When you have an internship in the Summer, it usually starts soon after your Spring semester classes end. However, the time in between these things is often forgotten even though, at least in my opinion from my own experiences, it is very important.
This year I took about 2.5 weeks “off” between these things. Many things happened during this time including packing up my dorm, moving out of my dorm, putting boxes at home, unpacking some, repacking suitcases for the Summer, remotely finishing up some research work, and then visiting some family for 10 days in Hawaii and California.
During previous Summers, my “in-between” time consisted of around 24-48 hours to pack, unpack, and move around before work. Not only was this a bit stressful, but I also found it incredibly useful to take a break between school and internship work. As a ‘rocket nerd,’ I love my school work and internship work but quickly figured out that lack of breaks (even tiny ones) can lead up to a larger feeling of burnout at a later point. Having the time to move out, pack/unpack things, and spend time with friends/family can give a certain part of your brain a relaxing time to focus on different types of things which will actually help you better function at work and look forward to the next semester even more. It is also nice to have at least a day or two when you move into your internship home to get settled in, organize, buy groceries, and more so that after work you can work on other things, call family/friends, participate in hobbies, socialize, or even just relax after a productive day.
Overall, this “in-between” time, although often overlooked, is essential to success in your life and career. It should be cherished and planned out well. This Summer is the first one in which I truly did this, and I can already see how much it has helped. I’ll leave you all with some pretty pictures from my family travels during my own “in-between” time and next time start to go into more about my internship! Happy Summer and safe travels!!
I don’t know about you, but my summer went pretty well! I spent most of it in the Denver, Colorado area, working as a Systems Engineering Intern for Sierra Nevada Corporation. The internship was super cool and it’s an excellent way for me to make my first step into the aerospace industry, and I am grateful to everyone who helped me along the way. (If you’re interested in how I got to SNC- it’s here!)
I liked the flexibility I had on the job. I worked 40 hours per week, but the hours were flexible within a reasonable time period- some people liked to start their day at 7 AM while others preferred to start around 8 or 8:30. Some people took lunch breaks; others worked while they ate lunch. In addition, it was completely different from the retail jobs I’ve had no one was walking around the intern room making sure that we were on task. We were treated like responsible adults.
I learned a lot over the three months I was there, and I made some new friends! However, Denver is no Daytona Beach- it snowed on the second Friday in a freak snowstorm. I mostly stayed inside that weekend, since my roommate had just moved in. But the week after was Memorial Day weekend, so I had a three-day weekend.
A few of the other interns and I decided that we’d want to go hiking. It sounded fun to me- the trail was about four miles round-trip, and it was only an hour and a half away from my Airbnb.
Unfortunately, we ran into some snow and I had not yet bought proper hiking boots, so I ended up sliding down a small snowbank in my leggings and horrible hiking shoes. I didn’t end up making it to the top because of the snow- the hike was at a pretty high elevation, and my flats were not doing very well. I still found the hike worthwhile, I got to get to know my fellow interns and enjoy a walk through nature.
Over the summer I only ended up doing one other hike, this time at Red Rocks trail. By then I had adequate hiking shoes, and that hike was also during the heat of the summer. The view was breathtaking, but we had to leave after a few minutes since we heard thunder. Throughout the summer, the other interns did a lot of hikes, including a 14,000-foot mountain. That, to me, is dedication.
What else did I do? Whatever else I wanted.
For a lot of the summer, I mostly hung out around my Airbnb. I had a roommate, who I met online, and the Airbnb was fully furnished and came with dishes and utensils. It was perfect for a summer internship- it even came with a dog! We lived in a family’s basement, and it was great since they had anything we needed (such as a rice cooker), so I didn’t need to buy plastic utensils for the summer or worry about finding a three-month apartment lease.
Like a full-time employee, I was free to do whatever I wanted on my days off. For example. over the Fourth of July weekend, I ended up visiting one of my friends in Santa Barbara on a direct flight from Denver. I flew out on a Friday evening and came back on Monday, which we had off since it was the Fourth of July.
While on that visit, we ended up driving to Solvang and Buellton, which are both in the valley. Buellton is known for Ostrichland, USA, where tourists can feed a bunch of ostriches and emus. I’d never really seen an ostrich up close, but once I did, I realized just how huge they are. I know they’re flightless birds, but I hope I never see an ostrich run after me.
I also attended two Rockies games with my friends! I’m not a huge sports fan, but in my opinion, baseball games are a good place to hang out. Yes, people can actually watch the game, but people who aren’t as into the spot can walk around the stadium and explore. The Rockies stadium had three levels, and the view from the top one was breathtaking. I even spotted a few flights.
