The College Transition

When I started my first semester here at Christopher Newport, what initially hit me was that it was nothing like I had expected it to be. The reality of college was far from what I’d dreamed it would be while planning my graduation party, shopping for matching decor with my roommate and receiving college acceptance letters.

I believe I’ve narrowed this discrepancy down to two things: emotions, and the incredible difference between high school and college.

When I was preparing to move into college, I assumed my first week would be the happiest of my life. I assumed I would be incredibly excited, and that the overall experience would be really relaxed. Turns out, watching my family leave was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Thankfully, as most things do, it has gotten better with time. I’ve adjusted to this new normality, and am enjoying everything college life has to offer. As for college being relaxed – well, it is anything but that. I don’t think I’ve ever been so busy in my life. Again, I’m learning that that is also not at all a bad thing.

On top of the emotions I expected to experience being completely out-of-whack, I’ve realized that the gap between high school and college is even bigger than I’d thought it would be. In high school I found it simple to maintain A’s, half a dozen extracurriculars and two part-time jobs without experiencing high levels of stress. I never cracked a textbook, never studied for a quiz. Academics came naturally to me, and I didn’t expect it to be any different when I officially became a student at Christopher Newport. Well, I’ve come to the realization that the only way you can have excessive free time to do whatever suits you is if you either completely put off your classes, or refuse to join any on-campus organizations.Only six weeks in, I’m lucky if I spend one hour a day on the various clubs I’m a part of. The rest of my time is heavily devoted to my classes, homework and the continual cycle of studying.

Although the transition from high school to college has been anything other than what I’d expected, I’m learning to love it. Even though the reality of it is nothing like I’d dreamed, I think in some unexpected way, it’s even better.

CNU: The Rain Edition

It might not be too obvious to the outsider but going to school near the coast brings a lot of great things: beach days, surfing, salty sweet air. But there’s one other thing it brings … RAIN.

Normally I’d say it rains more in the spring semester, perfectly timed so it pours down right as you’re trying to move out of your residence hall for the summer. But this fall, this week, it seems like it hasn’t stopped raining. I haven’t even done my hair this week because I know as soon as I walk out of my house the rain, or humidity, will wreak havoc on whatever hairstyle I tired to craft!

Although rain might make any plans you had prior a little soggy, or you hair, there are a few things you can do to keep the rain from ruining your day!

  • Be sure to own rain boots and a rain jacket (make sure it’s really a Rain Jacket and not a Windbreaker – BIG difference)
  • Have some spare ponchos for tailgates and sporting events on campus
  • Explore Newport News when the rain keeps you inside! We’ve got bowling alleys, indoor trampoline places, even a Melting Pot!
  • Use the crummy weather to study! Curl up in your room or dash over to an academic building to knock out that book report so you can enjoy the sunshine when it decides to come out again!
  • See a show at the Ferguson Center! Check out this fall’s lineup.
  • Be sure to keep you laptop dry! In a case, or even a plastic bag, make sure it stays dry when you get caught in a downpour between classes. I learned my backpack wasn’t waterproof the hard way.
  • In the worst case, you can rent a canoe from the Freeman Center to get to class (Kidding! that’s a joke, but trying out an exercise class during a rainy day is a great way to stay active and have fun!)

CNU in Seven Points

img_3251As a senior I’ve been around the block a time or two – seven semesters, three residence halls – you might say I’ve “seen it all.” And while everyone has their own bias, Christopher Newport University is one of the greatest universities to exist, and I’ll give you seven reasons why:

