Honors and PLP – Can You Do Them Both?

Two of the great opportunities Christopher Newport University offers are the Honors and President’s Leadership Programs. To put the great dispute to rest once and for all as to whether or not one can be a part of both at the same time, I’d like to present you with the answer: Yes, you can.

When I was applying to CNU, I applied for both programs. In that exciting and nerve-wracking moment, I didn’t wonder if it were possible to take part in both. However, when I received not only my acceptance letter to the University but also both programs, I worried that I might be in too deep before I’d even begun! Both had a list of commitments somewhat intimidating, and combined – well, I didn’t even want to think about that.

Here’s the good news: Now that my first semester is coming to a close, I can officially tell you that it is so very possible to do both at the same time! In fact, if you’re in the President’s Leadership Program and you have a very vigorous academic schedule such as myself (double-majoring along with minoring in leadership because of PLP) it is easier to be involved in Honors.

The President’s Leadership Program involves earning credits towards the minor, 100 hours of community service (split between all four years, which is incredibly easy to knock out considering I’ve finished over 30 hours this first semester alone), involvement in an on-campus organization, and attending a variety of leadership events. This can seem quite overwhelming, especially as someone experiencing everything college has to offer all at once. The good news is, it’s actually not all that difficult.

Thankfully, the Honors program frees up your schedule drastically by waiving approximately two-thirds of the Liberal Learning Curriculum! This allows you to not only begin working toward your major right away, but also to allow you a more relaxed schedule, which in turn frees up time for the other obligations both programs require such as events or community service.

I think it’s incredibly important for everyone to know this information, that way they don’t feel overwhelmed or forced to choose one or the other. If you have further questions, check out one of Christopher Newport University’s Honors and President’s Leadership Program visit days!

The Buildings of CNU: The Trible Library

The Trible Library is a building that matches the grandeur of all the new buildings around it. Situated directly across from the David Student Union, the Trible Library is also directly in the center of campus. If you’re a student of Christopher Newport University, you will grow incredibly fond of this building over your time here.

I’ll start, as usual, on the first floor. The moment you walk through any one of the many pairs of doors at the front of the library, you’ll be overwhelmed with two smells – paper and coffee. If you’re anything like me, those are the two best smells in the world. From left to right, you have four important areas: the 24-hour room, the front desk, the computer area and Einstein’s.

The 24-hour room is a complete blessing. It is exactly what is sounds like: open 24 hours. This room is perfect for pulling all-nighters and getting a huge amount of work done. When I know I need to get a good 4+ hours of work in and it is past 8 p.m., I head straight here so I don’t bother my roommate while she tries to sleep. Another great aspect of this room is that it is home to the amazing IT team who will fix literally anything your computer is going through, well almost anything. My only word of warning for this room is that it is very easy to settle down in this room thinking you’ll only be there a couple of hours and then suddenly realize it is 3:52 a.m. and you have an 8 a.m. class.

The front desk/circulation desk is where you will pick up any books you reserve on the online library. The staff is incredibly kind and will even assist you with finding books or learning how to work their system!

The computer area holds dozens of computers – almost like a computer lab, but more personal and comfortable – as well as study tables and a printer. It’s a great place to go if you need to print something out or don’t have your personal computer with you!

Finally, Einstein’s is the cafe that serves some of the best drinks around! They’re sell Starbucks products (so you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own campus to get your favorite latte!) along with their own personal drinks. They also sell sandwiches along with a variety of other food items. The lines get super long in the morning, but it is well worth the wait! Plus, there are study rooms connected to it, making it the perfect reward for your group study session!

The second floor of the Trible Library is slightly less exciting, but it does have some very important rooms.The first feature of the second floor that is so very convenient is that is has a ton of study space. There are two major study rooms, and then a third study area with computers much like the first floor. One of the two study rooms is great for group studying, and has long tables and allows talking. The other study room is perfect if you need to study by yourself without getting distracted, because it is a noise-free room! Only study here if you’re committed to being as silent as physically possible.

The other most important area of the second floor is the Honors suite! If you are an Honors student, you will become very familiar with these rooms. If you have any questions about the Honors Program this is the perfect place to have them answered! Honors students turn in their activity reports here, and it’s home to the head of the program himself, Jay Paul! If you ever have any questions, I would suggest stopping by. He is always willing to help people out, and he is one of the kindest people I have ever met.

