Preparing for Finals Week

We are coming up on finals week, what is said to be the most stressful time of the semester. We all focus on getting last-minute assignments done and study as much as we can for our exams. However, it is important to remember to always take breaks. Honestly, I am guilty of once being one of those students who refuses to take breaks because I need all the time I have to study. It got very tiring.

It is important to sometimes sit back and relax. Your brain could only take in so much information in one sitting. Yes, there is such a thing as over-studying. I have reached points where I have studied for too long, went over the same material multiple times, and ended up forgetting some of the material that I had just gone over because I was just so tired.

Some things you can do to relax are hang out with your friends, get coffee or a pastry at Einstein’s Cafe, go out for food or even watch some Netflix. You can never go wrong with staying in and watching Netflix! Also, the most important is sleep, sleep and sleep! We all need to make sure we get enough rest, especially during exam week. Without a good night’s sleep, it could be hard to concentrate while taking exams and that could really affect our grades. Do not stress, winter break is almost here!

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Your Volunteer Hours

Christopher Newport places a huge emphasis on service and community engagement. The university is very committed to engaging with the Newport News community.

In programs such as PLP and the Bonner Scholars, community engagement through volunteering is required. Outside of these programs, CNU has many more service organizations that highly encourage volunteering, such as Green Team and SPCA. For a freshman or transfer student, this can be overwhelming. “Why do so many volunteer?” “Where are they volunteering?” “How do they find the time?” These are all questions that are relatively common.

CNU students volunteer because we care about our community, both in and outside of CNU. To name just a few, we are volunteering all over Newport News, at food banks, museums, elementary schools and youth centers. In addition, students also spend a lot of time volunteering on campus. Typically, this involves tabling in the DSU, but there are plenty of other ways to volunteer on campus too. CNU’s weekly emails offer tons of opportunities. The biggest question is “How do they find the time?”

Time is where a lot of the worry stems from. Well, it’s a lot easier than you’d think to get hours done. The amount of time spent in class in college is typically a lot shorter than the time spent in class in high school. With the extra free time, you are able to explore the community around you. And if you so choose, volunteer in it. The biggest hurdle is actually getting out there and doing it.

A common mistake is waiting until the last minute. Don’t wait. Commit to 1-3 hours of volunteering a week, a small percentage of the 168 hours that are in a week, and you’ll be done with plenty of time to spare. Continue on that path and you’ll also be on your way to possibly graduating with a service distinction!

Difficult Classes

We all have that one subject that we just can’t stand. For me, it’s always been math. Ever since I had my first long division worksheet in fourth grade, I knew it wasn’t for me. With that said, it’s unavoidable when you’re seeking higher education. I took math throughout elementary, middle and high school; college is no different.

As a result of Christopher Newport’s liberal learning curriculum, we have to dip our toes into just about every field. As such, we all have to take at least one class in that subject we can’t stand, whatever it may be. It isn’t all bad though, and it definitely shouldn’t be anything to be afraid of. CNU wants academic excellence from its students, but this doesn’t mean the university has unrealistic expectations. At the end of the day, their goal is to help you succeed. To earn success, you have to challenge yourself.

When you leave college after four years, whether you enter the workforce or continue your education at a higher level, the general expectation is that you are a well-rounded student. A liberal learning curriculum ensures this is the case. You are the given the opportunity to explore your passions through your majors/minors, but fulfilling the areas of interest and liberal learning requirements offer an entirely different benefit. This is that you are able to grow and learn from completely new fields.

Now, this all sounds great, but a difficult class is still difficult. So, what can you do? Consider going to CNU’s Center for Academic Success to get extra help, talk to your professor, and always be sure to study!

It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Finals

Coming back from Thanksgiving break can be seen as a chore for some or as a motivating and rejuvenating feeling. For me, I come back from break with a clear mind. I feel ready to take on the last few weeks. I have found the most success in working extra hard before break so that all that I need to focus on after is final projects, papers and exams. This allows for a focused and determined mind.

I know it is easy to take those few days at home and come back feeling like all you want to do is turn around and go home. But, my advice to you is bask in the success of finishing a semester strong. Visit, the Center for Academic Success, go talk to your professors, spend this time making sure you are doing your best to secure those good grades.

My all time favorite thing about coming back from break is coming back to the holiday feeling in the air. The students are decorating their room doors with wreaths and wrapping paper. Every academic building has a real, fully decorated and enormous tree standing center stage right when you walk in. I enjoyed decorating my room this year for the holiday and it gives me a great atmosphere to start studying for those approaching finals.

Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Move In On Campus

One of the most nerve-wracking aspects of college is the notion that you’ll soon be living with someone else in relatively small quarters. Luckily, Christopher Newport takes special measures to ensure you’ll have a great time living on campus.

