CNU: A Safe Place

I know as an incoming student there are some things at the top of your mind, where are my classes? Will I have people to eat and study with? Will I get invited to hang out on the weekends? But there are some things that aren’t always at the top of our minds. Will I be safe at school? This may not be at the forefront of our minds as students, but may be a concern of our over protective parents. As a senior I want to reassure you (or your parents) on these concerns.

Will I be safe?

While I can’t give a blanket statement or guarantee the future I will say that in my time at Christopher Newport there were two times that I didn’t feel safe which I will explain and discuss ways in which I was reassured and felt safe. CNU takes great strides to make sure our campus is secure and all student safety needs are met.

My sophomore year there was suspicious activity on campus early in the morning that lead to a university-wide lock down. While at first I was startled and scared because I lived in the Greek row houses, I was quickly updated by the university’s emergency system of what was occurring and how to keep myself safe. Because I didn’t live in a main building and didn’t have an RA directly in my residence the emergency notifications helped keep me calm and up to do date as the situation was resolved.

The second incident occurred my senior year in my residence. I was trying to fall asleep and between one and two in the morning I thought I heard my kitchen chairs moving. I stopped breathing and waited to see if I heard it again. I hear the same sound and immediately texted my roommate to see if she was, one: awake, and two: in the kitchen. She was awake but not in the kitchen. I told her I thought someone was in the house and of course we both were freaked out. I called my sorority sister who is an RA and lived diagonally from me and asked if she could see any movement in my kitchen because I thought there was someone in the house. She said she couldn’t and that I should call CNU PD to come and investigate because it’s better to be safe than sorry. As crazy as it sounds I called CNU PD and they responded within five minutes. They reassured us we weren’t crazy for calling them and that no one was in the apartment beside ourselves, checking in every closet and room for us. Although we’re college students and don’t need our parents to look under our beds for monsters anymore, we do have campus police to make sure we are safe, even if it turns out to be nothing at all.

I would strongly claim that CNU is a very safe campus. All student IDs have CNU PD’s emergency number printed on the back and there are alert boxes in every building on campus that can contact emergency personnel should a situation arise. Additionally RAs and other student workers go through training for emergency situations. We have a great health center that not only caters to the common cold but has a counseling center that can help with different mental health needs, both provide services to keep Captains safe and healthy. Our school also has a very active Title IX department that helps to cover different issues on campus. Furthermore, our staff and faculty are always working to improve systems, conditions, and policy to adapt and care for the students in the most effective way possible.

When it comes to safety on campus Christopher Newport takes great precaution to make sure students are cared for. If you or someone you know is in need of safety services please refer to the following list:

CNU Police 

Healthy and Wellness Services

Title IX

Student Handbook

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Spring Break: Reflections

This year, spring break was much more abrupt than last year’s (this is, naturally, an understatement). Maybe it was the fact that it was only a week long and, compared to previous vacations, seemed shorter. It seemed like it had barely begun by the time I left to go back to school, and I’ve already been mildly missing my family, friends, and dog (at least, until these next five weeks conclude and summer vacation starts). With the end of the semester a mere five weeks away and a week full of blissful memories with family, socializing with friends, and taking some genuine time to rest and relax to remember until I return home in April, I figured reflecting back on it would be appropriate,

I’d definitely say spending time with my family was important when I got back. I was able to go out more and spend more time with them. Not having work to do over break meant that I was more present for family dinners, which I hadn’t fully realized I’d missed when I was away (I spent most of my winter break working late shifts at my local mall). I was also able to help out more by doing extra cleaning (which my mom oftentimes didn’t have the time to do, and my siblings didn’t care to) and driving my sisters and brother to and from various social and athletic events, which made my parents’ schedule much less hectic.

