Recently, I had an interview with the Office of Residence Life. In this interview we had to prepare a presentation that encompassed a problem in higher education and solutions for said problem. Where did I even begin?
For one, Google Drive is a life-changer. I had never learned how to use Google Drive prior to college, but considering our student email accounts are through Gmail it has been inevitable that I would become Google Drive fluent. This has proven helpful for times like group projects and presentations. It is much safer than emailing the file or carrying a flash drive. Both of those options could result in losing the file. However, Google Drive is strictly through WiFi so all you need is internet access and you can edit or view your document. Multiple people can work on it at the same time too.
However, this is not an advertisement for Gmail or a blog post about the helpfulness CNU provides with their student email accounts. Instead, it is an appreciation for how simple Christopher Newport makes it to build and execute a presentation. With Google Drive it was so simple to create a presentation in my dorm and just log in to my account in the interview room for viewing. It is also an appreciation post about how Christopher Newport is passionate about constant improvement. So much so that they value student feedback and find it admirable when a student can articulate and provide solutions for a problem that students sees from their perspective.
With the opening of the new and improved Regattas dining hall a couple of weeks behind us I wanted to reflect on the change it has brought to campus. For starters the new addition to the back half of our dining hall is beautiful. I wouldn’t expect anything else from the architecture of Christopher Newport. It matches perfectly with the red brick and columns on campus. I have also enjoyed having the famous Francis of Assisi statue back on campus.
The expansion was long-awaited and the talk of the town. With a performance from our pep band and a speech from our student assembly president, the opening ceremony was short and sweet. It ended with an open tour of the new facility. It was unique to be one of the first to set foot on the new tile.
After experiencing the addition for the last couple weeks I have enjoyed having a bigger and better Mongolian grill. I now plan my days in order to get to Regattas before the lunch rush just to get the Mongolian grill special. I have also enjoyed the open space with new seating. Before, I would often get to-go because of Regattas seating. Problem solved! There are many more features to come and explore including a whole second floor of seating and a flavor machine for drinks.
Christopher Newport University recently gave me the opportunity to attend a leadership conference at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Through the Leadership and American Studies Department my professor told me about the conference that the department attends every year. She encouraged me to apply and so I did. The encouragement I received led to an amazing experience in Annapolis. As a leadership studies minor it was insightful to hear from leaders throughout or military, government and country.
We left Sunday afternoon and returned on Wednesday. We spent two full days in back-to-back speeches and group sessions where we got to network and discuss with students from around the world. Our group consisted of us four students and a leadership professor. I have now made four more connections at CNU that I didn’t have before.
Being a leadership minor separate from the President’s Leadership Program does not limit my opportunities. CNU is constantly providing opportunities to its students. I will forever be grateful for the opportunities I have gotten since attending this university.
Christopher Newport is a small university. There are many benefits to this fact. Class sizes are generally smaller allowing for class discussion and engagement. You get to know everyone in your class, leading to more relationships and bigger study groups. With class sizes ranging around 19, CNU sets forth an engaging class experience. Your professor gets a chance to learn your name and you get to know the class.
However, this means they know when you are absent and they care when you are gone. Many professors set forth attendance policies to encourage class participation. I enjoy the motivation and the caring that comes from the professors here. Christopher Newport University values academic success.
The other day I missed classes for a conference I attended. I provided documentation for my absence, but one of my professors still took my absence as an opportunity to email me and ask how I was doing due to my absence. I appreciated the time my professor took to reach out and check on my because I was not in class. You wouldn’t get that attention in a big lecture class.
I arrived back to campus the Wednesday before the first day of classes (I’m a resident assistant). The whole day was filled with anticipation for the snow. We were acting like kids in middle school hoping for a day off the next day to have a snowball fight and build a snowman. The quietness of the building made for a peaceful atmosphere as the snow started to fall that night.
We were excited for the best, but preparing for the worst. Rumors were flying about how much we were going to get. “I think 5 inches,” “I think 3” or “It’s not going to snow.” All the while, our hall director was handing out flashlights and instructing us on how to handle a power outage, which never did happen despite the good 5 or 6 inches of snow that fell that night.
Going to bed with a soft blanket of snow on the ground and waking up to a white campus was the most magical thing I have ever seen here at Christopher Newport. Everyone always talks about the magic at CNU and I feel that all the time walking on campus. Now, add the magic and beauty of snow to that picture and you have something truly priceless. We did get the day off we were hoping for because training for the staff was canceled that day. We spent the day staying warm, making snow ice cream and enjoying each other’s company. We were snowed in!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!