Coming Home to CNU

My return from winter break was reluctant, punctuated with melodramatic sighs and complaints about my incoming course load. I dragged my three giant suitcases into my residence hall on East Campus, already picturing all the unpacking and reorganizing. My tan from traveling abroad would fade into blinding paleness, and soon my room would be littered with textbooks and color-coded notes. Before cracking open my suitcases, leering at me with large zippered smiles, I went over to my window and looked out over Warwick blvd. The sky was icy grey, stretching cleanly over a glittering campus. I could see the distant gold dome of CNU Hall, and the Freeman center’s classic brick frame. Someone on the sidewalk beneath me screamed in delight as she embraced her friend. Everything was fresh and snowy and new. The front door clicked open, and I heard my roommate (and best friend) hauling her luggage into the living room. My stress melted away in my gorgeous snowy school, in the bustle of Warwick blvd, in the hug of my roommate as she listed off her new Christmas presents. Maybe I wasn’t quite ready for school to start, but I was home.

The Honor Code

The honor code is very important to Christopher Newport students. It’s ingrained in us from the very start. At the beginning of the freshman semester, each student is required to attend Convocation. It is here, among staff, alumni and faculty, that students read and recite the honor code. It is as follows:

“On my honor, I will maintain the highest standards of honesty, integrity and personal responsibility. This means I will not lie, cheat or steal, and as a member of this academic community, I am committed to creating an environment of respect and mutual trust.”

This event binds the new class to the tradition of honor, respect and academic excellence at Christopher Newport. The students are invited to participate in a very serious and committed community. After the recitation, students sign their name and receive a penny. Throughout the years, the penny will serve as a reminder to the honor code they pledged to uphold. The penny is to be kept until graduation during their senior year. On this day, students will drop the penny they have carried for four years in the fountain.

Christopher Newport is a relatively new university, and yet it is rich with tradition. At this university, students are able to be a part of something much larger than themselves. This is why the student body and faculty are so successful in all they do.

The Captain’s Locker

At Christopher Newport, there’s a lovely shop called “The Captain’s Locker.” Inside is just about anything you could ever need for academic or memorabilia-related purposes.

To be more specific, the store is located in the David Student Union or the DSU as it’s known among the CNU community. It’s hard to miss, and for visitors, it’s certainly one of the first places they check. The store has all sorts of Captain souvenirs to take home. It’s much more than a few shirts and hats. There’s mugs, calendars, stuffed animals, frisbees and plenty more to take home. The Captain’s Locker has something for everyone, a holiday or birthday gift for everyone in the family.

For the student, there’s also plenty to stock up in the store besides gifts. The Captain’s Locker houses tons of academic materials, so you never have to travel far to get an extra notebook or pencil. There’s also scantrons, essay booklets, folders, envelopes and other resources to help get you prepared for a semester’s worth of work.

It’s a one-stop shop for plenty of your Christopher Newport needs. I can count several occasions in which I hurriedly dashed through the store to purchase a scantron in time for a class which was only a few minutes away. It’s one of many, many amenities that Christopher Newport offers its students to ensure their success on campus.

Choosing a Major

Deciding what major is right for you is not always the easiest thing to do. There are several factors you need to think about when making the decision. It is important that in the end, after all the hard years of studying, you are doing what you love and enjoy.

A helpful resource for deciding what to major in is the Center for Career Planning. They offer several assessments that will give you an idea of what might be right for you. My experience with deciding the right major for me has been rough, but thankfully after all the confusion of what I really want to do, I have finally declared my major and minor with the advice of professors and the Center for Career Planning.

If you are struggling with your decision, I also recommend you do research! It is important to have a good amount of knowledge about the major you are leaning toward. You should research what types of jobs you could have with a degree in that specific major. You should research salaries if that is a big factor in your decision-making as well.

It is OK to switch your major in college. Generally, the first few semesters are spent taking general classes to fulfill the area of inquiry. Throughout that time, some students discover what they are called to study. In the end, the most important thing is doing something that you love and truly see yourself doing.

