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!

September & Fall 2021 Schedule

Happy September everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, FL. As Week 2 of the Fall 2021 semester at ERAU-DB is coming to a close, I can say that classes, activities, clubs, and events are back into full swing operations. Currently, masks are the expectation on campus and all my classes are in person and most of my obligations, sans for a few Zoom meetings and Group Projects. This semester I am taking AE 432 – Flight Dynamics and Control, AE 420- Aircraft Preliminary Design, AE 416 – Aerospace Structures and Instrumentation, along with AE 417 – Aerospace Structures and Instrumentation Lab, HS 325 – Terrorism Origins and Ideologies, as well as my normal Air Force ROTC mornings Physical Training and Leadership Laboratory sessions.

In addition to my course load I am also participating in a tutoring extension of the summer program I took part in with Project Global Officer (Project GO). I attend one hour Zoom tutoring sessions weekly, with a Masters Student studying at the University of Arizona (the host university I studied with over the summer, in collaboration with the AALIM Center in Meknes, Morocco). Project GO is a critical language learning initiative offered through the Department of Defense to ROTC students in all branches of service. Four years ago I couldn’t imagine that I would be able to read, write, and speak in Arabic, but here we are folks, my progress even amazes me!

Since the semester is back to its typical business, I’ve been trying to take time to prioritize my health this year, particularly by focusing on staying safe and healthy in light of the pandemic. I tried a Cycle class at the Fitness Center last week, and am looking forward to checking out more Group Fitness classes in addition to Cycle (I would highly recommend!), such as Yoga, BodyPump, and Boxing Conditioning!

Outside of class and working out, I spent last weekend getting some sunshine at the beach. I watched the sunrise then went surfing and got to catch up on some leisurely reading. This weekend, I have mandatory class sessions on Saturday and Sunday, totaling 4 extra hours for a class that typically is supposed to meet during the week for a total of 6 hours. (An additional 2/3 of our usual amount of class time… split into two Mandatory sessions on both Saturday AND Sunday!) Since my free time is and few in between lately, I am cherishing the time I got to enjoy last weekend.

Sunrise at the beach last weekend!

I spent the long Labor Day weekend also taking a self-care trip to Orlando about an hour away from campus with my friend to visit the local Trader Joes. At Trader Joes I got two very fun new drinks to try: one Maple Oat Milk to put in my coffee (pictured below left) and two – Chai Tea Concentrate to make chai tea lattes (pictured below right)! Chai tea lattes are the perfect afternoon pick-me-up, and I am very excited about both of my new finds!

New Trader Joes Maple Oat Milk and Spiced Chai Black Tea Concentrate!

As I currently blog in the midst of doing laundry and making coffee between my classes, I am especially grateful that we had the opportunity to make the trip over the weekend. The maple oat milk in coffee is so delicious! Keep on keeping on folks, stay safe!

Orientation & Re-Introduction

Happy August everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida, back on campus as a Resident Advisor (RA) and I’m ready to get the Fall 2021 semester started! The past week or so I’ve spent every day in training for my RA position, my Student Government Association (SGA) position, and for Orientation Team. Since it is a new semester and I anticipate I will meet a lot of new people working around campus during Orientation and Move In, I decided it’s time for a re-introduction!

Hello! My name is Merrick and this is my 5th year working towards a Bachelors of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. I plan to graduate in Spring 2022. My concentration is in Aeronautics, with a minor in Arabic Studies. On campus, I’m an RA, an SGA Associate Justice on the Student Court, an Orientation Team Ambassador, a University 101 Peer Mentor, an Air Force ROTC Cadet, and I blog for the school!

In my free time (which is very limited), when I’m not in class, meetings, doing homework, or studying, you will most likely find me working out. I love to run and workout outside, as well as attend Fitness Classes at the Fitness Center on campus! My app of choice is Spotify, and I love listening to music on my noise canceling headphones. I also love music when I’m running, and I like to listen to podcasts in Arabic for fun. My current favorite is BBC Extra. I try to do yoga every day, particularly in the mornings (even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes when I wake up). I’ve been fairly consistent in that routine for about a year now. If I’m not doing yoga I’m probably sleeping, reading books (my latest find is Grow Rich! With Peace of Mind by Napoleon Hill), or doing an outside activity.

On the weekends if I’m free I will most likely be at the beach, surfing, hiking, on nature walks, or listening to podcasts in English like Ted Talks Daily or Short Wave (a science podcast hosted by NPR).

This is me on a hike from my summer in Alaska!

I love plants. I also love dark chocolate! I drink a lot of water, and also a lot of coffee and tea. In particular, I prefer hot coffee in the mornings, iced tea or coffee in the afternoons, and hot tea in the evenings. I enjoy smoothies, especially on the hot Florida days after a workout.

Some of my plants I keep by the window in my Residence Hall room!

I am so excited to meet my residents this semester and I’m looking forward to greeting all the incoming students during Orientation. If you see me around campus, feel free to say hi!

Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!

Perks & Personal Favorites

Happy October folks! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach. I’ve come to appreciate a few aspects of Riddle recently that I may have taken for granted in my past years. Let’s begin:

  1. The 24 hour College of Business (COB) computer labs with free color printers (hello late night life hack!)
  2. Night Flight! This is a free safety escort service provided by the Campus Safety and Security Department where they send officers to pick you up anywhere on campus at night in a golf cart and take you to your next desired location. I have found this very beneficial when I lose track of time doing homework in the engineering building only to realize when I’m ready to leave it’s raining (thank you Florida weather), but genuinely thank you to the Night Flight team for keeping the students safe and making my life so much easier!
  3. Fitness classes at the Fitness Center: I’ve always loved them, but there’s still so many I’ve yet to try because every instructor is different and they’re all great. My personal favorites are Yoga, Boxing Conditioning, and Cycling, although I have heard good things about Pilates…
  4. The Academic Advancement Center (otherwise known as the A^2 Tutoring Lab) that has tutoring in SO many subjects, and even if you’re not taking a specific class and just have questions about subject material in those classes they’re super helpful (ie me when I get stuck coding Matlab or using CATIA)
  5. Some honorable mentions/personal favorites: AFROTC, because it’s a huge family and one of my absolute favorite parts about Riddle, and Arabic class, which is a close second.
14 Words for Love in Arabic from a poster I found during the summer

I would also like to include some Life Hacks for college in general:

Tea- best hot and while studying

Recently received a package of fall goodies in the mail from my grandma, inclusive of this amazingly fall smelling caffeine free tea which is perfect for late nights

Popcorn- best in the afternoon or at any time of night while doing homework (AFROTC cadets have a popcorn maker in the Cadet lounge and typically there is fresh popcorn multiple times a day which always smells and tastes great)

My photo from the AFROTC Fall 2019 Cadet Wing Organization Leadership Chart

Water- always, but especially if you are tired in class, as well as before & after workouts

Hoodies/Cozy sweaters- best worn during chilly fall nights making s’mores by the fire pits, or to the local COBB movie theater at Daytona One (which happens to be less than 5 minutes from campus and offers $5 movie tickets on Tuesdays!)

My friend Kara and I on a homework break

To sum it up, I’m busy but extremely grateful and I love Riddle and everything it has to offer. Will report back soon!