Thanksgiving Break in Daytona Beach

…We stay hungry, we devour our Thanksgiving dinner!

After my pre-Thanksgiving weekend and the two days of class, Thanksgiving break has finally arrived. Last year, due to COVID-19, finals were virtual and Thanksgiving and Christmas break were merged into one long two-month break. I went home then, so I’ve never experienced Embry-Riddle during break time.

I did miss my family. To me, Thanksgiving break was a little too short and a little too late for me to want to go home- I’d be seeing my family in two weeks, and I saw them when they came to see me at the SWE conference earlier this year. The only family members I hadn’t seen were my cats, but I got plenty of pictures of them over the break, including this one, where my cat is curled up in my windowsill.

Chocolate the Cat!

It was also really quiet here, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I did a lot of homework on Wednesday and Thursday, and also made a trip to Walmart on Wednesday. It was, as I predicted, pretty packed. I ended up getting my groceries (hopefully through winter break?), including my favorite holiday treat: eggnog. I know that “Is Eggnog Good?” is a hefty debate topic, but I’m on the side of eggnog being good.

Thursday was Thanksgiving. One of my other friends had also stayed for the break, so we decided to go to dinner at IHOP. For those on campus without access to a car, the Boundless All-You-Can-Eat dining location also does a Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving Day, and from what I’ve heard, this year’s was really good. At IHOP, I ended up trying the new Winter Wonderland pancakes with blue marble-looking frosting, and they were delicious.

After IHOP, we checked FlightRadar24 and found out that a Delta flight was on final approach. So the two of us jumped in the car and tried to get to the airport’s cell phone lot to watch it come in, but we got held up by several red lights. We did end up seeing it come in as we were waiting, and it wasn’t the worst spot ever, but we couldn’t hear it well, unfortunately.

Delta flight (last flight of the day) on Thanksgiving on final approach.

Friday was pretty uneventful too. I ended up going to Steak n Shake for a very late 9 PM dinner with the same friend, getting a chocolate milkshake. We ended up driving around Daytona for a little bit, and then around campus. It was like a ghost town- everyone was gone, and even though it was 10 PM, there were NO cars in the student union parking lot. Usually, on a weeknight, people are still doing their late-night studying, so you’d see at least a few.

We parked facing the runway, and the most unusual thing about the break was the lack of flight training going on. We were there for a decent amount of time and barely saw anyone going in and out. The flight department was officially shut down on Thanksgiving, but flight training continued on Friday. It was unusual to see maybe one ERAU plane in the entire amount of time we were sitting there.

Holiday break runway-watching.

Saturday and Sunday were also quiet. On Saturday, people started coming back from break, but the bulk of people arrived on Sunday night. By then, the halls were lively again, and I’d see people as I passed by instead of standing in a seemingly-abandoned ERAU.

Did I miss my family? Yes. Was I glad that I stayed for break? Also yes. I got caught up on a lot of my homework, and I had plenty of time to do it so I wasn’t stressed about doing it all during one short time period. I had two thermodynamics homework assignments, an essay draft, physics, and math homework to do which I all successfully did over the break.

It was also very nice to sleep in until 11 or 12 each morning and not have to worry about attending or missing classes. The break was definitely needed before the push to final exams, which are in about two weeks. The last day of finals is December 15, and I, unfortunately, have one during the last time period of the day. It’s fine, though- I’ll be studying hard over the next few weeks.

I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle! (We’re having a preview day and family weekend in the spring semester, so I might see you there!)

I Got the COVID-19 Booster Shot

Side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine? Making blog posts!

So, I ended up getting the COVID-19 booster shot (aka the third dose) on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I’d been planning to stay in Daytona anyway and I didn’t really know how I’d react to the third dose of the COVID vaccine. The first dose gave me zero side effects and the second dose knocked me out for a few days.

Since boosters were available at ERAU’S Health Services, I decided to go over there before class started. They were also free like the original first and second dose I got at Walgreens last semester.

Number three!

I had two classes after that, Calculus 3 and Physics 2. Since a lot of people were traveling, my Calc 3 professor decided to do the lecture on Zoom and post it to Canvas where we could refer to it at any time. That’s one thing that I really like about online lectures- they’re always there on the Canvas page so I can go back and watch the professor explain in case my notes aren’t sufficient.

We began Chapter 34 in physics, which was talking about energy and light. By that time, my arm had a slight bit of soreness, but nothing too major, noticeable, or bad. I ended up going to the student to get Chick-fil-A from a friend, and the student union was busy. Everyone who was leaving for Thanksgiving was cashing out their meal plans. When you have 14, 17, 19, or even 21 meal plans per week, and you’re only on campus to use them for 1-3 days, it’s hard to know what to do with them, so a few friends offered them to me since I was staying for the break.

