I Got The Second Dose of the COVID Vaccine

More notably, all of Walgreens saw me swing my arm like the people on TikTok.

I got the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, April 29 after getting the first one three weeks ago! So begins the 14-day countdown to being fully vaccinated.

When I went in for my first appointment, the person administering the vaccine told me I didn’t have to come back exactly three weeks from the first shot (see CDC website here). That was good news for me since I got the first dose on a Tuesday and got the second on a Thursday. Since tomorrow (Friday) is a study day, I have all of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to recover before my first final on Monday.

The process for getting the second shot was pretty much the same. The only difference was that I didn’t need the proof of residency and health card information since it was on file. I simply had to bring my CDC vaccine card and fill out some paperwork. They administered the vaccine and said I’d have to stick around for 10-15 minutes, but I was free to walk around the store.

So what did I do? Arm circles, of course.

There’s a trend going around TikTok to swing your arm for a bit after the vaccine so it won’t get sore. I decided to try it, and it ended up working for me. I swung my arm in a circle for five or so minutes and it felt fine after. It’s still a little sore when I push heavily on it, but I can lie down indirectly on it in bed, so I’m going to consider that as “working.” I’m also going to put a general disclaimer that I’m not a medical professional, and it could be pure coincidence that it “worked” for me. This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such.

I felt fine for the rest of the day, just a bit tired. My arm was still sore, and I spent most of it in bed watching TikToks and scrolling through Instagram. The next morning, after sleeping for hours on end, I woke up with a slight fever, soreness, and chills. And I was very tired

I woke up around 12 PM, and I stayed in bed for the rest of the day. Five hours later, some of my friends and I ended up going to get slushies at Buc-ee’s and pizza from Domino’s. I got to feeling better after that, and while I do have a slight headache, I’m fine for the most part. The next day, I boarded over to the student union and back.

I took a final on Sunday and did fine, so I was pretty much back to normal. I could move my arm up and down without too much pain. Instead of hurting, it’s more sore, and that’s fine with me. I’ll be leaving for the summer before I can get the All Clear badge (two weeks after your second dose), so I’ll just get it when I come back for the fall. It’ll be really nice… the CDC says fully vaccinated people need not wear masks outside. As part of the Orientation Team working during hot August, that’ll be a great feeling.

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

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!

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.

Final Stretch

This is my first blog of 2021 and (hopefully) my last semester at ERAU. After another restful winter break, we are green light for spring 2021 semester in beautiful Floridian winter. I was asked to quarantine myself due to my recent international travel, so I’m writing this blog from my room, not being able to attend my first day of class in person. It still hasn’t hit me yet that this will be my last semester as a college student, but I’m already looking forward to May.

I got to spend a lot of time with my family and close family friends during my time back home. It was a frigid winter and I got to enjoy some heavy snowfalls. My country was trying to contain the spread of the virus, so many places were still on lockdown and I was forced to spend most of my time at home or with close family members.

I’ve written about traveling during a pandemic in my earlier blog, but once again, flying back to Florida for the spring semester has never been this easy. I enjoy having less passengers at the airport and on my flights, so I cannot complain about keeping my mask on for 14 hours straight when I can have the whole row to myself.

I had a lot of time to reflect on my past college experience and how far I’ve come not only as a person, but also as a pilot. Four years have gone by relatively quickly and there were many high and low moments to say the least. It is a daunting task to now start thinking about post-grad and planning for my future career, but I am happy to soon close out this chapter of my life.

For my spring semester, I am taking a flight course, two aviation classes for my major and three international courses for my minor. I am taking my last flight course here at Riddle which is for the multi-engine rating on our Diamonds. I will be taking my capstone (graduating senior project) class on airline operations, and the pilot interview technique class. I am taking three electives for international relations which will include US-Asia relations, globalization and Middle-East current affairs.

I’m excited for my last semester (even though the current plan is to have all my classes in person…) and hopefully I can be walking across the stage in May (if this pandemic can be contained). It surely is an interesting period to be a graduating senior when there is a global pandemic, but we have to keep pushing forward. Happy inauguration day!

End of Semester & Future Prep

Happy December everyone! I’m currently blogging from my Norfolk, VA, post online finals and although final grade reports haven’t been submitted yet, the semester should be completely at a close within a few days!

