Home & Holidays

Happy December everyone! I’m currently blogging from Norfolk, Virginia. I’m home for the holidays and enjoying the rest and relaxation that comes along with it. I’ve spent the past couple days enjoying spending time with family, eating good food, watching the newest season of the Mandalorian on Disney +, going to Hot Yoga, and sleeping!

One of my favorite parts about being home for the holidays is spending time with family, including this Christmas pup!

I finished out the semester strong and I’m mentally preparing to take on spring classes and looking forward to summer plans! I’m currently applying to a few backup study abroad programs focused on language studies for my Arabic maintenance and improvement. Since this summer will be the last before I graduate and commission from Air Force ROTC into Active Duty Air Force, this will be my last chance to study abroad.

COVID-19 rules and regulations are paramount when considering any study abroad options and opportunities, but it can never hurt to keep your options open and apply to what interests you! I like options, so having a main plan and a few backup plans is my typical style. Since global and local conditions are ever-changing it’s hard to predict if I will actually be able to travel this summer, but if I am I will be!

I recently spent some time fishing with my dad for rockfish and it was so much fun! We left at about 3:00 am, drove 2 hours north to the dock, and stayed out on a charter boat until about 3pm with fresh fish! A very fun experience.

Fishing with my dad!

In preparation for Spring semester, I’m resting up and enjoying the break. Time to decompress is extremely important and while I am still doing some behind the scenes work for ROTC and Student Court on the break, I am definitely taking time to catch up on rest too. Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!

Transitions & Post-Semester Plans

Happy May everyone! Back again blogging from Virginia Beach, a bit of a transition from Daytona Beach. While the beaches are still closed as Virginia is on a stay at home order until June 10, the beach is currently open for exercising, fishing, and surfing, so keep checking back as I will provide updates on my latest adventures. Today is 80 degrees and sunny, I went for a 4.5 mile walk on the boardwalk when I woke up, followed by ten minutes of core exercises, 20 minutes of yoga, a 1.5 mile run, and a divine post run smoothie (truly smoothies taste better after a run, is there a science behind that? Aerospace Engineering has yet to lead me to that answer). I also had the privilege to lay in the sun today in the backyard for about an hour which was SO nice. 

The rest of my day I plan to do some more exercises and yoga, ride bikes to the market to hopefully scavenge some fresh fruits and veggies (the grocery store has been looking BARE, but I prefer local fresh produce anyway), and I will be watching either A Bug’s Life or Monsters, Inc. I haven’t decided yet. Tomorrow I have a Zoom Interview for a Student Government Association position on the Student Court as the Associate Justice, and a virtual Orientation Team meeting over Zoom to discuss new online Orientation preparation and training to best assist the incoming class of 2024’s transition to college life, which is very exciting.

I concluded the last week and the Spring 2020 semester with a Jet Propulsion exam, and Solid Mechanics final exam on the last day of finals week lasting until 9pm. I recently started my summer endeavors by having an interview over Zoom for my Arabic Language Oral Proficiency Placement Level and by submitting an essay in Arabic. Additionally, I transitioned from Northern VA staying with my sister, to Southern VA, and my current May plans include a lot of working out, social distancing, sleeping, and brushing up on some old material (grammar rules, vocabulary, and spelling will definitely be on the list of things I go over) before my summer Arabic classes begin.

A perk of being at my mom’s house is that she loves gardening and being outside when the weather is nice.

Some new plant babies!

My summer study abroad plans have been transformed into summer study domestic via online class plans, but I will still be participating in the Project Global Officer program (Project GO), available for all branches of ROTC students to apply to in order to spend a summer domestically or internationally learning a foreign language critical to national security needs as a professional development opportunity to help you better support the needs of the Department of Defense upon graduating college and commissioning.

More greenery that I will be co-habitating with for the duration of the summer.

Keep on keeping on folks. Will report back soon!

Fall & Fresh Updates

Happy September everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, the official Autumn season begins September 23 and runs until December 21, I’ve been busy lately, and I’m trying my best to not be stressed.

I’ve found myself becoming a bit overwhelmed with the constant high speed flow of life recently, so as I woke up this past Sunday morning I took a couple minutes to set intentions for the week, write my to do list, and drink water. In the midst of the chaos when I find myself getting anxious about everything I need to accomplish for the day, I have to remind myself to take a step back, breathe, reset, relax, and take it one step at a time.

