We’re All In This Together

As my first foray into blogging for CNU, I simply wanted to share why this university became my first choice and later, my dream school.

One word: community

If you’ve researched CNU the least bit, I’m sure you’ve heard this word and others like it thrown around profusely. However, there is definite reason for that. This may sound corny, but the moment I stepped on campus for a tour, I could sense how strong the community was. Everywhere I looked, I saw students of every variety chatting, rushing to class and eating together. Plus, they seemed to genuinely like each other. Their smiles were authentic, and their friendship was evident. I knew right away that if I chose CNU as my future home, I would easily find a community to plug into.

Surprise, surprise, I did!

Of course it wasn’t an immediate thing … freshman year did not start off with me instantly becoming BFFs with every single person in York River East. I didn’t have hordes of people to eat with in Regatta’s. Sometimes, I even walked to class by myself. But as the semester continued, it became easier and easier to grab lunch with the kids I sat next to in my American studies class and spend weekend nights watching movies with hallmates. Once that simple base was formed, I decided to check out some of the numerous clubs CNU has to offer. Seriously, if you want to meet people, swing by the Club Fair and pick five organizations to experiment with – chances are, you’ll click with at least one. Joining clubs allowed me to meet some of my best friends on campus, including the super fantastic girls I’m living with now.

It amazes me that in just a year, I’ve met so many people who have changed my life and who I am – all for the better. I live in a gorgeous suite in Warwick River Hall with the most encouraging, hilarious, slightly immature, yet always supportive friends. I love that we are all obsessed with the GameShow Network, a channel that CNU’s cable offers (yes!), and that any and every part of our days can be turned into a lifelong inside joke. And, the awesome thing is, our suite’s community is just a mirror to the community found within the greater CNU campus. Because of the compactness of our university, you are guaranteed to run into at least one friend on your way to the Trible Library – I love that!

I selected CNU for a multitude of reasons (close to home, its Master of Arts in Teaching Program, and gorgeous architecture, to name a few), but ultimately, the close-knit feel of the campus was what called my name the loudest. I chose CNU for its community; the wondrous thing is that the community here chose me back.

London Calling

ShakespearePosterGeneral14An important part of college is pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and growing both as a scholar and an individual. A great way to excel is to study abroad. However, for some, an entire semester abroad is either impossible due to a specific need of classes on campus or personal decisions to remain closer to home. Keeping this in mind, CNU offers summer programs linked with other universities to allow students to have the study abroad experience (i.e., meet other students from different schools, live in another country, experience an entirely new culture, etc.) in a shorter amount of time. One such class is being offered this summer by one of the greatest professors I have ever had: Dr. Grace Godwin.

To begin, Dr. Godwin is one of those professors who cultivates her classes to be relatable to students. For example, when discussing some prominent British stage actors, she tells us which Harry Potter character they portrayed in the films (you’d be surprised how many there are …). She is extraordinarily witty and funny with a sharp mind and an extreme willingness to assist her students. Regardless of major, her theater history classes are welcomed by all students due to her hands on projects and interactive lectures.

This summer, Dr. Godwin is teaching “Shakespeare in London*” which, although may appeal primarily to English and theater majors, is accessible to any student. Dr. Godwin remarked that she’s “actually had a great time with science majors taking the course as a liberal learning requirement. The idea is to make the most of being in London; instead of reading Shakespeare’s plays, we see them live – usually 8-10 plays each year.” This study abroad class is very experimental with less focus on traditional lecturing and more time spent on exploring the sites which range from theatre tours to museum visits to performances at the Globe Theatre.

While staying on the University of London campus, students are given the same amenities that are found at CNU. Exploring London with a brilliant professor is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity – you get credit for seeing theater! How amazing is that! A few summers ago while studying abroad at Oxford, I met up with Dr. Godwin while she was teaching one of these classes. Before we grabbed dinner, I saw some of her students talking with her about the project they were working on and they were truly excited to be working in such an experimental way that included exploring London on their own time.

I honestly cannot sing enough of Dr. Godwin’s praises, as she is completely a revolutionary professor. And her knowledge for Shakespeare and his contemporaries is infinite. CNU is such a remarkable university because of these amazing educators who think outside of the box and make education an amazing process for each student. Within our four years at college, we are given opportunities that are rarely accessible after graduation, thus, I think it is EXTREMELY important that while at CNU, every student takes these opportunities presented, push themselves above and beyond what they ever thought possible, and get to know the fantastic professors – you’ll be glad you did.