Additionally, the second floor of the Trible Library is home to the Media Center. Cameras, laptops, DVDs, the Media Center has it all for you to rent for free. You can use one of the desktop Macs or rend out an editing suite if you’re working on digital projects for class. If you find yourself with some free time after studying the Media Center has a wide collection of DVDs for your viewing pleasure.

Make sure, on your next visit, that you don’t pass up my favorite place on campus: The Trible Library!

The Buildings of CNU: David Student Union

Christopher Newport University is home to many gorgeous buildings known for their elaborate architecture and abundance of enormous white columns. All of our buildings are exceedingly new and offer a variety of services. One building near the heart of campus is the David Student Union.

The David Student Union – although you’ll never hear students call it anything but the DSU – sits across from the Trible Library, separated only by a small plaza. It is a huge, three-story building that holds the life of campus within its four walls. Let’s start on the first floor.

The first floor of the DSU is home to the breezeway. This is a wide, lengthy walkway with double doors on either side straight through the center of the building. Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., it is full of countless organizations tabling for events, charities and their clubs. On one side of the breezeway is the main entrance, and by this entrance is the Center for Community Engagement and best of all, the Captains Locker. Inside a variety of items are sold, from apparel to scantrons to candy to books. On the opposite side of the breezeway is one of the best things on campus – the food. One of our two dining halls, Regattas, is located here along with a Chik-fil-a, a pizza place, a bistro and grille. You can use your dining dollars at all of these locations, which makes it a very convenient place to stop by on your way to class.

The second floor of the DSU is something of an events floor. Our ballroom is located at the top of the staircase, and this is where large celebration events such as our recent Fear 2 Freedom care-package event are held. Our Captain’s Ball is also held here in February. To the sides of the ballroom are smaller rooms with chairs and screens/projectors. These rooms are often used for smaller events such as our town hall meetings and Honors events. On the opposite side of the second floor is the mailroom, along with the mailboxes. Next to the mail room is a really nice study space called the Crow’s Nest. This is a great resource if you need somewhere quiet to study or chill, and often the students that commute will lounge here during classes.

Finally, the third floor of the DSU holds a lot of very important resources. The half by the stairs is home to many small rooms that the clubs call home. Leaders of clubs hold their office hours/visiting hours here, and are able to reached by phone in these offices throughout the day. There is also a resource room with paper, paint, glue, scissors and any other sort of arts-and-crafts material you could ever imagine. This is open to clubs to make posters or anything else that may benefit their club. On the opposite side of the stairs is the Office of Student Affairs. I actually work here as a front desk assistant, and if you’re a part of the President’s Leadership Program you’ll get to know it very well. The dean of students works from here, along with the organizations CHECS. The fellows, recent CNU alumni spending a year working for the university, have their offices here as well, and they hold success meetings for the President’s Leadership Program kids. They help keep everyone on track, and make sure the transition from high school to college is happening as smoothly as possible.

The David Student Union is most definitely one of the most lively buildings on campus. If you’re ever in doubt as to where something is, chances are it’s in the DSU. Make sure to stop by when you visit Christopher Newport University!

What to do When You’re Sick

When you apply for colleges and start getting ready to move out of the room you’ve lived in since you were little, the last thing on your mind is being sick away from home. Honestly, you’re far more nervous about how you’ll transition or deal with separation or time management or even just classes. To tell you the truth, one of the most difficult things about your first semester is that you’re probably going to get sick. A lot.

Getting sick is the inescapable truth of college. You’re going to be living with 40 other people, who interact with easily 100 people a piece each day, who then come back do your dorm sweet dorm. Once one of your hall-mates catches something, you’ve got a good chance of catching it from them.

I spent my first month of college cycling through every illness imaginable – I seemed to catch everything everyone on the hall picked up. Amazingly enough, my roommate somehow managed to live with me, take care of me and not pick up any of the illnesses. So, here’s a list of things to do to prevent getting sick and to do if you do become sick.

