Waiting for a CAB

After some passive coaxing from a friend of mine, I was convinced to apply for the Campus Activities Board or “CAB.” Honestly, it’s one of the most dynamic and innovative organizations on campus, so it didn’t take much to convince me. Last week, I submitted my online application, but today I went in for the group interview portion of the process.

CAB is an organization at Christopher Newport that hosts weekly, fun events for the student body. These include bingo, movie, and board game nights as well as larger events such as comedians, musical guests, mentalists, and even full scale festivals.

This morning, I woke up and was feeling a little sick. I wasn’t too excited to roll out of bed, but I did so anyway because this was an opportunity I definitely could not pass up. I got dressed in business casual and headed to Forbes for the group interview. In groups of four, we were brought to different rooms where we were interviewed by the different committee heads and e-board officials regarding why we want to join and what we can bring to the table. My nerves very quickly dissipated as I realized the relaxed, conversational atmosphere the interviews took place in. I feel as though I was able to make a great impression, primarily because I could be myself and speak candidly to the CAB officials.

My goal this year was to get more involved on campus and I am hopeful that becoming a member of CAB will aid me immensely in that pursuit. Let’s hope I hear back soon!

My Valentines

Valentine’s Day was only a short time ago, and you know what that means?! Yup! I’m still single! Which means I had a lot of time to make valentines for my friends in the University Chorale and the Residence Hall Association!

All jokes aside, this Valentine’s Day was pretty good, because I realized that Valentine’s Day is basically reverse Halloween. Yes, that’s right. Think about it. You go to class and the candy comes to you! It’s honestly pretty great. RHA and University Chorale both decided that we would exchange valentines, and being single with candy is better than being single without candy.

I’m a pretty corny guy, so my valentines reflected that. University Chorale is singing Mozart’s “Requiem,” so my valentines for my choir friends read “My life would be a requiem without you,” (get it? Like a wreck, but also the song) and my RHA ones read “U R Really Heckin’ Awesome” (get it? Because really heckin’ awesome starts with ‘RHA’).  Everyone liked my corny jokes so I’m happy with it. Making people smile is one of my favorite things, and this Valentine’s Day I got to make a bunch of people happy, which makes this Valentine’s Day the best one yet.

Valentine’s Day has historically been a bad day for me because I tend to be a pessimistic person (I’m working on being more optimistic, but it’s a process) and I would just be salty or sad because of my relationship status. But once you stop thinking about that and focus on what great things are around you, the darkness goes away, and everything is better. While those little valentines may not have meant the world to any of us, they really did make my day a lot better and reminded me that even on my worst days, I still have a shipful of Captains who love me.

Joining a Florentine Symphony

During my stay here in Florence, Italy I’ve had some amazing opportunities, but by far the coolest experience happened when I stepped into a seemingly ordinary shop on a mundane Tuesday. I heard about a violin maker who rented out instruments and instantly became interested because I wanted to continue preparing for the university’s auditions that would occur in the fall semester. After testing some violins and choosing the instrument I loved most I was approached by the shop owner with something spectacular: the chance to join a Florentine symphony.

The first time I had a real symphony performance occurred last year when the university choir and band joined together for a joyous holiday concert. When I arrived on the following Monday for my first rehearsal with the Florentine symphony I was somewhat confident on what to expect, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was the youngest musician there and the construct of the symphony included brass, woodwinds and a full choir. The sound we created was gigantic! That Sunday we performed in a gothic church that dated back centuries, with acoustics that echoed our symphonies for hours.

Despite some initial differences, I was genuinely surprised at how well I could keep up during rehearsals. I am the only one who speaks english in the Florentine symphony. However, all musical terms are inherently in italian. The countless hours I’ve spent at CNU analyzing our orchestra’s music and discussing musical terms for our desired sound prepared me so well for this experience. Additionally, I kept in mind the components that my professor had instilled with each practice, such as balance and dynamics, when approaching my new environment.

I would’ve never thought that coming here I could end up meeting so many wonderful people and be able to share my love of music with them. I am so honored for this unique opportunity and more importantly feel grateful to the university orchestra which led me to be successful in this endeavor. I can’t wait to return in the fall to perform with my orchestra again and maybe by then they can notice a Florentine flare in my music too.

Atlantic City, Here I Come!

At Christopher Newport, there are over 200 clubs and organizations, which is a lot, considering that there are only 5,000 students here. With each organization comes new opportunities to explore interests, make new friends, and take new adventures. For me, I am a part of six different organizations on campus, all of which are vastly different. For example, I am involved in Green Team, an environmental organization, as well as Hypnotic Control, a hip-hop dance group. It is neat to be involved in many different clubs because I meet all types of people who share similar interests as me.

One of the greatest benefits of being involved in college organizations are the fun and unique opportunities presented with each. This past weekend, I traveled with my brothers in Alpha Kappa Psi, a co-ed business fraternity that focuses on professional development and career networking, to Atlantic City, New Jersey. Alpha Kappa Psi holds an annual leadership conference across the country and our chapter at Christopher Newport chose to travel to the conference held In Harrah’s hotel and casino in Atlantic City (solely because it was closest, not because it was at a casino).

