Beautiful CNU

I remember the first time I set foot onto Christopher Newport University—it was stunning. The architecture alone revealed none of the once commuter school from the 60s—but now a stunning redesigned campus. While the campus itself is impressive, as a student, I can’t help but praise the landscaping team!

Year round, Christopher Newport has a consistent manicuring of campus. My friends and I joke sometimes that Christopher Newport is like Disney World because it always looks so pristine.

The MVP of our beautiful campus is owed all to the landscaping team. Every morning on my walk to class, I am greeted with many different teams of landscapers making sure Christopher Newport is always best represented not only for visitors but for students, faculty and staff each day.

This post is dedicated to the landscaping teams who work hard all throughout the entire year, in all elements and environments. The work is not glamorous by any means but as a student I am so proud of how Christopher Newport represents itself daily.

It’s been said, stop and smell the roses — well, at Christopher Newport, we can, daily.

Graduation is Coming

It’s coming….graduation.

For some seniors the dreaded life event is slowly approaching while other seniors are warmly welcoming the event. For myself it’s a bittersweet moment. Four years seems like a long time, especially when you are a bright-eyed freshman stepping on to Christopher Newport University for the first time. However, as a student you get caught up in project deadlines, joining different organizations, all while trying to juggle a social life and you first year flies by. Sophomore and junior year blend together and all of a sudden you’ve entered into your final fall semester at CNU. It wasn’t until my last semester started that I began to feel a little “old.” The fall felt like any other semester and it didn’t hit me that I was actually leaving until I bought my cap and gown.

Now that the senior class has passed our 100-day mark, ordered their senior week packages, caps and gowns things are starting to line up for us to cross the stage. As I’m getting close to completing my senior seminar and finish my last couple of projects things are really sinking in that graduation is a reality. With 54 days until graduation there is no denying its approach. All that is left to do is pass our classes and sing as much Brickhouse karaoke as we can!

A Guide to Manage Studying

Perhaps the hardest part about transitioning to college is learning how to manage your studying. The good news is, there are a lot of people who have dealt with the same exact transition and have lived to tell the tale! Without being able to manage studying, it won’t matter how great your study skills are. Learning to be efficient is key. Here are some steps on learning to become efficient at managing your time and studies!

  1. Find some sort of daily planning system that works for you. Throughout high school, I tried and failed and tried again to use a yearly planner. It never lasted for more than a week. In college, I tried again, and it lasted for about a month. However, I have kept trying various approaches, and what I have found to be best for me is drawing a mind-map with my whole day spread out! I’ve stuck to this all semester, and I find it both calming and effective, especially since I am a very visual person.
  2. Be aware of all the planning options out there! There’s a lot more available in this day and age other than the general yearly planner. If you want something quick and easy, try out to-do list pads. If you’re more artistic or visual, there are options ranging from mind-maps to bullet journals! More tech-savvy people may find various apps easily downloaded on their smartphone to be the simplest method. If you don’t feel like taking the time buying/creating/learning to use any of these methods, you can go down to the very basics and write your daily activities on a sticky note that you hang from your desk where you’ll see it first thing in the morning! Never think that there isn’t an option for you – chances are there are dozens more that you simply haven’t looked into!
  3. Incorporate studying into your planner. Using my mind-maps as an example, I make sure to include both studying and my classes while creating my layout. For me, this doesn’t mean just saying “study after lunch”. Instead, I box off specific times for each assignment I want to work on. Knowing exactly what you want to accomplish and having a time you’ve designated to accomplish it saves you a lot of time that could be spent saying you’ll “get to it later” or trying to decide what on earth you’ll actually work on that day!
  4. Use those spare hours. If you’re like me, you don’t feel like you can accomplish much in only an hour. If I have a class at 9, and then another 11, I’ll generally find myself lying in bed on my phone between the two, claiming there’s not enough time to get started on anything. The truth is, I could probably write a journal entry, make and study flashcards, outline an essay, or do a couple of class readings! When you write everything down with an assigned time, you’re more likely to schedule those spare hours that you have every single day for productive tasks. They seem like a little, but they sure add up.
  5. Consider studying/going to classes your job. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, and it’s not a lie. Prep yourself for having to spend upwards of 5 hours a day on studying. It sounds like a lot, and in all honesty, it is. But it is also quite often necessary. The good news is, it’s easy to fit in 5 hours and still have plenty of time to relax or hang out with friends. Get in an hour or two between classes, and then come back for a three-hour chunk of time. It goes by quickly if you block it off into smaller sections for specific assignments.
  6. Find your ‘spot’. I’ve found that there’s a huge difference between how much I get done studying in my room vs. studying in my ‘spot’. If I’m writing an essay in my room, I’ll get it done in about 3 hours. If I’m writing it in my ‘spot’, it’ll take only 1 hour and a half, and I’ll get to spend the rest of the time getting ahead on other subjects. Your ‘spot’ can be anywhere! Mine happens to be at a specific Starbucks that has a dimmed study room with quiet music. I’m twice as productive there, and nobody bothers me for hours. It’s a dream. Your spot will come in handy on days when you have piles of work to do and really don’t feel like pulling an all-nighter.

