Captains Ball

I will look for any and every excuse to dress up with friends. Christopher Newport University’s Student Council hosts Captain’s Ball annually. The evening’s theme was Paris Under the Stars and it was extravagant and tastefully executed. From the moment I walked up the stairs and into the entrance of the ballroom, every decoration was transformative. It was a night full of dancing, laughing and eating with friends. One of the things I loved most about the evening was that it was just for Christopher Newport students and was a way to celebrate life as a Captain. This is one annual event on campus you never want to miss.

A Fresh Start

With a new year comes new year’s resolutions. And with no membership I’d be directly paying for and no real reason to not go more often than I did last semester (aside from sleeping in for an extra hour before breakfast or watching Westworld on my roommate’s HBO account), mine has been to regularly go to the gym for an hour, at least four times per week.

“The gym” has always been a delightful area of discussion that I’m quick to avoid discussing (or appearing at). Despite the overwhelming media advocation for healthy lifestyle choices and making friends that are vehemently more “into it” than I (some have even gone for two months straight without taking a day off), I’ve been frequently opposed to going. I think it’s the disposition lots of people have; the disposition that you need the physique of Cristiano Ronaldo or Karlie Kloss to even step foot beyond the rotating metal bars in the front entrance, let alone use one of the machines. However, after realizing that my steady diet of cookie dough and Girls wasn’t getting me anywhere close to my Calvin Harris-esque physique goals, and hearing my roommate’s girlfriend casually remind us multiple times that “swimsuit season” (oh, the horror) was mere months away (and a potential beach trip on the horizon for mid-June), I decided I would go.

Maybe it was because I’d spent too much of my spare time watching Nicole Richie’s Instagram story or reading important journalism (such as charming Buzzed articles like “8 Photos Of Kylie Jenner Realizing The Floor is A Thing”). Maybe it was because I couldn’t gather the motivation to get out of bed, throw on a coordinating shirt and shorts and make the two-minute-long trudge to the Freeman Center. But after going more regularly, I can confidently say that I’m slowly on my way to understanding how the “gym works” (no massive lifestyle changes or mindset change necessary!).

I think the main reason people decide to not go to the gym to exercise is because they feel like everyone is focusing on them. All of the people with perfectly-toned bodies who look like they’ve been lifting weights since they were born can be kind of intimidating, and seem like they’re totally staring you down as they lift and run and stretch longer than you can. And before I began going for longer periods of time and getting more comfortable with going more often, I had the same type of mindset.

Here’s the thing, though: nobody’s focusing on you more than you are! If you’re in the weight room or the dance studio with 14 other people, chances are they really don’t care what you’re doing! Unless they’re a trainer that you’re directly working with, nobody’s focusing on you or trying to improve you. The main point of going to the gym is self-improvement. As in, nobody’s paying attention to how long you’re spending on the elliptical, or how you’re holding your barbells when you lift, or how steep you set the incline on the treadmill. Everyone that’s there is focusing on improving themselves. They aren’t there to monitor you or pay attention to how you’re trying to work on yourself, because they’re really just there to work on themselves! If you’re spending your time at the gym thinking about how other people are judging you for doing what you’re doing or stressing that you don’t have the arms or butt or back of the person across the room from you, you’re wasting your time on nothing; just focus on improving your own techniques and ignore whatever you might think is happening with the other people around you!

As for me, it’ll maybe (definitely) take more time at the gym before I’m fully used to it, have developed more specific routines, and have gotten used to being more active. Maybe I won’t be as chiseled as Chris Evans or Tom Daley when the semester is over (and I’ve stuck with it long enough). But it’s a new year, and I’m trying to positively change myself by doing something new. I know I’m making a better decision to go as often as I’m trying to than to not go at all. It’s a commitment that I know will pay off if I work at to as hard as I do with most things in my life, and, most importantly, I know I’m not trying to improve anyone other than myself through it. And for right now, that’s enough.

