Roomie Christmas

One of my favorite things about spending part of December at Christopher Newport is getting to do a “Roomie Christmas” with my lovely roommates! In the midst of finals’ stress and the ever-present desire to head home for the holidays, the girls I live with and I have always made time one evening before break to share a meal and presents. (Then, we get back to hitting the books – or watching ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas).

This year was no different: with stockings carefully tacked onto the wall and Christmas music playing through Spotify, we gathered together to make pizzas and share about our weeks. I discovered it’s super easy to make your own pizza dough and that Commons provides tons of veggies at its salad bar that are perfect for pizza toppings. We danced around our kitchen (because upperclassmen get kitchens in their apartments) and let the sparkling grape juice flow.

The pizzas turned out beautifully! After dinner, we exchanged simple gifts like cupcakes, mugs and crazy socks and laughed until our bellies hurt – but, that could have just been all the desserts we were eating.

Even though it was just a short break from schoolwork, it was much needed. Roomie Christmas has become one of my favorite December traditions, and this senior year one was the icing on the gingerbread man.


The four of us in our homemade aprons! 

Why We Love Freshmen

The holidays would not be the same without some decorations, and freshmen are notorious for having the best door decor! We love our fresh Captains, and all the spirit they bring during the winter season. Check out some of the cool door decorations they’ve done this season!


This room is hoping Santa will leave them some presents in their stockings over winter break.


Sometimes your hall theme conflicts with your decorations, but this room still has Christmas spirit up for all to see!


These students are showing the winter season a little love on their door this year.


Not only did they go all out with the wrapping paper, but they’ve got actual twinkly lights up!


This room out-decorated everyone this year! They’ve even got a friendly reindeer sitting in the hallway.

Freshmen may get a bad rep sometimes, but they have a knack for getting Christopher Newport into the holiday spirit. That’s why we love them.

Thanksgiving in Paradise

Let me just start out by saying that, for me, Thanksgiving is all about tradition. I’m not usually one to care about repetition and regularity, but Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays, is my exception. My family has hosted turkey day in our house for as long as I can remember. My mom spends three days cooking enough food for an army (I do attempt to help when she’ll let me), and my grandma, cousins, aunts and uncles on my mom’s side come and hang out at my house. Even my grandparents on my dad’s side, who live in Florida, make the trip up north each year to be with us on Thanksgiving.

My sister and I religiously watch the parade together every Thanksgiving morning, my cousins and I spend the entire day laughing together, my mom generally makes the same recipes every year (mostly because everyone has a particular favorite, and they would freak out if it wasn’t in the lineup), and my whole family sits at the table for a solid 3-4 hours just enjoying having everyone together. The best—and possibly strangest—Thanksgiving tradition is that we usually end the day with my entire family playing Wii Fit, so that we at least feel somewhat OK about the mountains of food we’ve consumed. Something about having the consistency of those traditions each year makes me love Thanksgiving even more.

That said… This year was very different for me. My mom called me the week before Thanksgiving break began, and said, “Hey, V… How do you feel about driving down to Florida for Thanksgiving?” At first I thought she was messing with me, but she was totally serious. My dad’s parents had decided they couldn’t travel to Virginia this year, so my mom, after talking to us, chose to change things up and travel down south for the holiday. At three in the morning on my first day of Thanksgiving break, I met up with my family, and we drove 17 hours down to Florida, turkey in tow.

Turns out, it’s not really easy to make Thanksgiving dinner when you’re not in your own house. My mom, who still had to cook everything because my grandmother doesn’t cook much anymore, didn’t know where anything in the kitchen was, so we were constantly wandering around the kitchen, dazed and confused, searching for things like spatulas and oven mitts. Random things that are always in stock at my house were missing from my grandma’s kitchen, so we had to make about 10 runs to the grocery store. The menu kind of evolved as the day went on due to lack of ingredients and time. My sister and I tried to help as much as possible, but we were just as lost as my mom. Eventually, when I almost used Bisquick instead of flour in the dessert I was making because both ingredients were in identical containers, my mom and I just had to sit down and laugh.

It was completely different from any other Thanksgiving I can remember, but somehow all of the food ended up on the table. Everything was delicious, and, even though it was my first Thanksgiving without any cousins, it was still a really fun day. I’ve gotta say, the strangest part about spending my Thanksgiving in Florida was the temperature. It was 80 degrees! Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not complaining. This southern girl desperately needed some sunshine, and I came back home completely rejuvenated after some time outside. However… It was really bizarre to see people hanging Christmas lights on palm trees and to listen to Christmas music in the car with the windows rolled down. We even spent Black Friday on the beach… So we changed the name to “Tan Friday.”

Overall, I had a great Thanksgiving break. Sure, almost all of my traditions were broken, but the point of Thanksgiving isn’t really about tradition, even though that’s sometimes what I turn it into. It’s about being with people who care about you and honestly giving thanks for the opportunities you’ve been blessed with. I am really thankful that my mom decided to make the trip and we got to be with my grandparents for Thanksgiving. I know how happy it made them to see us pull in their driveway, and that made it worth it. Plus, I got to spend my break on a beach instead of wrapped up in a scarf in Virginia! Who could complain about that? But next year, I will totally be back in my own house, and all of the traditions will be reestablished. Just saying.

