‘Tis the Season & Twenty

Happy November everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, as per usual. October absolutely flew by, and the semester is almost over, only about a month and a half to go. Final stretch!

I have a feeling November will fly by too, Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and the atmosphere is changing. Theres so much energy flowing around campus right now. Everyone is tired but very busy. We’re all rushing around in our own little worlds consumed with the list of things we need to get done before the end of the semester. At this point our routine is (for the most part) pretty well established, and we flow from this routine into the winding down portion, right before intense late-night study sessions and cramming for finals. Midterms are about over with, but there are still a lot of projects and presentations happening. The weather is dropping a couple degrees, it’s finally starting to feel like fall, or maybe just Florida’s version of winter? Did I hear winter PT gear anyone?!

Along with the cold weather, ‘tis the season for beach PTs, pumpkins, cornucopias, and you guessed it- it’s always coffee season!

Beach PT with the Bravo Bandits!

Some of my favorite parts about the end of the semester are Late Night Breakfast hosted ERSA, which is the Embry Riddle Student Association, Pass in Review (PIR) for AFROTC, and of course shout out to the teaching assistants (TAs) and all the professors hosting supplemental instruction (SI) sessions. Also, at this point, every college student knows your professor’s office hours and the tutoring center will become your best friend.

Since studying and homework take up so much time at this point in the year, my favorite study music and backtracks to doing homework to are FKJ, Masego, the Chillhop Music station on YouTube because they have (literally) hours of relaxing songs, and any beats with Alan Watts inducing knowledge and creativity into my thought process while I crank through Calculus.

It’s important to note that although the semester is getting intense, you should still try to take time for yourself at least once a week. This past week I took five minutes to watch the new animated movie trailer for The Grinch. I must say I am starting to get into the winter mood, and also I very much want to see this movie, although it probably won’t happen until winter break, but it is a great incentive to push out until the end of the semester.

Side note: I turned 20! My birthday was filled with coffee, classes, studying for tests, homework, and my physics lab (so it was pretty much an average day). Fortunately, I did manage to squeeze a few minutes to go to a pumpkin patch and carve pumpkins. It’s the little things folks.

Despite the flannel, it was about 80 degrees when we visited the pumpkin patch.

Birthday/Halloween pumpkins. Guess which one’s mine!

Will report back soon yall. Until then keep on keeping on, and in the words of Ellen DeGeneres, “be kind to one another”.

A Much Needed Break!

Hey everyone!

Let me start off by saying how sorry I am for not posting any cool entries lately! My life has been insane. Classes have definitely been keeping me on my toes! Which leads me to the topic of this entry…

Spring Break!

All of the students at Riddle just came back from their Spring Break vacation, and I was so excited to have a week where I didn’t have to worry about studying for tests or fitting things into my schedule. Since Daytona Beach is now the Spring Break hot spot for college students, I decided to get out of Florida and go to the best place to avoid crowds – the middle of nowhere.

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Spring Break house!

A group of 30 of my closest friends decided to rent a house up in Blue Ridge, Georgia for the whole week of Spring Break. The house was absolutely gorgeous – and also conveniently located on the edge of the mountain. Since we were basically in the middle of nowhere, the trip offered a chance to get connected to nature. One day during the week, a group of us decided to hike up Blood Mountain, which was a total of eight miles. Now, I’m not a hiker by any means, so going uphill was treacherous, but once we got to the summit of the mountain, the view made the fire in my calves worth it!

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Another day of the week, a couple of us decided to make the hour drive to the Atlanta Zoo. It was a lot of fun seeing what animals the zoo had to offer. My favorite part of the trip was going to the petting zoo (which was for children) and brushing the goats!

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Blood Mountain, Blue Ridge, GA

My best part about my trip to Georgia was being able to celebrate my 20th birthday! This was my first year not being home for my special day, so it was hard not having my traditional birthday dinner with my family. But I was surrounded by 30 of the greatest people I have ever met, so they definitely made my 20th one to remember!