Now, as I feel I’m semi-qualified enough to give this advice, here are some tips for you if you’ve been stressed about going to the gym (for various reasons):

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask another person how they’re doing something or ask for help. If you’re inexperienced, chances are the people around you have been (if they aren’t) in your shoes before and will be more than willing to help you improve!
  2.  People at the front desk will help you however they can! They don’t bite. They won’t find it laughable that you’re at the gym in the first place, or roll their eyes if you don’t know where the locker rooms are because you haven’t used them yet. They’re there to help.
  3.  Try working out with your own music, if you aren’t or haven’t already. It can really help to focus on the specific technique or exercise you’re doing if you’re just listening to music you hear regularly, as opposed to what the gym speakers are playing (although that music is perfectly fine for most). After I decided to bring my own music to the gym (and determined that the only workout-ish songs in my music library were overplayed David Guetta and the always delightful “Get Low”) I made my own playlist specifically for the gym. It’s helped me to focus more on what I’m doing and improving myself by listening to my own compilation of M.I.A., Sleigh Bells and Britney Spears than something else.
  4.  Nobody (unless you’re working closely with a trainer, of course) is or should be focusing on you except for yourself. Having a self-improvement mindset is key!

The Best Class I’ve Had So Far

Christopher Newport University offers an abundance of interesting and challenging courses. As a junior, I have accomplished a lot in my classes in the past five semesters. I am a communication major and digital humanities minor. Communication has provided a wide variety of classes that involve philosophy, interpersonal, rhetoric, media, culture and overall criticism of these interests. Digital humanities is actually a very recent addition in the catalog of minors that incorporate communication classes, fine arts classes, computer science classes and overall digital humanities classes.

There are three points of interest in the digital humanities minor. At Christopher Newport, digital humanities is an interdisciplinary minor that teaches the skills and knowledge for careers that digital media and technology meet with humanities. Some examples of these careers can be education, library science, museum curation, nonprofits, political campaigns, graduate research, design, fine arts and music/film/theater/dance production along with fields like mass communication, journalism and marketing.The second pillar of the minor is to understand the concepts and vocabulary that are needed for ongoing digital conversations. Lastly, the third pillar is to provide the tools and experience to use various digital media applications, technological tools and coding basics that allow the student to analyze texts/works in the humanities.

All of this being said, the best class I have taken so far in my minor is Introduction to Digital Media. This class primarily has helped cultivate a very creative side of my academic career. The class focuses mainly on Adobe products, specifically Photoshop and the use and experimentation of the software. What I love most about the class is that not only do I enjoy learning the software but its something that I could legitimately use in a future job or even on its own as a source of income. The class overall is fast paced and certainly requires a high level of focus, but once I’ve been able to learn the basics of Photoshop, it has become a really fun process to create and re-create in new ways.

I really love the digital humanities minor because it is a minor that is looking toward the future. Our society, culture, businesses are all run by the use of digital media and humans. Learning so many different tools to keep up with what a fast paced technological future is one that I am very thankful Christopher Newport provided for me.

100 Days ’till the Tassel Turns

Friday, February 3 marked a very important day for the Class of 2017, only 100 days left until we would be walking across the stage in our caps and gowns. To celebrate this monumental countdown, Class Council and the Office of Alumni Relations teamed up to put on a roaring ’20s-themed event to celebrate.

Transforming the Ballroom into a 1920’s speakeasy, seniors came clad in fringe and pinned curls making it seem as though we were really celebrating with Scott Fitzgerald’s J. Gatsby himself. Candelabras, art deco designs and a live swing band help to set the mood even further. 

A “sweet-easy” display of cupcakes and sweets satisfied attendees’ sweet tooth while dips and appetizers kept students happy while they waited to get signature cocktails. The bee’s knees and mint juleps were two specialty drinks we could enjoy with our drink tickets.

Seniors enjoyed remarks from Baxter Vendrick of the Office of Alumni Relations and senior class president Nora Huston and continued to dance the night away to a mix of current songs and live music from a swing band. While some seniors may feel nostalgic about their time coming to an end at Christopher Newport, the evening was full of smiles, laughs, and lots and lots of pictures.

Seniors can look forward to Commencement 101 in the upcoming weeks as the countdown begins to graduation 2017.

What 4 Students Think About Having a Roommate

A big part of college that no one really knows how to prepare for is moving in with someone. Whether you’ve lived with a sibling your whole life or always had a room to yourself, moving into college with someone you don’t know can be a scary and exciting experience. I asked five students how they felt about the process.

Tyler

Q: Have you lived with a roommate before?

A: No, I have not. First time doing this.

Q: What were your initial thoughts on moving in with someone at college?

A: I was worried that I wouldn’t like their living tendencies. That was my biggest concern.

Q: What is the best part about having a roommate?

A: Having some to talk to, really. Having someone to confide in, someone to bounce ideas off of if I’m having issues writing a paper. Also, you’ve just got your best bud to just walk around with.

