365 Days Ago – Decision Time.

A year ago today I made one of the best decisions of my life. A year ago today I visited campus for the first time. A year ago today I made the decision to attend Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott Arizona. I was not one of those students who waited till decision day in May to make my decisions. I was lucky, I had already been accepted to all of the schools I had applied to and had narrowed down my list. One in state and one out of state, it was decision time for me. After numerous visits to Washington State University, it was time to take the flight and come visit Embry-Riddle.

The Girls at Angles Landing   Senior Year On Campus

Before this trip, I had never been to Arizona and thought it was a place where everything was poisonous and wanted to kill. I was wrong. I was shown the glorious cactuses, the Disney-like rock formations in the Dells, and the wonderful sun of Arizona. After a day on campus, I was sure that this was my home. My tour guide gave me a glimpse into the school, and the students I met on campus loved their majors and were excited to tell me about the school. Seeing the green grass in front of the student union and the dorms where I would be living showed me what life would be like at Embry-Riddle. The thought of moving states away and leaving my family was hard, but once I walked on campus, I knew this would be my home for the next four years.

Snow DayRoadtrip to Arches
Looking back on the past year and all the changes, blessings, and challenges I can only smile. The stress of packing up my life and moving to another state (I flew to campus with my parents and fit everything I needed in 3 boxes and 2 carry ons), dealing with homesickness, and falling in love with my major, I could not imagine being anywhere else. Late night adventures, early mornings, and a new family here have made me even more thankful for this decision I made 365 days ago.

Paint War Group Shot Beaver Creek

Rachel Red Bridge
As acceptance letters keep rolling in during these next few months I urge you to visit all the schools you are seriously considering. Seeing campus on a computer and seeing it in person can make a world of difference, or at least it did for me. So as you keep going on this adventure, the odds are in your favor that you’ll find the perfect school for you. I am sure that you all will find a home at university, Embry-Riddle or not, and have the ability to look back a year from now and smile!

A Life-Changing Weekend at NGPA Conference

 

Jeffrey - NGPATo say this weekend in Palm Springs, California at the National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA) Conference was incredible would be an understatement. I can’t quite explain just how valuable it was to take a minute away from the study world to partake in an unforgettable weekend with my Riddle family.

 

I am so passionate about the industry I am apart of and I love the people I have surrounded myself with over these last few years here at Embry-Riddle. I’m so grateful for the growth I’ve made since last year’s NGPA conference.Jeffery NGPA

This year’s conference brought along new experiences, new opportunities, new friendships, new sets of goals, and a completely different outlook on where I want my career to go in the future. I was able to solidify an internship opportunity with United Airlines and a possible job opportunity with PSA Airlines once I receive all of the required flight certifications. Yes, it’s that powerful!

 

Jeffrey & Caitlyn JennerWe even met and talked with Caitlyn Jenner who was at the conference and is a pilot herself.

I believe the NGPA conference is an incredibly valuable conference for any aspiring pilot to attend because of all of the networking opportunities that are available with people from all parts of the industry. I’ve never been so happy just being me and I wouldn’t be where I’m at if it weren’t for what NGAP stands for and the community they have developed over the years as a safe zone for pilots all over the country. It is such an exciting and liberating feeling anticipating where my career will take me next. This is only the beginning the rest is still unwritten.

Jeffery NGPA

Jeffery NGPA

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.

Seattle Waterfront

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.

TND 
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.

1 Semester Down – 7 Semesters to Go

It is hard to believe that my first semester of college is over. This semester has brought tears and many joyful moments, late nights and early mornings, as well as amazing friendships and hard goodbyes. College by no means is easy, but it is a crazy adventure that is worth the work.
Rock Climbing
Looking back, I remember arriving on campus in August scared that I would not make friends and that school would be too hard. But, I came out of my first semester having to say some of the hardest goodbyes to my friends who became family and the knowledge that if I put my mind to it I can be successful in college.

Big Little
The organizations I am apart of is a major reason why my first semester was spectacular. Being involved in my sorority, Alpha Xi Delta, has helped connect me to other girls on campus and become more involved. I have helped collect cans for the food bank, supported other Greek organizations, and built some great friendships which I am thankful for. The other organization that I have been heavily apart of at Embry-Riddle is Chi Alpha. If you have read my other posts, Chi Alpha is the group I explore and go on my crazy adventures with. I have faced many fears and built long lasting friendships with this group. I know I have said this before, but this semester has truly shown me that getting involved on campus is important.

