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Going to College

Posted by bluewhale 
Going to College
July 15, 2010 03:18AM
Just thought I'd share some of my thoughts about my college next year!

Last week I had orientation for college starting next year -- I am going to Central Washington University, about 100 miles away from here so that means living in a dorm. I thought that the campus was okay, just okay. The main building was very nice and new and I like the geography of the place, as it is flat and brown just like Southern California. A lot of the dorms however are AWFUL! Ugh! As part of orientation, all of us students had to stay overnight in a dorm with a random person, and all of the students were assigned to Hitchcock Hall, built in 1961 and has never been renovated. The second I stepped into the lobby of this Hall, I thought that I was in a haunted house! I was all alone and there were nothing but brick walls.

Door, closet, and bed, and kind of this overhead compartment over the bed to put stuff. The odd thing was that the room mate that I was supposed to have seemed to have decided to sleep somewhere else, as his stuff was gone when I came back here at the end of the day. And no, he never came back and I never met him nor saw him.

Desks to work.

On the other hand, I got to see the dorm that I will actually be staying in next year, and it is not really a dorm -- it's a hotel! Just built last summer, it has an elevator, every room has new carpet, a full-size refrigerator and freezer, and a microwave. Too bad I don't have pics, but you can google "Wendell Hill Hall" to see pictures. As part of orientation, we also bidded and registered for classes. However, since I'm majoring in Aviation, the classes are really special and so all students are given a pre-set schedule and have to build to it. I got off lucky, because most of the other students need to build their schedule from beginning to end. CWU allows between 15 and 18 credits a quarter, so the schedule the Aviation department gave me had 10 credits, meaning that I need five more credits, which is a general ed class. In the end, this is what I have:

Private Pilot Flight Lab (1 credit)
Intro to Aviation (1 credit)
Principles of Flight (4 credits)
Aircraft Systems (3 credits)
University Seminar for Aviation Majors (1 credit)
Math in the Modern World (5 credits)

When all of my transfer credits have been articulated, I am also supposed to already have 14 credits, one of which is English, so that means I won't have to take English 101.

Luckily, I used the ratemyprofessors.com app for my phone (thank you N776AU it really helped a lot!) to figure out which math section to take, and the one I am in is taught by a really funny professor according to the reviews. Also, it happened to be just before my first aviation class, so it worked out great. It also seems that on Wednesdays and Fridays, I only have two classes and all week, my first class is at 2 PM. It's really nice, but then again I will also be flying a plane 4 to 7 times every two weeks, so it's a whole new ballgame. The good news though, is that we will be starting flying either in the first or second week of school! I am very excited about this -- maybe a namechange on here is needed?

Re: Going to College
July 16, 2010 01:07AM
Greetings from Cleveland, Ohio smiling smiley

thank you N776AU it really helped a lot!
It is without a doubt the best tool for finding a professor. I always make sure to leave reviews of my professors.

Given that class schedule, I think I should change my major!

I go to the University of Georgia, and this coming semester I will be living on campus because I'll be in the Redcoat Marching Band. I don't have pictures of the dorm I'll be living in, but it's pretty nice because each room has a private bathroom, and I'm living with my brother. It's nice because he is in the Redcoats too.

My schedule is a mess this semester:
-Music Theory
-Aural Skills
-Piano I
-Clarinet Studio
-Clarinet Study
-Band (hopeful to audition in to the university's top group, Wind Ensemble)
-Redcoat Band
-Band Conducting
-Beginning Bowling

My classes span all difficulty levels. Clarinet is very hard because it's one on one study, and it requires me to practice every day. Then there's bowling. Bowling will be so easy since I'm a 214 average bowler anyway.

Proud Member Since 2003
Re: Going to College
September 04, 2010 04:48AM
I've been meaning to chronicle a day for a while. Finally I remembered, and I figured a Friday would be good since I have no class.
I woke up at about 8:00 or so, for the first time in a while, with no rush to get anywhere. Oh yeah, did I mention Sanford Stadium is right out my window? Great sight to see every morning. Here's my room:

mine and my brother's beds and computers.

A little NCAA Football online going on a little later in the day
Anyway, I was hungry, so I took a campus bus across to one of the 4 dining halls:

The inside of the East Campus Village dining commons. The dining is on the second floor.

