Seeing CNU Through Fresh Eyes

I tend to involve myself in a LOT here at Christopher Newport. Every day I’m volunteering at something or attending something else, and I never really have a day off. Sometimes it feels like I don’t have time to breathe before I’m running off to the next event, but this is just a testimony to how much I love CNU. I’m overly involved on campus because I want to be involved. I see it as my way of giving back to a campus that has given me a home.

That being said, one of my favorite positions at this school is being a recruiter for the President’s Leadership Program (PLP). This sounds like a pretty fancy title, but it basically means that twice a semester, I host one or two students overnight in my residence hall and show them a little bit of what college is like. I take them to on-campus activities and sports events, eat with them in the dining halls, introduce them to other students and faculty members, and answer their many, many questions about CNU and college life in general.

What’s awesome about this position is that it allows me to see Christopher Newport through fresh eyes again. I get to experience, multiple times a year, the excitement that a high school senior feels when they arrive at my campus for the first or second time. Their enthusiasm is contagious, and it consistently reminds me why I chose CNU. I watch their awe as they look at the buildings or their elation when President Trible stops to say hello to them in the Plaza. Sometimes, as a student, I become numb to these things. I am running around so much that days go by where I feel like I’m going through the motions, and I forget to look around and realize how incredible it is that I’m lucky enough to go to a school like Christopher Newport.

Watching the high schoolers’ reactions wakes me up. It causes me to pay a little bit more attention to the things I might have forgotten about or begun to overlook. It makes me appreciate the small things again, like the names on the bricks around the plaza and the always-friendly dining staff. In short, it makes me fall in love with CNU again, and that’s something I want to continue doing all the way through graduation. I never want to fully lose the wide-eyed wonder that I had when I visited Christopher Newport for the first time, and I’m so grateful to have a position like a PLP recruiter that allows me to experience that sensation over and over again with potential new students.

I Miss My Mom

Yeah, I said it.

It’s about that time of year again. Thanksgiving is coming up. Radio stations are already playing Christmas music. You realize that there are only three more weeks of classes. This all makes you think about one thing: home. I will be the one to come forward and say that as a college kid you will experience being homesick many times during your college career.

As a freshman, you get homesick because you crave what you know. Everything at college is new and different. You find few to no familiar faces and all of a sudden all the responsibility of success is on you. You miss your mom, your dad, your siblings, your pets, your house, your friends, your bed, your couch and the life you have lived for so long. As a freshman, you get homesick because you are trying to find your place on campus.

As a sophomore, you get homesick because you are left to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life. Freshman year seems like all fun and games. Sophomore year starts to get real. You have to choose a major. You find your niche on campus through joining different organizations. You find the friends you’ll have for life. As a sophomore, you get homesick because you want to run away from the truth that you are growing up and have to make life choices.

As a junior, you get homesick ’cause you almost feel like an adult. You’re finally an upperclassman and you feel like you have it going on. The whole college thing is going pretty well for you and you have made it this far. You find yourself going to career fairs, applying for internships and honing in on possible career tracks for your future. It is all too real. As a junior, you get homesick because you aren’t ready to be an adult and still want mom to cut your sandwich crusts off to prove you’re still just a kid.

As a senior, you get homesick because you have no idea where home is actually going to be. All of a sudden you are there. You’re splashing your big toe in the pool of adulthood and waiting for the month of May to push you in. You are applying for big-kid jobs and negotiating salaries. Freshmen stare in awe at you; you seem to know everything. Yet, you still have paralyzing moments of reality every other day when you realize the next year will be totally different. As a senior, you get homesick because you don’t know the next time you’re going to go home.

But through these moments in your college career, something amazing happens. As much as you miss everything about being home, Christopher Newport becomes your home. I remember my freshman year I was home for Thanksgiving break and my mom asked me when I was going back to school and I said, “Oh, I’m going home on Sunday night.” I had said it subconsciously, I had called CNU home. That’s what makes this place so special. I have not heard any other college kid I know call their school home; it’s always just school. But here, we’re more than just a school: we’re a community, a family, a home. This is a home that you will have for the rest of your life.


Stories From Senior Year: Part 2

I’m slowly finishing the assignments and projects this semester is throwing my way, and even though winter break feels so far away, I realize 2015 will be over before I know it. In the meantime, what do I do to alleviate pent-up stress? [Other than my common habit of curling up in bed and taking a three-hour nap – there is no shame in that, my friends.]

This past Friday was pretty overcast and gloomy; my roommates and I had lounged around the suite for the entire afternoon because walking over to campus seemed like too much effort. Around 5 p.m., one of my roommates poked her head in my doorway.

“Wanna build a blanket fort in the common room?”

[My answer to that question is always ‘yes’.]