Near the end of the summer, I ended up visiting the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, which is an hour south of the Denver area. The zoo is quite literally built on a mountain, but I think it was a better choice than the Denver zoo since you get to interact with the animals a little more. I fed giraffes, watched wallabies freely run around the Australia exhibit, and saw plenty of big cats lying in the sun. It was a great experience, and I was glad I got the chance to experience it.
I loved my time in Denver with Sierra Nevada Corporation and am extremely thankful to everyone who helped me along the way. I highly recommend getting an internship. Not only does it give you the chance to experience the real engineering world, but it also gives you a chance to see what you’re doing with your degree. I’ll be honest, in some of my classes, I felt like some of the example problems weren’t directly related to my future career. However, I see how the concepts are applied to the real engineering world, even if not in my area of interning. For example, my roommate was a structural engineering intern, and the concepts I learned in solid mechanics applied to her internship. Talking to other interns was a good way to get to know everyone and learn about what disciplines would be for me.
While I miss SNC, it feels good to be home at Embry-Riddle. Classes have just started, and I’m excited to see what I’ll learn this semester. I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!
It’s been a pretty interesting month (and a little bit!) after the school year ended. Although I did go home for about a week, most of my summer has been spent in Denver, Colorado, working for Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) as a Systems Engineering Intern!
I’ve already had a lot of fun and am grateful for the opportunity. I interviewed for the internship in late October 2021 and got a call from the recruiter a couple of days later. I was ecstatic- I’d missed the initial call, but the recruiter had left a voicemail, and I immediately called her back. I signed the offer letter a few days later, committing to a summer at SNC in the Denver area.
Now, the part a lot of people have asked me is- how did you get there? To be honest, it was a long road getting from there to here. I applied for 118 internships before I received an offer.
The search for a summer internship started in the summer of 2021 before I even came back to ERAU. I applied for every aerospace-related internship that I could find, regardless of its focus on aircraft or rockets. Over the summer, I also planned on attending the Society of Women Engineers’ annual conference. In my spare time, I networked as much as I could.
The real work started during the school year. I continuously asked for résumé reviews and attended free SWE mentoring sessions. The sessions were free since I am a member of SWE, and several times throughout the year, I had sessions with various industry professionals. The mentor network allows you to filter through mentors so you can find someone to talk to who has a job you’re interested in. In my sessions, I asked for a résumé review, about their careers, and about the companies they worked for.
I continued to network and attended the annual ERAU career fair, where I gave my résumé to various recruiters at various companies. It was actually really fun- I got to know about people and the companies that they worked for. This way, I could also see if a company sounded like the right fit for me. The same process was repeated at the SWE conference, talking to recruiters and other students alike. It was fun- I made friends at other schools in other engineering disciplines, too!
Of the 118 internships I applied for, I interviewed for eight positions. That’s about a 6.78% interview rate, which I think is pretty good, considering I was a sophomore with no previous internships at the time. I was competing against juniors and seniors who were farther along in their academic journeys, and likely had more time to have project experience or previous internships.
Of those eight positions, there were five different companies, and I had networked with people from three of them. Networking is definitely what helped the best and eventually helped me in my internship search. I’m not saying that networking will always grant you an internship or that it’s the only way, but it doesn’t hurt.
Networking doesn’t have to be by going to career fairs and directly talking to a recruiter, either. Sometimes you’ll meet people out and about- I got an impromptu résumé review in a Starbucks line at the SWE conference. I met friends’ parents during Family Weekend and some of them were industry professionals. I met people in organizations freshman year who now work in the industry. Sometimes if you take a general education class, you’ll make friends with seniors who begin their careers in the next year.
Overall, I’d say it’s hard to get your first internship, especially as a sophomore. I’ve been told numerous times that companies are more likely to hire people with previous internship experience and upperclassmen, but that’s not always the case. It might just take a little extra work- which is okay with me. I’m really enjoying my internship, and it shows that hard work pays off! I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!
Happy almost Finals week everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida, the Spring 2022 semester is coming to a close, and we’re so close to finishing up! My life lately has mostly consisted of homework, projects, class, studying, working out, and ROTC. With only one week of school left, two weeks until my commissioning PT test, and three weeks until graduation and commissioning… life is moving so fast! Towards the end of the semester I’ve found I am usually the busiest, most stressed, and running on the most caffeine (with less and less sleep). However, I am looking forward to graduation and catching up on rest and relaxation so soon!
I’ve been reminiscing on the past years a lot lately. Will I miss college life? What does the real world look like? Am I prepared for what comes next? My time at ERAU has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I’ve taken part in thus far. Looking back at myself from freshman year to now, I’m a completely different person! I’ve grown so much, become so much more confident, and have learned so much not only academically, but about myself as a person too.
