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!

Summer B & Summer Snacks

Happy July everyone! I am currently blogging from Norfolk, Virginia where I am enjoying my last few days on the East Coast until the in person Fall semester at Riddle starts again. I’ve had the great opportunity to see family and explore yoga and spin classes, frequent coffee shops, and visit the beach as much as possible in my hometown and I’m getting ready to start the second half of my summer classes (Summer B Term), and begin preparing for the semester of my final year at Riddle… before I graduate in Spring 2022!

I am so excited for my last year. I will be an RA in a different Residence Hall and am happy to get back to all my fun extracurriculars. My last year will include Air Force ROTC, being a Peer Mentor for University 101 classes, being an Associate Justice on the Student Government Association’s (SGA’s) Student Court, and of course being an Orientation Team Leader!

Although my summers are still busy with my summer classes for Arabic studies, they are significantly more relaxed than the hustle and bustle of the Fall and Spring semesters. That being said I have had the luxury as of lately to have the time to briefly relax in between my studies.

Post spin class coffee shop break with my sister!

Books I’ve been reading recently include When: the Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink and The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip and Dan Heath, both of which were recommended by the current Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force (CMSSF Towberman) when he visited ERAU during the Spring 2021 semester and spoke to the Air Force ROTC cadets one morning.

My favorite quick snacks in between classes lately have been chips and salsa, hummus with cucumbers or carrots, unsalted mixed nuts, fresh cherries or watermelon, and frozen banana slices with almond butter, dark chocolate, and sea salt.

One of my favorite super easy, super delicious, refreshing summer snacks!

Frozen banana slices are one of my new favorite study break treats and can even be made in a dorm room! I started by slicing about 3 bananas that were about to go bad, melting chocolate (which can be done with chocolate chips in a microwave for about 15 second intervals, stirring in between), then laying my banana slices flat on tin foil before dolloping with almond butter (or your favorite nut or seed butter), melted chocolate, and sea salt! After all your slices are covered, lay them them flat in the freezer for about 30 minutes, and you will have a super tasty treat that can be transferred to a bag or Tupperware container in the freezer for whenever you need a study break!

Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!

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!

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!

October & AFROTC

Happy October everyone! October is my favorite month and everything about fall is also the best. I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida.

Small (yet critical) life update: I passed the AFOQT! The AFOQT, which stands for the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test is a standardized test that all cadets in AFROTC detachments across the country take to determine if they are apt to become Air Force Officers.

Now, there is SO much more than just the AFOQT that goes into preparing to commission as an officer in the United States Air Force. Although I’m not officially there yet, the journey I’m on includes a lot of early morning trainings, leadership laboratory sessions, physical training with the rest of the cadet wing (along with working out outside of scheduled PT sessions), and of course working on the class requirements for my degree!

Being a cadet in AFROTC here at Embry Riddle has honestly been one of the most rewarding experiences and is hands down what I’m most proud to be a part of on campus. A phrase that is constantly reiterated to cadets here is that we are a family, and it’s extremely true! We workout together, we study together, we overcome obstacles together, and we get a flight of about twenty people who are always willing to grab dinner, its a pretty good deal.

Some of my favorite wingmen and I after a workout.

We recently celebrated the Air Force’s birthday and had a series of competitions within the wing between flights in events such as capture the flag, tug of war, relay races, and a poster and flag contest.

My Flight with the Colonel after a tug of war contest!

Just to clarify- the wing is composed of every cadet in AFROTC, which is then subdivided into groups, squadrons, and flights. Within flights of about twenty people there are subdivisions as well, but for right now we’ll just focus on big picture terminology.

Another exciting thing about going to college in Daytona Beach, being a part of Detachment 157, and going to Embry Riddle, is the exciting opportunities cadets have that are specific to this area. Some of my favorites are beach workouts and the Speedway run! Most recently we completed a morale physical training session on the beach where we got to workout by running and performing calisthenics right along the coastline as the sun rose. The weather here in Florida is typically in the upper 80s in October, and the early mornings are the perfect time to get exercise in, especially surrounded by a family of 400 members, AND at the beach. It really doesn’t get better than this folks, I’m motivated just thinking about it.

Flight picture after a beach PT!

Will report back soon!

