L’Impromptu de Versailles

Last week, I had callbacks, but I also had an audition for Moliere’s “L’Impromptu de Versailles.” It’s another student-directed play, independent of the director’s showcase, but still a part of Christopher Newport’s Theater Department. Going in to the audition, I honestly didn’t know what the play was about. I knew it was written in classical prose and so prepared a classical prose monologue, but outside of that I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

I went in for my audition, performed my monologue, and the director promptly gave me some sides as well as French lines to recite back to her. That’s when I began to question “wait, is this play in French?” The answer is yes… partially. I asked the director and she informed me that half of the play is in English and the other half is in French. We laughed and I admitted that I was a bit ill-informed. After all, I have absolutely no background in French. She reassured me that this was completely fine and I was given the part of La Grange! So, I am very pleased to announce that I have been given my first part at Christopher Newport. Since then, we’ve spent our rehearsal time researching our characters. The play is based on real people, so we can research not only through the script, but also online. It’s been very interesting delving into La Grange and learning what kind of person he was.

I’ve given quite a few looks at my French lines, but I need to coached a bit more so I can get the pronounciation down correctly. The show is on March 30, so there’s still plenty of time for me to learn everything. This week, we are beginning to work on blocking and memorization as opposed to research. We’re getting into the thick of it and that’s exactly what I want. I am beyond excited to be a part of this amazing opportunity with such a bright and talented cast.

Break a Leg!

If you read one of my recent blogs, you’ll know that I had a pretty bad audition for the Theater Department’s director showcase. Thankfully, the wonderful student directors decided to take a chance on me regardless and I received five callbacks. I was absolutely astounded and excitedly grabbed my sides from the callboard. (Sides are the scenes that an actor is given to familiarize themselves with for their callback audition.)

I looked them all over and quickly became ecstatic over all the thoughtful, interesting characters I was being considered for. I rehearsed my sides and, on Monday around 5, I went to my first callback. The process was simple enough. I was given a scene partner, someone who was called back for the other role in my side, and we rehearsed together for a good five minutes as other pairings went into the audition room. When it was finally our turn, the stage manager called us over and told us “break a leg.” We walked in and performed our side. After our first performance, the director gave us notes on what we could improve and we ran the scene again. All of my other callbacks were pretty much identical to this format!

Callbacks week was extremely hectic for me. I barely had any time to sit around; I was always on the move, whether it was theater, class, homework or just meal plans. Hopefully, this week will be a little slower paced. Though, I’ll be hearing back about callbacks soon and I couldn’t be more excited. I hope I get a role!

One Fear Conquered

Ever since I enrolled at Christopher Newport, there’s only two things I have been dreading. The first one is the mathematics liberal learning foundation and the second is… the economics liberal learning foundation. As a communication and theater major, anything that has to do with equations, numbers or mathematical theories of any sort definitely frightens me. After all, I was born with the gift of gab, not the gift of geometry.

This semester, I finally bit the bullet and signed up for The Economic Way of Thinking. The class is at 7:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and I thought to myself “great, as if I needed more of an incentive to fall asleep.” Though, on the first day, I was pleasantly surprised. My professor had an incredible energy and emphasized how his students were his utmost important priority. As he delved into economics, he didn’t throw theories and numbers at me. Rather, he put a story behind everything. This framing of the subject helped me immensely to better understand the topic at hand because he was putting it into terms I could understand. Furthermore, regarding the homework and classwork, he always tells us that there is no one, single way to get the right answer. Instead, you can choose from an infinite amount of paths to reach your conclusion.

When I learned I had to take economics, I felt trapped. I had no choice in the matter and I was doomed to a boring class that I would most likely find insanely difficult. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In class, I am engaging with the source material and thoroughly enjoying it. My professor is incredibly flexible and understands the plights of the average college student. I’ve visited him during office hours and sent plenty of emails as well. He welcomes my questions and always gives me great advice. I’m happy to say that one of my two academic stressors is taken care of!

More Than Just Bones and Stones

Last week I took a final exam for a class that flew me to Rome, let me explore medieval castles, study the latest fashions,and eat authentic Italian food. The most amazing part is that this course provided me with the necessary credit needed to graduate, all while letting me explore in areas I had not even considered. I learned the beauty within studying cultural anthropology and created memories that will last a lifetime.

