Hurrication & Misc. Happenings

Happy September folks! Howdy and welcome back! The first week of school came, then Hurricane Dorian came, and now the second (first?) week of school is happening once again.

Although, as I’m sure a few of my other Engineering pals out there have experienced, the hurrication was a nice “break”, and by break I mean it was lovely to be able to take my leisurely time doing homework and getting a jump start into planning for all my classes. The downfall of this break though, is of course that this coming week will probably be a tad bit squished with all the missed material.

Currently reminiscing to the week before the fall semester started during Orientation with my fellow O-teamer friend Kara.
Paint U with O-team!
Orientation Team retreat in August!

Orientation Retreat is essentially a highly condensed summer camp bonding experience for a few days that works magic for the O-team and takes us from a bunch of individuals to a highly functioning super team. I cannot exactly explain it, but to sum it up I learned about 80 people’s names and life stories over the course of about 3 days. I love O-team.

I am super excited for this school year, and for fall, as it’s my favorite season. Although fall in Florida isn’t exactly the coldest season, my birthday is in late October and hopefully by around that time the weather should be getting into the 70s at night, which is absolutely perfect for camp fires! The fire pits in the courtyard between New Hall Phase 1 and New Hall Phase 2 have been my go to, as well as my RA staff’s go to gathering place for s’mores and staff bonding. RA’s have weekly staff meetings, and honestly taking a break from homework and having s’mores with the staff while we do weekly recaps is a pretty cool and unique spin on traditional meetings… and it’s even better with the crisp air that accompanies cool autumn evenings!

In other news, I recently road tripped to St. Augustine for the day over the hurrication and got three new air plant babies for my dorm room that I am very excited about. I had a lot of plants in my dorm last year but I didn’t have the chance to take them back to school when summer ended because of all my traveling, so I’m currently rebuilding my collection. I love air plants, succulents and cacti, and hardy herbs that are low maintenance but smell good (and also the addition of fresh herbs to meals is a life hack for making dorm food taste SO much better).

My new air plants!

Will report back soon. Keep on keeping on y’all. Enjoy getting back into the swing of things, as I’m sure I will be!

Transitions & Training

Happy August everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida, yes that’s right folks the eagle has landed!

In the past week I’ve been all over the country in my journey and travels to finally get all my things packed and ready to come back to school. I concluded my summer studies of third year Arabic at the University of Arizona with a series of reading, writing, and spoken examinations, then hopped on a plane and “high tailed” it back to my city in Virginia for about a day, before road tripping back to the lovely humid state of Florida. The change from 5% humidity in Arizona to 90% humidity in Florida is drastic but, fear not, do-able.

Turkish coffee my friend from Libya made my roommate and I while we were studying for our final Arabic exams!

Now that I am back in Florida and reunited with my beloved Keurig and seemingly endless supply of coffee and tea, I realized that Daytona Beach really does feel like home. My cozy room, blogging in the morning from bed with a cup of tea and an airport view, amazing sunsets, my favorite run loop, beach vibes. While the school year isn’t in full swing yet I’m back at RA training prepping hall decorations, door tags, and bulletin boards, and have my Orientation Retreat rolling up in only a few days too. There’s almost an entire month of preparation for new students to come in the fall and I am extremely excited.

Coffee from a cafe in Tucson

In other news I’m half way moved into my dorm room (ha). Somehow I forgot to bring hangers and haven’t had a chance to hang up any of my clothes yet… so I’m one Walmart trip or one amazon order away from being unpacked. I also omitted plants from my journey to Florida but I am in the market for some so look out for updates on that! Also my road trip from Norfolk, VA to Daytona Beach, FL with the ‘rents and my pup Kita was one for the books. Sleeping in the back seat with a sweet dog was absolutely fantastic.

My dad driving us down to Riddle, with my favorite sleeping pit bull.

To sum it up I will be continuing my Arabic studies this semester as an independent study at Riddle, which is one of the classes I’m most excited about, aside from AFROTC starting up again, and of course being an RA on the sports student hall and getting to meet my residents, and leading my Orientation group. Overall, I’m just excited for the semester to start. That’s what’s popping in my life right now. Will report back as the looming Fall Semester approaches. Keep on keeping on.

Self Care & Semester Prep Thoughts

Happy end of July from Tucson, Arizona, from which I will shortly be migrating south for the winter back to Florida to my Daytona Beach home where RA training, Orientation Team, and AFROTC fall semester prep awaits me.

While going back to school in the fall is certainly exciting and I love being involved in so many great things on campus, I had a moment recently thinking about the future and all the obligations ahead of me… and honestly it was a little overwhelming. Then I took a step back and realized I was stressing myself out for no reason. I am where I am because I have overcome so many things and I have earned these opportunities that I sometimes refer to as “responsibilities”. 