On a happier note, Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year, so despite Florida not having the most stereotypical autumn experience, I still try to make the best of it. I’m on my 3rd year at Riddle and thus far I have made it to a Floridian pumpkin patch every year (typically in late fall when the weather is in the low 80s).

As I currently drink my cup of coffee with pumpkin spice almond milk creamer and do homework in my room that smells like apples from my oil diffuser, as long as I don’t go outside, it’s basically fall, right? My prize possessions are definitely my calculator, my Keurig, my laptop, and my essential oil diffuser. Which you probably already deciphered because I drink a lot of tea/coffee, do a lot of homework, and I love yoga.

My newest fall essential oils that I am obsessed with! They make my entire room smell amazing. The scents are Maple Leaf, Fall Rain, and Harvest Moon.

As I note I would like to add my supply of “fall” flavored teas is growing. A classmate asked me the other day how many cups of tea I drink a day and I really had never thought about it, but I make tea all the time and typically always have a cup with me (in my reusable to-go cup of course).

Me enjoying the mere idea of fall even though it’s hot outside.

Now that we’ve caught up, as a Professional Officer Course (POC) cadet in AFROTC this year (under-classmen are referred to as General Military Course (GMC) cadets until after they return from Field Training the summer between their sophomore and junior years) I earned the privilege of being able to have a clipboard during training to conveniently carry around my orders, other needed papers for the day, and of course pens, sharpies, and a ruler.

Everyone’s clipboard is different, and in my opinion, essentially represents you as a person. I decided to decorate the top of my clipboard, which is covered by my daily orders in training to stay professional. My clipboard also has a large letter of my flight on the back, and my name which are the visible portions when conducting leadership laboratories (LLABs) and physical training (PT). 

To provide a small amount of background on my clipboard decorations, in the backyard of my house in Virginia we have a surfboard hung on the fence that we’ve been putting stickers on for years now. The stickers are from wherever we travel, and everyone in the family puts new ones on all the time, so the next time you look at it it’s constantly changing and growing. Naturally when I got my clipboard I had been gathering some smaller stickers from my travels and wanted to adopt the same philosophy. 

The top of my AFROTC clipboard that isn’t normally visible, but makes me happy knowing that it’s there!

Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!

Spring Break 2013

Spring Break is here! This fact means a couple of things. First off, it means that my fellow classmates and I will be able to use this week off to catch up on some much needed sleep and relaxation. Neither of which I have been able to get much of these past few weeks. Spring break also means that the end is near! After we get back from break we have about five weeks before final examinations begin. We are getting close to the end and it is truly hard to believe I am also almost done with my first full year away at college.

The past weeks have been relatively uneventful; midterms came and went without too much stress. My parents were actually in town a couple weeks ago and it was really nice to be able to see them and spend time together. Highlights of the week included watching a spring training with my dad and having dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack.

spring training, baseball

Soaking up the rays while watching some baseball

The Daytona 500 came to town back in February and yes, it was crazy. This town was inundated with race fans and it looked completely different. Over 200,000 people were in attendance at that race and I happened to be one of them. I was able to score a free ticket since I had previously volunteered at the speedway, so me and a few of my buddies went to check it out. I have to say, I have never been a NASCAR fan, and I’m still not, but now I see what it’s all about. It was definitely a pretty cool experience to be there at the most prestigious race in the world.

Daytona 500, daytona international speeadway

On the sidelines at the Daytona 500

More Daytona 500 fun

Air Force ROTC is still going well. I wish I could tell you that you get used to waking up at 5:45 every other morning but it always seems to be a struggle to get out of that nice cozy bed. For our midterm evaluations we had to defend a “base” against the upperclassmen. It was actually pretty fun as each Squadron was assigned a specific task and we were able to apply what we have been learning this semester. Also, we had our Beach Run PT (physical training) a couple weeks back which is always a nice change of scenery. Watching the sunrise isn’t bad either.

Air Force, Daytona Beach

AFROTC Detachment 157 on the beach after PT

Spring break (especially in Florida) should be indicative of warmer weather and nicer days. That hasn’t necessarily been the case here in Daytona Beach up until now. Virtually ever since the spring semester began back in January, the temperatures have been well below average, with the exception of a few days that have made the mercury rise. Believe it or not, this morning was a chilly 39 degrees. However, cooler weather generally means better flying. Which I have not been doing much of recently since I have been preparing for my checkride (funny how that works right?). I have actually spent most of my time doing orals and studying, studying. There is a lot of knowledge, procedures and regulations that you have to be proficient with in order to pass your checkride (especially your Private Pilot checkride). However, I am done with my flight training and ready to go. My plan was to take it before spring break but bad weather, scheduling conflicts and a high workload in my other classes means I will have to wait until after we get back from spring break.