Spring Break 2013

Spring Break is here! This fact means a couple of things. First off, it means that my fellow classmates and I will be able to use this week off to catch up on some much needed sleep and relaxation. Neither of which I have been able to get much of these past few weeks. Spring break also means that the end is near! After we get back from break we have about five weeks before final examinations begin. We are getting close to the end and it is truly hard to believe I am also almost done with my first full year away at college.

The past weeks have been relatively uneventful; midterms came and went without too much stress. My parents were actually in town a couple weeks ago and it was really nice to be able to see them and spend time together. Highlights of the week included watching a spring training with my dad and having dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack.

spring training, baseball

Soaking up the rays while watching some baseball

The Daytona 500 came to town back in February and yes, it was crazy. This town was inundated with race fans and it looked completely different. Over 200,000 people were in attendance at that race and I happened to be one of them. I was able to score a free ticket since I had previously volunteered at the speedway, so me and a few of my buddies went to check it out. I have to say, I have never been a NASCAR fan, and I’m still not, but now I see what it’s all about. It was definitely a pretty cool experience to be there at the most prestigious race in the world.

Daytona 500, daytona international speeadway

On the sidelines at the Daytona 500

More Daytona 500 fun

Air Force ROTC is still going well. I wish I could tell you that you get used to waking up at 5:45 every other morning but it always seems to be a struggle to get out of that nice cozy bed. For our midterm evaluations we had to defend a “base” against the upperclassmen. It was actually pretty fun as each Squadron was assigned a specific task and we were able to apply what we have been learning this semester. Also, we had our Beach Run PT (physical training) a couple weeks back which is always a nice change of scenery. Watching the sunrise isn’t bad either.

Air Force, Daytona Beach

AFROTC Detachment 157 on the beach after PT

Spring break (especially in Florida) should be indicative of warmer weather and nicer days. That hasn’t necessarily been the case here in Daytona Beach up until now. Virtually ever since the spring semester began back in January, the temperatures have been well below average, with the exception of a few days that have made the mercury rise. Believe it or not, this morning was a chilly 39 degrees. However, cooler weather generally means better flying. Which I have not been doing much of recently since I have been preparing for my checkride (funny how that works right?). I have actually spent most of my time doing orals and studying, studying. There is a lot of knowledge, procedures and regulations that you have to be proficient with in order to pass your checkride (especially your Private Pilot checkride). However, I am done with my flight training and ready to go. My plan was to take it before spring break but bad weather, scheduling conflicts and a high workload in my other classes means I will have to wait until after we get back from spring break.

That’s all I’ve got for now, more to come in a week or so.

September 21, 2009

This past week I had an amazing opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. and spend five days there. The reason I had this opportunity goes back to my freshman year when I decided to join a club on campus called Silver Wings. Silver Wings is a national, co-ed organization that focuses on professional development and community service. The club’s members are both AFROTC cadets and civilians and one of our purposes is to create awareness throughout the community about the military. Over the past three years, I’ve been able to develop more as a leader because of the positions I’ve held in the organization. This year I’m the Silver Wings National Treasurer and the reason I went to Washington D.C. is because we had our Executive Boards. Executive Boards are when the National Staff shares with the eleven Region Presidents what the vision is for the year. Also, our sister organization-Arnold Air Society-meets and we discuss what community service projects we will work together on amongst other things.

My time in D.C. was not just spent in hotel meeting rooms; I did get to go out and see many of the monuments. I saw the Capitol Building, the Washington Monument, the White House, the Vietnam Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial. I had never been to Washington D.C. before and to see all these monuments was an amazing experience! Also, we did get to go to one museum-the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. We decided to get a group picture taken in front of the original Wright Flyer, since our school has a replica of the Wright Flyer in front of the library. One day I want to go back, so that I can spend more time exploring the city!

One of the reasons we have our Executive Board Meeting in Washington D.C. is because the Air Force Association invites us to their Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition. When we finished with our meetings each day, we were able to go downstairs in the hotel and attend their conference. Some of the briefings I was able to listen to were from the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Air Force, and many other notable people. On Sunday morning, we were guests at the Air Force Association Wreath Laying Ceremony for fallen Air Force Association members. The ceremony took place at the Air Force Memorial and I was impressed at the size and beauty of the memorial. Also, we were included in the two formal dinners they hosted. One of the dinners was to honor the 12 Outstanding Airmen and the Air Force Band along with the Singing Sergeants put on a performance. To be able to attend the Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition was an experience that I will remember for a long time.

