Fraternal Value Awards

After attending the Fraternal Value Awards for the second time, I find myself reflecting on my three years on this campus and the many events I have attended, service hours completed and leadership positions completed. Once a year our Greek community joins together to share in their shared achievements in the year prior, with awards distributed such as the sorority and fraternity of the year, excellence in leadership, and individual awards for students who have demonstrated excellence in community impact, membership development and service. All the Greek organizations are in attendance and together fill the Concert Hall of the Ferguson center to the brim. It is such an awesome experience seeing the sheer number of students involved on campus and make the decision to commit themselves to not simply their development, but the growth of their peers and community as well.

I love being given the opportunity to not only celebrate my own chapter’s achievements, but every organizations accomplishments collectively! Together our community raises thousands of dollars for various philanthropic efforts, completes hundreds of service hours in a multitude of ways and creates lasting changes not only on the Christopher Newport campus, but the Newport News area as well, and that’s only this past year!

With the support of our administration, my fellow Greek leaders are able to create a lasting and significant impact in a community of fellowship and encouragement on this campus. I cannot imagine my college experience without the opportunity to join Greek life.

The Meal I Was Waiting For

So after being at Christopher Newport for a while, I can let you in on a little secret: The dining halls have certain foods they keep on rotation. Trust me, I keep my eyes on my favorites, one of which happens to be the AMAZING fried chicken breast with creamy sun-dried tomato sauce. Yes, I DID memorize the exact name of it, because yes, it IS that good. My spring break was pretty great, and I enjoyed some food at home, but man, I did miss some of the dining hall’s specialties.

While I do really love that sundried tomato chicken, some other highlights include burrito Mondays, the new quesadilla Wednesdays, General Tso’s chicken Thursdays and Philly steak Fridays.

There are some great hits, too, other than my favorite chicken on the planet. We have slushies, and more importantly, there’s breakfast every day, and the best made-to-order omelets out there. The only thing better than omelets is the person who makes them. Every captain knows Miss Virginia in Commons, and every Captain knows she is one of the nicest people ever, and she makes AMAZING omelets. Every time I get breakfast she is there with a smile and some great conversation, and she knows almost everyone by name, and she’s even memorized our orders! Not only is she the omelet expert, but you can occasionally find her on nugget Mondays giving everyone big ole’ baskets of nugs and fries!

Christopher Newport dining halls are the buffets that I’ve been looking for my whole life, and the staff there are always so nice and love having conversations with us and getting to know us, and we love them too! Now look, mom, I still love your cooking, but there’s almost nothing that can beat a Miss Virginia omelet or my favorite sundried-tomato chicken.

Alternative Breaks

Spring break is my favorite period because it provides me time to regroup and prepare for the homestretch of the concluding academic year. During this time in the past I would find myself feeling compelled to sit back, relax and really just become one with my couch. It wasn’t until my friend approached me about a seemingly crazy adventure that would entail making new friendships, helping strangers, and branching out into the community that I started to see break in a new light.

There is a certain program on campus called Raising Educational Awareness through Compassion and Humanity (REACH), which specializes with helping students connect to volunteer missions that extend over a period of their break. Rather than having the traditional return home and glorious Netflix binge, it allows students an opportunity to create memories that will last a lifetime and create an impact for the better.

This year my friend traveled to Charleston, South Carolina and spent a week volunteering at the Lowcountry Orphan Relief. She was able to meet so many amazing kids who were ecstatic to visit with CNU students everyday. Our students completed so many tasks that helped the center and allowed everyone time to bond with the children throughout their visit. Afterwards my friend admitted that while the goodbyes were challenging, she cherishes every second she spent with the community.

It can be easy to allow the lure of a relaxed break equate to something of little substance, but I know if wisely spent it can provide a much needed moment of rest. Personally, I find rejuvenation in sharing laughter with new friends and finding moments to assist others along the way. Regardless of how one decides to spend their time on break, I hope it leaves everyone feeling a little happiness in their heart and courage in their feet to finish the year out strong.

RA: Resident Assistant, or Really Anxious

Christopher Newport’s Department of Residence Life has helped me figure out who I am and what I want to be in life, and since joining the ResLife team, I have strived to be better every day. I applied to be a resident assistant last year, but unfortunately, I didn’t make it through to the end. This year I reapplied and made it to the final boss. The Resident Assistant In Training Series (TRAITS). From here it was either get hired, get offered alternate status or be cut off.

I knew I was ready to take on the job as a resident assistant, and I felt confident in my resume and my skills. I had developed amazing relationships with the professional staff and had a great reputation for my work ethic. I was confident but needless to say I was also healthily skeptical of my chances.

