How to Accept Feeling Naive

There is a phenomenon here called the CNU “bubble.” This bubble is our campus, our oasis in the Hampton Roads area. Within this bubble, we feel safe, secure and recognized. Christopher Newport does such an incredible job at providing us with an environment in which we can challenge, explore and create new experiences without threat of judgment.

Every year CNU presents you with a new challenge and in my senior year, I have found my challenge to be reality. I mean this quite literally – as in the real world of reality. I recently had the most incredible opportunity to attend the International Leadership Association conference in Barcelona to represent Christopher Newport in an undergraduate case-study competition. It was possibly one of the most amazing and influential things I have done in my life so far. Arriving in Barcelona I felt like I was on top of the world. Walking into the conference opening ceremony all I could think was, “Oh yeahhhh, let’s do this!”

My confidence was shot within the first 20 minutes and I was left feeling extremely naive. All of a sudden, I didn’t feel prepared and I began to think that the reason was because of the CNU bubble. For some reason my initial instinct was to blame CNU, not myself of course, but my school, for sending me out into the world unprepared to face reality. Then I realized how stupid that sounded. The bubble didn’t protect or shield me from things; it gave me a safe environment in which I had learned how to accept feeling uncomfortable and how to work through it. Now, frankly, I was speaking with people who held PhDs, so I give myself some credit for being able to keep up with them in conversation. But when I couldn’t, I kept asking questions with an eagerness to learn more. At the end of the conference, I was approached by several people who commented that they were impressed by the fact that I was comfortable, saying, “You know, I don’t know much about that, could you tell me more?” Simply my curiosity, humility, and ability to listen had impressed people.

So with this being said, you will come into your freshman year at Christopher Newport thinking you know everything. You don’t. I’m a senior and I still don’t know everything! I’m pretty sure our parents don’t even know everything (but don’t tell them I said that). But when that feeling of naivety starts to hit you and you feel uncomfortable, don’t run away from it – embrace it, and you will be amazed at how much you can learn. I can confidently say that there’s no place like CNU to provide an environment in which to learn this amazing lifelong skill.

For the Love of the Arts!

It’s easy to get so caught up in homework and campus organizations that I forget all about the many things Newport News (and CNU) have to offer that aren’t school-related. The Ferguson Center for the Arts is a great example of this: so many awesome performers and shows come to perform each semester that I miss simply because my major and other activities don’t take me near the Ferg that often.

A family friend of mine works in the Ferg’s office, and several weeks ago she told me about a program called My Stage @ The Ferg. To quote from its website, it’s a group that “offers special events and business networking opportunities for Hampton Roads’ college students and young professionals (age 18-35) who share an interest in the performing arts.” Membership is free, and some of the benefits include special pre- and post-show parties, possible meet-and-greets with the performers for the evening, and networking events with other young professionals from this area! All of those things sounded great, so I signed up.

My first event with My Stage @ The Ferg was this past weekend; The National Acrobats and Circus of the People’s Republic of China put on an incredible show called Peking Dreams. There were aerialists gracefully spinning in loops and swirls, precisely choreographed dances, men and ladies balancing and juggling umbrellas, bowls, and hoops, a dizzying strength display by a man with chairs stacked almost to the theater’s ceiling, and so, so, so much more. Truly, words like incredible and amazing don’t even begin to describe their show.

Right before the show started, I was invited (through my My Stage membership) to a catered dinner. The food was fantastic, and as we were finishing up, some of the acrobats and performers came out to put on a quick act just for us! Let’s just say the bar for juggling has been set very high.

Branch out of your normal routine – you just might be surprised at what’s right outside your dorm door. And, check out what our Ferguson Center has to offer!

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Communication … no ‘S’

As a communication major, there is one small thing that drives me insane. No, it is not the daunting task of surviving rhetoric or how everyone claims this is an “easy” major. No, no, what really drives me bonkers is when people say they are communications majors.

For the record, if you are studying communication here at Christopher Newport, you are a communication major! Not a communications major. The addition of a single little S is very important, and this is how I discovered why:

“(Communication) with an ‘s’ refers to the technical transfer of information (e.g., radio, fiber optics). This is why cable companies have an s on the end. Without an ‘s’ refers to the study of message exchange, interpretation and analysis. This is why the title of your degree and our department do not have an ‘s.'”-Professor Todd Lee Goen. 

So there you have it folks, straight from the communication god himself, Professor Goen.

At CNU, we are not studying the technical transfer of information. The Communication Department website has the following quotes on its welcome page:

“Here, in the Department of Communication, we offer a broad, liberal arts education which encompasses all aspects of communication. When you select communication as your major, you will acquire an understanding of the processes we use to relay our messages to others.”


