Riddle Rewind, Take 2: Highlights of Sophomore Year

Embry-Riddle Year 2 (Carly’s Version)

Last year I decided to start my yearly Riddle Rewind tradition of the year’s highlights, starting in August and moving forward. So here it is for this year- and it’s been another amazing year.

Seeing my friends again!

Me, Krysti, and Karen!

It had been a long summer without seeing any of my friends, and on my first night back, I saw two of my friends from freshman year. Karen was a Resident Advisor and had therefore arrived early, while Krysti stayed for flight training.

Being part of the Orientation Team!

The Fall 2021 Orientation Team!

I had so much fun during Orientation Week! It was super cool to see orientation from the perspective of someone on the team. There was actually a picture of me from O-Week posted on the Embry-Riddle Instagram (here) during one of our events, too.

Hosting Trivia!

Hosting trivia!

I got to host (and write!) Star Trek trivia with one of my favorite professors! Last year (and every year), Dr. Lear hosts Star Wars trivia during Blue and Gold Week, which is like our spirit week, so we hosted Star Trek trivia in September instead. Hopefully, it will become a tradition!

Carpool Karaoke Nights!

Carpool karaoke continues!

Carpool karaoke continued this year, and it was super fun. We expanded our tastes from purely Broadway into various music styles- including Taylor Swift music.

Being on the Homecoming Court!

2021 Homecoming Court! Photo by Christian Muller, @christian.m.polariod

I was lucky to be voted onto the Homecoming Court by my peers for Fall 2021 Homecoming. It was super exciting, and even though I didn’t win, it was super awesome to be nominated!

Halloween Party on Halloween Night!

Halloween night!

I didn’t see any big Halloween costume contests like last year, but Halloween also fell on a Sunday instead of a Saturday, which probably had an impact. Either way, I still got to hang out with my friends- we dressed up and hung out outside of New Res 3, where another student had set up his telescope.

Soaring Into Finals Week!

Flying with my best friends!

I actually ended up going twice- once with both of my best friends, and once shadowing a friend on his own mock commercial checkride. But both times I went, the flights were super fun, and it’s one activity that I suggest you participate in at Riddle! (There are pilots all over campus. You might have to pay your share of the flight cost, but it’s an unforgettable experience.)

The Thunderbirds’ Annual Daytona 500 Flyover

A C-17 in Daytona!

In February, the annual Daytona 500 happens and everyone at ERAU steers clear of the crowded International Speedway Boulevard. Everyone at ERAU also heads up to the roof of the AMS balcony to watch aircraft come in, including that C-17 in the picture and the Thunderbirds!

Day Trip to KSC!

Ah, yes, the iconic meatball logo.

In March, the Honors Program sponsored a day trip to Kennedy Space Center! It was super fun, and tickets were offered at a discounted rate for 100 students. I’d never been, but since it’s only an hour away, I can say that it is a must-see for any space enthusiast!

Preview Day as an ERAU Rep!

Some of the Women’s Ambassadors on Preview Day! We’re holding one of our coordinators.

Preview Day was amazing, even though it rained in the afternoon. I had a lot of fun meeting some of the incoming class and working with the other Women’s Ambassadors and students from the aerospace engineering department. It was sooooo fun!

Sun n’ Fun (n’ Friends)!

Sun n’ Fun!

I ended up going to the Lakeland Sun n’ Fun Aerospace Expo, which was awesome to look at. I got to tour (and walk around) large aircraft, which I’d never done before. It’s definitely a “go with friends” activity- although I’ll never make it into the cockpit of an aircraft like the ones in the back, they were still fun to look at!

And finally… the Women’s Ambassadors Travel!

Me… and an ERAU Women’s Ambassador Alumna!

I had a lot of fun during the two Women’s Ambassadors-sponsored travel activities. It was awesome to meet accepted students across the country and talk about Embry-Riddle from a student’s perspective. I also got to meet an alumna of the program named Claudia, who now works for United Airlines!

Overall, sophomore year has been another amazing year in the books. I’m super excited to begin junior year next year- my classes have been great so far, and I’m expecting another great semester. In the meantime, I’m headed to Colorado for the summer for my internship with Sierra Nevada Corporation!

