The Newest Addition to CAB

The other day, I heard back regarding my CAB (Campus Activities Board) application. I’m very excited to say that I was accepted into the organization! I’ve been put on the leisure committee, which was my first choice.

The leisure committee is typically in charge of the weekly CAB events. These can include things like bingo, movie nights, build-a-bear and plenty more. We have our first meeting coming up and I’m sure we’ll go over new ideas for the semester.  I’ve already got a couple brewing, possibly food related (after all, who doesn’t love free food). Whatever rough ideas we throw out there, it’ll be a very engaging process as we bring them to life for the Christopher Newport community. Our first event will be after spring break, so we all have time to collect our thoughts and come prepared with concrete plans, as well as vague outlines for what we might be interested in tackling this semester!

CAB is great training for a professional setting wherein lots of different ideas flow and are pursued. I’ve been a member of lots of different organizations (sports teams, writing staffs, service and recreational clubs, etc.), but I’m particularly excited for how CAB will prepare me for the future. I know that the practical and creative skills that I’ll walk away with from this opportunity will serve me for the rest of my life. I first was interested in joining simply because of how fun the events were, so I wanted to be a part of creating them for other people. Now, I also see the gears that are constantly turning and all the work that goes into each event. This is definitely going to be a time commitment, but that’s exactly what I wanted so I can be more involved on campus!

BusX

I had the amazing opportunity to attend the second annual Business Exchange Conference (BusX) this month. BusX is a conference unique to Christopher Newport and the Luter School of Business in which top business leaders come to campus to share their insight on a large variety of business-related topics. Not only did I gain a greater understanding of different functional areas in business, but I was excused from all my classes for the day! Bonus! The Luter School of Business classes were canceled the day of the conference so that all business students had ample opportunity to attend the all-day conference.

The event began a day early for select students who registered to be a student ambassador, like myself, with a networking hour and dinner. As an ambassador, I was to ensure that the business executive that I was assigned was comfortable and knew how to navigate campus. I am thrilled to have met Sara Huddleston, the director of human resources at Johnson Lambert LLC in North Carolina, through this ambassador opportunity. Sara was an extraordinarily kind lady and it was interesting hearing her insight on different business concerns. Sara and I ate BusX dinner together with a few of my friends who were also invited, and it was a great time! Not only was the food tasty (especially the cheesecake), but we were also greeted with an inspirational speech from the dinner’s keynote speaker, Brenda Snow, founder and CEO of Snow Companies in Williamsburg.

As for the conference itself, I learned a lot of information from attending the five sessions that I chose to attend. My three favorites were: Talking Your Way to Better Pay, Work / Life Balance and Sara’s session, Thriving in a Generational Diverse Workplace. It was beneficial that there were many business executives leading each session so that you can hear a wide array of stories from different perspectives. With the three free meals, the free (and extraordinarily nice) padfolio, and the free insights that I received from professional business leaders, I would say that the second annual BusX was a success and I cannot wait for future business students to attend!

My First and Last Signing Day

At Christopher Newport, traditions are a big deal on our campus and it’s why we’re so close as a community. What may sound like silly ideas (like ringing a bell or keeping a penny) are actually incredibly meaningful to us Captains. In that vein, signing day is a tradition where sophomore formally sign for their major and it’s a very special experience.

Freshmen cannot officially declare their major at Christopher Newport – you have to wait until your sophomore year. This is so you can take time to explore the different programs on our campus and discover what you truly like and dislike. If you’re impatient like me, it might be difficult! Though, I can personally attest that it’s for the best. Originally, I came to Christopher Newport to be a communication major and nothing else. This was a difficult decision for me because I always wanted to study something in the entertainment field, but I told myself I should be “practical.” Well, after taking a few theater introductory courses I realized that it’d be a huge mistake to not pursue this passion. So, at signing day, I declared a double major for both communication and theater (directing and dramatic literature concentration).

At signing day, we all dress in professional attire and literally sign for our major(s) at the designated booths for each department. There are refreshments provided and plenty of room to mingle and take pictures with your friends. Each department also gives a commemorative button for you to pin on your backpack or clothes and it’s another memento that students hold dear for their entire time at Christopher Newport. Now that the Class of 2021 has officially chosen their majors, we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Phew!

