A Trip to the Writing Center

If I’m any good at writing, it’s because I had incredible teachers, peers and parents who reviewed my work countless times and taught me what to do and what not to do. I felt relatively prepared for college writing when I arrived at Christopher Newport, but there’s always room for improvement. So, when I took my English essay to the writing center (a division of the Center for Academic Success) last week, I was ready for any and all feedback.

I signed in and immediately sat down with my assigned editor for a one-on-one feedback session. They suggest that you come to your session with a specific question in mind, to make the most out of the visit. I was concerned with my organization and how everything came together. My editor and I read the paper together and chatted along the way. She thought my organization was fine and that everything synthesized well, so I was good on that front. However, she did find a few grammatical errors which I had completely overlooked and gave me advice on some of my citation issues. I was there for 45 minutes and the time flew by; I couldn’t believe how much work we had gotten done!

My editor was extremely pleasant and personable. The writing center offers a very comfortable environment to express your concerns without judgement (and scheduling an appointment is as easy as logging into your student account and clicking a time slot). I definitely plan to use the writing center as a resource much more often. Christopher Newport offers so many different outlets to better yourself academically, it’d be a shame to not take advantage of them!

Bingo Night

It was Wednesday night and my friends and I didn’t have anything planned. We asked around for things to do and we learned that the Campus Activities Board or “CAB” was hosting a bingo night in the David Student Union! Not only that, but they were actually giving away great prizes like speakers, headphones and Christopher Newport merch. We knew we had to go.

To our surprise, it was a full house. As soon as we walked up the stairs towards the ballroom where it was being hosted, we could hear the laughter and talking from all the students eagerly awaiting the event. There were so many people that they actually ran out of bingo cards. Once everything started, it was an absolute blast. I had my heart set on winning a copy of “Avengers: Infinity War”, but alas someone beat me to it when I was only a single space away. That’s how bingo goes though. Unfortunately, I didn’t win anything, but one of my good friends won a hammock which he was really excited about!

It was all around a great way to spend a Wednesday night. There really is always something to do on campus. One of my favorite parts of bingo night was how there was a CAB member assigned to each section of the room who would root for your table and cheer you on. It was a great personal touch. CAB knew the event was going to be big, and having their members dispersed around the room to mingle ensured that the whole night felt very friendly and casual. No one was left out and that’s what I love about Christopher Newport.

Working on Campus

A Christopher Newport education is a lot more than just academics. There’s tons of opportunities to explore through service, community and professionalism. Specifically, on-campus jobs help us gain practical work experience in an accommodating environment that also challenges our work ethic before moving onto the “real world.”

When I arrived on campus as a freshman, I knew I wanted to get a job. I attended the on-campus career fair (hosted by the Center for Career Planning) and talked to tons of different of employers. There were a lot of jobs I was interested in, and I applied to all of them. The process was extremely easy, as Christopher Newport uses a service called “Handshake” to simplify applications. I went to several interviews, but when all was said and done I became a student blogger (which is why you’re reading this now). Honestly, it’s the best job ever and it’s certainly something that’s not only well-tailored for my skill set, but also my major (communication). Not only is it great professional experience, but it also enhances my education as a whole.

An on-campus job at Christopher Newport isn’t just a way to make money; it genuinely is another part of your education. Just because we’re a small school doesn’t mean we have small opportunities; in fact, most of my friends have some sort of job or internship on campus! It’s so easy to get involved here and develop skills and connections that will not only last four years, but a lifetime. At Christopher Newport, the rest of your life begins as soon as you enroll.

Mozzarella Sticks and Where to Find Them

Last year, as a freshman at Christopher Newport, I knew I wanted to get heavily involved on campus. One of my main goals was to get an on-campus job, which I did! I’m a student blogger and I couldn’t be happier. The first post I wrote was on the mozzarella sticks from the Regattas dining hall. Now, a year later, I’m a little older and a little wiser; and I still definitely love mozzarella sticks.

