Work/Life Balance and Little Joys

Happy almost Halloween everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, at the end of Fall Break, and half way through the semester! 

I spent my fall break doing entirely too much homework everyday, and sleeping. My break didn’t really seem like a break, but generally, doing your homework is always a better option than not! Until the semester ends there is never a time where I don’t have assignments to do. Thus, it is all the more important to find time for what makes you happy in order to create a sustainable routine and work/life balance. My life tends to be 99% work, but I am looking forward to having more time for rest and fun during Winter Break!

My go-to for finding small happy breaks in my busy days has been centered a lot on finding joy in my routine. Sometimes my workouts are too similar and I get bored with the same monotonous schedule that is school, studying, working, etc. Don’t get me wrong, college is extremely challenging and I am never at a loss for things to do. I am practically swimming in homework, papers, projects, and presentation assignments, on top of meetings, and ROTC obligations, but I’ve reached a point where the busy-ness isn’t exactly new or exciting. There’s always new assignments, but even they fall into a rhythm of similar challenges and stresses. Lately I’ve been thinking how interesting it is that despite everything new, such as different classes, new people in group projects, new friends, the flow of school is the same.

Something I’ve focused more on this semester is making time for things that make me happy on the day to day, even when I’m busy. For me, this looks like painting my nails every few weeks because it makes me feel more put together during the busy days. 

This week’s nail color of choice!

Small joys of everyday life also looks like trying new tea flavors when I’m studying, lately in the evenings I’m liking Peppermint and Chamomile! I’ve also been enjoying FaceTiming my mom once a week, texting my sister, my family, and my friends who I don’t see everyday more, and Peppermint Hot Chocolate mix. This also includes new plants! Recently I was in charge of organizing a team builder during our RA staff meetings, so we planted little cups of basil and cilantro, mine just began sprouting!

My new basil plant babies!

When I’m stressed I also tend to focus on everything that I need to do, rather than everything I’ve done, it’s SO important to recognize yourself for all the hard work you do! I’ve been trying to do face masks a few evenings every week to decompress before I go to sleep, and help my skin stay hydrated, which always helps me wake up feeling more refreshed and happy – even on the early PT mornings.

A BIG event that I am very excited for is graduation and commissioning in spring, but it’s easy sometimes to lose sight of the shining end goals when you’re in the middle of a sea of work. Keep your goals in mind constantly, and let them help motivate you when the routine gets boring. Trying new snacks or drinks helps spice up everyday life, and new music, workout routines, and self care that you wouldn’t regularly do is so much fun too! Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon.

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!

Spring 2021 Closing & Fall 2021 Prep

Happy May everyone! I’m currently blogging from Savannah, GA where the local coffee shops and restaurants are treating me well. Today is officially two weeks past my second COVID-19 vaccination shot and I am so thrilled that society is readjusting to being mask-free and more holistically health conscious (meaning prioritizing mental AND physical wellness). Today ERAU-DB sent an official University Communications email from the Office of the President noting that face masks are now optional for everyone on campus according to CDC guidelines! This is such exciting news given the state of the past year and how the global pandemic has impacted everyday operations. Also, I start my Arabic online summer classes in about a week through Project GO! I officially closed off my fourth year (of five) at ERAU this Spring 2021 semester with a term GPA of 4.0. With only two more semesters left before I graduate and commission into the USAF through AFROTC, I have high hopes for one more successful year and now I am excited more than ever that it will be a year mask-free as well!

Orientation from years past!

Orientation Team had our first summer meeting to start preparing for new students arrival to campus in August. The O-Team is bigger than ever and I am very happy to be able to get to know everyone and bond before we meet all the incoming students for Fall 2021. O-Team is a huge family made up of a diverse group of students and together, we span almost every organization on campus, including almost (if not) all majors, a variety of different backgrounds, and we come from all over the world. O-Team is a powerhouse full of helpful student resources, who together are knowledgeable about all things ERAU, are fluent in most languages, and full of positive energy. As a welcome team for those new to campus, your Orientation Leaders and ERAU experts, full of first hand experience and trained in all things ERAU, are here to help make your transition to college as simple, and as fun as possible!

Per the latest ERAU update, effective immediately, masks are now optional and we’re super excited to welcome new students as we resume normal operations!!

