New Semester, New Year, New Launches!

And new alligator scares!

It’s officially been over one week since the new semester started here at Embry-Riddle. Since I came back early for orientation week (or, well, the two days of spring orientation) I had a little time to relax. Spring orientation is much shorter than fall orientation, but it’s still super fun! We still did the same things as fall orientation- for example, I was in this TikTok.

After orientation week wrapped up on Tuesday night, classes began Wednesday morning. I like my new classes; they’re definitely a little more challenging, but all of my professors seem eager to help. It is literal rocket science, after all!

On Thursday, there was the first launch of the semester. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to watch it up close; instead, one of my friends and I watched it from the Starbucks balcony. It was a little small and hard to see very well, but a crowd of people had gathered to watch it anyway.

Over the long weekend, I mostly hung out with my friends. I did have the opportunity to play Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. I played on Chris’ computer while he told me where to fly; he’s a pilot and we both enjoyed watching me try and fly around the California coast.

Carly Goes to Flight School… and maybe stays a flight student?

It was very fun- I can see how people spend hours playing flight sim. The aircraft in the picture is an Airbus A320, but in reality, Southwest Airlines’ fleet consists of 737s. That picture has annoyed a few of my aviation-loving friends, but for some reason, the game had the Southwest livery (aka the paint job) on the A320.

And, you know, for someone who hasn’t touched the controls of a real or simulated aircraft since September 2020, I think I did pretty well. I flared a little too much and landed a little too hard, but I got the plane on the ground. To quote Chris: “The gear may have collapsed but I’m pretty confident everyone would have walked away.”

So, good for me, I successfully landed a plane (in Flight Simulator) by myself.

I also ended up watching a Delta flight land as the sun was beginning to set. Since I was on campus anyway, I checked the flight schedule and decided to watch the flight come in. I happened to take the picture right as the wheels hit the ground.

Delta flight on touchdown!

I’d planned to watch the flight from the roof of the aviation maintenance science (AMS) building, but the building was unfortunately locked. I ended up going to the flight operations observation deck, which has tinted windows. It was really nice- the sun was setting in the west, and sometimes it was a little hard to see the runway.

In other aerospace-related news, there was a launch on Tuesday night. Classes had resumed, but the launch was scheduled for 7:04 PM, which is a nice time. It was originally planned to be Monday night, but Tuesday had more favorable weather, so it was moved.

As always, I wanted to go, and I went down with a couple of my friends. Just as we got to our launch-viewing spot, we found a tweet from SpaceX postponing the launch by about two hours to 9:02 PM. That was kind of unfortunate since I have a 9 AM class, but we had already made the trip and decided to stay in the area.

And let me just say one thing about launches: no matter how many you watch, they are so worth it.

Airplanes in the night sky like shooting stars? More like rocket launches!

Unfortunately, none of my friends had learned from last month. Even though I thought it was cold outside, I stepped outside to watch the launch and hear the rocket rumble. Unfortunately, we were in the alligator spot, and the alligators were not asleep this time.

The alligator growling was a little louder and lasted a little longer. I was the first one back in the car; I did NOT want to take my chances with a mad reptile. I sat in the car while the rest of the group listened to the alligators growling (thankfully, I didn’t see any of them!), and we eventually left the launch viewing site without any more alligator incidents.

After that, Wednesday was a normal day, and my week has continued on. It’s been a pretty good week so far. In addition to my classes, I’ve also become a teaching assistant, or TA, for the EGR 115 Introduction to Computing for Engineers class. The professor that I TA for is one of my favorites on campus- I had her last year in Spring 2021 for the same class.

Looking to the future, Family Weekend is in two weeks, which will be exciting. I’ve already met a few of my friends’ families, and I think I’ll be meeting a few others’ families as well. But as for now, I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!

Return to Riddle

Never in my life will I take Florida weather for granted again…

So, as of Saturday, January 8, I am back at Embry-Riddle! Even though meal plans don’t start until Monday, January 10, I arrived early since I’m on the Orientation Team and working spring orientation.

For me, winter break was pretty fun. I didn’t have a job since my family took a week-long destination Christmas to Santa Rosa Beach, Florida on the Gulf Coast. We were with some of our other family members, who were from California, and I had a lot of fun. Our rental house was on the beach and a short walk away from a shopping center.

I didn’t end up swimming in the Gulf- it was a little too cold for that. My mom and little sister ended up swimming, but I mostly enjoyed the sun, sand, and shops. We ended up going over to a boardwalk once, where I did a high ropes course which was super fun. I completed the first level before discovering that I did not love heights.

My home airport is Lexington, Kentucky (LEX) and I was flying Delta back, so I connected through Atlanta. On the way from Lexington to Atlanta, the aircraft being used was a 717, and I ended up snagging seat 20B- an aisle seat with no seat next to the window. So, I had a row to myself.

Seat 20B on the 717.

It was pretty cool to have- and I didn’t have to pay extra for it! It was only about an hour of flight time, which was good since I couldn’t exactly lean my head on the window. The flight from Lexington to Atlanta was pretty full and definitely a climate shock. Atlanta was chilly, yes, but not freezing cold. And there was no snow in Atlanta- on Thursday, Kentucky got a massive snowstorm.

As usual, the Atlanta airport was busy. I ended up grabbing a Starbucks (I have a new drink order: the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew!) before heading over to my next gate. The flight to Daytona had a ten-minute delay, which wasn’t too bad.