College gives you the freedom to make your own schedule, study, eat, and sleep whenever you want! College also gives you the opportunity to learn the importance of balance, time management, and self care – especially during particularly stressful or busy portions of the semester (shoutout Finals Week). Nonetheless, I am so grateful for everything I’ve had the chance to experience in my time as a Resident Advisor, Orientation Team Ambassador, on SGA Student Court, as a University 101 Peer Mentor, working on campus as a Undergraduate Student Researcher at the Eagle Flight Research Center, and in Air Force ROTC.
Advice I was given as a freshman was – try everything! Then cut back as you figure out what you like the most and prioritize what you can make time for. Going into my final semester, I’ve cut back the most on almost all extracurricular involvement to focus primarily on academics and ROTC – aka graduation and commissioning. I’ve learned there will never be enough time in the day to accomplish everything, but it’s extremely important to learn yourself well enough to know when you need sleep over staying up to finish a homework assignment. My ERAU experience has been academically rigorous, stressful, busy, and at the same time fun, I’ve made some life long friends and memories I will never forget, and I am a stronger and better person than I was when I started. I look forward to concluding finals in the beginning of May and will be signing out with one more blog post to follow! Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!
After having spent about two months back home since returning due to the situation with COVID-19, my body is starting to itch to return to the skies. I never fully understood those bumper stickers and license plate borders that said “I’d rather be flying right now” even as an avid aviator. Flying may be a hobby for some and a career for others but it’s a skill that only gets more refined the more you are in the air. There is a reason for airline pilots being evaluated and trained in simulators every 6-9 months because just like riding a bicycle, your skills get rusty.
I plan on returning to campus near August when the situation with COVID-19 and civil unrest have somewhat settled down, but the country is currently going through one of her toughest times. It breaks my heart to be on the other side of the globe as I see the world suffer in so many different ways. Sometimes I wish I could take off to the skies and briefly take a break from thinking about all the issues that are on the ground.
I have about 170 flight hours since I started my flight training and a good chunk of those hours were spent in the night or by myself without an instructor on board. When you get to fly to different locations in various conditions, you start to appreciate the beauty of flying even more. I would like to share some special moments of my flying career as an appreciation post in the absence of flying.
This was my “Discovery Flight” which was my first time getting to fly in a smaller, General-Aviation aircraft like the Cessna 172 we have at Riddle. After breaking through a thick layer of morning fog and low clouds, we broke out over a coated layer of what seems like a soft, cotton candy floor. The feeling of seeing the sunrise over the cloud layer is something you can’t describe with words.
This was my long cross country flight for my commercial course. It was from Daytona Beach to Dothan, AL, Tallahassee, FL and back to Daytona. It was a whopping 6 hour round-trip in a single Cessna by myself. It was rough getting up early in the morning but once I got to the plane, my mind was as sharp as it ever could be since I was responsible for my life for the next 6 hours. It was a special experience getting to fly for so long without my instructor sitting next to me.
This was one of the bumpiest flights in my flying career. There was a low pressure system around Southern Florida and my instructor and I were trying to get to Vero Beach for our last cross country flight together. It was in no way an attempt to dangerously beat the weather and we were well clear of the actual cold front coming up. However, we often ran into huge layers of clouds and thanks to our IFR flight plan, we were able to fly through them all. There were times when the bumps were so strong it would knock the pen off my kneepad.
Instrument course is probably one of my favorite portions of flight training. You get to fly at night which means you get to enjoy beautiful sunsets like this one and enjoy the stars that will soon paint the sky above you once the sun actually sets. The air traffic becomes less congested and the controllers are more relaxed so it’s a more pleasant flying experience overall.
I have listed some special moments of my flying experience and these are unique to every pilot. The nature of our industry is always evolving and we are forced to work in environments that are constantly changing. I hope the world will soon heal from all the pain it is experiencing at the moment and that more planes and pilots can take off into the brighter future. Blue skies and tailwinds!
Happy February everyone! I am currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida, it’s going to be sunny and 85 degrees this week, and this weekend is going to be rainy and in the 50s…cold fronts are no fun!
This week is Speedweek at the Daytona International Speedway, but the racing season really started off with the Rolex 24 hour race, the Busch clash, some more qualifiers, and next weekend the Daytona 500. Every year AFROTC cadets volunteer at the speedway and work different race shifts, this past year a lot of other sports teams on campus volunteered too.
This week I start to hear back from a variety of summer programs I applied to in order to go abroad to a country in the Middle East to continue studying Arabic. I applied to programs in Jordan, Morocco, and Oman.
