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!

Final Week & Finals Tips

Happy December everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, FL and we are one week away from finals! With only one week left in the semester the current atmosphere on campus is busy and stressed. My schedule for this week includes deadlines for reports, presentations, final projects, and tests from Monday-Thursday. Friday is Study Day meaning no classes before exams begin Saturday December 11. Finals end this semester on Wednesday December 15. For more information the Academic Calendar can be found here, and the Fall 2021 Final Exam schedule can be found here on page 5 of the Registration Guidelines and Important Information document.

The end of the semester can be stressful, especially with all classes seemly scheduling deadlines during the same time before finals, but truly we’re so close to break! In less than two weeks the semester and final exams will have concluded and I am so excited to relax over the holiday before the Spring 2022 semester begins. Yesterday I spent about 7 hours in the library working on a final project for my preliminary aircraft design class and this past week has had the same (and more) amount of rigorous work on projects for different classes as well.

The best advice I have for college students experiencing “the grind” portion of the end of the semester is to remember that this short couple weeks is only temporary and you will get a break soon. Theres no way getting around having classes schedule exams and other due dates so close together, and it seems that every semester the last week brings a similar atmosphere and work load. To get through it we must go through it. Personally, I don’t necessarily agree with the concept of all nighters to finish work, but I do have a lot of late nights and early mornings. As someone who extensively plans ahead, during the last week of a semester there never seems to be enough time in a day.

Beautiful Florida sunrise on campus!

My best advice for getting through finals is to take care of yourself as much as possible. Drinking water and getting enough sleep are both extremely important! These tips for success sound simple, but when classes are extremely rigorous and demanding, sometimes the simplest acts of self care really make all the difference!

One of my favorite Florida sunsets on campus the other evening!

Other keys to success are snacks, coffee or your caffeine of choice, and decompressing after long days! During especially stressful times I make sure to prioritize a balance of working out and resting. Most of my recent days have been filled with hours of continuous work and studying for my classes, which unfortunately means a lot of sitting (something that I personally find very difficult and boring to do for hours). Thus, its important to take breaks to walk around, stretch, and schedule time to workout. I find that after a productive school work day, usually my mind is exhausted but my body hasn’t really moved all day. To alleviate this I will either go for a run, go to the gym, or do a yoga or workout video on YouTube. I feel better when I get to move my body, which in turn helps me focus more and think more clearly when working on assignments or studying. I also use working out as motivation to stay more focused while I work! Self care is extremely important, especially when the semester is busy. Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!

Two Weeks Left & Current To-Dos

Happy almost December everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, back from Myrtle Beach where I spent my Thanksgiving break with my family and I wish break was longer. Traffic was pretty bad coming back south and my drive ended up taking about an extra three hours! Regardless, my break was so much fun and I was sad to head back to FL alone as it was such a great experience spending time with family.

Post Thanksgiving 5K with my dad!
Post Thanksgiving 5K with my uncle! We ran together and ended up winning “medals” for fast times!

The 5K was probably one of my favorite moments over the break, other than watching Jimmy Fallon’s Christmas special on NBC – 5 More Sleeps Til Christmas.

My To-Do list before the week begins includes various errands like filling up my water bottle, taking in my bags from my Thanksgiving Break trip from the car and unpacking, laundry, working out, doing yoga, putting up my residence hall closing/end of the semester Resident Advisor (RA) bulletin board in my hall, filling out the end of course evaluations for all my classes on Canvas, and working on my Aircraft Preliminary Design group project and report.

There are about two weeks left to the semester before final exams. The last day of classes for the Fall 2021 semester is Thursday Dec 9, followed by Study Day on Friday Dec 10! Final exams this year are December 11-15 and Graduation is Dec 16! For additional semester closing information about important dates, please check out your RA’s bulletin board in your Residence Hall, as well as ERAU-DB’s academic calendar which can be found here.

In preparation for the end of the semester and finals it’s extremely important to emphasize your health. Getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, eating right, and taking care of yourself are extremely important! I too am guilty of falling into the end of semester syndrome where I drink more coffee than usual and sometimes don’t make time to workout or eat particularly nourishing food because I am too busy with homework or studying. Truly though, when you are busy it is even more important to make sure you are being kind to your body and your mind and putting energy into a healthy work/life balance.

