Spooky Season

Today commences the beginning of spooky season. That time of year filled with ghouls, goblins, monsters, and impending due dates for assignments/ midterms. With all of these stress inducing things, many struggle trying to find a way to get by, but don’t you worry. I am here with simple solutions and actions I take to make the time run smoother.

Pro-Tip #1:

Going to the Beach

Living in Daytona Beach, we all take the second part of our city name for granted. The beach is clinically proven to wash away even the biggest problems, …don’t look that up.

Getting out of your dorm/housing and straight into nature provides an amazing chance to just breathe and appreciate all that’s around. You can watch the sunrise over the horizon, watch the sunset, bird watch, or even star gaze. The options are endless, but the end goal is to take a moment to breathe, regroup, and then approach studying or what not with a clear mind.

Pro Tip #2:

A Rewarding Snack

For some, a nice treat can make their day, and who are you to deprive yourself from treating YOURSELF. If you can’t go out, or bake in your home, you could always make a mug cake/brownie. Pinterest is full of amazing recipes that are friendly to anyone’s personal diet (or you could make a trip to Wal-mart for their mug cake). I also recommend Cow Licks next to the shore, off of S Atlantic Avenue. The price and flavor are totally worth the drive or Uber.

Pro Tip #3:

Relax the Best Way that Fits YOU

Regardless of what other people tell you, you know what works best for you. If leaving the dorm or room causes you even more stress, then allot some time to watch a show or a short YouTube clip as your breather. Or if physical activity helps you clear your mind, take a jog or go to the gym, which is open from 6 am to 11 pm on Mondays – Fridays and 10 am to 9 pm on Saturday – Sundays. As long as what you do to unwind is safe and healthy for you and those around you then by all means do it.

The semester may bring pressures but small moments of self care helps to move along those tough times and make them brighter!

And that’s the tea. Until next time!

Fall & Fresh Updates

Happy September everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, the official Autumn season begins September 23 and runs until December 21, I’ve been busy lately, and I’m trying my best to not be stressed.

I’ve found myself becoming a bit overwhelmed with the constant high speed flow of life recently, so as I woke up this past Sunday morning I took a couple minutes to set intentions for the week, write my to do list, and drink water. In the midst of the chaos when I find myself getting anxious about everything I need to accomplish for the day, I have to remind myself to take a step back, breathe, reset, relax, and take it one step at a time.

On a happier note, Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year, so despite Florida not having the most stereotypical autumn experience, I still try to make the best of it. I’m on my 3rd year at Riddle and thus far I have made it to a Floridian pumpkin patch every year (typically in late fall when the weather is in the low 80s).

As I currently drink my cup of coffee with pumpkin spice almond milk creamer and do homework in my room that smells like apples from my oil diffuser, as long as I don’t go outside, it’s basically fall, right? My prize possessions are definitely my calculator, my Keurig, my laptop, and my essential oil diffuser. Which you probably already deciphered because I drink a lot of tea/coffee, do a lot of homework, and I love yoga.

My newest fall essential oils that I am obsessed with! They make my entire room smell amazing. The scents are Maple Leaf, Fall Rain, and Harvest Moon.

As I note I would like to add my supply of “fall” flavored teas is growing. A classmate asked me the other day how many cups of tea I drink a day and I really had never thought about it, but I make tea all the time and typically always have a cup with me (in my reusable to-go cup of course).

Me enjoying the mere idea of fall even though it’s hot outside.

Now that we’ve caught up, as a Professional Officer Course (POC) cadet in AFROTC this year (under-classmen are referred to as General Military Course (GMC) cadets until after they return from Field Training the summer between their sophomore and junior years) I earned the privilege of being able to have a clipboard during training to conveniently carry around my orders, other needed papers for the day, and of course pens, sharpies, and a ruler.

Everyone’s clipboard is different, and in my opinion, essentially represents you as a person. I decided to decorate the top of my clipboard, which is covered by my daily orders in training to stay professional. My clipboard also has a large letter of my flight on the back, and my name which are the visible portions when conducting leadership laboratories (LLABs) and physical training (PT). 

To provide a small amount of background on my clipboard decorations, in the backyard of my house in Virginia we have a surfboard hung on the fence that we’ve been putting stickers on for years now. The stickers are from wherever we travel, and everyone in the family puts new ones on all the time, so the next time you look at it it’s constantly changing and growing. Naturally when I got my clipboard I had been gathering some smaller stickers from my travels and wanted to adopt the same philosophy. 

The top of my AFROTC clipboard that isn’t normally visible, but makes me happy knowing that it’s there!

Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!

My Favorite Moments of October

The month of October is almost over and we are now beginning the last phase of the fall semester. Not counting the three days off for Thanksgiving, students have about a month left of actual classes. I will conclude my last blog of the month by saying why it is one of my favorite month of the year.

Industry Career/Expo
Even though the event did not occur due to reasons we all know, it has been in the past an event with great excitement. I like to go hunt for jobs and internships. I enjoy talking with employers about what they have to offer. The career fair is now reported to the spring semester on March 1, 2017 from 09:00 to 16:00 at the ICI Center. Check the Career Services website for updates on company information sessions and the list of employers.

Fall Break
During the four days break including the weekend, I usually go back home to Canada to see my family and friends. I like to see the leaves in the trees change colors. It’s just beautiful! This is something that does not happen in Florida.

algonquin-park-autumnNHL Start of the Season (Hockey)
The 2016-17 hockey season started during the first week of the month. During fall break, I had the chance to attend the second home game of the Montreal Canadiens. We defeated the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. Last year, we did not clinched for the playoffs but hopefully this year we will go far. I look forward to this new season!

MLS Playoffs (Soccer)
The end of the month of October marks the end of the MLS regular season, which means that the playoffs start! My team (Montreal Impact) finished 5th place of the Eastern Conference during the 2016 season. They are playing a knockout round against D.C. United tomorrow (10/27). Hockey has always been the most popular sport in Montreal, but  soccer is catching up slowly beating football.

Until next time!

Nicolas

Thanksgiving Break

For some, the American Thanksgiving is a time of the year where families and loved ones reunite at a table and have a big meal. For me, it is totally different since my family is not American!

I still go back home for the break which is nice, but we do not celebrate any type of festivities. Our Thanksgiving (Canadian) is actually on the second Monday of October and we only have that Monday as a holiday. For us, Thanksgiving is not as big as in the United States. Our biggest holiday is Christmas and this is the time when we eat turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, pie, and all the good stuff.

During this break I mostly spend time with my family and see my friends from home. I also have free time to do school work since the finals are approaching very quickly. When I come back from the break, I will only have four days of classes left. Then the finals are the following week. I will be busy during the last week of classes. I will have three presentations to deliver and a group project to submit along with other assignments. I was supposed to have three back to back finals but I was lucky that one of my professors changed the schedule and put the exam during regular class time.

After I take my last final, I will fly back home for the long winter break. This year, the holiday will be longer than last year. Embry-Riddle added a week of vacation in January! This is awesome for students but it also mean that we will end the spring semester a week later in May.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nicolas

 

 

Autumn Break – Part 2

As I stated in Part 1, I spent Fall Break home in Canada. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of fall are the tree leaves changing colors. I spent many hours outside raking leaves on the grass and walking my dog even though it was very cold outside. To my surprise, it snowed a few times during my stay!

King George Park - Westmount, QC

King George Park – Westmount, QC

First snow of the fall and it's only in mid-October!

First snow of the fall and it was only  mid-October!

For the first day of my break, I went to my friend’s house to watch the first home hockey game of the Montreal Canadiens. In Daytona Beach, I don’t have many friends who are big fans of hockey, so it was great to watch a hockey game with friends back home. It is even better when your team wins! We won the game 3-0 that night for a streak of five wins. The last time the Canadiens won five straight wins at the beginning of the season was in 1977.

The next day, we celebrated my Dad’s aunt’s birthday. She turned 90 years old so it was a big event. More than 20 of my extended family members came to our house for dinner. There were people present that I haven’t seen in over 10 years, so it was great to catch up with everyone.

On Saturday, I attended the Montreal Canadiens against the Detroit Redwings at the Bell Centre in Montreal. It was my first time going this season. I am excited every time I go because I love the atmosphere over there. The fans are the best in the league and we have the largest arena in terms of seat capacity. We ended up winning the game 4-1, which improved the team’s record to six consecutive wins (as of today we have 9 straight wins!).

Face-off after the Montreal Canadiens scored their second of the game in the third period.

Face-off after the Montreal Canadiens scored their second of the game in the third period.

The weekend of the break marked the median of the fall semester, but it also marked the end of another legacy airline. On Saturday, October 17, 2015, the last branded US Airways flight landed at Philadelphia International Airport. Click here if you are interested on the full report of flight US1939. From now on, all future flights will be branded as American Airlines. For those who did not know, US Airways merged with American Airlines in December 2013 to form the largest air carrier in the world. As time goes, we will no longer see the US Airways livery as the airplanes are being repainted in the new American livery.

