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.

Changing a Major

Let’s take it back to freshman year. I came in knowing I wanted to be a communication major. I was so sure of myself and even ignored the statistics about how many college students change their major. “That is never going to be me,” I would say.

Fast forward to sophomore year Signing Day. I walked confidently to the communication booth and wrote my name with my new fancy pen. It was very anti-climactic for me because I felt declared when I entered college.

Now, here I am, a junior in college and I have just changed my major. Somewhere along the way I felt like I was missing something. I became a communication major because I appreciated the versatility of the field. I knew it could take me where I needed to go, but I grew to realize about myself that it wasn’t what I wanted to be learning. I was so upset with myself for thinking this way, like it was a failure that I am changing my mind. I struggled for a few days on whether it would be worth it to leave a department where I love the professors and classmates to start completely over. I ran 1,000 degree evaluations to see what my schedule would look like for my last few semesters. I came to realize I would have to take two summer classes to graduate on time.

I had many conversations with different people such as friends who are English majors, my career counselor in the Center for Career Planning and my adviser. The number one thing I learned from each conversation is that my heart was telling me where I wanted to be and I had a wave of support behind me from the faculty, staff and friends. So I did it, I turned in the paperwork to the registrar and I changed my major. Now, I will be joining Burke and Tolkien in the English Department as a second semester junior and I could not be more excited to see what CNU has in store for me next.

Build A Buddy

This is the year! I am going to build a buddy. Each year our Campus Activities Board (CAB) hosts an event called Build a Buddy. The past two years I have missed the opportunity to go for different reasons such as scheduling conflicts, etc. But this is it. I am going to do it this year!

CAB hosts many amazing events on campus and the best part is they are absolutely free. On the weekends we have free movies, every fall we have fall fest and every spring we have spring fest. With a couple traditional events and frequent speakers CAB gives the community things to look forward to. For me, I have been looking forward to making my own stuffed animal for two years. This may sound trivial, or unimportant, but it has become a staple on campus and it is exciting as a member of the community to engage in those highlight moments of the semester.

My friends and I talk about build a buddy the minute it is announced. One year, my friend made a turtle stuffed animal, the next a bear. This year who knows what we will build, but I know I can count on the fact that we will do it together and I will finally get to build my buddy complete with a miniature CAB T-shirt for my stuffed animal to wear. Thanks to CAB, I have many opportunities to take a break from classes and engage in events with friends.

CNU Under Construction

At the moment, standing in the middle of campus one can see the expansion of the dining hall, Regattas, on one side of campus and the expansion of the library on the other. My first year here Christopher Newport Hall was just completed, and in the works are a few more buildings and expansions. To some this may sound inconvenient. People always ask me, “How do you feel about the constant construction?” and “Doesn’t it take away from the beauty of campus?”

My answer is no. When I see the construction I see growth. I see a campus in the process of reaching its highest potential. I do not see an inconvenience, I see it as an honor. I feel excited and honored everyday to be a part of the history of CNU where we are building. I feel attending this university at this time is a way for me to leave an impact on the expansion of this school. We are in a time where the changes we make as students and faculty impacts the future the most.

For this reason, I see the construction and smile. I see changes that I will be excited to come and see years from now as an alumna. The buildings being built do not take away from the beauty of campus, but rather adds an excitement. Excitement for the beauty and resources they are going to add.

A Checklist for Registration Success

I love class registration! Well, let me reword that. I love putting together a schedule, or two or three. I love looking at the class options and getting excited about interesting topics being taught. I do not like the morning of registration, but I have found success in the following checklist:

  1. Run a degree evaluation! This is so important because it tells you the classes you need to graduate on time. It is done through CNU live and it will become second nature to you by the middle of your CNU career.
  2. Check the list of classes offered! I love to see what is being offered and who is teaching what before I pick the ones I want in my schedule.
  3. Put together multiple schedules, like I said above. This is my favorite part. I look at it like a puzzle. Trying to fit the classes I need and want into a schedule. It is important to be prepared with different options in the case the class you want is full by registration morning.
  4. Meet with your adviser! They are an important resource to you. They can tell you if you are on the right track and answers those burning questions you have about registration. The most important part about this step is getting your verification code. You can’t register without it.
  5. Check to see if your verification code is correct! This is also done through CNU live and is important for the reasons above. You cannot register without it.
  6. Know your registration time and be awake at least 20 minutes before. This is important in order to do a final check on what is still available.
  7. Don’t panic! The biggest thing I have learned through my time is that no matter what happens the morning of registration you will always end up in the classes you need to graduate.

The biggest thing to know is be prepared, be calm and have an open mind about the classes being offered!

Homecoming Week

Yes, you read the title correct. Homecoming at CNU is not just a weekend, it is an entire week. Each day has a new event to celebrate the university and to just have fun. My freshman year I was not aware that the weekend festivities started the Monday before. The week of celebration kicks off with a senior class fundraiser giving back to the university.

The remainder of the week hosts events that contribute to a competition between organizations. Tuesday, you can Yell Like Hell during the chant competition. On Wednesday, organizations display a 4X4 spirit sign that was decorated to portray their organization and school spirit. Thursday is a test of CNU knowledge with a trivia night. Saturday was a Golf Cart parade judged and awarded points based off of decorations and participation. At the end of the week the organization with the most points gets awarded the Captain’s Cup.

