Thanksgiving 1,354 miles from home

Happy Holidays! Since Thanksgiving just past, and more holidays are quickly approaching, I thought I would talk about spending my second Thanksgiving 1,354 miles from home. Let me start-off by saying it is not as bad as you might think. Some people go home, some go to friends houses, and other stay out with friends, but a lot of people decide to stay in town because the break is short.

Last year for Thanksgiving, some of my friends who stayed in Prescott and I went to my grandparents in Tucson. This year my friends who stayed in town and I had a Friendsgiving. At Friendsgiving, we made dinner, played some games, laid on the floor, and fought like siblings. Just like any normal Thanksgiving. Eight of my closest friends gathered into a house and tried our hands at a family Thanksgiving (secret… it is harder than you think; thank your parents…ALOT!).

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The day started with people in the kitchen while others watched the parade, then progressed into games around the appetizers, then dinner which made everyone so full they laid on the floor in a food coma, then we did dishes and had dessert.

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Although it was not like Thanksgiving at home, it was one for the books. Our first Thanksgiving dinner made by ourselves, surrounded by people who love you, is one of the biggest blessings. So, if you are considering moving far away from home and know you won’t be able to go home for Thanksgiving, or other holidays, just know that you will not be alone. Other people will be in your boat and you will have friends to celebrate with. It makes a classic family holiday new again with a new family to celebrate with, many blessings to be thankful for, and possibly a new tradition formed.

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College is what you make it, so make the most of it

College looks different for everyone. Some people are at big schools others are at small, some are engineers while others are GSIS students, but we are all trying to optimize the time that we have in college. Whether we like it or not our undergraduate career is generally eight semesters, sometimes ten, but that is it, it basically boils down to 4-5 years. On the outside looking in, it seems like a long time, a lot of tests, and studying, and it is, but it is also so much more. College is a time to be yourself, grow, find out what you want to do with your life, and make it your own. School will always come first but college is much more than the lessons you learn in a fifty-minute class or on a homework assignment. It’s about the roommate conflicts, the late night coffee runs, and the spontaneous adventures to the dells at one in the morning. The long talks with new friends and letting go of old ones, learning to do your own laundry and time management, and everything in-between. But that is the beauty of it.

For me college is…

Friends who will always study with me

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School spirit

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Giving back

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Adventure

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Late night Walmart adventures

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Early morning coffee runs

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Longing to see friends back home while creating lifelong relationships hereimg2097055872-1

Exploring the glorious world, we live in

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And finding out what truly makes me happy

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… What does college mean to you? And how are you/ will you make the most out of the short time you have here?

Internship at Garmin

ryan-airplaneby guest blogger Ryan Bishop, Senior in Engineering

“Hardware eventually breaks. Software eventually works.”

Many analogies can be drawn from the above quote, but I would like to describe what it means to me. I have spent seven out of the last thirteen years trying to improve my software before the hardware broke. A blue-collar worker sells his physical body a little at a time, while a white-collar engineer sells his knowledge. Having knowledge and experience in both fields now, I have a new respect for engineers and a new drive for my future. I have learned that engineering is much more about how you think than anything learned in the classroom.
ryan-equipmentryan-desk       As of the beginning of this internship at Garmin, it was my objective to understand the certification process, and the internal processes and programs used at Garmin AT. While the process to certify a product for aviation use is rather simple, the act of gaining the data to support certification claims is a complex process that necessitates a department of 40+ engineers to gain and maintain certification. This is an internal process up to the point of FAA demonstration that requires many tools to remain organized. To track the revision of documents, I had to learn and utilize StarTeam, then do the same with Requiem, as Garmin changed programs during my stay. ryan-cable Issues found during testing were logged in Aviation JIRA, a network-based program that allows for categorization, assignment, and tracking of workflow. In an effort to share the tribal knowledge among its employees, Garmin uses a wiki page, Confluence. Meetings occur on a regular basis to discuss, categorize, and assign tasks, at both high and low levels.
ryan-garmin        The culture and community is unlike any company I’ve worked for. It is very apparent that Garmin values its employees for much more than just their productivity. Office life is very lax, but also considerate and respectful. There is little daily oversight or feedback, but rather a quiet expectation to accomplish tasks efficiently and in harmony with those you work with for a given project. Although I was an hourly employee, ryan-awesomemy schedule was up to me. I was not expected to work any number of hours, as long as my work was completed on time. I did have bi-weekly meetings with my mentor to monitor progress and ensure that I was getting the most of my internship.
Beyond the technical knowledge and skills I gained at Garmin, I also learned many things about myself and my place in the engineering workplace. As an aircraft mechanic, I was not very involved in avionics and I never became a pilot. I felt so very out of place working at an avionics giant. Although we all love airplanes, we speak in different terms. From this I’ve learned that specialization is key. We also speak at much different volumes. I am loud, in more ways than one and I know this. From this I’ve learned that if you’re going to be loud, try to do so outside of the visual and audible spectrum, or at least make it of pleasant tone and color. It was a very valuable experience for me and I have a direction for my future.