Finals & Graduation Season

Happy almost Finals week everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida, the Spring 2022 semester is coming to a close, and we’re so close to finishing up! My life lately has mostly consisted of homework, projects, class, studying, working out, and ROTC. With only one week of school left, two weeks until my commissioning PT test, and three weeks until graduation and commissioning… life is moving so fast! Towards the end of the semester I’ve found I am usually the busiest, most stressed, and running on the most caffeine (with less and less sleep). However, I am looking forward to graduation and catching up on rest and relaxation so soon!

Final push until the end of the semester! Post-workout at the ERAU Fitness Center!

I’ve been reminiscing on the past years a lot lately. Will I miss college life? What does the real world look like? Am I prepared for what comes next? My time at ERAU has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I’ve taken part in thus far. Looking back at myself from freshman year to now, I’m a completely different person! I’ve grown so much, become so much more confident, and have learned so much not only academically, but about myself as a person too.

College gives you the freedom to make your own schedule, study, eat, and sleep whenever you want! College also gives you the opportunity to learn the importance of balance, time management, and self care – especially during particularly stressful or busy portions of the semester (shoutout Finals Week). Nonetheless, I am so grateful for everything I’ve had the chance to experience in my time as a Resident Advisor, Orientation Team Ambassador, on SGA Student Court, as a University 101 Peer Mentor, working on campus as a Undergraduate Student Researcher at the Eagle Flight Research Center, and in Air Force ROTC.

One of the (many) early mornings before sunrise on the way to ROTC training!

Advice I was given as a freshman was – try everything! Then cut back as you figure out what you like the most and prioritize what you can make time for. Going into my final semester, I’ve cut back the most on almost all extracurricular involvement to focus primarily on academics and ROTC – aka graduation and commissioning. I’ve learned there will never be enough time in the day to accomplish everything, but it’s extremely important to learn yourself well enough to know when you need sleep over staying up to finish a homework assignment. My ERAU experience has been academically rigorous, stressful, busy, and at the same time fun, I’ve made some life long friends and memories I will never forget, and I am a stronger and better person than I was when I started. I look forward to concluding finals in the beginning of May and will be signing out with one more blog post to follow! Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!

Gators & Great Location

Happy April everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, FL and it is officially my LAST month of undergraduate classes before Final Exams in May, Graduation, and Commissioning! I am so excited for the semester to be over and my 5-year college journey coming to a close. When I graduate I will have a B.S. Aerospace Engineering with an Aeronautics Area of Concentration, in addition to Minors in Arabic Studies and Military Science. It’s been a challenging, yet rewarding journey and I’m in the final push to the finish line!

I’ve been preparing for the semester to end by focusing on my studies, while trying to combat burnout. Thus, I’ve been exploring! I recently took a short weekend trip to Gainesville, Florida, about two hours from Daytona Beach to go to Trader Joe’s, see some old friends, and look at alligators! While I was visiting Gainesville, only a day trip away from ERAU, I stopped at Sweetwater Wetlands Park – a nature preserve with walking trails and thriving wildlife. While getting some sunshine and walking around the park I saw a total of 17 alligators! Yes, SEVENTEEN! Other than when I visited the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, it was the most alligators I had seen in one place, and wild alligators at that! Although I have heard that all waterways in Florida have the potential to contain alligators, I have never actually seen any alligators in the wild or in captivity in Daytona Beach. Florida’s State Reptile is the American Alligator so I sought out the wildlife park in Gainesville to fulfill my ‘before graduation’ bucket list of seeing wild alligators, and it did not disappoint!

Gator in Gainesville – only a short distance away from ERAU!

The alligators I saw ranged from baby gators around 1-2 feet long, to medium sized teenage gators, to adult alligators. I also saw a plethora of various birds, fish, and even rabbits!

Another alligator spotted from the hiking path at Sweetwater!

One of the best aspects of Daytona Beach is that it is close to many major cities. I highly recommend day-trips to St. Augustine, Orlando, Gainesville, and the Space Coast. Kennedy Space Center is only about an hour south of the university! While most launches from Kennedy Space Center can be viewed even from campus, taking the journey to watch them up close is a truly special and remarkable experience I recommend partaking in – at least once while studying at Riddle! Additional fun activities to check out throughout your time in FL include Universal Studios, Walt Disney Disney, or SeaWorld! My personal favorite is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but I’ve also heard great things about Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios and the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival at the EPCOT theme park at Walt Disney World! There is so much to do so close to ERAU, the possibilities are endless. Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!

Beach Days & Service Dress

Happy almost April everyone! I’m currently blogging post Spring Break and ready for the end of the semester! We’re  approximately a month away!