Socializing with my friends back home was also important. Simple moments like spending an afternoon at the mall or going out for a quick lunch (which inevitably turn into two-hour-long affairs from catching up) with people I hadn’t seen in-person for a couple months made it all the more memorable and meaningful. I got to go to a dance party at a downtown DC club (where the only music played for three hours was 90’s hip-hop, pop and R&B), get pizza and Asian food at my favorite local restaurants, and give my input on one of my best friends’ senior prom dress options. Those are the types of things that (as great as Newport News is) just wouldn’t have been possible if I wasn’t at home and were instrumental in having a great break. That, and being able to sleep in on weekdays past the times I normally would’ve had to be up for classes.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of, based on my vacation, what I consider to be necessary do’s and dont’s for CNU students when their next spring break comes around (mostly if you’re staying in your local area, cruises and beachfront vacations aside):


  • Spend time with family
  • Reconnect with friends from home
  • Re-visit local highlights and
  • Help out around the house (if it’s needed)
  • Work, if you’ve secured a job for the week (all college students need money!)


  • Overpack!! You’re only home for a week; pack accordingly
  • Be on your phone all the time. If you’re home with family, be present and with family
  • Not make efforts to connect with friends (they might not know you’re home if you don’t tell them first!)
  • Overdo certain habits. Eat healthy, go to the gym, but maybe not as much if you have time to spend with family
  • Over-book your schedule. This is meant to be a break. Have some down time to spend with those closest to you and with yourself, but don’t do it so much that every day is a scheduling struggle
  • Overload on the homework. It’s okay to do some at home, but it will still exist when you get back to school

For most of us, this is our last chance to be home until spring finals are over and we begin summer break! Don’t waste it and make good memories to get you through the next 7 weeks!

The Inter-Cultural Festival

An annual event put on by the Campus Activities Board and the Student Diversity Equality Committee is the Inter-Cultural Festival. This event was as bright as it was beautiful, and involved various forms of education. It appealed to all the senses, and was incredibly well-attended.

The first aspect that stuck out to me was the music. As soon as I entered the David Student Union ballroom, I was greeted by unfamiliar tunes. This immediately set the mood for the event. As someone who deeply enjoys music, I appreciated the variety of music that was played in order to represent the many cultures present.

The next attack on my senses was the smell. It was like walking into 10 different restaurants at once – an aroma of spices and other such scents greeted me. I immediately took to wandering the room to try out all the forms of food available. There were various forms of meat, often served with uniquely seasoned rice. A table full of delectable desserts held my attention more than anything else.

In the center of the room were many tables brightly decorated in the colors of different countries. Each offered hands-on activities, often with prizes. One table spoke about drag culture, complete with two wonderful looking students dressed in full drag array.

Two craft tables were on either sides of the room with activities to partake in. The first allowed students to make dream catchers. About a dozen students gathered around the table threading their own dream catchers and hanging colored feathers from the bottom. The other table was just as busy, with many students crowded around it to paint boomerangs. Some painted them to match Christopher Newport University colors while other attempted to design them specifically in the artistic style of a represented culture.

The last exciting event I witnessed at the Inter-Cultural Festival was dancing. A small dance floor stood on one end of the room, and a break in events allowed intro dance group classes to perform what they’d learned throughout the semester. Various forms of dances were represented, from modern to hula. The costumes and moves appropriately matched the cultured music, and transported the viewers to the various countries represented.

Overall, this event was both informative and amazing. I was pleasantly surprised with how well it was attended as well as to what great lengths it was put on in order to precisely capture the nature of the cultures represented. It is an event I will surely be attending in the years to comes.

Senior Secrets

There’s a secret sort of wisdom you accumulate as you grow old at Christopher Newport University. You learn when the right time to get a buffalo chicken wrap on Wednesday, and what professor to avoid in economics. I’ve got eight little secrets to share that I’ve learned over the years.