This week is going to be kind of hectic for me, but as usual I’m generally a busy person. I have PT, Arabic and Solid Mechanics homework due tomorrow, as well as updated Bulletin Boards for my wing in the hallway for my Resident Advisor position, followed by a lab report due on Tuesday, funds request forms, meetings, AFROTC leadership laboratory and more PT, and a Solid Mechanics test on Friday.
It’s times like this where I think back to my equally busy summers and appreciate the way I am constantly in the flow of working hard and making progress towards my future. Being in the middle of everything also gets me thinking about the future and how sometime between the next week and the next few months I’ll finalize my summer plans and figure out where I am studying abroad and which dialect of Arabic I’ll be focusing on. All very exciting things, but sometimes a little stressful not knowing what direction I’ll be going in. I just tell myself to keep trusting the process.
Will report back soon folks, midterms are around the corner, keep on keeping on!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Happy June everyone! I’m currently blogging from Tucson, Arizona, where I lay comfortably in the shade around 6am on a Sunday morning.
A few fun differences in Tucson from Daytona Beach include the high elevation, the extremely dry heat, the seemingly more intense sun, lots of cacti, and Tucson is surrounded by mountains on three sides, which makes for some pretty amazing views. Whenever I introduce myself to people here and tell them I go to Riddle their first impression is the I attend Prescott because it’s only a few hours away, but truth be told I’m an ocean soul and I attend Daytona Beach, which makes for an even more interesting conversation.
I am currently just finishing up two weeks in AZ which means I’m about half way through my first semester of Arabic 405 which is Advanced Arabic I at the University of Arizona where I have tests every Friday and I have already taken my midterm examination.
Arabic 405 is an intensive course in which Monday-Friday I have four hours of classroom time every day, followed by an hour break for lunch, office hours (which are essentially an extension of class) with the professor for two hours, followed by an hour of tutoring, a break for dinner, then two hours of language partner time, in addition to homework, projects, and additional studying I do on my own. My schedule is definitely busy, but typically it always is, and learning Arabic while challenging, is extremely fun.
While I’m attending UA for summer courses with Project Global Officer there are students from all over the country here with me from the Army and Navy ROTC programs. My class consists of a total of five people, two of which are from Project GO. That being said, there are no extra “ROTC obligations” over the summer. Although naturally it’s encouraged to workout, we don’t have scheduled PT sessions or wear uniforms, and our primary job right now is to learn Arabic. I highly recommend studying over the summer because it makes it so much easier to give maximum effort when you don’t have any other classes to worry about.
Aside from this my acclimating to AZ has been a moderately rocky one, pun intended. My body was not used to the dry air or intense heat as I grew up on the coast and Riddle is by the beach too. But I’ve been running in the mornings or in the late evenings to escape the heat… even though the difference between 108 and 98 seems negligible, and I typically spend the weekends exploring Tucson’s coffee shops, restaurants, or going hiking or to the pool. Stay tuned for pictures of cacti and coffee to come. Will report back soon, stay cool folks. P.S. it’s monsoon season in Tucson and I’ve still yet to see any rain.
Happy July everyone! I’m currently blogging from Washington DC. (We’re not in Kansas anymore!)
In addition to all the usual events, my summer in Kansas concluded with an Arabic Homestay Dinner, conversation tables, presentations, a Saudi Arabian movie, an Oral Proficiency Exam, lunch field trips, dinners with our professor, a final exam consisting of listening, speaking, and writing portions, a final skit performance, and of course lots of coffee.
I thankfully finished with an A in both semesters, but more importantly I made irreplaceable memories with my professor, tutors, and classmates. Also, thankfully, my last two weeks included more “mesa’a’ah” which is my newly discovered favorite Egyptian food.
Arabic Homestay Dinner at our tutor’s house!
Brief recap of the last two months:
After spending hours every day in person, emailing, texting, or calling each other I can honestly say I am so proud to have had the opportunity to study amongst likeminded individuals and to learn and develop language skills in such a supportive environment with my classmates, our tutor, and our professor.
I can now hold a conversation in Arabic, converse on a variety of topics, am more culturally aware, and confidently have a strong foundation of Arabic skills consisting of standard high language vocabulary and a lot of Egyptian dialect.
Family photo of our class with our classmate’s daughter!
For me learning Arabic was a chance to truly open my eyes to the beautiful diversities in the world, especially in Arabic speaking regions such as the Middle East where non-Arabic speakers commonly have a lot of misconceptions about not only language, but culture.
