How My First Week of Classes Went

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Birdie!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merrick and I!

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

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

Splits!

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

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

COAS 318!

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

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

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

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!

Spring 2021 Closing & Fall 2021 Prep

Happy May everyone! I’m currently blogging from Savannah, GA where the local coffee shops and restaurants are treating me well. Today is officially two weeks past my second COVID-19 vaccination shot and I am so thrilled that society is readjusting to being mask-free and more holistically health conscious (meaning prioritizing mental AND physical wellness). Today ERAU-DB sent an official University Communications email from the Office of the President noting that face masks are now optional for everyone on campus according to CDC guidelines! This is such exciting news given the state of the past year and how the global pandemic has impacted everyday operations. Also, I start my Arabic online summer classes in about a week through Project GO! I officially closed off my fourth year (of five) at ERAU this Spring 2021 semester with a term GPA of 4.0. With only two more semesters left before I graduate and commission into the USAF through AFROTC, I have high hopes for one more successful year and now I am excited more than ever that it will be a year mask-free as well!

Orientation from years past!

Orientation Team had our first summer meeting to start preparing for new students arrival to campus in August. The O-Team is bigger than ever and I am very happy to be able to get to know everyone and bond before we meet all the incoming students for Fall 2021. O-Team is a huge family made up of a diverse group of students and together, we span almost every organization on campus, including almost (if not) all majors, a variety of different backgrounds, and we come from all over the world. O-Team is a powerhouse full of helpful student resources, who together are knowledgeable about all things ERAU, are fluent in most languages, and full of positive energy. As a welcome team for those new to campus, your Orientation Leaders and ERAU experts, full of first hand experience and trained in all things ERAU, are here to help make your transition to college as simple, and as fun as possible!

Per the latest ERAU update, effective immediately, masks are now optional and we’re super excited to welcome new students as we resume normal operations!!

I joined O-Team because the first student I met at ERAU helped me during Orientation, then as I moved into my Residence Hall that same O-Team leader was a Resident Advisor (RA) on my floor too! That same student ended up being one of my mentors throughout her time at ERAU before she graduated, one of my best friends, and even my Big in Greek Life! She pioneered the way for me at Riddle. Connections and friendships I had with upperclassman as a freshmen inspired and motivated me throughout my years in college. Those relationships inspire and motivate me today to reach my goals and help others do the same. While people come to college for the academics, the environment and the connections they make at the university are truly key players in why students choose to stay. Whether you’re a traditional extrovert, introvert, combination, or something completely different, college offers a social outlet for you to explore your interests through the variety of clubs, organizations, majors, minors, and extracurricular activities that ERAU has to offer. Our university gives you the tools you need to help you find out how to be true to yourself, explore your interests, find what you’re passionate about and what motivates you, and help you succeed as a student and as a professional in the workforce post-graduation.

Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon with more updates to follow on how summer classes are treating me and more preparation for the Fall 2021 semester!