Stopping to breathe and appreciate the Arizona clouds in monsoon season.

This blog goes out to my younger self who started college three years ago with a wild passion for trying new things, taking risks, and finding myself:

The first piece of advice I would tell my younger self, who was extremely eager to move to Florida and gain some real independence from high school life, is that while yes it’s good to get a running start and socialize and meet new people, be yourself above everything. I am naturally not very extroverted, and for some reason when I first moved to college I felt pressure that I needed to be, but in reality it was only in my head. 

College is about finding yourself and becoming more of who you are without limitations, so why was I imposing these rules of how I should act on myself? Maybe to fit in? But I learned the best part about college is you don’t have to “fit in” and I wish I would’ve realized that a lot earlier.

I spend my lunch breaks during the week eating peanut butter sandwiches laying under shady trees and listening to music with my roommate as a short break before we start afternoon office hours, tutoring, homework, and studying.

Now I suppose I am not your “conventional” college student, but really is anyone conventional? I used to dream of turning down plans on a Friday night to workout with some gal pals, do a face mask, practice yoga, read a book, and be in bed by 8pm, but I was never courageous enough to stand up for myself and do it! I always felt guilty and “obligated” to hang out with people, but I realized the stigma around being selfish and taking care of yourself is extremely blurred. You can’t be the best version of yourself if you’re burnt out and constantly running on empty. As a naturally introverted person I recharge when I am alone, and it’s important for my mental health!

Moral of the story is: Self care is SO important! I see no problem now turning down plans for self care, and I am so much happier now that I don’t make myself feel guilty for “me time”. At the end of a long, stressful, busy week it is WELL deserved to rest, and to always listen to your body (I am very guilty of this) when you start to get sick. Typically if I start to feel under the weather I go into a period of doubt where I think if I ignore my symptoms they will go away, I tell myself I’m too busy and don’t have time to be sick, but lets be real… this makes it worse! As soon as you feel yourself start to become a little under the weather, rest!

In the midst of my busy schedule I always ensure I have time to check in with myself, even if it’s just 5 minutes at the end of the day, to survey how I’m doing physically, mentally, and emotionally and to take a little time to work on those things if they’re not great. Take time for yourself in the midst of everything to breathe and check in, typically that’s when you need it most.

Arizona sunset from the top of a parking garage my roommate and I ventured to en route back to our dorms one evening.

Keep on keeping on folks! I’ll catch you back in a few weeks closer to the chaos and excitement of the new school year. Remember to be kind to others and yourself always!

Getting Back in the Swing of Things

Hi all!

I feel I haven’t posted in a very long time and for that I apologize. This summer flew by! Let me begin by catching you up on the end of my summer and then sharing some news about this year.

First things first, my internship ended on a very high note! I got to give the introduction speech to our internship closing ceremony. My mom traveled from Colorado to come explore San Francisco with me and tour SFO. We had a blast visiting Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square. Of course we visited In n’ Out and went to many of San Fran’s touristy areas. At the end of it all, I was very excited to head home for a week before returning for RA (Resident Adviser), SGA (Student Government Association), and O-Team training. You will understand once you go home for a break… Breaks = time to catch up on all your doctors appointments!

I came back three weeks before school began for RA, SGA, and Orientation Team training. These trainings were very fun because I got to see all my friends again! I also had the chance to slowly adjust back to living on campus and having a different type of busy schedule.

RA training with my old roommate, Delaney!

Orientation went amazing! This incoming class was so involved and eager to integrate into our Eagle family. I loved that all our events throughout Orientation Week were packed. It makes me happy to see that so many students were pushing themselves to go meet other new students. My residence hall wing is also fantastic! The residents are always asking questions about becoming involved and it is quite the social floor, which is not typical of the Honors LLC (Living Learning Community).

Working Orientation!

In other news, Chris came to visit this weekend! The agenda included Disney World Hollywood Studios, Tia Cori’s Tacos, Chicken Salad Chick, a photoshoot, car shopping, and Crazy Rich Asians at the nice local theater. We had such a great time that saying goodbye this morning was extra difficult. Long weekends are always great for friends and family to come, but it also makes me sad when they have to leave.

Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios

Driving around Daytona Beach eating all the yummy food!

My personal favorite – Tia Cori’s Tacos!

As for this semester’s courses, they are the most challenging yet. I have accepted that I am at the core of all my education. What I am learning now is very in-depth and difficult concepts, but I feel my focus in class will allow me to take this knowledge and apply it in interviews and on the job. I love having such professional professors who really know their stuff! For example, my Management of Operations and Production professor used to be quite high up in UPS. His knowledge makes the coursework even more applicable and understandable.