  1. The state of the campus
    • Everything is constantly at its best. The grass is always green, buildings are shining in the sunlight, I walk to class on a picture perfect campus everyday.
  2. Faculty
    • I won’t be able to say enough kind words here. My professors have changed my life for the better, they have shown me that I have the potential to succeed in ways I never even imagined. People say you won’t want to graduate because then you have to “become an adult.” I don’t want to graduate because I’m not done learning from them just yet.
  3. The students
    • CNU is big enough to not know everyone, but small enough to recognize faces on the way to class. You’ll always have some one to sit with in the library or grab dinner in Regatta’s with!
  4. Theme meals
    • As a senior without a meal plan this is one thing I miss most: THEME MEALS! The greatest part of the month when you won’t be judged on the amount of fried foods or crab legs you can eat in one sitting.
  5. Greek life
    • As a sorority member I can testify to just how unique our Greek community is. Never have I heard of such cooperation and inclusion in a Greek system, I swear CNU is the exception to all stereotypical statements.
  6. President Trible
    • At what other university are you invited to have dessert? Probably the highlight of my freshman  college experience was getting to visit the president’s house and be warmly welcomed into their home on the James River.
  7. You can do anything here
    • Christopher Newport is the place of can-do’s. Anything you could imagine in academics you can pretty much do here. Study abroad in Ireland, help with undergraduate research, join a coloring club! And if what you want to do hasn’t been done before, professors will work to help you find a way to achieve your dreams. Sounds crazy, but it’s a reality here.
  8. (Bonus!) The beach
    • Um yeah, did I mention there are beaches within a five to 30-minute radius of the school? The James River, Yorktown, all the way to Virginia Beach. Math isn’t so hard when you’re doing it on the beach in the sun!

It’s Inevitable

College is one of those inevitable things. The cliché to “watch out because it will go by fast!” is completely accurate. One day it will just slap you in the face how fast your time in college has gone by. This happened to me about a week ago. I was at my sorority’s senior send-off, which is a party for the graduating seniors celebrating their relationships with their sisters and their accomplishments made during our undergraduate careers. All of a sudden that night I had all of these amazing women come up to me and hug me and describe how much I have meant to them. Quite literally my sorority sisters stated to my face the woman who I had always aspired to be. But this time it wasn’t me describing who I wanted to be in the future, but who people saw me as today – in this very moment. Often times young people in college are far too hard on themselves. We were raised within a generation that is born to be competitive, independent and overly confident. So often we do not give ourselves enough credit for the work we have produced. I fall victim to this every day. Looking back on my time at Christopher Newport, I regret not congratulating myself in the moment on the things that I have accomplished during my undergraduate career.

Growing up is inevitable. It’s something I can’t stop. I remember one day having someone telling me to compare life to a train. A train keeps going on a schedule, but a train also has many stops along the way. College is one of my stops along the tracks. Christopher Newport has given me incredible friends, amazing mentors, a beautiful environment, support, kindness, opportunity for leadership and an opportunity to develop into the woman I am today. Four years ago, I adamantly did not want to go to this school. Today I find myself tearing up on the Great Lawn because I don’t want to leave. Christopher Newport has given me beyond an amazing experience and if you have chosen to go here I congratulate you! The only advice I have left to give is that you get out of it what you put into it. So throw your inhibitions to the wind and set sail at Christopher Newport because trust me, you won’t regret it.

Signing off one last time. T-minus 18 days to Graduation…. #HastaLaVista

In Pursuit of Trivia

One of my absolute favorite things about my time here at Christopher Newport has been the Office of Student Activities’ Thursday Night Trivia. For the past three years, a group of friends and I have challenged other teams to a battle of knowledge unlike any other – with the promise of Captain’s Cash as a reward dangling right in front of our noses.

Each week, we show up and put our game faces on. But really, all these nights have been opportunities for our little friend group to catch up: to share how our weeks have gone, to complain about ridiculous class assignments, and to laugh at any and everything. As the trivia questions rapidly fire by, you’d probably see us high-fiving in victory after guessing what Belgium’s national flower is … or you’d witness escalating voices and pounding fists as we argued about the name of that one actress. Our trivia nights get pretty intense.

We played our last round last night. All of us are seniors, and we’ll be walking across the commencement stage in mere weeks. Thursday Night Trivia will slowly become a thing of the past as each of us head off to new cities (and countries) for grad school and real jobs. But, I’d like to think the memories we’ve made will outlast the raffle items won. It was never really about the trivia. It was always about the friendship and the opportunity to try something new.