We spent the next hour and a half carefully planning out and constructing an elaborate tent-like thing that took up most of the common room. It’s amazing what you can do with seven blankets, a lot of string, and push pins. Though hanging parts of the fort put me in precarious positions – balancing on one leg on the top of an armchair holding a handful of thumbtacks, just to name one – the danger was completely worth the finished product. Once done, we turned on the twinkly lights in our room, ordered some pizza and kicked our feet up for the night.

It doesn’t matter if it’s senior year and you just turned 22, or you just arrived as a newly minted freshman; sometimes you need to fall back into childhood habits and goof off with your friends. The homework will still be there when you decide to come back to reality, I promise!

Where is the Time Going?

People always say “time flies when you’re having fun.” If that’s the case, then Christopher Newport is the most fun place to be on Earth because time is moving entirely too fast for my liking.

It feels like just yesterday that I was moving into York River Hall as a freshman. Now, I am registered for spring semester of my sophomore year. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to take advantage of many of CNU’s unique traditions.

One of my favorite traditions that CNU offers is the themed dinners. It is so much fun to see the dining halls turn into a carnival or a spooky house with foods like crab legs, cocktail shrimp, prime rib, Oreo creme pies, gyros and more. CNU also does a great job offering theme-inspired food for people who have gluten allergies or vegan diets.

I always look forward to participating in Homecoming activities, and for the past two years they have been great. As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, I participated in Yell Like Hell, a spirit board competition and Midnight Madness. Yell Like Hell is a competition where campus organizations make up a chant that has to do with CNU and Homecoming. Our chant got second place in that competition, where we encouraged students to vote for Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity’s Rodney Smith. The spirit board competition was nice because it allowed our sisters the chance to all come together for an arts and crafts night. It was also nice just seeing the boards plastered around the campus.

All of these great memories seem to come and go so fast. I don’t know where time is going but I am definitely taking advantage of all that CNU has to offer while I am here.



5 Greatest Things That Happen During the Common Hour

In case you didn’t know, every Tuesday and Thursday from 12:15-1:30, there are no classes. This means professors and students are all free to eat lunch, take a walk or as you’ll see, do some pretty crazy things. Here are some of my favorite things I have seen during the common hour, just in the last few weeks:

1. Chewbacca and a princess reverse trick-or-treating

The Thursday before Halloween was a pretty normal one, save for a pair of students who decided to bring some spirit to the school by passing out candy to anyone who would take it.

2. Grown men in dresses playing full contact rugby on the Great Lawn

Yes, this happened, and yes, it was glorious. The CNU rugby club team recently held its “dude looks like a lady” game to raise money for breast cancer awareness and research. This annual event gathered a fairly large crowd, and was genuinely entertaining for everyone who saw it.

3. Philanthropy, philanthropy, philanthropy

There are around 20 Greek organizations on campus, each of which devise clever events to raise money for their respective philanthropies. Generally, these happen in the common hour, and provide entertainment due to how goofy so many of these events can get. One of the most common ones is to pay a small amount to be able to pie a member in the face or bombard them with water balloons.

4. Midterms week shenanigans from the Center for Academic Success

Knowing that Captains get extra stressed during midterms, the Center for Academic Success sought to lighten the mood a little bit by passing out cookies in the library. This normally would have been enough, but they decided to dress up in a Cookie Monster costume, which, at least for me took a lot of stress off and gave me a good laugh.

5. Professors hanging out with their students

Everyone knows that office hours are a great time to get extra help for a class, but some students would rather just have a chat with their professor instead. During the common hour, it is pretty normal to see Einstein’s Cafe packed with faculty and students just sitting around and talking to each other. This is one of the great things about being at such a small school, because the professors have time to get to know their students on a personal level.





Five Fun Things Happening This Month

Halloween has officially concluded, and carols are being sung on campus! Not to mention, everyone is very excited for a well-deserved Thanksgiving break to head home and rest up before finals. Before we go though, there are some really cool things happening on campus this month that you should check out!



CAB presents…Diversity University

When? Wednesday, November 11

6:30 p.m.

Where? Gaines Theatre

For those of you who need to attend a President’s Leadership Program or cultural plunge event, this may be what you’re looking for. The Campus Activity Board has another great event lined up for you this month that deals with diversity on campus. Also, grab some free stuff while you’re stopping by the CAB table on your way inside.



Theater CNU presents…”Silent Sky”

When? Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 13-15, 20-22

8 p.m. (Fri/Sat), 2 p.m. (Sun)

Where? Studio Theater

Need your theater fix fulfilled? Did you absolutely love “Noises Off”? You’re in luck, because Theater CNU brings you “Silent Sky” this month, a play about an innovative woman astronomer who was born in a time where women had little influence.



CAB presents…Chicago Boyz

When? Saturday, November 21

8 p.m.

Where? Gaines Theatre

Need your fix of acrobatics? Never fear, Chicago Boyz are here! Come see CAB’s event and get yourself some free stuff while you’re at it.



Take Note’s Aquappella

When? Friday, November 13

8 p.m.