In honor of my last first day, here is my first first day!

While I am busier than ever, I am excited to share that my summer classes and high school credit have pushed my graduation to THIS MAY! I am beyond excited and the reality of it all hit yesterday when I received the email to apply for graduation. I feel that I am ready for this next step in life. I hope to show everyone through my career search and final semesters here at Embry-Riddle!

I will be going back to posting bi-weekly, so check back in soon! ~ Maddie

Fall Semester & AFROTC

Happy August everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach and the Fall 2018 semester is about to begin!

The past couple days have been filled with late nights and early mornings, but instead of studying or AFROTC, the latest concentration has been on move-ins of residents as a Resident Advisor and new student orientation from the perspective of an O-Teamer. An O-Teamer is an Orientation Team Ambassador (ie team member) and Orientation Team is essentially a group of enthusiastic, positive, motivated individuals who come together to welcome students to campus. To sum up the past week, orientation has certainly been very busy, but also a lot of fun. From Paint-U, Glowcade, to the beach bash, the magic show, the movie viewings, the magicians, and the hypnotists, the past couple weeks have been eventful in preparation for student arrival.

A fellow O-Teamer and I before Paint-U!

In other news, AFROTC is starting up again and I’m feeling slightly reminiscent into my AS100 year as I look forward to my AS200 year and meeting all the new AS100s. One year ago I was new to Embry-Riddle, AFROTC, engineering, and Florida. Just looking at how far I’ve come in one year absolutely amazes me and gets me so excited to see all the potential of younger generations as I’m actively contributing to the culture and atmosphere at Embry-Riddle. When I first started college I didn’t know anyone, and I was very nervous. This year I have such a strong support system of people I’ve met only less than one year ago, but feel like I’ve known my entire life. Riddle changed from a foreign place to a home, and I didn’t even realize that was possible when I first arrived. As the Air Force’s birthday approaches, and AFROTC prepares its annual celebration I’m looking back at photos from last year and how I greatly appreciated the irreplaceable connection with the people who surround me. We really were and are such a close community. I am so proud to be a part of our detachment.

The Air Force’s birthday in 2017!

I will be picking up my ABUs again pretty soon and as the semester kicks off I’m ready to be fully back in the swing of things. After spending the past month training and preparing for the school year to begin I’ve come to appreciate that no matter how much time you spend with any given group of people there is always something new you can learn from them every day. That beautiful phenomenon occurred to me as I bask in the nostalgic glory of how I’ve learned, grew, and bonded with the people that have been working besides me this past month.

Orientation Team group photo!

Will report back soon!

New City & New Semester Prep

Happy August everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida.

I have officially moved back to Embry-Riddle’s campus and am currently taking part in Resident Advisor training. This includes a lot of informative sessions, crisis response training, and scenario practice, plus prepping creative hall decorations in preparation for my new residents to move in. I will be a Resident Advisor this coming fall in the Honors Living and Learning Community in New Residence Hall and am very much looking forward to meeting all my new residents.

Aside from RA training, I am helping prepare for student arrivals at the end of this month with Orientation Team and will be participating in Orientation Training in the weeks to come before classes start as well.

On another note, I am all moved in and am excited to get back on my school routine. I just finished setting up my dorm!

Bed!

Tapestry!

Nice views from my window!

This will be my second year in AFROTC and I can’t wait for all my friends to move back. One of my friends who is also in AFROTC, happened to be living in the same town in Kansas that I was temporarily at this summer while learning Arabic. She comes back to Daytona Beach in a few days and I can’t wait because I’ll have a workout buddy again.

Photo from after an event during my first semester in AFROTC with my friend from Kansas (middle)!

(Shout out to my amazing mentor and workout buddy from last year who graduated in the spring.)

My mentor from freshman year!

To update on the Arabic aspect of my life:

I genuinely miss speaking Arabic so much and constantly being around people who I could communicate with in the language. I find myself frequently slipping Arabic words or phrases into my conversations and unfortunately it only seems to confuse the English speaking people I’m talking with (oops). I am hopefully going to be able to continue my Arabic studies in classes here at Riddle this fall, but if all else fails I will be sure to join some Arabic language centered or Islamic culture related clubs. I am very eager to meet more Arabic speakers on campus to practice my language skills with. On another note, I have been actively communicating via texts with my old Arabic classmates and our professor via our group chat. Texting in Arabic is more fun than it sounds, plus it helps me work on my spelling! I wish I had more face-to-face time with Arabic speakers here in Florida, but hopefully I’ll meet some new Arabic speaking friends soon. Side note: I just ordered a new Arabic keyboard cover for my laptop which I’m so excited about!

Will report back soon!