That’s all I’ve got for now, more to come in a week or so.

March 8, 2010

Spring is right around the corner along with Spring Break! I’m so excited and ready for a mini-break from school. My sister will be arriving later this week and even though we don’t have anything planned, I know we are going to have a good time!

 Yesterday, I filled out my wish list (Form 53) for my job in the Air Force when I commission. I had to select the top six jobs that I would prefer and I’m hoping that they will assign me my first choice—cost analysis officer. Two weeks ago, we found out which cadets got pilot, navigator, and air battle manager slots. I was so excited because many of my friends got to see their dreams come true that day! I’m not sure when I find out my job, but I think it’s towards the end of April.

This past Tuesday and Wednesday I had tests in my graduate classes. I think I did really well on both of them! My Insurance test was more of a final and covered thirteen chapters of information. I thought my head was going to explode with all of the knowledge that I needed to have memorized. The next portion of the class is going to be Law and I think it will be just as interesting as the Insurance Portion. All my classes are going well and I feel like this semester is going by really fast—only 62 days till graduation! Speaking of graduation, I ordered my cap and gown the other day along with my announcements. I’m getting very excited!

 One exciting thing that I got to do this past weekend was travel to Orlando for the Women in Aviation Conference. A College of Business Industry Advisory Board member that works for Air Tran was willing to sponsor two senior students and I was lucky enough to be chosen. I’ve been a member of Women in Aviation for several years, but I had never been to the annual conference. My favorite part of the day was getting to meet and talk to two former WASPs. I feel like after attending, my passion for aviation has been rejuvenated! One piece of advice that I would like to offer future students is join professional organizations because they are a great way to network and stay up to date on what is happening in the industry.

Next entry, I’ll let you know about my adventures over Spring Break and a heads up on what will be happening the rest of the semester! Good luck with school and remember spring is not that far away!

Until next time,
Kaleigh

September 7, 2009

Hello and welcome back! As some of you may know, my name is Kaleigh Sides and this is my third year at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I have had the pleasure of writing a journal since my freshman year! You can take a look in the archives to read my past entries.

Let me tell you a little about myself: I’m a senior majoring in Aviation Business Administration with a concentration in General Management, I’m in Air Force ROTC and will commission in May 2011, and I hope to start working on my MBA next semester. I enjoy going to school at Embry-Riddle and the weather is an added bonus! I’m from Sidney, Illinois where snow at Halloween is not a surprise, Florida weather is nice and, if you ever get too warm you can go jump in a swimming pool or the ocean!

The summer seemed to fly by for me! I went back home to Illinois for the first two months and worked at a local ice cream shop, and then I headed to Maxwell Air Force Base on July 4th for Field Training. In order to commission into the United States Air Force, ROTC cadets must complete Field Training between their sophomore and junior years. I spent 28 days with cadets from around the nation developing and enhancing my leadership skills, learning what happens in a deployed environment, and how to be an effective team player. The whole experience was fascinating and something that I had been looking forward to accomplishing. After Field Training, I had two weeks left of summer and spent my time working and getting ready to come back to Daytona.

I was excited to come back to school and see all my friends again! This semester has been another full of firsts: my first time having my Jeep in Florida, my first apartment, and my first time living by myself. A car is not necessary to have when coming to Embry-Riddle and my freshman year I walked all over the place with my friends. My sophomore year I got a scooter and was able to go a little bit further from campus. So far I have enjoyed having my own car because it’s nice to not have to ask people for rides or have to plan around the weather when I want to go somewhere. Right now, I’m living in a studio apartment about 5 minutes from campus. I like the fact that it’s close enough to go back if I have a break between classes, but far enough to not be on campus all day, every day. After having roommates for two years, I decided that I would like to live by myself and so far I’m enjoying it!