Bid Day Celebration  Initiation
Friends. This is a major part of what makes college, college. Most of my close friends are a part of the clubs and organizations I am a part of. These are the people I have spent every day with for the past four months and I would have it no other way. Leaving campus to go home for winter break was almost as sad as when my parents left me in August. To send me off, my friends and I opened and seeded a pomegranate, it was an eye opening and fun experience to share with them and definitely messy. Knowing that I will not be able to tell them about my day, or share interesting meals with them, or go hiking in the dells for a whole month was a hard pill to swallow even if it’s only a couple weeks.

FriendFamily Photo  Safari Crush Party  Pomegranate
Since my life outside of the classroom has been so eventful and wonderful, it makes me loving my major even better. Studying Global Security and Intelligence has been my dream since I was little and having the ability to make that dream a reality has been wonderful. My professors knew who I was and noticed when I was not in class even in my larger (fifty student) class. This is something that surprised and shocked me, but helped drive me to succeed.

Allie and Page
Although college is great and I had a wonderful first semester, it was hard. Being homesick, moving away and adjusting to the workload that Embry-Riddle requires was not necessarily easy. Classes where hard and there were many nights where I stayed up past my “bed time” to finish assignments or study, but it is worth it. Facing all the challenges head on helped me have a wonderful first semester, which is a trend I expect to carry on throughout college.

Ice Skating
Now that the semester is over and the year is trekking on, I wanted to reach out to incoming or prospective students, if you have any questions regarding Embry-Riddle, the transition from high school to college, or anything in between do not be afraid to ask. It is a big change, but definitely worth the effort. Comment below and I’ll respond when I get back for semester #2.

No Fear – Why I Now Love Arizona!

Arizona. If I am being completely honest, I never wanted to live in Arizona. From the sun, the snakes, and no trees I was skeptical and afraid when I moved here in August. But with the fall semester winding down, and my first semester of college wrapping up, I can honestly say that I have fallen in love with Arizona.

Slot Canyon
For one, Prescott has four seasons and trees. Perfect pool weather in August and chilly fall temperatures that makes my inner Washingtonian smile. I could not be more blessed. I love being able to walk around campus and see the leaves on the ground, with the chill of the fall breeze on my back.

Downtown
Besides the weather, there are so many adventures to be had! This past week I drove up to Page, Arizona with Chi Alpha and explored two different canyons. Coming from a place filled with trees, I found the bouldering, mountain goating, and crawling through slot canyons to be truly magnificent and different.

Page and George
Winding through narrow pathways surrounded by beautiful rocks, climbing over boulders that look like a scene from Star Wars, and watching the sunset over the Horseshoe Bend allows you to take a moment and reflect.

Star Wars SceneThrow What You Know
Arizona has challenged me, shown me glorious things, and gave me new friendships. The fear of moving to a place filled with cactus, snakes, and sun has left and been replaced with joy, adventure, and friendship.

Colorado River
Don’t be afraid of the unknown or moving to a new state, it will be scary and hard in the beginning, but trust me you are not alone. Soon the fear will be turned into other things, like it has for me, and you will wonder why you were scared in the beginning. It’s time to start a new chapter in your life, time to jump in with two feet, and know it will be worth it!

Two months in — It’s OK to be slightly homesick

You’ve been here now for about 2 months; I know it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, time flies here, no pun intended. You’re slowly beginning to get into the swing of things. See it wasn’t so hard. Midterms are finally over. This is also a time where you are left with a little bit more free time than before and your mind has time to wonder and think of home.

You start to realize that those phone calls and Face time sessions are no longer enough. This is when that thing, that one thing no student wants to admit they have caught, homesickness, shows up. As a freshman it’s hard to admit. No one wants to admit that they are missing home, especially to their parents because you know there just going to tell you “I told you so.”

As a freshman it’s normal for you to begin to miss home around this time in the semester. Looking back now at my freshman year I remember this moment very vividly. It was hard. Being from New Orleans, LA there are a great deal of things we do that are a part of our unique culture that many other places don’t do and even think we’re crazy for doing. Small things like getting excited for Christmas in the Oaks in City Park, trying to get your last fix of snowballs before it starts getting too cold to want to eat one, attending the Saints games now that football season is beginning to get a little bit more interesting, trying to get that last batch of crawfish from the Seafood Pot before the season officially ends and just hanging with my family and friends when I need someone who understands all of my weirdness.

