Long, Cold Walks on the Beach

It’s my favorite time of the year… cold. That’s not sarcasm, I love the chillier months from November through February. It feels great to bundle up in a cozy sweater and just relax in the warm of my common room. Oddly enough, hot weather can deter me from going out, but cold weather doesn’t at all. I do love relaxing indoors during autumn and winter, but I also find myself going out everyday.

In fact, my friends and I actually went to the beach last week. Around Christopher Newport, there are plenty of beaches that are only a short drive away. Even Virginia Beach is only about a 40-minute drive. Now, I acknowledge that it’s definitely not prime beach season, especially in Virginia. Our trip to the beach was definitely a cold one, but since it’s so close, why not go? We didn’t jump in, but we did talk and relax there in our winter coats until sunrise finally hit. It was a long night, but it’s also something I’ll never forget. The sunrise was absolutely mesmerizing and washed us all in a delightful yellowish orange hue.

It may sound silly to go to the beach in the freezing cold on a wintry November night, but those are the experiences that we will remember most when our college days are gone. Education is the primary reason we’re here at Christopher Newport, but once you actually become a Captain, you realize there’s so much more to be offered. We may have caught colds from being out there in the cold for so long, but bonding with my friends during an unforgettable night makes it all worth it. I couldn’t imagine having these experiences anywhere else.

Crew Leader Internship

At Christopher Newport, it’s highly recommended you get an internship whether you’re a member of the President’s Leadership Program or not. There are so many opportunities for students to get involved. The way I was able to complete my internship requirement as a rising sophomore was through being an orientation leader over the summer.

FreshmAn year was a spectacular experience for me, and I remembered my crew leader during orientation really started my year off on the right foot. When I got the email that the university was opening up crew leader positions I knew that was the internship for me. I desperately wanted to share all of my wonderful experiences with the individuals who would be going down the same path. The internship was over the summer, which lasted for the whole month of June, and I loved every second of the experience.

Being a rising sophomore and conducting freshman orientation really allowed for me to connect with the students and give them fresh outlooks on how to navigate the university. I told them my successes and obstacles I found challenging, so they could hopefully do better than I did as a first-year student. I had a lot of fun providing them with insights that only a student here could know and in general I strove to keep the conversation open and honest.

I made so many friends through this internship, rising freshmen and fellow crew leaders alike. I learned how to remain calm in stressful situations and help my other crew members stay on their feet. I grew confidence to lead a team and truly discovered how much I loved this university when I was asked to represent it through this internship.

Databases Galore

This semester, I surprisingly wound up in a relationship. Who would’ve thought? We met on some less than favorable circumstances. I definitely was not looking forward to meeting them for the first time, so much so that I put it off until the last minute, but I wish I would have met them sooner. They keep me nice and warm, are really knowledgeable, we spend hours upon hours together, and they never get tired of me. As the semester continues, our bond just gets stronger and stronger.

Yes, that’s right. I am in a relationship with the Trible Library’s databases. Or I might as well be because I have been writing so many papers as of late that I spend more time looking through the databases finding credible sources than I spend on social media.

All jokes aside, the library is great! We all love it, but sometimes I think people take the databases for granted. We have access to an unlimited supply of resources. One time I was trying to find a source for my paper, I was just doing some web searches, but the website I needed cost like $50 for 24 hours of access! That’s a lot of money for a source I know nothing about if you ask me. But then, I went to one of our many library databases and searched the same thing, and got the whole PDF of the study for FREE.

When you go to college, make sure you take advantage of every single resource that is presented to you. They aren’t just there for looks. The writing center has helped me figure out my thesis for some really tough assignments, the librarians help me find books (because I’m not quite familiar with our brand-new library) and when all else fails, the databases are there to give you sources, even at 3 a.m.

A Trip to the Writing Center

If I’m any good at writing, it’s because I had incredible teachers, peers and parents who reviewed my work countless times and taught me what to do and what not to do. I felt relatively prepared for college writing when I arrived at Christopher Newport, but there’s always room for improvement. So, when I took my English essay to the writing center (a division of the Center for Academic Success) last week, I was ready for any and all feedback.