This conference provided a wonderful opportunity to hear from Alpha Kappa Psi alumni who spoke on their experiences in the business world and gave professional advice to current Alpha Kappa Psi brothers. Not only were the sessions very enlightening, but it was interesting to have the chance to meet brothers from across the East Coast. It was also an added bonus that the weekend-long conference was held in a casino because those of age, like myself, had the chance to explore the casino and press our luck at gambling. (Luckly, my wallet only has $20 dollars less than it did before this trip) Overall, this adventure, like many other trips and experiences one can witness through any organization at Christopher Newport, was a wonderful educational experience and brought my brothers closer than we have ever been before!

My New Friends at the CCP

The Center for Career Planning is a resource I never saw myself using as a freshman in college. At the time, I knew I wanted to become a physician’s assistant so I saw no reason to go! Now, as a junior applying to graduate programs, I finally see the value and incredible opportunity that is the Center For Career Planning. While I have used them for personal statement and resume reviews, they also offers assistance from graduate school searches, organizing mock interviews, planning potential career paths and much more! While they can assist with helping you find your potential career path options, this department does so much more.

I was extremely nervous to bring my personal statement to this department and receive feedback for many reasons. However, the individual I worked with was not only competent, but also his witty humor helped immediately put me at ease. When I was rereading my personal statement with him, he asked me difficult questions regarding my motivation and “why.” He helped me see that I was hiding the real reason I feel so passionate about my career path and the health care profession when this essay is supposed to be me revealing this quality. I realized that I wasn’t pushing myself to make myself the most attractive applicant I could.

Since then, I have gone back several times and I feel so lucky to be able to use the scheduling system provided by Christopher Newport which allows me to work consistently with the same individual and establish a strong relationship with this person. I am much more receptive to constructive criticism and am able to use this system in order to work with someone I am more at ease around or even someone I am not depending on the professional guidance I am seeking.

As an only child I sought mentors and guidance as a freshman in clubs, Greek life, and in professional settings. Over time, I have found new and inventive ways to use the numerous opportunities provided for the student body on campus to secure these relationships and provide me with opportunities to help my professional development as a student.


PLPHVD stands for “President’s Leadership Program (and) Honor’s Visit Day,” and these visit days occur about three times per semester. The idea of the program is for upcoming freshmen and prospective students in those programs to get to see what it’s like to be a Captain for a day. First-year students get to apply to have the opportunity to show prospective students around campus and take them to some events and answer questions they may have about college. The prospective student then gets a first-hand experience of residence life and stay overnight with their host. There are receptions that happen, our awesome President Paul Trible speaks to the groups of prospective students, and it is a great time.

I really love the PLPHVD weekends, because it’s really nostalgic for me. I currently work behind the desk in one of the first-year residence halls we use for the visit day, so I get to check in the prospective students and make sure that they are accounted for in our system. Seeing them come in reminds me of when I came to Christopher Newport for my PLP visit day.

My PLP visit day was awesome. I still talk to the guy who was my host, and we are good friends now. We went to see a lip-sync battle in the Freeman Center, ate at the Commons, played Cards Against Humanity with some other hosts and their prospective students, and my host showed me the wondrous phenomenon that is Bob Ross.

When I applied to college, I wish I could have had the knowledge I have now. I applied only to Christopher Newport and no other universities, and I didn’t even visit the campus before applying early decision, which was just objectively a not-smart thing to do. I took a shot in the dark when I applied, but I somehow still hit a bullseye with this university. That weekend I started out not knowing what Christopher Newport was or even what it looked like, and by the end of the weekend, I was thanking the stars that I applied here. I am so happy to be here, and every day I am thankful to be a Captain.

A Beautiful Day to Be Outside

It is that time of year when Virginia weather can’t decide if we should be wearing a puffer jacket and mittens or capris and sandals. At least for the past week or so, it seems like spring has finally arrived, spreading her warmth onto the campus of Christopher Newport. It is always a joyous sight to see half of campus outside, smiling, laying their blankets down on the Great Lawn while studying with friends or just taking in the beautiful weather. While I, myself, am not a Great-Lawn-type-of-person, I cannot pass up the opportunity to spend time outside before the second wave of winter returns.

One of my favorite outdoor experiences over the past week was working on my group project. While group projects in themselves are not the most exciting activity, sitting outside made it pretty enjoyable and somehow made me more productive than usual. I noticed that my entire group was in a much more chipper mood once we sat ourselves outside. This particular group meeting was even more special for me because we didn’t just sit anywhere outside on campus, but on the new, beautiful balcony of the Trible Library.