Q: What is the worst part about having a roommate?

A: If your sleep schedules don’t align for the next day, sometimes it can really suck. 

Q: Do you have any advice to incoming freshman about living with a roommate?

A: Establish some ground rules early on, but like don’t be afraid to talk to them if there are issues. More than likely, you’ll be able to work out something.

Taylor

Q: Have you lived with a roommate before?

A: I have lived with my sister, we shared a room, so I had been used to living with someone, but not really a total stranger, so yes and no.

Q: What were your initial thoughts on moving in with someone at college?

A: I was hoping that we could be friends and live together well, and you know I’m pretty laid back so I was just hoping we’d get along for the most part.

Q: What is the best part about having a roommate?

A: Having a built-in friend. If you get along with your roommate you’re always together and you can like talk about your problems and be like “Hey, you want dinner?” then you’re not, you know, that awkward kid who sits alone at every meal.

Q: What is the worst part about having a roommate?

A: If your lifestyles do not match. I’ve actually had one roommate before my current one, and we did not have the same lifestyle at all. We did not have the same personality so it didn’t work out, but I was able to switch and luckily get one that fits me much better and we’re best friends now.

Q: Do you have any advice to incoming freshmen about living with a roommate?

A: Take your roommate agreement seriously, because I know you think you’re going to be best friends and have no issues, but it could end up that you’re going to have them, so just like keep an open mind and make sure you communicate because honestly being passive aggressive is the worst thing. Been there, done it, don’t do it. 

Nick

Q: Have you lived with a roommate before?

A: I lived with a roommate over Slap Week, but other than that and my brother, that’s it.

Q: What were your initial thoughts on moving in with someone at college?

A: Well I actually got to choose my roommate because I knew him before I came to college, but I didn’t really know him that well, so I just went in with an open mind.

Q: What is the best part about having a roommate?

A: The best part is probably my roommate himself, because he and I get along very well. I know that after a long day I can come back here and he’ll be there for me and if I ever need anything, well he’s there for me. All I have to do is go back to my room.

Q: What is the worst part about having a roommate?

A: Having to have tough conversations sometimes. 

Q: Do you have any advice to incoming freshmen about living with a roommate?

A: Just go in with an open mind. It’s not as bad as people make it out to be.

 

Aaron

Q: Have you lived with a roommate before?

A: It’s like way back, but back in elementary school until third grade I shared a room with my younger brother. As my 10th birthday gift in fourth grade my parents moved him into the room next to me and converted it to a room just for me.

Q: What were your initial thoughts on moving in with someone at college?

A: At first I had no idea who my roommate was because he goes by his middle name instead of his first name which was in the email that I got sent from the school when they said we were roommates. So I spent like a solid 20 minutes trying to look for him on social media and such, and his name wasn’t even popping up so I was like is this guy even real? There were all those normal fears, like I’ve seen all those college movies and heard stories from friends who have graduated college.

Q: What is the best part about having a roommate?

A: It’s good future practice for living with people in the future because as soon as you get out of college you’re probably going to move into an apartment and be very close with people. It’s also like getting to live with a really good friend.

Q: What is the worst part about having a roommate?

A: When we don’t have enough fridge-space.

Q: Do you have any advice to incoming freshmen about living with a roommate?

A: Don’t assume the worst because then that will just lead to you having negative expectations. Try to have an open mind going in, like always try to have an optimistic viewpoint.

What 5 Students Think About Sorority Recruitment

Every spring, many motivated ladies go through the process of formal sorority recruitment in hopes of joining a sorority. Here are the thoughts of five students who experienced it firsthand.

Student 1: Abby

Q: Why did you decide to go through formal recruitment?

A: Initially, I signed up because everyone else was and I felt kind of left out. But I think after going through the process that I wanted people to push me out of my comfort zone and my introverted self.

Q: What were your overall thoughts about the process of formal recruitment?

A: It was extremely overwhelming but it was ultimately very rewarding in the sense that I think I gained a lot of interview skills and talking skills and it was really nice to meet new people even though it was a lot.

Q: Do you have any advice for people who are planning on doing formal recruitment next academic year?

A: My advice would be to definitely keep an open mind and don’t come in with stereotypes or thoughts regarding different sororities because you don’t know what is going to happen. You can’t be upset about something because everything is going to happen the way it was meant to happen.

Student 2: Victoria 

Q: Why did you decide to go through formal recruitment?

