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!

Online Class Tips & Tricks

Happy June everyone! I’m currently blogging from Norfolk, Virginia and my evening was pretty great. I finished my online classes by (yet again) doing some YouTube workout videos, taking a short walk around the neighborhood with my sister and her dog, going to a spin class, going to the grocery store, coming home to water plants, have dinner, and relax.

Today I figured out a quick life-hack for online classes and wanted to share. To start, I am typically a semi-on the-go person, so sitting down for 4-6 hours of Zoom class everyday (not including other digital meetings) makes me very tired and towards the end of the days I usually get uncomfortable staying still and sitting. Today, I figured out by placing my laptop on a tall table, then on top of a wooden box (books, magazines, anything you have), I am able to elevate my laptop to approximately eye-level so that I can do my classes while standing. If you have a stand up desk arrangement, a tall counter, or a raised bed this arrangement also works. 

From experience living in the dorms on ERAU’s DB campus, you have the option to submit a Maintenance Request form to get your bed height raised or lowered. Throughout the past year I did most of my online classes by placing my laptop on my bed and standing up beside the bed. My go-to school supply is also a clipboard, so that I can do my homework practically anywhere (typically I will lay on the floor, but can also move to a desk, chair, or bed depending on what is most comfortable at the moment).

Being home I tried out a few different online class spaces and am still in the process of experimenting, but I would like to officially announce that a DIY stand up desk (aka box on table) is working for me and standing instead of sitting helped me feel so much better today.

Current standing work station set up!

My other top online class hack is simple: drink water! I try to refill my water during breaks, but will definitely ask politely to my professors during class to take a quick water break. (I am in a class of one, so if you are in a larger class where cameras are not required you typically will already have this liberty.) Also, I like having coffee with me in the mornings, sometimes some quick snacks throughout the day like trail mix, carrots and hummus, or fruit and yogurt, as well as hot tea for my afternoon sessions. I’ve found that snacking throughout the day and drinking plenty of water keeps me focused and happy!

My favorite classmate!

If you don’t have a ton of control of the environment you are taking classes in, if you’re home, in the dorms, or at a friend or family’s house, focus on the little details that are in your control. For example, I like to open the blinds to use natural lighting while I’m in online class if possible, set oil diffusers, have little plants in the room with me, and clean my space at the end of every day so the next morning I have the opportunity to reset my workspace and start fresh. The little details make all the difference, so even if you are in a shared space you can still carve out a piece for you to feel comfortable to learn in. Hope this helps encourage or inspire you to recharge and reset with online classes even if you’re in the same space everyday. Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!

September 6, 2009

This is one of the rare events of the week when there is nothing to do but write a blog post. No, I’m not burdened by homework or studying (yet), but there is always something to do at Embry-Riddle. Every day, there are a variety of events and club meetings to attend, making it difficult to find sparse time. This is my second week here, and already time is flying (literally). It’s unbelievable to think that I’ve moved in, and already went through two weeks of classes. Of course, new friends and a great roommate have helped tremendously. Within the first few days of living on-campus, I met a ton of people with the same passion; aviation. Meeting people at Embry-Riddle is easy. There is a common bond that usually can serve as a conversation starter or reviver: flying. However, it doesn’t stop with students – even one of the security personnel has his commercial pilot’s license.

Everyone I’ve met that works for the university has been very kind and more than helpful. Professors and instructors are very keen on why students are here, and all of them seem to sense that we already know what we want to do with our lives. With that said, professors are very good at relating classes directly to aviation, making it easy to get involved during class. Initially, meeting other business students was very difficult. However, unlike Aeronautical Science (and some of the other larger majors), there are a few people that you’ll continuously see in many of your classes. For the first two weeks, my Introduction to Business Programs class focused on getting to know other freshmen business students, making it easier to get to know peers in the business program. The College of Business seems to be a place where everyone knows each other – making it a tight knit community.

As for room and board, I couldn’t have been matched with a better roommate. Even as an incoming freshman, it’s possible to pick your roommate in advance. I met my roommate (Jeff) through a mutual friend, and we became quick friends weeks before we moved down to Daytona. Jeff, from Rhode Island, is an Aeronautical Science major. If you choose not to pick a roommate prior to moving down, I believe you’re assigned someone from your major. Having a roommate with a different major gives you another perspective of the university, and I’ve been fortunate enough to join Jeff on a flight. Having a roommate that you get along with is half the battle. Our room in Adams Hall is great. Many of the essentials, like a refrigerator and microwave, are provided. Additionally, there is a sink located in our room – we share the bathroom (toilet and shower) with the room next door. Our Resident Advisor, Brent, has been very helpful and kind. Every now and then, he’ll pop in just to say hi, and he does a good job remembering names (they’re also posted on your door – he might be cheating). He’s arranged several events, including a trip to a NASA shuttle launch and a seminar on “microwave eats,” which have helped us get to know others on our floor and improved our cooking-with-microwave skills.

This is so much more I can write, but I’ll include that in later posts. The first few weeks here have been awesome, and I hope you got a better view of what Embry-Riddle and Daytona Beach are like. Do you have a specific question? Feel free to email me at heckmanj@erau.edu


Jonathan Heckman