‘Twas the night before …

‘Twas the night before Christmas … oh no, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

 

‘Twas the night before finals, when all through the library, not a student was stirring, not even a computer mouse. The books were spread out by the desk with stress, in hopes that the holidays would soon be there.

 

Though finals may be a stressful time in colleges around the globe, CNU makes sure there is joy to be spread. They emphasize the importance of scholarship, but they always make time to ensure that the students are getting into the holiday spirit.

 

The students were nestled all snug in their study cubbies

While visions of Netflix danced in their heads

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter

 

The students sprung from their desks to see what was the matter

Away to the lawn they flew like a flash

Tore away from the book pages and threw on their coats

 

The moon was shining with the new fallen snow

When what to my wondering eyes should appear

But a miniature frozen wonderland, with Santa and food

 

With fireworks, so lively and quick

I knew in a moment I was at the perfect school

And everyone shouted and called out carols

 

As the night flew by

I knew there were still obstacles to be met

So off to the library or McMurran

Where the building was full of helpful study tools

 

And then, in a twinkling I heard hot chocolate

And free scantrons being handed out

As I studied and turned around,

Down the hallway I heard laughter and cheers

 

The support spread throughout the students

And I laughed out of joy, in spite of my stress

I winked and saw that I had peers by my side

 

And soon I had nothing to dread

For my professors sprang to help, because we’re all a team

And away the stress sailed, like a captain

But everyone heard, as they packed their bags after finals,

Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night.

The Ultimate Stress Reliever

I have gotten up before the sun for team lifts and early classes, but this day was different. I fought all my instincts to lay my head back on the pillow and continue sleeping as I struggled out of bed. My hands fumbled with my wetsuit as I took it from its place in the closet and stuffed it into a bag. I tucked my board under my arm and exited my apartment by 5:30 a.m. My friend and his truck were waiting for me outside. I strapped my board down and climbed inside, thankful for the heater. The 45-minute drive to the beach always feels longer at this hour. By the time we reached the oceanfront, soft beams of light had begun to sneak their way across the sky. We pulled in to our usual spot and suited up. The inferno of colors now becoming more and more vivid danced in the reflections on the water. Excited, we rushed down to where land and sea collide. The cold water was startling but soon forgotten as paddling through crashing sets warmed us up. The freezing, penetrating water and wind all become worth tolerating when that one wave begins breaking in the perfect place and time. It is during that exhilarating ride that all worries about school are swallowed up by the ocean.

We arrived back on campus just in time for our 10 o’clock classes. These last few weeks will be tough for sure, but they will be even harder without a stress reliever. Discovering what takes your anxieties away is key in college, and going to school near the coast, I have some great options.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conquering Finals

Well guys, the time has come. Finals week is upon us. As a junior, I feel a lot less stressed about taking on my finals, but at times it can still be difficult. I am going to share with you some tips I use to help me stay on top and keep me from drowning in this sea of chaos.

Tip #1: Create a Schedule

One of the most important things when it comes to finals, is actually knowing when your finals are! Make sure you know what day and time they are and what classroom you are supposed to meet in.

Tip #2: Prioritize

After this, you can start to make a study schedule. The more detailed this is, the better. Focus on the finals you have first, even if you are more worried about one at the end of the week. Don’t get ahead of yourself, because that can keep you from doing your best.

Tip #3: Study, Study, Study!

Create a place where you won’t have any distractions – like a study room in your dorm, an empty classroom or your common room. Even though the library seems like the ideal place to hunker down and tackle your work, I avoid the library at all costs during big exam periods.

I say this because everyone has the same mindset of locking himself or herself in the library. This means it will be crowded and a lot noisier than you would want to deal with. If you are lucky enough to procure a study room in the library, then go for it – but be mindful of how much work you will be able to get done.

Tip #4: Separate or Group?

I prefer to study alone for exams, but I don’t mind being around other people who are studying for a different test. It’s a good idea to know how you work best, so you aren’t hindering yourself.

Tip #5: Take A Break!

