Recharging & Responsibilities

Happy October folks! I’m classically blogging from Daytona Beach, currently camped out at the ROTC building on a Sunday afternoon doing homework. Fall break was this past week and it was definitely well needed. I stayed local for the break hitting up coffee shops, catching up on sleep, and doing large quantities of homework.

As midterm time is among us, I had most of my tests before fall break, but midterms also mean RA deadlines! This means new hall door decorations, new bulletin boards, and more biweekly hall traditions! This also means time for the Fitness Assessment in AFROTC which consists of one minute of push-ups, one minute of sit-ups, and a 1.5 mile run for time.

At a local coffee shop close to campus drinking lavender chamomile tea and doing incompressible aerodynamics homework.

Something surprising that I realized over the break was… that I miss my friends! I know, this may not seem like an out of ordinary thing, but I almost don’t realize how inter-connected my everyday life is with the people around me. Now, if we zoom out a bit and look at the big picture four days is not a lot of time, but when you consider that I see my friends multiple times a day in different settings it feels off when they’re not around.

To put it in perspective: I wake up early and go to PT or to Leadership Laboratory (LLAB) with my AFROTC family, go to class until about 2pm, usually find myself back at the ROTC building a few more times for various meetings, paperwork, or presentations, then I workout with my ROTC friends, typically have an RA duty shift in the evenings or a staff meeting, then I go to sleep and copy paste and repeat Monday-Friday. 

I tend to not view myself as a very social person, because of how much I value my alone time to rest and recharge by doing yoga, meditating, or sleeping, but in reality I spend the majority of my days being social. The main point I’m getting out of this, is that I’m pretty much an introverted extrovert. Once I’m recharged after a day or two I thrive in the busy hustle of everyday life hopping between my friends from AFROTC, O team, RA, classes, etc.

Before the break I had a math test, a compressible aerodynamics test, and an incompressible test, a technical report document due, in addition to arabic homework and other meetings, presentations, and responsibilities. When I study, unless I’m doing practice problems in a group, I typically prefer to be in my room or reserve a study room in the library.

But in particular, when studying for my compressible aerodynamics test recently I found myself outgrowing my desk with my spread of papers so I migrated to my floor to go over material. After a few hours when I finished I got up and realized that my creative learning process may be a little unconventional, but it works… 

My post studying floor space before my compressible aerodynamics test.

I hope everyone bounces back to find your post Fall Break groove and keep pushing until Thanksgiving Break and finals. Will report back soon. Keep on keeping on!

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! 

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!

Balance & Blessings

Happy February everyone! This month is coming to an end and there’s a lot of exciting things in the works just around the corner. 

For AFROTC cadets in their AS200 year everyone seems to be holding their breath until Enrollment Allocations for Field Training this summer are released. Midterms are just around the corner, and preparation for projects and presentations are in full swing, with lots of quizzes and homework sprinkled in between. Am I stressed? Yes, but I am also extremely grateful to be in the situation I am in and I am genuinely enjoying the ride.

It is so easy to get caught up in the to-do lists and the responsibilities, but once you find a balance and ride the flow of everything, it’s almost beautiful how time management works. Now folks, you may be reading this and think I’ve cracked the code, but I’m still tired all the time, so its definitely a process. I would say the things that keep me the most sane are my friends, making time for myself to workout, do yoga, just breathe, getting packages from my family, phone calls with my grandma, facetiming my mom, texting my sister… not to mention a countdown to spring break, mini countdowns until the weekend each week, and keeping tea and an emergency stash of dark chocolate as my go-to when homework and studying keeps me up late at night.

Some of my friends and I after a sandbag beach PT!

I recently got news that I was rehired for my Resident Advisor position for the 2019-2020 school year and have the privilege of staying in my same building!

In other news, my flight from AFROTC had a bonfire on Friday night that was really great. You would be surprised that the people you see and interact with in training everyday are so multidimensional. Getting to know them on a personal level outside of only seeing each other in stressful situations is really an eye opening experience. You hear everyone talk about how getting to know your people is extremely important for a well functioning team, but until you actually make an effort to do so, it doesn’t resonate how truly important this is.

And now for a few facts to help you get to know me better:

I spent yesterday in the beautiful partly cloudy 85 degree February Florida weather volunteering with AFROTC at a Track Meet with some of best friends.

I love Kodiak cakes pancakes, and making pancakes, with fresh maple syrup and some sort of nut butter spread on them. Breakfast is my favorite meal hands down, and sometimes when I’m having a bad day I most certainly eat breakfast for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The freedom in college is nice like that.