Getting good grades and studying in college doesn’t have to be difficult. Be aware of the dedication involved, and then set yourself up to succeed!

When the Flu Hits

 

My roommates, my best friends, we share a lot of thing in life, our rooms, our food, our chargers. Yet one thing I don’t want to share is sicknesses. Flu season is officially upon us and in the past two weeks 3/3 of my roommates have shared in the sickness of the season. Here are a few tips and tricks to curb any illness while away at school:

When it comes to curbing illness while living in close community, here are a few tips to get though winter:

  • When symptoms begin—Go to the health services!
    • Christopher Newport has a well established on campus clinic. The health-care is exceptional and they really care for us.
  • When your roommate comes back from the clinic…
    • Bring them nice things–they are sick and want to be home, not at school!
    • Sanitize! You can never have too much sanitizer. Never.
  • Cover your cough
    • Once flu season hits, it becomes more and more important to be aware of where your germs are flying.
  • If you have to miss class…
    • Thankfully our professors are extremely accommodating in this season. Many of my own professors have policies that excuse you as long as a doctor’s note can be provided. You can even get doctor’s notes from our on campus clinic.

Being sick at school can be hard, but with the right knowledge of the clinic, friends and professors, it helps make recovery that much more attainable.

Captains Ball

I will look for any and every excuse to dress up with friends. Christopher Newport University’s Student Council hosts Captain’s Ball annually. The evening’s theme was Paris Under the Stars and it was extravagant and tastefully executed. From the moment I walked up the stairs and into the entrance of the ballroom, every decoration was transformative. It was a night full of dancing, laughing and eating with friends. One of the things I loved most about the evening was that it was just for Christopher Newport students and was a way to celebrate life as a Captain. This is one annual event on campus you never want to miss.

A Fresh Start

With a new year comes new year’s resolutions. And with no membership I’d be directly paying for and no real reason to not go more often than I did last semester (aside from sleeping in for an extra hour before breakfast or watching Westworld on my roommate’s HBO account), mine has been to regularly go to the gym for an hour, at least four times per week.

“The gym” has always been a delightful area of discussion that I’m quick to avoid discussing (or appearing at). Despite the overwhelming media advocation for healthy lifestyle choices and making friends that are vehemently more “into it” than I (some have even gone for two months straight without taking a day off), I’ve been frequently opposed to going. I think it’s the disposition lots of people have; the disposition that you need the physique of Cristiano Ronaldo or Karlie Kloss to even step foot beyond the rotating metal bars in the front entrance, let alone use one of the machines. However, after realizing that my steady diet of cookie dough and Girls wasn’t getting me anywhere close to my Calvin Harris-esque physique goals, and hearing my roommate’s girlfriend casually remind us multiple times that “swimsuit season” (oh, the horror) was mere months away (and a potential beach trip on the horizon for mid-June), I decided I would go.

Maybe it was because I’d spent too much of my spare time watching Nicole Richie’s Instagram story or reading important journalism (such as charming Buzzed articles like “8 Photos Of Kylie Jenner Realizing The Floor is A Thing”). Maybe it was because I couldn’t gather the motivation to get out of bed, throw on a coordinating shirt and shorts and make the two-minute-long trudge to the Freeman Center. But after going more regularly, I can confidently say that I’m slowly on my way to understanding how the “gym works” (no massive lifestyle changes or mindset change necessary!).

I think the main reason people decide to not go to the gym to exercise is because they feel like everyone is focusing on them. All of the people with perfectly-toned bodies who look like they’ve been lifting weights since they were born can be kind of intimidating, and seem like they’re totally staring you down as they lift and run and stretch longer than you can. And before I began going for longer periods of time and getting more comfortable with going more often, I had the same type of mindset.

