Saturday, November 02, 2013

Caylee's third essay as the Girls With Wings Private Pilot Scholarship Winner!

Congratulations to Caylee who has resumed her flying lessons thanks in part to the generous donations that people have made to Girls With Wings. The Private Pilot Scholarship is to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of a private pilot certificate. This scholarship, an award in the amount of $1000.00, targets those individuals who have soloed but have not completed the Private Pilot Course. Read more about our scholarship program.

Please note that the scholarships are funded by donations - so we need contributions from people like YOU to keep our program running. We always have way more deserving applicants than funds. Visit our donation page to help.

From Caylee, with photos from a flight to Martha's Vineyard.

Yesterday was the best Halloween ever and I didn’t even get dressed up or go trick-or-treating. 

I went to my flight school to take a few practice exams planning to take my written today. After one practice test I was about to be kicked out of the classroom because another student was scheduled to take his instrument written on the computers. 

After having sat through two ground schools since I started flying in 2011, I was a little discouraged when I realized how much I struggled with a lot of the material. I started seriously studying in the middle last week averaging 70-75% on practice tests. I continued to take practice tests and study my ground school materials. When I took the one practice test yesterday I was averaging 80% over the past few days. When I finished my practice test with an 82% two of the instructors said I could either leave or just take the written then and there. I was feeling pressured, nervous and excited all at once. I was confident I could pass the exam but I didn’t want to get a low score and give the DPE a reason to really grill me on my oral exam. I decided to go for it. 

Being in my second year of graduate school I have taken my fair share of tests and exams but I don’t think I have ever been so nervous for a test in my life. All of the other tests I’ve taken in school have been averaged together for a final course grade. None of them have ever seemed as important to pass as this one. 

I began the test answering the questions I was confident in, skipping the ones I was not and taking my time to read and re-read every question. I went back to the questions I skipped, chose an answer then reconsidered and chose a different answer for many of them. At the end I counted up the questions I was not at all confident in. I calculated that if I got all of them wrong I would still get around a 78%. I am a self-proclaimed nerd and my friends all call me an overachiever; I’ve been a straight A student my entire life. I have never been hoping for or content with a score of 78%. I sat for a while considering my choices trying to convince myself of the correct answers. I’ve learned over my years of schooling that you can only do this for so long before you are convincing yourself the wrong answer is the right answer. I decided to submit and my mouse hovered over the finish button for a few minutes before I closed my eyes and clicked. 

A 92%!!!! I was completely and utterly shocked! There was another student still taking their test so I had to be quiet, not an easy feat with how excited I was. I let out the biggest fist pump I think I’ve ever done in my life. If I was alone in the room, I probably would have been jumping up and down. I left the room to find my instructors getting high fives all around. My primary instructor called me a nerd…I guess if the shoe fits! And I’ve never been so proud to be a nerd in my entire life. 

This accomplishment came at the perfect time. My school work load is the most strenuous it has ever been so I’ve been running out of time to study for my written. It is a huge weight off of my shoulders knowing that I can now focus on my check-ride prep. Soloing is said to be a huge confidence booster and provide the energy and encouragement to continue on with training…and it was exactly that for me. But after I stopped flying, this GWW community and scholarship provided that same encouragement for me to get back in the air and continue flying. It got me back to where I left off, through my first solo and long cross countries and to my written. The completion of this milestone will now carry me through the end of my training along with the encouragement of all of the wonderful girls I’ve met through this program. 

If it weren’t for the GWW community, I honestly don’t know if I would be flying again or not at this point. I am so incredibly thankful for this group and for being awarded this scholarship because Lynda and other members of the community saw something and believed in me before I even did. 

I’m excited to see where I will go from here in the future with my flying and schooling and will be keeping the GWW community posted. I plan to continue promoting GWW starting this weekend where I will be volunteering at the New England Air Museum Women Take Flight event. There I will be interacting, along with many other women pilots, aviators, astronauts, and engineers, with many young girls to show that girls can do anything! If anyone is in the area, please stop by and say hello. I’m excited for the possibility to meet fellow GWW Caitlin, there too! I’m looking forward to the opportunity to meet many more of the amazing girls who have supported and encouraged me through my training and can’t wait to encourage the next group of award winners. Thank you again to GWW! 

 Haha, Caylee! I think my cursor hovered over that "finish" button for way too long as well. We are so proud of your test score, but mostly that you have returned to the skies. Please keep us posted on all of your progress - we know you'll have that certificate in no time!

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