Some tips to prep for the busy days to come – make sure you have quick and healthy snacks on hand (cut up fruit or pre-portion bags of pretzels or crackers for grab-and-go style), set timers for studying to keep yourself on as much of a set schedule as possible, set an alarm for a cut-off time each night where you do an activity to decompress such as making a cup of tea, going for a walk, listening to music or a podcast, working out, or reading a book. Additionally, you can try setting intentions for each day either before you go to bed at night or by incorporating them into your morning routine (perhaps while you drink a cup of coffee or tea). Setting intentions helps keep me focused throughout the day and can be referred back to by writing them in the Notes app of your phone or by putting them on sticky notes around your desk/study space. Remembering your daily intentions can help focus your thoughts on your end goals and re-center your mindset by helping to motivate you if you become busy or stressed! Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon.

April & Pandemic Adjustments

Happy April everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida and I have been incredibly busy lately. We have about a month left of school until finals and I feel like there is SO much to do before then.

Most of my classes have final exams and final projects, so the entire month of April is crazy slammed for me. In other news I am scheduled to get my first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in a few days and will be receiving the second dose of the vaccine during finals (so I am really hoping I don’t have any negative side effects because finals will happen whether I feel dizzy or not). I am hoping my professors will have some leniency given that the current day and age is full of a lot of unusual circumstances and getting vaccinated is a priority of the university (and my health).

My in-person study abroad program plans in Meknes, Morocco have changed to completely online due to the global pandemic. This means my summer plans for where I will be completing my online classes are up in the air. Typically in the past while I’m done online courses I’ve house-hopped with my family, but at the moment given the nature of travel restrictions, other than committing to bringing my laptop with me to log into Zoom, it’s difficult for me to solidify plans of where I will actually be.

A common theme that I’ve found reoccurring in my life recently is uncertainty, specifically having to do with plans for the future. My advice to you from one person who is going through it to another, is to take everything one day at a time.

I love to-do lists and setting milestones for timelines of where I want to be in completing assignments leading up to their due dates. I also recently deep cleaned by room! Washing my sheets and bedding, cleaning my floors, organizing my living space, and overall refreshing where I study, sleep, and workout has a big impact on my mental health, often an impact I don’t realize until I’ve reorganized and cleaned and feel so much better in the space around me.

Aircraft I designed for my AE 413 Aircraft Stability and Control class using Matlab

I’ve talked about time management and balance before, and as being busy seems to be a lifestyle for me, I’ve been setting aside time every day to stretch and do yoga or fit in a quick workout as a break between assignments. Sometimes taking a break and looking away from a problem or a page you’ve been working on for a while is just the thing your mind needs to process what you’re working on. 

Spring picture of my niece pup Daisy!

In the past I’ve found myself staying up thinking about how to complete engineering problems, so I like to “shut off” my working brain and switch into relaxation mode at the end of every day. I do this by setting a bedtime routine as best I can by having my shower “mark” the end of my homework for the day, and setting my oil diffusers with calming oil blends. I’ve found while being in the same environment of my room, the small changes such as setting up my bed for sleep make a big difference in my mindset and switching from work mode to off mode.

Keep on keeping on folks, stay safe, will report back soon!

Updates & Free Time Tips

Happy March everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida, it’s a rainy and cold weekend and I have been so busy lately that the weeks are really flowing together. 

Typically mid March, students look forward to a well needed break for a week with Spring Break, but this semester due to the global pandemic, we are experiencing a “new normal”. We had our first “study” day that was enacted to replace Spring Break, but with assignments still due and office hours still being held, it felt more like a normal work day than a break. Spring break typically is a week where students are able to not think about school for a few days before the final push to finals season, so this semester is especially challenging without the scheduled period to decompress.

In recent news my study abroad program through Project GO in Meknes, Morocco has been officially canceled due to travel restrictions and is moving to either an in-person program in Tucson, Arizona at the University of Arizona or an online program which is essentially a Zoom class like I did last summer. The benefit of a Zoom class is that since you’re doing it from home you can be mask-less and aside from video calling, class seems semi normal!

Some things that I’ve found keeping me sane and hopeful lately are leaning into the small moments where I get free time and filling them with good music, online yoga videos like YogaWithAdriene on Youtube, watching a movie on Disney+ (or Netflix or Hulu), texting my sister and getting updates on my puppy niece, or ordering Chinese food or pizza on a Friday night in.

