Throwing it back…

Today I am home in Castle Rock, Colorado for spring break. While I’m cruising through these old, familiar streets, I have been quite nostalgic of the times leading up to college. I remember being so excited after being accepted since Embry-Riddle was my first pick. I know many of you are going through similar experiences now, so I thought I would tell you a little bit about the last bit of time before college.

I have said this before, but if you are torn on which college to choose, go visit! Each college has its own personality and you’ll get a feeling once you’re standing there on whether or not you can see yourself there. I understand traveling can be expensive so take the online virtual tours and read blogs like these to understand student life! If you’ve visited both schools and are still unsure, do more research!

This time of year for seniors is pretty calm. Most know where they will be attending or at the very least, where they are accepted. The pressure of applications is off and all that is left to worry about is graduation and possibly some AP exams. The good news is… it only gets better from here!

Most colleges have an orientation or preview day. We have both here at Riddle! Preview Day is April 7th so be sure to RSVP for that! It is only for accepted students. Orientation is in fall before classes begin. At our Preview Day, you can sit in on classes, make tuition and housing deposits, take tours of the campus and dorms, get your eagle ID, and register for classes. You can also talk to financial aid if you have any questions or problems! I know many people who made friends and even found roommates during this day! Many campus organizations will be out and talking about their clubs so accepted students can get to know more about them. Girls can meet with their woman ambassador too – I know I am meeting with some of mine! I’m adding some very cheesy photos from my Preview Day in 2016 (I feel old) *cringe*!

Got my eagle ID!

Here I am getting help registering for classes. They provide a sheet of recommendations.

I met up with a girl from my town who was a senior at Riddle. Our mom’s worked together.

Meeting with my woman ambassador, Jackie! We still talk even though she has graduated.

Taking a housing tour and making friends! I still say hi to these guys when I see them on campus!

In the days leading up to graduation, cherish the moments. Don’t get too caught up in all the unimportant details like what shoes to wear or planning the perfect party. Enjoy your family who came to celebrate with you, thank your teachers for their support, and spend time with your friends before everyone goes to either side of the country! Get pictures before the graduation so you have better chances of getting non-crowded, and your first pick of backgrounds.

After graduation, enjoy your summer because the next ones will be filled with internships, flights, or summer classes. I worked the whole summer before coming to college and I am thankful I did. When the family plans a vacation, join them! (note: I have an older sister who is always super busy during the summer, so my parents learned from her that we need vacations now)!

You will also begin packing and preparing for school now! Soon I will be posting a thorough packing list. Until then, start getting necessities like bedding (for an XL twin bed) and other obvious items. (Note: I recommend Target, Macy’s, or PB Teen for bedding!)

One more thing about Preview Day, you get to tour Daytona when you have free time. While there is a lot to do, there is no strict schedule. My mom and I went to the flea market, beach, and Disney!

At Daytona Beach!

At the flea market!

Disney World with my mom!

Your Embry-Riddle gear gets you into cockpits! I was welcomed up on my flight back home!

Please leave a comment if you have any questions! I’d be happy to help!

– Maddie Dietrich

President’s Day Weekend!

I hope everyone enjoyed their long weekend – I sure did!

For my President’s Day weekend, I went to San Francisco! I left on Thursday evening after class (I had to miss my one Friday class but my professor was very flexible) and returned Tuesday morning. During my trip I stayed at a friend’s house. That’s one awesome thing about college – you meet people from all over and build cool connections, like being able to stay at their place!

The reason I went to San Francisco is because my boyfriend, Chris, is in the Air Force and  goes to school in Monterey, California. Note: for those who are curious about long distance relationships, trust me when I say they are completely possible (I’ve been doing it for two years)! We loved the city so much!

Here is what we did –

Arrival at night: Chris came to the airport to come get me. He took a shuttle from the DLI (Defense Language Institute) to SFO and then we Ubered to In-N-Out!

Day 1: On our first day we went to Pier 39 and to the famous Boudin’s bread. We then took the ferry to Alcatraz and spent Chinese New Year in China Town! People were launching fireworks in the streets to celebrate.

Day 2: We woke up, got breakfast – which consisted of us putting our name on a list at one restaurant, then going to get a smoothie, avocado toast, and coffee all while waiting. You get a blanket when you eat some places too, which was a first for me! We then took a scenic route and walked to the Mission to get tacos and also saw Lombard Street (a super curvy road).