*If interested in partaking in this program, please visit the link above or email Dr. Godwin at laura.godwin@cnu.edu.

Warming Up Those Winter Blues

photoOnce and a while, I make a conscious effort to do something off campus. I think, in a campus environment where everything is basically at your fingertips, it can be easy to get comfortable chilling in your residence hall or apartment at every waking hour with your roommates by your side. Especially on the weekend. And especially if you’re broke.

Getting out and buying a few useless items at Patrick Henry Mall would never work for me, since I’m terribly stingy to begin with. I thought about spending a few hours at the local library for a change of scenery, but I quickly realized how much I didn’t want to be (literally) surrounded by books for hours on end. Researching and working on assignments in the Trible Library is enough for me!

And then one day last year, one of my friends told me about this wonderful restaurant and coffee shop down in City Center, called Aromas. She herself was quite the coffee fanatic and said it was the perfect place to sit down for a few hours and talk with friends, or read or study, too. At first, I didn’t follow through on her insisting that I go; it’s the stinginess, you see. But on some Saturday when I had no scheduled work or assignments to finish (gasp!), I decided I would give it a try. And then a few more tries after that. The rest of it, as they say, was history.

Even now, at this exact sentence goes onto my Word document, I am enjoying a Saturday afternoon in Aromas, polishing off a delicious French onion soup, with loads of melt-y, gooey cheese, and sipping on a spiced chai tea latte. Although I don’t make it every Saturday or Sunday (hey, a girl’s gotta save for her Roth retirement plan), sometimes the combination of two hours of solitude and a different coffee concoction really hits the spot, both for my stomach and peace of mind. Maybe it’s the subtle jazz music playing in the background, or the fact that you can sit for three hours reading an exciting book and no one will bug you, that really makes Aromas a special place to go.

I feel like I’m divulging in one of my hidden secrets for the CNU community to know, which is why I won’t give you the address. If you want to visit Aromas yourself, you’ll have to work for it—which won’t be very hard, thanks to Google. But if you are ever craving an afternoon to yourself, give Aromas a try. You may not see the same special things about it that I do, but even so, their “Honey Do” lattes might make you a convert.

College, Like Travel, Can Be a Big Culture Shock

(As an aside: I wish I had something to contribute to the wonderful Greek discussions below, but alas, I will have to bore you with the differences between high school and college …)

When you travel to new places, there are whole lists of rules and customs you have to get used to. When I was in the Philippines this summer, crossing the road itself was a whole new cultural ordeal: while here, we can safely rely on crossing signs; pedestrians in the Philippines have to trust their confidence and daring when walking into traffic. As it happens, deathly eye contact with the incoming driver will almost ensure that he or she will stop for you. Or at least stop a foot away from you.

Attending college for the first time is a lot like experiencing a new culture. There are different customs that you have to learn, much different from those in high school. I’ve listed a few of those customs that I’ve found most important when it comes to acculturating to CNU.

High school: Teachers will constantly remind you when assignments are due.
College: The course syllabus will tell you exactly what is expected of you; professors expect you to know what is going on every week. Forgot to turn in an assignment because you didn’t know about it? Learn from my experience and tape the syllabus on your dresser if you have to (I plead guilty to that).

High School: Teachers provide you with information and assignments you missed when you were absent.
College: Professors will expect that you get notes and assignments from fellow classmates. Making some “class friends” is always to your benefit, and a little of altruism is not a bad idea; you never know when you’ll need someone’s help! (Of course, by altruism, I don’t mean sharing all of your notes with the less than motivated student next to you.)

High School: Your parents and guidance counselors will be there to help you make decisions.
College: Yes, you can still call your parents or talk to advisers if you need it, but in college, you will face a great number of decisions, including choosing a major, getting involved in activities or finding jobs. College is a great time to figure out how to prioritize your goals and make choices based on your own needs.

High School: Teachers will approach you if they think you need help in class.
College: I can only emphasize how open and helpful professors are at CNU, but they’ll expect you to initiate contact with them if you need assistance. Building relationships with your professors and showing that you are genuinely interested in the course is also a good place to start.

It can all be pretty intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of things, college life will be a breeze!

Why Being “Greek” Can Make You Happy

Greek life rarely has an opinion that’s “in the middle.” People either LOVE Greeks or DESPISE them. Generalization? Perhaps, but far more often than not, this generalization rings true. To give an explanation of misconceptions about Greek life at CNU, this post will explore my own personal journey as both an academic and a social Greek.

