In which I reflect on the recent attack in Brussels and discuss my hope for hope.
Ever heard of Best Dance Crew?
Students at Christopher Newport have, but it’s not the TV show.
Gamma Phi Beta sorority hosts an event every spring called “CNU’s Best Dance Crew,” and it’s a hit on campus. This year the sorority raised over $9,000 for their philanthropy Girls Inc. from the event. It’s not just Greek organizations that compete either. This year the event staff put a team together, and in years past we’ve had both club sports and a cappella groups sign up. The dances are no joke either (though some of them are intentionally quite funny). Many organizations will practice multiple times a week from the day applications are released to the day of the event. The dances are very well choreographed, and the competitive spirit is fierce.
The best part about this amazing event is that the money goes to a wonderful cause: Girls Inc.
Girls Inc. is the philanthropy supported by our chapter of Gamma Phi Beta, and aims to build strong future women, and organizes various programs throughout the U.S. that helps better prepare young girls for a bright and successful future they may otherwise be denied. In fact, some of the girls who have been positively affected by Girls Inc. performed at Best Dance Crew! The girls had a great time, and so did we.
If you didn’t go to BDC this year, definitely take the time to next spring. It’s a fun event for a great cause, and definitely one of CNU’s most successful on-campus events.
So yesterday I had a harsh realization… In a few months I might be living on my own.
I’m a senior and I have four weeks of undergraduate classes left – ever. I’ve spent four years of my life on the Christopher Newport campus making friends, studying, going to events, giving presentations and living with my roommate. My roommate and I met because we lived in the same hall freshman year and since then we’ve lived together for three years in a row. She’s my best friend, my confidant, my person. She knows me better than I know myself. We have gotten to the point where she can take one look at me and instantly know my mood and what’s on my mind. We have had some of the most amazing times together. We have basically watched each other grow into young adults. Some of my favorite memories are of running into each other in the kitchen and both saying we had to go to bed but three hours later we found ourselves sitting on the floor laughing, still talking with a tub of ice cream. We joke that we are basically an old married couple at this point.
The other day I realized that our era is coming to an end and it basically slapped me in the face. I am fortunate enough to have a job lined up after graduation but I have not received my placement yet so when it comes to looking for apartments or attempting to find roommates at this point of the year I’m at a disadvantage. If I do end up living with a roommate I’m going to have to get to know them and begin the process of figuring each other out all over again. They won’t know which of my clothes don’t go in the dryer, they won’t know my favorite shows, they won’t know to wake me up for late night CookOut runs (please, please let there be a CookOut near where ever my future home is), they won’t know that when I’m still asleep at 3 p.m. on a Saturday I’m not dead, I’m just recharging, they just won’t know. I know that whoever I live with might also turn into one of my best friends and it might be a great experience, but it’s that fact that I have to leave this behind that is making me really nervous, nostalgic and maybe just a little sad.
There are certain people on campus (besides the students) that when you see them, you can’t help but to smile and have your day made. These people do nothing out of their ordinary routine, yet they somehow seem to make me the happiest.
- The janitorial staff: Every morning, as I’m leaving my residence hall, I pass by janitorial staff members who wake up early to come and make sure that each hall and kitchen is completely spotless. As I walk by, the staff makes sure to speak to me and other students to say, “good morning!” and tell us to have a good day. When I come back to my room during the day, they are still out in the halls working hard. But as I walk past, they stop me and ask how my day was and what I learned in my classes. They have full conversations with me and you can tell that they genuinely care about each student beyond just making sure that their residence hall is clean.
- The dining staff: Like the janitorial staff, I see the dining staff multiple times a day and each time they make me happier. For breakfast, I go to Commons to grab a personalized omelet. The staff seems to genuinely love what they do and they are really patient with us when we are choosing what we want on each omelet. Even when the lines start to get long, they do not rush through making our omelet but instead focus on making each one perfect and they start taking more orders so that they will already be ready when the stove clears off. For lunch and dinner, I go to Regatta’s most of the time. There the staff engages in conversations about everything from sports to families to school with us. One staff member really made my day once when we had a conversation while I was waiting on a sandwich. She was telling me about how she was having a bad day but how coming to work made her day better because we students had such great manners and showed that we cared about the staff just as much as they care about us.