I joined O-Team because the first student I met at ERAU helped me during Orientation, then as I moved into my Residence Hall that same O-Team leader was a Resident Advisor (RA) on my floor too! That same student ended up being one of my mentors throughout her time at ERAU before she graduated, one of my best friends, and even my Big in Greek Life! She pioneered the way for me at Riddle. Connections and friendships I had with upperclassman as a freshmen inspired and motivated me throughout my years in college. Those relationships inspire and motivate me today to reach my goals and help others do the same. While people come to college for the academics, the environment and the connections they make at the university are truly key players in why students choose to stay. Whether you’re a traditional extrovert, introvert, combination, or something completely different, college offers a social outlet for you to explore your interests through the variety of clubs, organizations, majors, minors, and extracurricular activities that ERAU has to offer. Our university gives you the tools you need to help you find out how to be true to yourself, explore your interests, find what you’re passionate about and what motivates you, and help you succeed as a student and as a professional in the workforce post-graduation.

Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon with more updates to follow on how summer classes are treating me and more preparation for the Fall 2021 semester!

Daily Life & Extraneous Happenings

Happy February everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida and now that I’m back in the groove I would like to share with you a day in the life of an Aerospace Engineering student in Air Force ROTC who works as a Resident Advisor (RA), along with multiple other campus involvements! 

To begin, in AFROTC this semester we have one In-Person physical training (PT) a week, and one “virtual” at home workout PT, in addition to one In-Person Leadership Laboratory (LLAB). If I have either PT or LLAB, I typically wake up around 0500 via an alarm on my phone, sometimes multiple alarms especially if I was up late doing homework. I usually start my day extremely thirsty so when I first wake up I make water, coffee, tea, and a vitamin C drink from a powder I have (I know this might sound like a lot, but I love beverages). Then I do 10-15 minutes of yoga, eat some oatmeal and take my vitamins, and head to ROTC around 0620. After ROTC I typically return to my room between 0800 and 0900 and shower and make second breakfast, which is sometimes more oatmeal, coffee, and fruit if a have it (sometimes oatmeal is subbed with a muffin from the Cadet Lounge).

Then I prep for my day! On my busiest days I have in-person Airplane Stability and Control, Preparation for Active Duty Air Force class, online Aerospace Structures II, in-person SGA Student Court office hours, Space Mechanics, and my bi-weekly 1:1 with my RA supervisor (the Residence Life Coordinator of the residence hall I live in). This week my other obligations include my Returning RA Interview session, a 1:1 with my APAS (Assistant Professor of Aerospace Studies) to go over my academic course plan up to graduation, Student Court Hearing Sessions, RA staff meetings, RA duty, workouts, office hours with my professors to ask questions about homework assignments, and my first Community Hangout of the semester – I’m teaming up with my RA hall partner to do a virtual Paint night!

In my free time when I’m not working out I’m probably playing virtual chess with my friends, strategizing Blokus games, or sleeping!

My first 2-Person Blokus game!

My usual schedule typically includes homework, quiz prep, and studying for upcoming tests. Also, I recently joined ERAU’s Surf Club which I’m very excited about. I went surfing for the first time since I’ve been back in Florida over the weekend at Ponce Inlet and it was so much fun! Going to the beach recently was the first time I’ve worn a wetsuit because the water was cold and I had a blast.

The beach when I went surfing with Surf Club!

As I get back to doing homework, I look forward to blogging again soon, keep on keeping on folks, stay safe!

Balance & Busy Schedules

Happy August everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida pulling a power weekend (meaning I’m on call working at my Resident Advisor position) after following a power week of working 12+ hours daily jumping from Orientation Team activities to RA move in shifts and I feel like I haven’t had time to catch my breath, even though classes haven’t actually started yet.

I’ve spent most of August hopping from trainings and working with the same people (masks ON Eagles). My residents are finally moving in and I’m very excited to meet everyone, even if it is primarily over email, GroupMe, or Zoom meetings. Between door decorations, hall decorations, bulletin boards, presentations, meetings, welcome and orientation events, it’s a wonder I’ve even been getting sleep lately. We LOVE good time management skills.

Much to my surprise, I’ve still found time to do yoga every morning and alternate my calisthenic workout days with my cardio days in between my busy schedule. I am a firm believer that people make time for what is important to them. For example, if you’re feeling exhausted and overwhelmed with obligations and options make a list and prioritize your commitments. Be SURE to include your commitments to your self care too! Mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health are very important to a well balanced lifestyle.

O Team with my favorite leader!

Most questions I get related to college life from new students are centered around academics, which are extremely important, but not to the extent that you neglect your well being.

Story time! My first semester of college I was getting between 4-6 hours of sleep every night and I was mentally not in a great place, even though I was giving academics the majority of my attention. While there may be many outlying influencing factors in this, my second semester of college I made an agreement with myself to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Amazingly, I found that my final letter grades were identical in ratio to my first semester, with no deviations.

Only did my grades start improving when I started focusing on my ACTUAL wellbeing, my overall health, and balancing my time between myself and everything else.

O-Team is our favorite team!