The coveted mozzarella sticks from Regattas still make their monthly appearance (which I look forward to with each new day), but there’s plenty more fried mozzarella to be found around campus. For example, I now know that Discovery Grill sells them every day. This is a blessing and a curse as I now have all-day access, but also spend way, way too much of my dining dollars on them. In addition, Commons also serves mozzarella sticks every so often. Though, just because they’re from a dining hall doesn’t mean they’re the same as Regattas; in fact, they are distinctly different, as are the ones from Discovery Grill. Equally delicious, but definitely different.

With almost a year and a half under my belt as a Captain, I not only have grown to love my college even more, but also to appreciate and acknowledge all of the small, little details that make Christopher Newport great. Last year, I wrote that the mozzarella sticks represent something larger – they’re representative of the oddly specific things that every Christopher Newport student ends up falling in love with here. Now, I both literally and figuratively find them everywhere, not just once a month in Regattas. No matter where I go on campus, I find something I love, a mozzarella stick. So, if you’re looking for some too, you can find them at Christopher Newport.

Neuroscience Conference

The Society for Neuroscience meets annually to share ideas, latest research and technology, communicate their goals and most recent discoveries, and allow undergraduates an inside look at the professional world. The Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience offers a spot annually for sponsored students to present their research in the form of a social and poster presentation. I, along with five other Christopher Newport students were among those selected to travel to San Diego in order to share our finding with the professional neuroscience community.

Being able to discuss neuroscience with esteemed professionals, attend speakers, grad fairs and finish with presenting my own research taught me so much more than I ever would have expected prior to attending. We were surrounded by peers as well as potential mentors with much more experience than us who were prepared to help educate and guide us through these upper level discussions.

More than these professional opportunities, my fellow presenters and I gleaned an even more valuable perspective from this conference. Our passion for neuroscience, the research process, the phenomena seen in science and the everyday world is not singular, but shared by thousands of other individuals! Moving forward I am more eager than ever to learn as much as possible in my courses so that one day I can join these pioneers of neuroscience as a peer rather than a student.

Meal Buddies

Since coming to college, I literally cannot eat a meal alone, because no matter what, I always see somebody I know in the dining hall and we end up sitting together and next thing you know, I just had an hour-long conversation catching up with someone I hadn’t talked to in a week or so.

It’s so crazy how “Hey, how’s it going” turns into a deep conversation so quickly at Christopher Newport. That’s because we value community and friendliness. If you see someone, you ask them how they are, and if they say they aren’t doing too well, then you talk to them until they feel better. That’s what Captains do. We care about each other and try to lift each other up when we’re down, because everyone has those days, and they can really be a bummer.

In addition to this, I’ve also started planning meals with people a lot more frequently. I feel so fancy sometimes planning brunch with my friends on the weekend because I’ve literally never had brunch before college. It was always either breakfast or lunch.

One of my favorite days of the food week is Thursday. It’s not just any other day of the week; It’s General Tso’s chicken Thursday. I don’t know what Regattas puts in that chicken to make it so good, but I could eat a boatful of it. Every Thursday my friend and I get lunch in Regs and catch up, and while we are eating, at least 10 people walk by us and start little mini conversations. It’s really awesome that people care and want to catch up, and it really makes me feel like I matter here at Christopher Newport.

Sometimes I feel like my friends and I are like ships in passing, so it’s nice to set a course for the same place every so often. Use your meal time to not only fill your stomach, but to also fill your heart.

The Antidote to a Scary Exam

I have always had a little bit of test anxiety, especially if I know things are heavily graded. In high school, it wasn’t so bad because I knew I’d have plenty of opportunities to gain points back if I really had a low test score. In college, it’s a little different because you have fewer assessments and they tend to count more toward your overall grade. Needless to say, having all this in the back of my mind during the first exam here really terrified me.

I’m not going to lie, my first grade back was a little discouraging, but I was determined to persevere. First, I went to my professor’s office hours and found that they were incredibly supportive and walked me through the material that I had missed. They asked me how I studied and gave me a few pointers that might help me for the next time. They also suggested I might get a tutor.

I set up an appointment with a tutor at the Center for Academic Success a few days after speaking with my professor. At first I was nervous to go because I was worried they’d think less of me for scoring so low, but I was pleasantly surprised that they were very supportive. They told me that even people who make the dean’s list come to tutoring because ultimately it’s important to ask for help if you don’t understand the material at first.

