I Found My Service Track!

For the requirements for the President’s Leadership Program, we need to complete a certain amount of service hours every year, and by our second year, we should be completing those hours within a specific service track with one of the university’s community partners. For the longest time, it was pretty hard for me to get into a service track, but this semester I was able to find a community partner that fit within a service track that I like, and on top of that, it’s ON CAMPUS!

The service track that I was interested in was Arts & Culture because I feel like that is inherently more interesting for my personality type. I knew that there were a few things that I wouldn’t find fun, such as working in a museum, because history is definitely not my favorite subject. Then one day, while I was in the library procrastinating on a paper, I looked on the CNU Engage website (where we log our service hours) and went under the community partners tab and found the Arts for All program, sent an email and my resume, and the next thing I knew, I was on the schedule for this semester to volunteer!

Volunteering with the Arts for All program is fun, pretty easy, and I can immediately see where my efforts are making a difference. The Arts for All program works with the Ferguson Center for the Arts on campus, and we sell merchandise and posters before, during, and after shows in the Diamonstein Concert Hall, and all of the proceeds go towards funding for free and reduced tickets for Newport News Public School students who want to attend shows but cannot afford it, as well as compensating for veterans and senior citizen discounts for tickets.

While I was working the table last week, I saw a lot of people who came with Arts for All tickets, and it was really awesome for them to come up to the table and say thanks for helping them see the show, and it really made me feel happy that I chose to volunteer with Arts for All, and I look forward to volunteering with them for the rest of my time at Christopher Newport!

Fraternity Rush Week

This week is fraternity rush week at Christopher Newport, but it’s actually the third week in a row for rushing on campus. Two weeks ago was Panhellenic rush week (the governing body of all sororities on campus), last week was Interfraternity Council (governing body of all fraternities on campus) and Alpha Kappa Psi rush week, which, finally, led us to this rush week for the remaining social, academic and honors fraternities on campus. I rushed Alpha Kappa Psi last week and I am very proud to say that I did receive a bid and am planning to begin the pledge process this Saturday. Though, today I’m focused on my social fraternity, Psi Upsilon.

As the public relations chair of Psi Upsilon, one of my jobs is to make all the rush graphics. So, it’s been fun seeing my work being posted all around campus and on social media. Though, what’s even more fun is all the rush events we’ve had. We started on Sunday with a football viewing party which was a great way to casually meet all of the potential new members and mingle. Next, we hosted a video game night as well as a dodgeball tournament that oddly turned into a basketball tournament. Last night was my second-to-favorite event, every semester we rent out the patio area of the Brickhouse Tavern in Newport News and buy pizza for everyone. I had class pretty soon after we started though, so I only had time for one slice, but there’s always next semester! My favorite event is the formal smoker, which is how we end rush week. We all get dressed up and enjoy cigars together before the brothers convene to vote on who we give bids to.

It’s been a long couple of weeks, so I’m definitely ready to breathe a sigh of relief after we finish our voting session and rush comes to an end. I love seeing the new faces and getting to know all the people who are interested in Psi Upsilon. We’ll see on Friday how it all turns out!

Movie Night!

CAB, or the Campus Activities Board, has been a hallmark of my Christopher Newport experience ever since I was a freshman. I remember feeling such shock when I heard some of the movies they hosted, most were not being sold at the time and would typically require a drive to the local movie theater and spending $15! Thanks to their hard work, CAB is able to provide a space for Christopher Newport students to come and spend time together watching super cool films without the usual hassle.

Not only does CAB provide movie showings on campus, but they also provide gear at Christopher Newport sports events, create incredible events such as Fall Fest, organize events in the local area, and work constantly to advertise all of these events and more. If you ask any student on campus they likely know someone heavily involved with CAB. They have their own office, executive board, and numerous contributing members all working to organize fun, creative, and exciting events for us to take advantage of!

Students look forward to these free events and they are often the talk around campus! Our campus loves to come out to these events with friends and create long lasting memories with our fellow Captains and I personally can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

Friends of Phi Nu Update

If you didn’t catch my other two blog posts about this subject, then I’ll bring you up to speed. My fraternity, Psi Upsilon, has a philanthropy program called “Friends of Phi Nu.” The goal is to mentor students at nearby Hidenwood Elementary School by creating a meaningful, lasting relationship that enables the child to further his or her academic and social goals. I started mentoring last semester and have already shared in an amazing experience.

