We’re Gonna Make This Place Your Home

Picture this: you walk into a dorm room and immediately see a giant “Walking Dead” poster on the cinderblock wall right above a bed covered with a purple chevron bedspread and monogrammed pillows. Does that seem like an odd juxtaposition?

What about a room with several hand-crafted, water-color canvases (I really wish the plural of canvas was canvi…), a desk littered with snow globes from vacations long past, and a miniature figurine of Bilbo Baggins?

I love visiting my friends’ rooms on campus because it allows me to get an even better picture of who they are as a person. When we move away to college, we do bring a lot of our high school selves with us. I for sure had plenty of pictures of friends from my “glory days” on my desk along with a T-shirt blanket composed of my Drama Club and student choir shirts.

As my years at Christopher Newport passed, however, I started growing into a new style of decorating. I realized I didn’t like having walls plastered in pictures and posters (no matter what society tried to sell as the typical college dorm); I wanted clean space on the walls so my mind would feel less cluttered when I studied late at night in my room.

I also decided it’s OK to have a few general colors present in my room, but it’s also all right to not have everything perfectly matchy-matchy – that’s just too much work, let’s be real.

It’s OK to use my room as a place to express all of who I am. That’s why there’s delicate, hand-lettered canvi with lyrics from a One Direction song, a map of the U.S. tracing all the states I’ve lived in, and two GIANT “Lord of the Rings” posters. I still have a few pictures of my high school friends, but I’ve added snapshots of memories with my college roommates.

Make your room your own while you’re here. Decorate it as much or as little as you want. Hang up those twinkly lights and that Aerosmith poster.

This is college, after all.

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When your English major consumes your room decor.


“Little Hunting”

The game: little hunting

Purpose: For women in sororities to meet with the new members in their organization in hopes of creating a strong connection with one of them and obtaining said new member as their “little sister.”

Strategy: Varies by participant. Some sisters choose to focus on a few girls that they feel will be a best “fit” for them. Others try to meet every new member to have a general knowledge about who they think they would “fit” with and who they wouldn’t.

[Definition of fit: the feeling you get when you meet someone who you know you were meant to meet and somehow be involved in their life.]

Territory: Einstein’s, dining halls, and the DSU

Time: Generally an hour to an hour-and-a-half.

Play: First step: casual conversation. Year, major, hometown, siblings, family, how the semester is going, etc. Second step: dive into more in-depth conversation. Examples: What did she find appealing about this sorority? What values that the organization has really resonate with her? How does she see herself contributing to the chapter? Goal: search for the instant spark (see definition of “fit”).

This sounds absurd: In the short sense, little hunting is basically speed dating for sorority women. We have plays and tactics and sometimes there might be a little tension. But this tension comes from the wanting to show a new member so much love it causes us to be competitive about who has more love to give.

Surprising facts: Little hunting is not easy and does take a lot of time and energy. While people look at little hunting as ridiculous, you would be surprised at how many valuable skills comes out of this once a year activity. The women on both sides of the game are being pushed outside of their comfort zones. The ability to speak with someone who you have never meet before in a manner that exhibits trust and compassion can be difficult and during this crazy time of year sorority women get to practice these skills. Many like to think of little dating as a safe and comfortable networking exercise that helps their confidence grow and allows them to take these skills beyond campus to future employers, relationships with professors, the beginning of new friendships and much more.

Reference: An overwhelmed senior who has experienced little hunting for the first time. This experience has given me so much more than just closer relations with my sisters. I truly have seen my confidence and ability to speak easily with others grow. Many people may judge Greek life and the customs and traditions that these organizations have. Many stereotype what Greek life is all about, but I am here to tell you that at Christopher Newport Greek life is something different; it’s something special. During my time here I have seen so many amazing young Greek men and women grow and blossom into incredible young professionals. Greek life will give you amazing friendships, support and memories, but it will also give you the opportunity to become the best version of yourself that you can possibly be. As for little hunting, it was crazy, but I loved every minute of it and I cannot wait for my little to find out who I am!