I feel that I have a unique perspective due to my involvement with the academic fraternities Alpha Psi Omega (theater) and Sigma Tau Delta (English), and the Gamma Phi Beta sorority. With recruitment just ending, I have had dozens of conversations with both potential new members and sisters (both in my sorority and others) in which I’ve heard everything from “I volunteer all the time!” to “I am best friends with everyone.” To this, I do understand some negative opinions from non-Greeks, but then I also ask you, how often do you say things like this? Perhaps on a resume?

So why do I say being Greek at CNU can bring you happiness? Because it’s true.

These are the main arguments against misunderstandings on Greek life:
1. Desire for friends
2. Getting “involved”
3. Promise of a job
4. Conforming/paying for friends

First, the stigma against Greeks being fake is quite unfair as we all adapt ourselves according to the specific situation. Additionally Greek letters do not define college, rather they merely add to the experience, just as a club or sports team adds to one’s time at CNU. Yes, in college you make friends your first week because everyone is trying to desperately find their new home, but after a time, you realize that maybe you rushed into a friendship and are ready to really figure your social life out. Two people can be interested in the same exact thing but that does not mean they’ll be friends. Two people with the same values, who want to honor those values? Even if you’re on the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of interests, you can still can be friends.

Second, in fraternities and sororities, I can honestly say that philanthropy plays a huge role in our chapters. By simply stating that service fraternities are the only ones involved in our community is a horrible discredit to the entirety of Greek life. Alpha Sigma Alpha works greatly with Special Olympics, Zeta Tau Alpha dedicates their time to raise breast cancer awareness, Kappa Sigma works for the Wounded Warrior Project to help those who have served. In GPhi we have multiple events throughout the year for both Girls on the Run and Girls Inc. You cannot be a Greek without serving. Thus, Greek life’s main focus isn’t only about making friends, but overly making an impact both on campus and in the community. To lessen Greeks to only a social club honestly does not make sense. We all are trying to find our place, and yes, strong friendships come from that.

Third, to the questions regarding networking – no, you aren’t guaranteed a job. But being non-Greek doesn’t guarantee you a job, either. No one is saying that wearing your letters will get you into med school or law school, but they most certainly help give you the tools to make the overall process easier. For example, I am part of the Gamma Phi Beta group on LinkedIn and I get emails multiple times throughout the week about sisters across the country looking for job openings and moving to new towns to which they then receive replies from sisters they’ve never even met who are giving openings and pieces of advice. If that’s not great networking, then I don’t know what is.

Fourth, oh the brands. Lilly Pulitzer. Vineyard Vines. Southern Proper. Greeks and their “labels.” Some have questioned whether or not you have to own Lilly to be in a sorority or have a Vineyard Vines bow tie to be in a fraternity – to be frank, no. You do not. I don’t have a Marley Lilly vest and I’ve been a sister for four years. If some argue that you have to have these things then that’s merely because that’s simply the trend. Girls who aren’t Greek wear Lilly? This is a silly argument against Greeks, because throughout college you realize that you know what you like and you know what you don’t. If you don’t want to wear a bow tie, then don’t. Simple as that.

During my four years at CNU I have made friends outside of my sisterhood who are extremely meaningful to me and I have sisters who have completely been the greatest foundation and family that I could’ve ever dreamed of. At the end of this semester, I’ll be graduating with a double major and a high GPA (I don’t believe in posting grades, as that’s a private matter) and moving to Chicago to get my master’s in English (still have to make a decision on which of the grad schools I’ll be attending). And you know what? Being Greek has challenged me and molded me into the woman I am today and I am proud of what I’ve accomplished.

Greeks pay for their friends. WRONG. Our dues go to a multitude of places to further strengthen the organization that we care about and value, as well as supporting our philanthropy. Also, no we are not loaded, spoiled, rich kids. I know plenty of men and women working two jobs on top of school to pay their dues WILLINGLY because of their love for their chapter. Additionally, there are scholarships available and assistance for those in need – that’s not paying for friends, that’s helping friends.

Why You Don’t Need to “Go Greek” to Be Happy

Sororities! Fraternities! For some, the idea of college is defined by the random combinations of Greek letters you might get to wear once you get there. Universities usually have columns, so does the Parthenon! Greek! Professors are smart, so was Socrates! Greek! You like feta cheese and olives in your salad! Greek! All jokes aside, there are plenty of reasons why certain people decide to join a sorority or a fraternity, but don’t think that joining Greek life is necessary to make friends, have fun or be successful at CNU.