In high school, middle school, and elementary school I took a fair share of mental health days, didn’t go to class on my birthday, and most certainly didn’t go to school if I was sick. When I got to college I was extremely stressed and constantly felt like I was trying to catch up and compete to not fall behind in the work culture.

What you give your time and energy to is SO important, and a little self care goes a LONG way. If I am crunched on time and need to decide on an extra hour of sleep or an hour of working out, my answer constantly changes depending on how I’m feeling and what I need to accomplish for that day or for the next day. You have to make the best decisions for yourself. Set boundaries. Don’t stretch yourself too thin! Prioritize your time, energy, and commitments, while reflecting back on your needs.

Will report back soon folks! Keep on keeping on!

Announcements & Roles

Happy June everyone! I am currently blogging from Virginia Beach, VA and I found out I’m going to be a Peer Mentor for University 101 (UNIV 101) for the Fall 2020 semester! University 101 is a class exactly what it sounds like, essentially a “How-To” for the behind the scenes (ie paperwork) side of college navigation, a *sometimes* confusing yet necessary aspect of university life. Most engineering students take this course, while Aeronautical Science, Aviation, and Business students attend a slightly different version of the class catered towards their unique degree paths.

A Peer Mentor for UNIV 101 is a leadership position available to graduate and undergraduate students as a learning coach, student advocate, trusted peer, and source of information about the University and its offerings/resources. I like to see it as an extension of being on Orientation Team as an O Team Ambassador. In this position I will be in the UNIV 101 class sessions (sort of like a Teacher’s Assistant) and help students become familiar with university resources such as ERNIE, Canvas, and Campus Solutions. I will be an additional resource for answering questions like locating advisor information, finding the course catalog, online registration, navigating placement evaluations, and Academic Study Plans!

In Air Force ROTC we make academic study plans mapping out our classes for each semester up until graduation, which is very helpful in ensuring you meet all of your course requirements for a timely graduation and something that the UNIV 101 course immensely facilitates and provides resources to help you plan and communicate with your Academic Advisor.

Recently reflecting, I realized I hold a lot of leadership positions on campus.

I am a Student Blogger (of course),

a Resident Advisor (RA),

an Orientation Team Ambassador (O Team Ambassador),

a Student Government Association (SGA) Student Court Associate Justice where I am the acting Clerk (essentially a spokesperson),

in Air Force ROTC with the leadership position I am assigned as a Professional Officer Course (POC) Cadet for the semester,

and now a Peer Mentor for University 101 as well…. In addition to getting a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and a Minor in Arabic Studies, and miraculously I still find time to workout!

My current progress!

If anyone has questions on time management or any of the positions/organizations I’m a part of, feel free to reach out on this platform or if you see me around campus! Additionally if I specifically am not a part of a group that you want to join, there is a high chance that I know someone who is and I can put you in contact with them!

My summer classes have officially kicked off and we’re almost halfway through summer which is mind boggling to me. As my third summer participating in Project Global Officer learning Arabic I can say that I definitely prefer in-person learning as compared to online courses. Learning a new language in itself is difficult, but sitting at a computer for 8 hours a day is almost more difficult to me.

I will report back soon on how my language learning is progressing over Zoom, and more information about my current summer class schedule and how my on campus leadership positions impact my time management during the fall. Stay safe everyone!

Half Way & Happenings

Happy February everyone! Back again blogging from Daytona Beach, Speed Week has calmed downed, and we’ve been having some particularly mild weather: a bit cold and rainy, but Florida tends to be wonky before getting to the consistent sunshine with afternoon showers (aka nap time).

Valentine’s Day recently passed and February is flying by! Things around the corner include *drum roll please* Mid-term exams, the Spring PT test… and also, Spring Break! We’re almost half way through Spring semester and I can barely believe it! 

My sister sent me a very positive card, a super cute scrunchie, and some Namaste socks for V-day! I love care packages.

Some notable things I get to do with my position this semester in ROTC as the Mission Support Group, Force Support Squadron, Deputy Commander, aside from assist the Squadron Commander, are plan Dining Out, a yearly event where all cadets and cadre wear Service Dress (the fancy blues), gather for a meal, celebrate notable accomplishments of the Cadet Wing, and announce new Wing Staff for the following semester. I also have the amazing opportunity to team up with an upperclassman cadet and organize an Air Force Retirement Ceremony for a Major in our cadre. I have the privilege of gaining insight to this exciting event at a very young point in my career, which makes this opportunity THAT much cooler.

Another super cool thing I do in my position that I’ve particularly had a lot of fun with in preparation for Dining Out, is collaborating with other Professional Officer Course (POC) cadets to design the logo that will be on the Dining Out gift. I’ve got to work with a particularly talented POC cadet who I also collaborated with to help design the Spring 2020 AFROTC Detachment 157 Semester Patch.