Valentine’s Day Sucks… Let’s Make It Suck Less

All right, single ladies. It’s February 12, and we all know what that means … Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching, and there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it. Since before Christmas was even over, stores have been building love shrines and preparing for the “most romantic” day of the year. I walk into a store and am basically assaulted by pink hearts, candy and teddy bears that are holding, you guessed it, pink hearts, candy and smaller teddy bears. It looks like Cupid waged a war against humanity and ended up on top. And it’s not just shopping centers! There’s an online version of the attack as well! Between mushy social media posts about engagement after engagement and emails from random companies telling me what I need to buy “the love of my life” this year, I’m seriously considering throwing my computer out the window.

At this point in the year, college students, and, I’ll admit, I’m talking mostly about the girls here, can usually be broken down into two groups of people. First, you have the relationship-y people who are expecting the perfect Valentine’s Day date and are trying to coordinate their pink outfit to match their even pinker fingernail polish. These are typically the people who send heart-eyed emojis and kissy faces on a daily basis. Then, you have the singles. These people are desperately attempting to ignore the fact that Valentine’s Day exists at all, probably have to try really hard to not roll their eyes when they hear about lovey-dovey V-Day plans, and are patiently waiting for the annual Day After Valentine’s Day Chocolate Sale. As you might have guessed from my sarcasm, I belong to the second group, and most of my friends do as well. We have united in our singleness and are refusing to let Cupid win. My suitemate even went as far as to write “The Day That Shall Not Be Named” on our calendar on February 14.

Now, you might at this point think I have a rock where my heart is supposed to be, that I’m bitter that I’m single, or I don’t believe in love. Actually though, none of those things are true. I’ve been in love before, and I know at some point I will be again. I’m OK with being single for the time being. I believe that my “Prince Charming” is still coming … although I’m pretty sure he’s riding a turtle instead of a white horse. So, see? I do have a heart, and I don’t hate love.

Despite that, I don’t think there’s much debate that being single on Valentine’s Day can suck, if you let it. It can be hard watching your friends get ready to go on cute dates with their guys and knowing that the only date you’ll be having is with your Netflix account and stuffed giraffe. Here’s the good news, though: it doesn’t have to be this way! This year, I’ve decided I’m not going to let Valentine’s Day suck. There are tons of ways to make Valentine’s Day awesome, even as a single girl. There’s always the Galentine’s Day tactic where girls sit around in PJs all day eating ice cream and watching rom-coms. This is definitely an option, and my roommates and I do that WAY too much. But I’m not feeling that for Valentine’s Day this year. It seems too stereotypical.

This year, grab a group of your best friends, guys included, and do something really fun. Call it Alternative Valentine’s Day.

  • Play laser tag
  • Go mudding in a pickup truck
  • Have a horror movie marathon
  • Go line dancing
  • Take an archery class
  • Go roller-skating

The possibilities are endless. Single girls….. It’s time to break out of the box and defy the clichés that have begun to define Valentine’s Day. Don’t cave in and feel sorry yourself just because you’re single! Valentine’s Day isn’t all about the flower deliveries and romantic dinners. It’s about love. So instead of burying yourself under a pile of blankets and eating an entire box of donuts, go out and enjoy the day with the people you love most! It can be tough to be single, but any one of these ideas will make Valentine’s Day as a single suck a whole lot less. And hey… If it doesn’t quite work for you, there’s always the guaranteed promise of that half-price chocolate on February 15.

How’s It Feel To Sign For Your Major?

Signing Day is a special day at Christopher Newport. It’s the day sophomores officially declare their majors and head down the path to their bachelor’s degrees.This past Tuesday was Signing Day for me, and I felt a rush of emotions afterwards. Here’s how it feels to sign for your major.

“Will I ever make money now?