AmericanUSAirScreen
IMG_6346

After I landed in Montreal, I made a detour to the departure levels and took a picture of one of the US Airways check-in kiosk. When check-in at the airport on my way back to Florida, the US Airways brand had already disappeared!

This wraps up my Fall Break. Next weekend, I will be heading to a destination in the Northeast of the United States. Check back in a week to see which destination it is!

Nicolas

 

 

 

Back to School and Mapping Mountains

Greetings!

I’m going to actually write a relevant blog entry this time, I promise.

Fall semester is in full swing with first midterm exams coming up soon and lots of late-night homework assignments in the rear-view. Actually, I take that back; I really haven’t had a late night. Which is odd for me… I think I’m finally learning time management skills. I’ve been really good about not starting to work at 8 pm the night before the assignment is due – a valuable lesson to say the least. I’m bracing myself for when the semester is going to hit me, but for the time being it’s been pretty manageable. *knock on wood*

I promised I’d tell you guys about the awesome classes I’m taking this semester, so I’m going to do that now. My first class of the week, bright and early at 1 pm Monday morning (I know you’re jealous) is Thermodynamics. A lot of what we’re doing so far has been review (thanks to my awesome Physics II professor for hitting thermo hard), and the concepts are pretty interesting. Exams in this class are open everything, meaning textbooks, notes, and even computers/iPads/etc! Of course with the assumption you’re not going to text your friend and ask them for the answer. I think it’s a really cool system because it’s a lot like the real world (though in the real world you actually can call your friend and ask them the answer, but that’s beside the point.) Thermo is the last class I have to get out of the way as far as Engineering Sciences, which are kind of the physical fundamental classes you have to take before they throw you in a room and expect you to design a spaceship. That being said, it’s not my favorite, but I don’t hate it either.

Monday evenings I’m taking a Master’s level software engineering class as an elective, because I’m also doing a computer science minor. It’s really neat – one of those 3 hour, once a week night classes like what your parents would take if they go back to school. Which means I am literally about 5-10 years younger than everybody else in that class. Between that and not being a software engineering major (or a grad student, for that matter), it’s a bit intimidating, but I’m not afraid of the class. It seems pretty straight forward and I’m getting to write some pretty cool programs. I’m also taking a second grad class called Numerical Methods, which is kind of a cross between MATLAB and error analysis. I’m not really sure to expect from that one, but it’s cool nonetheless, and luckily I’m not the only undergrad, as there are a few other students in the accelerated program (which is why I’m taking grad classes, if you aren’t up to speed on my other blog entries. It basically means I’m getting my BS and MS at the same time, and will graduate with both after 5 years.)

The coolest classes I’m taking this semester are Spaceflight Dynamics and Astronomy – I finally get to start learning space stuff, which is what I came here to do! And they’re really interesting. In Spaceflight we’re basically learning everything you ever wanted to know about orbits, and in astronomy it’s everything you ever wanted to know about space – we’ve already talked about the solar system, constellations, and learned phases of the moon, along with a little bit of history of astronomy. By the end of the semester I’ll know about everything from stars to black holes!

Topographical map of the Andes Mountains generated by MATLAB’s mapping toolkit.

I’m back to actually doing some cool things in SPRL, after a few weeks of reading and playing with MATLAB tools. We are working on creating topographical (elevation) maps for mountain regions – the Andes mountains at the moment – and hoping to use this elevation data to model some real-world mountain waves. More physicists just use a smoothed gaussian hill to research mountain waves, so we’re taking it one step ahead by using actual topographic data. There’s a lot of complicated math and MATLAB programming ahead, but I’m definitely looking forward to what will come of it!

With the school year back on and in full force I don’t have a lot of free time, although to be honest that’s the way I like it. Nonetheless my weekends have been pretty free (since I’m keeping ahead on my homework like a good student), so I’ve had some time to start watching Breaking Bad and frequent Red Lobster’s Endless Shrimp (coconut shrimp… mmm….) I also went ice skating last Saturday, but we were both scared so after making two laps around holding onto the edges we gave up and went to see a movie. Plus ice skating in Florida just seems wrong. In other news, I got this candle at Bath and Bodyworks  called “Pumpkin Pecan Waffles” and now my apartment smells ah-ma-zing.

That’s all I have for now. Tune in next week for my random ramblings about ERAU, Research, and the mysteries of life!

There weren’t very many pictures in this post, so here’s a picture I took of a moo cow from the State Fair:

-Lynsey