  1. Print ahead of time
    • Do yourself a favor and just print the night before an assignment is due. Nothing is worse than getting stuck in a never-ending line in the library or DSU and having someone print a novel in front of you. Print ahead of time and thank me later.
  2. Bring your own (clean) coffee cup to Einstein’s
    • Love coffee? You’ll love it more when it’s a fraction of the price and in your own favorite mug. Bringing a clean personal mug not only allows you to sip from the comfort of your own mug but it makes your dinning dollars go further as it’s less expense and eco-friendly!
  3. Get to know your professors
    • Getting to know your professors not only comes in handy when you’re an old senior and need recommendation letters for graduate school or a job, it also helps to give you some slack in class. You’ll get sick, you’ll get stressed, and you’ll probably get behind on some readings. Having a professor that knows you better than just a kid in their two o’clock helps in all of these situations, don’t expect to slack but know that having personal relationships helps to make your college experience more enjoyable and a little easier in times of stress
  4. Media Center is your Friend
    • USE THE MEDIA CENTER! I was not very tech savvy coming into college, I could use a little digital camera but hand me a DSLR and I was a deer in headlights. I also have an HP Laptop and couldn’t use a Mac to save my life. The Media Center fixed both of my problems! They have cameras, camcorders, mac desktops, laptops, camera equipment all for rent and editing suites. Even better they have a whole DVD library, located on the second floor of the library this is a must visit at CNU
  5. If it’s Free it’s for Me
    • Nothing is better than free events on campus. Free food, free snacks, free pens, and the best of the best… free scantrons and blue books during finals and midterms
  6. Use Buildings as a cut through
    • It might seem obvious but this has been a soul warmer, hair saver, and dry oasis. When the weather starts to get chilly or a hurricane is passing though trek across campus a little less damp by using academic buildings as covered walk ways. As a student living on East Campus I cut through the Freeman, jumping to Christopher Newport Hall, sliding through the library, and hop to the David Student Union. I cut down exposure to wind and rain, and get to class a little dryer.
  7. Stop and enjoy Campus
    • I find myself doing this a lot in my second senior semester. As my final semester as a student I walk a little slower, smile a little more, take in the bricks a little longer, and hang out on the Great Lawn more often. Unless you decide to take a victory lap you only have four years here and the semesters will fly by. Start to enjoy everything CNU has to offer as soon as you can because you’ll be gone and off in the real world soon enough.
  8. Visit the Falk Gallery
    • Student art or a traveling show, the Falk Art Gallery in the Ferguson center allows for a quick break of math and science in CNU’s little world of the arts. As you venture to the gallery you might stumble upon aspiring actors running lines or classes sculpting in plaster.

Studying with Music

When you’re studying for an upcoming test or simply doing your homework during a free hour or two between classes, chances are that you’re listening to music. Eight out of ten students I recently asked said they listen to music while doing school-related work. If that’s accurate for the rest of the university, that means roughly 80 percent of the students here listen to music when they study.

In my College 150: The Intentional Learner class, my teacher says that listening to music while doing homework or studying can be distracting. If we are listening to it, she says, it should always be music that’s instrumental or has no legible words to it, as those are usually less distracting than “normal” music with clear vocals. On a logical scale, I would definitely agree with her. However, many of the students that I asked said that having any type of music on, with or without words, was “better than no music at all” and helpful with cancelling more distracting noises. After considering my studying methods, I have to agree with them.

If I’m studying in the library or a quiet part of the Crow’s Nest, I usually don’t have music on. If the silence is extremely deafening and I’m in an extremely easily distractible mindset, I’ll listen to generic Zen music from an Apple-generated playlist.

However, if I’m studying in an area with more people and less noise restrictions, like the Great Lawn (if the weather’s nice) or Einstein’s, “normal” music is a must. I’ll need it to distract from the louder background noise around me, or else I won’t be able to properly focus. In my book, it’s better to have music making noise in the background that doesn’t distract you than noise that does. Listening to music I’ve heard so many times that the words don’t snag my attention are extremely helpful and assist me in getting my work done faster (Britney Spears, Coldplay, and Avril Lavigne are frequently used).

Everyone’s situation differs on your study environment and the work they’re doing, though. If I’m just copying notes I missed from a professor’s PowerPoint in class, I can listen to any type of music in nearly any environment. However, if I’m working on something larger, like an essay or group PowerPoint, I’ll need no music or music with no legible words to help me focus. Again, this type of thing is different for everyone; there are students who need music and those who don’t, as everyone learns differently and one study plan (with or without music) does not fit all.