That’s a thought I had while declaring my major as English. There’s a very negative idea that English majors will most likely become teachers and never make a lot of money. That’s what I was thinking about as I wrote my name in the English majors signing book.

A lot of people feel that way when they sign. You never know what your future will hold, and signing makes your options more limited. I could’ve been a biologist, but I probably won’t be now. But then I started to feel another way…

I felt supported when the professors at the English table welcomed me to their department.

Christopher Newport is lucky to have such a large pool of quality professors teaching. Even if my future is still unclear, I can always look forward to the possibility of being in the position of my professors one day. They also have a lot of knowledge in our field, as do all the professors with their respective concentrations. They’re here for us to use as a resource, and having them as your supporters makes it a lot easier to get to graduation.

I also felt complete.

Not everyone decides their major at the same time. For me, I was set on pursuing a degree in English. For others, they decide on Signing Day, or even after they’ve signed. But when a student finally picks their path, they get a feeling of purpose. The future is a little more clear, and a sense of community can be formed with you and your classmates who share your major.

It’s scary declaring a major, but the way it’s done at Christopher Newport really makes you feel like you’ve been given the tools to succeed and are supported every step of the way.


Signing Day at Christopher Newport University!

Pet Peeves

Christopher Newport is a pretty great school, if I do say so myself (though admittedly, I’m a little biased!). But, even great schools lack certain things. What do I think would make my university better?


Now, before you rise up in arms, declaring your cat allergies and the noisiness of dogs – hear me out. What if we had an area dedicated to a couple of campus pets? Think about it. Perhaps we change one of those office spaces in the David Student Union into a mini animal zone (not miniature animals, just minimal space). A couple of campus pups, a few cool cats, and maybe even a sweet iguana or two.

We could provide more campus jobs by allowing some students to become caretakers, and studies have proven over and over again that petting furry, friendly animals reduces people’s stress levels.

Most of this post is in light-hearted jest, but I do love when pets make campus visits. So, on the next sunny day, you’ll find me out on the Great Lawn making friends with the fraternity brother’s new pug or petting the giant bunny that visits during the Farmer’s Market.

And, if you keep your eyes peeled at night, you just might spot one of the elusive cats that has made Christopher Newport its home. Perhaps we already have all the animals here we need!

All in the Details

Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s the little things that count?”

That statement is very true here at Christopher Newport!

One day last week, I was not in a good mood because I had been up studying for my first exam of the semester. I was super tired and really didn’t want to be bothered until after I had finished taking my exam. As I was going through my day around campus, it seemed as if everyone had tried their hardest to make sure I was happy, even if they didn’t know me.

It started that morning as I was on my way to lunch. Every person I passed and made eye contact with made sure to smile at me. As usual here at Christopher Newport, the door was held for me multiple times as I went through buildings to get lunch and hurry to the library to slip in a last-minute study session. After my studying, I stopped by Einstein’s, our coffee shop, to grab a frappe. As I grabbed the cup from the barista, I noticed a bit of writing that was more than just my name and the code used to tell them what drink I wanted. I looked at the writing and there I saw a small inspirational scribble that said, “Be happy. Be bright. Be you.” A smile crept across my face as soon as I read that and I knew that I had to be happy.

As I continued my day, I made a stop at the restroom before my exam. After closing the stall door, I notice a yellow sticky note on the back that said, “Just keep swimming!” with a picture of a fish. Seeing that sticky note literally made my day because that quote is from the movie “Finding Nemo,” which is one of my favorite childhood movies. From that point on, I tried my hardest to have a good day and I even got an A on the exam that I was stressing myself out so much about! The motivation I felt from the small things that happened to me that day was great and it showed me that we Captains really care about each other, even if we don’t know each other personally.

The small things that happen everyday here is what makes the Christopher Newport campus and community come alive!