The Navigator App: Best Invention Ever

One amazing thing about Christopher Newport is the fact that it has its own app! The main menu has 15 different sections under it, covering everything a student would ever need, including: athletics, dining, the academic calendar, campus events, and more!

I use this app multiple times every single day, mostly for dining. The dining section shows the daily menu for each of the dining halls and other spots around campus to eat, like Discovery Grill or Einstein’s. It is literally the most helpful section to me. When deciding where I want to eat throughout the day, I always refer to it.

The one I use most after dining is probably the TV section that list the TV channels and stations for the cable here.

My third most used section is athletics. It has the schedules for each athletic team on campus. With me being such a huge sports fan and having so much school spirit, this section is very helpful. Along with the schedule, it shows live stats and even streams live video. If you can’t make it to an away game, no worries, because you can watch straight from the app!


Things You Didn’t Know Happen During Exams

There are a lot of rumors about college exams, and it makes them pretty intimidating! But there are other things about exam time that not everyone knows.

For instance, there’s usually a lot of free hot chocolate on campus.

Wait, what?

Free hot chocolate?

Yes! At Christopher Newport, student organizations usually try to host events involving free things to help you de-stress before finals week. The Campus Activities Board had free hot chocolate and donuts available one morning for students, and some residence halls had hot chocolate available in the lobby for people just coming in out of the cold. Universities know exam week is tough, so don’t be shocked if you find free hot chocolate, coffee or snacks being randomly offered to you if you’re on a college campus.

Also, a lot of people will be wishing you good luck.

The rest of your classmates feel the pain of studying, too. This is a good time to band together and form study groups. The pressure of exams really does drive you closer to other students, and usually you’ll get a lot of “good luck!” and support from them. Having that constant positive energy really does help you survive this trying time.

The theme meal is usually the week before exams, too.

For those of you who don’t know, theme meals are these crazy delicious meals at the dining halls that revolve around a holiday or occasion. Our Christmas theme meal usually happens right before exams, and it’s amazing. There’s candy canes, deviled eggs and…a chocolate fountain.

Sometimes a good meal is all you need to relax a little bit.

Plus, there’s music everywhere!

Christmas time has its own special place in music. For the multiple music groups on campus, this is the perfect time of the year to break out the Christmas carols and hold performances! Nothing beats a good rendition of “All I Want For Christmas” before heading to a test. It’ll put you in a good mood, and help you stay positive during this exhausting time of the college year.

Exams are what you make them.

They can be long and stressful, or they can be short and a way to show off what you know. All college kids have to deal with them, so don’t feel like you’re alone. Remember, we’re all in this together!


The End is Near

You can feel it as you walk on campus – a kind of desperation hangs in the air as we run from class to class, juggling coffee cups and final papers. Our semester will be done in just two short weeks, but it feels like an eternity away due to all the work that still needs to be done!

Even though we’re smack-dab in the middle of a pretty stressful time, there’s still room for typical college fun and the festivities of the season. Some students show up to class wearing ugly Christmas sweaters, and the dining halls have been transformed into winter wonderlands full of Santas, snowflakes and trees. It’s fun to eat your Mongolian grill next to a toy reindeer that looks a lot like Rudolph. Beautiful Christmas trees are set up in many of the building on campus, and they each have a theme! The tree in McMurran Hall, which houses many of the humanities majors, is covered in little books and black and white pages. The Forbes Hall tree is usually covered in bird ornaments, which matches the biology/science-y nature of the building.

Though the lines at Einstein’s might be longer as students stockpile their coffee for long nights in the library and though the colder weather makes walking to class less appealing, the excitement for the end of another semester builds every day. We’ll be there soon, Captains! Let’s crush finals!

It’s Time to Give Thanks

With Thanksgiving just passing, I figured it would be only right to tell you what I am thankful for at Christopher Newport:

  1. This may sound weird, but I am thankful for the rigorous curriculum offered by CNU. With the classes being challenging, you feel much better about yourself when you earn high grades, rather than them being given to you.
  2. After my actual education, or course, the thing I’m most grateful for is my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. Through this organization, I have had the opportunity to build bonds with people who no one could ever break. I have also had many opportunities to impact people’s lives through community service!
  3. FREE gym membership! After Thanksgiving and Christmas season go by, having a fully equipped gym to go to for free is great!
  4. The residence halls at CNU are unlike any other. There are rooms that come with kitchens. Some rooms are singles and even have their own bathroom. It’s like living in your own apartment or mini palace.
  5. Last but not least, I am so very grateful for the many Captains that I have been able to not only meet, but build actual relationships with. The feeling of community here seems so unreal sometimes but I am grateful I’ve been able to experience it.