Recharging & Responsibilities

Happy October folks! I’m classically blogging from Daytona Beach, currently camped out at the ROTC building on a Sunday afternoon doing homework. Fall break was this past week and it was definitely well needed. I stayed local for the break hitting up coffee shops, catching up on sleep, and doing large quantities of homework.

As midterm time is among us, I had most of my tests before fall break, but midterms also mean RA deadlines! This means new hall door decorations, new bulletin boards, and more biweekly hall traditions! This also means time for the Fitness Assessment in AFROTC which consists of one minute of push-ups, one minute of sit-ups, and a 1.5 mile run for time.

At a local coffee shop close to campus drinking lavender chamomile tea and doing incompressible aerodynamics homework.

Something surprising that I realized over the break was… that I miss my friends! I know, this may not seem like an out of ordinary thing, but I almost don’t realize how inter-connected my everyday life is with the people around me. Now, if we zoom out a bit and look at the big picture four days is not a lot of time, but when you consider that I see my friends multiple times a day in different settings it feels off when they’re not around.

To put it in perspective: I wake up early and go to PT or to Leadership Laboratory (LLAB) with my AFROTC family, go to class until about 2pm, usually find myself back at the ROTC building a few more times for various meetings, paperwork, or presentations, then I workout with my ROTC friends, typically have an RA duty shift in the evenings or a staff meeting, then I go to sleep and copy paste and repeat Monday-Friday. 

I tend to not view myself as a very social person, because of how much I value my alone time to rest and recharge by doing yoga, meditating, or sleeping, but in reality I spend the majority of my days being social. The main point I’m getting out of this, is that I’m pretty much an introverted extrovert. Once I’m recharged after a day or two I thrive in the busy hustle of everyday life hopping between my friends from AFROTC, O team, RA, classes, etc.

Before the break I had a math test, a compressible aerodynamics test, and an incompressible test, a technical report document due, in addition to arabic homework and other meetings, presentations, and responsibilities. When I study, unless I’m doing practice problems in a group, I typically prefer to be in my room or reserve a study room in the library.

But in particular, when studying for my compressible aerodynamics test recently I found myself outgrowing my desk with my spread of papers so I migrated to my floor to go over material. After a few hours when I finished I got up and realized that my creative learning process may be a little unconventional, but it works… 

My post studying floor space before my compressible aerodynamics test.

I hope everyone bounces back to find your post Fall Break groove and keep pushing until Thanksgiving Break and finals. Will report back soon. Keep on keeping on!

Training & Traveling

Happy June everyone! I’m currently blogging from Dallas, Texas, where I will be in the airport the next few hours waiting for my flight to Arizona. 

Firstly, May FLEW by. Going from finals, to moving back from Daytona Beach to Virginia, then going from Virginia to Georgia, then to Alabama for Field Training, then back to Georgia, then to Virginia, now to Texas, then to Arizona, where I will reside until the beginning of August. Aside from training lasting two exhausting weeks in the Alabama heat, traveling (inclusive of packing and unpacking, then repacking and unpacking again) is also very exhausting.

I successfully got through spring semester with the highest term GPA I’ve had since starting at Riddle, and I credit that mostly to the hours I spent studying and not going to the beach, despite popular belief when I tell people I go to college in Florida.

In preparation for Field Training I cut out caffeine beforehand, which was gruesome, but you truly don’t realize how dependent you are until you pass through the withdrawals and realize that a good amount of sleep is a good substitution for a cup of coffee or tea. Nevertheless, upon completion of Field Training, despite getting 8 hours of rest every night, I was absolutely exhausted and my airport Starbucks run was very much appreciated.

My favorite part of Field Training was hands down the people. I was in a flight of twenty people that hailed from all over the country and I most certainly underestimated how quickly you can become attached to strangers in two weeks. The transition from individuals to a team to a family is literally awe-inspiring. In a nutshell, Field Training was an experience that will stay with my for the rest of my life and definitely fit the stereotype of “the most fun you never want to have again”.