On a typical day, I go to Hidenwood and work with my student for two or three hours. I’m always surprised at how much the kids make me laugh each time I go. My student is always surprised at how much work we get done! We also play games at recess and I join my student at his table when it’s time for lunch. It’s definitely been awhile since I’ve been in elementary school, but as I sit in the small, plastic chair at the table it all comes back to me. My favorite thing to watch is the camaraderie among all of the students. They tell absurdly funny stories and playfully scheme with one another about how to flirt. I would say I miss those days, but frankly I don’t think my friends and I have changed very much since then!

The mentorship is hands down one of my favorite things I’ve become a part of this year. It’s such an amazing opportunity, not only for me, but also the students. This semester, a lot more brothers are getting involved with the program and I am very excited to see where it leads us. Even those who aren’t in Psi Upsilon can volunteer at Hidenwood through Christopher Newport’s Presidential Leadership Program. There is no shortage of people on our campus who want to get involved.

CNFlu :(

I always thought flu season was right around the holidays, in December. Though, that doesn’t seem to be the case this year because people all around me are falling sick left and right and it’s the end of January. Today and yesterday, three of my six classes have been canceled because even professors are feeling ill.

I’d never wish sickness on any of my professors, but I’d be lying if I said a couple of classes off wasn’t nice. It gave me some extra time to catch up on reading and sleep. I would say it gave me some extra time to spend with friends, but a lot of my friends are getting sick, too! Last week, three of my fraternity brothers were on antibiotics and spent pretty much every day in bed. It was a sad sight, but, thankfully, they’re on the mend.

The only issue now is that everyone in my house is getting sick, one by one (myself included). We tried to fight it, but I suppose it was inevitable. Last night, instead of being active and staying up late, we all were in bed by 11 p.m. It’s going to be a long week for sure, but we’ll get through it. Thankfully, Christopher Newport offers Health and Wellness Services. They don’t prescribe medication, but they do offer flu shots. Next year, you can be sure that my housemates and I will all be first in line to make sure we don’t get sick again!

My First Manuscript

At Christopher Newport, we are encouraged to participate in undergraduate research with our professors. With these experiences comes many opportunities to establish professional skills such as presenting at international conferences, gaining authorship on posters and even becoming a primary author on an article published in a scholarly journal.

Manuscript writing is no joke. With anywhere from two to three students and an additional two to three professors all collaborating, critiquing and editing not only the writing, but also the references and supporting research used in the manuscript, it can be a bit daunting to take on such a monumental task. Being able to manage your time, organize your space and being able to work alongside individuals who are experts in their fields are skills that I will be able to carry with me throughout the rest of my academic journey and into the professional world. While my journey is young I am so excited to see how this process helps me grow!

The professional skills I see myself gaining through my active participation in undergraduate research are some of the most incredible gifts Christopher Newport has given me. As a freshman, I was hopeful to even be a contributor to some form of research. Christopher Newport didn’t allow me to settle for being involved, but instead pushed me to become a leader and dive deeper into the relationships that were waiting for me.

Why the Career Fair Matters

For us Captains, the spring 2019 Career, Internship and Graduate School Fair is right around the corner, and I am impatiently waiting! I attended the career fair during my sophomore and junior years and had great experiences at both. What is really neat about our Career Fair is that the Center for Career Planning spends months organizing the fair to bring in companies and graduate schools from across Virginia that students are actually interested in. Here is why I highly advise all students to attend at least one Career Fair per academic year:

  1. The Center for Career Planning has a motto: you get jobs by talking to people. And this is so true! For the sake of getting a job or internship opportunity, or for being accepted into a graduate program, it is extremely important to make meaningful connections with your potential employer. When you have the opportunity to talk to representatives of a company, like at the Career Fair on campus, take it! Those representatives might put in a good word for you when it comes to reviewing your application (if you made a good impression, of course). Stand out from other applicants by expressing your interest at the Career Fair!
  1. Christopher Newport students of all years can benefit from the Career Fair. Juniors and seniors are looking to meet and hand over their resumes to companies that they may apply to for a career after graduation or for a summer internship. Freshmen and sophomores can benefit from practicing their handshakes, their elevator pitch to sell themselves to employers in 30 seconds, their professional dress and their communication skills.
  1. The bi-annual Career Fairs are very convenient for students on and off campus. There is one large career fair each semester in the David Student Union Ballroom located in the center of campus. Instead of searching for hours on Indeed, companies who are looking to hire are brought right here to Christopher Newport! And it gets better! Some companies are looking to hire immediately, so they allow for signups for actual interviews the following day on campus. There is no need to drive out to, say Fairfax, when the companies are right here ready to interview you!