I really like flying into the Daytona Beach airport. First, it’s super small; the longest TSA wait I’ve ever had wasn’t longer than five minutes. There are only one to two flights leaving at the same time, so it doesn’t take as long. The airport itself is small, so it’s perfect for those who aren’t very comfortable in an airport alone. Plus, it’s a short drive from campus with little holiday traffic.

Flying in over Daytona!

A friend picked me up from the airport and delivered me back to O’Connor. From there, I unpacked and made a quick Walmart run to stock up on things my dorm needed for the upcoming semester. I’m super excited for the upcoming semester, too!

See you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!

Spring Semester & Scheduling

Happy January everyone! I am currently blogging from Fairbanks, Alaska where I spent my winter break resting and relaxing in the snow! I am about to start traveling back to Daytona Beach and I had such a good break I miss my family already! My only complaint is that it was too short. 

One of my favorite memories from winter break – snow shoeing with my favorite person!

I have exciting news! I am about to begin my last semester of my undergraduate education, I graduate in May! I am so excited after 5 years of working towards my B.S. in Aerospace Engineering to be so close to having my degree and starting a new chapter of my life. As always, this semester will be a busy one but I am excited for all the growth to come. I have big plans for staying busy and going full speed ahead, with rest of course, until graduation. 

Current academic progress one semester away from graduation!

At the start of every semester to help plan and best organize my busy times I create a schedule! I suggest utilizing your class schedule as a base to start building off of. From there I add in my commitments in order of priority, including ROTC obligations, RA duty and meetings, Peer Mentor work for UNIV 101, scheduling in my work hours for my job at the Eagle Flight Research Center, and of course all other obligations besides work. For me, this includes time to do homework, study, do yoga, eat breakfast/lunch/dinner, and a workout schedule for when I will be at the gym in fitness classes, doing cardio outside, working out in my room, or resting. This semester one of my goals is to be more mindful and take more time for myself by scheduling in walks at least once (but hopefully more) every week. Taking walks is nice because it also allows for time to catch up listening to some of my favorite podcasts!

This semester I also have a goal to get more sleep. I typically go to bed very early on days when I don’t have RA obligations such as staff meetings, which are scheduled late in the evenings to ensure all RAs are out of class, which keeps me awake past my usual bedtime. Another RA responsibility that concludes late in the night is RA duty, which requires staff members to perform building rounds, answer phone calls for lock outs, and sit at their residence hall lobby desk. Typically RAs have duty one weekday every two weeks, in addition to about 11 weekend duty days spread across a semester. RA duty days are assigned at the beginning of each semester based off of responsibilities like class schedules, ROTC, and labs or flight blocks.

I have come to realize I function best on a lot of sleep, especially when I’m busy with classes and working out regularly. Thus, when I wake up early for ROTC obligations like PT or LLAB, I try to go to bed as early as possible.

I am exciting to make my life schedule for this upcoming semester and look forward to having everything planned to set myself up for success. Good luck this semester, will report back soon folks!

Final Week & Finals Tips

Happy December everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, FL and we are one week away from finals! With only one week left in the semester the current atmosphere on campus is busy and stressed. My schedule for this week includes deadlines for reports, presentations, final projects, and tests from Monday-Thursday. Friday is Study Day meaning no classes before exams begin Saturday December 11. Finals end this semester on Wednesday December 15. For more information the Academic Calendar can be found here, and the Fall 2021 Final Exam schedule can be found here on page 5 of the Registration Guidelines and Important Information document.

The end of the semester can be stressful, especially with all classes seemly scheduling deadlines during the same time before finals, but truly we’re so close to break! In less than two weeks the semester and final exams will have concluded and I am so excited to relax over the holiday before the Spring 2022 semester begins. Yesterday I spent about 7 hours in the library working on a final project for my preliminary aircraft design class and this past week has had the same (and more) amount of rigorous work on projects for different classes as well.

The best advice I have for college students experiencing “the grind” portion of the end of the semester is to remember that this short couple weeks is only temporary and you will get a break soon. Theres no way getting around having classes schedule exams and other due dates so close together, and it seems that every semester the last week brings a similar atmosphere and work load. To get through it we must go through it. Personally, I don’t necessarily agree with the concept of all nighters to finish work, but I do have a lot of late nights and early mornings. As someone who extensively plans ahead, during the last week of a semester there never seems to be enough time in a day.

Beautiful Florida sunrise on campus!

My best advice for getting through finals is to take care of yourself as much as possible. Drinking water and getting enough sleep are both extremely important! These tips for success sound simple, but when classes are extremely rigorous and demanding, sometimes the simplest acts of self care really make all the difference!

One of my favorite Florida sunsets on campus the other evening!

Other keys to success are snacks, coffee or your caffeine of choice, and decompressing after long days! During especially stressful times I make sure to prioritize a balance of working out and resting. Most of my recent days have been filled with hours of continuous work and studying for my classes, which unfortunately means a lot of sitting (something that I personally find very difficult and boring to do for hours). Thus, its important to take breaks to walk around, stretch, and schedule time to workout. I find that after a productive school work day, usually my mind is exhausted but my body hasn’t really moved all day. To alleviate this I will either go for a run, go to the gym, or do a yoga or workout video on YouTube. I feel better when I get to move my body, which in turn helps me focus more and think more clearly when working on assignments or studying. I also use working out as motivation to stay more focused while I work! Self care is extremely important, especially when the semester is busy. Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!