It was a week-long intensive class, which meant that at the end I would receive three credits for my anthropology requirement. I saw the colosseum, the Roman forum, explored monster park, tasted Umbria’s finest cuisine and studied a variety of cultural aspects woven into Italy’s being. This was such an astounding opportunity because I could physically see the Medieval, Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance periods all in the buildings around me. Italy has such a deep and rich history, I am so fortunate to be able to study these topics in person as opposed to seeing things from a textbook.

Picture-Perfect Contest

Every year the study abroad office holds an international photo contest, allowing the memories and interactions from adventures abroad to come to life. This contest is open to any student, faculty or staff member who has journeyed abroad recently… which means I can finally partake in submitting my favorite photos! Regardless, before I had always enjoyed looking at the photos that were shared by everyone because they truly captured moments of a lifetime.

I’ve seen amazing photos, from people playing music with children in Germany to students exploring a medieval castle in Scotland. There are also super-creative and sometimes abstract photos. People have done things like take photos of the amazing people they meet while abroad, or find beautiful angles of the architecture surrounding them. This category is my favorite to see, simply because everyone seems to have a unique idea and perspective to share.

Once the photos are in, the voting is ready to take place. There’s a first place and a second place decided by the students on campus, but the coolest one to see is the people’s choice award. Each winner gets a small cash prize, but the main fun is seeing all of the amazing photos. The study abroad office takes the photos that are submitted to them and post them on their facebook page, and whichever photo gets the most likes, wins the people’s choice. I love that they not only get the students involved with the vote, but also ask the community to share which adventure speaks to them the most.

Every picture submitted is priceless because it captures an experience that is so special to its owner. Having this contest allows everyone to partake in witnessing the incredible experience gained. I love seeing this event and I value the tradition behind seeing each adventure displayed, hopefully inspiring the next person to take a leap of faith and journey abroad.

Spring Career Fair

Christopher Newport recently held its bi-annual career fair. This semester was my first time going and I am extremely upset at myself for not going sooner. Essentially, loads of companies send representatives to campus and students are given the opportunity to mingle with them in a professional, yet conversational environment. It was as great experience and I was able to learn a lot.

The companies present are extremely eager to talk to students. In addition, many (if not all) of them come with job and internship opportunities for students. They are willing to take your resume and put you in touch with their hiring departments.

I spoke with several companies and handed my resume to plenty of them. The first of which was Smithfield, a food company. If I’m completely honest, I was drawn to them because they had some insanely cool wares on display. They had a cute pig stress toy, key chains, card holders and the like. The representative I spoke with was very receptive and I quickly lost interest in the knick knacks. We discussed internship opportunities and she asked for my resume. I happily handed it to her!

From there on, I visited a news station which is a career path I am deeply passionate about. I have always been drawn to journalism, but the reps I spoke too widened my perspective to a myriad of opportunities in the industry. I similarly handed them a resume and they handed me an application. The list goes on and on; I left the career fair with all of my resumes given out.

I personally have several graduated friends who found their jobs through the career fair. Knowing this, I was very optimistic when talking to the representatives because I knew that they do seriously consider Christopher Newport students. It was great to see so many people at the fair. It quickly became clear to me that no one is at Christopher Newport simply to goof off. Everyone who is here is seriously committed to professional and academic success. My hope is that I hear back about an internship opportunity soon for the summer soon. Regardless, I’m very grateful I was able to share this experience with my peers!

A Bad Audition

Yesterday was definitely one for the books, but for all the wrong reasons. After my theater class let out, my friend asked if I was auditioning for the directors’ showcase. I told her I wanted to, but that I didn’t know where to do it. She pointed me in the direction of the sign-up sheet and I jotted my name down for a 6:45 p.m. audition. I was really excited and immediately began thinking of which monologue I should do.

I enjoyed lunch with a couple of friends and then took a nap for a few hours. I woke up around 5:30 and it occured to me I wasn’t sure what day my audition was. I figured it must be a few days away at the least, but, of course, I learned it was actually that very same day! I jumped out of bed and started searching for monologues online. I settled on one from the film “Crazy Stupid Love,” but time was already running way too short. I did my best to memorize and felt like I had rough outline of it that I could improv through. It was 6:35 and I hurried over to the Ferguson Center.