We were to be notified of our job placement status the second Friday after the last TRAITS session. That was the longest week of my life. I needed to know. I also had friends in the process who were nervous, and we comforted each other through the week. That Friday at noon, I was astonished that the letters still hadn’t come. I asked my supervisor, and she said they’d be out at around 3:30 p.m. I’ll have you know I counted every second between noon and 3:30 that day. I got my email in the middle of my leadership class. I started sweating. I almost couldn’t open it. I felt bad, because I was in class, and I probably shouldn’t have been looking at my phone, but I think the stakes of this situation offer a good explanation as to why I was.

I looked at the email, and the waterworks started. Picture me, silently crying in the front of my leadership class looking at an email, trying to not draw attention to myself. I was crying because I was so proud of myself for receiving my placement as a resident assistant in James River Hall for the 2019-20 academic year! This has been a journey spanning two years and has prompted a heck of a lot of personal growth and learning about myself, but I did it. And I’m gosh darn proud of me. My friends, my family, and my Captains have helped me get here, and for that, I’ll be forever thankful. I look forward to the adventure that awaits me next year!

Crushing My Staff in Mario Kart

So a few times per semester, the resident assistants and the front desk assistants on my staff get together for a staff social, and we just hang out together having fun and bonding. This time around, my co-workers and good friends made the terrible mistake of bringing a Nintendo Switch and playing Mario Kart. There are very few universal truths in life, but one of them is that you don’t cross Eddie in Mario Kart unless you are prepared to lose. Needless to say, I destroyed my friends that night, and I am definitely OK with that.

All jokes aside, it’s nice to have these kinds of fun times with friends and come together as a staff. The bonds that I have made working with Christopher Newport residence life are all amazing, and I feel so fortunate to know so many amazing people. I recently had to relinquish my position as a front desk assistant, as I received the amazing opportunity to be a resident assistant, filling an immediate opening.

When I announced to my now former staff that I had been called up to be a resident assistant and would no longer be working in their building, I was met with a rush of bittersweet feelings. Everyone was really happy for me and said that I definitely deserved the opportunity, however, they were sad that I would be leaving. It made me feel really proud to have made such a great group of friends and to have established a good reputation among my peers.

The day I told them I would be leaving was really melodramatic, because we acted as if we’d never see each other again, but I’m only going to be halfway across campus, which is maybe a five-minute walk.

Bring the Talent

Everybody loves a good talent show, and from what I’ve seen, Captains certainly know how to bring the talent. Unleash the Talent, the annual signature event of Hypnotic Control, is the perfect opportunity for us to showcase our creative abilities. The audience in Gaines Theatre was as excited as I was to see what the various acts had in store for us.

Hypnotic Control is a hip-hop dance group on campus open to all students, regardless of dancing experience, who want to have fun dancing surrounded by a great group of people. I have been a member for three years now. I absolutely love being a part of such a well-known group on campus and I have made great friends through the organization.

This year’s Unleash the Talent had a fantastic turnout of students, friends and parents of the performers. The talent varied from singing and contemporary dancing to stand-up comedy. Two of the acts performed for the first on the stage and both did so great! One of these debut acts, KPC, a group who dances to K-Pop, actually won the judges’ vote! Liesl Mattar was the other winner of the night as the recipient of the audience’s choice for her strong vocal performance! I was very impressed with the talent overall this year, even for those acts who did not win.

It was also a special night for me as it was my last Unleash the Talent performance. We work extremely hard on creating a dance routine to showcase at Unleash the Talent, and I am so proud of my Hypnotic Control family for how well we did! Unleash the Talent was very successful this year and the night was filled with laughter and smiles from start to finish! Christopher Newport Captains truly have talent like no other!

The Newest Addition to CAB

The other day, I heard back regarding my CAB (Campus Activities Board) application. I’m very excited to say that I was accepted into the organization! I’ve been put on the leisure committee, which was my first choice.

The leisure committee is typically in charge of the weekly CAB events. These can include things like bingo, movie nights, build-a-bear and plenty more. We have our first meeting coming up and I’m sure we’ll go over new ideas for the semester.  I’ve already got a couple brewing, possibly food related (after all, who doesn’t love free food). Whatever rough ideas we throw out there, it’ll be a very engaging process as we bring them to life for the Christopher Newport community. Our first event will be after spring break, so we all have time to collect our thoughts and come prepared with concrete plans, as well as vague outlines for what we might be interested in tackling this semester!