Asking Questions in Class

It can be very nerve-wracking to stop a professor’s lecture and ask a question. Though, it’s very important to ask if you are confused. At CNU, the professors are very approachable and open to answering questions. They want to be the best professors they can be, but they can’t do it without you.

Every teacher has his or her own teaching style, and it’s true that a certain teaching style will not cater to every single student. It’s for this reason that you must make sure you do your part as the student. This is that you alert the professor to any concerns you may have so that they can be addressed accordingly. Again, the staff at Christopher Newport is wholly committed to your success, but they can’t do it alone.

A lot of students wait to go to office hours or send an email, which is a great idea, but they often forget the most simple solution: ask in class. If you have a question, chances are there is, at the very least, one other student who is wondering the same thing. This is the best way to get an immediate answer, and you won’t be left wondering for days on end. The professors here want to listen to your feedback, and if they haven’t gotten their point across, they want to know about it. This is what’s so great about Christopher Newport, every student is truly valued by their professors. There’s no need to ever question that. So, raise your hand and ask a question!

Snowed in at CNU

I arrived back to campus the Wednesday before the first day of classes (I’m a resident assistant). The whole day was filled with anticipation for the snow. We were acting like kids in middle school hoping for a day off the next day to have a snowball fight and build a snowman. The quietness of the building made for a peaceful atmosphere as the snow started to fall that night.

We were excited for the best, but preparing for the worst. Rumors were flying about how much we were going to get. “I think 5 inches,” “I think 3” or “It’s not going to snow.” All the while, our hall director was handing out flashlights and instructing us on how to handle a power outage, which never did happen despite the good 5 or 6 inches of snow that fell that night.

Going to bed with a soft blanket of snow on the ground and waking up to a white campus was the most magical thing I have ever seen here at Christopher Newport. Everyone always talks about the magic at CNU and I feel that all the time walking on campus. Now, add the magic and beauty of snow to that picture and you have something truly priceless. We did get the day off we were hoping for because training for the staff was canceled that day. We spent the day staying warm, making snow ice cream and enjoying each other’s company. We were snowed in!

4 Reasons Why I Chose CNU

There is no question that there are many excellent colleges in Virginia, as well as all over the United States and the world. However, with all of these options at my disposal I chose Christopher Newport. Here’s why:

  1. The community. Christopher Newport offers a community unlike any other college campus. As a result of the small size, it’s very easy to develop close-knit relationships with lots of the people around you. I wanted a meaningful college experience, filled with great people as well as a great education.
  2. Academic excellence. Everyone here is committed to academic excellence. The students, faculty and staff all work very hard to create a productive learning environment, and they have succeeded. The library is always full of students, at all hours of the day and night. So much so that they are building an expansion to it. It’s easy to find help in all areas of study, and the courses are extremely engaging.
  3. Comfort. While this is a cosmetic reason, I still believe it’s important. The residence halls are top-notch. The freshman dorms are wonderful, whether you get Potomac North with the extra common room, the newly built York buildings or Santoro located right next to a dining hall, you can’t go wrong. And they get better every year. The residence halls for upperclassmen improve with other amenities!
  4. CNU Engage. There is a huge emphasis on volunteering at CNU. Even outside of the President’s Leadership Program, Greek life and many other clubs on campus get involved with the community of Newport News. It’s a very rewarding experience and a great way to spend your time. Christopher Newport offers a myriad of avenues to get involved, so there’s something for everyone.