I have met with wonderful companies in the past at the Career Fair and cannot wait until January 30 for the upcoming fair!

The ICE Project

For my intercultural communications class, I’ve been assigned a semester-long research project. It’s called the Intercultural Experience Project or “ICE Project” for short. The assignment requires a minimum of 20 hours be spent interacting with another culture, exchanging ideas and perspectives.

Students have volunteered at refugee camps, tutored ESL peers and had plenty of other interesting experiences for this assignment. I was extremely interested in visiting a refugee camp, but since I don’t have a car I wasn’t sure how I’d make that work. Instead, I’ve elected to speak with my Mexican grandmother about her journey immigrating to America. She was the first of her family to leave Mexico and she set the example for all of her extended family to follow. She is a strong and impressive woman. I’m very excited to learn, in great detail, exactly the experiences she went through from her early life up until the culture clash as a Mexican immigrant in America.

I’m so grateful that the class isn’t just studying theories all day. I believe alternative learning through opportunities such as these are just as, if not more so beneficial to one’s education. Christopher Newport enables its professors to create engaging curriculums that challenge the student to go beyond the classroom. I’m so appreciative of all the effort that is put into the courses I take here; it’s clear that nothing is ever phoned in and all assignments have a clear and constructive purpose.

Rushing AKPsi

Alpha Kappa Psi is the oldest and largest professional co-ed business fraternity. At Christopher Newport, they have the Iota Pi chapter. A handful of my friends are involved in the fraternity and they have been encouraging me to join. Well, this week was rush week and I decided to give it a shot!

So far, I’ve only gone to one rush event, but I’m attending another one tonight. The info night that I went to was a PowerPoint presentation on the fraternity’s goals and values along with free refreshments and the opportunity to mingle with the brothers. It was extremely informative and allowed me to form a more clear picture of the organization I am considering joining. I had a lot of great conversations with the brothers and it was obvious to me that these people have all created very close bonds with one another while also in pursuit of professional success.

Alpha Kappa Psi is not a traditional fraternity as you might assume. Rather, its purpose is to educate its brotherhood on effective strategies to use in the business world through meaningful connections. There also is a huge emphasis on service and volunteering. At first, I was under the impression that only business majors could join, but all majors are welcome. As a communication and theater major, the brothers were still very excited and eager for me to apply to join.

Christopher Newport offers endless opportunities and opens infinite doors. Rush week is still ongoing, so I’m unsure if I’ll join Alpha Kappa Psi, but I’m having a great time rushing and meeting everyone! There’s never any shortage of things to do around Christopher Newport; there are always new avenues to explore to improve and better yourself.

The Benefits of Revolving Roommates

It was the summer leading up to my freshman year of college when I started to wonder who was going to be assigned as my random roommate. Unlike a coin toss, the Housing and Residence Life Offices at Christopher Newport request that all incoming freshmen take a survey to gauge each student’s study habits, sleeping behaviors, room cleanliness preferences and other things of that nature. This allows for students to get paired with other students whose lifestyles are compatible with one another. All thanks to Christopher Newport, I was assigned two very sweet and goofy suitemates and a roommate who, shortly after we met on move-in day, became one of my closest friends.

Sophomore year came along, and I found myself rooming with a new roommate I had met only once before. It was my new suitemate who brought the four of us together in our four-person suite, knowing that we would get along perfectly. And she was right! I became great friends with all three of them. In fact, the other suitemate, who I had not met until that year, ended up moving with me to our new on-campus apartment the following year.

It was junior year that I lived with my sophomore year suitemate, her best friend and a new random roommate. And once again, new friendships were made. My random roommate became a really close friend of mine and we chose to live together this year, my senior year, with two new random roommates, who are both amazing people.

Living with different roommates and suitemates over the past four years and learning from their experiences and passions has opened my eyes about the world. Two of my roommates are involved in a sorority. Two of my roommates studied abroad. One of my roommates is from another country. Three of my roommates love Harry Potter (four if I include myself!). One of my roommates wants to be a social worker while another wants to be a doctor. While it may not be typical to have a revolving door of roommates each year, there are so many stories and experiences that I have come to share with each of them. And the friendships that have formed along the way are even more valuable.