Casting Call Update

A few blogs back, I wrote about a pretty awful audition in which I totally forgot my monologue! Though, thankfully, I was still given some callbacks after I instead shared a funny story in its place. Well, this week, the verdict finally came in. I got casted! In addition, rehearsals for “L’Impromptu de Versailles” are well underway and going fabulously.

I’ve been casted as Guildenstern in “Rosencratz and Guildenstern are Dead” (a tad morbid, but an exciting role nonetheless). The cast will have its first table read next week and I am beyond ready to get started. During callbacks, Guildenstern was the main role I auditioned for that I walked away from really hoping I’d get. I was interested in all of them, but this one was especially in my wheelhouse. The play is absolutely hilarious and I can’t wait to bring it to life. In addition, “L’Impromptu de Versailles” is going very well, with our Friday rehearsal finalizing the play’s entire blocking. I still have a long way to go in perfecting my French, but I know I’ll get it down within the coming weeks.

As a second semester sophomore, I was worried I would struggle to find my footing in the Theater Department at Christopher Newport. I have been completely blown away by how welcoming the community is and how easily I am beginning to integrate myself within it. These two productions are such amazing opportunities, and I can’t think of any other way I’d rather spend my time.

Volleyball Dreams

My favorite activities incorporate ways to remain active while having fun. On campus I stay fit by visiting the gym a couple times a week and going for hikes on the Noland Trail during the weekend, but lately I’ve missed the camaraderie felt when belonging to a team. Nostalgia has led me to consider playing volleyball in an intramural setting with some of my closest friends.

The only major obstacle to this is that I’ve never actually played volleyball in a serious setting before. In high school, I used to play volleyball in gym class and during the summers it would be our beach time tradition. My hesitation was therefore understandable when my close friend asked me to join her intramural team for next year.

Looking more closely at the intramural teams on campus I realized that the competition level is subjective. Some teams are composed of highly experienced individuals who are looking to craft their skills, whereas other teams are more concerned about the amount of fun the experience is granting them. At the end of the day, everyone is competing to win the intramural champion T-shirt, but the real value comes from the memories and laughter you make throughout the process.

Rotunda Concert Series: Round 2

I recently had my second experience singing with the University Chorale at the library rotunda concert series. Once per semester, we give our fellow Captains a small taste of what to expect at our next concert, and it always goes really well! Our university President Paul Trible always comes out to see us perform, and talks with us afterward, thanking us for a great performance.

This time around we sang parts of Mozart’s “Requiem,” which was his last work, and is about an hour and a half long, divided into many movements. The song was commissioned by a mysterious figure dressed in all black with a mask, and it was to be a mourning piece for the dead. Mozart worked very hard on this piece, however, near the 40th page of this piece, he died.

We didn’t sing the whole hour and a half of the work for this concert, instead, just three movements: “Dies Irae,” “Rex Tremendae,” and “Lacrimosa,” which each uniquely evoke different emotions. “Dies Irae” translates to “Day of Wrath” from Latin, and this movement evokes a sense of fear and urgency. “Rex Tremendae” or “Tremendous King” is triumphant, actings as an allegory for superiority and royalty. “Lacrimosa” is a complete 180-degree turn, as it translates to “Tearful” and is encompassed by feelings of grief and sadness.

Although the music was somewhat sad, the performance was great, and we even got to perform for a group of high school students participating in the “Music Major for a Day” program. The rotunda concert series is a really fun way to show off what the University Chorale is all about, and it makes me really proud to be a part of such an amazing music ensemble.

No One Studies Alone

Every semester it’s the same thing, midterms and finals. I wish I could say I’ve gotten used to it, but honestly every time they come around my heart gets just a little heavy. Thankfully, I don’t have to go through it alone and the rest of campus is right there with me. I wouldn’t say I’m someone who gets stressed easily – I’d more so describe the feeling as annoyed, annoyed that I have to take a test.

Right now, it’s midterm season and the library is full of students studying for their respective classes. Though, what I like about our library is no one is ever sitting alone. Everyone is always in a group, chatting and working. Whether they’re in the main area or in private study rooms, people are together and helping one another out. We definitely bond over our collective stress and that makes this time of year so much easier to handle. My rhetoric exam was definitely the worst this time around, but thankfully I have plenty of friends in that class to help me.