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The Rare Phenomenon known as Thunder Snow

I was visiting a friend in Flagstaff, AZ this weekend at NAU (Northern Arizona University) (Flagstaff is an hour and a half north of Prescott) and we were working on homework Sunday night when all of a sudden we heard a loud BOOM! For a second we were both incredibly confused seeing that there wasn’t any chance of a Thunderstorm in the forecast for Northern Arizona and it wasn’t even raining outside in fact it was snowing!Image result for NAU snow

We ran to the door of the apartment to peak outside to see other NAU students anxiously looking out into the dark cold cloudy skies of Northern Arizona wondering if we weren’t all losing our minds. A few seconds later that’s when I realized what was actually taking place. I noticed off in the distance a series of lightning strikes flashing around the San Francisco Peaks followed by a mild rumble of steady thunder filling the silence of a quiet cold windy Sunday night — Thunder Snow!.

I have a passion for weather. Being a pilot, it’s something I’ve learned to check periodically throughout my day so being able to witness the very rare phenomenon known as Thunder Snow had to probably be one of the most rewarding experience I have been able to witness while living here in Northern Arizona!635898787435863929-lightning-strike2-ThinkstockPhotos-469850273

The definition of Thunder Snow is an unusual kind of thunderstorm with snow falling as the primary precipitation instead of rain and occurs in regions where a strong upward motion is present within the cold sector of an extratropical cyclone (Wikipedia). This is one of the many reasons I adore the state of Arizona because you have a front row seat to some of the most amazing and most unique weather events that you may not have the luxury of experiencing in any other states in the United States. All you have to do is step outside and look up!

Top 4 Reasons Why I Love Being a Student and You Will Too!

We are back, campus is bustling, and classes are in session. Over break, I was able to enjoy time with my friends and family while enjoying the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. But there was always a little part of me that wanted to come back to Northern Arizona and school. For at least the next four years, my job is to be a student and I rather enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong school is hard and stressful, but it is filled with opportunities and lessons that apply to my future.

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Because of this, I am listing my top four reasons I love being a college student:
1. This is the only time in your life you are able to be selfish with your time. You get to decide what you want to do and when you want to do it. I do not have to focus on paying bills, working full time, or many other things. My one priority is school, and I put the distractions in my life there not somebody else.
2. Everything you learn will help you in your future. High school seemed like it was filled with busy work and lessons that would not apply in the future. But now I get to study what I like. My US legal systems teacher is formatting the class to the student’s interests and careers that they would like when they graduate. He is doing this to ensure success and that we are prepared for our future careers and the real world. That’s cool!
3. There are so many opportunities. Whether it is on campus or off campus there are many things to do. Between clubs, organizations, and jobs your days can be as busy as you would like them to be. I have had many opportunities at Embry-Riddle that I never expected, like making great friends, going shooting for the first time, cliff jumping, and experiencing what a life will be like with a career in the Global Security and Intelligence realm.
4. You get used to getting out of your comfort zone. By this, I mean you will have to do things that you do not want to do. For me it is public speaking and putting myself in positions where there is possibility for failure, for others it could be not being accepted in a club they are joining, or any other numerous thing. Everything that takes you outside of your comfort zone is a time where you are learning about not only yourself now but also who you wanted to be in the future. Learning to feel comfortable outside of your comfort zone is a large part of what college teaches you that will help prepare you do the future.