The biggest one is learning communities. Typically, your random roommate will be in your learning community, as will many of the other people on your hall. So, more likely than not, you’ll have several people with your same major very close by. In addition, it is also typical for you and your roommate to share at least one class during your first semester.

Christopher Newport has three freshman residence halls. All are phenomenal buildings, with something unique about each. The York River halls are identical, and are also the newest. They typically house President’s Leadership Program (PLP) and Honors students, but a few students who are not in those programs also live there. Similarly, there are plenty of PLP/Honors students who are not in York. Santoro Hall is directly across from the Hiden-Hussey Commons dining hall. That’s a pretty handy placement if you’re in a rush. Lastly is Potomac River North. Potomac has a common room that connects the two suites in each of its rooms. It’s a great place to hang out and relax with your friends!

That’s not all! The residence halls get better every year. With community kitchens, personal kitchens, common rooms and more, there is plenty to look forward to in your next few years at Christopher Newport. Another great part of living at Christopher Newport is the Residence Hall Association (RHA). These people are a great resource for any problem or question you could ever have about Christopher Newport!

CNU Theater’s One Acts

I was very fortunate recently to see the One Acts. The One Acts are a pair of student-directed plays. They are both, as the name would imply, one act long, and as such, are very short. This challenges the actors and stage-workers to convey a meaningful performance in a relatively small amount of time. A challenge which they accomplished very well.

The first play, “The Leaning Tower of Pisa,” was a very sentimental story about a chance encounter at a train station which leads to discussion of coming and going, both physically and mentally. The set, costume and lighting all helped immerse the audience into the play. The second play, “Time Flies,” followed two mayflies who realize they only have 24 hours to live. Panic ensues. This play used sound effects to alert the audience to the urgency of the characters’ dwindling time. Both plays were comedies, and both drew huge laughs from the audience.

CNU Theater enables students to handle the responsibility of directing. It ended up being a huge success. At Christopher Newport, the academic departments are all very excited to try new things and give the students weighty responsibilities. Students learn to be leaders in their own right, which is very important when seeking a degree. Factual smarts are great, but when paired with real-world experience, the possibilities are endless.

The Importance of Sleep

Everyone sleeps. And I think everyone can agree, aside from a few characters in “Nightmare on Elm Street,” that it’s pretty great. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, we don’t get enough. Late nights are almost a staple of college life. Every once in a while, it’s OK (not good, but you’ll live). Though, if you begin to fall into a pattern of late nights, then you’ll find yourself suffering from some major consequences.

Firstly, if you consistently are having sleepless nights, you’ll create a “sleep debt.” This is sleep that your body needs to function properly, and it must be acquired one way or another. This can lead to you falling asleep in class, or falling asleep at inopportune times in general. While a midday nap is awesome, it’s not so good if it means you’re missing time that you could be using to finish schoolwork. If you don’t finish it in the day, then you’ll have to finish it at night, and the cycle repeats.

It’s recommended that a college student gets, at least, eight hours of sleep every night. I bet you’re wondering “How?” Well, don’t worry, it’s a lot easier than you think. The best way to tackle this issue is planning. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to live your life according to a schedule, but a few guidelines could certainly help. Set times to get your work and prior obligations done during the day, allotting time for you to get eight or more hours of sleep before your earliest class in the morning.

It’s never too late to make the change. If you’re struggling with academics, consider changing your sleep schedule. A good night’s sleep could be all it takes to get you in the right state of mind for success!

Friendsgiving

If you’re unfamiliar with Friendsgiving, it’s an annual tradition among a lot of friend groups. You gather with your friends to share a delicious Thanksgiving-style meal. Though, unlike true Thanksgiving, the food is usually microwaveable and a heck of a lot cheaper. What’s important isn’t the food, but the camaraderie and company. Fortunately, I was able to take part in my very first Friendsgiving right here at CNU.

I’ve never been much of a cook, so, all I contributed was six cups of mac n’ cheese that I microwaved and then dropped into a big bowl. Though, you’d be surprised at how much college kids love that stuff. There were burgers, fries, chicken nuggets, noodles, donuts and cookies, all courtesy of fast food restaurants. All the best food groups represented, am I right? We dug in and reminisced over all that had happened these past months. Suffice it to say, a lot has happened.

I’ve had a whirlwind of a first few months at Christopher Newport, and I’ve made some amazing friends along the way. Whether I met them during welcome week, leadership adventure, in my hall or just from around campus, we all had something in common. This was that we love being here. Friendsgiving felt like the culmination of all of these bonds I had formed. And as we shared our meal, I know we all were just excited to keep on going and imagine what the next Friendsgiving will be like.