- The maintenance staff: I do not see the maintenance staff every day, but when I do, they never cease to amaze me. If you have an issue in your residence hall with anything, you file a work order online and wait for the maintenance staff to do the rest. However, that wait is never long at all. The longest I’ve waited after filing a work order was 30 minutes. They come through and fix whatever needs fixing in a matter of minutes then show you how to operate certain things properly so that you do not have any more trouble. One thing I admire about the maintenance staff is that they are so considerate. If they come to fix something early in the morning or later in the evening, they will whisper when talking and try to fix things as quietly as they can so that they don’t wake anyone.
I believe seeing these staff members makes me so happy because I understand what they do and I do not take them or their work for granted. Without the janitorial staff, our campus wouldn’t be so clean and beautiful. Without the dining staff, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy meals that are almost as good as home-cooked ones. Without the maintenance staff, I would struggle if anything broke or malfunctioned in my room.
College is a great time to re-invent yourself – not in the “become some totally fake version of yourself just to be liked by others” sense, but in the “I’ve always wanted to try that” way. Were there things you wanted to be involved in high school that you just never found time for? Perhaps a sport you were never truly confident in or a part-time job that seemed a little too intimidating?
I’ve definitely grown and matured throughout my time at Christopher Newport, and a lot of that is due to trying new things! Upon entering my freshman year, I decided I would become a runner (of sorts). Now, as a senior, I have two half-marathons and a host of other races behind me … and I’m on the lookout for my next! This change didn’t happen overnight. It took months and months of making myself jog short distances until I could build up the strength to run for longer amounts of time.
So, maybe running’s not your thing. That’s completely OK. However, you should explore at least one new opportunity that college provides, just to see if you like it! Start small and grab sushi for dinner one night, or go all in and rush Greek life or apply for an on-campus job. Most of us have just four years here, so I encourage you to branch out of your comfort zone and see what new adventures await!
In which I talk about how college is a strange time in your life where you learn how to do adult things… but not really…
Greek week at Christopher Newport is a very exciting time filled with activities that unify the Greek community and show off all the good that Greeks do for our campus. Kick off was held Thursday and it was amazing! Since it was also St. Patrick’s Day and CNU Day, the entire campus and even alumni came out to support. Kick off started with a CNU Day flash party on the Great Lawn, which was filled with faculty and students in CNU blue and silver (and green for St. Patty’s Day), green foods and drinks, music, Greeks mingling with their teams and some of the Greeks strolling. After the flash party, the kick off was moved to Trible plaza, where Greeks competed in Minute to Win It games and had a chant off.
Greek week continued on Friday with Relay for Life and Black and Glow Zumba! Black and Glow Zumba was so much fun. The lights were turned off in the gym and as we entered, we received glow sticks and glow necklaces and bracelets. We had a great time dancing around in the dark. The Relay for Life event was also held that night where organizations raised money and came out to walk and support survivors of cancer. This event was very important to me because one of my sorority sisters is actually a survivor of lymphoma, so we had fun going out and supporting her. Also, together 38 teams raised over $50,000, which is AMAZING!
I am very grateful for my experience as a Greek on my campus. Through Greek week thus far, I have been able to make new friends and meet Greeks that I never knew. I have a new-found respect for all the Greeks on this campus because you never know how much hard work goes into making events happen, but since we are all working together, I can actually see how much we are giving to make this week great.
Last Friday I woke up and felt absolutely awful! I had a runny nose, sinus pressure, a huge headache, body aches and a sore throat. I felt like a walking Petri dish. The worst part about it all was that there were no warning signs this was about to hit me. Normally in college, you will have some tell-tale signs you may be getting sick. Usually, it’s a small scratch in the back of your throat, a slight runny nose or maybe just general drowsiness. But last Friday I just got knocked on my butt and the punch came out of nowhere!
The worst part was that my dad was in town that weekend visiting. My dad is such an incredible guy and whenever he comes to visit we always go on the best adventures and find cool things to do in the community. But there I was – a giant pile of sniffles. We did have a good time, I just wish I had been more up for some adventuring. His visit was much-needed and seeing him did make me feel better. (Side note: whenever your parents come to visit you in college, cherish it! They took time out of their schedule to come spend time with you because they love you more than you will ever know!)
So Sunday night I went to bed around 9 p.m., thinking that if I got a good night’s sleep I would be prepared to take on a day of classes in the morning. At that point I was feeling pretty gross but not too deathly. However, I woke up Monday morning and I felt like death. I couldn’t think because my head was pounding so much, I had no voice, I sounded like a chipmunk and my nose would not stop running. You know you’ve had a bad night when you still could barely sleep after taking a full dose of NyQuil. So what did I do? I skipped class.