Additionally, being an RA has been even more fun lately because I helped to organize a Tye-Dye event that will be happening shortly. I’ve attached the flyer I designed below, but essentially it’s an Area Initiative as a community builder for the residence hall I live in where we invite residents to come de-stress and get creative, and colorful!

Additionally, I recently solidified my summer plans, which was a huge stress relief and also an opportunity I anticipate to be extremely challenging and fun. I will be participating in Project GO Study Abroad in Morocco working on Arabic Year 4. More details to come on that, and I am very excited to give some future updates on my Arabic learning experience. Keep on keeping on folks. Will report back soon!

Updates & Welcome Back

Happy January everyone! I am currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida, still reminiscing on winter break, but back a few days before classes start for my RA position doing Spring Training and preparing the residence halls for students to return.

Part of this prep includes the “new year new me” philosophy and I took part by getting a well needed hair cut.

Although I do love my friends at school, I have also found myself missing being around my family tribe at home. I got to travel a little bit along the east coast over winter break going to southern Virginia to Philly to DC then back Florida.

While I was in Philadelphia I got to visit and meet a bunch of my cousins! We also celebrated my brother’s birthday by attending a Philadelphia Eagles versus the Dallas Cowboys football game at the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles ended up winning against Dallas and as you can imagine, the post game fireworks and overall atmosphere of the stadium was one of a kind. It’s fitting that I wanted the Philadelphia Eagles to win just as much as I want the Embry-Riddle Eagles to win.

Yes, there are a lot of us, and yes we took up an entire row of seats. I highly recommend going to NFL games with a large group. It was my first game and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

I am now off to finish hall decorations, make door tags, and do room inspections for my RA position. I also need to write some essays for applications for Study Abroad Programs for Summer 2020 to continue learning Arabic. Will include pictures of my hall decorations, classes I’ll be taking this semester once my schedule is finalized, and first week of school updates in my next post.

Keep on keeping on folks, happy New Year, and welcome back! Will report back soon!

Back in the Swing of Things & Spring

Happy January everyone! I am back blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida, it’s the first week of school and I can tell already that this semester is going to be a busy one. 

I started off my classes with AFROTC training on Wednesday morning, followed by my first day of class, meetings with my cadre, stopping by Ernie Central to get some paperwork approved for study abroad applications, my first RA hall tradition of the semester, and RA duty! I know that may seem like a lot for one day, but honestly that’s a typical day for me, always on the go and super busy. Along with classes I also had my first AFROTC Instructional training of the semester, and took a Fitness Diagnostic, which is an unofficial version of the Air Force’s PT test.

I appreciate being back at school because I get to come back to my room every evening and look at all my door decorations.

This year I decorated my hall with a movie theater theme. About once a month RA’s update their hall bulletin boards, this months theme was consent!

My hall bulletin board!

My Spring 2020 class schedule is now finalized and I got seats in all the classes I needed to be on track with my academic plan. I’m taking AFROTC Leadership Laboratory, AFROTC Air Force Management & Leadership, Electrical Engineering Fundamentals, Electrical Engineering Fundamentals Lab, Arabic, Solid Mechanics, and Jet Propulsion.

Will report back soon folks, hope everyone has a smooth transition getting back into the swing of things. Will report back soon!

Thanksgiving Season

It is this time of year that always gives me the extra reminder of what I am thankful for, and this year I am especially thankful for my Housing and Residence Life (HRL) family.

Staff Team Bonding


This Thanksgiving, I was on duty as a Resident Advisor (RA) for a majority of the break, meaning I cannot leave campus and must respond to calls as needed. As much as it was not pleasant to be away from my family for the holiday, everyone in HRL is amazing and truly a second family that I got to spend some time with this year.

Staff participating in seasonal activities


This Thanksgiving one of our HRL supervisors organized a Thanksgiving meal for all the RAs that were not able to go home. We had a turkey and stuffing and we all brought our favorite holiday dishes to share. It was an amazing time and reminded me how thankful I am for the people I work with and the friends I have made throughout my time on HRL staff. Thanksgiving marks about a year since I have been hired on staff and my life has changed a lot since I joined my second family. Everyone in Housing and Residence Life is always so supportive and willing to help. I have had the honor of getting to know the new professional staff members this year and they are all amazing and ready to lend a hand with any issues you could possibly have. In addition, I have made an abundance of friends that I enjoy working with every day.


Thanksgiving is a great time to remember the little things in life that we may tend to take for granted, and I am very thankful of my home away from home and all of my school mates I spend every day with. I am very thankful for this school and everything it has brought me.

I hope everyone else had an amazing Thanksgiving, too.