The Alphacados with our amazing FTO and CTA, FT MAX 1 Summer 2019

Now that I am almost to the end of hopping around the country in such a short period of time, I am excited to go forth with my Arabic studies at the University of Arizona through Project GO, get back into a routine of class and working out, and of course explore all Tucson’s coffee shops while soaking up the sunshine & becoming aquatinted with some of the infamous saguaro cacti. Will report back soon, stay cool folks.

Endings & New Beginnings

Greetings and salutations folks. I am currently blogging from my hotel room and it’s my last night in Daytona Beach for a while, or at least until August. Tomorrow I’m road tripping back to my home in Virginia and about a week later I’ll be heading to Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama for 14 days of Field Training at the first session for summer 2019. Upon completion of training, I have about a day to catch my breath before I head to Arizona for Project GO, round two furthering my Arabic studies.

Out of my entire sophomore year, and quite frankly my time at Riddle thus far, this past month has been the absolute best. Now I say best with the full disclosure that I had still had homework, quizzes, presentations, group projects, tests, and final exams, but I honestly had a great time because one: my mindset, and two: the people I surrounded myself with.

My grades this semester were the best they’ve ever been in college so far and nothing monumental changed in priorities. I’ve always put school first, but this semester I put myself first in a lot of situations too. I made genuine connections with friends that helped me to de-stress so much. I took time for myself to do yoga and meditate and workout. I wish I could tell you I got a ton of sleep this semester, but I didn’t, truthfully I had very many late nights and very stressful nights trying to grasp concepts while studying. My classes this semester weren’t easy, but somehow my outlook changed and I went from overwhelming myself with concern over grades to going with the flow and putting more focus on learning material, and also unwinding. My work/life balance this semester was something that definitely improved from freshman year. Even in studying for finals, I strategized by putting in a few solid hours of studying and practice problems, taking a break, then getting back into it. Rest is SO important, especially for your brain.

Now that the semester is over, I am spending my short break before I go off to training by reading, working out, and hopefully sleeping a lot more. Books that I’ve dove into recently are The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer and Meditations by Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. I have also recently discovered my new favorite poet too, her name is Morgan Harper Nichols and her art is immensely insightful, powerful, and healing.

In other news, before leaving Daytona Beach, I had the privilege of going to brunch with some of my favorite gal pals, and I got to attend my good friend’s commissioning ceremony, where he officially became a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.

Brunch with one of my best friends before we part ways for the summer.
Post commissioning ceremony with this newly sworn in Air Force Officer.

Now as I prepare for my journey back home, Field Training, and a summer of Arizona heat studying Arabic, I would like to leave you with this: every ending is an opportunity for beginnings. Will report back soon. Keep on keeping on!

Finals & Finishing Up

Happy April everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, where I will be until approximately the first week of May when I pack up and move out for the summer. I must add that the spring time in Florida is particularly lovely, and aside from the occasional outlier variations in temperatures, it has been for the most part in the 80s sans the one 98 degree day and the 55 degree day (shoutout global warming).

In recent news AFROTC has officially concluded for the spring 2019 semester, and this year’s Field Training Preparation Group ended with a total of 68 real mvps. Typically in ROTC the freshman class starts out with about 200 and each year the numbers get smaller and smaller. I’m honored to have had the amazing opportunity to stick it out with my group of 68 class A citizens.

Spring 2019 Det 157 FTP Group’s last PT at the pool!

I must include that I recently went to Cinnamon Tree Cafe with one of my best friends and afterwards worked on a group project for our Modern Middle Eastern World Affairs class on the topic of the Arab Israeli Conflict in the Middle East, outside in the Florida sunshine relaxing by the pool. The weekends are my favorite.

Crepes, coffee, and presentation prep on a Saturday morning with this gem!

Something that makes me extremely happy in lieu of the dark cloud of final examinations approaching is that the basil I planted in my room a few weeks ago when I hosted the staff activity at my building’s weekly Resident Advisor meeting is thriving.

My basil babies in all their glory. The morning light they get from my window in my room is so great and they’ve really taken off.

Another really great aspect of Riddle that I’ve recently opened my eyes to, is that despite our school not being huge, it has enough people that you’re always meeting someone new, but also has the comfort of being able to spot at least a few people you know wherever you are on campus.