Kind of empty. This is only about 1/3 of the food serving area (and sorry for the lens of my phone's camera being scratched)

My breakfast. A turkey, ham, and bacon omelette, a biscuit with gravy, bacon, sausage, and a banana/peanut butter smoothie. That's a happy Friday!
I mostly chose to eat across campus because it was close to this:

The Hugh Hodgson School of Music (and it's mundane hallways)

First stop was my locker. Crammed in this little thing are my books for Band Conducting, Piano, Music Theory, and Aural Skills, plus my conducting baton and my clarinets. Don't ask how I did it. I have no idea.

A standard practice room equipped with a music chair, stand, and a Steinway and Sons piano. I guess this is my equivalent of studying.

And this would be my study tool, a Buffet R13 with a Vandoren B45 mouthpiece, easily the most valuable thing I own.

A couple pages of practice material thrown at me yesterday to be ready by next Thursday. I wish it stopped there. I also have to keep working on all 12 major and all 12 harmonic minor scales and their arpeggios, eventually working my way up to 32nd notes as the pattern.

After a few hours of that I met my brother for lunch at the same dining hall as I did breakfast. I didn't bother with pictures, but a turkey and roast beef wrap with a banana/peanut butter smoothie did me just fine. The rest of the afternoon was free, so I just hung out and played Xbox mostly until Redcoat practice started at 5:30. We practiced for 2 hours and were fed dinner afterward:

Trombones sitting in their little dinner circle (strange people...)

About half of the coolest section in the Redcoat Band, the clarinets!

And now I'm here in my room typing this up. I'm ready for tomorrow. It's game day! Redcoats have one final practice at 7:15 tomorrow morning, and we do the Dawg Walk at 10:20, before we march in to Sanford Stadium and tee it up Between the Hedges at 12:20.

Proud Member Since 2003

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/05/2010 04:32AM by N776AU. (view changes)
Re: Going to College
September 04, 2010 11:22PM

Oh yeah, did I mention Sanford Stadium is right out my window?
Definitely a great view from your dorm!


mine and my brother's beds and computers.
I think it is definitely good that you two are rooming together, versus rooming with a stranger like I am doing. Always got to hope for a normal person!


I took a campus bus across to one of the 4 dining halls
I don't think we have buses that take us around campus, since mine is a little small. It would take 10 to 15 minutes of walking to get from one side to the other. How big would you say your college is?


I guess this is my equivalent of studying.
Cool thing about college is that you are studying something you actually find enjoyable. Playing Microsoft FSX could actually be my equivalent of studying!


And this would be my study tool
Definitely beats the old paper and pencil!

I'll have to do one of these for my college in a couple of weeks, especially when I fly!

Re: Going to College
September 05, 2010 01:04AM

How big would you say your college is?
Massive. To walk from one extreme to another would probably take over an hour. The traveling I did walking would have probably taken about 30 minutes. Save for waiting to catch a bus, the ride is about 10-15 minutes.

Proud Member Since 2003
Re: Going to College
September 28, 2010 11:34AM
I plan on doing a write-up for my college soon, I just need to take more pictures! But firstly, I must say that college is definitely like no other experience in the world, and it is suprisingly fun. The fact that most of my classes are directly related to flying and aviation is also an astounding experience, and I almost still can't believe that all we talk about all day are various things about flying Cessna 152s and Piper Cadets, as well as components from airliners. I am also living in a building full of other aviation majors, and I have never seen so many people my age who knew (or even cared about!) aviation the way we do. Best of all, one of my instructors even has airliners.net up during class to show us examples of various amazing pics (today was SXM approaches) and oher videos. And given that the WN/FL transaction was also just announced today, all of my aviation instructors already knew about it! Back in high school, I'm not sure that any of my teachers even knew who AirTran was... major changes now and its amazing!

Re: Going to College
September 30, 2010 09:27PM
This makes me slightly want to change my major and transfer (again). Compared to a clarinet lesson, flying lessons sound great!

Proud Member Since 2003
Re: Going to College
October 04, 2010 10:28AM

Just a model Piper PA-28 that my instructor has to help demonstrate during ground school, compared to a real one

I am now going to document my college experience, complete with info on my classes, and a few pictures from the airport. (There is WAY too much going on inflight for me to take pictures while I’m flying.) Since my schedule is like this:

With some classes only occurring once a day, this report will be a rough summary of what I normally do in a day that I also have a flight.

First, here are some pics of my dorm and building.

