First Homecoming

Homecoming weekend as a Marching Captain was completely awesome. The festivities kicked off with Midnight Madness, a fun and exciting event where everyone gathers in the gym and enjoys food, basketball, performances and other various activities to get excited for homecoming. The band kicks off the performances. We walk in with our uniform band T-shirts, and take center floor. We played different songs, from “Can’t Hold Us” to “Down and Dirty,” both of which were major hits with the crowd. Once the performance was over, the was a loud, exciting roar from the crowd and the band.

The Saturday of homecoming began with morning practice to reinforce the drill-sets we have learned and a rehearsal of the halftime show that evening. Once practice is done we  have a break, and then the excitement begins. The pregame festivities began with the Marching Captains meeting up with the golf cart parade, which is full of floats made from golf carts. People were lined up to see the band and the parade go through. We then marched into the tailgate, which was packed with excited alumni, CNU parents and family, and spectators. After the tailgate performance, it was time for the Marching Captains to take the field for the pregame performance.

The most exciting part (in my opinion!) of the homecoming game was the halftime show. Check out our performance!

The homecoming performance completed our phenomenal Marching Captains season. On top of all the homecoming weekend festivities, the football team won the homecoming game against Averett University. Homecoming was an exciting time for all of CNU. I can honestly say that I will never forget my first homecoming as freshmen and a first-year Marching Captain.

Hunting for Jobs

Last night marked an important moment in the course of my life. After spending grueling hours working and reworking my resume, editing my cover letter to perfection, and scavenging my computer drive for an excellent writing sample, I finally submitted my first ‘real world’ job application. Real world—as in annual salary, as in business cards, as in health care benefits! Yipee!

Make no mistake, the actual process of looking for job opportunities out there is hardly glamorous, especially if you’re an introverted person like me. Last summer, CNU’s Center for Career Planning (CCP) held a networking event in Northern Virginia, and against all my internal protests, I went, enjoyed myself and walked away with a few contacts! Through internships and job experiences, building your network of connections is probably one of the best ways to search for jobs. I’m a stubbornly independent person, but even I recognize the importance of receiving help from other people. Here’s a significant life lesson: you cannot do it alone.

With that being said while you’re attending CNU, the folks at the CCP are an excellent resource for all your job-related questions and concerns. Not only have I had my resume revised and perfected (it was truly a glorious mess of red ink markings and scratches), but CNU Career Connect has been a huge help for me and many other students, whether you’re finding a job on campus or an internship for the summer. And if you check out CCP’s events calendar, there are many opportunities to fine-tune your job hunting skills, from workshops to mock interviews. CCP even holds office hours at Einstein’s for all your questions! Or if you just want an excuse to buy a salted caramel mocha.

I don’t want to sugar coat the fact that it is tough out there for recent graduates. But if you start early and build your potential networks, develop those important job skills, and polish off a stellar resume you’ll be way ahead of the curve.

Growing up, my dad incessantly reminded me that if I didn’t construct a solid foundation, all the things that I subsequently put on that shoddy foundation would fall over. The key to success, he said, was a strong foundation of skills that would help me in whatever I did. This same sentiment is true when it comes time to start applying for your next career.

School Colors

The colors of your school aren’t necessarily the most important aspects of a school. They don’t affect how well you learn at university, they don’t reflect how good or bad a school is, and they really just aren’t the most important aspect of the college experience.

However, in this chaotic and exciting homecoming week, when school colors are way more visible on campus than normal, I can’t deny that I’m thrilled that I chose a school with probably the most appealing color combination ever: blue and silver. At some schools there’s the awful, piecing color combinations of maroon and yellow or purple and orange, and then there’s CNU’s colors: Instead of looking out over clusters of horrid color clashes, we see the dashing and triumphant colors of blue and silver. For instance, when I see the marching band making their way through campus on game day, it’s nice that they seem to resemble the waves of the deep blue sea, making heroic music before our football team sets off for a battle.

Blue and silver are also very calming colors. Blue actually symbolizes calmness, intelligence, loyalty and stability. So in all actuality, it’s the ideal choice to be the focal color of a college campus. Whoever’s idea it was to make blue the official color of CNU knew what they were doing. Furthermore, blue just looks great on so many people. Its a universally flattering color. Add some silver highlights and detail and you’ve got enough pizazz to show some school spirit at CNU.

Maybe it was just coincidence, but I think our colors reflect who we really are as a campus: cool, calm, and collected people who are completely fabulous.

Homecoming 2013

If you stop by the David Student Union at any time this week (and let’s face it, you will) you will immediately be surrounded by far more tables in the breezeway than normal … why is this? IT’S HOMECOMING TIME! Christopher Newport University takes the week of homecoming very seriously. The 10 homecoming king and queen candidates have been announced and the campaigns are well on their way! From handing out buttons to generously giving away cookies, the competition is fierce, to say the least. The Homecoming Court consists of the most active students on campus who are members of a plethora of groups and organizations as well as maintaining the Captain spirit we all know and love.

Talking to sophomore Holly Maglin, a sister of Gamma Phi Beta, one realizes how much effort is put into this week: “I really am involved with the behind-the-scenes process of campaigning for our candidate. Besides making the buttons and handing them out, I am crafting the decorations for the golf cart for the Homecoming parade. I also directed the candidate’s video (broadcasted across campus).” Clearly there’s far more than meets the eye and it’s revealing to see just how many people are involved with the process. But why? Why is Homecoming such a big deal at CNU? The answer differs for everyone, but from what I can see it is relatively simple: community.