Even though there’s one week left to the semester before finals begin, I’m still meeting new people and making new friends, which is honestly so unexpected. It seems to be that when you’re not looking to make new friends people walk into your life exactly when you need them the most, even if you don’t initially realize it. 

Despite being very busy and stressed with classes, scheduling, and packing for Field Training this summer, I’m still finding ways to stay sane by going on runs with my friends from ROTC, having group study sessions at cafes, practicing yoga and meditating regularly, and going on walks to clear my mind. I highly recommend self care especially at particularly stressful moments in the semester.

Views from my dorm as I study.

Now, I’m off to turn in some Aerospace Flight Vehicles homework and go to my Differential Equations class. Keep on keeping on folks, study hard, remember to take time for yourself even if you may feel like you have no time at all, and I’ll see you on the flip side of finals!

RA Life, AFROTC, & Rest

Happy December everyone! Finals are over!!! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, but in a few hours I’ll be in Orlando departing from MCO, then I’ll be heading back home to Norfolk, Virginia. 

Just a brief recap of fall 2018 before the new year and spring semester begins: This has single-handedly been the most challenging semester of my life, but I passed all of my finals and my classes, friends, so thank you so much for the support. Key shout-outs here go to the boxing girls and my best friend Obie wan.

Many students have already left Daytona, but RAs are the last ones to leave (as well as the first ones back) as we do health and safety inspections and have to check all the rooms to prepare our residence halls for shutting down and for opening back up to residents. Fret not though, this process only takes a few days and after that is freedom. 

I am so excited to be able to relax over break. I’m sure it will be filled with all the things I love and only get to have sparingly while I’m in college, including but not limited to: lots of working out, home cooked meals with fresh vegetables, yoga (YESSS), seeing my best friend home from college, living walkable distance from the beach, my dog Kita, and also my family. I may read a book for leisure, shocking I know, as well as listen to lots of music. I also will be sleeping in glutenous amounts and will be going to all my favorite local coffee shops. Taking a break every once in a while is so well needed and deserved for both students, professors, and faculty. Everyone has been working so hard since August, we all really deserve this chance to reset, relax, and recharge before the spring.

Next semester in AFROTC will be Field Training Preparation which is extremely exciting as well because after that comes Field Training during the summer, which is one step closer to commissioning and graduation. Field Training in a nut shell is essentially a 15 day “boot camp” which is very strenuous and is a required step to complete before GMC (General Military Course) underclassman become POC (Professional Officer Course) upperclassman in fall 2019. Over Thanksgiving my early Christmas present was new running shoes and, although I feel I’ve broken them in, as soon as next semester hits I will probably rethink that.  

Some of my family from AFROTC and me after our final Pass in Review ceremony of the semester

Also here’s a picture from when I contracted around this time last year and swore into the United States Air Force, which if I haven’t mentioned before, was an absolutely amazing experience and I 10/10 recommend.

But for now, we are in break and de-stress mode and I will continue to get through the holidays with an open mind, lots of exercising and stretching, and good food. I miss cooking so much, but one thing I do not miss though is the cold weather. Perhaps I’ll have a white Christmas in Virginia? I do prefer the moderate climates a bit more though, as per expected with the majority of my year spent in Florida and other hot places.

For everyone traveling this holiday season, or even just driving a few minutes away, remember to de-stress and relax over break and state safe. Will report back soon! Happy holidays and almost happy new year!

Tips & Tricks

As we all know, it’s the last weeks of the semester and that means FINALS! And, just simply trying to bring up your grades. But I feel like, as college students, we shouldn’t over stress ourselves the way we do. Sometimes taking time to relax is the best thing we can do because when you’re pulling all-nighters to study and cram in information the last few days, you will fry your brain. This was something I had to learn coming into college, as someone who has grown up with major anxiety, dealing with and handling the stress that comes from it has been something I had to learn. So, take from a master of sorts and maybe my advice will help someone out.