Yes, studying is very important but so is taking a break! Whether it is reading a favorite book, taking a nap or watching your guilty pleasure on TV, it is completely acceptable to let yourself recharge during one of the busiest times of the semester. This is especially important in between exams, too.

Tip #6: Let It Go

No, I am not referring to the hit “Frozen” song, no matter how catchy it is. When I say, “Let it Go,” I am referring to your mindset. Putting forth your best effort is essential to succeeding at anything in life, but getting hung up on every little thing isn’t good. Some pressure is helpful – you may be required to focus more and actually get work done, but too much pressure is not healthy. After you take your exam, don’t worry about what you may or may not have gotten right, but rather be confident in your work and prepare yourself for your next task.

I hope these tips were helpful! Don’t stress too much over exams and have an amazing (and safe) winter break!

Liberal Arts?

I wasn’t exactly sure what I would be getting myself into when I applied to a liberal arts university. Looking at just those words, I pictured myself in a studio, flinging clay on a wheel and “making” some kind of misshapen vase or pot.

Thankfully, that was not the case at CNU.

Simply put, a liberal arts school gives its students an opportunity to explore many areas of concentration before settling down in a particular major. Think of it kind of like an ice cream bar with lots of toppings. Everyone finishes with the same thing (ice cream), but everyone’s finished product is different. I could choose to experiment with a couple history classes, while you could look into a chemistry lab.

Because of CNU’s liberal learning core curriculum , all students have to take courses in literature, composition, economics, mathematics, foreign language, science and American history/government in addition to their major classes. I was disappointed, at first, to have to dive back into Spanish and statistics. Those were high school things, right? Since I wanted to study English here, shouldn’t I only have to take classes about reading and writing in English?

Not quite!

You see, to graduate as a well-rounded, intelligent, disciplined person, it’s EXTREMELY beneficial to know a little bit about everything (not just everything about one thing). Yes, I have learned a lot from my English classes here. But, I’ve also learned much more than I thought I would from random classes in the Communication Department or the American Studies Department.

So, don’t freak out about having to take a course in something that’s not your cup of tea. In the end, you’ll have an informed opinion on it, and you might even discover a new passion!

Closing a Show

As TheaterCNU’s production of “Pericles, Prince of Tyre” comes to a close all I can think of is how lucky I am to have been a part of it. I honestly could not have asked for a better show with which to start my theater career here at CNU. It has been a remarkable journey, and it will be really hard to let go. But, I know this incredible story will remain with me for a long time to come.

Seeing this show come to an end is a little easier because I know the work we have done has been unique to us. I am absolutely sure no one has done a production of “Pericles” the way we have done it, and I’m sure no one will ever be able to replicate it either. We truly created a work of art combining the joys of acting, dancing and music.

We have worked on “Pericles” all semester, and I would not have changed a single second of it. We came together to put on a great production, and the outcome far exceeded our expectations. I am so happy to say that I was a part of this show, because we put everything we had into making it come to life.

I know when this production closes it will stay with us. When you work on a show like this and dedicate so much of yourself to it, it never really leaves you. The cast I had the privilege of working with has been so amazing. Witnessing the way everyone worked made me want to excel and push myself to do the best I could.

I am very aware that I will never be in a show quite like this again and that is what makes it so special. I can’t even begin to describe the ways I am thankful to have been a part of this production. I know that TheaterCNU’s production of “Pericles, Prince of Tyre” has been a once in a lifetime experience.

 

Am I a Scholar?

I don’t see myself as a “scholar.”

Even though I’ve been in school as long as I can remember, with just a few summer and Christmas breaks thrown in, I still see the title of scholar as reserved for someone in the Middle Ages, holed up in a castle with lots of scrolls and ink and dust.

I think it’s time I reeducate myself on this subject.

Merriam-Webster defines a scholar as someone who “has studied a subject for a long time and knows a lot about it.” Well, that’s pretty simple. According to that definition, scholarship comes down to a desire to learn; I’d say that most of the students I’ve met at CNU thus far fall under that category.

As we approach finals, it’s easy to lose confidence in your academic skills. I constantly find myself thinking, “I should have studied one more hour for that test” or “Did I write enough for that essay?” But, the good news is: scholarship isn’t something that’s achieved overnight. It’s a process; thankfully, one bad test won’t ruin the whole thing. Becoming super knowledgeable in a certain area of study takes several years, many classes and lots of reflection.