But, while we’re on the topic of trivia, at least I can answer more Jeopardy final questions now!

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The faithful members of Team PMS pictured here with Franklin Council, the faithful host of Thursday Night Trivia!

Residence Hall, Sweet Residence Hall

I currently live in East Campus, across Warwick Boulevard from the “main campus”, and it is honestly my favorite place I’ve called home on campus during my four years. My apartment comes with my own room (don’t worry – there are three other rooms for my roomies to live in) which has become a blessed sanctuary in the busyness of college life.

Don’t get me wrong … I never had any problems sharing a room with a roommate my first two years here when I lived in York River Hall and Warwick River Hall, but there is something about coming back to the suite and knowing you have a space dedicated solely to you. My style of decorating, my own mess to worry about and more space in general to move around? All good things.

Plus, our suite’s windows face campus and therefore catch the rays of every single sunset this part of Newport News has to offer. We’ve been eyewitness to several gorgeous evenings! All in all I am extremely grateful to be finishing out my time here at Christopher Newport in such a cozy home.

My Sweet Escape

Let’s face it, college can definitely wear us students out. We all eventually become overwhelmed or stressed out at some point in the semester, whether it is because of classes and tests or athletics, Greek life, and other extracurricular activities. There are lots of places on and off campus to go if you need to get away or find peace. You could go to the gym and work out (this normally relieves my stress). There are study rooms and multi-purpose rooms in each residence hall where you could go to find peace. Christopher Newport even offers free, confidential counseling services if you need to talk about anything related to school or your personal life. The Great Lawn is always open for students to come lay out, read, eat or nap. If you want to get away from campus and it is a nice day, campus is located very close to two beaches: Huntington Beach and Buckroe Beach.

Besides the gym, my sweet escape is my home. I am from Chesapeake, which is about 30 minutes from campus. Some may think I go to school way too close to home, but I think it is the perfect distance. I never miss birthday celebrations or family functions. If I get homesick, I can go home and come back to school all in the same day if I wanted or needed to. Most importantly, when I become stressed or overwhelmed with classes and extracurricular activities and need to get away, my home is a short drive away. I am able to go home and be around my family who makes all of my problems go away with constant jokes and love. Also, while I am there, I am able to enjoy some of my mom’s homemade meals and relax in my own bed.

When I was first applying to colleges, my favorite line was “I want to go as far away from home as my mom will allow.” I was determined to get far away from home, until I toured Christopher Newport. I could not be happier with my decision of coming to CNU, even if it is only 30 minutes from home. I think it’s the perfect distance. In the words of Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz,” “There’s no place like home.”

 

Neon Lights

(Although a fellow Captain has already written about her experience, I had to share mine just to reiterate how awesome this trip was!)

Christopher Newport is one special place to say the least. We offer a beautiful campus, plush residence halls and small class sizes. Because of these small class sizes, my Media Aesthetics professor, Evan Center, was able to organize a small field trip over to the Neon District in downtown Norfolk.

Remember how excited you would get in elementary school when you got to go on field trips? Yea – we were just that excited. We all headed over on a Thursday around noon and set out to explore the Neon District.

Marked by neon triangles on the side-walk, the Neon District is now home to commissioned pieces by the City of Norfolk and local artists; neon and abstract images decorate almost every surface of the district.

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We grouped up at The Plot, a perfect outdoor area with seating, flowers in bloom and a brightly painted fence. From here we were let loose to roam the area and apply what we had been learning in class about street art. Below are some of my favorite works of art I found as we explored for the day.

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This was so much more than a field trip though. It was an eye opening experience to really apply what we have been learning in the class. If you’re wondering what to major in, I say go communication. This department has given me so many opportunities, this field trip and more! If nothing else please take Media Aesthetics, this class will open your eyes to beauty in every day life and you’ll appreciate your surroundings so much more. Give it a chance, step out on a limb and fall in love with this major just like I did.

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