When hard work pays off

Aspiring Rocket Scientist

This semester I decided for myself that I would work extra hard on school. My long term goals are to get through my engineering pre-requisites in order to transfer to an Engineering program at another University. It’s nothing personal against UCF, but after 30 years in Florida, I’m ready for a big change. One with seasons would be preferable.. LOL.

I’m trying to get through my major math and science classes with good grades in order to make that all happen. Calc 1, 2, 3, Physics 1, 2, Statics, Dynamics, Differential Equations, Thermodynamics… there’s a few more but I’ll spare you. I’m only in my second semester so far and I’m taking only 2 classes at a time due to working full time also.

I’ve been devoting more time to schoolwork which has really paid off – I got an A in Calculus! That’ll look really good on my transcripts and help when it comes time to transfer. Sam has been SO supportive of me and has been pushing me to do my very best. I’m actually getting more excited about school as the time goes on. I’m following a few engineers on social media who are involved with NASA and Spacex. One of the girls I follow is Emily Calandrelli @thespacegal, who authored a kids book series about a little girl, Ada Lace, who loves science and technology. Emily is always so positive and happy and just overall uplifting and super smart. She graduated from WVU and MIT (goals much?) and her book is being launched into space and will be read by an astronaut as part of the “story time from space” program.

Seeing other women in STEM fields excelling and still having a family to support and take care of has been an inspiration. Reading books about the first women in NASA and re-reading the stories of Homer Hickham launching homemade rockets from the coal mines of West Virginia have pushed me to do my best and try even harder. I’m reminded of how important it is to have role models, even as an adult. I can’t wait to hopefully be that for my kids one day. 🙂

Our quick trip to Birmingham, Alabama!

Bands and Concerts, Traveling

This year, we are attempting to take fewer vacations.
(insert huge eye roll here) If you know us, you know that this is next to impossible for us. We love anyyyyy excuse for an adventure. 

 

We need to save money, and we can’t do that if we keep traveling for concerts. HOWEVER, we bought Mumford & Son’s tickets back in November for their concert in March. So obviously we couldn’t NOT do that, which meant a trip to Birmingham for the weekend. It’s only an 8.5-hour drive for us, so… why not? Birmingham is one of our favorite cities!

We drove up on a Friday afternoon and made a pitstop in Valdosta, GA to surprise my little sister and her family. She had noooo clue we were coming, so it felt great to just spend a few hours with her. I painted my niece’s nails (and my niece painted Steph’s nails, which she proudly wore to the concert), played with her makeup and turned her into Harley Quinn, and had a tea party in her hot pink room. Then, I watched my nephew kick some Spider-Man video game ass. It was a great halfway-ish break! 

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Our one full day in Birmingham we spent exploring. We started our day out at Urban Standard which is the BEST coffee/breakfast place that we found when we were there the first time a few years back (for a City and Colour concert). Steph still raves about their Balsamic jam to this day. (she’s a balsamic JUNKIE, to say the least). This time all Steph wanted was Avocado toast, and I got a coffee gravy biscuits and gravy. IT WAS TO DIE FOR!! I got a chai tea latte and Steph got a soy latte with vanilla – honestly, everything they make is incredible so you can’t lose. (And the presentation of their drinks are so perfect!!!)

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We decided to spend the day exploring and seeing things we hadn’t seen the last time we were here. We went to check out a vintage Vinyl store, Seasick Records and next door there was a really neat antique mall called Urban Suburban. After wandering up and down every booth I scored 2 old fashioned makeup train cases that I have been obsessed with for years for just $10! (Steph’s mom has a blue one and I’ve needed one ever since I first saw it!)