Then comes the weekend, the most known and anticipated part about Homecoming. Friday, Midnight Madness occurs in the Freeman Center Field House and on Saturday everyone gathers for the football game, tailgate and the announcement of king and queen.

However, the best part about Homecoming is the return of the alumni. CNU is always said to have an unspoken magic on campus. To me, I feel the most magic when alumni return home to celebrate the impact and beauty of campus. The extent of Christopher Newport’s impact on their students deserves much longer than a week to celebrate, but I am a #CaptainForLife and will enjoy this week every year.

Commons vs Regattas

As I am writing this post, it is currently buffalo chicken wrap Wednesday here on campus. Everyday, about twice a day I ask this question, “Regattas or Commons?” Both dining halls offer a diverse menu that is different from the other, making my decision harder. I usually go to Commons because I live in Santoro Hall and the two are conveniently connected. If I want a change of pace I go to Regattas. Neither one is better than the other. However, they both present their own staples.

Regattas is commonly known for their modern design, grilled cheese line and Mongolian grill. It is also known for being pretty busy due to their good food and placement in the heart of campus. Walking into Regattas you are met with students waiting to get their daily grilled cheese or burger. It is a line worth waiting in because the Regattas staff makes you a sandwich that reminds you of home. My favorite days in Regattas are the ones where they have General Tso chicken or tender Tuesday.

In Commons, you are met with a staff who knows your name. They make you omelets while asking about your day. The staff often remembers previous conversations you have had making students feel special. They also have a set meal schedule, making it fun by giving us something to look forward to. The greatest thing about Monday is chicken nuggets, Tuesday is tenders, Wednesday is buffalo chicken wrap day and Thursday is tacos. The benefit to having two dining halls is having options. It all just depends on what you are feeling that day.

My stomach is now growling, I’m gonna go get me a buffalo chicken wrap!

Written Agenda vs. Google Calendar

“Google calendar is my life,” “I couldn’t live without my agenda.” Based off of these common quotes I hear around campus it seems there is a controversy between the efficiency of Google calendar and a traditional notebook agenda – yes, they still exist. Time management skills at Christopher Newport are a must, and that is taught to students from day one. We often have a number of obligations that need a structure if we are going to be successful. I have always used an agenda in my time as a student. I couldn’t live without my agenda. Everything must go in it, down to what I need from the grocery store.

However, second semester sophomore year I discovered the power of Google calendar. You can schedule recurring events, you can color code, you can set reminders and others can invite you to meetings and events that magically show up on your calendar. I went from a list of things needed to be done each day to a schedule that told me what time each day I was going to be working on tasks. This structure was so specific, so detailed it kept me on task and up to date. However, seeing a schedule filled from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed was, visually, stressful.

So, pros to Google calendar are that it is interactive, easy to use and quick, but it can be extremely detailed. First semester of junior year I decided to use a little of both. I have scheduled all my classes, work shifts and dinner dates into my Google calendar. I have color-coded my agenda with homework assignments, papers and tests. This way I get the best of both worlds from each form of scheduling and I stay on task without getting too stressed.

The moral of my story is that time management is essential. Try different strategies or stay with the one you like, but find what works for you so you can succeed.

Family Weekend

My family group chat is busy, the tailgate passes are bought, my room is cleaned and my father has sent this year’s itinerary. I am ready for Family Weekend. I look forward to this one weekend every year. In my family, Family Weekend is a big ordeal. We start planning months in advance to make sure every member has a hotel room because all around town the hotels become booked with student’s moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents and siblings.

The night before the campus is quiet, but I buzz with excitement knowing that tomorrow it is going to be busy with family and happiness. I find campus to be even more beautiful when it is full of people enjoying it. Planning for Family Weekend is easy when so much is offered. Our Campus Activities Board usually puts on a movie in the theater. Our chorus usually puts on a concert as well. The biggest event of the weekend, however, is the football game. My family looks forward to the game the most. We dress head to toe in Captains gear and go cheer on the team. It makes me love this school more when I see how proud my family is to come see where I spend my time and integrate themselves into our special community with their endearing school spirit.

What CCP did for me

Here it is. Junior year of college. Let’s just say I have reached my mid-college crisis. Where am I gonna go after graduation? I know the majority of college students can relate when I say that I change my mind on my future everyday.

I have been leaning on my friends with my internal struggle, and one happened to mention that the Center for Career Planning had been helping them figure out their next steps. So, I went up to the third floor of Christopher Newport Hall and made an appointment – yes, it is that easy. One of our amazing career counselors sat down with me for an hour showing me the power of LinkedIn and giving me undivided attention about my concerns and interests. The conversation ended with me feeling heard and more confident.

I have been wondering if my dream lies with publishing or higher education. Again, I change my mind everyday. My career counselor suggested I meet with individuals in different offices and conduct interviews to see the paths those individuals took and to see a glimpse of what a career in that field would look like.

I left with action items and a plan which is a lot more than what I entered with. Even after I left my career counselor emailed me an article that she came across and thought I would enjoy just based off our one conversation. How lucky am I to go to a school where the faculty is so committed to helping me succeed.