Yup, I skipped class; I skipped all of them. On Monday all I did was sleep, eat soup, sleep and watch some Netflix. I don’t have class on Tuesday/Thursday which was super helpful because on Tuesday I did exactly the same thing. I slept, I ate soup, I slept and watched Netflix. I canceled all my lunch dates for the week, avoided all responsibilities, called out of work and decided to hole myself up in my room, hibernation style. On Wednesday I got up, went to class, and went straight back to bed. On Thursday I slept until 2 p.m. On Friday I finished my second Netflix series of the week.
Now, you are probably reading this and saying to yourself, “Isn’t that incredibly irresponsible? How can you do that? Is that even possible?” And to that I say: “I got this.” One of the most important lessons you will learn in college is to take time for yourself. Last week I took care of myself. I didn’t have any major assignments due, I was way behind on my Netflix and I was sick. I responsibly chose to shut myself in my room and because of that this week I am on top of my game and feeling 100 percent better.
Even though the tradition of CNU Day started just last year, I’ve already completely jumped on board with the idea of a day set aside to celebrate all things Christopher Newport. As a senior, I’m already feeling nostalgic just about every time I walk on campus, so it was easy to take some time this week and think back on a few of my favorite college memories!
Freshman year: I had a #blessed experience with my random roomie, and there are so many great moments from freshman year, it’s hard to pick just one. But, one time she created an elaborate, Nicolas Cage-themed scavenger hunt for me to complete in our room – she even added in references from my favorite books and television shows! It was a great de-stresser to spend some time away from homework just laughing and putting together silly puzzles.
Sophomore year: I’m part of a Christian organization called Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) here at Christopher Newport, and sophomore year we put on an event called Pumpkin Football – which is just as crazy fun as it sounds. One Saturday morning, we took to the field behind James River Hall, split into two teams and had a blast trying to get broken pumpkin pieces into the other team’s basket. Thankfully, we had very few injuries (except for the pumpkins), and we gathered after in one of the hall kitchens in Warwick River Hall to make pancakes.
Junior year: Getting accepted to Christopher Newport’s Master of Arts in Teaching program was definitely one of the highlights of junior year! I had known since before Welcome Week that I wanted to study education here, so it was such an honor to be welcomed into the program and start making my future career goals real!
Senior year: And, what about this year? I’ve already had several standout moments, but a favorite memory would be going to see the band Borns perform at The Norva (a little venue in Norfolk, just a short drive from campus) with one of my friends during the tail end of Thanksgiving break. I had never heard of the band before, but on an adventurous whim, I decided to make the best of it. We had such a great time: the music was actually pretty good, there were plenty of hipster couples to make fun of and we ended the night with milkshakes from Cookout!
As I get closer and closer to graduation, I look forward to all the memories and moments that await me post-commencement, and getting to join the elite club of Captains for Life!
Some people win the lottery. Some people have a fast metabolism. Some people’s fortunes always come true. But me, I got into Christopher Newport.
CNU is a place like no other. Columns so pristine and glistening, bricks always in perfect contrast to the blue Virginia sky and never-fading green grass. Attending Christopher Newport University has me luckier than a leprechaun.
Aside from the beauty and aesthetics of our campus we are lucky Captains when it comes to academics as well. Small class sizes, hands-on student research and easily accessible professors make Christopher Newport University almost like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Even CNU’s dinning halls, Discovery Cove, and Bistro are magically delicious!
What really makes Christopher Newport University a lucky four (leaf) year institution is the Captain for Life experience. We cast our sails as freshman and learn to navigate with the changing winds of roommates, deciding majors, creating friendships and preparing for the adult world. But what we learn here, and the memories we make last with us long after we toss our lucky penny into the fountain on graduation day. It’s the memories we have from all-nighters in Trible Library, the trivia nights we barely lost in the Crows Nest, the lingering tasteful memory of a buffalo chicken wrap last with us.
This year we reflect on Thursday, March 17 on all the memories we’ve made. Students are showing their CNU pride with our silver and blue, Captain Chris and just the right touch of green for a lucky finish to our college careers.
Be sure to join in on the memories and use the #CNUDay16 to share your memories on social media!