My new “thing” is smiling at strangers in passing when walking to class, because although everyone complains, it’s truly a good life and we’re lucky to be here.

I usually end my days with yoga and a cup of tea before bed.

Sometimes when I’m stressed I look up pictures of Romanesco Broccoli, which actually isn’t a broccoli, it’s a cousin of the cauliflower, which follows an infinite Fibonacci Fractal sequence. I discovered this vegetable’s existence last year in Paris with my sister and have been fascinated ever since. Nature is so beautiful.

Romanesco Broccoli per an ad to purchase this “broccoli” on Amazon. It’s wild looking, right?!

Will report back soon. As always, I am writing to you on a Sunday morning with a cup of tea and pancakes, I have a meeting in an hour, along with some homework I need to tend to. Until next time, enjoy the journey friends!

RA Life, AFROTC, & Rest

Happy December everyone! Finals are over!!! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, but in a few hours I’ll be in Orlando departing from MCO, then I’ll be heading back home to Norfolk, Virginia. 

Just a brief recap of fall 2018 before the new year and spring semester begins: This has single-handedly been the most challenging semester of my life, but I passed all of my finals and my classes, friends, so thank you so much for the support. Key shout-outs here go to the boxing girls and my best friend Obie wan.

Many students have already left Daytona, but RAs are the last ones to leave (as well as the first ones back) as we do health and safety inspections and have to check all the rooms to prepare our residence halls for shutting down and for opening back up to residents. Fret not though, this process only takes a few days and after that is freedom. 

I am so excited to be able to relax over break. I’m sure it will be filled with all the things I love and only get to have sparingly while I’m in college, including but not limited to: lots of working out, home cooked meals with fresh vegetables, yoga (YESSS), seeing my best friend home from college, living walkable distance from the beach, my dog Kita, and also my family. I may read a book for leisure, shocking I know, as well as listen to lots of music. I also will be sleeping in glutenous amounts and will be going to all my favorite local coffee shops. Taking a break every once in a while is so well needed and deserved for both students, professors, and faculty. Everyone has been working so hard since August, we all really deserve this chance to reset, relax, and recharge before the spring.

Next semester in AFROTC will be Field Training Preparation which is extremely exciting as well because after that comes Field Training during the summer, which is one step closer to commissioning and graduation. Field Training in a nut shell is essentially a 15 day “boot camp” which is very strenuous and is a required step to complete before GMC (General Military Course) underclassman become POC (Professional Officer Course) upperclassman in fall 2019. Over Thanksgiving my early Christmas present was new running shoes and, although I feel I’ve broken them in, as soon as next semester hits I will probably rethink that.  

Some of my family from AFROTC and me after our final Pass in Review ceremony of the semester

Also here’s a picture from when I contracted around this time last year and swore into the United States Air Force, which if I haven’t mentioned before, was an absolutely amazing experience and I 10/10 recommend.

But for now, we are in break and de-stress mode and I will continue to get through the holidays with an open mind, lots of exercising and stretching, and good food. I miss cooking so much, but one thing I do not miss though is the cold weather. Perhaps I’ll have a white Christmas in Virginia? I do prefer the moderate climates a bit more though, as per expected with the majority of my year spent in Florida and other hot places.

For everyone traveling this holiday season, or even just driving a few minutes away, remember to de-stress and relax over break and state safe. Will report back soon! Happy holidays and almost happy new year!

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!

Day to Day

Hello everyone!

I wanted to discuss a bit about what the average day looks like on campus. I know for me,  before coming to school I was very curious about what college is really like. So I decided I would speak a little on my schedule to help out those other curious people like me.

At Riddle we have an alternating schedule of fifty minute Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes and one-and-half hour Tuesday/Thursday classes. Every once in a while a class, typically a lab, will be offered in a three hour time block on one day of the week. For example, I had my airport management class from 5:15-8:00 pm every Thursday.

I normally schedule my classes back to back and earlier in the day. This means I get up and get classes done. Others prefer breaks so they can do homework, socialize, or get lunch in between. And one of the best parts of college is being able to choose classes that start later – sleeping in is truly the best! I also prefer the shorter classes, but I now choose to only have two on Monday/Wednesday/Friday and three on Tuesday/Thursday. This just seems to make the weeks go by faster in my opinion!