Now that I am back from my much needed break, I am ready to continue the semester with a fresh outlook! Time to get focused!

School, Space, and Stuff

Oh man, I’ve really been neglecting my dear readers – it’s been a while since my last post! Luckily I have plenty on which to fill you in!

Beautiful shot of the new COAS and new Quad, courtesy of my friend Johanna Petrocelli.

Beautiful shot of the new COAS and new Quad, courtesy of my friend Johanna Petrocelli.

Spring semester is well under way, and I certainly understand why they call it the “semester of death” – five 300-level EP classes together aren’t easy! I’m learning things from designing camera lenses to programming microprocessors to how to design a satellite form the ground up, and boy is it a lot of material. College always has a point where it really hits you what your major is, which is usually around the third year. The first couple still feel pretty high-schooly course-wise, with general calculus and physics, maybe delving into some advanced mechanics like solids or fluids, but overall it’s very general. Once you start taking 300-level classes like Spacecraft Systems Engineering, you really start to get a look at what you’ll be doing for the rest of your life… and you better hope you love it! Which I really do.

It’s crazy to think that I’m almost done with my third year of college. My advisor has been dropping words like “thesis” and “GRE” and I’m just like, yeah but that’s way later – except it’s not anymore! I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about grad school lately, and I think I’m going to do a PhD in Planetary Science, and have even started looking at some schools – really leaning towards UC Boulder; they have a great program, and Colorado is gorgeous. Nonetheless I still have two years left here at ERAU, so I’m trying not to get too ahead of myself.

Time does fly though, we’ve already started registering for fall classes. I’ll be taking three undergrad courses: Space Physics, Electricity and Magnetism, and Senior Design, as well as two grad courses: Advanced Planetary Science (excited for this one!) and a PhD course titled Computational Atmospheric Dynamics that my advisor teaches and talked me into taking (nervous for this one!) He says that PhD classes aren’t much harder, but he already has his PhD, so how can I really trust that? 😛 Nonetheless, it’ll be good knowledge to have for when I write my thesis, which will be on computational atmospheric dynamics, so I can see why he wants me in the class.

My work in the lab is going well. I’ve been working on learning FORTRAN to make some changes to our 1D wave model (yes, people do still use FORTRAN!) The other day I was able to successfully implement a feature that allows multiple simulations to be run in a row, without having to come back and reset the parameters. For example, we can run a 1 meter wave, a 2 meter wave, and a 3 meter wave all in a row, and then just get all the results at once to compare, rather than having to go back to the lab in between just to change one number and hit start. I’m very proud that I was able to get that working – FORTRAN is a very different beast from the modern-day programming languages I’m used to working with!

My parents and I at KSC!

My parents and I at KSC on my birthday

So what else has been going on with my life in the last couple months… Well, I turned 21 in February, and celebrated by (can you guess?) a trip to KSC! My parents came down to both visit me and escape the frozen wasteland, and it was a lot of fun. We did the Cape Canaveral: Then and Now tour, which was about 3 and a half hours of bussing around to different historical buildings and launch sites. We even got to go into a couple of the intact control rooms from which they controlled some of the first manned launches! It was a very cool tour, and a very fun birthday. And totally more fun than waking up the morning after your 21st birthday and not even remembering it (though I did go at midnight on my birthday for a long island iced tea at Applebees, so I didn’t completely ignore that right of passage.)

Me with Sally the Space Hamster

Me with Sally the Space Hamster

For my birthday I got a 1/200 scale model of the Saturn V rocket from my parents, which looks gorgeous next to my 1/200 scale model of Space Shuttle Discovery. I also got a lot of birthday money in the mail, which I used to purchase a new furry hamster friend (living alone gets lonely.) Her name is Sally, named, of course, after Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, and she is hilarious and adorable. I built her cage out of a plastic bin (trust me, I’m an engineer), and decorated it with lots of fun space stickers… which she keeps eating, but we’re working on that.