Considering we are a relatively young school, CNU is still in the process of establishing traditions to carry on for years to come; Homecoming is one of these traditions. From the parade to the tailgate, current students and alumni alike show their school spirit by proudly wearing their blue and silver. Greek Life, athletics and clubs all host their own tailgate, where former students reconnect with old friends and professors. Rather than just being the parade, tailgate and a football game on Saturday, CNU hosts a week of activities ranging from the revealing of the candidates and their videos to Midnight Madness (the biggest pep rally CNU hosts all year) to “Yell Like Hell” (a “chant-off” where any organization competes to win Homecoming points). This week certainly is special, it shows the strength of the CNU community and the excitement to show our school pride. Go Captains!

Let’s Meet at Office Hours!

To join the nursing program at her college, my younger sister must face a bunch of rigorous science and math classes, all while maintaining a 3.6 grade point average. After a particularly butt-kicking anatomy exam, she texted me one evening complaining about how difficult it was to manage all her classes at once.

Forgetting that she goes to an enormous university, I absent-mindedly told her to consult her professor—obviously he or she would have some advice for her. My sister, sending me the emoji equivalent of a sad face, told me that her professor had a waiting list and wouldn’t be able to talk with her until November. That is, less than a month and a half before the semester is over. A big help that is.

I’m a huge believer that a person’s individual work and commitment to their classes should determine the grades they get, but I also can’t discount the importance of professor-student interactions. Whether you’re visiting a professor for help on an assignment, or like me and scavenging their book collections for research, professors are a phenomenal resource for students, not just the bearers of exams and homework.

And not to get too personal, but when you are feeling the brunt of every single assignment, paper, and test weighing down on you, professors might just be the best people to seek out. A few weeks ago, I was really feeling the combined pressure of all my classes and decided to speak to one of my professors about how much stress I was under. I didn’t expect a tearful heart-to-heart or anything, but I did spend a solid half an hour talking about plain ‘ol life. Which felt amazing, by the way—to take a few seconds and just breathe.

As a sibling, I feel pretty bad about not being able to give my sister any more advice about her situation. No one deserves to swim in the academic seas alone. But as a student, I feel overwhelmingly grateful that I go to a small enough school like CNU where there aren’t endless waiting lists to speak with professors and faculty during their office hours. Even better, I’m so glad I go to a university where office hours at Panera are an actual thing.

Miss Virginia’s Omelets

As I’m in my fourth year at CNU, I have had the pleasure of sampling much of the campus cuisine from Regatta’s to Commons. While I’ve found a majority of the food to be satisfactory, there is nothing offered at CNU quite like a morning omelet prepared by Miss Virginia in Commons.

Miss Virginia may have the most genuine and welcoming smile I have ever seen. For the students who regularly get omelets in the morning, she puts in the effort to memorize their orders. It gets to the point that when you show up in the line, Miss Virginia will give you her signature big smile and start dropping in your regular ingredients. She’ll even throw in extra cheese!

After nearly four years I can’t tell you if it is the tastiness of the omelets or the interaction with Miss Virginia that makes my morning when I go into Commons for breakfast. This year I have done the five-meal plan which means I go to Commons much less frequently. When I finally did go in for Commons breakfast this year Miss Virginia recognized me, looked excited to see me and remembered my favorite omelet combination.

To put this in perspective, there are about 5,000 students at CNU and Miss Virginia makes the effort to remember each student, and what they like to eat. Even when orders are coming in fast she makes the effort to say good morning to the students and makes the omelets carefully, being sure to distribute the ingredients in such a way that all the flavors will be reached with each bite.

Freshman year one of my suitemates and I joked around that Miss Virginia’s omelets were the best because her special ingredient was love. …But actually.

If I could write a poem for Miss Virginia it would go as follows:

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Mornings are great
With an omelet from you

            Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’” Miss Virginia is a great example of that sentiment. She is the best omelet maker. She cares about the students she serves and she is one of the many reasons why living at CNU is so great.

Dancing as a Captain

One of my favorite feelings during the week is leaving the Ferguson Center for the Arts after dance class, with the breeze cooling off my moist forehead and the spring in my step after dancing for over an hour.

What? You didn’t know we have dance classes at CNU? Well, yes, we do. I for one did not know that until I began looking at classes for my second and third semesters here at CNU. I thought I would just end up taking a jazz or tap class like I had when I was younger, but then I saw another class available: African dance. Specifically, this class is called African Dance in the Diaspora, and teaches about danced religions in Cuba, Haiti and Brazil that originated from African religions centuries ago. So not only do we get to experience dancing high-energy choreography that we’ve never seen before, but we also get to learn about cultures that aren’t mentioned as much in our history textbooks.

At first I was worried that this class would just count as an elective; however, to my surprise (and satisfaction) I could actually make it count for my global and multicultural perspectives requirement for the liberal learning curriculum. I could have not have been happier, and come registration day I was sure I was locked into that class once and for all.
For those of you not necessarily interested in the area of African dance, but who still want to take a dance class at CNU, there are other options: ballet, jazz, tap and modern.

The Theater and Dance Department holds open auditions every fall for the spring dance recital, “A Delicate Balance.” This recital includes tap, jazz, ballroom, Afro-Cuban, modern and musical theater choreographies, as well as others. This year, because of the intense interest I had taken in African dance class, I decided to audition for the Afro-Cuban section … and was selected to be apart of the recital! I’m not a dance minor, but I’m still thrilled to be part of this experience. My major is theater-related, and any chance to be a part of performing and art means the most to me. If you feel the same way, CNU has the programs to satisfy those desires for expression and performing.