  • Study and break- Obviously you should study for your tests and classes, but don’t overdo. Don’t spend 2 hours in a row studying, take small breaks in between, take your time, and don’t fry your brain.
  • NO ALL-NIGHTERS! All-Nighters are not good for your health. It is very beneficial to you to get a good night’s sleep before a test and class. Your performance will suffer because your brain has not gotten the full recommended amount of rest. I know from personal experience that when I get a full beautiful rest, I realize I’m more aware, more refreshed, and just all around feel good.
  • Eat breakfast or a meal before your exam. This seems obvious, but I promise that being hungry during a test is not fun and can result in your feeling sick and will distract you.
  • Don’t study the day of. Cramming before an exam is not the best idea for your head because again you will fry your brain before you even go and take your test. The best thing to do is go to class and be prepared and with a fresh brain. This was some advice that my Math professor gave me and, so far, it helped me out so much. This may not be for everyone, but it can sure help some people who know the info but just is a over stresser.
  • Don’t over think it. Even if you’re worried about a test, the worst thing you can do is panic and over think.

Stress is something that we can all manage, and it can be quite easy to do with a little effort and self-awareness. Before a test or something big, it’s important to your mental health to treat yourself while you’re working hard. Relax, take a breather, and do something you love to do. This depends on the person, but here are some things I suggest doing that help me:

Art! I love to mindlessly paint, sitting back and just doing random drawing patterns, and of course editing my photos. This may not be for everyone, but it really does help me a lot.

Watch a movie! Unwind with a good movie, whether that be at the Theater or Netflix on your laptop. This is a great way to unravel, to escape and let your mind wander into and enjoy a movie. On campus, Touch ‘N Go (our schools entertainment coordinators pretty much) does free movie showings just about every week, and sometimes they do them outside on a big screen for all to see and enjoy.

And lastly, I would say spend time doing something fun with a friend. Having a good friend to just help you take some stuff off your mind and to just laugh and hang out is such a good way to relive some stress.

Hope this helps you to have stress-free finals and a stress-free holiday!

December & Almost Done!

Happy *drum roll please* December everyone! ‘Tis ACTUALLY the season, thrilling, I know. I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, but I spent Thanksgiving in Savannah, Georgia and in Charleston, South Carolina, also thrilling. Thanksgiving was a well needed break and now until the semester officially concludes is the moment we’ve all been waiting for: final exam season.

Over the break I did a good amount of homework, but probably not as much as I should have done. There is always an endless supply of homework in college, but I also got to relax a little bit which was well worth it. So really, it was a win because I also took a lot of naps whenever I could.

Thanksgiving naps!


Example A: a sleeping portrait of yours truly during a Thanksgiving nap photographed by my lovely sister.

In addition to the naps, my family and I ran a 4 Mile Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning! We also explored downtown Savannah, and I drank a lot of coffee as per usual. My idea of relaxing includes sleep and caffeine, so naturally I partook in both, I hope everyone got to relax and recharge before finals begin!

Example B: If you’re ever in Savannah I recommend the Coffee Fox coffee shop, yum!

We also went to Tybee Island and saw the lighthouse, the beach, a lot of stray cats, and dolphins!

Tybee Island Lighthouse!

I also played photographer, and the lighthouse was in the back of the picture I took for the ‘rents.

Sometimes you must lay on the ground for the best angles. (Shoutout to Puddle + Sushi for making it on the blog.)

I had such a nice time over break and, unfortunately, it was short lived, but winter break is around the corner and the finish line is near! Although all students are pretty much experiencing the same feelings right now, wishing they had more time for sleep and less of the high doses of stress that finals bring, the marathon will conclude before we know it. It is the last week of classes and there is so much to look forward to. Just a small reminder to push out until the end, it is worth it, and despite the late nights, early mornings, highly caffeinated days, and stress, the finish line is near and we are on the final stretch!

Will report back soon. Study hard and keep moving forward friends!

What Finals are Really Like

Can you believe it’s already that time of the year again? No not the holidays… Finals. I can’t bring myself to be too festive until I finish finals or I’d get too distracted.

There’s a whole Study Day. Here at Embry-Riddle we have a day off so we can study for finals. The caveat to this is that we have finals starting on Saturday, Sunday is off still, but then they resume from Monday thru Wednesday. Either way, it’s nice to have this day off. Some students take this day to go relax at the beach while other meet with classmates or professors to become more prepared.

