After one academic year under my belt at CNU, I feel qualified enough to know how to make the most of my college experience for my next three years. Here are 10 tips I can recommend to any incoming freshman (or all students) at Christopher Newport to have the best possible experience here!
1. Get involved on campus. Join a club or activity that’s challenging to you. Join one that isn’t. Join ones that relate to stuff you’re passionate about! Campus involvement is encouraged for everyone here, and it’ll help you to meet new people and get out of your comfort zone.
2. Have a few favorite study spots! Studying is a major part of college life for all classes, tests and final exams. Make sure you find a few different places where you can concentrate and get the most out of studying. Having a variety means you can switch up where to go if someone steals “your spot,” so you won’t just be stagnant at your desk whenever you do so (unless that’s preferred, of course).
3. Go to all of your classes! This might sound annoying, but most people’s schedules won’t be filled with multiple classes each day like in high school, so there’s no reason to not show up.
4. Be active! This is one of the few times in your life that you’ll live somewhere with a free gym, so take advantage of using the Freeman Center and all of its resources. Personal trainers and group fitness classes are also way cheaper than they’ll be in the future (or over the summer, if you’re especially dedicated) if you choose to take them when you’re an (older) adult, so if you feel so inclined try those out, too.
5. Enjoy the little things. Go to Einstein’s to get a milkshake in the middle of your study session. Spend an afternoon exploring the Noland Trail. Spend some time reading in the Ferguson Center’s secret garden (if you can find it)! College was made for having unique experiences that you can’t have at any other time, and at CNU there are limitless opportunities for those.
6. Don’t miss out on Tender Tuesday or Buffalo Wrap Wednesday. After being here for a couple of months, you’ll understand why this is so important and essential to CNU life. Once any CNU student’s had these, they’re hooked for the entirety of their time here. Try either, and you’ll understand why the lines are so long for them every week.
7. Go to your professor’s office hours. This is something I can’t stress enough. At college, professors see you on a more equal level as people, rather than just students like your teachers probably did in high school. They’re extensive sources of information and are so wise and helpful, so getting to know them outside of the classroom and having real discussions in their office hours can be really beneficial. This semester, I’ve really gotten to have some enlightening discussions with my child development professor during his office hours, which has made the subject much more personable for me. See your professors as people rather than just instructors, and go to their office hours!
8. Get to know new people. This is one of the few times in your life that you’ll be entering any school year with at least 1,000 other people who are all in the same boat as you, without cliques and any stereotypical social constructs. Simply talking to your peers, whether it’s in classes or in your residence hall, really establishes the sense of community here at CNU. Just by engaging in conversations with other students, I’ve gotten to know so many people who I never would have talked to in high school and see them on a more adult level, so I encourage everyone to do that.
9. Enjoy dorm life. Get to know the people on your hall. Go to hall meetings and events. Befriend your roommate; my current one and I are practically best friends! And always ask your RA for advice or help with anything they’re able to, since they’re always willing to be a resource if you need one and are incredibly knowledgeable about dorm life and college life in general.
10. Have a schedule for all of your classes. Being organized in the adult world is no joke, so having an agenda or academic timeline to write all of your activities and assignments in can help you stay on top of your college life. It also helps with being balanced and establishing timely schedules for exam studying!