The whole conference was a one of a kind opportunity and I’m so glad that I joined Silver Wings my freshman year. A big part of the college experience is joining organizations on campus and Embry-Riddle has something for everyone. I encourage you when looking at prospective schools to also look at the clubs they offer. My college experience without Silver Wings is one I wouldn’t dare to imagine!

Until next time,
Kaleigh

September 7, 2009

Hello and welcome back! As some of you may know, my name is Kaleigh Sides and this is my third year at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I have had the pleasure of writing a journal since my freshman year! You can take a look in the archives to read my past entries.

Let me tell you a little about myself: I’m a senior majoring in Aviation Business Administration with a concentration in General Management, I’m in Air Force ROTC and will commission in May 2011, and I hope to start working on my MBA next semester. I enjoy going to school at Embry-Riddle and the weather is an added bonus! I’m from Sidney, Illinois where snow at Halloween is not a surprise, Florida weather is nice and, if you ever get too warm you can go jump in a swimming pool or the ocean!

The summer seemed to fly by for me! I went back home to Illinois for the first two months and worked at a local ice cream shop, and then I headed to Maxwell Air Force Base on July 4th for Field Training. In order to commission into the United States Air Force, ROTC cadets must complete Field Training between their sophomore and junior years. I spent 28 days with cadets from around the nation developing and enhancing my leadership skills, learning what happens in a deployed environment, and how to be an effective team player. The whole experience was fascinating and something that I had been looking forward to accomplishing. After Field Training, I had two weeks left of summer and spent my time working and getting ready to come back to Daytona.

I was excited to come back to school and see all my friends again! This semester has been another full of firsts: my first time having my Jeep in Florida, my first apartment, and my first time living by myself. A car is not necessary to have when coming to Embry-Riddle and my freshman year I walked all over the place with my friends. My sophomore year I got a scooter and was able to go a little bit further from campus. So far I have enjoyed having my own car because it’s nice to not have to ask people for rides or have to plan around the weather when I want to go somewhere. Right now, I’m living in a studio apartment about 5 minutes from campus. I like the fact that it’s close enough to go back if I have a break between classes, but far enough to not be on campus all day, every day. After having roommates for two years, I decided that I would like to live by myself and so far I’m enjoying it!

This semester I’m taking 18 credits which equals out to be 6 classes. Since I’m in my senior year, I’m just taking business classes and I’m enjoying all of them. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I have Aviation Labor Relations and Professional Selling. My Aviation Labor Relations class is not just textbook work, but also a simulation where the class has become a company and labor unions may or may not become part of the company and every student has a role. I decided to take Professional Selling because I wanted to work on my public speaking and I heard this class gives you multiple opportunities to do so. Currently, we are making business cards and working on a 30-second commercial to sell ourselves to prospective employers. Also, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning I have Air Force Physical Training (PT) or Lead Lab (we learn about the Air Force). Tuesday and Thursday are my busy days where I have class from 8:15 to 2:00. My morning starts off with Air Force class where we are learning about leadership and what it means to be an officer. Then, I head over to the College of Business where I have Strategic Management, Aviation Insurance, and Management of the Multicultural Workforce. After class, I usually feel a little overwhelmed with all the information that I just received. In order to take all the classes that I wanted to, I had to make my schedule this way; however, I sort of like it because I have the afternoons free. I’ll keep you posted on the interesting things happening in class!

This year I also got a job working at the Embry-Riddle kiosk located in the Daytona Beach Airport. I work three times a week and answer people’s questions about Embry-Riddle or the arriving flights. I love being busy and I think with all that I’m doing this year graduation day will be here before I know it! Since many of my friends are graduating also, I’m trying to spend time doing fun things with them. This weekend I went to a comedy show in Orlando, rode on one of my friend’s motorcycle (kind of scary!), played poker for the first time and came in second place, and went bowling. Next weekend I will be in Washington D.C.—I’ll tell you more about that in the next journal entry!

Until next time,

Kaleigh