Where? Music & Theatre Hall

Come enjoy a nautical themed a cappella invitational! Featuring groups from other colleges in Virginia, along with a performance by Christopher Newport’s own Take Note! Tickets are $2.



Panhellenic Preview

When? Saturday, November 14

10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Where? Gaines Theatre

Thinking about rushing for a sorority this spring but not sure? Clear your Saturday and check out preview! You’ll get a glimpse of the recruitment process before you register, and it’s a lot of fun!

10 Ways to Turn Your Rainy Day Around

Grab your boots, guys and gals! ‘Tis the season! Welcome to Newport News, the land of unpredictable weather. As the months attempt to grow colder, the leaves begin to change color, and your motivation falters slightly, you can expect to see one sure thing: rain. But don’t let that deter you! Here at Christopher Newport we have many ways to take our rainy days and use them to the best of our abilities!

Here are 10 ways to turn your rainy day around:

  1. Actually do all the homework you have been postponing! Take the opportunity on a rainy day to park yourself in a library cubicle and crank out all that work you have been putting off! Pros: less stress, more freedom on sunny days, Einstein’s bagel sandwiches.
  2. Go puddle jumping! Who cares that you’re in college, five-year-olds have got it right on this one! Grab your rain boots and enjoy the endless possibilities of puddles across campus! Grab some friends and have a splash competition! Pros: laughter, smiles, childhood nostalgia
  3. Take the opportunity to visit the Mariners’ Museum and/or the Virginia Living Museum! We have two absolutely amazing museums right by campus, so why not take the afternoon and explore them! Pros: stay dry, learn cool things, fun date activity
  4. Binge watch Netflix! As college kids we are not going to lie and say that this isn’t a likely scenario! If you are comfortable with where you are in your school work give yourself a few hours to watch numerous episodes of the show you have been dying to see! Pros: pillows, blankets, general coziness
  5. Catch up on some sleep! Along with watching some Netflix maybe you need to catch a few Z’s! Rainy day naps are the best! The room is darker, the soft pitter patter will put you right to sleep, and you can enjoy curling up in a ball and forgetting the rest of the world exists! Pros: general health, increased functionality, cuddles with all the pillows
  6. Try out a new crock pot recipe! For those of you that don’t know, every college kid needs to invest in a crock pot at some point in their life! It cooks delicious things all by itself! Who doesn’t love some homemade chili on a cold rainy day? Pros: deliciousness, chef skills, impress your friends
  7. Pick up a new hobby! Done with school work? Nothing to do on a rainy day? Learn how to knit! Or learn how to be crafty! (I’m obviously not) You’ll have all your Christmas presents done in no time! Pros: pretty results, gifts for days, sense of accomplishment
  8. Clean your room! Find yourself staring at the wall wondering what to do? Take some time out of your rainy day to clean your room! This means everything! Laundry, bed sheets, vacuuming, shower, toilet, etc! Now you have a clean living area! Pros: now you can invite people over, no more worries, fresh lemon scent
  9. Discover a new work out! Rainy day? Hit the gym! Meet a new gym buddy! If you’re crazy like me, go running in the rain! It makes you feel intense! Pros: get swole, new gym friends, self-confidence
  10. Take the time to actually spend time with friends! After a long rainy day give yourself the chance to just chill with your friends! Order some pizza, watch a movie, solve the problems of the world and just chill! Often we get so busy with our schedules that we don’t give ourselves the chance to get to know our friends better. Use a rainy day to do just that! Pros: friendship, happiness, giggles


More Than Just a School

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to compete in my first-ever campus-wide competition as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. Eight of my sisters and I participated in Stroll to the Polls III, a stroll-off between 11 campus organizations.

Performing in the actual event was so much fun, but putting it all together required much more than what people saw. Part of the competition including raising money for March of Dimes, one of our targets for giving back. All 11 groups were encouraged to raise money and donate it for points in the competition. Although the organizations were competing against each other, some of us still gave to each other’s different collections. Also, much of the Christopher Newport community, including students, faculty and staff all donated to multiple groups at a time.

The other part of the competition was actually performing a five-minute stroll (precisely choreographed dance routine). During performances, everyone cheered, even if you were in an opposing organization. We not only all cheered, but we also gave standing ovations, screamed until we lost our voices and gave out high-fives as performers walked by.

If you looked through the crowd, you could see the genuine happiness on everyone’s faces from just being together in the room. No one was concerned about winning or losing; we all just wanted to see each other go on stage and be great. People I didn’t even know were out there cheering for me like they were a proud sister or brother. My heart was warmed when I saw Ms. Linda, one of the dining hall workers, standing at her seat cheering each team on as if she was a proud mother. It made me happy to see that the Ferguson Center’s Concert Hall was filled up almost to capacity, but it made me more happy to see who was actually sitting in the seats. CNU is more than just a school. We are definitely one big family.