September & Fall 2021 Schedule

Happy September everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, FL. As Week 2 of the Fall 2021 semester at ERAU-DB is coming to a close, I can say that classes, activities, clubs, and events are back into full swing operations. Currently, masks are the expectation on campus and all my classes are in person and most of my obligations, sans for a few Zoom meetings and Group Projects. This semester I am taking AE 432 – Flight Dynamics and Control, AE 420- Aircraft Preliminary Design, AE 416 – Aerospace Structures and Instrumentation, along with AE 417 – Aerospace Structures and Instrumentation Lab, HS 325 – Terrorism Origins and Ideologies, as well as my normal Air Force ROTC mornings Physical Training and Leadership Laboratory sessions.

In addition to my course load I am also participating in a tutoring extension of the summer program I took part in with Project Global Officer (Project GO). I attend one hour Zoom tutoring sessions weekly, with a Masters Student studying at the University of Arizona (the host university I studied with over the summer, in collaboration with the AALIM Center in Meknes, Morocco). Project GO is a critical language learning initiative offered through the Department of Defense to ROTC students in all branches of service. Four years ago I couldn’t imagine that I would be able to read, write, and speak in Arabic, but here we are folks, my progress even amazes me!

Since the semester is back to its typical business, I’ve been trying to take time to prioritize my health this year, particularly by focusing on staying safe and healthy in light of the pandemic. I tried a Cycle class at the Fitness Center last week, and am looking forward to checking out more Group Fitness classes in addition to Cycle (I would highly recommend!), such as Yoga, BodyPump, and Boxing Conditioning!

Outside of class and working out, I spent last weekend getting some sunshine at the beach. I watched the sunrise then went surfing and got to catch up on some leisurely reading. This weekend, I have mandatory class sessions on Saturday and Sunday, totaling 4 extra hours for a class that typically is supposed to meet during the week for a total of 6 hours. (An additional 2/3 of our usual amount of class time… split into two Mandatory sessions on both Saturday AND Sunday!) Since my free time is and few in between lately, I am cherishing the time I got to enjoy last weekend.

Sunrise at the beach last weekend!

I spent the long Labor Day weekend also taking a self-care trip to Orlando about an hour away from campus with my friend to visit the local Trader Joes. At Trader Joes I got two very fun new drinks to try: one Maple Oat Milk to put in my coffee (pictured below left) and two – Chai Tea Concentrate to make chai tea lattes (pictured below right)! Chai tea lattes are the perfect afternoon pick-me-up, and I am very excited about both of my new finds!

New Trader Joes Maple Oat Milk and Spiced Chai Black Tea Concentrate!

As I currently blog in the midst of doing laundry and making coffee between my classes, I am especially grateful that we had the opportunity to make the trip over the weekend. The maple oat milk in coffee is so delicious! Keep on keeping on folks, stay safe!

How My First Week of Classes Went

At least when I fell off my longboard I was 30 feet away from Health Services…

Well, the first week of classes has officially ended, and we’re getting through the second. I’ve already gotten plenty of assignments to keep me busy.

Yes, the sign is really that big! Mask removed for photo only. Both photographer and I are fully vaccinated.

On the first (and second!) day, I was lucky enough to find all of my classes and not walk in the wrong direction. Since I was part of the 2021 O-Team, I wore one of our shirts to class on the first day in case anyone had questions. I ran into a few people who did, and I was happy to help.

Activities seemed to resume, for the most part, as normal. Currently, Embry-Riddle expects you to wear a mask indoors, and most activities picked up within the first two weeks. For example, the Society of Women Engineers’ first general meeting is Wednesday, September 8, while the first chapter event of the semester for my sorority was on Monday, August 30- the day school started.

Unfortunately, I had a minor longboard incident on the second day of school. While I’m okay, I accidentally ran over a crack and skinned my knee. Normally, I would’ve called the school’s Emergency Response Team, which provides free medical care on campus from trained students, but I was really close to Health Services and just went there. They took a look and gave me a bunch of bandages and instructed me on how to take care of it.

Thursday was the most eventful day of the week for me. While I only have one class (YES!), the school hosted a free petting zoo.

Birdie!

In the zoo, there were a few other animals including a fennec fox, giant yellow snake, and an elderly spotted cat. I also saw a chinchilla, fancy chickens, a calf, and several goats. It was pretty fun.

That night- September 3- a few of my friends and I decided to watch Firefly Aerospace’s launch of the Firefly Alpha. We reserved one of the student union study room, and one of my friends brought his laptop. We arrived early and hung out for about two hours- an hour before the launch and an hour waiting for the next attempt.

Although the Firefly Alpha didn’t make it to its planned trajectory, it was really fun to hang out with my friends. It was a fun first week, and I did some more hanging-out on Labor Day weekend.