The rest of the story is, well, pretty embarrassing. My audition went horribly and I completely botched my monologue. I apologized for being ill-prepared and the directors were very understanding. I told a few self-deprecating jokes and shared a funny story in place of my monologue. I had them laughing, but I think it’s safe to say I won’t be getting any callbacks.

I was feeling pretty mad at myself for not looking at the date sooner as I walked home. I chatted with my housemates and told them about how it went and we laughed about it. Afterwards, I went to my economics class and then ended my night with plenty of friends coming over to hang out at the Greek house. It’s definitely been a long time since I’ve embarrassed myself like that, but you have to take the good days with the bad. Hanging out with my friends made me feel a lot better and I’m grateful that Christopher Newport keeps me busy enough so that I don’t dwell on the embarrassing moments like that audition!

100 Days ’til the Tassel Turns

The countdown is on ‘til I am seated on the Great Lawn facing the beautiful Christopher Newport Hall, moments away from graduation. It’s almost time for me to drop the penny I received after signing the honor code my freshman year, into the Geese Fountain and ring the clock tower bell. It’s almost time to shake President Paul Trible’s hand, recieve my diploma and turn my tassel over, as I am progressing from student to graduate. On May 11, 2019, I will become a proud graduate of Christopher Newport University.

To celebrate our achievements thus far at Christopher Newport as we near graduation in a few short months, the Christopher Newport Student Alumni Society and the Office of Alumni Relations threw a celebration for the Class of 2019. The event was Mardi Gras-themed and held in the DSU Ballroom. A great dessert bar with tons of chocolate treats (a personal weakness of mine) greeted my roommates and I as we walked through the door. There was ice cream at the dessert bar, too!  Everyone of age also received a complimentary beverage that was really tasty. The ballroom itself was filled with Mardi Gras decorations and the wonderful sound of the live band playing their music as students danced the night away.

It is funny because I was honestly expecting the dessert bar to be the highlight of the event, the part of the night that I was looking most forward too, but it was actually spending the night with my class that was very special. It was great seeing friendly faces surrounding me and having the opportunity to catch up with all of my friends that I have known since freshman year at Christopher Newport. The 100 Days ‘til the Tassel Turns was definitely a celebration to remember!

Genogram Project

If you don’t know what a genogram is, that’s OK. I didn’t either before 9:30 this morning. Basically, a genogram is a more complicated family tree that emphasizes relational aspects of familial connections as opposed to just names and dates. We discussed it in my Family Communications class and our homework for the next few weeks is, unsurprisingly, to construct one of our own.

At first, I thought it would be pretty easy. I mean, how complicated could a family tree really be with just a few added elements? The answer is pretty complicated. We took a look at our professor’s genogram and it very quickly took up the entire white board. It’s a tricky assignment and one that will absolutely require more than a few hours of my time. He begged us to not wait until the last minute and I definitely don’t plan to. My family has an account with ancestry, so I’ll be contacting my parents to get access to that. It’s going to be a lot of fun researching my family history because there’s plenty I don’t know. I thoroughly enjoy hands on activities like these. My professor also mentioned that while it’s going to be the most labor-intensive part of our class, it’s also going to be the most rewarding.

I love that we don’t just sit around and learn theories all day. We actually apply them to ourselves and our relationships. We’ve spent the last four weeks learning about familial structure and dynamics, and now we finally get the chance to use that knowledge. I’m going to call my parents sometime soon and get the ball rolling on this!

Free Fitness Classes

After being told I could no longer play contact sports post-concussion in my sophomore year of college, I lost a huge part of my identity. Exercising through soccer and intramural sports were hallmarks of my college experience, and I felt completely insecure in my fitness journey from then on. While I could go to the gym and stay somewhat active, I wanted a sense of community similar to participating in a team sport.

Finally, I caved and decided to try one of the Freeman Center’s free Friday fitness classes. The first I tried was “Mindfulness and Yoga” and now that it has come back in rotation I have found myself reflecting on my fitness journey so far. I now am active in the pilates and yoga courses offered on campus and have found that sense of “team” that I thought was forever lost to me.

Being able to have classes offered around my classes has allowed me to stay active and hold myself accountable in college! I’m not scared to try new classes and doing something completely out of my comfort zone anymore. From T.A.B.S to Zumba, I am amazed by the variety of classes, times and instructors the Freeman Center has organized for our campus and can’t wait to see what else they come up with!