There are a couple different types of fraternities and sororities on campus. There are social fraternities and sororities, academic fraternities, service fraternities. Service fraternities focus on (go figure) service to the community, these fraternities are particularly attractive to students looking to either fulfill community service obligations, or have a love of giving back. Academic fraternities generally bring together students with similar academic and career goals and promote networking for future careers. Social fraternities and sororities are the Greek life groups that are most commonly embodied in pop culture.

I am a member of the academic fraternity Phi Alpha Delta, the pre-law fraternity. In Law school, Phi Alpha Delta is the world’s largest international law fraternity. Our fraternity has 20-30 active members from all majors who have a goal of going to law school. A number of members of our fraternity volunteer at a legal aid firm in Hampton, an opportunity extended to our CNU chapter only.

So why do I say you don’t need to “go Greek” to be happy at CNU? Because it’s true.

The main reasons I hear why people want to join fraternities or sororities are as follows:

1. I want to make friends.

2. I want to get involved.

3. I want to be successful.

4. I want to feel part of a brotherhood/sisterhood.

Firstly, it is actually possible to make friends outside of joining a fraternity. One of the first things you’ll notice freshman year is how tight your hall community is and how it is easy to get chatting with people and form friendships. This isn’t high school anymore, popularity isn’t defined by what clique you are in. Whether you join a fraternity or sorority or not, making friends is your prerogative; you’ve got to do the introducing and handshaking and such. Fortunately, with more than 5,000 students, it’s hard not to find people who share some of your interests and want to hang out with you.

Second, if you think being in a fraternity or sorority is the only way to get involved, just take a quick walk around club fair at the beginning of any semester. There are so many clubs and groups that you can get involved in on this campus that I would dare you to find a group that doesn’t focus on even your most obscure interests. You really like playing Pokemon Red Version on your old Gameboy? We legitimately have a group for that.  Also, a vast majority of the groups on campus don’t have dues that total hundreds of dollars a year.

Third, being a brother or a sister does not mean you will get a job anywhere there is an employer who was in the same Greek organization. Professional fraternities like Phi Alpha Delta, or Alpha Kappa Psi (business fraternity) offer excellent networking opportunities that materialize later on when one of your brothers puts out word that an employer is hiring in your field, but this doesn’t guarantee you a job. If you are a brother with a 2.8 GPA and you are competing for a job against a similar non-brother candidate with a 3.8 GPA you’re probably not going to get that job. Also, if you hear that Greek life has a higher average GPA than the rest of campus you should know that, while it is true, Greek life has a higher GPA requirement than what is required to remain a CNU student. Thus the Greek life average is higher because they cut off the lowest GPAs.

Fourth, feeling part of a brotherhood or sisterhood once you join a Greek organization is not a guarantee. There are plenty of guys and girls who leave their fraternity or sorority because they don’t feel the way they thought they would when joining. There are also negative consequences to feeling like you are part of this kind of group. One friend told me that he felt he needed to buy a pair of $70 shoes that he didn’t really want because most everyone else in the fraternity had them. The positive feeling of being part of a kind of family can be found outside of Greek organizations. The a cappella community in particular is well-known as having very tight-knit and social groups.

During my four years at CNU I have made many friends that I still enjoy getting together with. I feel I have built some strong relationships with many people here that will last beyond graduation. At the end of this semester I’ll be graduating with about a 3.5 GPA, and leaving behind multiple leadership positions in a number of organizations. What’s more, I have already been accepted to five different law schools and two of them have offered me scholarships that will cover most of the tuition. None of these things can be attributed to being in a Greek organization.

Don’t get me wrong, there are great experiences one can get from going Greek. My best friend is a Kappa Sigma brother here at CNU and I have heard countless stories of good times he has had and experiences that he feels has made him grow as a person. I know sorority sisters who are entirely devoted to their sororities and couldn’t imagine life without it. I simply caution incoming freshman that Greek life can be a very expensive and time-consuming way of accomplishing the same things at CNU that you can do without it.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

As I continue on in my last semester at CNU, I have become increasingly aware of comments made before class that ultimately paint the picture of the student in the classroom. All of us are multifaceted people with multiple “masks” that we wear each day in order to fit the situation at hand. In my English 423: Major Authors class, we are focusing on reading a multitude Virginia Woolf’s works. Thus, we have to read A LOT in order to get through all of these texts. Now, I understand that as college students we are all extremely busy balancing our academic with our social lives, I mean, I know I can get overwhelmed with how much there is to do, and perhaps it’s just me being a senior and clinging on to these last few months, but I think we should all endeavor to truly enjoy our readings in order to succeed in college.