This semester I’m taking 18 credits which equals out to be 6 classes. Since I’m in my senior year, I’m just taking business classes and I’m enjoying all of them. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I have Aviation Labor Relations and Professional Selling. My Aviation Labor Relations class is not just textbook work, but also a simulation where the class has become a company and labor unions may or may not become part of the company and every student has a role. I decided to take Professional Selling because I wanted to work on my public speaking and I heard this class gives you multiple opportunities to do so. Currently, we are making business cards and working on a 30-second commercial to sell ourselves to prospective employers. Also, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning I have Air Force Physical Training (PT) or Lead Lab (we learn about the Air Force). Tuesday and Thursday are my busy days where I have class from 8:15 to 2:00. My morning starts off with Air Force class where we are learning about leadership and what it means to be an officer. Then, I head over to the College of Business where I have Strategic Management, Aviation Insurance, and Management of the Multicultural Workforce. After class, I usually feel a little overwhelmed with all the information that I just received. In order to take all the classes that I wanted to, I had to make my schedule this way; however, I sort of like it because I have the afternoons free. I’ll keep you posted on the interesting things happening in class!

This year I also got a job working at the Embry-Riddle kiosk located in the Daytona Beach Airport. I work three times a week and answer people’s questions about Embry-Riddle or the arriving flights. I love being busy and I think with all that I’m doing this year graduation day will be here before I know it! Since many of my friends are graduating also, I’m trying to spend time doing fun things with them. This weekend I went to a comedy show in Orlando, rode on one of my friend’s motorcycle (kind of scary!), played poker for the first time and came in second place, and went bowling. Next weekend I will be in Washington D.C.—I’ll tell you more about that in the next journal entry!

Until next time,

Kaleigh

March 22, 2009

Spring Break was wonderful and now I feel refreshed and ready to finish out the semester with a bang. In fact, I felt so revived that I stopped procrastinating on my Business Law paper and actually started it. The amazing thing is I finished it too, so now I have that out of the way! As you know already, my sister came to visit me for Spring Break and we had a good time. She even got to go to some of my classes with me and I’ll let her tell you about her experience…

Hello! I am Kaleigh’s sister, Katelyn, and I visited during her spring break. Kaleigh told me that the ERAU campus was small, but I was still surprised at how small it actually is. I think that there are many benefits to a campus of that size. For one, you are close to all of the buildings and would be able to get to class on time very easily. I went to two of my sister’s classes with her. International Business was interesting and the class size was small. The teacher knew everyone by name and most everyone participated in the class discussion. Since it was Friday, Kaleigh was dressed in her Air Force uniform and I got to watch her being inspected. She had to stand at attention while other cadets looked over her uniform and her shoes. She passed inspection. I am glad I was able to sit in on her Air Force class. Five cadets gave a briefing on planes and the history of the Gulf War. It was a really professional type of class and atmosphere.

Of course, we also went to the beach while I was in Daytona. It was really pretty, but there were a lot of seagulls. We went to Daytona Lagoon and raced go-carts, played miniature golf, and laser tag. I got to sample chocolate at Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory on Beach Street. One of Kaleigh’s friends took us out on his boat on the Intercoastal Waterway. We walked on the boardwalk and went shopping, I discovered a store I really like called Maui Nix. My sister and I love ice cream and we visited Ritter’s Custard and the Dairy Bar. The flea market was huge and had about everything a person could even think about buying.

Overall, I was very impressed with the Daytona Beach Campus. I told my sister I would love going to a school where it was warm and palm trees surrounded me. She does not realize how lucky she is! Everyone I met on campus was really friendly too. I am so glad I was finally able to go and visit my sister!

I really enjoyed having my sister come and visit me! I’m looking forward to the end of the semester when she is going to come back because there are several things we didn’t get to do. Next time, she is going to go to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and we are going to play miniature golf at a place called Pirate’s Cove. She really liked the campus and the fact that there are palm trees everywhere!

I was telling you in my last journal entry how the week before Spring Break was Operation Bottoms Up (OBU) Week. Well, my job as Operations Support Squadron Commander kept me pretty busy and I enjoyed the learning experience. My primary job was to execute Lead Lab on Wednesday morning and I was so happy that it went well and everything went according to schedule. Now, I just have a couple weeks left of Field Training Preparation. One big event that is coming up is the QFR (Qualifying Fitness Review) it’s basically another PT test, but the scores follow you to Field Training. I went running everyday over Spring Break with my sister and I plan on continuing that, so hopefully my run time will be really good.

I hope everyone is looking forward to the rest of the school year and summer! I know I sure am. If you have any questions, send me an e-mail. Be sure to take a look at the pictures I posted!

Until next time,
Kaleigh