My Summer

Summer is a great time where free time is not scarce. However if you don’t plan it well it can become really boring after a couple of weeks.

My summer started in May right after I finished my hardest test, Themes and Humanities. An English class can be quite challenging. That day I came straight home and I fell sleep for about 12 hours until the next day. Some people go out dinner, others go out to party, others start driving back home, I just wanted to sleep. I was exhausted.

There were no classes, wrestling training ended, and no more waking up at 6 am almost every day! The release of pressure felt weird the first week, it felt almost like when buying a new pair of shoes. Soon, I realized that I didn’t know what to do with all the free time I had so, I called my parents looking for advice (I didn’t ask but I implied). “So, mom,” I said. “What are you and my dad going to do this Sunday?”  She replied, “I don’t know son but we are going to find something to do that we love.”  Wooo, it was mind blowing. Apparently, because I was so focused at school I had lost track of what I love to do. (It was kinda scary when it was hard to remember what I love to do)…

The following week I started getting back on what I love to do. For the first 4 weeks of summer I spent all my time reading, fishing, hiking, sleeping, going to the movies, morning runs, coming back to friends…


I was busy to hanging out, going to the lake to do nothing other than lay down at the shore, and I started playing chess again at the Prescott Public Library (By the way, those elder men know how play chess, I didn’t win one single game.) —-The remaining 2 months is a story for another time.

Carlos  Carlos chess

I realize that having fun and doing what you love is as important as getting good grades. I started thinking “How I could stop doing what I love to do?” I came to conclusion that there has to be a balance between college and time for yourself and this year as a sophomore, I am going to find this balance.Carlos Sedona

Carlos hike

carlos water


Go Hard or Go Home — My Arrival Story

I would like to share a piece of advice to anyone reading this blog. I know I am not your friend (I can be though if you leave a comment!) or your parent but if I can help or motive somebody out there it will make me happy.

I was just a kid of 18 years old when I decided to come to some wrestling tournaments in Arizona (remember, I’m from Mexico). The infrastructure behind the tournaments was impressive and right away I really wanted to stay and compete here in U.S. I only could participate in one tournament because they were so expensive. But I won! I won the only tournament that I could afford (thank you to my parents!). In that tournament I caught one coach’s attention (Fernando).


I noticed he was always around to see my matches, so I introduced myself and we exchanged e-mails to keep in touch. “He is a great guy” I thought. After some months of emailing each other, Fernando put in front of me the opportunity that was going to change my life. He asked if I would like to come to U.S. to finish high school and learn English. There are not words enough to describe the feelings that came over me. I said yes right away! The only problem I could foresee was that I did not have any prior or even basic knowledge of the English language. The only two words I knew were “bathroom” and “food” and I think I could not pronounce them correct!

One of the hardest days in my life was leaving my home country. I had to give up friends, family, culture, food, my living style, basically everything I had and I knew for this one single shot of success. It was going to be way more difficult than just trying to “learn a little English and finish high school” as Fernando inferred.

carlos family

I was under a lot of pressure. In one year I had to get a scholarship, finish high school, and learn more than basic English or I would have to go back to Mexico and leave my wrestling team. Fernando helped me do all the paper work required to get in high school. He had faith in me.

Everyone in the school told me that to graduate from high school, for someone in zero level English, was going to take a minimum of 2 years of special classes. Even my consul said to me, “Carlos, I am sorry to tell you this but finishing high school in one year is not something achievable.” The only thought that came to my mind after everybody told me that what I wanted was impossible was, “No body will tell me what I can or I can’t do, I am graduating!!”

I still remember the first day of classes; it was cloudy, wet and very cold. The school placed me in an English program for level zero English students. I can think of nothing that has challenged me more than the first two months of high school. I could not understand anything in classes or in regular basic situations. I used to get very frustrated in the two regular classes I was taking – Pre-calculus and U.S. History – classes that even for English speakers are complicated. I pushed my self every single day for the next six months. Then suddenly I could understand 60 percent of the whole class. For me that was what I needed to push myself even farther. The next week I went to the principle to tell her that I was dropping the special classes to become a regular student. Regular classes were awful and hard and I wasn’t able to communicate with any professor yet. But finally, when those 12 months were over, somehow, I overcame every single obstacle. I passed all the classes; I passed the state test; I finished the 3 credits I was behind; I got a scholarship; and I graduated. It was one of my happiest days in my life.

This is just a short part of what I have been through. I’m writing this because I would like to reach as many students as I can to tell them that any obstacle, any hard class, any problem can be solved if you want it bad enough. I know Embry-Riddle is not an easy college but it is one of the best. I encourage you to try as hard as you can and eventually you will overcome what is stopping you. If I could graduate from high school without any English knowledge, you can get done whatever you want.

—As my old coach from Mexico always told me ” Go hard or go home.”  That’s the best I can translate it.