Incoming freshmen, no, you will not have any idea just HOW MUCH you have to read until you actually get to college, but I promise you it is doable – it’s all about time management. The best trick to get through the reading is to, now hear me out, enjoy them. For example, my professor came into the Woolf class on the first day and remarked how glad she was that the prospect of reading Virginia Woolf for an entire semester didn’t scare all of us away. Now, I don’t know if many signed up because they love Virginia Woolf (guilty as charged) or because they needed it for the major, but we all came to class the first day with the same goal in mind – to get through it. For some, this means putting in minimal effort and getting a “passing grade.” For others, this means to complete all the readings on time and to think critically and analytically as the professor asks us to do.

In college, you are in charge of your own schedule. In college, you are completely responsible for your grades (see previous post about “difficult” professors). And I believe the best way to get through any class is to put on the mask of the willing participant, the engaged learner, but also the questioning individual: Challenge your professor, ask them why? Ask them how? Be ultimately involved in your education and those readings will pay off. I promise. If a student in class is talking about how much they hated the book or how much reading they DIDN’T do (there’s always one …) do not let those comments taint your opinions or make you feel entitled to also stop doing the work. Sometimes you can get lucky and get away with not reading, but in the end you are honestly only hurting yourself when it comes to the next paper or next quiz. Remember, you are responsible for your own success at CNU – so go on and engage yourself!

Paideia Conference

During my sophomore year at CNU, I enrolled in a special topics course called Space Communication, which required students to think about the ways rhetoric influences the everyday spaces and places we encounter in our daily lives. Not only was this one of the most interesting courses I have taken in my entire college career, but it challenged me to take a more critical view in how I think about seemingly obvious, commonplace ideas. Take classroom set-ups, for example; the physical separation between the professor’s podium and the students’ desks sends a rhetorical message that the professor is the authority figure in the space, while the students are the audience. It’s always an interesting phenomenon to watch: once the professor breaks the physical separation and begins walking around the class, students always seem more willing to engage. (I kind of went on a tangent, but it’s really fascinating stuff!)

Anyways, one of the assignments we had to do was a research paper analyzing the rhetoric of any physical space and environment. I choose the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C. Basically, what the research involved was a lot of observing and walking around the space until I could start connecting theory to what I was experiencing. In the end, my findings and analysis gave me enough to write a pretty solid paper; I wrote, turned in the paper and presented my research in front of the class. “Another paper, another day,” I thought.

A few months later, the professor who taught the class sent me an email saying she wanted to sponsor my research for an undergraduate conference at CNU.  Elated, I responded quickly telling her how excited I was for the opportunity—writing has always been my strong suit, but I never expected it to lead to something as cool as this!

Every year in the spring, CNU holds its annual undergraduate Paideia Conference for students interested in incorporating research with what they have been learning about in their respective courses. Best of all, research is open to all fields of study, including social sciences, natural sciences, applied sciences and even the arts! If you have a class or project you are absolutely passionate about, I would seriously recommend finding a faculty mentor to sponsor you and submit your application.

Bragging rights aside, what’s so awesome about this experience is that you get to share your ideas with fellow students and faculty. Sometimes research papers can seem sort of tedious because at the end of the day, it’s only one other person besides yourself who will be reviewing your excellent work. With Paideia, you can divulge all those interesting theories and principles and findings with people who have gone through the exact same process. And if you’re worried about silence at the end of your presentation, no fear! Last year, our moderator beautifully wove each of the presenter’s topics together to make for engaging discussion afterwards.

So, here’s your checklist: project, mentor and application. Now go kick some undergraduate research butt!

The Reverse Bell-Curve of the Average Semester

This is likely the closest thing to a scientific article you will see in this blog. I am going to try to explain my theory of the reverse bell-curve of effort during an average semester. This is in no way an encouragement to fulfill the hypothesis. My theory has been supported through not-so-clinical studies, testimonials and personal experiments.

It is the first week back from vacation. Let’s say it is winter break. This works well because New Year’s resolutions help best illustrate and explain the beginning of the reverse bell-curve. For your resolutions you have committed to working harder, going to the gym and maybe getting a 3.5 GPA. 3.3? 3.0? Sound familiar? It’s because we all do it. This isn’t just reserved for New Year’s resolutions. Just before the beginning of any semester (high school, college, what-have-you) we all say to ourselves, this time I’ll do better.  Better at school, better at being fit better at Super Smash Bros … To be better in those regards it takes effort, time and often it is not fun while we are getting better (except for the last one).