While studying, I’d advise my fellow students to try listening to music they’ve practically memorized by heart to help drown out background noise and concentrate more. If that’s too much to work with, try listening to instrumental or generic noise music (there are tons of options on most streaming platforms). With midterms behind us and finals looming ahead, it’s important to know what works for you when you’re studying so that you’re not overly distracted and are as proactive as possible. Hopefully this helps.

Beautiful CNU

I remember the first time I set foot onto Christopher Newport University—it was stunning. The architecture alone revealed none of the once commuter school from the 60s—but now a stunning redesigned campus. While the campus itself is impressive, as a student, I can’t help but praise the landscaping team!

Year round, Christopher Newport has a consistent manicuring of campus. My friends and I joke sometimes that Christopher Newport is like Disney World because it always looks so pristine.

The MVP of our beautiful campus is owed all to the landscaping team. Every morning on my walk to class, I am greeted with many different teams of landscapers making sure Christopher Newport is always best represented not only for visitors but for students, faculty and staff each day.

This post is dedicated to the landscaping teams who work hard all throughout the entire year, in all elements and environments. The work is not glamorous by any means but as a student I am so proud of how Christopher Newport represents itself daily.

It’s been said, stop and smell the roses — well, at Christopher Newport, we can, daily.

The Four Keys to Being a Successful Roommate

Having a roommate, especially if it’s your first, can be an intimidating experience. Social media can help to initially connect, but ultimately meeting and getting to know them in-person gives them the strongest impression of you. This is, after all, someone you’ll be sharing your personal space with for eight months; you want to have a healthy relationship with them and be your best self around them! Based on my own experiences and memories, these are the four essential keys that have made me a great roommate and have a great relationship with mine! Hopefully, they’ll help you become the best possible roommate at CNU.

1. Honesty – Honesty is, understandably, the best policy for any situation, but especially with your roommate. Mutual trust is important to have, so make sure that’s established as soon as possible. If some of their behaviors (or yours) are or might cause you to clash, let them know beforehand so any possible problems are ruled out before they start.

2. Communication – Let your roommate know about any boundaries or rules you have or want so you can meet halfway to avoid conflict! Communication is so important, and with so many ways to communicate nowadays (on and off social media) it’s mind-boggling why it’s even a problem for some people at all. If some habit of theirs is bothering you, let them know so you two can work out the problem.

3. Equality – Equality is an essential value for everyone to have, and roommates need to mutually respect each other’s space and time. Be respectful of their personal space, schedule and activities, and they will likely do the same! Share responsibilities like buying room supplies (paper towels, cleaning wipes, air freshener, etc) or cleaning your dorm sink or refrigerator.

4. Support – Finally, be supportive! Encouraging your roommate in their goals and opportunities, be they emotional or career-related, is what a good person would do! Encourage each other to reach your goals, and be there if they need someone to talk to. My roommate and I always encourage each other in our respective activities (boxing and internships, respectively) and it helps us have a more positive relationship. It’s so important to have someone who supports you and feels like they can be open with you about almost anything, so don’t count your roommate out of that.

Graduation is Coming

It’s coming….graduation.

For some seniors the dreaded life event is slowly approaching while other seniors are warmly welcoming the event. For myself it’s a bittersweet moment. Four years seems like a long time, especially when you are a bright-eyed freshman stepping on to Christopher Newport University for the first time. However, as a student you get caught up in project deadlines, joining different organizations, all while trying to juggle a social life and you first year flies by. Sophomore and junior year blend together and all of a sudden you’ve entered into your final fall semester at CNU. It wasn’t until my last semester started that I began to feel a little “old.” The fall felt like any other semester and it didn’t hit me that I was actually leaving until I bought my cap and gown.

Now that the senior class has passed our 100-day mark, ordered their senior week packages, caps and gowns things are starting to line up for us to cross the stage. As I’m getting close to completing my senior seminar and finish my last couple of projects things are really sinking in that graduation is a reality. With 54 days until graduation there is no denying its approach. All that is left to do is pass our classes and sing as much Brickhouse karaoke as we can!