  1. This one is obvious, but wash your hands. Wash them before you eat, before you touch your face, before anything. If you’re by a sink, wash them. You’re sharing a campus with 5,000 people and therefore you’re sharing all of their germs.
  2. Actually take your vitamins. Find a great multi-vitamin (just have your parents send you some) and take it every day. Make it a part of your morning or evening routine.
  3. Sleep. Please, please sleep. Not only is this going to help you in practically every area of your life – academics, social interactions, etc. – but it will keep you from getting sick or becoming even sicker than you already are.
  4. If your roommate is sick, do what mine did – walk to a nearby store and buy some sort of germ-fighting spray and take the time every day to wipe down the surfaces of your room. It’s a simple, five-minute chore that truly helps you from catching what even the person in your own room has.
  5. Tell your teachers. Get a feel for whether or not what is happening in class during the week would be dire to miss, and gauge how they feel about you missing a class or two. Sometimes the best idea is to not push it.
  6. If your teacher’s response to number 5 is positive, get ahead on homework. Read the online materials posted for the class you missed, take notes, start working away at projects and essays and knock out any homework that you have the ability to do. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.
  7. Finally, eat a lot of soup. I’m a vegetarian, so unfortunately this doesn’t apply to me, but Regattas has chicken noodle soup at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Take advantage of this, and feel blessed that you have this option. It’s the ultimate sick-food, right?
  8. Tis’ the season for the flu, so remember there’s always the option to get your flu shot! You can usually get this for free, so if you’re not opposed to it, go get it before the flu gets you.

Have a great week, and stay healthy!

Getting Hyped for Hoco

My high school was obsessed with homecoming (as most high schools are). Spirit days, which those of us on student council planned, were eagerly participated in with the hopes of winning the spirit stick in the Friday assembly. Christopher Newport University may not have spirit days, but it does have insane amounts of spirit and a Captain’s Cup organizations can win.

Homecoming week is something of legend here at CNU, with alumni flocking in to visit and watch the homecoming game. Even though the game is a great way to end the week, the events leading up to it are what build all the energy and excitement to bring us together.

During the week, different organizations can sign up to compete for the Captain’s Cup. The group who wins this becomes the face of Christopher Newport, so as one can imagine it is a highly sought-after position. To win this, the organizations compete in many different aspects throughout the week in an attempt to prove how deserving they are and end victorious.

So far, we’ve had homecoming court reveal on Monday, which is when Class Council finally announce the candidate for homecoming king or queen. Tuesday really hit the ground running with the homecoming kick-off where candidates campaigned in the plaza. The night ended with an incredibly hyped-up event called “Yell Like Hell” where each competing organization wrote a 30-60 second chant to yell from the steps of Christopher Newport University Hall. A large portion of the school came out to support their friends and the great organizations, and even President Trible made an appearance to watch the creative chants. Wednesday marks the presentation of the spirit signs – huge 4-foot by 4-foot boards decorated by each competing organization – and a night of improv along with the opening of the voting on the Compass. On Thursday the organizations will compete in various field games on the Great Lawn to continue culminating points, and finally on Friday there will be celebration events such as Glow In The Darcapella put on by all a cappella groups on campus and Midnight Madness, hosted by Student Assembly.

Saturday will be a grand celebration, with a parade and of course the homecoming football game. Best of all, the winners of the Captain’s Cup will be announced along with the crowning of the new king and queen. Until then, the student body will be avidly participating in the upcoming events and showing just how much spirit they really have as Captains. Follow along at #CNUHC16!

My First College Football Game

As someone who went all-out senior year of high school in terms of supporting the football team, I’m honestly very surprised with the fact that this past weekend marked my first college football experience. I’ve never been a fan of professional football, and before my final year at high school I had no interest for that form of football either. However, when senior year came around, I became a photographer for the yearbook and was tasked with going to the first few games. I don’t quite know when it happened, but by the time the first three home games had been played (and won!), I was hooked. I attended almost every game of the season, even if it wasn’t a home game. When our team attended states, I even woke up at 5 a.m. to ride five hours on a bus full of cheerleaders to take picture at the final game.

I figured that college would be similar – I would attend every home game and follow the team closely. Unfortunately, until last weekend other events such as Student Assembly delegation improvement workshops and huge amounts of homework have led to me missing every home game.