One of the main reasons the culture at ERAU is so unique is because of the fairly small student population (relative to larger state schools) and the work ethic culture! For example, it’s the Monday post Spring Break and classes were back in full swing today! On my way to my early morning classes the atriums of the the college buildings were full of students studying, doing homework, and last minute preparing (aka cramming) for various tests, quizzes, and presentations.

If I hadn’t taken a break for a week I almost wouldn’t have thought no classes had occurred the past week! Even the gym was back in full swing! It was almost as if campus had literally pressed Pause, then Play like a movie, everything completely picked back up where it left off, even teachers and classes! I was surprised to say the least that there was not more of an easing back into the grind and business of everyday life. I suppose rigor is expected in senior level Aerospace Engineering classes, but mentally I was still on weekend mode this Monday morning.

Nevertheless, my staycation Spring Break was exactly what I needed. I spent most days catching up on homework, lab reports, papers, and studying, and even had the opportunity to get in a few beach days!

Relaxing beach day over Spring Break!

Thankfully the fitness center was also fairly empty, so I leisurely enjoyed waking up without an alarm and taking my time during workouts! It was truly a restful and well needed break and I am excited for the final push towards finals!

Post-StairMaster workout at the fitness center over the break!

Additionally, I had another exciting life event happen over Spring Break! I got the chance to zoom up to Patrick Space Force Base to buy my Service Dress uniforms for my commissioning ceremony. Commissioning occurs after graduation and officially marks the transition from Cadet life in Air Force ROTC to life as an Active Duty Officer in the U.S. Air Force. While I can definitely say after 5 years of working towards my undergraduate degree I am ready to graduate, I am 1000x more excited to commission and start my career serving my country. My post-graduation plans include a masters degree at the Air Force Institute of Technology in Dayton, Ohio. I’m ready to spring into the next chapter of my education career, and my adult life. Keep on keeping on folks! Will report back soon with life updates and more!

Semester Burnout & Spring Break

Happy March everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, we’re right around the half way mark of the Spring 2022 semester, and burnout is real! Maybe it’s a case of the ‘senior-itis’ talking, the same challenging, busy, yet monotonous routine, or literal fatigue, but I’m tired and in need of a break – Spring Break!

Due to many current world events, including COVID-19 travel restrictions, additional quarantine rules and regulations, and the current state of affairs in the Ukraine, traveling out of country was not an option for me this year. In the past my ‘normal’ spring breaks included Paris, France, Playa el Tunco, El Salvador, and Key West, Florida, but this year we’re trying on the concept of a stay-cation! Sans for Spring 2021 where Spring Break was canceled due to the pandemic, I’ve loved enjoying traveling for my breaks. However, as this is my last year as an undergraduate student, and my last ERAU semester before graduation, I’m spending my break in a typical rigorous student fashion – working Resident Advisor (RA) duty days, studying, doing homework, working out, and trying to make it to the beach as much as possible.

Thus, I am here to provide my top 3 tips to avoid burnout, even on a ‘staycation’ version of spring break!

My staycation includes visits from frog visitors on the window!

Tip #1: Do nothing! As someone who is dedicated to a routine and daily schedule, with an avid calendar and list addiction, I am actively planning to schedule in time to do nothing! This may seem counter-intuitive, but I am highly influenced by the ‘work culture’ of a college engineering lifestyle, thus scheduling time to do nothing is absolutely necessary. Your version of ‘nothing time’ could include, laying on a beach, napping, watching Netflix, doing a puzzle, or going for a walk.

Tip #2: Self care! Catch up on sleep, hydrate, check up on your mental health, get sunshine, moisturize! My favorite day-off self care includes a slow morning waking up without an alarm, doing yoga, making coffee, and eating a delicious breakfast. Depending on the weather, a beach day for me is ideal-self care.

Recent self-care blue sky beach day!

Tip #3: (MOST IMPORTANT) Recharge! Often as a student, particularly in engineering but truly applicable to any rigorous major, our brains are constantly ‘on’. Analyzing mathematics, physics, complex conceptual problems, studying, doing homework, or even actively paying attention in class all require brain power. Your brain actively functions just like your muscles do, hence – it also requires rest! Many of you have heard of ‘mind-numbing’ TV shows, in a similar fashion I recommend doing any activity that rests your brain. One of my go-to activities for rest is sleep, but I also love meditation, reading, or listening to music while doing chores such as laundry, cleaning my room, or doing dishes.

