorite ways to relax.

Usually when schedules get busier the first items that gets “kicked off” my To-Do list are the items that have to do with self care and taking time to wind down. This leads to burnout! 

I am a strong believer that we make time for the things that are important to us, but also that sometimes there isn’t enough time in a day to complete all the tasks we elect to do.

Tips and tricks I’ve found that help me center myself and prevent burnout: 

Balance is key! I have found that showing up for myself has never had negative effects. Taking a moment to calm down, meditate for a few minutes, go for a run or a workout, or nap when I need it is essential. You know your body/mind best so if you need to schedule time to check in to assess what you need to help you feel and perform your best, do so!

One of my other favorite ways to relax is looking at pictures from my sister of my puppy niece, Daisy! Never fails to brighten my day.

Let’s circle back here, while it is absolutely essential to take care of yourself, a balance is absolutely essential too. For example, I don’t like doing my homework, and my classes are stressful, but in order to eliminate my stressors I could either do my homework and get through them, or not do my homework and avoid them. Doing my homework leads me to be more stressed on my own time, but less stressed during tests/exams.

Not doing my homework and taking a break is sometimes needed, but it’s important to differentiate between taking breaks and neglecting your responsibilities. When you need a break, take a break, but if you find yourself not finding motivation to do ANY homework, circle back to why you signed up for the classes in the first place and think about your end goal.

Whether that goal is graduating, passing a class, earning any type of degree, commissioning into the military, all of us have motivation of what made us choose to be in college and why we stay. Find your reason and reflect on how it will feel to get your degree or reach your end goal. When things get tough, circle back to what keeps you going!

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