During family weekend, one of the events offered was the home game. Since my only commitment that day was to be with my family, I offered up the idea that we should attend the game. I didn’t have to ask my parents (especially my dad) twice, and soon we were in the bleachers cheering on our team. I had high hopes for the game, considering our great record for the year.

The game began very competitively, with both teams staying neck and neck. However, the second and third quarter presented an upsetting situation – the opposing team was one touchdown ahead of us, and it had been a stale mate for the longest time. In fact the only highlight in that half of the game was the amazing Marching Captains and their halftime show. I was floored at their precision in their routine, along with the quality of their music. Best of all, I got to see my suite-mate/close friend Svetlana perform for the first time all semester!

Just when I started to think we were doomed to losing and that the final quarter would be dull, our team started performing better than ever and scored a touchdown. This happened in the last few seconds, and took the game into overtime. In fact, what started out as a boring match ended up in a neck and neck, extremely competitive game with double overtime.

In the end our team triumphed, bringing the incredibly intense game to a satisfying end. It was a fantastic first college football game to attend, and I can say with even more devotion that I am proud to be a Captain.

The First Visit Home

The strangest feeling I experienced in the process of leaving my residence hall to head back to the little town of Berryville was when I was packing my clothes for the weekend. When I moved in, I brought all of my clothing with me. While preparing to go home, I realized that this meant I would have to pack outfits for every day of fall break. This concept was incredibly weird for me. Any other occasion that I’d packed up clothes for had involved my leaving Berryville, not going back to it.

Of course, the oddity of the situation wasn’t anything nearly substantial enough to stop me from being excited about my first visit home. In fact, I was so excited that the four-hour drive didn’t bother me at all. My whole family had stayed up to wait for my arrival, and seeing them for the first time since I’d moved in was amazing. All of my little siblings seemed a whole lot taller, and they all have a million things to tell and show me. Somehow, all four of my little sisters ended up sleeping in my room that night.

Other than spending a lot of time with my family, I visited a couple of friends who had timed their visits home to sync up with mine. I got to see my good friend from Kent State in Ohio who I’d been in high school with. It was interesting to see how different things were for her, which gave us both tons of stories to share. I was also lucky enough to see my best friend who is attending George Mason University. It was her birthday, which gave us a chance to explore my little town and visit the new coffee shop that was built during my absence. I was surprised with how much my small town had seemed to change in only a couple of months.

The last thing I did on my first visit home was to stop by my old high school. Although I’m not close with many people who still attend there, I have good relationships with lots of my teachers who contributed a lot of effort and support into helping me become the person I am today. I stopped by my old yearbook class and learned about their new theme and got to look through some pages of the in-progress book, and once school was out I dropped by all my favorite teachers. It was great to be able to thank them yet again and to see how their year was going. However, it seemed like even my school had changed quite a bit. About 10 new teachers had been hired, and one of my favorite teachers from the year before had left to pursue higher education.

Leaving home to head back to Christopher Newport University was bittersweet – I missed everyone on my hall and was excited to continue my classes, but I knew I’d miss my family, friends and town. All in all I had a successful first visit home, but now I’m ready to jump back in and concentrate on working towards finals until Thanksgiving break rolls around! I know I’ll be looking forward to heading home once more and discovering even more changes.

Life in an Octosuite

One factor of residence hall life that I wasn’t expecting to experience was living in an octosuite. I met my wonderful roommate, Cydney, on the class of 2020 Facebook page in early January. We were both early-decision students and clicked instantly. As August drew closer we hastily coordinated our decor, making sure our room would be as perfect as any freshman room could be.

When room assignments officially came out, I immediately informed Cydney that our home for the next year was going to be 250 – 250 A. Originally, the letter after the room number was not enough clue me in on the fact that my room was different from what I was expecting. Only once I discovered a picture of the floor plan did I realize that our little room on the end of the hall seemed to have an extra room, almost like a hallway. Another close examination revealed that this hallway was connected to another room – with no door to separate the two.

After a bit of asking around, I found out that I was part of something called an octosuite. This meant Cydney and I would be sharing a bathroom with a pair of suite-mates as usual, and on top of this our room would be connected by a short hallway to another room with two people who in turn would also be connected by a bathroom to a pair of suite-mates. Together we formed an octosuite, something somewhat common in freshman residence halls.