My side of the dorm – pretty plain I know but I still need to go back home and get more stuff

Every room in my building has its own private bathroom

Roommate’s side – this is also the view when you come in through the door

This is our lounge, a bunch of us guys like to play pool whenever we’re not doing aviation work.

Another view of the lounge, with the kitchen

Outside of my building – we have 4 floors. You can also probably tell that I got lucky and this is the newest and nicest dorm, which coincidentally houses most of the aviation students because the dorm is the closest to the airport. (Even though the airport is still like 3-4 miles away and you can’t see it from here) Being an aviation major rocks!

The music building across the street from my dorm

Normally I am scheduled to fly every Monday at 7 AM, every Thursday at 11 AM, and every other Saturday at 2 PM. The FBO is named Midstate Aviation and I fly a Cessna 152, while students that weigh over 185 pounds fly a Piper PA-28, which is nicer, more powerful, and more expensive to fly than my plane. The procedure every day is that I walk in the door and I show the receptionist my driver’s license, my folder of standard operating procedures written jointly by Midstate Aviation and CWU, and my FAA Medical/Student Pilot Certificate which declares that I am medically able to fly a plane. After that, they give me the folder with records for the reg. that I am flying, along with a noise-cancelling headset because the inside of the plane inflight is extremely loud. I then pre-flight the plane out on the tarmac.

First picture – a Piper PA-28 Cadet

The fence of Ellensburg airport (KELN)

First plane I’ve ever piloted – N95539 a Cessna 152. My instructor is in the grey walking off to get the ladder to check the fuel in the wing.

A look down the tarmac – the runway is in a lot worse condition than this taxiway which makes for bumpy takeoff rolls

Simple cockpit of the Cessna I get to sit on the left and my CFI sits on the right. These planes are EXTREMELY hard to get in and out of!

Another Cessna that I flew – I’m not assigned to a particular aircraft, they float me around to all different regs.

Another view of the tarmac with several Piper PA-28s parked and one lone Cessna 152

When I preflight the plane, I follow a set checklist that is kept inside the plane. The checklist has me do several things, like walk around the plane to inspect the wings, stabilizers, prop, wheels, brakes, lights, and fuel, as well as the gauges inside. This normally takes me about 15 to 20 minutes but I imagine that I will be able to shorten that time the more I do it.

My plane during pre-flight inspection – they want us to extend the flaps early in our checklist and to not retract them until we are finished, since that is one of the things that we need to inspect.

One of my buddies flew this PA-28 Cadet and it caught fire (most likely backfired) on the flight directly after his. This plane has since been inspected and placed back into service.

Caught the strobe light in the shot

Taken while inspecting all the lights – obviously the landing light is fine

The company

Once I’m done preflighting, I go back in to my CFI’s office where she gives me a briefing on what we are doing. Right now, I have 4 hours of flight time and I’ve already practiced doing a few stalls, flying at super low speeds, takeoffs, and landings. A typical flight lesson consists of me doing the taxi to the runway, making several radio calls, (Ellensburg doesn’t have ATC) flying to a practice area somewhere around Ellensburg and practicing the day’s concept. After that, we fly back to ELN and do 2 touch and gos before doing a complete stop. After that, I taxi off the runway and park next to the fuel pump, where the mechanic fuels up to the plane and tows it to its stand.

Overall, my flights have been great and lots of fun! It is nothing like playing Microsoft FS though, since you can really feel everything and how harsh you are at the controls. However, playing Microsoft FS is a huge help when flying with the instruments, since I always have a tendency to only look at those and not outside like I’m supposed to since I’m only at the VFR stage. There was a point however, where I had to put on a hood so that I could only look at the instruments and not outside, just to introduce the concept of IFR flying, which I performed way better than my CFI has ever seen someone do for their first time flying only with instruments. I performed it very smoothly and I was well within PTS standards and it was only my first time, which shows how well I flew – I thought it was the easiest thing in the world and that it was nothing. She told me that nobody has ever flown the plane that smoothly for their first time, and that normally everyone more or less loses their sense of direction, given that they cannot look outside. Now, she really wants me as a student next year for my instrument rating because I am so good! As far as normal flying, my CFI says that my flights are always performed very well, and I always find the maneuvers relatively easy to do. However, my first flight when stalls were introduced was my worst flight, since I got really sick and almost threw up. Luckily, my next flight after that was really smooth and I did everything well and did not feel the slightest bit sick.