My peers and I all worked on a study guide together and spent a night in the library pouring over it. The format for the exam requires detailed explanations of seven random terms from a list of about 40 or so. There were so many terms we had to learn that we thought it would be impossible, but after a few hours of grinding we had a rough outline in our minds for every term. When we actually took the exam and discussed it afterwards, we all were pleasantly surprised with how easy it was. (Shocker: studying helps you pass.)

As I said before, I get pretty annoyed during midterms/finals because I hate to study and there’s never any breaks. Thankfully, at Christopher Newport we hold one another accountable and the bonds we make with one another go a long ways in ensuring our academic success. I only have one midterm left, so let’s hope I can finish strong before spring break!

Roommate Mixer

The goal of the Residence Hall Association is to help all of Captains who live on campus have a better residence life experience. Many first-year students panic around this time because the person who they thought they would room with next year either turns out to not be the best fit for them, maybe they grow apart, or for any number of reasons just decide that it’s best for them to not room together next year. Cue RHA.

Every year, we host a roommate mixer event, where we invite anyone on campus who doesn’t have a clear indication of who they will live with for the next year to come mingle with other people who need roommates and just make connections. We let upperclassmen mingle with each other and lead their own conversations, but for first-year students, we are a bit more hands-on. For them, it’s more like speed dating, and after they have introduced themselves to everyone, they get to mingle and chat for a while.

My roommate went to the roommate mixer and found a new group of friends, and I’m really happy for him. We are still great friends and this year rooming with him has been pretty enjoyable. The only reason I suggested that he go is that I am (most likely) going to be a resident assistant next year, which means that I will get a room to myself, so he needs someone to room with. It’s cool to see how the RHA events that I participate in benefit my friends and help them make even more friends! Next stop for RHA is our s’mores event coming up soon!

Oklahoma!

I was really excited to get out of bed this morning because I had a ticket to see the Theater Department’s rendition of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, “Oklahoma!” Even though it’s one of the most revered and popular musicals of all time, I actually hadn’t even heard the cast recording before. So, when I headed to the Ferguson Center today I could hardly wait to find my seat.

The set was absolutely beautiful and incredibly imaginative. Aside from the backdrop and physical prop buildings, there were also several scattered panels hanging down that assembled an eclectic, artistic view of the Oklahoma countryside. The lighting also really aided in telling a visual story, with lots of mood lighting to elect certain feelings from the audience. This is all to say nothing of the performances and orchestration, which were equally amazing. The leads offered incredibly commanding and captivating performances which were complimented by the very enthusiastic ensemble. The cast clearly had a very developed rapport, and it was obvious they all had a lot of fun bringing this production to life.

I’ve never been disappointed by a performance at Christopher Newport. Even though we have a smaller Theater Department than some larger schools, that definitely doesn’t mean we’re any lesser. Every aspect of our theater program has the proper attention and expertise afforded to it  and it shows with the success of every production. I’m listening to the “Oklahoma!” cast recording now, I can’t get enough!

Going Greek?

So when I came to college, I specifically told myself I would never, ever join a Greek organization. My knowledge of them at the time (AKA: what I’ve seen in movies) was pretty limited but I figured that’s all I needed to know that it wasn’t for me. I’m not one for big parties and doing crazy things, so the idea of joining a fraternity made me feel weird.

With that being said, I am joining two Greek organizations this semester. I can explain.

Something I learned since coming to college is that there are different types of Greek organizations, and none of them are like the movie depictions. There are social, academic, service, arts and many other kinds of Greek organizations. I have friends in all sorts of Greek organizations, and I’ve learned to not be so judgemental about Greek life because these organizations offer a lot of professional development, networking and social opportunities for growth.

The two organizations I am joining this semester are both academic Greek organizations, so don’t worry, I’m not quite in my panic zone. Lambda Pi Eta is the communication national honor society, and Sigma Delta Pi is the Spanish national honor society. These organizations are going to be really great to have on my resume and will expand my social circle by a lot.

If there’s one thing you can learn from this, don’t judge things based on the way that a movie portrays it. Make your own decisions once you get there. I’m still pretty sure that a social Greek organization isn’t a good fit for me, but I found my way around it. Since coming to Christopher Newport, I’ve been exposed to so many new things, people and ideas, and it’s really great to be in a place that can challenge my beliefs and ideas the way this university has.