Although I originally felt dismayed at the fact that I’d be sharing my perfect living space with extra people, I discovered after move-in that it was one of the best arrangements I could have been placed in.

As someone who is somewhat introverted and often finds themselves locked in their room writing, studying or watching unhealthy amounts of Netflix, residing in a living space that is very open has resulted in my making more friends and coming out of my comfort zone. My octo-mates Abby and Sarah have kept it lively, even in the dreary weather we’ve been experiencing lately. I know if I’m ever lonely or lacking something to do I have six people other than my own roommate to keep me company.

Another major factor that living in an octosuite has provided is always having access to commodities I may not have in my own room. On a basic level, there’s always the fabulous fact that if I’m running late and one of my suite-mates is in the shower that I can ask my octo-mates to use theirs. Genenrally, though, it comes down to the little things. Sometimes I want iced coffee, and my octo-mates always have ice cubes in their freezer. They also seem to have a limitless supply of food. Another great perk of this is that my octo-mates have a printer in their room. Their generosity in sharing it with us has saved me on more than one occasion over the past two months. Of course this goes both ways – when our suite-mates or octo-mates are lacking something, they’ll stop by to ask if we have it. Since we’re lucky enough to maintain a friendly relationship with all 6 of them, I’ve found that the answer is always yes.

Even though sometimes it can be a little hectic, being part of an octosuite has helped me to venture out, make many new friends and altogether embrace the college experience even more wholeheartedly.

How I Survived My First Exam

It’s midterm week at Christopher Newport, and that means my worst fear is coming true: I can no longer gaze happily at the unblemished list of As on Blackboard Scholar, put there by semi-easy work and simply turning in everything assigned. I am going to actually be tested on everything I have learned up to now, and I have to face the fact that I am entering one of the most dreaded weeks of college students everywhere.

However, I’m not panicking as much as I could be – and that’s because my science class had an exam last week as opposed to a midterm.

When I finally realized I was actually going to be taking my first exam of the year, my first reaction was to procrastinate and pretend it didn’t exist. I did that confidently until the following class period, when I was reminded of it and decided I really needed to get my act together. So, here are some survival tips on what to do when facing the crippling fear of an exam worth about 30 percent of your grade!

  1. DON’T procrastinate. I started out failing on this particular account, but I still ended up devoting a large amount of my time to readying myself, starting about a week in advance.
  2. DO read the textbook. I never did this in high school, but it’s a whole different story in college. This particular class didn’t even require the textbook and never assigned readings. On my own accord, I asked the professor which chapters correlated to the presentations and went ahead and read them through. This helped solidify what I’d learned in class and even gave me further detail on topics we hadn’t spent much time on.
  3. DON’T assume the lectures prepare you for everything. Even after taking and reviewing notes on the lectures, I knew I was going to struggle since science had always been a difficult subject for me. Because of this, I made notecards for every new term we learned, along with some for every concept we dealt with. Between studying these everyday and taking the self-tests in the textbook, I found that I became far more comfortable with the lecture material and how the topics interacted with each other.
  4. DO use outside resources. You’ll be told this time and time again, but go to office hours. When I got homework or self-test questions incorrect, I would write them down and meet with my professor to ask where I’d gone wrong and to help review the concept as a whole. If office hours are hard to get to or you’re still having a hard time mastering a topic, Christopher Newport has other great options such as free personal and group tutoring for any subject. Even if you’re working on a big paper instead of preparing for an exam, they also offer help in the form of the Writing Center.

Even though I got off to a rough start, in the end by devoting a lot of time and utilizing all my resources I managed to know most of the material on the exam and to feel confident about how I did afterwards. Thankfully my exam grade reflected how much work I put into preparing, and hopefully the same work ethic will get me through midterms!

10 Freshman Firsts

Being a new student is a weird and sometimes scary experience, even if you’re one of over 1,200 new students. And now, only seven weeks into my first semester, I’ve experienced a lot of new things.