On the other hand, my roommate, who is also an aviation major but not an aviation enthusiast, sometimes has trouble. For instance, on his first takeoff roll, he was swerving around the runway because he could not maneuver the steering controls which are the rudder pedals. (they are very hard to operate, I also have some trouble too but it’s nothing that I can’t handle) Also, during ground school, I know (and sometimes already know) and understand nearly everything perfectly well, but my roommate did not know what slats were on a wing, so both my CFI and I spent 5-10 minutes trying to explain to him what they were.

Moving back to the campus, I have math every day with an old, funny teacher who is always cracking jokes and dresses like an old farmer. The math concepts that we cover are a lot easier and simpler than what I was doing in Pre-Calculus last year, but he is still a smidge hard to follow because he often gets into tangents about off-topic things which is hilarious.

My math teacher

Another shot of him

In class

My next class is Aircraft Systems, which is a class focused on the mechanics of airplanes, the physics, and the components and parts in the motor and the airplane. It is a pretty dry class but luckily the work associated with it isn’t extremely hard or heavy. This class happens on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays which is pretty nice. In high school, every class occurred every other day, which I miss because it gave extra time for homework.

This is Aircraft Systems – yes my teacher is standing and the seats are only elevated like a foot at the most. He is a midget but still a pilot, but it makes him easier to keep your eyes on when he’s lecturing. He is also a frequent visitor of airliners.net and was sometimes visiting the website in class to look for cool pictures and links to videos to show us, but I am not sure if he is a member or not. He’s a real nice guy and he’s also the admissions advisor for the aviation department.

Another shot

Students in the class. Yes there are actually 4 girls in an aviation class!

The hallway where 2 of my classes are held

After that, I have Principles of Flight, which is CWU’s equivalent of an FAA Part 141 ground school. Since the class is FAA-related, it is very strict and rigorous and you need at least an 80% to pass. This is basically drivers ed for pilots and its taught by a funny professor with a heavy Canadian accent. He also sometimes gets off topic, but he definitely makes such a strict and heavy class a lot more bearable. The majority of my homework comes from this class, since he assigns his own homework, and the FAA assigns homework as well.

This is the professor standing next to the computer. He looks a lot like an airline pilot every time I walk in the room. Also, his voice sounds a little like Peter Jennings does, but his Canadian accent is a lot heavier and he sometimes mixes up words.

At 5:00, class is over except on Mondays when I have one more class at 7:00, which is Intro to Aviation which is basically a lecture/seminar type class where you learn about aviation opportunities and career goals, and what the aviation field is like. Regardless, I still meet up with some of my friends in my dorm which is a 10 minute walk away on the north end of campus, while this class is on the south end.

Most of the time we eat at the North Village Café which is just a 2 minute walk from our dorm, but it has more limited food options like just pizza, sandwiches, burgers, soup, salad, smoothies, milk shakes, and the daily special. Normally we come here a lot because it is closer and is most of the time not as crowded as the main dining area.

Dining area – this is located in a much older building

Sorry it’s blurry—I was walking when I took this. This is the main dining area and the commons that we sometimes go to, but it is a much longer walk. This building houses our main store that sells office supplies, text books, and other things, the recreation center which has several basketball courts, an indoor track, and a gym, as well as a big multi-purpose/ballroom on the upper floor in addition to the main dining area which has a mall food court type area where you can order cooked to order burgers and pasta, salads, sushi, Americanized chinese food, pizza, and ice cream. Also, there is an area that serves only daily specials at the very far end in this picture that is all-you-can-eat but is the most expensive choice by a couple dollars. (At eating places on campus, food is discounted by 65% for resident students compared to the standard price for students living off campus.)

Looking the other way – the ballroom and a sitting area is on the top right hand corner of this picture.

Again, I think that college is a lot of fun and is like no other experience in the world. I have a lot of new friends, and it is good to be independent. However, college is a lot more time-consuming than high school -- look how long it took me to do this report winking smiley Also, being an aviation major is the greatest thing ever, although it is very expensive and I sometimes get dizzy and sick on bad flights. Overall, I am happy to be here and it is a great experience with good (sometimes boring and hard) classes, good teachers, and good people.