I have definitely been missing my puppy niece lately!

When I’m extremely busy with school I’ve found that that I typically sleep less and eat less healthy food. This is especially prevalent when I am busy back-to-back, with homework, projects, and tests on the weekends instead of opportunities for extra sleep or relaxation. Thankfully there is only about a month and I half of school left, and I am looking forward to a much needed break!

Some key take-aways I’ve learned over the years that are especially important when I’m busy are having good food and maintaining a good evening/morning routine to keep me energized (as well as good snacks). Some of my favorite snacks to keep on hand are fruit, nuts, granola, fig bars, granola bars, pita chips, honey, and of course either peanut butter or almond butter. I also always have oatmeal and coffee! Typically this is my go-to for breakfast but I have been known to eat some after dinner as dessert or for a snack!

A solo selfie (from alone in my room) to remind you that there are still smiles under the mask!

This semester and this time in the world are especially challenging for everyone right now, so with that I remind you that you are not alone! If you ever need anything the Center for Faith and Spirituality, the Counseling Center, and Health Services are available to support you! 

Keep on keeping on folks, stay safe, will report back soon!

End of Semester & Future Prep

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Online Classes & Group Projects

Happy December everyone! I’m currently blogging from my hometown of Norfolk, VA where I just finished up the Fall 2020 semester online! Today I’m going to be giving some tips of how to navigate online classes and group projects.

My first tip, and probably the theme of all my tips is that communication is key! This comes into play especially if/when you have questions or don’t understand a concept in class and need clarification. Reach out to your Teacher’s Assistant (TA)! TA’s are typically the ones grading homework and holding virtual Office Hours, in addition to Supplemental Instruction (SI) sessions per the recommendation of your professor. A TA is usually a Masters, or Graduate student who is taking classes or doing research at ERAU, so I find they are more relatable to talk to (closer in age) and help explain concepts in more understandable ways because they were probably taking the same classes only a few years ago. If your class doesn’t have a TA, you can always reach out to a TA for a different section of the same class and since the material is the same, they should be able to help you too.

Screenshot of the automatic messaging system attached to Canvas that makes communicating with professors and TAs super easy!

Reach out to your professors! Email and Canvas message will be your best friends. The messaging system on Canvas is extremely easy to use. First go to Inbox from the Canvas homepage, then Compose, and you are able to select your course and message your professors instantly!

One of my professors availability this past semester was 24 hours a day. While that seems a little extreme, the point is your professors are there for you if you need help and they want to support you. My professor gave us his email and phone number and told us we could email, text, call, FaceTime, or Canvas message if we needed anything. If your professor has more structured office hours, you can always reach out to your TA, another class section’s TA, a different professor for the same class, or a different professor in the same department for help outside of your own professor’s availability.

Make a study group! Navigating group projects can be difficult sometimes, but if you already built a relationship with the people in your class, it makes reaching out and collaborating much easier! Some of my favorite Apps to use when working on Lab Reports or Group projects are GroupMe, which makes group messaging super easy and efficient, GoogleDocs which is the perfect way to divide and conquer a lab report because multiple people can make edits at the same time, and of course Zoom, MicrosoftTeams, and FaceTime for video calls and group meetings.

Hold your friends accountable! When working in groups on Lab Reports, group projects, and other collaborative assignments, set deadline reminders in your phone’s calendar and remind your peers when the due dates are approaching! Be a good group partner by being active in your group, completing your sections in a timely manner, and collaborating and communicating when needed to ensure everyone is on the same page! Some professors have Peer Evaluation sheets that you are required to hand in as an assignment to accompany group projects or presentations. Be honest on your Peer Evals! If a member in the group isn’t pulling their weight, let the professor know. Don’t let your learning or your grade suffer because your team member didn’t complete their portion of the assignment or didn’t perform as well as you needed them to.

My favorite Canvas homepage screen to see at the end of the semester!

Will report back soon folks! Good luck on finals and keep on keeping on!

Finals & Fall/Winter Break

Happy November folks! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida and Thanksgiving is so close I can almost taste it (the cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie of course).

The fall semester has rapidly been coming to a close and with about a week left until Winter Break starts its hard to see past all the assignments and even fathom a break that is, despite what my stressors persuade me, going to be upon us very shortly. I don’t typically doubt myself, but I do surprise myself because sometimes my schedule is so busy it’s hard to picture being able to accomplish so many tasks in one day, much less a week! 

