Fall Break & Breeze

Happy October everyone! October is my favorite month, and therefore it is appropriate to wish you all a Happy October. I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida.

I spent my fall break on campus working duty day shifts for my RA position, doing physics, statics, and calculus homework, and running! Although the last part may not sound like the best part for some people, the running was actually my favorite part of every day. Also fear not, as per usual I drank lots of coffee and tea.

My fall break didn’t feel like much of a break, but I am extremely thankful that I got to sleep in, or in other words have the luxury of waking up when the sun has already woken up. I must say I do enjoy being awake as the sun rises, but when I don’t get back to my room until it’s dark outside as per a typical school day, by the time I do homework, study, and get ready for bed I’m absolutely exhausted.

Even on my days off I usually wake up with the sun.

Aside from all of my responsibilities, my plants are thriving and deserve to be highlighted this week. I highly encourage succulents or cacti for dorm plants because even if you don’t have enough time to water them (me), they still do great with a little sunlight and a lot of positive energy (also me).

Some of my dorm plants!

As it is still hot in Florida, even though it’s late October, we’ve had great weather that’s been perfect for early morning beach PTs with AFROTC, which is always nice. It’s becoming the time of year when the weather is almost perfect for working out. I gauge the prime temperature for running to be when the air is cool enough that you aren’t sweating before you start working out, but not too cold that it stings your lungs. If it is cold enough that you are able to see your breathe when you exhale, I would prefer the temperature to increase slightly. Thankfully, in Florida, the weather ranges between extremely hot, mildly hot, temperate, and cool, but the cool doesn’t happen until about mid-winter, so lately the fall breeze had been extremely lavish!

Post beach PT with some of my favorite wingmen!

Currently we’re about half way through the fall semester and everyone around campus is extremely busy. Course loads are heavy, there’s lots of homework to be done, tests, quizzes, projects, presentations, and not a lot of time. In my personal experience I’m still on the journey to figuring out how to balance everything. I’ve heard so many times from professors that they encourage students to prioritize school work and really focus on their time management, and while this is true, I must counter this from the perspective of a college student- realistically there are not enough hours in a day. All we can do is try our best and hope for the best. Just keep swimming folks, will report back soon!

Fall & Focusing on Commitments

Happy Fall everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida (yes, once again).

The first month of the semester is almost coming to an end and it truly has flown by. I’ve been so busy with classes, working out, homework, RA obligations, and trying to balance my work and school life. A key aspect of being successful when having a lot on your plate that I talked about before is balance. More specifically that can be boiled down to time management, i.e. planning and prioritizing, but in addition to those is staying true to yourself and your principles.

View from my dorm in the morning, I try to start every day with a positive outlook!

When I first got to college everyone told me to sign up for as much as possible and get very involved, then once I figured out what I liked the most and what I wanted to devote my time to, to narrow down what I was involved in to only what was most important to me. Embry-Riddle offers so many amazing clubs, extracurricular activities, and organizations on campus, but realistically it would be impossible to spread yourself so thin by trying to do everything, we’re only human. A kind of time management “rule” I’ve come up with for myself that’s helped me through college and life in general is that once I commit to something, it becomes my priority.

For example, if I find out two weeks in advance that a teacher is holding a Supplemental Instruction (SI) session before a test, I put it in my calendar and commit to it. Then, (also hypothetical) a week before the SI session, I find out an organization I’m involved in is volunteering for an event on campus scheduled for the same day and time as the SI session. This now presents a dilemma, because volunteering with friends would be more fun and the organization might be something I really care about, but I have to stay true to my word. Rule of thumb: even if the commitment is only to yourself, hold yourself accountable to your commitments. Reliability is a great skill to have and now is the perfect time to develop it. When I commit to something I give 100% of my effort, and you should too!

Photo from an AFROTC event!

Outside of being extremely busy lately, I am still trying to make time for myself and keep a positive attitude. Classes are challenging, and maintaining balance is sometimes difficult too, but parting words my friends: when you look at all of your responsibilities and commitments as items you have an opportunity to participate in or complete, your to-do list becomes less of a dread and more of something you’re lucky to be a part of.

Just keep swimming folks! Will report back soon!