I hope these simple, yet effective tips help you as much as they help me! Scheduling time to rest is an underrated event! I hope everyone enjoys their Spring Break, keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!

Day Trip to the Kennedy Space Center

The Eagles have landed… at KSC!

Here at ERAU, before the pandemic happened, there used to be an annual spring trip to Kennedy Space Center with the Honors Program. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one in Spring 2021, but we did get a trip this year! Tickets were $15, which is pretty discounted from the regular admission price. The Honors Program also made sure that everyone had a ride and reimbursed the drivers for gas money.

I had never been to Kennedy Space Center before, but I’ve always wanted to go. So naturally, I took the opportunity the moment I heard about it, and I was not disappointed.

I ended up in a group of about 11 people, and the first thing we did was the bus tour over to the Apollo/Saturn V center. The way they have all of the exhibits set up is the same- you’ll watch an introductory video (or a few) before being able to look around at the complete exhibits.

I like the approach- it gives background information to the exhibit. After watching the first video, everyone moved over to the next room- the Apollo 8 firing room, where we watched a video about Apollo 8. The consoles in the picture are the actual ones that the mission controllers of Apollo 8 used.

Apollo 8 firing room!

That was breathtaking.

After that, we entered the main part of the exhibit. The bus tours came and went every fifteen minutes or so, which meant that we could stay as long as we liked. There was a well-lit Saturn V rocket, and walking around it really made you realize just how big it is. It’s over three hundred feet long, but you don’t really realize how tall “three hundred feet” is until you’re standing below it and walking the length.

The Apollo/Saturn V complex was pretty breathtaking. There was also a memorial dedicated to the Apollo 1 astronauts and a room with lots of authentic Apollo-era artifacts. One of my favorites was a spacesuit worn by Alan Shepard, and you could see actual moon dust on it.

After the Apollo/Saturn V exhibit, our group went over to the main area to get lunch. After that, we decided to walk back over to the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit, where we’d started for the day. Some of the people in our group had been to Kennedy Space Center before and suggested we do the bus tour before lines got long, which is why we were kind of running all over the park.

The Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit was awesome! It had the same sort of informational setup as the Apollo/Saturn V, but I’d argue that the Atlantis one was even cooler. At the end of the last Atlantis presentation, the projector screen rolled back up, revealing the shuttle and main exhibit behind it.

Space Shuttle Atlantis!

The Space Shuttles are massive, but they seem even bigger in person! After that, our group looked around and found the slide, which was at a 22-degree angle, which was the same angle of descent that the astronauts of the Space Shuttle felt. In contrast, on a commercial airliner, you’ll be in about a 3-degree angle of descent.

The slide was pretty epic, but it was nothing compared to the Shuttle Launch Experience, which was also free! It was like an indoor roller coaster without a track, and it was a simulation of what the astronauts on the Space Shuttle felt when they launched. Everything had to be stored in a locker, but those were also provided for free.

The last exhibits we visited were the Mars exhibits. They were pretty cool and had life-size models of the various Mars rovers- Curiosity is larger than I thought it was! The Mars exhibits weren’t as in-depth as the Space Shuttle and Apollo/Saturn V ones, but it was still cool to look around.

Finally, we visited the gift shop. Even though I didn’t buy anything, it was fun to look around at what they had. By that time, it was around 3:30, and most of us were ready to go back to Daytona since we left Embry-Riddle around 7:30 AM. We took one last stroll through the rocket garden before we decided to go back, leaving around 3:50.

Luckily, since we were so early, we were able to get really good parking, which meant a shorter walk back. Once the trip back to Daytona was over, we ended up going back to the parking lot. It was fun- I’m glad I went. If the Honors Program decides to go back next year, I’ll also go back with them. I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle on a future trip!

Me and the Saturn V!

PT Test & Post-Undergrad Plans

Hi everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida, pre-spring break and almost half way through the semester! Recent life updates: I had my first PT test of the semester! A tell-tale sign of giving it your all on the 1 minute of push-ups, 1 minute of sit-ups, and 1.5 mile run is muscle fatigue, ergo being tired or sore after! I did fairly well on my PT test and I have about a month until my commissioning qualifying PT test, where I hope to hit a personal record for pushups, max sit-ups, and PR on my run as well. March is grind time! Amping up cardio and continuing lifting at the gym, in addition to more sustainable ‘active’ rest activities such as yoga and walking! Furthermore, my love of the stair master machine is continuing.