So, with the end of our fall semester nearing, remember these wise words from A. A. Milne (the creator of Winnie the Pooh and other nostalgia):

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

Thanksgiving break is almost here! Let’s finish strong, Captains!

Greek Life is Service

Greek life can often get a bad reputation. Whether it be what you see in the media, someone who had a bad experience or your parents disapproving, it’s often hard to look past the bad rep that Greek life has.

While I will save all of the details on Greek life for future blog posts, I wanted to share a little about service.

When you sign up for Greek life, you sign up for service.

You take on the challenge of supporting your philanthropy; that can mean swinging in heat while giving out lemonade and popsicles for donations, living in cardboard boxes for a night to raise awareness about homelessness, or being in “jail” until you raise enough money to bail yourself out and raise funds for your cause.

All of these events above may sound strange to you, but they are ways different Greek organizations on our campus support their philanthropy, their community and their members.

I am extremely thankful for the opportunities for service I have been given through Greek life. They’re opportunities I may not have otherwise had, and opportunities that give me something to be passionate about during my time here.

Brotherhood or sisterhood means supporting your philanthropy, putting on events and sharing it with campus.

The coolest thing to me about all these service opportunities through Greek life is that it doesn’t just stop with your organization.

We as a Greek community have the ability and opportunity to serve others through our attendance, donations and support of other organization’s events.

Things like: buying a ticket to watch students perform stand-up comedy, lip sync to Miley Cyrus or get pied in the face support that service ideal.

Even indirectly, it all matters.

Hang In There

The end of the semester is nearing and I, for one, can’t wait! I feel like this semester has flown by, but at the same time each day is longer than the one preceding it. Even though we are almost done, there is still so much more to do in preparation of finals. Finals … I can’t even imagine taking them right now, especially with Thanksgiving break right around the corner.

I know it is hard to muster up the strength to last until then, but I have faith that we all can do it!! Plus, Thanksgiving break will be so much more rewarding if you can push through this week of classes.

I have made a list of all my last big tests, projects and assignments to help me stay focused on what I need to get done. Something helpful to do is to write this all out on a sticky note, take a picture of it and set it as your phone background. We all check our cell phones a million times a day, so each time you check it, you will be reminded to stay on track.

Even though we are going to have to buckle down, don’t forget to take a break! Netflix is always waiting for me after a long day or when I get stressed out. So guys, it isn’t too long until break, so wrap up those assignments and enjoy your turkey day!

Opening a Show

This truly has been one of the most exhausting and fulfilling weeks of this semester for me. TheaterCNU opened the production of “Pericles, Prince of Tyre,” which I am in. We have been working on this show for months now and we couldn’t have been more excited to bring it to an audience. The process of creating a show is one that takes a while, but is extremely worth it.

Now, this play by William Shakespeare already comes with certain challenges when it comes to the language. Then, when you add Afro-Caribbean dance and music to it, it becomes a party. I don’t think anyone in the cast was prepared for what this show actually would entail, but I know we are all extremely proud and happy with the result.

This show is being done in the round, which means that the actors are in the center while the audience is all around us. Being in the studio theatre, it is a very intimate show. The audience is right there beside the actors and can really feel like they are a part of the show. The audience can even choose to sit on a cushion and be up close and personal to the actors.

This production is a very actor-driven show, so all we have is a wedge that gets used differently in each scene. Since this is a big ensemble production where we all play several characters, we get amazing costume pieces that help suggest when we become someone else. Also, all the sound effects made in the show are done by the actors.

Working on this show has been so incredible. This has been my first production here at CNU, and I could not have asked for a better show on which to work. It’s been a labor of love, patience and more love, and we had an amazing director, Professor Denise Gillman, leading the entire thing. Without her, none of this would be what it is.

If you are saying to yourself, “I missed the opening weekend!” don’t worry! We have another weekend of performances: November 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. and the 23 at 2 p.m. We can’t wait for you to see it!