Writing is Like a Conversation…

Writing is like a conversation, right?  Or maybe writing letters is more like a conversation.   So, I’m going to pretend this is a conversation and we’re in a coffee shop with all the time in the world – like old friends enjoying a steamy brew.

Hi, I’m am Lydia Wiff.  I’m a Minnesota girl – born and bred in the land of 10,000 lakes.  I have 10 brothers and sisters (6 guys, 5 girls) and I’m #4 in the lineup.  I have 2 sisters-in-laws and another soon to be, in addition to one cute little nephew who currently doesn’t sleep (much to the chagrin of his parents).  My parents are one of a kind, and even as a 20-something, I still hope that one day I’ll be as good a parent to my children as they were to me.

My journey in aviation didn’t start until after I graduated from high school.  I’m not a born and bred Fly Girl, but I consider myself blessed to have been introduced to it because it has become my purpose in life.   I thought I would include my essay from my application to the www.globalair.com 2015 Calvin L. Carrithers Scholarship as a way to tell my story and my purpose for this blog.

“Where Passion Meets Purpose: An Aviation Adventure”

Oftentimes when you ask someone at work if they are having fun yet, they will respond something like this:  “Living the dream!”  Most of the time, this is said in jest and they really are just plodding through day after day with a job that provides for their needs but is often not what they enjoy doing the most.  I have been blessed to have been introduced to the world of Aviation where my passion for flying gives me a purpose – one that has driven me through many challenges in the last four years.

In 2007, I joined the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary as a sophomore in high school.  Little did I know that it was to be a formative decision in my life.  Through CAP, I had many opportunities such as Search and Rescue training, serving as Cadet Commander, and learning many life skills including journalism and public affairs.  I was introduced to photography and videography and found that I enjoyed capturing an event as it was unfolding and reporting on it to others.  However, the most important thing I gained from CAP was my love of flying.  As a Cadet, I had the opportunity to earn my Private Pilot’s License (PPL) with one of the best instructors in Minnesota and passed my check ride with flying colors – I was hooked.

Since starting my flight training, I have worked for a flight school, two different fixed based operators, and discovered a group of fellow pilots at my home airport to feed this passion for aviation that I had discovered through CAP.  While going through the training for my PPL, I started attending a local community college.  At Normandale Community College, I worked with the student magazine on campus as a writer, assistant editor, and editor in chief during my time there.  While on the magazine staff, I had the opportunity to work with the faculty advisor and learned much from him about designing magazine through computer programs, photography, and journalism.  The students’ work was published online at http://issuu.com/ncclionsroar.

After working my way through flight training and community college, I graduated in 2013 with my Associate’s Degree and transferred to University of North Dakota in 2014 to study Commercial Aviation, Aviation Management, specializing in Business Aviation.

Despite my high ambitions, I found that I needed to focus my studies to ensure that I would graduate without burning myself out.  During my first year at UND, I worked 30 plus hours a week, attended classes full-time, and tried to find time to spend with friends.  During that time, I realized I could not sustain the cost of flight training in addition to tuition, rent, other expenses, and still meet my degree requirements.  I realized that I needed to come up with an alternative course of action; that is when I considered Airport Management.  This particular degree was still aviation focused, but included a business element which I have elected to pursue along with my specialization.  In addition, I already had fulfilled the flight training for the degree program.

Airport Management still gives me a purpose and it includes my passion for being in aviation – the eating, sleeping, and breathing in of all things that fly.  Airports have always been where I feel most at home and it takes me back to my early days in aviation when I was working at that little flight school in Minnesota.  I still want to earn my Commercial License, but have realized that sometimes diversions in life are necessary and eventually I will be back in the sky slipping those surly bonds.

While others may see my journey as fraught with challenges and difficulties, I see strength gained through my faith, lessons learned, and an even greater passion for my purpose in aviation.  I have had many opportunities in my higher education journey, including this summer where I have been working for the Nantucket Memorial Airport in Massachusetts.  Everywhere I go, I see opportunity and the chance to learn more about the industry I am in – to gain skills, and learn from others.

I would like to combine my love of writing with my passion and purpose in aviation.  To let others know that sometimes you have to divert in life to reach your final destination.  After all, as Confucius so perfectly put it: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.

There you have it!  I am so humbled to be chosen by Globalair for this scholarship and the chance to blog.  I think writing and aviation just go hand-in-hand and I’m excited to write about it, and have some fun too!

So buckle up, tune your radios in, and push in full power because it’s going to be a great flight!

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