  1. The Penny: While most if not all universities have an honor code students are required to sign, Christopher Newport takes it a step further by giving us a memento to remember it by. All of the freshman class stood together at Convocation (for the first and last time until graduation!) and received a brand new penny. We were told to keep it with us, and to be reminded of the honor code it stood for each time we saw it. On graduation day, we will get to throw it into a fountain as we gather with the rest of our class for the second and final time in our whole college career.
  2. Ringing the bell: Part of our beautiful campus is the striking clock tower with a bell that rings every hour on the dot. After convocation, we were allowed the chance to ring it ourselves. This was another traditional first, along with another last until the day we graduate.
  3. Freshman dessert with P-Trib: Yet another first and last until senior year, the freshman class was invited to have dessert with President Trible and his wife Rosemary at their house on the James River. It was an incredibly fun night full of amazing conversation (and food). When we are seniors, we will be invited once again – only this time for a champagne toast.
  4. Grocery shopping for myself: To move on to firsts that are less glamorous and more frequent, I’ve had to shop for myself for the past seven weeks. I don’t have a car this semester, so that involves walking to the store, deciding what I actually need, and then carrying it back (a gallon of milk gets really heavy really quickly). It’s been strange to shop for my own food, along with medicine, toiletries and any other supplies I may need.
  5. Eating dining hall food: This is definitely not a first that everyone experiences, but those who packed their lunch in high school will be able to relate. This is the first time in my life that all of my food has been prepared for me, and that I’ve had absolutely no control over what it is. As someone who has been the only vegetarian in their family for almost five years, I’m used to packing my lunch and often cooking my dinner. While the options here are varied and delicious, it’s strange to get used to the atmosphere and not having to choose what I’m going to eat ahead of time.
  6. Getting lost in Forbes: I thought that this one was a joke when a senior told me it would happen, but they were right. I was talking to a girl I know during Welcome Week, and while on the topic of finding classes, she warned me about getting lost in Forbes. “Are you really a freshman if you don’t get lost in Forbes?” is what she asked. I was convinced it wouldn’t be that hard – and proved that to myself when I found my second floor class on my first try. However, a week and a half into classes, I was on my way to leadership when I realized I had no idea where I was. Turns out getting lost in Forbes is a right of passage.
  7. Studying for five hours a day: OK, for me this should be more like “studying in general” because my studying was practically nonexistent in high school. But for the purpose of everyone else, I’ll assume most of the freshman here actually studied like I should have. When during Orientation our leaders told us we would have to make school a full-time job – implying that between classes and studying we should be devoting almost 40 hours a week to our classes – they weren’t joking. I was planning on studying enough to master the material and get good grades, but nowhere in my mind did that mean I would be spending around five hours a day with my nose in a book or going over notes. Well, it does mean that. Any so-called free time I have is immediately devoted to studying, and I definitely need it.
  8. Leaving my “home” at 2 a.m.: This is definitely another unanticipated one. I won’t say I was never up past two in the morning, or even out past two in the morning, while I was at home. While it didn’t happen frequently, it definitely did happen. However, waking up at my house in Berryville never resulted in anything more than getting a drink or reading a book. When I couldn’t sleep here in 250A York River East, it occurred to me that I could honestly just get up and leave since there was no curfew and no one I was accountable to. I ended up walking around the Great Lawn aimlessly before sitting on the front of CNU Hall listening to classical music in a rocking chair.
  9. Relying on email: I’ve never been bad at checking my email, but since move in day it has become a somewhat unhealthy obsession. Unlike high school, college professors use email to communicate with their students and use it frequently at that. I receive at least three emails from my professors daily, and then about half a dozen more from the school itself about activities or important notices. Now that I have a job and I’m a part of two clubs and one volunteering organization, I receive even more significant emails almost daily. Instead of Facebook or Twitter, the first thing I look at when I wake up is my email. Every time I check my phone or answer a text, I make sure to also check my email just to be sure I’m up to date on assignments, events, and canceled classes.
  10. Living with 40 people my age: Perhaps this is the most obvious, but hall life is definitely different from anything else I have ever experienced. Coming from a family with six siblings, I thought I’d be prepared for this. I’m not. It’s strange but slightly awesome to have 40 people who have wacky sleep schedules and somewhat terrifying amounts of energy around you 24/7. By no means bad, necessarily, but most assuredly very different. Every time I think I’m used to it, something new and incredibly strange happens. The good news is, I’m learning to embrace it.