Volunteering in my community was definitely something I imagined I’d be doing once I got to college, but I had no idea how important to me it would become. Since I’m working towards graduating with a teaching degree, it made the most sense to me to spend my volunteer hours for the President’s Leadership Program in elementary school classrooms.
Over my roughly two-and-a-half years here, I’ve been able to help in three of Newport News’ public schools – reading with first graders, grading, stapling or trimming papers, organizing books, and getting to laugh with some of the sweetest kids. Plus, I’ve gotten a better picture of what it takes to be an elementary school teacher who knows how to encourage and connect with her (or his!) students.
Even though my volunteering felt like a mandatory chore at first, it quickly became one of the highlights of my week. Giving my time and energy to some of the local elementary schools has shown me how powerful service is; I’m truly grateful CNU gave me the push to discover how and where I serve best!
If you’re like me and your semester is already spinning at full speed, allow me to share some (hopefully) wise advice. Let’s check it out!
1. Get organized. Maybe you like Lilly planners, maybe your desk is covered in sticky notes – whatever the case, find a way to plan out what you need to do with your week. Then, after you do something, cross it off your list and revel in the victory of accomplishment!
2. Don’t forget to exercise. Since the roads around CNU are so flat and relatively not traffic-y, I run for exercise. If running’s not your thing, find another way to keep your body moving: an intramural sport, a fitness class at the Trieshmann Health and Fitness Pavilion (CNU’s gym!), or choose to take the stairs more often.
3. Sleep, sleep, sleep. It’s recommended that we young people get a lot more sleep than is actually possible considering our busy schedules, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay up until 4 a.m. every night watching Netflix. Know yourself – if you can’t function on less than six hours of sleep, make sure you get yourself to bed at a decent time! Also, naps are always a great option.
4. Laugh often. Circumstances might get hectic, but they don’t have to determine your attitude. Choose to face this semester with a smile. (Cheesy, I know. But, getting the right mindset will alter how your time at school goes.)
February is National Heart Awareness Month, and as young people I know we probably don’t think about our heart health too much. Our nation’s number one killer is heart disease, so it is important that we make our heart a priority! Making some slight lifestyle changes is an easy way to keep your heart in shape.
Go to the doctor regularly.
Have your blood pressure checked often.
Exercise often – for at least 30 minutes a day. It doesn’t have to be super intense, and it is easier to commit to this when you are doing something you enjoy like gardening or dancing.
Eat low-fat foods and lots of fruits and vegetables for your meals and snacks.
Limit your alcohol consumption.
Quit That Habit
Smoking directly attacks your heart, so trying to decrease/quit how much you smoke will benefit you in the long run.
This tip might seem nearly impossible as a college student, but it is imperative. High stress can increase your blood pressure. Try to be more positive in stressful situations and relax more!
As freshmen typically do, I began at CNU with no real idea of what I wanted to do or major in. The most popular choice among the guys in my class was business, so I began taking classes connected with a business major. I began regretting my decision more and more as classes such as economics and accounting popped up on my schedule. I continued questioning myself until that fateful day was thrust upon all the sophomores of CNU. Signing Day, the day you officially declare your major. I was in a single art class that semester and it seemed to be going fairly well. So, having no other ideas of what to do, I became a studio art major. While this is probably not the ideal way to choose the subject you will be studying during your college career, it has somehow worked for me. My classes drastically changed from listening to long lectures, to painting and sculpting. Although the lengths of my classes have dramatically increased, the work was enjoyable and allows for the time to pass quickly. Even though landing on my major was mostly a forced decision, it has been a welcomed change from the monotony of what I call, “normal school work.”