Let’s talk about how to balance relaxing over break and staying productive by prepping for the future! If you haven’t signed up for Spring classes make sure to do so as soon as possible to ensure you get slots in all the classes you need. If you are unable to get a slot in a full class, or are unsure what classes to sign up for, reach out to your academic advisor for help!

Unwinding over the break with my sister’s festive puppy in a winter sweater!

You can find your academic advisor’s contact information by going to the Ernie homepage, logging in with your ERAU credentials and Two Factor Duo Identification via the mobile app, clicking on Campus Solutions Student Homepage (CSSH), then on the Academic Advising tab on the far left once you get to Campus Solutions. The first page that loads should be the Advisors tab, where it lists the name, email, and phone number for your Academic Advisor that can help you with schedule planning and getting into the classes and class sections that you need.

While breaks are a great time to relax and unwind, they’re also a great opportunity to think ahead, prep for the future, and apply for scholarships and summer programs such as internships, study abroad opportunities, co-ops, or summer jobs! Start thinking ahead and prepping for the future as soon as possible to stay one step ahead for your future plans.

My sister’s festive pup enjoying a Puppuccino from Starbucks before a trip to the dog park!

I recently heard back that I received a Gilman Scholarship to help fund a study abroad opportunity this summer to continue studying Arabic in Amman, Jordan. While everything is still currently up in the air due to COVID-19 having global impacts, I am using the Winter break to create some plans and backup plans for the summer. I am applying to study abroad opportunities from Project GO for the domestic and abroad language learning programs, and through language learning opportunities with CIEE, the Council On International Educational Exchange. I have found that while I am working towards a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, my minor of Arabic Studies is my true passion, one which I look forward to fostering throughout my summer studies and in my future career post AFROTC!

Will report back soon folks! Enjoy break, stay grinding, and keep on keeping on!

The Uncertain Future

25 Awesome In-Flight Photos Taken by Pilots from the Cockpit - 500px

Almost anyone I talk to about my future career, they often ask me these two questions. Why do you want to become a pilot / what made you choose this career? Which airline do you want to work for? In today’s blog, I will be sharing my answers to these two questions.

Why do you want to become a pilot?

I am currently studying to become an airline pilot so my specific program is called the restricted Airline Transport Pilot/ Certified Training Program (R-ATP/CTP). What this means is that once I graduate with all my hours and my Bachelor’s degree of aeronautical science, I have some options of working either as a commercial pilot, flight instructor or an airline pilot. Who knows what my future will look like especially with the pandemic situation, but my ultimate goal is to become an airline pilot.
When I was a child, I loved cars and animals. I had boxes full of toy cars and everyone around me knew that I was always surrounded by cars. As I entered middle school, my interest shifted towards airplanes and helicopters. I often drew sketches of military jets and helicopters and I also collected miniature airplane models. However, aside from these hobbies, I didn’t have a any close family member who was in the Air Force or the airlines that I grew up looking up to. My only exposure to flying in general was the experience I had traveling abroad with my family.

During high school, we had college representatives visit our school once a year to promote and guide students in their college application process. One day, a college rep was standing in the lobby of my school with a campus map of a university that was placed right next to a runway. At first, I thought that map was the coolest thing since the rep also had small plane models sitting on the table. Her name was Terra (who is the international recruiter for ERAU Daytona Beach) and that’s when my story with Embry-Riddle began. Long story short, I got accepted to Embry-Riddle and I started attending this university from 2017. After spending almost four years at Riddle now, I am still fully committed to the future career of flying.

My first flight in a small single-engine aircraft came a few days after my first day of class. The university really got us into these planes from day 1 and we have been building hours ever since. The view from my “classroom” is absolutely stunning every single day, as we coast along the shorelines of Florida in our Cessna 172s. Flying above the clouds really changes your perspective and you start to realize how small the world is. To be able to look out the small window of your two-seater airplane and see the roads you take every morning commuting, and the Target store around the corner of your neighborhood, it’s an eye-opening experience.

I wanted to travel since I was young and traveling has always been part of my life. Before I heard about Embry-Riddle, my desired major was political science and international affairs where I was going to choose the path of a diplomat and pursue my passion for history, foreign affairs and diplomacy. This option would also give me a chance to travel the world with the help of the government. Either way, I wanted to travel the world and experience different lifestyles across the glove. I just thought traveling by flying an airplane in cool uniforms would be a better option.