Of course, I’ve also been doing a lot more work than I did last year. As classes get harder, you might have less homework, but it’ll be more time-consuming. I’m glad tutoring is starting up again- the tutors are super helpful, and they’re the reason I got an A in Calculus II last year.

See you in the next post, and hopefully someday at Riddle!

I Participated in O-Week, This Time as an Orientation Ambassador

I am once again suggesting that you come to orientation events.

Well, it’s that time of the year again- orientation week for new students! I remember that I was soooooooo excited last year when I moved in. Funnily enough, I moved in last year on August 16, and this year moved in August 17 for Orientation Team, AKA O-Team.

We spent a few days on retreat preparing for orientation week, where we learned the welcome dance, practiced our chants, bonded together, and fine-tuned skills needed for orientation. I had the weekend off, and orientation week began on Monday. In the morning, Merrick (one of the other bloggers!) and I worked at the student union help station answering questions.

Merrick and I!

Throughout the day, the O-Team attended various events around campus. On Monday, I gave several unofficial tours of the campus and helped bring pep to the ice cream social. There, I high-fived students in the ice cream line while holding the orientation flag- a very high honor! That night was super fun- many people won prizes from the Bingo game that was going on.

On Tuesday, I helped pack s’mores bags for the fireside s’mores activity. Inside were graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows that students could use to make s’mores. Although the event got rained out, we were able to hold part of it outside! We danced to the Wobble, the Cupid Shuffle, and the Cha Cha Slide before we got rained out. In addition, other music was played, and students and O-Teamers formed a large dance circle. I found myself into it and ended up pulling out this move.

Splits!

On Wednesday we finished the last scheduled big block of move-in time. After helping get people checked in, we went to the student union and socialized with new students. I worked the welcome table again with a different person and then went to check the Eagle to Eagle rooms. The Eagle to Eagle sessions are in a small classroom setting and led by an orientation ambassador (so you can call me Professor Carly McDonald, I guess?) who presents information about the campus.

I made sure that my room was set up, and thankfully, everything was working. My Eagle to Eagle session is for people who live on the fourth floor of New Residence Hall 2, and I’m excited to meet them tomorrow.

COAS 318!

One question I get a lot is “How do you have so much energy?” Well, truth be told: it comes from other members of the team. Everyone is here because they want to make new students feel welcome and give them a successful start to their time at Embry-Riddle. When one person is excited, the energy radiates through the team and bounces off of the rest of us, and that’s why you’ll see us chanting in the student union at 8 AM and 8 PM.

I’ve really enjoyed every aspect of O-Week since the O-Team is one big family. It’s great to help out and meet new students, which is what being on the O-Team is all about. You make a lot of friends on the team, too- and they’re just a text away in the future, weather it be during O-Week or finals week.

Hopefully I’ll see you around if you’re currently at Embry-Riddle, and if not… see you in the next blog post!

Orientation & Re-Introduction

Happy August everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida, back on campus as a Resident Advisor (RA) and I’m ready to get the Fall 2021 semester started! The past week or so I’ve spent every day in training for my RA position, my Student Government Association (SGA) position, and for Orientation Team. Since it is a new semester and I anticipate I will meet a lot of new people working around campus during Orientation and Move In, I decided it’s time for a re-introduction!

Hello! My name is Merrick and this is my 5th year working towards a Bachelors of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. I plan to graduate in Spring 2022. My concentration is in Aeronautics, with a minor in Arabic Studies. On campus, I’m an RA, an SGA Associate Justice on the Student Court, an Orientation Team Ambassador, a University 101 Peer Mentor, an Air Force ROTC Cadet, and I blog for the school!

In my free time (which is very limited), when I’m not in class, meetings, doing homework, or studying, you will most likely find me working out. I love to run and workout outside, as well as attend Fitness Classes at the Fitness Center on campus! My app of choice is Spotify, and I love listening to music on my noise canceling headphones. I also love music when I’m running, and I like to listen to podcasts in Arabic for fun. My current favorite is BBC Extra. I try to do yoga every day, particularly in the mornings (even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes when I wake up). I’ve been fairly consistent in that routine for about a year now. If I’m not doing yoga I’m probably sleeping, reading books (my latest find is Grow Rich! With Peace of Mind by Napoleon Hill), or doing an outside activity.

On the weekends if I’m free I will most likely be at the beach, surfing, hiking, on nature walks, or listening to podcasts in English like Ted Talks Daily or Short Wave (a science podcast hosted by NPR).

This is me on a hike from my summer in Alaska!

I love plants. I also love dark chocolate! I drink a lot of water, and also a lot of coffee and tea. In particular, I prefer hot coffee in the mornings, iced tea or coffee in the afternoons, and hot tea in the evenings. I enjoy smoothies, especially on the hot Florida days after a workout.

Some of my plants I keep by the window in my Residence Hall room!

I am so excited to meet my residents this semester and I’m looking forward to greeting all the incoming students during Orientation. If you see me around campus, feel free to say hi!

Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!