Unconventional Study Spots

Christopher Newport is an awesome place, and all of our buildings are so pretty and conducive to learning. I have spent my fair share of time studying in the library like everyone else, but sometimes I like doing my homework outside, or at least in a new environment. Here is a list of some of my favorite places on campus to do homework, other than the library, my room or a classroom.

Christopher Newport Hall Fountain

There is a little open-air fountain area behind Christopher Newport Hall, and it is one of my favorite places to sit to do homework or read when it’s warm outside. There are some rocking chairs and it is a really peaceful place on campus, and the noise of the fountain is so calming.

Pope Chapel

When I came to this university, I was hesitant to go to the Pope Chapel because I am not religious. However, through my involvement in the University Chorale, I have grown to love the Pope Chapel, and it is an awesome place to relax. I especially appreciate how inclusive it is.

Great Lawn

Whenever it’s warmer than about 50 degrees on our campus, just about everyone is on the Great Lawn studying, napping, sunbathing, playing frisbee and most importantly playing with doggos. Sometimes I avoid the Great Lawn when I need to be productive because there’s a lot of fun albeit distracting things going on out there.

Ferguson Center “secret garden”

I absolutely love the “secret garden.” Although, it’s not really a secret; it’s just a little bit of a walk. In the Ferguson Center, there is a little open-air space that we students have labeled the “secret garden,” and it is literally the most serene place on campus. I definitely recommend going there at least once during your time at Christopher Newport.  

The dining halls

Yeah, that’s right. I study in the dining halls sometimes. Unlimited food is a great incentive to study, what can I say?

Advising Time!

It’s advising time! That means it’s time for underclassmen to meet with their core advisers and make a strategy for their classes next semester. Meanwhile, upperclassmen get to meet with their major advisers to figure out the best track to go on to graduate on time. I was just assigned to my major advisers and they are really nice people who have helped me figure out what I’m doing with my next two years.

In your first year and a half at Christopher Newport, your core adviser is not necessarily going to be a professor who teaches a subject that you are interested in, but rather is concerned with helping you figure out how to navigate your first year and successfully complete your liberal learning requirements and transition into your major.

When you declare your major in the middle of your second year, you get assigned a major adviser, who is a professor in your major who can help guide you through the major requirements and help you with anything you may need in relation to your area of study, maybe grad school or even just general life advice.

Since I am a double major in Spanish and communication, I have two major advisers, and they are both awesome. They both were really helpful to me in preparing me for my next two years and assuring me that I will graduate on time, and figuring out the rest of my four-year plan. I’m really glad that we get the opportunity to work with professors and build such great relationships with them, and I’m super pumped now that I have a clear idea of where I am heading for the rest of my college career!

My Passion for Relay

There is something so rewarding about doing good for others, in ways that are unexplainable. I have been volunteering with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life for around 10 years. Relay for Life is a fundraiser in which the community comes together to celebrate those who have beat cancer and to honor those who lost their battle with the terrible disease. The money raised at the relay event and donated online throughout the year is sent to the American Cancer Society to provide cancer patients rides to hospitals and lodging and to fund groundbreaking research to find the cure to cancer.

I remember during the club fair of my freshman year at Christopher Newport, I was very unsure of where I would fit in. A lot of organizations sounded interesting, but I was too timid at the time to approach their tables. That all changed when I came across the Colleges Against Cancer table, where I knew I belonged. It was amazing to me that I could continue my fight against cancer at Christopher Newport, since I have been so passionate about the cause for many years prior.

Four years have passed, and I have just finished my last Relay for Life event at Christopher Newport. As a general Colleges Against Cancer member for two years followed by two years as the VP of marketing, I have put a lot of my time into making the Relay for Life fundraiser on campus successful. It is outstanding that Colleges Against Cancer and all of the participating Captains and college organizations were successfully able to surpass both the American Cancer Society’s goal and our organization’s own fundraising goal.

At the start of the year, we were determined to raise $60,000. Hours before the actual Relay for Life event, we already met our goal! By the end of the 12-hour fundraising event, Relay for Life of CNU has raised over $65,000 for the American Cancer Society, and this total is continuing to grow. My last Relay at Christopher Newport is one that I will never forget and has encouraged me to continue my passion to fight against cancer for years to come.

Our Farmers Market

My favorite day of the week, without a doubt, is Thursday. Not only does it bring me one step closer to the weekend, but Thursdays during spring and fall at Christopher Newport are for the farmers market! Around midday I can always expect to see a trail of vendors begin to make their way through our campus and prepare for the fun that is bound to commence.

Firstly, the music has to be my favorite part of the entire experience. Each week a series of our students are able to showcase their talents and serenade everyone while they browse around the market. Usually I’ll attend with a group of my friends and we’ll just sit and listen to live music while we socialize. It’s really awesome if you need some relaxing time, but also a fun way to study outside with some great tunes.