What airline do you want to work for?

Some of my peers at the university have everything planned out already. One wants to intern with company X, get hired by them and one day become a captain of an A321 flying from Los Angeles to Atlanta. One wants to become a cargo pilot working out of Anchorage for company X or Y.
Then there’s me. “I would gladly fly planes for any company who wants to hire me!”

I thought I had a plan set out, but I also realized that life is very good at altering your plan without notice. Take the pandemic for example, where thousands of already-flying pilots were furloughed and the aviation industry was substantially impacted. If I learned anything from these trying times, I decided to stay even more open minded because things can go out of plan really quickly. My friends are already looking into their dream airlines’ commuting distances, health care benefits, company culture, scheduling, etc. I do believe that being proactive and planning your future is important. However, I just want to focus on my study and enjoy what I have going on at the moment. I always thought it was better to be more spontaneous than having everything planned out.

It’s definitely a new lifestyle that the world had to adapt to with a pandemic and especially in the aviation side of it, people and companies are hurting. However, I don’t want to discourage the current and future pilots as we will recover from this over time. It would be a great time for us to look at alternative paths and plan B, C, D, etc. It’s important to do the research and explore other parts of flying as a career so you don’t find yourself stuck on a single path that you’ve been relying on for so long. Fly safe!

Fall & Figuring It Out

Happy September everyone! I am currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida and I recently bought my plane ticket for winter break to head back to Virginia for Thanksgiving and virtual finals.

The first day of fall is very near and I am so excited for the air to start getting crisp and chilly, with rainy Florida fall days. Additionally, I’ve been very busy lately and it still boggles my mind how taking less credit hours (12) with more virtual classes, fills up my schedule more than taking 18 credit hours with in-person classes. I’m still adjusting and learning how to set boundaries, which is proving very tricky indeed. There is an unfortunate expectation with online classes that because classes are virtual, students are readily available 24/7, but I’m quite exhausted. There is a balance between virtual classes and life, and I feel like teachers, students, and staff are all figuring it out together.

My bitmoji enjoying some meditation after a long day.

Today my schedule consists of yoga, working out, breakfast, blogging, Aerospace Structures I homework, working on essays for study abroad program scholarships for Summer 2021, writing an essay for my Air Force class on a national security issue of choice, more study abroad scholarship applications, writing a letter to my brother as he is currently at basic training, an ROTC meeting, working on an Experimental Aerodynamics lab report virtually with my lab partner, going to get my daily wellness check, printing a slew of items, preparing myself for PT tomorrow (ie filling up my camelbak with water, laying out my PT gear, yoga because my muscles are sore and still recovering), and then sleep!

Teachers typically assume I have extraneous free time to relax on Saturdays and Sundays, but my weekends are equally as busy as my weekdays. I could use a 3 day weekend to get caught up on everything right about now. I am looking forward to the end of the fall semester, putting down my laptop and phone, and relaxing.

In other news my sister got a new puppy that I am so excited to meet when I return to Virginia in late November. Taking virtual finals with a tiny mascot seems like an amazing stress relief.

My sister’s new puppy Dasiy!

To be continued folks, keep on keeping on, stay safe and studious, will report back soon!

How to Fly a B747

It’s been two weeks since the fall semester began and this semester is already so special in many different ways. Firstly, COVID has greatly changed the atmosphere of our campus as most classes are now taught online or in split format. Students are all wearing masks, cleaning their work stations and getting their daily wellness checks done. Secondly, it is the beginning of my senior year at Riddle and senioritis is slowly peeking around the corner to drain my motivation for school. However, there is one class that I want to share with you and I think it’s safe to say this is one of the coolest and the most favored class by aeronautical science students.

This class is one of the upper-level AS courses called EFMS (AS435). EFMS stands for Electronic Flight Management System and in simple terms, it’s learning about the programming and the operation of flight computers in a complex aircraft. Now for this class, that complex aircraft is a Boeing 747-400 which is a famous large passenger / cargo aircraft that many might recognize as the Queen of the Skies.