In class I usually bring a snack and a drink. I live off caffeine so the baristas at Starbucks and I are on very good terms. I also take notes on my laptop, but it’s all up to your professor. Some classes you’re in a lab with a computer provided and other times you have a professor who prefers no electronics. To me, classes feel very similar to high school. The sizes are small and the professors truly get to know you!

After class I head to work or to grab lunch. I usually find myself back in my room studying or in a lounge in the dorms. Resident Advisers (RAs) do contact hours where we are required to be available to our residents. I do mine after class. Also for this job, I have duty Wednesday nights. Duty is when RAs sit at the dorm’s front desk and walk around the building periodically. We are here to solve any problems in the dorms and be of help to all! On Monday and Wednesday I work as a Student Assistant in the Office of Development, which is basically fundraising for the university.

Homework-wise, because I know everyone is wondering, it seems as an Aviation Business major I have about a couple hours each night. This of course varies. I try to get a lot done on the weekends because after a day of classes, work, then clubs… I’m exhausted! There are jobs on campus where you can do homework during your shift and RA is definitely one. Some nights I will have nothing but others I feel very busy. It’s all about time management. The best advice I ever heard for college was to treat it like a 9-5 job. That means if you get out of class at 1 pm, sit and knock out your homework until 5 pm. When you get caught up in Netflix bingeing, it gets hard to get motivated again. It’s better to take that focus you had during class and burn through it in one sitting. Again, the amount of homework all just depends on your major, class, and professor.

Around 5:00 pm is when all the clubs get started. The campus is still bustling with involved students this late in the evening! I do have clubs that meet at 9:00 pm but those meeting are typically an hour. That was the weirdest part of transitioning from high school to college, seeing everyone out late studying and going to meetings! I love coming back to my room after a busy day and relaxing or even being super productive and cranking out homework. I live in the new dorms and they are very nice and a quick walk to and from classes!

Overall this is a rough outline of my schedule:

(Notice: your schedule will change every week and no day will be the same but you will always have time to relax and have fun!)

Weekends are genuinely open for me to do homework or spend time with friends. While campus is a little emptier on the weekends, there is still a lot going on. Many times I am invited to volunteer opportunities or events with the clubs I am involved in!

Curious about how this schedule actually plays out? Preview Day is coming soon and is a day where you get to experience college classes and learn about the clubs and activities on campus! Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 7, 2018, 8 a.m.– 4 p.m.!

Maybe see you then?!

– Maddie

Springing into the Semester & Meet Maddie!

Happy spring semester all!

I would like to begin my first blog by introducing myself! I am from Castle Rock, Colorado (in-between Denver and Colorado Springs) and a sophomore studying Aviation Business here at Riddle! My passion in life is traveling, hence why this is the perfect school for me! On campus I am in the Honors program, an RA (Resident Advisor) in the New Residence Hall for the Honors Living and Learning Community, Associate Justice on the Student Government Student Court, secretary for Women in Aviation, ambassador for Women Ambassadors, a Business Eagles member, student assistant in the Office of Development, ambassador for the Orientation Team, a sister in the sorority Theta Phi Alpha, and now, a student blogger! Needless to say, I keep busy on campus!

With all this involvement comes a lot of time management practice. This time of year we are all rebooting since our schedules have changed so much! The past few weekends I have spent in training or at retreats. I love that the activities you partake in during college are mainly student-run. All organizations must have an advisor, but the students run the show! During RA training all meals are catered, so a lot of good food (even though you have to come back a week early from break)! Since RAs are meant to be a resource for students, we do a fall and spring training to keep the most up-to-date and as reliable as possible. The Student Government Association and my sorority also held retreats. Good food is provided here too, of course!

One of my favorite things about being on campus is all the activities that we have! Clubs range from skydiving — to the Microgravity Club that is currently working on a project with NASA! There is truly an activity for everyone to get involved with. Not only does this help your resume, but it’s a great way to make friends and take a break from school. Not sure what clubs to join? There is an Activities Fair in both the fall and spring where the campus is teeming with students checking out what all clubs have to offer!

While the activities are fun and all, classes have also begun. It is always a little nerve-racking to start again, but our professors are so interesting! One of my professors is an attorney and another was in airline marketing before changing over to teaching! I have learned lots about long-haul low-cost airlines and alliance codeshares in the past week. Learning things like this make going to my 8 am a lot easier!

I hope everyone is starting their semesters off strong!

– Maddie

Theta Phi Alpha

Women Ambassador

Orientation Team

Business Eagles at a Southwest Camp

Women in Aviation Tour

Women in Aviation Conference