Have an awesome semester!

carlos family

5 Tools to Survive Winter in Prescott (especially if you are from Mexico)

The last month was one of the coldest months in Prescott. The place I came from is nothing like Prescott. I’m from Mexico – warm weather and beaches. The weather back in my town is never lower than 50 F. Now you can imagine how hard and rough winter has been for me! (Don’t laugh)

I did research about the human body’s spots that lose the heat fastest. I found out that those spots are: hands, head, toes, and the neck. Based on that, the following 5 items are the basic winter equipment everyone should have to survive in Prescott.

1. Waterproof jacket — There are times when Prescott becomes a massive waterfall. A waterproof jacket is necessary.

2. Waterproof boots — Prescott is not known for having a lot of snow but sometimes it dumps (like this year). Waterproof boots will help you to keep your toes dry and warm. I can say that I really needed them!

3. Gloves — Cold hands are not funny, they hurt and the feeling of not feeling them is awful. Get good gloves. They are essential.carlos gloves

4. Warm hat — The research shows that the head is the spot that loses heat fastest. A good hat is very important.

5. Car cover (if you don’t have a garage) — Even with a waterproof jacket, waterproof boots, gloves and a warm hat, you still won’t want to get up early to scrape your car. Get a car cover.

carlos car cover


With this basic winter equipment you will survive.

Calros snow

Beautiful snow in Prescott

Faculty are Awesome but Read the Syllabus!

Hello everyone. I hope all of you guys are having an awesome fall semester. I can’t believe how quick this semester is going by. It’s like when you are so tired and you fall asleep at 10 pm and then suddenly it is 8 am already in the morning.

This fall semester has been really challenging for me, but yet it’s been really fun. I have said that I was a little scared when I started my classes. I began learning English 1 year and 8 months ago and even though the ERLI Program (English course) helped me to improve my English I feel that I have still a lot of things to learn. I would like to share my experience as an international Freshman in this first 2 months I’ve been in classes.

I clearly remember the first day I attended my morning class in math (MA120). Everyone was standing outside the classroom waiting for the time to get in. I felt an awkward atmosphere; nobody talking because nobody knew anybody. It was almost a complete silence. Professor John Jenkins got there before any other professor. As soon as he opened the door everyone started walking toward the classroom. Then, we took a look around to see who else was placed in the same class.

Professor Jenkins greeted us with a “Good morning everyone!!!This is going to be an awesome semester,” yet nobody talked. As soon as the class started, he handed us a syllabus with a follow explanation about what was the purpose of the class, what he was expecting from us, how he was going to grade us, etc. He gave us a specific and very detailed working plan for the fall semester. Also, the other three professors I have right now did the same thing the first day of classes. It was awesome.

The first month was the most challenging for me. Even though every professor went over the syllabus the first day, it is still hard to get use to the lifestyle of a college student. I did not read the syllabus closely and I truly regretted it. If I had read it when I was supposed to, it would have saved me two weeks of struggles. Finally, after those two long unnecessary weeks of troubles (It was all my fault) I made everything fall into place; material for classes, homework, schedules, time to rest, social life, and training.

For all of those who attended the “Open House” and have decided already to come to Embry-Riddle next spring or next fall, I want to tell you “Please, check the syllabus as soon as the professors post them on canvas (online class system) before the classes start.” This will save you a lot of time and will keep you out of many troubles.

Certainly, I knew long before college started that it wasn’t going to be easy. This not because of the classes but because English is not my first language. All classes in Embry-Riddle have a high degree vocabulary (I could not expect less) which is great, but it was a big challenge to adapt the daily base-English to a sophisticated-English used in every single class. The hardest class was Basics of Aeronautics. It is funny, before I came to Embry-Riddle, the biggest thing I’ve ever driven was a Geo Metro three cylinder, and now I have a class where basically it is all about things that fly and they are bigger than a three cylinder car! Also, what makes it harder is that there are some parts of airplanes, names, terminology that do not even have a translation to Spanish. You can imagine how hard it was for me try to relate and understand the terminology when the closest I have ever been to a real airplane was when I bought a toy plane a long time ago.

The same thing happened in Basics of Management. There is terminology that does not even exist in Spanish and some others where the translation is not even close. I was so frustrated. I thought, “Oh my god, that’s too difficult,” but then I remembered, “What are you doing? You are not here alone!” so I started seeking help.

It didn’t take a lot of time; roommates, friends and of course, professors and staff were more than happy to help me get through. Now, after almost two months, I understand almost any word my professors say and if I don’t understand a term they always encourage me to ask. One of them said to our class “The dumbest question is the one not asked.”