Current post-stairmaster workout pic at the on campus gym!

In addition to focusing on my physical health in preparation for my final PT test before graduating and commissioning at the end of the semester, I’m also trying to ramp up my rest! Over spring break I ended up having RA duty, so I will unfortunately not be able to leave campus on those days, and thus the general Daytona Beach area. However, I am hoping to continue working out, focusing in the gym on lifting and indoor cardio on the various machines including the stairmaster, treadmill, elliptical, bike machine, or the assault bike. Additionally as the weather improves for spring (early summer) in Florida, I’m looking forward to more outdoor workouts too! I am trying to make it to the beach at least once weekly for an hour or two to surf, read, and catch some sun rays. I am also trying to prioritize daily stretching and I have a goal to catch up on sleep over spring break too!

Most recent beach excursion and beach read!

In other news, I’ve (conditionally) solidified my future! I’ve officially been categorized as academically eligible (granted that I get above a 3.0 GPA this semester and stay on track to graduate in May 2022) for the Operations Research Master of Science degree program at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). While I am excited about the opportunity to get my masters degree out of the way early in my career, I am not thrilled about the location in Dayton, Ohio, especially compared to the sunshine and good weather of Daytona Beach, FL. However, the program is only 1.5 years and I will hopefully be able to explore different job opportunities at other Air Force bases post-masters degree graduation. 

I do not currently know a lot about my career field, despite many deep-dive Google research. Upon graduation I will be classified as a 15A – Operations Research Analyst. From my current understanding Operations Research Analysts mostly focus on how to make the Air Force more efficient, potentially looking at resource allocation, big picture planning, or more specific projects, using data analysis to back up recommendations. Regardless of what the elusive future holds for my career, I am excited – as well as excited to graduate. Almost half way through the semester folks, keep on keeping on! Will report back soon!

Life Updates & Lab

Happy November everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida, the weather is getting colder, Thanksgiving is approaching, and finals are about a month away! To say the least, I’ve been BUSY! School, work, working out, and life in general has been jam packed lately. With Thanksgiving around the corner I’ve been having a lot of tests lately, and a lot of upcoming project deadlines before the late November break is here. Right before Thanksgiving I also have my Fitness Assessment for Air Force ROTC! I’m excited and very much ready to fast forward to spending time with my family and eating all the nostalgic cozy comfort foods that Thanksgiving has to offer. Bring me all the pie!

One of my favorite aspects of the weather getting colder is that running outside is so pleasant, especially during the transition period from hot to cold with temperatures of about 60 degrees. The humidity is low, and on good days when there’s not a lot of wind running is perfect. It’s also officially hoodie season! I recently had my birthday and got to spend a few hours at the beach which was so much fun and very relaxing.

October beach picture!

My current To-Do list for this weekend includes a lab report for my Aerospace Structures and Instrumentation Lab on vibration testing of beams and aircraft structural components of choice (my group chose a front spar of the leading edge portion of a wing from a Boeing 777 airliner to test and observe). This particular lab was one of my favorites thus far, as it investigated the phenomenon of flutter and looked at how forcing vibrations to excite frequencies near resonance can be dangerous in real world scenarios, and thus needs to be understood and prepared for. Our lab group also recently investigated some Nondestructive Evaluation techniques in lab, including thermography which uses thermal heat differentials to display an image with warmer areas displaying brighter and cooler areas displaying darker colors.

Thermal imagery is a useful technique commonly implemented in the aerospace industry to inspect planes and ensure that there is no structural damage. Inspections usually happen about once a year where planes are observed shortly after landing with a thermal detecting camera. The heat detecting technology shows areas that water may have infiltrated cracks in the structure as the water will be a cooler temperature than that of the aircraft’s body.

Thermal image of myself and my lab group!

We only have about three more lab sessions left until the end of the semester and I am looking forward to being done with writing lab reports during finals and over Winter break! Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!

Semester Tips & Student Resources

Happy September everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida. As everyone becomes busier, I wanted to cover some top tips for managing a stressful semester!

I’ve emphasized in the past the importance of keeping a schedule, not only of your classes, but also including extracurricular activities, work, and even group project meetings! Something I haven’t touched on yet that I’ve found extremely helpful is reaching out to leaders on campus for mentorship! This can be as simple as getting to know your class TAs, reaching out to students you admire in upper-level leadership positions in organizations you are involved in/looking to get involved in, finding more experienced cadets in ROTC who can share their experiences, or talking to the Resident Advisor in your community!