Post-booster Starbucks! It’s an iced caramel macchiato.

On Wednesday, my arm was decently sore, but I could still raise it and move it around. Thursday was Thanksgiving, and my arm had stopped hurting, but my armpit was kind of sore. I ended up Googling it and that’s a normal side effect. On Friday, the effects weren’t noticeable anymore, and it was business as usual over the weekend.

So for anyone who’s eligible to get their booster and considering doing so during the school year: I think you’d be fine, but I’m not a doctor. I personally didn’t experience anything too bad, but taking a test with your arm hurting is not an ideal condition.

I’ve heard the news about new variants of concern, and I’m glad I got the booster when I did. I’ve personally been wearing my mask indoors (my own choice, not ERAU policy), and combined with the vaccine, I think that’s how I avoided getting a severe COVID case. I’ll see you in the next post and hopefully at Riddle!

Pre-Thanksgiving Weekend

It’s that time of the year again… it’s about drive, it’s about power…

So, it’s that time of the year again, when it’s almost but not quite yet time for finals. It’s the time of the year where professors decide that they want you to have a nice Thanksgiving break so they schedule their major assignments to be due before the break. I’m glad for that since I won’t be doing much homework over break, but it’s a stressful time of the year.

That being said, it’s important to have a balance between your academic life and your social life/free time. If you never have any free time and are always doing academic activities, you’ll end up stressed, but if you never do any academic activities, you may not do as well in your classes as you’d like.

On Friday night, I went over to a friend’s dorm where we watched Black Panther. I also stayed the night with her, since she has extra space in her room. Sometimes when you’re supposed to have a roommate, you don’t get one, and that happened to her. You’re able to buy out the other half of the room at a reduced price, but if you don’t want to do that, it’s fine too. You just need to be prepared for the housing department to assign you a roommate.

Ukelele night!

I learned how to play a few chords on her spare ukelele, and I also got a sneak peek at the new dragons she’s making. She’s got a knack for clay crafts and started selling her dragon models online. You can find them online! I have one that she made, which is also one of the pictures on her website:

Dragon model!

After that, I went back to my dorm and did most of my homework. I have a statics test on Monday the 22nd, so I studied for that and did my physics homework for the rest of the week. I’m in physics 2, which I’m really liking. We’re just starting the optics unit, which is the final unit before the class ends.

For dinner on Saturday, I ended up going to Steak n’ Shake and splitting half of a Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup milkshake with one of my other friends. On Sunday, I ended up driving by the airport and spotting a C-17. They don’t come in and out of DAB often, but they’re not exactly rare either. There were also some F-18s flying around this morning- I watched them take off around 11 AM, and one of them did an aileron roll, which was fun to watch.

The C-17 and a Delta aircraft!

After that, I attended a review session that my statics professor held before going back to my dorm and studying for a bit. At 6 PM, I ended up meeting a few friends and doing a group study/hangout. We’re all different majors- I’m aerospace engineering, and my friends are aeronautical science, homeland security, and mechanical engineering, respectively. We started off doing homework but then ended up playing Kerbal Space Program and watching Interstellar in a study room.

In my opinion, that was a really nice end to a stressful weekend. I’m looking forward to the break, where I’ll be working ahead on my homework and catching up on sleep. I’m not going home this year, so I’ll see what campus events Embry-Riddle is hosting. Whatever they are, I’m sure they’ll be fun! I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle events!

Finals & Fall/Winter Break

Happy November folks! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida and Thanksgiving is so close I can almost taste it (the cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie of course).

The fall semester has rapidly been coming to a close and with about a week left until Winter Break starts its hard to see past all the assignments and even fathom a break that is, despite what my stressors persuade me, going to be upon us very shortly. I don’t typically doubt myself, but I do surprise myself because sometimes my schedule is so busy it’s hard to picture being able to accomplish so many tasks in one day, much less a week! 

A plot from my Aerospace Structures Homework that I’m currently working on via Femap/Nastran

In the spirit of being thankful (Thanksgiving vibes) I am grateful that I have the amazing opportunities to continually challenge myself in academics, professional relations, physical fitness, and leadership skills. Cue the teleprompter voice, this is all made possible in part by… time management skills I didn’t realize I had, setting daily reminders via Siri on my phone and laptop throughout the day, many To-Do lists, calendar notifications, alarms, and most importantly – my tried and true Go-To… coffee! Kidding, I am very thankful to have a support system of friends and family and I am so excited to go back to Virginia in about a week to see them!