I am so glad that I chose this college out of all my options. Everybody on campus is willing to help plus they love it. Professors own already all my respect as excellent professors as well as great people. ERAU professorThe only thing I can say about my professors is that they are more than qualified to teach. It is really amazing how professors don’t need a book to teach; they just stand up in front of the class and spit out whichever is the topic. I noticed since the first week in class that professors at Embry-Riddle are not there just because they have the knowledge to teach, they are there because they were actually doing what they teach. In class when William O’Hara (my professor of Basics of Aeronautics) is talking about airplanes, I get a feeling that he can disarm an airplane and put it back together while eating a donut and drinking coffee in his free time. Simply amazing!

ERAU faculty


Embry-Riddle has been my best decision so far.

Thanks for the time you took to read this blog, I appreciate it.

OctoberWest Homecoming is Perfect for Stress Relief

Hello every one. Last week wasn’t quite normal at Embry-Riddle. Last week was OctoberWest and Wings out West – our homecoming and private air show. October West LogoThis event involved many different activities. Some of those were the career fair and some others for entertainment such as the hypnotist Bruce MacDonald, inflatable games, fireworks, etc. I most liked the inflatable games and then right after that the fireworks.

The week of OctoberWest was really stressful for me. We began training for wrestling twice a day three times a week – one training in the afternoon and one in the morning. Also I had a very long test in Basics of Aeronautics on Friday.

I finished my test Friday around noon. By the time I was done, I wanted go home to sleep. But something in the back of my mind told me that the fair was going to be something very fun. I hesitated about if I should go or not, then I thought “I will have to wait one year to have this fair back again” so I decided to go.

I went back home for lunch and rested for some time. Around 5:30 I left my home for Embry-Riddle. When I got there at the parking lot, I saw many students walking towards the softball fields wearing jackets. I thought they were overreacting, “The weather is not that cold,” I thought. I got out the car, and uff!! Yes, it was cold. I didn’t want go back home to get a jacket so I just kept walking toward the fair.

The first thing I heard was the music. I could see many inflatable games, some OctoberWest 2015gigantic plastic balls where you supposed to get in and roll around, free food tables, people hanging around, and even a DJ. It was awesome!

First, I went to a game that was like a wall with circular targets on it. You had to kick the football, soccer ball or basketball toward the targets on the wall. It was fun just being there with other students, some of them international (by the way they are good in soccer), talking to them, getting know each other a little, and playing together like we knew each other for always.

After 30 minutes of kicking the ball trying to hit the target I got hungry. They had buffalo wild wings and submarine sandwiches. I took some food and I went to sit. While I was eating I contemplated the view all around the event. I was glad I came.

I ran into a friend who invited me to try a game. This game was a horizontal ladder attached from one side to the other side. The point of this was to try to cross from one side to the other using the suspended ladder. I thought it was so easy that I didn’t want to try it. My friend insisted, so I gave it a shot. I realized it was very difficult as soon a put my hand on the ladder. My best try was get to the middle but that’s it. OMG!! It is something incredibly hard to do.

Next we went to “Spark ball.” I have tried spark ball one or two times, but the guys that were playing it looked like professionals. This game is for 2-person teams, so I had to get a partner. I looked around, then I saw a guy watching the game. I went to say hi and got him on my team. We played for a while against the team that looked like professionals. At the end we lost by only 2 points. My partner and I were very proud of ourselves, we actually got some points! The undefeated team asked us if we wanted to be part of the spark ball club on campus. I gave them my e-mail. Definitely, spark ball is a very fun game.

I saw some guys playing soccer so I went to play soccer for a few minutes until I heard the DJ say, “The fireworks will start in 5 minutes.” We stopped playing soccer and I went to find a place to sit down to watch the fireworks show. By this time it was very cool OctoberWest Fireworksoutside but I totally forgot it. Blue, green, yellow, red, and many different colors illuminated the sky for 20 minutes.
I laid down on the grass to watch them. It was very relaxing. I am glad that even though I was tired and stressed out from the long week I came to the fair. Even though, I knew I had a lot of things to do for the weekend, including of course homework, the fair took out all my stress, leaving me ready for this week.

This was a really good experience. Certainly I will come next year. Thanks for the fun OctoberWest.

It’s Official I Have My Own Blog!

Hello everyone my name is Carlos Apodaca. I am officially a new blogger at Embry-Riddle! You will see older posts from me because I was a guest blogger this past summer.

I am fCarlos - soccerrom Obregon, Sonora, Mexico. This is my first semester as a Freshman but I’ve been here since January 2015 attending an English course that I just graduated from through the Embry-Riddle Language Institute (ERLI). Also, I am going to be involved in the wrestling team. This is something I am very excited about. I am studying Global Business as my degree program and am loving it too. The things I most like to do are wrestling, watch movies, hike to as many beautiful places as I can (Chi Alpha is making a lot of hiking trips), rock climbing, fishing, rock concerts, reading books, playing chess, and of course I love soccer!

Chi Alpha Embry-Riddle

Chi Alpha Embry-Riddle

I hope everybody is having an awesome fall semester! Blogging is a great way for me to practice my English so I’ll be posting more throughout the year.