You can definitely get sleep. Finals are at all times. You can have a final at 9 am or 7 pm. Finals are also spread out (not at your normal class time). This allows for plenty of time to study AND sleep. We are constantly reminded of the importance of sleep, so I hope everyone takes full advantage of it like I do! I like to get up early and study, take the final, and go to bed early to get lots of rest before my next exam! If you are worried it’s like the movies and you will get 0 hours of sleep, I promise you this is not the truth!

The food hours are better. For one, Starbucks is open later, which is great for those who prefer to stay up and study for their tests! We can all use a little extra coffee or tea during finals, so these extra hours are surely taken advantage of! There are also extended hours on our restaurants, so you’re able to get grub at almost any time!

There are many free things. I know the library and the housing office like to hold different events for finals to help make the students feel less stressed. One of them is Exam Cram – where there are typically cookies, donuts, coffee, and tutors. The Student Government also has tutoring/study sessions during study day! They even hand out little treats for students as pick-me-ups.

Your professors understand. Your professors know how busy you are at this time of year. They were students once too, so they know firsthand the stress that finals brings about. I think it’s nice when they try to give a study guide or even just reassurance that everyone is doing well in the class. It’s important to remember they want you to do well! Don’t be afraid to email questions or visit their office hours. Some professors have extended office hours during finals!

Not all finals are cumulative. For those who do not know, cumulative means that you will be tested on all the things you have learned that semester. This semester, I have no cumulative tests. All my finals are my third test of the semester. I think it’s nice to have this,  but I know some people without finals, so I’m a little jealous of them!

Clubs are doing fun things. Even though studying is important, clubs want to have an end-of-the-year celebration. When you’re on campus and involved, I encourage you to attend as many of these events as possible! Yesterday Women’s Ambassadors made body scrub and today, Women in Aviation is having Chipotle for dinner. We are also going to the Christmas light drive-thru at the Speedway for Housing!

Groups are encouraged. Many professors will hold extra study sessions. I had one for my economics and math classes. This is super nice of the professors since they are taking their time for the students – just another reason to love Embry-Riddle! Beyond this, many professors encourage groups to work together to study. You can find students working in the Hosseini Student Union, dorm study room, Ignite, computer labs, or many other places. I know that the study rooms in the dorms are equipped with white boards and cords to connect your computer, so this is awesome for group work!

Have a happy holidays everyone! ~ Maddie Dietrich

 

Finals & Nile Crocodiles

Happy July everyone! I’m currently blogging from Washington DC. (We’re not in Kansas anymore!)

In addition to all the usual events, my summer in Kansas concluded with an Arabic Homestay Dinner, conversation tables, presentations, a Saudi Arabian movie, an Oral Proficiency Exam, lunch field trips, dinners with our professor, a final exam consisting of listening, speaking, and writing portions, a final skit performance, and of course lots of coffee.

الحمد لله

I thankfully finished with an A in both semesters, but more importantly I made irreplaceable memories with my professor, tutors, and classmates. Also, thankfully, my last two weeks included more “mesa’a’ah” which is my newly discovered favorite Egyptian food.

Arabic Homestay Dinner at our tutor’s house!

Brief recap of the last two months:

After spending hours every day in person, emailing, texting, or calling each other I can honestly say I am so proud to have had the opportunity to study amongst likeminded individuals and to learn and develop language skills in such a supportive environment with my classmates, our tutor, and our professor.

I can now hold a conversation in Arabic, converse on a variety of topics, am more culturally aware, and confidently have a strong foundation of Arabic skills consisting of standard high language vocabulary and a lot of Egyptian dialect.

Family photo of our class with our classmate’s daughter!

For me learning Arabic was a chance to truly open my eyes to the beautiful diversities in the world, especially in Arabic speaking regions such as the Middle East where non-Arabic speakers commonly have a lot of misconceptions about not only language, but culture.

I have only begun my journey in understanding how culture contributes to perception, connotation, and communication. Educating myself is the start to contributing a more globally aware society, starting by breaking language barriers and expanding to clarifying misconceptions and squashing stereotypes. Learning Arabic has allowed me to start developing an understanding of culture and ways of life very different from what I, as a native English speaker, was typically used to. Despite cultural differences between geographical regions, languages bridge the gap between different people and creates an opportunity for communication and understanding to develop.