Day 3: I went to Union Square and the Westfield Mall. Chris and I love to eat. We travel by eating our way around the city! Every morning we try a new restaurant and coffee shop! We also had Pressed Juice and it was so good! Then I tried a charcoal latte, iced foam cappuccino, and a “make your own” tea blend machine! I also had super great toast with mascarpone and fruit – you’ve got to try it! We try to eat local and try recommendations from the people we meet or use Yelp. To get around, we use Uber Pool. This is a fun way to meet interesting people and it’s very inexpensive as long as you’re not in a hurry! It took about 20 minutes to get across the city but only cost about $5!


Day 4: Chris and I found a very cool breakfast sandwich place, got butter coffee (it’s actually really good), and then biked across the Golden Gate Bridge! On the other side of the bridge, we visited the tiny town of Sausalito. We toured the cute town and had really good Mexican food! Then we had to say goodbye and it was sad, but these trips are definitely worth it!

This weekend I went to Savannah, Georgia with Women in Aviation to tour Gulfstream! It was all paid for by the club and orchestrated by the school. Alumni gave the tours and bought our lunch! These opportunities are so amazing and unique to our university!

I encourage you to take any chance in college to take a break and explore! The nature of Riddle is that everyone is either at the beach, space station, or traveling on the weekends! Before you say college is too serious for trips, the week before my trip to San Francisco I had five tests, two quizzes, a paper, and a presentation. I was able to get A’s in all, so carpe diem!

Things I Wish I Could Tell My Senior-Self

Happy February!

In this post, I wanted to do some reflecting and share some wisdom I have gained since coming to college… And I know, I know, what wisdom can a 20-year-old have? Well, going to college is like speed reading a “Discover Who You Really Are for Dummies” book where half the chapters are missing and even when you follow the book exactly, things still don’t always go as planned. After two years and three semesters, I feel like a pro. But watch, tomorrow I will accidentally go to the wrong room or pull a complete amateur move because let’s be real, even the wisest people aren’t that wise during an 8 am class.

Now, while I’m still getting the hang of this whole college thing, I can confidently give advice on things I wish I could tell my senior-self. This idea came when I was applying for internships – I know, scary – and needed my high school transcript. When I went to pull up my old high school’s website, I saw a new “alumni” tab. And that’s when it hit me… I’m an alum! Working in the Office of Development for Embry-Riddle, I always knew I wanted to give back when I became an alum of the university. It had never occurred to me I was already an alum, but of my high school! Long story short, I began to reflect on my high school days and realized I thought I knew it all but boy was I wrong!

To begin, I was a good high school student. It’s not like I ditched class and I’m reflecting on how that was a bad idea. I had a GPA above a 4.0, took college classes, was the president of the National Honor Society and DECA, volunteered, and played a sport. Meanwhile, I worked two jobs and flew at the local airport. Life was busy but very fun. I always knew I wanted to go to Embry-Riddle. It had been my dream school since the 7th grade and my school counselor didn’t even try convincing me otherwise. Sounds like a pretty good time, right? It was! But, there are still things I wish I would have done or known and here they are:

  1. Take as many AP and dual-enrollment classes as possible: When you are paying thousands of dollars to learn basic biology, you will understand what I mean. College, especially ours, has so many interesting courses so try to knock out as many of the basic ones in high school.
  2. Do an internship: My high school offered an internship program and I really wish I had done it! Once you begin applying for internships, you realize that companies want experience and high school is a great time to begin.
  3. Find a mentor: Mentors are super important and I wish I saw this in high school. Always be on the lookout for networking opportunities. My sister’s friend’s mom (convoluted I know, sorry!) went to Embry-Riddle and works for Frontier now! It was nice to have her introduce me to people, write letters of recommendations, invite me to the Women in Aviation Conference as a senior in high school, and then be a great name to drop as an “in” when I attend Frontier events.
  4. Apply for scholarships: You’ve heard it a million times and I’m sorry but… It’s so important to apply, even when you are in college. Since many scholarships have similar essay topics, keep a folder with your essays and use those to quickly write more for other scholarships. Free money is free money and definitely worth 30 minutes of your time. My advice to high schoolers – look local. Even in my tiny town of Castle Rock, Colorado we had many scholarships being handed out by the local library and community organizations.
  5. Tour your top three:  As I mentioned, I knew I wanted to attend Embry-Riddle since 7th grade, so anytime I toured another school, I fell more in love with our unique university. The line was always, “But Riddle has…” If you are unsure where to go, choose your top three schools to tour. Touring a university gives you a great understanding of what your life would be like there. Try to see if you can sit in on a class or if you are touring Embry-Riddle – a flight! Just like you would test drive a car before buying it, tour the campuses of the universities you are most interested in. I say three because if you need to travel it adds up! The investment is definitely worth it! Once you see a campus, you can also begin planning your transition, like what items you need to start buying!
  6. Choose friends wisely: Once you leave high school, your life moves on. While you will see your friends during breaks, and social media allows us to always be connected, make sure your focus is on you and your future. At the end of the day, that’s what matters most. I remember it was so easy to get caught up in drama but once you leave those high school doors for the last time, everything else shifts up in importance. Don’t waste your time and energy now on bad friendships. That being said, keep your closest friends close and if you end up on either side of the country (like me and my best friend), dedicate one day of the week for catching up over FaceTime!
  7. Begin dorm shopping ASAP: Packing for college is exciting and stressful. It can be hard to know exactly what you need but even harder to find certain items in the summer once everyone is shopping for their dorms too. Think ahead and get big ideas, like a mattress topper and steamer now and keep them in your closet. No matter where you go, whichever dorm you end up in, you will appreciate the early access but also the spread of costs since moving can add up.
  8. Join your college’s accepted student social media page: Embry-Riddle and many colleges offer social media connections. Think of it as a mini social media site just for your new incoming class. I know many people met their roommates using this app, made friend groups who met up during orientation, or were able to obtain answers to a lot of their questions this way. There is also an admissions adviser who helps answer questions quickly, so be sure to utilize this app and make friends now!
  9. Enjoy home: Once you are away at college and there are no more home cooked meals, you have to do your own laundry, and no one checks in on you, you quickly miss home. There are many times when I come back from a long day and miss my mom having a meal made for me and being able to do homework with my family in the living room with me. Cherish these moments because you will definitely miss them no matter how close you are to your family.
  10. Use your resources: I recommend talking to your high school counselor and college counselor often. Do not be shy when it comes to college. Finances and academics are confusing as you make your transition over, but remember tons of people do it and so can you. Your counselors have helped many others before you and are there to help now! Be smart and utilize your resources. If you are too nervous, try to find a current student to reach out to. For women coming to Embry-Riddle, you have a Women’s Ambassador. On top of that, my mom’s friend’s daughter also attended school here, so I was able to meet with her during summer and have my questions answered! It’s a small world, you never know who you may know that could be useful! (P.S. Do you FASFA earlier rather than later! It was the most stressful part of starting college for me.)

I hope these tips serve you well! The biggest takeaway: it all works out in the end! These are just tips to be a little extra wise!

– Maddie Dietrich

Goodbye island life

This is probably the only blog from an Embry-Riddle student who started two first days at this University, 5 years apart.

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that one year ago, I was a Key West trolley tour guide.  I entertained tourists with facts of the island and repeated the same corny jokes to them every day, sometimes with a few originals.  Chances are good that if you visited Key West and rode on an orange and green trolley over the past year, I was your bus driver and guide.  I also drove the Key West haunted tours, a type of meet and greet with Key West characters like Robert the doll as well as the other types of spirits….not necessarily the ones found in haunted houses.  I found myself living on the island by accident.  I went to be a dog sitter for two weeks and ended staying almost a year!  You might say I caught what the locals call the “Keys Disease” and it’s hard to resist.  People come for a visit but never leave.  It’s said on the island that if you show up to work every day, you have a job.  If two weeks later you’re still showing up on time, they’ll make you the manager.  Well, sure enough, the dog left town with its owner and I stayed.  As well as being a tour guide, I worked other side jobs such as newspaper delivery boy, bakeshop dishwasher, and event security (a.k.a. bouncer).

The island life was a relaxing and good one.  It is hard to resist the sunniest place in Florida with the least amount of rain.  It ‘s truly Paradise except, endless renditions of Jimmy Buffett songs blaring down from Duval Street.  One day I woke up with one more hangover and realized I wasn’t moving forward with my life.  It was time for me to progress forward on my flight plan for life.

This was the culmination of a restlessness that I tried to resolve, and it brought me through many different experiences.  These included several semesters at a state university, a shopkeeper in South Beach, and an unpaid Internship for Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in DC.  This was right after I withdrew myself from Embry Riddle; I wanted to try something different in life. But my passions drew me back.

On August 27, 2012, my second first day of college began.  Once again excited to be making progress, living in campus dorms, and starting from where I had left off, but more focused on my degree: Aviation Business Administration.  In one week, I will be curing my desires, dusting off the backpack and train hopping across Europe to appease my wandering soul.  In one month, I will be attending classes with the Study Abroad program in Berlin, and in one year, I will be an Embry-Riddle alumnus. It’s a long way from the old island life, and it feels great!