I signed in and immediately sat down with my assigned editor for a one-on-one feedback session. They suggest that you come to your session with a specific question in mind, to make the most out of the visit. I was concerned with my organization and how everything came together. My editor and I read the paper together and chatted along the way. She thought my organization was fine and that everything synthesized well, so I was good on that front. However, she did find a few grammatical errors which I had completely overlooked and gave me advice on some of my citation issues. I was there for 45 minutes and the time flew by; I couldn’t believe how much work we had gotten done!

My editor was extremely pleasant and personable. The writing center offers a very comfortable environment to express your concerns without judgement (and scheduling an appointment is as easy as logging into your student account and clicking a time slot). I definitely plan to use the writing center as a resource much more often. Christopher Newport offers so many different outlets to better yourself academically, it’d be a shame to not take advantage of them!

Bingo Night

It was Wednesday night and my friends and I didn’t have anything planned. We asked around for things to do and we learned that the Campus Activities Board or “CAB” was hosting a bingo night in the David Student Union! Not only that, but they were actually giving away great prizes like speakers, headphones and Christopher Newport merch. We knew we had to go.

To our surprise, it was a full house. As soon as we walked up the stairs towards the ballroom where it was being hosted, we could hear the laughter and talking from all the students eagerly awaiting the event. There were so many people that they actually ran out of bingo cards. Once everything started, it was an absolute blast. I had my heart set on winning a copy of “Avengers: Infinity War”, but alas someone beat me to it when I was only a single space away. That’s how bingo goes though. Unfortunately, I didn’t win anything, but one of my good friends won a hammock which he was really excited about!

It was all around a great way to spend a Wednesday night. There really is always something to do on campus. One of my favorite parts of bingo night was how there was a CAB member assigned to each section of the room who would root for your table and cheer you on. It was a great personal touch. CAB knew the event was going to be big, and having their members dispersed around the room to mingle ensured that the whole night felt very friendly and casual. No one was left out and that’s what I love about Christopher Newport.

Working on Campus

A Christopher Newport education is a lot more than just academics. There’s tons of opportunities to explore through service, community and professionalism. Specifically, on-campus jobs help us gain practical work experience in an accommodating environment that also challenges our work ethic before moving onto the “real world.”

When I arrived on campus as a freshman, I knew I wanted to get a job. I attended the on-campus career fair (hosted by the Center for Career Planning) and talked to tons of different of employers. There were a lot of jobs I was interested in, and I applied to all of them. The process was extremely easy, as Christopher Newport uses a service called “Handshake” to simplify applications. I went to several interviews, but when all was said and done I became a student blogger (which is why you’re reading this now). Honestly, it’s the best job ever and it’s certainly something that’s not only well-tailored for my skill set, but also my major (communication). Not only is it great professional experience, but it also enhances my education as a whole.

An on-campus job at Christopher Newport isn’t just a way to make money; it genuinely is another part of your education. Just because we’re a small school doesn’t mean we have small opportunities; in fact, most of my friends have some sort of job or internship on campus! It’s so easy to get involved here and develop skills and connections that will not only last four years, but a lifetime. At Christopher Newport, the rest of your life begins as soon as you enroll.

Mozzarella Sticks and Where to Find Them

Last year, as a freshman at Christopher Newport, I knew I wanted to get heavily involved on campus. One of my main goals was to get an on-campus job, which I did! I’m a student blogger and I couldn’t be happier. The first post I wrote was on the mozzarella sticks from the Regattas dining hall. Now, a year later, I’m a little older and a little wiser; and I still definitely love mozzarella sticks.

The coveted mozzarella sticks from Regattas still make their monthly appearance (which I look forward to with each new day), but there’s plenty more fried mozzarella to be found around campus. For example, I now know that Discovery Grill sells them every day. This is a blessing and a curse as I now have all-day access, but also spend way, way too much of my dining dollars on them. In addition, Commons also serves mozzarella sticks every so often. Though, just because they’re from a dining hall doesn’t mean they’re the same as Regattas; in fact, they are distinctly different, as are the ones from Discovery Grill. Equally delicious, but definitely different.