Learning from other’s academic, professional, and overall life journeys can be extremely beneficial in helping you figure out which path is best for you. Whether it’s finalizing your major or concentration within your major, considering declaring a minor, looking to join a new club or organization, or applying for an on-campus job – there are students and faculty who have gone before you and can share helpful advice for how to navigate all aspects of university life.

For example, during Orientation – new students have the opportunity to network and connect with Orientation Team Ambassadors who provide firsthand insight on life in a variety of majors on campus. Orientation Team is made up of a diverse group of people who truly represent that no matter how different our backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences are, at the end of the day we’re all Eagles working to better ourselves and learn.

Student Blogger Carly and I working the Orientation Team Ask Me desk during O-Week!

In addition to finding people who you look up to on campus, it’s important to have a solid support system and focus holistically on your health. College offers so many opportunities to grow as a person, and provides outlets to strengthen your mental, physical, and spiritual health!

Student Blogger Carly and I de-stressing during O-Week by enjoying the sunshine at the Beach Bash!

For example, the Academic Advancement center offers free tutoring to ERAU students in a variety of subjects. Tutoring is essential in your first few years on campus, because it provides a more relaxed learning environment than a classroom setting and allows you to get personalized help with areas or concepts you might find particularly challenging.

The Fitness Center is one of my personal favorites for physical health on campus, but ERAU also features Health Services, a Dietician, and free Counseling sessions! Mental and physical health are very closely related, so it’s important to also talk about resiliency – the Center for Faith and Spirituality is a great place that welcomes all students! Sometimes you may want a quiet place to breathe, focus, and recenter yourself – and the Center for Faith and Spirituality welcomes and encourages you to take all the time you need.

Keep in mind these are only a few of the many support systems and student resources designed to help you thrive while navigating everyday stressors of being a student. There are many more and all faculty and staff, and student leaders, can point you in the right direction if you’re ever finding yourself needing a little extra boost. Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!

New Schedules & Summer Shifts

Happy July everyone! I’m currently blogging from Fairbanks, Alaska and the 60 degree summers are a stark contrast to summer weather in Daytona Beach. I stayed in my hometown of Norfolk, Virginia for about a month and am going to be in Alaska until I return to ERAU in August for the Fall 2021 semester.

A view of one of the last sunsets I will see until I return to the east coast for the Fall 2021 semester!

I am looking forward to my final half of summer being filled with a smooth conclusion of my summer Arabic classes through the University of Arizona and post Project GO program testing, as much hiking as possible, and visits to all the Alaska coffee shops. Currently in the Fairbanks summer the sun shines almost all day, sunset is at approximately midnight and sunrise happens at about 3:00 AM. Since the night time only consists of sunlight and a few hours of dusk/dawn transition, my schedule has shifted a bit too. I intend to spend my Winter Break between the fall and spring semester in Fairbanks as well, but during that time I expect the temperatures will be about 40 below with lots of snow and only about 3 hours of sunlight everyday.

A view from the Airbus A321neo window en route to Fairbanks International Airport (FAI)! Working towards my B.S. in Aerospace Engineering I may be partial to the sky, but nevertheless flying is always my favorite!

My Alaska Summer online class schedule:

I typically wake up around 4:00 AM, do yoga, make breakfast and coffee, then hop on my Language Partner meetings from 5:00-6:00 AM, have a 30 minute break filled with another cup of coffee or tea, then I go to my professor’s Office Hours or meet with my program’s director or coordinators, followed by a total of four hours of class, then an hour of tutoring.

I am typically finished with class obligations by noon, just in time to make lunch, workout, and finish homework. Usually in the evenings I’ve been having fun enjoying Fairbank’s food truck scene for an afternoon snack or dinner, and going on evening hikes (since the sun doesn’t set until midnight). In my free time I have also been reading Bear Tales for the Ages: From Alaska and Beyond by Larry Kanuit, because Alaska has peaked my wilderness curiosity. In addition to my goal to try every coffee shop in the city while I’m here for the rest of the summer, I also have a goal to safely spot some wildlife, including but not limited to: a bald eagle, a moose, and a bear (from a VERY safe distance away). Bonus exploration: A few days ago I went to see Cruella in theaters which was very fun too!

As my life keeps changing and evolving, each day becomes more exciting and I am always looking forward to what adventures lie ahead. Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!