Along with the fresh air, aromas from the delicious food vendors make for a wonderful afternoon. Whether it’s freshly baked cupcakes, homemade chips or a decadent grilled cheese, there’s always good food to satisfy a mid-afternoon craving. In the warmer months, I always keep an eye out for the Pelican’s SnoBalls station; my favorite flavors of ice are cherry and blue rasberry. I also spend my time looking for beautiful handcrafted gifts while I’m at the market. Just last year I bought a gorgeous hand-painted canvas for one of my friend’s birthdays.

Visiting each week never gets dull because I find something new to love about the whole experience. Regardless of my busy schedule I always make time to visit the market because I enjoy the way it brings the community together. Thursdays will forever remind me of laughter, good food and good friends.

First CAB Meeting

I feel like I write about CAB (Campus Activities Board) more than anything else, but that’s because I’m just so excited about being a part of it. The other day, I met with the other members of the leisure committee for our first official meeting and it went over very well! This organization is so dynamic and engaging; seeing the gears turn from the inside was incredibly fascinating.

We began by introducing ourselves and playing an ice breaker, but quickly thereafter we got down to business. Our committee head gave us the rundown on the typical goings-on of the leisure committee, what our responsibilities are and how we’ll function moving forward. After all the introductory things were through, we started brainstorming ideas. Being that it was the first meeting, everyone was teeming with creativity and ideas for the coming year. We definitely want to bring back bingo and build-a-bear (two of my favorites), but there was also a lot of talk of new events. These included flower pot painting, petting zoos and off campus events. A larger objective we had was to ensure that each event truly is an event as opposed to a thing people just stop by at for 30 minutes. We think we can accomplish that goal through adding more decoration, music and better our engagement with those who attend.

I’m so excited to be a part of this organization. So much effort and thought goes into each CAB function and, now that I’m on the inside, I can finally understand exactly how hard everyone works. Every club, group and organization at Christopher Newport cares so much about the student body and the more I get involved, the more I discover the passion my fellow Captains and I share.

How’s Housing?

Freshman housing is a rite of passage. Being doubled with a roommate and having suitemates is something almost every Christopher Newport student has done. Some rooms, such as in Potomac River North, have a large common room to connect the suites while others are more traditional and are just connected by a bathroom. Your housing is what makes Christopher Newport your new home. It can take some time to adjust, but the memories you’ll create during your first year with your roommates are priceless and will be a highlight of your college career. Our freshmen dorms alone are ranked as some of the best in Virginia and the nation, but if you’d rather live in a single – don’t fret.

Upperclassmen housing at Christopher Newport is absolutely phenomenal. Typically, only seniors live off campus and, even then, many elect to stay on campus anyway because of how comfortable and spacious the apartments are. On East Campus, each apartment-style dorm has either two, three, or four single bedrooms connected by a common room and kitchen, as well as a personal bathroom in each bedroom. (Some even have walk-in closets!) The housing lottery was today and my friends and I all received apartments on East which we are extremely excited about. Personally, I’ll be living with one of my close friends in a two-person suite in Jefferson. I mean, what more could you ask for in a place?

There’s always something new to look forward to with each year at Christopher Newport. I’ve loved every single one of my housing situations thus far – from Potomac River North, to the Greek house and now East Campus, it’s so easy to be able to call this campus my home. Of course, we’re all here to learn and that comes first, but having a home to come back to at night as opposed to just a room makes it so much easier to enjoy our time at Christopher Newport.

Bulletin Boards, Knocks and Talks, Oh My!

With great opportunities come great responsibilities. I’m an RA now, and I’m so excited! Since I came in close to the end of the year though, I have a lot to catch up on, but there’s no need to worry because they hired the right one! I am working with first-year students, so right now I’m helping them navigate the housing lottery and preparing them for registration. In order to effectively do this, there are a bunch of different ways we RAs present the information, most notably bulletin boards, knock and talks, and community connections to make sure that everyone is having the best year they can have.

The theme for our upcoming bulletin board is class registration and closing out the year. Our bulletin boards are located strategically on the halls so that residents can see them easily. We try to make the bulletin boards artsy but also informing, so we add a mix of pictures and text to make the boards appealing to the eye. While we are totally prepared to answer questions, we try to make the boards as clear and self-explanatory as possible so that if we aren’t available for some reason, residents can always check out the bulletin boards.

Knock and talks are little chit-chats that we have with residents, where we talk about life and make sure that they are doing OK. I’m excited to go around next week for knock and talks because then I get to get better acquainted with my residents! I’ll be asking them things like what their majors are, where they’re from, what they like to do, and then I need to make sure that they are getting through their first year all right and have a plan for housing next year.

I’ll be writing a blog sometime later about my community connection, but the point of a community connection is to bring the hall together, have fun and also present the information in a more enjoyable way. I plan to have a “Mario Kart” tournament with my hall and in order to participate, they will have to show me their plan for registration, and at the event, we will have food and snacks and we can discuss what the transition to being a sophomore is like.