A: I really wanted to be in a sorority, and my sister is in a sorority at a different school, and she loved it and convinced me to go through it.

Q: What were your overall thoughts about the process?

A: I loved it, it was so much fun! It was really long and I was really tired, but overall I really liked how it was set up.

Q: Do you have any advice for people who are planning on doing formal recruitment next academic year?

A: Make sure you pack snacks, because I was really hungry.

Student 3: Sarah

Q: Why did you decide to go through formal recruitment?

A: By the end of the first semester I still felt like I hadn’t really found my place at Christopher Newport. I had made wonderful friends, but I hadn’t been as involved as I wished to be, and I wanted to be (as cheesy as it sounds) a part of something bigger than myself.

Q: What were your overall thoughts about the process?

A: The weekend was incredibly stressful, but looking back it was totally worth it. There were long hours and it was a bit overwhelming at times, but overall it was a one-of-a-kind experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Q: Do you have any advice for people who are planning on doing it next year?

A: Try as best you can to relax and be yourself. You are going to talk to a lot of women and you might not connect with every single one, but don’t give up! Also, try to go in with an open mind and give each sorority a fair chance, you may find your home in a place you never thought to look.

Student 4: Svetlana

Q: Why did you decide to go through formal recruitment?

A: To get more involved on campus, to meet friends and best friends and family.

Q: What were your overall thoughts about the process?

A: It was long and stressful and crazy, but it was really fun.

Q: Do you have any advice for people who are planning on doing formal recruitment next academic year?

A: Don’t stress too much about it. Whatever happens happens!

Student 5: Cydney

Q: Why did you decide to go through formal recruitment?

A: I wanted to get closer to a lot of the people I was around, I wanted to get more involved and more integrated into the campus.

Q: What were your overall thoughts about the process?

A: I thought it fun. I thought it was indescribable like you honestly can’t describe it properly until you go through it. I thought it was really fun, really energetic. It was long but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Q: Do you have any advice for people who are planning on doing formal recruitment next academic year?

A: When they say “trust the system” they really do mean it. You’re going to end up where you’re supposed to be. The first day, if you don’t know where you’re supposed to be, it’s fine! As you go through the weekend, it will become clear.

College Relationships

College relationships. They’re fun, complicated, fleeting and sometimes, just sometimes, they’re the “one.” With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching you may find yourself stressing to find a valentine, you’re running away from prospective lovers, or planning your own Valentine’s Day festivities with an established love. Love in college is a unique spectacle. There are the couples who are attached at the hip walking across the Great Lawn, the couples you question if they are still dating because they’re so independent, the high school sweethearts, the hallmates, the junior-freshman combos, the power couple of the Office of Student Activities and the list just goes on and on.

Image result for valentines day

For me personally, I am in a long-distance relationship with someone who doesn’t attend CNU. He’s in North Carolina about four hours away from me. This obviously is a little more difficult of a relationship to have during college. The distance can put some strains on things and we don’t always have time to sit and talk on the phone for hours with our different lifestyles. But! We do plan constant trips to see each other and mini weekend vacations to different cities in Southern Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina. I will say one big benefit of dating long distance is that he’s never here to distract me from my studies! During the week I have time for myself, school and friends, which helps to balance all of the things that are important to me.

Another common type of relationship I’ve seen on campus has been the welcome week meet up. I’m going to be 100 percent honest: welcome week will be the most fun you’ve ever had in college IF you leave your dorm room and go meet people. It doesn’t have to be party hopping it can be as simple as going to the gym or a school sponsored event. While you’re out getting to know people you’ll probably meet some of your best friends and maybe even your significant other. I know a lot of people who met welcome week and have been together ever since. This is kind of cool because they are building college memories together.

A third type of relationship common at CNU is the love from back home. Some high school sweethearts attend college together at CNU while others attend separate schools. While these can be possible long-distance or short-distance relationships if one goes to another school, these type of relationships seem to be rock-solid. Having already been together for three or four years, these couples know everything about each other but still maintain their own sense of independence when it comes to their college years. It’s really cool to see these couples last until senior year of college and beyond! Image result for valentines day candy

Regardless of if you’ve been in a relationship for years, weeks, days or never, college is all about having fun and making the most of your time. This Valentine’s Day surround yourself with those who make you happiest. If that’s a boyfriend or girlfriend, awesome! If not, grab your galentines or your bromance and pass the cheap candy hearts!