Classes can get stressful. This is not a secret of college life. We, as students, are often handling a lot of stuff at once. Often, it is a lot of great things at once. Even though you fill your calendar with enjoyable classes and clubs, it can still get overwhelming from time to time. Because of this busy schedule, I know that I can usually forget to take some time for myself.
An important part of mental wellness is to take time for yourself. One of the things I do to overcome the stress is yoga. The Trieshmann Health and Fitness Pavilion, located in the Freeman Center, offers many different fitness classes such as kickboxing, yoga, Pilates and more. My favorite is yoga. It is a chance to just focus on yourself. We breathe all day, but we never stop to pay attention to our breath and how we are feeling on that day. Yoga allows for an hour out of your day to stop and breathe. It is a chance to better your physical and mental wellness which is highly important as a college student.
My favorite part of the session is after you stretch and work when your yoga instructor directs you into the savasana pose. This is a pose where you lay down and work to keep your mind conscious while relaxing your entire body. It is the most refreshing thing about my day and it does wonders for the mind. If yoga is not your thing, I highly recommend finding something that refreshes your mind amidst the enjoyable chaos of college.
Christopher Newport University’s students, including myself, make service and giving back one of our priorities. We are very involved with local organizations and doing our best to help others. CNU encourages service as a way for us to have relationships with the local community and not just make it a one-time thing. Through The Center for Community Engagement (CNU Engage) there is a Service Distinction program, where participants must serve a minimum of 140 hours. There are 10 tracks to choose from and we each select one to serve in. The service track I am in is Environment & Animals. We must complete 100 hours in that specific track and the remaining 40 hours can be in any other track of our choice. The 10 tracks are the following:
- Arts & Culture
- Community Development
- Environment & Animals
- Health Related
- Hunger & Housing
- International Interest
- Newport News Public Schools
- Women’s Interest
- Youth Development
As it says on the CNU Engage website, this program allows students to “gain valuable, real-world, marketable skills and experience” and “develop skills related to policy development, program planning, and advocacy, while establishing a deeper understanding of societal issues and root causes.” This is truly a wonderful experience, especially if you love making an impact in your community. You can also make connections and life-long friendships. By serving in the community we become more aware of the reality of this world and we may learn to appreciate what we have more.
Often times, people can be separated into the dichotomy of extroverts and introverts. Christopher Newport has an abundance of opportunities for both introverts and extroverts.
Extroverts will happily find a place in one of the many social groups on campus, such as the Campus Activities Board, wherein students plan fun activities for the Christopher Newport community; Greek life; or a service club dedicated to spending time with others. In addition, you can always spend time in the Crow’s Nest, located in the David Student Union, to have fun with your friends. There’s always somewhere to go where you can find lots of people eager to share a conversation.
Introverts also have many options to choose from. There are tons of quiet places on campus where you can relax and be with your thoughts. Whether it’s the library, Einstein’s cafe or one of the study rooms that can be found on every floor of every residence hall. And, of course, there are plenty of beautiful places to walk through outside that can be the perfect backdrop to a peaceful evening alone.
Of course, things aren’t always so black and white. Sometimes you may want to be with lots of friends and other times be by yourself. It doesn’t matter whether you are an extrovert or introvert all the time, or some of the time, you will find a home at Christopher Newport!
It is so easy, at any school, to fall into the trap of group stereotypes. With different clubs on campus, different majors, different classes, different residence halls, etc. groups can easily be made based off of these differences. Christopher Newport is not immune to this. However, the diversity that is highlighted here is special. At Christopher Newport we celebrate diversity: diversity of thought, personality and race.
What we so often forget is that we are all college students. We all know what it is like to hate a class or to love a class. We all know what it is like to have that third cup of coffee, or tea, for the day and still feel tired. We all know what it is like to cry when that paper is finally done and you have reached the weekend. We know what it’s like to live with a roommate and maybe feel a little homesick.
We are all here in the same place, same position. Our involvements might be different, our GPAs might be different. But here at Christopher Newport we are all leading lives of significance in our own ways and no one particular experience is better than another.
Christopher Newport’s main gym is, frankly, pretty sweet. The Trieshmann Health and Fitness Pavilion is decked out with all the latest weight and cardio equipment. Even at peak hour, there’s still a fair amount of space to get on a machine and start exercising. If that wasn’t enough, there’s many, many more athletic outlets to choose from.
Inside the Freeman Center alone, there are two small aerobic gymnasiums that are filled with yoga mats, exercise balls and other similar equipment options. These spaces are also used for Zumba and yoga classes that are sometimes offered for free to Christopher Newport students.
Outside of the Freeman, there is a volleyball and basketball court near of the James River residence hall. Scattered around campus, you can also find several fields fit for a pick-up soccer game, a baseball/softball field, as well as tennis courts. There is a place for just about every sport you could think of on Christopher Newport’s campus. The university has a lot to offer, so be ready to take advantage of it!