Here’s the thing, though: nobody’s focusing on you more than you are! If you’re in the weight room or the dance studio with 14 other people, chances are they really don’t care what you’re doing! Unless they’re a trainer that you’re directly working with, nobody’s focusing on you or trying to improve you. The main point of going to the gym is self-improvement. As in, nobody’s paying attention to how long you’re spending on the elliptical, or how you’re holding your barbells when you lift, or how steep you set the incline on the treadmill. Everyone that’s there is focusing on improving themselves. They aren’t there to monitor you or pay attention to how you’re trying to work on yourself, because they’re really just there to work on themselves! If you’re spending your time at the gym thinking about how other people are judging you for doing what you’re doing or stressing that you don’t have the arms or butt or back of the person across the room from you, you’re wasting your time on nothing; just focus on improving your own techniques and ignore whatever you might think is happening with the other people around you!

As for me, it’ll maybe (definitely) take more time at the gym before I’m fully used to it, have developed more specific routines, and have gotten used to being more active. Maybe I won’t be as chiseled as Chris Evans or Tom Daley when the semester is over (and I’ve stuck with it long enough). But it’s a new year, and I’m trying to positively change myself by doing something new. I know I’m making a better decision to go as often as I’m trying to than to not go at all. It’s a commitment that I know will pay off if I work at to as hard as I do with most things in my life, and, most importantly, I know I’m not trying to improve anyone other than myself through it. And for right now, that’s enough.

Now, as I feel I’m semi-qualified enough to give this advice, here are some tips for you if you’ve been stressed about going to the gym (for various reasons):

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask another person how they’re doing something or ask for help. If you’re inexperienced, chances are the people around you have been (if they aren’t) in your shoes before and will be more than willing to help you improve!
  2.  People at the front desk will help you however they can! They don’t bite. They won’t find it laughable that you’re at the gym in the first place, or roll their eyes if you don’t know where the locker rooms are because you haven’t used them yet. They’re there to help.
  3.  Try working out with your own music, if you aren’t or haven’t already. It can really help to focus on the specific technique or exercise you’re doing if you’re just listening to music you hear regularly, as opposed to what the gym speakers are playing (although that music is perfectly fine for most). After I decided to bring my own music to the gym (and determined that the only workout-ish songs in my music library were overplayed David Guetta and the always delightful “Get Low”) I made my own playlist specifically for the gym. It’s helped me to focus more on what I’m doing and improving myself by listening to my own compilation of M.I.A., Sleigh Bells and Britney Spears than something else.
  4.  Nobody (unless you’re working closely with a trainer, of course) is or should be focusing on you except for yourself. Having a self-improvement mindset is key!

The Best Class I’ve Had So Far

Christopher Newport University offers an abundance of interesting and challenging courses. As a junior, I have accomplished a lot in my classes in the past five semesters. I am a communication major and digital humanities minor. Communication has provided a wide variety of classes that involve philosophy, interpersonal, rhetoric, media, culture and overall criticism of these interests. Digital humanities is actually a very recent addition in the catalog of minors that incorporate communication classes, fine arts classes, computer science classes and overall digital humanities classes.

There are three points of interest in the digital humanities minor. At Christopher Newport, digital humanities is an interdisciplinary minor that teaches the skills and knowledge for careers that digital media and technology meet with humanities. Some examples of these careers can be education, library science, museum curation, nonprofits, political campaigns, graduate research, design, fine arts and music/film/theater/dance production along with fields like mass communication, journalism and marketing.The second pillar of the minor is to understand the concepts and vocabulary that are needed for ongoing digital conversations. Lastly, the third pillar is to provide the tools and experience to use various digital media applications, technological tools and coding basics that allow the student to analyze texts/works in the humanities.

All of this being said, the best class I have taken so far in my minor is Introduction to Digital Media. This class primarily has helped cultivate a very creative side of my academic career. The class focuses mainly on Adobe products, specifically Photoshop and the use and experimentation of the software. What I love most about the class is that not only do I enjoy learning the software but its something that I could legitimately use in a future job or even on its own as a source of income. The class overall is fast paced and certainly requires a high level of focus, but once I’ve been able to learn the basics of Photoshop, it has become a really fun process to create and re-create in new ways.

I really love the digital humanities minor because it is a minor that is looking toward the future. Our society, culture, businesses are all run by the use of digital media and humans. Learning so many different tools to keep up with what a fast paced technological future is one that I am very thankful Christopher Newport provided for me.