With almost a year and a half under my belt as a Captain, I not only have grown to love my college even more, but also to appreciate and acknowledge all of the small, little details that make Christopher Newport great. Last year, I wrote that the mozzarella sticks represent something larger – they’re representative of the oddly specific things that every Christopher Newport student ends up falling in love with here. Now, I both literally and figuratively find them everywhere, not just once a month in Regattas. No matter where I go on campus, I find something I love, a mozzarella stick. So, if you’re looking for some too, you can find them at Christopher Newport.

Neuroscience Conference

The Society for Neuroscience meets annually to share ideas, latest research and technology, communicate their goals and most recent discoveries, and allow undergraduates an inside look at the professional world. The Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience offers a spot annually for sponsored students to present their research in the form of a social and poster presentation. I, along with five other Christopher Newport students were among those selected to travel to San Diego in order to share our finding with the professional neuroscience community.

Being able to discuss neuroscience with esteemed professionals, attend speakers, grad fairs and finish with presenting my own research taught me so much more than I ever would have expected prior to attending. We were surrounded by peers as well as potential mentors with much more experience than us who were prepared to help educate and guide us through these upper level discussions.

More than these professional opportunities, my fellow presenters and I gleaned an even more valuable perspective from this conference. Our passion for neuroscience, the research process, the phenomena seen in science and the everyday world is not singular, but shared by thousands of other individuals! Moving forward I am more eager than ever to learn as much as possible in my courses so that one day I can join these pioneers of neuroscience as a peer rather than a student.

Meal Buddies

Since coming to college, I literally cannot eat a meal alone, because no matter what, I always see somebody I know in the dining hall and we end up sitting together and next thing you know, I just had an hour-long conversation catching up with someone I hadn’t talked to in a week or so.

It’s so crazy how “Hey, how’s it going” turns into a deep conversation so quickly at Christopher Newport. That’s because we value community and friendliness. If you see someone, you ask them how they are, and if they say they aren’t doing too well, then you talk to them until they feel better. That’s what Captains do. We care about each other and try to lift each other up when we’re down, because everyone has those days, and they can really be a bummer.

In addition to this, I’ve also started planning meals with people a lot more frequently. I feel so fancy sometimes planning brunch with my friends on the weekend because I’ve literally never had brunch before college. It was always either breakfast or lunch.

One of my favorite days of the food week is Thursday. It’s not just any other day of the week; It’s General Tso’s chicken Thursday. I don’t know what Regattas puts in that chicken to make it so good, but I could eat a boatful of it. Every Thursday my friend and I get lunch in Regs and catch up, and while we are eating, at least 10 people walk by us and start little mini conversations. It’s really awesome that people care and want to catch up, and it really makes me feel like I matter here at Christopher Newport.

Sometimes I feel like my friends and I are like ships in passing, so it’s nice to set a course for the same place every so often. Use your meal time to not only fill your stomach, but to also fill your heart.

The Antidote to a Scary Exam

I have always had a little bit of test anxiety, especially if I know things are heavily graded. In high school, it wasn’t so bad because I knew I’d have plenty of opportunities to gain points back if I really had a low test score. In college, it’s a little different because you have fewer assessments and they tend to count more toward your overall grade. Needless to say, having all this in the back of my mind during the first exam here really terrified me.

I’m not going to lie, my first grade back was a little discouraging, but I was determined to persevere. First, I went to my professor’s office hours and found that they were incredibly supportive and walked me through the material that I had missed. They asked me how I studied and gave me a few pointers that might help me for the next time. They also suggested I might get a tutor.

I set up an appointment with a tutor at the Center for Academic Success a few days after speaking with my professor. At first I was nervous to go because I was worried they’d think less of me for scoring so low, but I was pleasantly surprised that they were very supportive. They told me that even people who make the dean’s list come to tutoring because ultimately it’s important to ask for help if you don’t understand the material at first.

When the next exam came around I sat down in our 24 hour study rooms at the library a few days in advance and implemented all that my tutor and professor had taught me. I noticed my anxiety was diminished after speaking with them and I felt confident during the exam. I’m proud to say I ended the year with a solid grade and overall have a easier time preparing for exams because I’ve realized our Christopher Newport community is striving for us to be successful.