Final exams are just around the corner, right after Thanksgiving, and the semester is truly so close to coming to an end. My motivations are good food, sleep, and quality time watching Christmas movies at home.

Over the winter break, post finals, I plan to work on Scholarship and Study Abroad opportunity applications, practice my Arabic by exploring further into the world of Arabic music, TV, and movies, and of course, rest!

Upon reflecting on the past few months, the hardest part of this Fall Semester, that I foresee will be a challenge in the Spring as well, is not having breaks or time to rest and recover between classes and assignments. Having long weekends and breaks canceled means that professors continuously assign homework, tests, quizzes, and projects until finals. This is especially disheartening considering my current Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings are filled with due dates, in addition to every weekday. I go directly from one subject and assignment to the other and it’s sometimes hard to see the light that the end of the semester brings when you’re in the thick of it.

College extensively exceeds the typical 40 hours a week “full time” work schedule, which is something I couldn’t have prepared for beforehand and is not something I am 100% sure I am prepared for now, despite taking part in it weekly. On the bright side, time never stops, and we get through it. My advice is to keep a positive attitude and keep pushing, one week, day, or task at a time. Progress is progress. Finals are quickly approaching and so is the rest and relaxation that follows! Will report back soon folks. Keep on keeping on!

Almost Break & Finals Anxiety??

Howdy & happy November folks! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach on quite possibly the coldest day of the semester thus far, a whopping 57 degrees Fahrenheit with overcast skies, spotty rain, and wind. Nothing says cold rainy days like, you guessed it, weekend classes (on not only Saturday, but Sunday too). And with finals looming around the corner, the cherry on top of that stress, is the anxiety of classes on the weekends. On a more positive note, Thanksgiving Break is about two weeks away so that is HUGE iridescent light at the end of the tunnel, but for those of us with back to back tests now on weekdays and weekends, it’s a life full of challenges…not to mention finals haven’t even started yet (AHH).

The metaphorical grind that you may have heard of referenced in pop culture truly extends to the life of college students, in particular Riddle students, faculty, and staff…yes we ALL work on the weekends, 21 days and counting, hollllla! Deadlines are approaching and I have to say in the midst of the seemingly endless back to back “work” days, the highlight of this has been that we’re all trucking through it together. The other night I went to gym after I finished up with one of my evening classes to meet up with some friends, knock out arms and abs before going on a run, and LET ME TELL YOU, the gym was PACKED. One thing Riddle students appreciate almost as much as the stress of classes, is the opportunity to destress (particularly in a way I absolutely recommend) with workouts!

Truly in the face of this adversity I must add that although I am challenged, tired, and sometimes flustered, I would not trade the experiences I am going through right now for anything because we are truly so privileged to be in the situation where we can even complain about problems of “too much school”. Shoutout to the surplus of opportunity for access to education, honestly we’re extremely blessed.

Group photo of the girls in my AFROTC class before a Morale training event the other weekend!

I am looking forward to Thanksgiving Break to unwind and recharge before grinding through finals. Don’t forget to stock up on your coffee, tea, and snacks! Will report back soon y’all, after I have had ample sleep and home cooked food over Thanksgiving (YUM), keep on keeping on!

Exploring the World’s Southernmost City

Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego

Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego

In the first part of my trip to Argentina, I visited Buenos Aires for one day and a half. I spent the rest of the week with my brother and my friend in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world nicknamed “The End of the World.” We woke up at 3AM on Tuesday to take a 4:30AM flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. After a 3h30 nonstop flight, we landed at the small airport of Ushuaia. After we claimed our luggage at the carousel, we hoped on a taxi and headed to our Airbnb. Our place was located right in the center of the town where you can easily find various shops and restaurants.

The first thing we did when we arrived was to go eat breakfast in a small café just a few streets away from our Airbnb. After we finished eating, we walked a bit and explored the town. To me, the town felt like a mix of Vail and European ski resorts. We stopped by a grocery store to get a few items for the week.

Beagle Channel Catamaran Tour

In the afternoon, we went to do a catamaran tour on the Beagle Channel. The strait is located at the southern tip of South America and is shared by both Argentina and Chile. On the left side of the boat is Argentina while Chile is on the right side (the opposite on the way back). During the five hour tour, we visited islands of birds, sea lions, penguins and a lighthouse.