Sometimes RAs get bad reps because we have to enforce policy, but we do so much more than that. I’m definitely not excited to have to enforce policy, but I’m super excited to build relationships with my residents and help them navigate the testy waters of their first year!

A Couch is a Home

The couch my roommates and I share holds a lot of memories that are near and dear to us. It was purchased earlier in the semester off craigslist. And yes, that might not sound like the most reputable site to buy a couch from, but, as broke college students, we simply had no choice. Nonetheless, we picked it up without a hitch. Truth be told, the thing was a beaut. It was a huge couch, separated into two parts, forming an ‘L’ shape. We lugged, pushed and pulled it into our room and when it was all said and done – we sat.

In fact, we sat quite a bit. We laid down, slept, stood, stomped jumped and did an infinite amount of other things on that couch. It wasn’t just us either. At this point, I’m sure over 100 people have plopped down to take a seat on that couch. Friends, family, project partners, acquaintances, girlfriends, ex-girlfriends RAs and everyone in between has spent some time on that couch at one point or another. Of course, we haven’t kept it  in mint condition. With so many people coming and going, we’ve spilled food and drinks plenty of times. Though, it’s not just stains that have been added to the couch. Throw blankets and pillows have been gifted to us and now they call the couch their home, accenting the furniture piece with an eclectic flare. It’s an amalgamation of everyone who has ever sat on it and the culmination of all of our relationships at Christopher Newport. In fact, frankly, it’s no longer our couch. It’s everyone’s couch because without everyone, the couch would have never realized its full potential – a beacon of social interaction.

I would go over all the memories we’ve had on the couch, but I’m sure that’d take me, well, about a year, which is the amount of time we’ve had the couch. I’d ask that you take some time to think about your couch at home and all the memories it holds. Not only for you, but for everyone who has ever spent time on it. It’s really quite amazing. We’re having some friends over tonight and you can bet we’ll pile onto the couch, overflowing onto the armrests because no matter how big your couch is, it’s never big enough. If you come to Christopher Newport, you’ll have a couch too. You’ll also have a lot of other couches, because each of your friends will have their own couch as well. Christopher Newport is a place to connect with people and create lasting bonds and memories that will endure for a lifetime. This is a place you can call home.

Do Tour Guides Tell the Truth?

When you visit our campus, the tour guides (officially called student ambassadors) say a lot of great stuff, as does every tour guide for every college around the world. With so many colleges to choose from, when I was a prospective student, I wondered who was telling the truth. Which university truly had the best community and resources? Where would I fit in the best?

What drew me to Christopher Newport was the promise of a close, friendly student body and faculty that would hold me accountable and lead me to success. I didn’t want to be lost in a crowd. I wanted to truly immerse myself in the college experience through meaningful relationships and experiences. During my tour, that was promised to me by my student ambassadors and they did not lead me astray. Even the minute details mentioned in passing, such as the door holding, avoiding the “unlucky” spot outside of Santoro Hall, and much more are all very real traditions that we cherish everyday (even if the unlucky spot is a bit silly).

One major point that my student ambassadors made to me was that, due to small classes sizes and caring professors, your professor will notice if you’re not in class. I am happy to report that this is 100 percent accurate and my economics professor is a perfect example. If I ever miss class and don’t have to time to send an email, I can rest assured that during our next meeting he’ll ask me if everything is OK. He’s extremely conversational and charismatic so we always have a laugh about whatever had come up that led me to miss class. He isn’t overbearing at all; he simply cares about his students.

Everything my student ambassadors told me on my tour was completely true, and I’m so glad it was. Those students are chosen to represent our school because of their passion and love for it. After almost two years, I can definitely feel the same passion and love for Christopher Newport.

St. Patrick’s Day at CNU

Our school colors might be blue and white, but they definitely weren’t over St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was repping green. Even the food was green for the theme meal in the dining halls! Honestly, I’ve never done anything special in the past to celebrate the holiday, but this year my friends were especially excited about it so I knew we’d be coming up with something to do.

My weekend started out with one of my friends bringing a dozen donuts to my apartment, all of which were dyed green. As quickly as they appeared, they were eaten up. Even though the theme meal was on Friday, people were dressed in green all weekend. Everytime I made a trip to the dining hall, it may as well have been the theme meal again because it was a sea of green (myself included). The rest of my Saturday was spent with friends. We played video games, experimented with some Irish music, and laughed a whole lot.

There’s never any shortage of spirit on Christopher Newport’s campus. Our community is always so eager to join the new craze and share in a collective movement of some kind. St. Patrick’s Day might be a bit of a trivial example of that, but I think it perfectly encapsulates how enthusiastic we can get. We do pride ourselves on our academic excellence as Captains, but we also love to have fun.