I have only begun my journey in understanding how culture contributes to perception, connotation, and communication. Educating myself is the start to contributing a more globally aware society, starting by breaking language barriers and expanding to clarifying misconceptions and squashing stereotypes. Learning Arabic has allowed me to start developing an understanding of culture and ways of life very different from what I, as a native English speaker, was typically used to. Despite cultural differences between geographical regions, languages bridge the gap between different people and creates an opportunity for communication and understanding to develop.
My classmate and I with our professor!
I would absolutely recommend Project GO to ROTC students, and I would highly encourage anyone up for a challenge to learn a new language as they have numerous benefits beyond the classroom. Learning languages truly helps to form more globally aware citizens. They broaden perspectives, open up doors for communication, educate people on culture, and can lead to amazing opportunities whether it be connecting people within your community, or meeting new people traveling abroad.
I am very thankful for this experience and excited to continue my quest learning Arabic inside and outside of the classroom in the years to come.
Visual representation of the word “ممكن” by my classmate and I, which doesn’t directly translate into English, but is ممكن a verb for maybe/sort of.
Side note: My professor is from Egypt, which houses the Nile River. In the Nile there are many crocodiles. Nile crocodiles can range from 15-20 feet long. Below is a visual representation of the size of a small (15-foot) crocodile, measured out by myself, my classmate, and our other classmate’s daughter.
This first week of my internship at United was really crazy! I got to work in service recovery – which is tracking passengers who will most likely miss their flight and re-booking them on a new one. They are then greeted at the gate with tickets for their new flights. How awesome is that?! I also got to work in the premier lobby helping passengers check-in and tag their luggage. Another day we worked the inaugural SFO-Zurich flight! It was super fun and everyone was very excited for their complimentary Swiss chocolate! Friday I worked at the gates helping people board their flight. So many people miss their flights, don’t want to check their carry-ons, want to get an upgrade, etc. I feel I get to see the worst in people with this internship since traveling makes people stressed. However, I’m really liking it! Tomorrow I meet my mentors for the first time! We truly are a family. Birthdays are celebrated with good cake and lots of laughs!
Living alone is nice. I cook a lot! My RA dorm on campus doesn’t have a kitchen so I’m loving the ability to cook. I also bring my lunch to work, so I make it the night before. Tonight I made pasta and garlic Parmesan roasted potatoes for tomorrow’s lunch. I really enjoy going to bed at 9 pm and waking up early. I feel so productive being out the door at 6 am. I do miss home a lot though, so I already have my flight booked to Denver on July 31st!
As for summer classes, I am doing a lot better than before! I finally got into the swing of things. Let me tell you, I really appreciate Canvas after having to use a different platform for these classes. I feel summer classes are a lot quicker paced (well they are since they finish quicker than normal courses in the fall/spring) and therefore I feel every day I am doing another assignment. I am now working ahead on the weekends because honestly, the last thing I want to do after a long day is homework and tests. I know I’ve grown as a person because I can admit I think I took a bit too much on with summer classes, living alone in a big city for the first time, and a 10-hour/day internship. I’ll stop complaining now because it does no good at this point. I will just be SUPER grateful at the end of this summer. Never have I ever wanted summer to end, haha!
I hope you all are excited for school to start in just two months! Soon you will be finding out who your roommate is, buying dorm necessities, and getting ready to move! Please make sure to check your ERAU email often. Important things need to be done like accepting awards (scholarships)/making sure they came through to Embry-Riddle, having all placement exams complete, current shots mandatory to start, insurance figured out, and more! Be diligent and don’t be afraid to ask for help by calling the correct department!
Some more tips as summer is in full swing:
Spend time with your family – while your time with your friends is also precious, I promise you will be missing your family a lot at school!
Eat at home – on the same note, eat home cooked meals while you can!
Read the ERAU Housing’s packing list – I made a post with a very thorough packing list for school, but be sure to reference Housing’s list for what is allowed. As an RA, we do inspections to make sure people don’t bring thinks like cook-tops or candles. If they are found, the student must get rid of it within 24 hours. Save yourself the trouble.
Start investing in Florida products and testing them out – Find a good sunscreen, foundation, bug spray, hairspray, etc. I recommend Supergoop sunscreen products, Estee Lauder Double-Wear Foundation, and Avon’s Skin So Soft for bug spray! I may be listing more body/beauty products for Florida, so stay tuned!
Save money – I didn’t work my first semester (most students don’t). Thankfully, I could still go out to the movies or to eat because I worked a summer job before college and saved up! Try to do the same – 10/10 would recommend!
Print pictures – you will want photos in your room to liven it up and remember your loved ones! I got mine from Super Snaps and had a great experience!