It was my first time using the Trible Library second-floor balcony that opened this past fall as part of the recent library expansion. Although this may sound funny, something about this specific balcony is so relaxing. I am not sure if it is the classic Christopher Newport columns, the surrounding stone or the nice breeze, but I really enjoyed my time on the new balcony. I know that even when it gets warm outside, toward the end of the semester, it will still be gorgeous on that balcony because the building’s angle and height provides a blanket of shade over most of the balcony in the afternoon. I would like to encourage all current and upcoming Captains to take advantage of the beautiful weather when it occurs, especially after a cold, long winter, because it really can relax your mind.

I’m Taking a Class on GHOSTS!

Every semester, I try to coordinate my classes to all fall within a certain theme, because it’s really nice when one or more classes cover similar topics. Christopher Newport focuses greatly on a liberal arts education, which is inherently interdisciplinary, so my plans to coordinate my semesters usually reveal a lot of other overlaps that I didn’t see coming.

I planned for this to be my electives semester. I am taking an argumentation class for my communication major, cross-cultural leadership for my leadership minor, a general language-major class about critical thinking for different texts in context, and a special topics course in Spanish on how ghosts were used in storytelling to convey the struggle of migrants. In addition, I am in an economics class, a biology lab and the University Chorale, rounding out my 17 credit hours.

Of these classes, my communication, leadership and Spanish courses are not part of the core curriculum, but rather classes that I chose to take to fill elective requirements. My class on ghosts is super interesting, and we have great discussions about our readings and the way that authors describe the Mexican-American border and the culture of the region. We had another professor come in and talk about “crossfade” culture, which is the idea that the U.S. and Mexico share a culture near the border, rather than act completely independently on either side.

My classes at Christopher Newport open my eyes to varying perspectives and give me the opportunity to simultaneously learn from a wide variety of disciplines while also specializing in certain skills. My classes last year focused on the different aspects of rhetoric, last semester was focused on different aspects of communicating, and this semester is about understanding the perspectives of others. I’m excited to find out what’s in store for the rest of the semester!

The Roommate Search

Living in close quarters with several individuals might be a new experience to some, but over time it truly starts to be something you’ll cherish. On campus, the roommate and housing search may seem daunting at first, but after your first experience it’s super easy. The housing lottery is the name of the room and roommate sign up. Though, I can guarantee that unlike any other lottery – everyone wins and finds themselves in wonderful living space.  

Speaking from experience, my first roommates I met freshman year are not the same people I plan to live with this upcoming fall and that’s perfectly OK. As a first-year student the school matched me with roommates who had the same living style preferences and a similar profile. I liked rooming with these individuals a lot and we became good friends. Though, over time we found ourselves wishing to room with others in our different friend groups. Going forward I wanted to also try to incorporate new individuals into my living space, so I used our online housing link to find people who were also looking for people to live with. I was able to select the new friends I had in mind and requested the new individuals I thought we’d be compatible with.

Besides roommates, the housing search is also really important to consider. Once again, first-year students do not have to worry about the housing lottery because the university places each student in a residence hall. It is helpful to not have to worry about the process when everything seems so new. For the other students our names are metaphorically placed in a hat and randomly selected for which time slot we will receive in order to sign up for a specific room. Everyone gets a time to select their desired housing based on their year and include the friends they wish to live with. The reason it’s called a lottery is because your time slot is selected at random, but every year I have been able to get the room I wanted with the people I wished to live with.

I grew up having my own living space, so I was nervous before my first year to begin sharing things I had grown accustomed to solely ruling. Eventually I started to realize the privilege I had when living at home, but also the amazing opportunity I’ve gotten through living with some amazing individuals.

What to Do When There’s Nothing to Do

Christopher Newport never seems to have any shortage of things to do. There are always events posted and advertised in the David Student Union (DSU) and the Campus Activities Board (CAB) does a great job of ensuring that there’s something going on every week. Though, with that said, sometimes there just aren’t any events that grab your interest. However, even then, there’s always something to do at Christopher Newport.

Take a Walk: You notice it as soon as you step foot on campus – we have a beautiful campus. Walking along the Great Lawn, you have an incredible view of Christopher Newport Hall and just to your left you can check out the Whisper Wall and the Bell Tower. Every walk I take on campus, I discover something new I love. The path from the James River residence hall toward Commons looks absolutely beautiful littered in autumn leaves right now, something I never noticed a year ago.

Crow’s Nest: Located in the DSU, this is an area designated for students to hang out and relax. There are game systems, a pool table, vending machines and plenty of seating. Usually, it’s not too crowded, so it’s a great place to gather your friends and have a fun evening at no cost. Every once in awhile my friends and I take a visit and play a few rounds of pool, even though I always lose!

Library: With our newly renovated library, there is never any shortage of space to grab a room, table or seat and study. All the time, I’ll receive a text in a group chat that one of my friends has reserved a study room and he or she will invite us to come join them and hit the books. If you can’t find anything to do, you’re always welcome in the library. Oh, and the architecture is stunning as well, so that’s a plus, too.

There are endless options on our wonderful campus. I love that, no matter what, I can always text a friend to do something and have a great time for no charge.