Unbreakable Bonds

I made the best decision of my life in April of 2015 by joining Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority (AKA). Since that date, I have seen how much AKA has helped me grow as a leader here at school and in the community. I have had the opportunity to make significant impacts on the life of my sisters as well as people in the surrounding community by providing backpacks and school supplies for elementary school children, feeding the homeless, helping Christopher Newport freshmen move into their new homes, spreading awareness about mental health and heart health, and cleaning up the streets of Newport News and Hampton.

The best thing I have received from AKA is the opportunity to form unbreakable bonds with some wonderful women. I honestly believe that by being one of the smallest sororities on campus, AKA has the upper hand. Each sister gets to really know each and every sister in the organization. The entire chapter has a meaningful bond rather than having many close groups of sisters within the organization. The sisters I have made through AKA are some of the best people I have ever met. They can tell when something is wrong before I even have to tell them, and they know how to fix it. They give amazing advice. They are comforting, and we all genuinely care about each other. We push and motivate each other to do better in school and in life. We strive together for closer relationships in our faith. We celebrate each other when one of us does something that is worth the celebration, like making dean’s list or graduating. We never push each other down or think we are better than any other person. We lift up each other and every member of the Christopher Newport community.

I could honestly write a book about what joining AKA has done for me, but this is just a small post to show my appreciation to the best sorority in the land!

Take Care of Yourself

Throughout your time at college you will discover many things about yourself. Along your path of self enlightenment, you will also learn exactly what your body needs and when it needs it. My junior year, I finally figured a few things out that I would like to share in hopes that others will figure these things out sooner.

  1. Know when your body needs a nap.

When entering college I had heard of the college nap phenomenon. I’m sure it can be statistically shown that college kids take more naps than any other age group. This is partly because most of our sleeping schedules are extremely disrupted but also sometimes just because we can. When I first came to Christopher Newport, I used naps as a reward. If everything on my extensive to-do list was done (including a clean room and all my homework) I would allow myself to take a glorious nap. Let me tell you friends: this is totally the wrong nap philosophy. Naps should be used and respected when you need them, not as a reward and not as part of procrastination. I take a nap when my body tells me I need to. If I am attempting to do homework and just can’t seem to stay focused or get the hang of it or my eyes keep drooping while I’m reading, I know I need a nap. I pack up, excuse myself from the library, retreat to my haven of a bed and sleep for at least 30 minutes. After I wake up, I feel refreshed, focused and ready to go. Let your body tell you when to nap and don’t fight it.

2. You deserve those French fries.

You don’t deserve them all the time or every day – but, sometimes your body needs some French fries. Gaining weight in college is extremely likely and will probably happen to you. I’m not trying to scare you, I’m being real with you. In college you’re not sleeping regularly, you stay up at unnatural hours and you often don’t eat exactly as you should. I’m not saying you are going to turn into a balloon, but your jeans might get a little tighter. Some days you just really, really, really want those French fries. Eat them. Don’t regret eating them. They were delicious. You had a hard day, those fries needed you as much as you needed them. So take care of yourself, eat healthy and don’t punish yourself for splurging every once in a while.

3. If you get sick, don’t forget to ask for help.

The first time you ever get sick at school is the absolute worst because it’s the first time you are sick without mom. You feel awful and very alone. Even though you are surrounded by people, without your mom there to take care of you everything seems much more stressful and complicated. All of a sudden you have to go get your own medicine, make your own soup, buy your own tissues and attempt to still keep up with all your school work. When you get sick, you need to know how to ask for help. It may seem like you against the world, but you have friends, roommates and other comrades who will be more than happy to help you get better. That’s one of the things that is so magical about college. You might not have mom, but you have a different army of support that is more than willing to run errands and make sure you have everything you need. Don’t be afraid to ask people for help. This also includes your psychological state! College is hard, so if you ever start to have feelings or thoughts that you have never felt which begin to affect your life negatively, you can always ask for help. You’re not weak; it’s a sign of strength to ask for what you need.

Long story short: college is difficult. It takes time to get used to. As you fall into routines, remember to pay close attention to what your body needs. Take care of yourself, and college will be the best thing you have ever experienced!