Making snow angels in Downtown Prescott.

Making snow angels in downtown Prescott.

Crawfish, Corn, and Cajun Potatoes!

Crawfish, Corn, and Cajun Potatoes!

It’s hard because you just arrived here a few months ago and Arizona isn’t quite home yet. I know, you can’t even imagine calling Arizona home, but trust me you will. It happens to all of us after Christmas break when we realize just how amazing this state is along with not knowing how we were ever able to live life without the friends we’ve met here at Riddle this semester. Just hang on, don’t let the stress of being homesick take over your mind by swallowing your thoughts and making it difficult to stay focused. Continue to stay busy. Hang out with your “crew” continuing to create incredible memories. Oh and if midterms got the best of you don’t let it discourage you. This is your first introduction to the format of college exams. Take it as a learning experience and build from it. We all do bad on at least one exam, it happens. Keep pushing through, the semester will be wrapping up in a blink of an eye and before you know it you’ll be back home with your family and friends enjoying all that the holidays have to offer and before you have the chance to notice, you’ll be wishing you were back at Riddle with the second family you’ve had the opportunity to build so far. This is just the beginning of your journey the rest is still unwritten.

Pi Kappa Phi and Alpha Xi Delta Formal.

Pi Kappa Phi and Alpha Xi Delta Formal.

 

F… is For Friends Who do Things Together!

Do you recognize the title from Spongebob? Well in one of Spongebob’s infamous scenes he sings about making friends and staying together…it is actually pretty entertaining, especially for Spongebob fans. From the first week until today I have made many friends at Embry-Riddle. Some that stay, a few that go, but the best are the roommates I had freshmen year…

This picture of Spongebob is pretty much what we look like as a crew.

As a freshmen I met 5 new roommates I’d live with for a year and unknowingly become best friends with 2 of them. Crazy enough I still live with them. We’re bonded with a friendship that’s strong to the core. It helps that I am in a Marine Officer Program while the other two are ROTC, one army and one Air Force. As you can see we have one huge thing in common, military lifestyles.

I think it’s great that we are all studying different subjects at Embry-Riddle! GSIS, Aerospace Engineering and Electrical Engineering. So even though we all manage different schedules and classes we manage to get together almost every weekend and go to Picture Show for an awesome movie that just came out or we play the new Call of Duty video game or even just go to Buffalo Wild Wings. A weekend with us is always a fun one!

Encountering these gentlemen have made my stay at ERAU a great one with memories to last forever. I hope that even after we all graduate we remain in contact because It would be hard to find friends like them again. I hope you have great roommates like I do.

Thanks for reading!

The Sabre Drill Team!

It has been said that the friends you make in College are the ones you will keep forever. I strongly believe in this quote. Here at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, I have made many friends that impact me both personally and academically. From spending countless amount of hours together in class to hanging out on weekends, these people make me a better student and a better person.

From being involved in Air Force ROTC, Silver Wings, ASIS International, Eagle Eye, Cyber Eye, to working in Admissions, I have met many people who I will keep in touch with throughout my life. Everyone here at Embry-Riddle is motivated and has the same drive that you do, and that is what makes these friendships unique. One of the most important groups is the Sabre Drill Team.

Being a member of Air Force ROTC, I have also chosen to participate in Honor Corps. Within Honor Corps, I have been the Commander and a successful member of the Sabre Drill Team. The friends I have made while being a part of the Sabre Drill Team, are those types of friends that I will keep forever. With this particular group of people, going on monthly hikes is something we all love to do. Aside from mentoring the underclassman, as an Alumni of the team, I get to hang out with them outside practice and ROTC. Another reason why I will keep these friends forever, is because they have been able to help me academically as well. Sometimes all you need is a study session with your friends to get things going!

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 8.36.29 AM

Hiking in the Granite Dells near Watson Lake and Willow Lake is perhaps the best way to hang out and bond with friends. Even if you aren’t an outdoor person, you will learn to embrace Prescott’s beauty! My best memory with the team was when we initiated new members. We took a large group of people out to the Dells and ended the gorgeous hike with the afternoon sunset and a presentation of the swords.