 

We left the vintage mall and headed to this video game coffee shop called Saturn! We walked in and Steph was in heaven. There was a rocket hanging from the ceiling and all of the space gear decorating the whole place. Steph ordered an Iced latte and I ordered a  Kombucha because they told me that it didn’t taste like vinegar, and that is the ONE thing I despise about Kombucha. I fell in love and then found out that I cannot get said Kombucha in Orlando since it’s locally made and apparently Florida has something against good kombucha. (sorry to all of you Kombucha lovers, but I am NOT one of them). We sat down to play old school Mario Kart on their Nintendo 64. And Steph, of course, kicked my ass. (I wasn’t sour about it in the leasssst- insert eye roll here-) 


When we were leaving, we were going past the Sloss Furnaces, which we had read about before. Apparently, they are super haunted and a creepy place to be after the sun goes down. We had decided prior to this that we would NOT be stopping there.. but after seeing them up close (and it being the middle of the day), we decided what the “hell, why not!?” and we were sooooo glad that we decided to stop. Despite feeling lotsssss of cold chills and quite a few eerie heavy feelings, they were sooo gorgeous! They were full of all the history that we both love so much. They started operating in 1882 if that tells you anything at all. In typical “us” fashion, we turned it into a photo session and had a ton of fun. Not to mention ended up with some awesome photos!

While we were at Sloss, someone suggested a place where they serve edible cookie dough like ice cream called Cookie Dough Magic and Obviously, we had to check that out. We tried a ladyfinger cookie dough, birthday cake, and chocolate chip. Seriously, it was sinful and we probably should have been rolled out of there!

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By this time, we were EXHAUSTED! And still had a concert that we had to stay awake all night for! We went back to the hotel and laid around for an hour or so. Luckily the venue was literally attached to the hotel. All we had to do was go down an elevator and walk down a hallway and TA-DA! And on our way to the concert, Steph was handed a Mumford & Son’s Delta Tour t-shirt! Scoooore!! We finally got to our ALMOST nose bleed seats and the concert started! They were INCREDIBLE. Mumford & Son’s are breathtaking Live. For their Encore performance, they brought out this husband and wife duo who blew us all away the second they opened their mouths! If you haven’t heard of The War and Treaty, YOU NEED TO LOOK THEM UP RIGHT NOW!!!

We had a GREAT weekend! Stopped at my sister’s again for an awesome dinner. I taught her how to roast asparagus! It’s the little things. By the time we got home, it was around midnight Sunday. And unfortunately, we had to get back to reality Monday morning. Totes worth it though!! 

Here are some gems from the Mumford and Sons concert:

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On failure

Aspiring Rocket Scientist

I’ve been super MIA lately. Going back to school has been difficult from a learning standpoint. I never had to study in high school and I’m still getting the hang of it. It’s caused me to be absent in a lot of areas, blogging being one of them. As I struggle through finals week, I’ve been reminded time and time again that failure is not the same thing that it was when I was younger.

I’m high school failure was losing a soccer game or getting a bad grade. Failure was dropping your coffee or being made fun of for the clothes you’re wearing. Failure was your parents marriage and not getting into the school you wanted.

Failure changes as you age, or it has for me. I’ve learned how to process failure differently and learn from it.

I may or may not have just bombed my calculus exam, which I needed an 80 on to pass the class. I’ve been stressed about Calculus since week 3 simply due to the speed and complexity of it and having to teach myself after not having any complex math since high school 10 years ago..

Here’s the thing.. If i have to take the class again, I’ll just have to take the class again. I am committed to this goal of becoming an aerospace engineer. Of course it feels much better knowing a third of my class is in the same boat. After a bunch of people dropped it, I decided to stick with it because this is my dream and my goal and I refuse to let a few bad grades or a hard class dictate whether or not I achieve what I set my mind to.

Failure is not bad.

Failure teaches you experience.

Failure teaches you knowledge.

Failure teaches you resilience.

Failure creates growth.

Failure teaches value.

Wherever you are in life, know that you will fall. Expect to fall. Expect it to hurt and expect it to happen a lot. Learn from it. Don’t let it dictate who you are, let it dictate your strength to get back up.

No one got to be successful without failure. Celebrate your wins AND your losses. They help shape you.

That’s all for now – need to study for my chemistry exam!

Steph