When the next exam came around I sat down in our 24 hour study rooms at the library a few days in advance and implemented all that my tutor and professor had taught me. I noticed my anxiety was diminished after speaking with them and I felt confident during the exam. I’m proud to say I ended the year with a solid grade and overall have a easier time preparing for exams because I’ve realized our Christopher Newport community is striving for us to be successful.

Class Scheduling Made Easy

I’ve found the class scheduling process pretty easy over the past few semesters. Christopher Newport always emphasizes the personal touch, being a smaller-sized school. It’s definitely true. I don’t feel like a number, I feel like a student; I feel valued. So, when I was making my schedule for next semester and had some questions and concerns, I didn’t hesitate to sit down with my core adviser.

The main concern I had was regarding Acting I. The course was for declared theater majors only, but Christopher Newport usually only allows declarations at the end of sophomore year to ensure that students have really thought through their decided path. So, as a sophomore, there seemed to be no way I could get in the class.

I talked with my adviser and he suggested I get in touch with the Theater Department and see what could be done. I called, spoke with the receptionist, and she put me in touch with a staff member who I explained the situation to. She said I’d have to go through the head of the department, and so I emailed her and we worked it out! I’ll be a part of the Acting I class next semester and I couldn’t be happier about it. It might sound like I jumped through a lot of hoops, but the process was actually very straightforward.

Last year, I had to override into a class and it was similarly easy. The staff at Christopher Newport is here to help, and, as a student, it’s so great to know that my wants and needs are acknowledged and worked with. I don’t have to interact with a computer or wait days to schedule an appointment, I can actively work with the staff to get results. Christopher Newport University focuses on the individual, what more could you ask for?

The World of Fish Lab

Many prospective students, freshmen or even upperclassmen may be curious about undergraduate research. Well, let me be the first to say that if you are at all interested or even curious, ask around and be curious! (When you visit campus, be sure to ask our student ambassadors and they can answer any and all questions regarding the matter.) It’s one of the many qualities professors look for in their student researchers.

I am involved in two separate research labs, but I thought I would share my experience in Fish Lab because I have been involved since freshman year and have the most knowledge. This lab, run by psychology and neuroscience professor Dr. Andrew Velkey, contains anywhere from 20-35 students and numerous projects! We have dubbed this lab the “Fish Lab” since all of our various projects encompass fish studies.

The students in this lab have naturally formed a little group for ourselves. We have mentors and mentees, a fish lab manager,  weekly “moments with Velkey,” “Fish Lab” T-shirts and a semesterly party! Some of these traditions have borne the most memorable moments of my college career thus far in addition to the numerous academically enlightening ones found through working on my specific project. Looking back on freshman year, I can’t imagine my college experience without undergraduate research and I am so grateful for the time I have spent participating.

A Day in the Life

Every day at Christopher Newport is a great day. As a Captain, you very quickly will fall into a routine of seeing your friends and enjoying our traditions, but also with plenty of fun surprises to keep things interesting.

I’ve never been much of a morning person, but I often like to wake up around 10 a.m. and head to Commons for a fantastic breakfast. They always have the staples such as various meats, eggs, omelettes, cereal and fruit, but the menu changes every day. It’s always exciting to wake up and be surprised with what’s available! Afterwards, it’s time for class. My schedule is pretty open this semester, so I like to take a nap in between classes when possible, and I know my friends do too; that’s my day from about noon to 6 p.m.

After my last class, I usually like to meet up with my buddies and get a meal together. Often times, we’ll head to Regattas, but with so many options on campus we switch it up fairly often! In the evening, I’ll attend meetings for my clubs or check out whatever event is going on that night. Most of the time, there’s always somewhere to go whether it’s a speaker, fundraising, music, theater or any other kind of event.

We’re a small campus, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do. When I think my back on my week every Sunday, I can’t believe all the things that I attended and accomplished. I definitely feel like I’m leading a fulfilling life here, and I couldn’t be happier about it. A day in the life at Christopher Newport is definitely a busy one, filled with lots of laughs and learning.