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Sea lions

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Penguins

We came back to the dock at around 8:30PM (Argentina Time) and it was still daytime. The sun in Ushuaia sets at 10PM but you can still see light in the skies at around 11PM! It is interesting to see that in the northeast of the United States it starts to become dark at around 4PM (EST) but the sun in Ushuaia sets 6 hours later!

Hike to Laguna Esmeralda

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Laguna Esmeralda

On the second day of our trip to Ushuaia we went to visit a popular place named Laguna Esmeralda. To get there, visitors have to do a 5.5 km hike to reach the lake. Once you arrive at the lake, the view is just beautiful! It reminded me of Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. We were lucky enough to be up there when the weather was cooperating. It can often get windy and cloudy once you arrive at the lake.

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After admiring the view and taking some photos for about one hour, we made our way back using the same path we went through on the way up. The hike was not really difficult, but I would definitely recommend to wear boots because it can get muddy at some places as you can see in the photo above.

Hike to the Martial Glacier

The next morning, we did another hike, this time to a glacier. I would say this hike was more difficult than the one we did the previous day. The hike to the glacier was more steep while the one to Laguna Esmeralda was generally flat. The more you climbed in altitude, the more it got steep. At the base there were trees and vegetation, but as you were going up, the ground was getting more rocky.

Top of the glacier

Top of the glacier (2,707 ft. ASL)

A few feet away from the top of the glacier, there was a warning sign indicating that hikers needed a specialized guide to climb higher. There was no more visual path in the mountain but we decided to explore and hike a bit higher (I don’t think my mom would have approved this)!

View of Ushuaia from the highest point we climbed (~3,500 ft. ASL)

View of Ushuaia from the highest point we climbed (~3,500 ft. ASL)

We couldn’t climb much higher because the ground was all covered with snow and we did not have any kind of hiking equipment with us. One of the perks of climbing higher is that you can go down on your back where there is a slope with snow and slide down on your back. I tried it a few times and it was awesome!

Well, that’s it for the outdoors activities we did in Ushuaia. If you are an outdoor person, I would definitely recommend you to visit if you go to Argentina! The next day, we flew back to Buenos Aires where we spent one night before making our final journey back to the United States. During that week, I flew more than 18,000 miles in the skies. I will write a story about all that air travel in the next few weeks.

Until next time!

Nicolas

Thanksgiving Break in Argentina

Instead of heading home for Thanksgiving like most students did, I decided to visit Argentina with my brother. As a former airline intern with Air Canada, I was offered two roundtrip tickets to go to any destination in the world the air carrier serves. The Thanksgiving break was the perfect time of the semester to use those tickets since they expire next January and there were blackouts dates in December for Christmas and the New Year. Because of Thanksgiving, I had five days of holiday including the weekend. Missing the first two days of the week made the trip possible since I now benefited of a full week of vacation.

Since we had to fly Air Canada, we had to go through Canada to fly to Argentina. I drove to Orlando and then I flew to Boston on Friday to join my brother. On Saturday evening, we boarded an Air Canada flight to Toronto where we connected to catch another flight to Buenos Aires. My brother and I arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina the next day on Sunday after a long day of traveling.

After getting settled in our hotel, we went out for dinner where we met our friend from high school who is studying abroad in Buenos Aires. After our dinner we walked around Palermo Soho, a popular neighbourhood in Buenos Aires.

A street in Buenos Aires

A street in Buenos Aires.

The next day we visited the city since it was our last day in Buenos Aires. We visited La Recoleta Cemetery (Cementerio de la Recoleta) which is one of the most visited site in Buenos Aires. We also visited the Floralis Genérica, a big metal flower. The six petals of the flower close in the evening during sunset.

Cementerio de la Recoleta

Cementerio de la Recoleta

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Floralis Genérica

The next morning (Tuesday), we all flew from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. Ushuaia is the world’s southernmost city. We spent the rest of the week over there doing some fun activities. Stay tuned to learn more about the city with the nickname of The End of the World! In the meantime, you can enjoy some fun facts about Argentina below:

Interesting Facts About Argentina

  • While I was on the taxi going from the airport to the hotel, I noticed that drivers drive very close to other cars. Cars in Argentina are quite small. It is rare to see an F150 on the road. Most vehicles in AR are manual and not automatic.
  • Did you know that Argentina has the widest street in the world? You’d be surprised how long it takes to cross Avenida 9 de Julio.
  • When you go to restaurants, the waiter will usually not bring glasses of water to your table. You will have to order a bottle of agua if you are thirsty.
  • Argentines apparently do not use black pepper in their recipes. You will only find salt on the table.
  • Unlike North America, Argentines eat dinner pretty late. You will probably be the only customer in the restaurant if you go eat at 7PM.
  • When two people greet each other, they kiss on the cheek. Even men.
  • The seasons are the opposite. When it is winter here, it is summer over there and vice-versa.