There’s nothing quite like walking into the Freeman Center Field House for Club Fair. It feels like you’re walking into a convention center, and you might as well be. Row after row is filled with booth after booth of smiling club members who want your attention, and you should certainly give it to them.
These folks are very passionate about what they do, and so is why they are tabling for their organization. As I strolled down the aisle, I had the opportunity to learn about different greek organizations, clubs ranging from cars to baking, athletic associations and much, much more. It was almost overwhelming!
I took a look at the Student Diversity and Equality Council in particular, and really enjoyed learning all about their efforts to ensure that Christopher Newport is a safe place for all students to share their thoughts. In addition, I stopped by the tables for the organizations of which I’m already a member (Student Assembly and SPCA). I even got a few free shirts by stopping from table to table!
At Club Fair, there’s something for everyone. It’s a showcase of what Christopher Newport has to offer, and it does not disappoint. Club Fair happens at the beginning of each semester. So, even if you miss it in the fall, there’s always the spring to look forward to.
Students may choose to stay on campus a little longer and into the summer to take classes. There are several reasons for why this is done. Some of us may just want to be ahead and get some classes we need for our major out of the way so we can have more time during the actual academic year. Others may be a little behind on their progress toward graduation, possibly because of a change in major or taking a semester off.
Taking summer classes while in college is not the same as doing it in elementary or middle school. The first thing people may think of when they hear “summer school” is bad grades or failure. However, that is not the case here at college.
Taking summer classes is a great way to open up our academic year schedule to more opportunities. That may include jobs, internships, volunteering and social time because everyone needs a little relaxation. As far as housing and meal plans, they work the same as regular semesters. There are many things to do in the area during our free time, such as going to the beach, the Virginia Living Museum, the Mariners’ Museum, Busch Gardens and more!
The President’s Leadership Program (PLP) is one of the most beneficial programs at Christopher Newport. It is a rather competitive program, but is well within the grasp of any hardworking student. To be eligible, you must meet the GPA requirement, write a short essay and, perhaps most dauntingly, participate in a one-on-one interview with an alumnus in Christopher Newport Hall.
Don’t let this scare you, though. You’ll be happy to know that these interviews are very conversational in style, and there are no right or wrong answers to the questions. The interviewer’s goal is to get to know you, to see who you are beyond your application. For this reason, you should be very relaxed for this interview in order to give off the best version of yourself.
To prepare, consider taking some breathing exercises beforehand or practice with a friend. PLP has so much to offer, including scholarships, priority housing and registration, study abroad opportunities and much more.
Bathrooms are something most incoming freshmen, boys and girls alike, are very apprehensive about. The idea of sharing one with three or more strangers can instill quite a feeling of discomfort. Though, you shouldn’t worry. This is one of the easiest adjustments you’ll make living in a residence hall.
The first thing will be, inevitably, you and all of your suitemates will have each purchased a bathmat despite your bathroom only needing one. This should be an indicator that your suitemates care just as much as you do about health and cleanliness. Very shortly thereafter, your resident assistant will help you and your suitemates coordinate a housing contract. This will allow each of you to set standards for one another and be held accountable for these standards. It’s a great way to directly address any concerns you may have.
The bathrooms in Christopher Newport housing are top-notch. The water pressure is great. This is something I never thought I’d care about or notice, but, frankly, the water pressure in my dorm is better than the pressure in my own house. Though, perhaps most importantly, the hot water is assured every morning. There’s no better feeling than a warm shower to wake you up!
Moving in is stressful for most incoming freshmen, but don’t let it control you! You can rest assured that Christopher Newport is prepared for your academics, as well as your comfort.
Some of you may be wondering, “Will I have enough time to balance school and work?” The answer is, yes. Hearing the word “work” may frighten you and get you thinking that your job will require you to work many hours and constantly be occupied by it. However, there are several on-campus jobs that will do the opposite. The employers here on campus are very understanding of our school schedules and that we are currently focused on getting our degree.
A great thing about being a student employee is there is a wide range of different jobs you can get on campus. You could have a more relaxed work area where you are allowed to get schoolwork done while working or you could work in something where you will get more experience in the field that you are interested in going into.
Some jobs that are offered on campus are being a barista at Einstein’s Cafe, a tutor, working with events staff, the admissions office and more. Some jobs may lead to a position as an intern and others may hire you as an intern right off the bat. Another job opportunity that CNU offers its students is an internship with the Center for Career Planning (CCP). Students benefit so much from this internship because they learn a lot about what the CCP does. Using their knowledge of career planning, they help their peers and themselves. This gives them a better outlook while searching for jobs. These are all great things to put on resumes.
All in all, the jobs that Christopher Newport University offers us leaves us with a remarkable experience and values that we will take with us as we begin working in the field we are pursuing.