How to Prepare for a Job Interview

Christopher Newport’s goal is to prepare you for the future. The university is aware college is often expensive, and so they have resources like the Center for Career Planning to help students learn practical skills in the pursuit of jobs. A degree is the culmination of many years of hard work, and you can get this at any college. Christopher Newport is different because not only do they provide a degree, but also prepare you for your future in the job market. They are committed to ensuring you are successful during college, but also well after. Below are just a few of the tips the Center for Career Planning offers to help students land jobs:

  1. Practice! This is a broad term, but it’s true nonetheless. Look online for some typical interview questions. Then, practice answering them. Ask your friend to help you out! You should be able to effectively answer any job-related question in a succinct and professional manner.
  2. Eye contact. You’ve been told this time and time again. Make good eye contact! It’s a very simple step you can take to ensure your interviewer knows you are engaged with what they are saying. This leads to my next point…
  3. Be an active listener. The first step of active listening is eye contact, but it extends far beyond that. An active listener responds to the person they are listening to. This is done in a variety of ways. Firstly, giving the person your full attention, but also nodding and offering non-verbal signals that indicate your commitment to the conversation.
  4. Ask questions. When the interviewer, at the end of the interview, asks if you have any questions. The answer is always yes! The interview wants to know that you are engaged and interested with the job you are applying for. Not to mention, asking a few clarifying questions can help you to figure out if the job is a right fit for you. So, come up with some questions ahead of time!

This may not sound like much, but using these few simple steps can greatly increase your chances of success. Though, this isn’t all the Center for Career Planning does for the students. They also provide intern opportunities, have one on one appointments, and host many seminars and events throughout the year!

With all of this said, even if you don’t get that job you were hoping for, don’t be discouraged. Continue practicing these methods and you’ll land one in no time!

The Allure of Time-Wasters

It’s so easy to procrastinate. In fact, I think I remember some online shopping I had to do… maybe I’ll do that now.

Okay, I’m back. Where was I? Procrastination! It moves fast, one minute you’re in the midst of the best dang paper you’ve ever written, flying through paragraph after paragraph, and the next you’re on your phone watching Snapchat stories and wondering where your invite to the gathering is.

It’s hard to fight procrastination; it’s a temptation that never seems to go away. And we’ve all got to fight it in our pursuit of success. Who wants to turn in a paper late with a 20 point penalty? Or be up all night behind a calculator? Scheduling is a very effective tool to order your academics and extracurricular activities, but only if you actually follow your schedule. And often times, sleeping through an hour that was allotted for “studying” or “working” on your calendar is something that happens more than any of us would care to admit.

There is no one strategy to conquer procrastination. At the end of the day, it’s all willpower. Though, there are a few things you can do to help level the playing field. The first thing is to turn off your phone. It’s so easy to pick up your phone and check whatever social media you’ve got. Not only that, but the constant ringing and vibrating literally calls your attention away from your task at hand. Additionally, try to work in a quiet space. The study rooms on your hall are perfect to minimize outside distraction from other people. Lastly, set small goals for yourself. Don’t try to knock everything out, one after the other, if that’s not your style. It’s okay to take breaks. So, set small, attainable goals and after you reach one, reward yourself with a small break and then get back to work!

Finals are almost upon us; this is the homestretch. Keep pushing!

Time to Go Home

The semester is almost over and 2017 is coming to a close. It’s an exciting time! Though, on the other hand, there’s also a mad rush to get lots of work done before we all head back home. But don’t panic. There’s still plenty of time to get everything done, but you’ll have to focus to ensure everything is in its right place before you leave.

The first priority is your academics. It is of the utmost importance that you finish the semester with the highest grades you can attain. If you had an A all semester, don’t let the final exam be your undoing. You earned an A, so study for it! Turn in any late or missing work if your professor allows, and be sure to go to those review sessions! Be sure to utilize all the many, many campus resources such as the Center for Academic Success and your professors’ office hours to maximize your success. Some students may find it easy to “check out” because it’s the last few weeks. While that may be easy, it will hurt you in the long run. This is the home stretch, so give it everything you have!

It’s going to be great going home, but, to many of us, Christopher Newport has become our home away from home. Luckily, it’ll be even better when we arrive back in January. The new extension to the Regattas dining hall will be open! There is so much to look forward to next semester. So, finish strong and get excited for another great semester at Christopher Newport!