A plot from my Aerospace Structures Homework that I’m currently working on via Femap/Nastran

In the spirit of being thankful (Thanksgiving vibes) I am grateful that I have the amazing opportunities to continually challenge myself in academics, professional relations, physical fitness, and leadership skills. Cue the teleprompter voice, this is all made possible in part by… time management skills I didn’t realize I had, setting daily reminders via Siri on my phone and laptop throughout the day, many To-Do lists, calendar notifications, alarms, and most importantly – my tried and true Go-To… coffee! Kidding, I am very thankful to have a support system of friends and family and I am so excited to go back to Virginia in about a week to see them!

Final exams are just around the corner, right after Thanksgiving, and the semester is truly so close to coming to an end. My motivations are good food, sleep, and quality time watching Christmas movies at home.

Over the winter break, post finals, I plan to work on Scholarship and Study Abroad opportunity applications, practice my Arabic by exploring further into the world of Arabic music, TV, and movies, and of course, rest!

Upon reflecting on the past few months, the hardest part of this Fall Semester, that I foresee will be a challenge in the Spring as well, is not having breaks or time to rest and recover between classes and assignments. Having long weekends and breaks canceled means that professors continuously assign homework, tests, quizzes, and projects until finals. This is especially disheartening considering my current Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings are filled with due dates, in addition to every weekday. I go directly from one subject and assignment to the other and it’s sometimes hard to see the light that the end of the semester brings when you’re in the thick of it.

College extensively exceeds the typical 40 hours a week “full time” work schedule, which is something I couldn’t have prepared for beforehand and is not something I am 100% sure I am prepared for now, despite taking part in it weekly. On the bright side, time never stops, and we get through it. My advice is to keep a positive attitude and keep pushing, one week, day, or task at a time. Progress is progress. Finals are quickly approaching and so is the rest and relaxation that follows! Will report back soon folks. Keep on keeping on!

Hope & Half-Way

Happy October folks! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, we’re about halfway through the semester, almost a month away from finals, and I’m so excited to visit Virginia again come Winter Break.

Mid-terms the past couple weeks were not easy. From my personal experience, college students are some of the most stressed out group of humans I have ever encountered. Maybe it’s because we’re all navigating excessive hours of homework, studying, class, and other university obligations, and there’s somehow only 24 hours in a day? I have found that I am currently coming out of the stressed wave from midterms and the only thing to do now is to keep cruising full speed ahead until the end of the semester. Stay on the grind of prepping for quizzes, doing homework, studying, and using the down time (can it really be considered down time?) between exams to mentally prepare for finals season.

Student Court’s group photo channeling Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry ie Harry Potter vibes.

I have been enjoying the little moments recently. This especially includes the few and far between coveted days I get the luxurious chance to sleep in. I also have been feeling very grateful for the little moments I get to catch up with old friends, girl gang brunches never get old especially when they haven’t happened in a few weeks.

This semester has been mentally exhausting, whether it’s from online classes, a global pandemic, general life stressors, or a cumulation of everything, everyone I’ve encountered seems a little off. Navigating “normal” life with so many abnormal aspects doesn’t feel right. Check on your friends! The world could use a little more compassion, understanding, and connection right about now. I am extremely hopeful for the end of the semester and SO excited to use Winter Break to catch up on sleep and mentally recharge.

I have surprisingly made some new friends this semester and even though our interactions are limited to Microsoft Teams calls studying or phone calls, the little bit of connection feels extremely comforting in the cold virtual aura that online classes have presented.

A visual representation of how the Student Court feels about being a little over half way through the Fall 2020 semester.

In other news, SGA Student Court has been going great! As the newest Associate Justice to the team I’m constantly learning and increasing my understanding of how the university functions and its rules, policies, and regulations. We meet virtually once a week to give updates, work on appeal cases, and do other courtly duties. I am so happy to be on such a great team with motivated, hard working, and dedicated individuals who strive to advocate for students. Generally I like to think the universe is for me, and so is everything else, but particularly in this case I can 100% say the Student Court is for you, and I am too.

Will report back soon. Keep on keeping on folks!

Fall & Figuring It Out

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

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

My bitmoji enjoying some meditation after a long day.

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

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

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

My sister’s new puppy Dasiy!

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