“As a major in our program, you might decide to examine — or even challenge — politics, social policy, ethics and tradition. Since communication is dynamic, always changing, we invite you to be an important part of this evolution. Our program will provide you with the opportunity to grow and develop as a skilled communicator. In today’s challenging world, we offer that valuable springboard for success.”

We study the processes, the relationships of communicating. Through interpersonal, media, oral or rhetorical practices, we learn communication.

If you’re a communication major, you might be having a mini meltdown at this point (like I did when I first found out about the details of my major). Don’t fret! It wasn’t until I had Goen for Interpersonal Communication in the fall of my sophomore year that I learned this. You have now been enlightened! You can speak of your major correctly without having people chuckle. Make sure your resumes and LinkedIns reflect this, too.

Go out and share your new-found knowledge with the world!

After learning of this key difference, I dove into a world of mind-blowing, life changing, shocking subjects and theories. I’ve even considered dropping my government major – that’s how great I’ve found communication to be. I love this field of study so much I give it the respect to correctly label myself as a communication (no ‘s’) major.

Glow Hard Or Go Home


Christopher Newport’s a cappella groups were back and better than ever this semester for the sixth annual Glow in the Darcappella!

Our six phenomenal a cappella groups took the stage in the Ferguson Center for the Arts’ Concert Hall over Homecoming Weekend. This wasn’t just any concert though, it’s done completely under BLACK LIGHTS! All over campus, students were rushing to get their tickets before the event sold out (which it did). People were even posting selfies of themselves on Instagram in “Glow Attire” to have a chance at winning two front-row tickets to the show.


Trebled Youth performing a rendition of “Hallelujah” by Panic! At The Disco.



The guys of the all-male group, Expansion, telling us that we “earned it.”


The event featured three songs from each group (The Newport Pearls, Trebled Youth, University Sounds, Expansion, Extreme Measures and Take Note), and a killer beat-box battle between three of the groups – not to mention there was a pre-show featuring Hypnotic Control, our choreographed hip-hop dance group. It was unforgettable, and you can watch the aca-mazing performance online!


All of the a cappella groups come together for one final round of applause.


“You and Your Evil Blow-Dryer…”

Ever had one of those days where you feel like you never should have gotten out of bed? A few days ago, I was having one. I had a paper due that I couldn’t quite come up with the words for, I was trying to finish an application that seemed totally overwhelming and I had an exam coming up that I needed to start studying for. Let me preface the rest of this by saying, I’m the kind of person who dresses like a complete bum when I have a lot of homework. I stop wearing makeup, my hair goes in a bun and, chances are, I wear the same sweatpants I fell asleep wearing the night before. It’s weird, I know, but it’s just how I work best. However, on that particular morning, I decided to switch it up. I woke up and felt like the only way I was going to be productive was if I wore “real clothes” and made myself look socially presentable.

So, I put on a dress, did my hair and makeup, and went off to class. When I returned from class, I was completely exhausted, but, after a long internal battle, I decided not to take a nap. I grabbed a glass of water and a snack, sat down at my desk and opened up my laptop. I proceeded to stare at a blank screen for 20 minutes. The words were just not coming. Finally, an idea came to me, and I started typing. I had written about a paragraph when, suddenly, my glass of water leapt off my desk and into my lap. This is where my day got really interesting.

I looked down at my soaked dress, and decided that it was totally not worth it to pay for a dryer just to dry one article of clothing. So, I changed into some pajama pants and a flannel, and did the first thing I could think of: grabbed my blow-dryer and started trying to blow-dry the water out of my dress. I thought this was a somewhat brilliant idea. WRONG. My dress was almost dry when an ear-splitting noise erupted in my room. Yes, you guessed it: I set off the smoke alarm with a blow-drier. I am “that girl.”

As my roommate and I plugged our ears and ran out of the room, my RA met us in the hallway and gave us a confused look. I sheepishly explained to her that I’m pretty sure my blow-dryer was the culprit, and she, following procedure, called the police. The three of us sat in the hallway, listening to the horrendous noise and waiting for someone to turn off the alarm. Finally, it stopped. A few minutes later, a maintenance man came up and knocked on my door. As soon as I opened it, he started laughing and said, “You and your evil blow-dryer… what WERE you doing?!” I stared at him for a second, and then I started laughing too. It was just that ridiculous. There was nothing I could do but laugh at myself and my bad luck.

There are two morals that I took away from this event. First, I should never dress up to do homework. Clearly, I am just meant to wear sweatpants and T-shirts if I’m going to work. Dressing up can only end in disaster. Second, never, under any circumstances, should you ever try to blow-dry your clothes in a dorm room. Take it from me … the $1.50 it takes to use the dryer in the laundry room is TOTALLY worth it.