August 2009

I continued my flight training throughout the summer and planned to complete everything by early August. However, I ran into delays due to weather, illness and scheduling. Nevertheless, I completed everything in the Part 141 syllabus, literally two days prior to the move. I was rushing to finish up training in order to arrive at ERAU with my certificate. Because of this, I wasn’t able to fully grasp every topic to the fullest that was required. In the end, I was signed off to take my FAA check-ride, but failed it. As a result, I learned a valuable lesson; flying should be something you enjoy doing and should not be considered at any time a “crash course”. In addition, stress and emotion should be taken into account any time one goes flying. The ‘IM SAFE’ checklist is a good way to determine if you are fit for flight:

  • Illness – Am I too sick to fly today?
  • Medication – Are my medications approved by the FAA?
  • Stress – Am I too stressed out to go flying today?
  • Alcohol – Is my judgment impaired for any reason?
  • Fatigue – Am I too tired to go flying?
  • Eating – Is my body well-nourished for today’s flight?

We had packed the cars the night before, so on moving day I only had to pack final items, such as toiletries, alarm clocks, etc. During our travel to Daytona Beach, my family and I took the Auto-Train from Lorton, VA to Sanford, FL. This cut down on the driving and gave us all a more relaxed and more comfortable experience. We had driven to Florida one time prior and it was enjoyable, but I don’t plan to do it again for a long time. The Auto-Train provided us with breakfast, dinner, a reclinable chair each, a lounge car, movies and the most legroom you could ask for. It was the cheapest way to transport a car down south, aside from driving it. I think it’s the greatest option, because you’re constantly moving, getting served, and they don’t nickel and dime you for luggage like at the airport because you just shove everything in your car. Upon arrival in Sanford, Florida, we waited a half-hour for our cars to arrive at the lot, which is typical wait time. It took less than an hour to arrive in Daytona, and according to my mom, I drove right up to the place, like I had already been there before. Upon “de-car-ing” we were greeted by two upperclassmen ready to assist us with unloading our stuff. Which at the time seemed overwhelming, but as time progressed, I purchased more and more stuff for the room.

Orientation week was really great, we had so many shows and lots of activities to choose from. There were shows such as Survey Says, For Men Only, a Hypnotist, and a comedian to name a few. Activities were all across the board from BBQs, to pool parties, to “play fair.” It was really the most fun that I’ve had in a while. Unfortunately I was unable to make “play fair” because we took an unexpected tour of the beach. During which I drove off the path and got my car stuck in the sand. We waited an hour for beach patrol to come with the truck to pull us out. It was a lot of fun regardless, but I had definitely learned a lesson there.

During my first week of classes I learned a lot about how to manage my time. I learned when and where to do my homework. It was the same back home, but I definitely need to take it more seriously now that I’m in college. While in college, each student is provided with a course schedule/syllabus which describes what will be covered each class and what homework is due for the next. This helps a great deal, especially when your professor verbally assigns homework and you’re not sure if you wrote down the correct task. Emailing and getting to know your professors is the key to success in college. You’ll get a better experience because your professors will get to know your learning abilities or disabilities and will work with you should any issues arise. College isn’t like high school, you are the person who needs to make the initial step of explaining to your professor if you’re not understanding something.

Constantly you will hear people talking about time management. It becomes very important, when you realize mom and dad aren’t there to help you with the chores. Laundry, cleaning and eating well are now your responsibility. You have to make time yourself to go partying or hang out with friends. You won’t be asking your parents if it’s alright anymore, because you’re the boss now. You won’t fully realize it until maybe the third day on campus.

Daytona Beach is definitely a great college town. Nearby are Stetson University, Daytona State College, UCF Daytona Campus, Keiser University and Bethune-Cookman College. The town is split into two main parts; Speedway and Beachside. Speedway is all shopping centers and chain restaurants and of course the NASCAR speedway. Beachside is where the beach hotels, thrift shops and clubs are located. Both parts of town are busy, however the beach is definitely the place to go on the weekends.

I’m glad I’ve finally made it to college. I’m still wondering whether or not I want to continue with my Aeronautical Science Major. It all depends on how my first semester here goes. I’d also like to mention that everybody is different with managing their time, regardless you learn different skills to better manage your time in the University 101 course.

Over and Out.