My classmate and I with our professor!

I would absolutely recommend Project GO to ROTC students, and I would highly encourage anyone up for a challenge to learn a new language as they have numerous benefits beyond the classroom. Learning languages truly helps to form more globally aware citizens. They broaden perspectives, open up doors for communication, educate people on culture, and can lead to amazing opportunities whether it be connecting people within your community, or meeting new people traveling abroad.

I am very thankful for this experience and excited to continue my quest learning Arabic inside and outside of the classroom in the years to come.

Visual representation of the word “ممكن” by my classmate and I, which doesn’t directly translate into English, but is ممكن a verb for maybe/sort of.

Side note: My professor is from Egypt, which houses the Nile River. In the Nile there are many crocodiles. Nile crocodiles can range from 15-20 feet long. Below is a visual representation of the size of a small (15-foot) crocodile, measured out by myself, my classmate, and our other classmate’s daughter.

One 15-foot Nile crocodile!

Will report back soon!

Summer!

Hello everyone!

It’s been about two weeks since finals, can you believe that?! I’m happy to report I finished with all A’s and I was never too stressed while studying! I tried mixing it up this finals season and studied in groups (I usually prefer to study alone) and it actually helped me stay laser focused. I guess the moral of the story here is try new things!

On a side note, I’ve been obsessed with using GrubHub. It’s a food delivery service where you order via an app and someone delivers it to you! This was AMAZING during finals when I didn’t want to drive anywhere and interrupt studying. Tropical Smoothie and Buffalo Wild Wings were on routine repeat for me! The trick is to get your friends to order with you and the delivery fee and tip can be split so it’s not as much. You can easily order to the dorms, so those of you planning on not having a car next semester, do not fret! This is for you!

Anyways, back to summer! After finals finished (I had the last final at 9 pm on Wednesday), I went and packed up my dorm. After I did my RA walkthrough of all the resident’s rooms, I went to the airport. This is a crazy story – I had my friend take me to the wrong airport and then almost missed my flight. How does that even happen?! The flight was supposed to be delayed but then got changed to no delay and I ended up having to throw away all my liquids in order to carry on my bag. Then I had to beg to be allowed to not double pay for my bag since I had originally paid for it to be checked. Long story short, I made the flight (barely) and didn’t have to pay for my bag twice.

I then landed in Las Vegas and caught a flight to Oakland. Once I landed in Oakland I went to my hotel and woke up early to catch the Bart to San Francisco Airport. Here I finished my badging process by taking a safety class. This was my third weekend back-to-back in San Francisco. Crazy right? That’s a lot of 6-hour flights coast to coast. After getting my badge I rented a car. How am I old enough to rent a car?! Well, the answer is I paid a premium for the 20-year-old insurance. I dropped off my badge and drove down to Monterey to visit Chris, which was a 3-hour drive with traffic. I don’t consider myself the best driver so I was very scared to drive in crazy California traffic with unfamiliar roads. All was fine though! I picked him up and we got dinner then continued to drive to LA. We then spent Saturday at Disneyland and Sunday in Los Angeles! Now I am currently hanging out in Monterey spending time with Chris. He works during the day so I usually try out coffee shops and find cute stores to kill time! Last weekend we went to the Taylor Swift concert in Santa Clara, Apple Park in Cupertino, and strawberry picking in Watsonville. Tomorrow we are heading to Las Vegas!

Disneyland!

Apple Park with iPads as menus

Apple Park!

Taylor Swift’s Reputation Tour – Santa Clara

Strawberry Picking

But… The best news is my internship starts in two weeks! I am so excited to live in a big city and work with my dream airline! Finding an apartment has been stressful since there are a lot of scams and I need a short-term, furnished apartment. I’ll keep you updated! This is my first full-time internship! I like that it is a rotational one where I will be able to work in multiple areas. I think this will make time fly. Also, SFO is BEAUTIFUL! What an amazing airport!

I will be doing my internship for credit as well as some online summer classes. If any of you are curious about the process of registering for either, let me know! I’d be happy to share my experience with setting it up and why I choose to do both!

Enjoy the beginning of summer! – Maddie