Some of the stickers that I have up in her cage

Some of the stickers that I have up in her cage

She likes her spaceship :)

She likes her spaceship 🙂

Teaching her to eat my homework

Teaching her to eat my homework



 

Obligatory picture of my boyfriend and I with Disney ears in front of the castle - that crane thing kinda ruined it though >:(

Obligatory picture of my boyfriend and I with Disney ears in front of the castle – that crane thing kinda ruined it though >:(

I also got to visit Magic Kingdom for the first time in February, and it’s name is well-deserved. It really is pretty magical, and very well-done. It was a super fun trip. I’ve also gotten to see a couple more launches in the last month – one from KSC, one from campus – and attended a really cool colloquium about weather on other planets. Planetary atmospheres are incredibly interesting, I could definitely see myself doing that for my PhD.

Me with Eric Whitacre! Composer extraordinaire

Me with Eric Whitacre! Composer extraordinaire

For those of you who don’t know me, beyond being a total space geek I’m also an avid musician. Well, used to be… my one dislike about ERAU is its lack of any music program. So, unfortunately, my saxophone sits neglected in my closet. Nonetheless, in high school I was in every possible band – music was my life (I even have a saxophone tattoo.) But I digress. Last week, my favorite band composer was in Orlando giving an informal Q&A at UCF, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on a ticket. Eric Whitacre! He’s unbelievably cool – and I told him that at the end when I got to meet him. His talk was both funny and inspiring; he told us stories of how he got inspiration for some of his pieces, and had a lot of advice for aspiring musicians. It was a fantastic evening, and really made me miss band. And I got him to sign one of my favorite band pieces. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: living so close to Orlando really presents a lot of opportunities! Because EVERYONE visits Orlando at one time or another. And it’s only about an hour drive.

Well, I guess that’s all I have for you guys for now – I’ll try to write more often, sorry about that! I’ve got some cool projects on my radar that you’ll definitely get to hear about once they get going. I’m still waiting to hear back about my internship applications to NASA and SETI, so maybe in my next entry I’ll have some good news to share. *fingers crossed*

Until next time!

And feel free to email me, I don’t bite. 🙂
schroel2@my.erau.edu

September 22, 2008

Hey guys!

It’s Sunday night, I spent the weekend with my family at my grandparents for my grandfather’s birthday!!! I had so much fun, I missed them all so much and my family means the world to me. My baby cousin who is sooooo cute was there, his name is Mario and he is a year and a half old. I couldn’t get a good picture of him or I would put on up for you guys. Anyways, back to class tomorrow. My day starts at 8 a.m. so I will be trying to go to bed early.

For all of you considering aeronautical science as a major, I was supposed to go up on an observation flight with one of my roommates on Thursday but it got cancelled because her instructor was sick so it is being push to 2 weeks from now. I will let you know how it goes as soon as I get to go and will definitely have pictures up. I had a weather test this past Friday and let me tell you, weather is not as easy as I thought. I studied for hours with my roommate and we both did pretty badly. So, if you guys have to take weather classes like most of us here do, make sure you read the book and study hard!!!! There are so many “maybes” it threw me off, I am really hoping my professor made a mistake when he put my grade in though or something because I studied so hard and was so ready!!! I checked all my answers two times and still finished the test a half hour early!

OH, back to my trip home, I got to see my puppy!! I was so excited he’s so cute! I have a picture of him for you to see his name is Toto and he is a Yorkie-schnauzer mix. He jumped all over me the second I walked into the door, it was cute. I have a ton of work to do this week, I hope it dies down by the weekend so I can finally get some rest but for now this is all I can write. I will try to get pictures up of the observation flight and write about it as soon as it happens. Besides going study crazy nothing interesting has happened lately. So that’s it for now!!!

*Elizabeth*