In the first couple of weeks in the semester you ride that motivation momentum built up over a break and time removed from previous low-effort periods. Boosted motivation pre-semester can come from a number of sources. Perhaps you didn’t do so well last semester and this semester you want to do better. Perhaps last semester you did really well and that makes you want to do even better this semester. Maybe you shared a moment with your cat over break and you could swear when he meowed and looked at you he was saying, “(Insert Your Name Here), I believe in you.” Whatever the case, you pledge to work harder and for the first couple of weeks it seems so easy to fulfill that pledge.

Then reality hits. You have friends that need hanging out with, going to the gym isn’t as fun as eating Chanello’s cheesy bread, the new season of “New Girl” comes out on Netflix and that extra-credit essay needs to be put on hold until you find out if Schmidt and Elizabeth get back together. Just like that, the extra effort you were putting in stops. Like your heart when your favorite “Game of Thrones” character gets killed.

Effort inexorably fades during the semester until motivation matches necessity. Rather than working hard for the feeling of moral absolution upon completion of said hard work you find yourself compelled to work hard in order to maintain the grade. Now the grade might be an A or a B or a C depending on your ambition, but regardless of the GPA goal, you’ll find procrastination to be a much more compelling word the further into the semester you go.

Here’s the formula (this is in no way mathematical):

Effort=(Necessity+Motivation)-(Distractions * Weeks into the semester)



The problem with the formula, and the explanation for the reverse bell-curve is that effort always increases at the very end of the semester. I like to call this “The Finals Week Effect.” I’m no psychology major, but I have reason to suspect that the fear of finals week can eliminate the value for W.  As you get close to finals week and desperation sets in, one either puts in extra effort to salvage the semester or, if they have been successful, to protect their potential for a good semester.

In summation, effort is at its highest at the beginning and the end of each semester, but effort generally dips in the middle portion of the semester when the pre-semester motivation and fear of finals week is at its lowest.

Are you capable of disproving this theory? Can you maintain a high effort all semester long that never falters? There are plenty of people who are capable of beating the reverse bell-curve. Those who beat it are usually quite successful year to year. If you are aware of this phenomenon then perhaps you can avoid the trap and come out at the end of each semester as a true champ.

Good luck.

I Just Need a College to Love

It seems pertinent, if not cliché, that I reflect upon the last four years of my life here at CNU, now that graduation is almost on my doorstep. Attending college in a new environment will always have its ups and downs, from tumultuous roommate relationships to anxiety about what you’re doing with your life, but when you’ve found that perfect place to call your home, college can be one of the most enjoyable experiences for anyone.

Back when I was in high school, CNU had a growing but still recognized reputation for its excellent liberal arts education, small class sizes and strong community dedicated to making it the best university it could be. (Into my senior year, CNU has received numerous rankings from U.S. News and World Report to Kiplinger.) Of course, and I’m not ashamed to admit it, it was probably the fact that I wouldn’t have to brush my teeth with 20 other girls that pushed CNU to the forefront for me.

All joking aside, even when I received my glowing acceptance letter, I still felt apprehension about if I had made the right decision. “Will I be happy here,” “Will I find my niche,” were probing questions I had as I packed up my stuff into cardboard boxes. Apprehension is normal about any big life-changing moment, but the faculty, staff and current students always made me and all the other freshmen feel included and welcome in their growing community.

Some people find connections through CNU’s bustling Greek life (Read Courtney’s blog about recruitment week!), and some make themselves busy with different employment opportunities (Read Ryan’s blog about his work experience!). I think I found most success academically, filling my head with theories, concepts and new paradigms in a very Hermione Granger-ish style. Finding new intellectual challenges was more fun than drudgery, especially getting the satisfaction of mastering courses I never thought I could. Of course, science and math are a different subject all together. But back to the point: finding something to love and feel passion for isn’t a hard thing to come by at CNU.

While there’s no perfect formula for ensuring a perfect college experience, know that it’s partly the effort that you put into it. Things, as my mother loves to remind me, will never be handed to you on a silver platter: if you want to have an amazing experience, you have to work for it. If you can manage that, then everything else will fall into place. I can honestly say that attending CNU has been one of the most rewarding experiences I could ever ask for. Like me, you will have support in every corner and people here genuinely want you to succeed.