Re: Going to College
October 06, 2010 01:52AM

complete with info on my classes
Long days. I know I have that on Tuesdays and Thursdays with classes ranging from 8 AM to 7:30 PM.

pretty plain I know but I still need to go back home and get more stuff
I know for me it was a very gradual building up of stuff until it's become what I have now.

Every room in my building has its own private bathroom
Same for me, and I'm lucky for that.

fly a Piper PA-28, which is nicer, more powerful, and more expensive to fly than my plane
The one time I flew was at the controls of a Piper Cherokee. I quite enjoyed it.

because the inside of the plane inflight is extremely loud.
That was something I actually wasn't ready for. I figured my time spent in the back of a DC-9 would have toughened me up for everything!

These planes are EXTREMELY hard to get in and out of!
I even found the Cherokee to be tough with my giant frame. I can only imagine how bad the 152 is.

It is nothing like playing Microsoft FS though
It's not even close. It's just good for the instruments like you said. I remember when we put the flaps down I had to fight like hell with that airplane.

who is also an aviation major but not an aviation enthusiast
I don't even see how that's possible. It seems like too foreign of a concept to me.

However, college is a lot more time-consuming than high school
So much more, even though there is less time spent in class, like my day today:
8:00-9:15 Music Theory
~9:25-9:45 Breakfast
9:45-11:00 Practice clarinet
11:00-11:50 Piano Class
11:50-12:30 Lunch
12:30-1:15 Free time (finally!)
1:15-3:30 Practice piano, voice and clarinet
3:30-4:45 Band Conducting
4:45-5:30 Drive to Redcoat Band practice (usually I'm really early, but traffic will sometimes push it)
5:30-7:30 Redcoat Band practice.

And now, after writing a conducting evaluation, I'm done for the day. Did I mention the Redcoats traveled 2 hours to the other side of Atlanta to perform last night? We didn't get back to Athens until just after 1:00 this morning.

Yeah, college is nuts

Proud Member Since 2003
Re: Going to College
October 08, 2010 11:51AM

Same for me, and I'm lucky for that.
Yes me too! Our's is the only building on campus that has private bathrooms. I've been to the other dorms and I cannot imagine myself using that main bathroom per floor everyday all the time. My room feels like a hotel in comparison to the other dorms I've been to and I am always thankful.


I don't even see how that's possible. It seems like too foreign of a concept to me.
I've asked my roommate what he thinks of the Flight Principles class, which is essentially the FAA Part 141 Ground School, and he says he finds it challenging because like you said, it is a whole new concept to him and he knows barely any background info on it. (For instance, about the slats, he had a very hard time understanding where they are on the wing and what they do, since Cessnas and Pipers don't have them.) Personally, I do not find that class hard, or hard to understand, but it has a very heavy workload and has rigorous standards and rules, but that is just the FAA's way of doing things. My roommate has actually now decided that after this year when we all get our Private Pilot Licenses, he's going to switch to early childhood psychology. He just wanted to try out aviation since CWU offers it and it's definitely one of the coolest majors.


So much more, even though there is less time spent in class, like my day today:
Quite the schedule! The earliest I start is Mondays at a 7 AM flight (terrible time, the first time my flight was cancelled because of fog and the second time I chose to end early because it was extremely windy and the plane was being thrown around badly) and then I have my chunk of three 50 minute classes from 2 to 5 and then another at 7. I sometimes go back to bed after my flight though, so I don't think it's too bad.

But I had another flight today, where my instructor demonstrated a few different types of stalls, I practiced only using the instruments and not looking outside (this is really easy and I'm really good at it since I flew like this on my earlier flights before my instructor said that I was supposed to be looking outside more) and then we did 4 touch and goes to help get me used to landings, which was a lot of fun. The first landing that I did on my own was very smooth, but I pushed the yoke forward too early and the front gear plopped down because I thought that the landing was complete. Instead, I am supposed to keep the yoke pulled back until the front gear touches down by itself. But still, my instructor says that my landings are extremely good for my first few times landing the plane by myself, and that I am doing a lot better than what is typical for my skill level. My instructor also had me talk on the radio a lot more today, which I am really getting good at doing, and I try to see how fast I can say transmissions because I keep hearing pilots and ATC at KSEA talking really fast. One of the transmissions I said today while doing touch and goes (today I was in a Cessna 152 reg. N95539) was "Ellensburg traffic, niner-five-five-three-niner is downwind runway 7, Ellensburg."

I had a great and enjoyable flight today!

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