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Although school is a lot of work, stressful, and overwhelming, I love being a student. The challenges I face and the people I meet are helping me become a better person and are helping prepare me for the world outside of academia. I am learning to enjoy every step of my college journey, from late nights to early mornings, frustrating teachers to the best teachers, and all the little things in between. Being a college student is a time to challenge yourself, a time to focus on yourself and your future, and a time to help you leave your comfort zone. I have decided to embrace the challenges and try to enjoy every minute of being a college student I can.

My Top 3 Fall Activities at ERAU

My favorite semester is fall, not just because I’m coming back to school and my friends but because there’s some great adventures I’ve made into a yearly tradition. and I want to tell you about them. I hope you try these out when you get here!

Snowbowl Ski Lift, Flagstaff, AZ. One of my favorite off campus events I enjoy Top of Snowbowldoing in the Fall is driving an hour and a half north to the city of Flagstaff driving around downtown and towards the San Francisco Peaks. Here in Prescott we get a fair share of fall foliage around town and even more closely here on campus. However, one of the best places to view fall foliage is in the city of Flagstaff. As a guy that was born and raised in New Orleans there is no such thing as fall foliage. The seasons down south are a lot less defined as it is in most states around the country. I still to this day get very excited when the Fall season starts because of the impeccable beauty it shares throughout Northern Arizona. I try to make time to take a trip up to Snowbowl every year in late September. At Snowbowl you can ride the lifts up to the very top peak of Mount Humphries and get a chance to look out and see miles and miles of crisp beautiful yellow, red, and orange leaves surrounding the San Francisco Peaks and throughout the town of Flagstaff, smelling the fresh aspen trees as you ride the lift up to 11,500 ft. the highest mountain peak in the state of Arizona.  It is honestly one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had while living here in Northern Arizona. It is one of the most relaxing and de-stressing day events that really help keep you leveled when the fall semester workload is beginning to pick up. Another really cool thing that you get a chance to take advantage is that they have amazing sales at the ski shop located at the bottom of the lift. You can take advantage of the exceptional deals and pick up some great snow and ski gear to impress skiiers and snowboarders once the winter season gets into full swing.

Off Campus: Go Kart Racing, Scottsdale, AZ Whenever I have the need for speed Racing!I love to drive down an hour and a half south and visit Octane Raceway and go Go Kart Racing with my friends and fraternity brothers to take a break from studying. Octane is located in Scottsdale, AZ which is a city located to the east of Phoenix. Scottsdale has great shopping and some amazing restaurants so there’s a lot to check out while you’re down there. Octane Raceway has a very challenging course that takes you from the inside of the facility to an outdoors patio lounge area where you get a chance to feel the very dry hot air from the Phoenix dessert. The Karts go up to 45 miles per hour so there’s a lot of power for you to get your urge for speeding and racing out of your system. Its so much fun taking a break and coming down to race with my friends because it gives us a chance to hang out get a little competitive and just have an incredible time with each other.

On Campus: Halloween Haunted House sponsored by the Safety Center If you are like me and enjoy your occasional scream here and there around the Halloween season you don’t have to look too far. Our Robertson Safety Center puts on a Channeling Jimizombie-themed haunted house that utilizes their crash site as the backdrop. There’s nothing more exciting than the eerie feeling of wrecked planes surrounding you while zombies pop out at every corner crouching over bent propellers and behind crushed fuselages. It was so much fun being able to have a moment where my friends and I could laugh at each others facial expressions as the suspense of not knowing what was behind each corner or even next to our feet etched the most amusing look of fear on our faces. I honestly hadn’t laughed so hard in so long. It helped make that Halloween season one I will forever remember here at Embry Riddle with some of the most amazing people I have been so lucky to have met during my years here.

 

Here’s an update: Just went to Flagstaff this past weekend for the fall colors again!

Flagstaff 10-17-15

Flagstaff 10-17-15