Until next time!

Nicolas

First Class of the Semester Completed

This Wednesday, I completed my first class of the semester. You might be thinking that this is impossible since we are only in November and the fall semester ends in mid-December. The professor let me take the final exam in advance. Just kidding!

The Business Statistics class (MATH 222) I took was an online class through Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus. It was the first time I took a Mathematics online course. Even though I was pleased overall with the class, I would not recommend it to students who are studying at the Daytona Beach or Prescott campuses. The main reason is that an online Math class is quite different from the other classes students have to take.

As you know, a Math class is more about solving problems than writing essays. It happened a couple times over the semester that I did not understand how to do a problem. Professors don’t really teach you anything in online classes; you are on your own. You learn by reading the textbook and by looking at the slides. I found that my best friend during that class was the Internet. I watched videos that explained how to do certain problems. Sometimes, I thought the videos explained better than the textbook did.

Three Weeks Remaining
Only a few weeks separate today from the end of the fall semester! This also means that end of semester projects, essays and finals are arriving at the same time. I have my final analytical report due on Monday in my Tech Report class (COM 221). A presentation about this report is also required as part of the final grade. In Comparative Religions (HU 345), I have an essay due right after the Thanksgiving break. In my Supply Chain class (BA 363), I have a group project to do due on the last day of classes. Finally, I have a few tests left in some classes before the final exam.

Long Weekend
On Veterans Day (today), I am going to see my friend in Baltimore, MD. He works for a  ground handling company at the airport so I hope to learn a few things during my short visit! Before every flight I board, I try to sit by the window at the gate area to look at all the activities going around the aircraft. Today, I’ll have the chance to be walking on the airport ramp!

Until next time!

Nicolas

Editor’s note: Current residential campus students must submit appropriate paperwork before enrolling in online courses through the Worldwide Campus. Consult with the Record’s Office, your advisor or admissions counselor before deciding whether online courses are right for you. 

December 1, 2008

It’s the last week of the semester, and you know what that means…FINAL EXAMS! Thanksgiving break was not so much a break; it was a huge homework and study session. While most of my friends went back home for Thanksgiving dinner, I stayed here on campus. It wasn’t too bad, just a little quieter than I needed it to be. I really missed family and friends from back home, and it made completing my assignments harder than they were. I also got a chance to take advantage of flying here while everyone else is gone. That way I get to fly with fewer restrictions on time, and also have more airplanes available so I could pretty much fly whenever I wanted to. But today we all came back from the break and had to wake up early for classes…YAY. Including today, we’ve only got 4 more days of classes, Study day, then finals start on Saturday. And as we all know, the end of the semester means term papers are also due and the last assignments of the year are due. This is the make or break period of the semester, and if you slip up, that’s it. So far it’s going pretty smooth.

I am also happy to say that I may be done with my private by Christmas! I am so excited. It took a lot of work and dedication to get to where I am now. It wasn’t easy balancing flight with my academic courses, especially seeing that I doubled flight activities almost every day this semester. However, I was able to through it all and still do well. I completed my dual cross countries and am going to take my solo check ride this week so I can do all my solos all at one time. My instructor is so proud of the progress I have made so far, and I am too. It feels good to go up and fly and each day I learn new things. It’s an awesome experience.

Clubs right now are basically done. This is the last week of the semester and most clubs had their last meetings last week. There may be a few clubs that meetings this week but I doubt it. For First Gen, two weeks ago we got the chance to go to the President of the University’s house for dinner. It was an awesome experience. We got to meet a few of the board members of our school along with the president and his wife and a few of the faculty and staff at ERAU. It was a chilly night but it was worth going. TFO had a BBQ that same week and I wasn’t able to attend because I had my night cross country. From what I heard it was a huge success.

Everything here is pretty much wrapping up now and coming to a close for the semester. The biggest thing right now is getting ready for finals and FAA written and practical exams to take place in the upcoming week. Basically… campus is dead! I can’t wait to go home for Christmas so I can see my family and friends.

Thanks for reading my posts for this semester and I really appreciate those that have sent me emails. I hope that I answered all your questions. If any of you guys have questions, don’t be afraid to ask me, I’ll be more than happy to answer. I will be writing posts over the break so I’ll keep you guys posted. Until next time!