CAB is great training for a professional setting wherein lots of different ideas flow and are pursued. I’ve been a member of lots of different organizations (sports teams, writing staffs, service and recreational clubs, etc.), but I’m particularly excited for how CAB will prepare me for the future. I know that the practical and creative skills that I’ll walk away with from this opportunity will serve me for the rest of my life. I first was interested in joining simply because of how fun the events were, so I wanted to be a part of creating them for other people. Now, I also see the gears that are constantly turning and all the work that goes into each event. This is definitely going to be a time commitment, but that’s exactly what I wanted so I can be more involved on campus!

BusX

I had the amazing opportunity to attend the second annual Business Exchange Conference (BusX) this month. BusX is a conference unique to Christopher Newport and the Luter School of Business in which top business leaders come to campus to share their insight on a large variety of business-related topics. Not only did I gain a greater understanding of different functional areas in business, but I was excused from all my classes for the day! Bonus! The Luter School of Business classes were canceled the day of the conference so that all business students had ample opportunity to attend the all-day conference.

The event began a day early for select students who registered to be a student ambassador, like myself, with a networking hour and dinner. As an ambassador, I was to ensure that the business executive that I was assigned was comfortable and knew how to navigate campus. I am thrilled to have met Sara Huddleston, the director of human resources at Johnson Lambert LLC in North Carolina, through this ambassador opportunity. Sara was an extraordinarily kind lady and it was interesting hearing her insight on different business concerns. Sara and I ate BusX dinner together with a few of my friends who were also invited, and it was a great time! Not only was the food tasty (especially the cheesecake), but we were also greeted with an inspirational speech from the dinner’s keynote speaker, Brenda Snow, founder and CEO of Snow Companies in Williamsburg.

As for the conference itself, I learned a lot of information from attending the five sessions that I chose to attend. My three favorites were: Talking Your Way to Better Pay, Work / Life Balance and Sara’s session, Thriving in a Generational Diverse Workplace. It was beneficial that there were many business executives leading each session so that you can hear a wide array of stories from different perspectives. With the three free meals, the free (and extraordinarily nice) padfolio, and the free insights that I received from professional business leaders, I would say that the second annual BusX was a success and I cannot wait for future business students to attend!

My First and Last Signing Day

At Christopher Newport, traditions are a big deal on our campus and it’s why we’re so close as a community. What may sound like silly ideas (like ringing a bell or keeping a penny) are actually incredibly meaningful to us Captains. In that vein, signing day is a tradition where sophomore formally sign for their major and it’s a very special experience.

Freshmen cannot officially declare their major at Christopher Newport – you have to wait until your sophomore year. This is so you can take time to explore the different programs on our campus and discover what you truly like and dislike. If you’re impatient like me, it might be difficult! Though, I can personally attest that it’s for the best. Originally, I came to Christopher Newport to be a communication major and nothing else. This was a difficult decision for me because I always wanted to study something in the entertainment field, but I told myself I should be “practical.” Well, after taking a few theater introductory courses I realized that it’d be a huge mistake to not pursue this passion. So, at signing day, I declared a double major for both communication and theater (directing and dramatic literature concentration).

At signing day, we all dress in professional attire and literally sign for our major(s) at the designated booths for each department. There are refreshments provided and plenty of room to mingle and take pictures with your friends. Each department also gives a commemorative button for you to pin on your backpack or clothes and it’s another memento that students hold dear for their entire time at Christopher Newport. Now that the Class of 2021 has officially chosen their majors, we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Phew!

Casting Call Update

A few blogs back, I wrote about a pretty awful audition in which I totally forgot my monologue! Though, thankfully, I was still given some callbacks after I instead shared a funny story in its place. Well, this week, the verdict finally came in. I got casted! In addition, rehearsals for “L’Impromptu de Versailles” are well underway and going fabulously.

I’ve been casted as Guildenstern in “Rosencratz and Guildenstern are Dead” (a tad morbid, but an exciting role nonetheless). The cast will have its first table read next week and I am beyond ready to get started. During callbacks, Guildenstern was the main role I auditioned for that I walked away from really hoping I’d get. I was interested in all of them, but this one was especially in my wheelhouse. The play is absolutely hilarious and I can’t wait to bring it to life. In addition, “L’Impromptu de Versailles” is going very well, with our Friday rehearsal finalizing the play’s entire blocking. I still have a long way to go in perfecting my French, but I know I’ll get it down within the coming weeks.

As a second semester sophomore, I was worried I would struggle to find my footing in the Theater Department at Christopher Newport. I have been completely blown away by how welcoming the community is and how easily I am beginning to integrate myself within it. These two productions are such amazing opportunities, and I can’t think of any other way I’d rather spend my time.