Boeing B747-400 – Artheau Aviation
Queen of the Skies

In this class, you will learn how to operate the Mode Control Panel (MCP), Control Display Unit (CDU), Air Data Computer (ADC) and the Flight Management Computer (FMC). Now you might be wondering, what the heck are all these acronyms. Well, don’t be intimidated by these letters because these computers are simply designed in a way that you can fly this giant airplane by pushing buttons and turning knobs. *Spoiler: Yes, this is how all the major airlines fly in the air when you are flying back home. Those pilots in the front are just pressing buttons.*

Now let me show you what these devices look like and what you can expect from a higher level AS course when you come to Riddle. It’s not a bad classroom environment to show off to your high school or hometown friends in different schools.

So many screens and buttons!

First thing you will notice is the classroom / “lab” is full of these little stations that surround the edges of the room. Each student is now responsible for each station (due to COVID restrictions) but before the pandemic, two students would share one station and take turns flying the airplane.

That brown device with orange buttons (left bottom) is the control display unit and I like to think of it as the keyboard of your airplane where you can push in all the letters and the numbers for your flight plan. Of course you have the joystick and the throttle lever (bottom right). That long device with buttons and knobs is called the mode control panel and that is what you use to fly this airplane.

Just plug in where you want to fly to!

This is by far one of the coolest classes I have taken and I would love to recommend this class to anyone who is in the AS program. You can fly a B747 without worrying about the passengers in the back or burning tons of money for jet fuel in real life. I hope everyone is staying safe and enjoying any cool classes or side projects you might have.

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

I’d Rather be Flying

After having spent about two months back home since returning due to the situation with COVID-19, my body is starting to itch to return to the skies. I never fully understood those bumper stickers and license plate borders that said “I’d rather be flying right now” even as an avid aviator. Flying may be a hobby for some and a career for others but it’s a skill that only gets more refined the more you are in the air. There is a reason for airline pilots being evaluated and trained in simulators every 6-9 months because just like riding a bicycle, your skills get rusty.

I plan on returning to campus near August when the situation with COVID-19 and civil unrest have somewhat settled down, but the country is currently going through one of her toughest times. It breaks my heart to be on the other side of the globe as I see the world suffer in so many different ways. Sometimes I wish I could take off to the skies and briefly take a break from thinking about all the issues that are on the ground.

I have about 170 flight hours since I started my flight training and a good chunk of those hours were spent in the night or by myself without an instructor on board. When you get to fly to different locations in various conditions, you start to appreciate the beauty of flying even more. I would like to share some special moments of my flying career as an appreciation post in the absence of flying.

Discovery Flight

This was my “Discovery Flight” which was my first time getting to fly in a smaller, General-Aviation aircraft like the Cessna 172 we have at Riddle. After breaking through a thick layer of morning fog and low clouds, we broke out over a coated layer of what seems like a soft, cotton candy floor. The feeling of seeing the sunrise over the cloud layer is something you can’t describe with words.

Long Solo Cross Country

This was my long cross country flight for my commercial course. It was from Daytona Beach to Dothan, AL, Tallahassee, FL and back to Daytona. It was a whopping 6 hour round-trip in a single Cessna by myself. It was rough getting up early in the morning but once I got to the plane, my mind was as sharp as it ever could be since I was responsible for my life for the next 6 hours. It was a special experience getting to fly for so long without my instructor sitting next to me.

Bumpy Ride

This was one of the bumpiest flights in my flying career. There was a low pressure system around Southern Florida and my instructor and I were trying to get to Vero Beach for our last cross country flight together. It was in no way an attempt to dangerously beat the weather and we were well clear of the actual cold front coming up. However, we often ran into huge layers of clouds and thanks to our IFR flight plan, we were able to fly through them all. There were times when the bumps were so strong it would knock the pen off my kneepad.

Instrument Course

Instrument course is probably one of my favorite portions of flight training. You get to fly at night which means you get to enjoy beautiful sunsets like this one and enjoy the stars that will soon paint the sky above you once the sun actually sets. The air traffic becomes less congested and the controllers are more relaxed so it’s a more pleasant flying experience overall.

I have listed some special moments of my flying experience and these are unique to every pilot. The nature of our industry is always evolving and we are forced to work in environments that are constantly changing. I hope the world will soon heal from all the pain it is experiencing at the moment and that more planes and pilots can take off into the brighter future. Blue skies and tailwinds!

Leave your worries behind!!