Remember when your parents, high school teachers and guidance counselors would assure to you that college would be the best four years of your life? It was hard for me to believe then, as I assumed that college would be more stressful than it would be exciting. Now as a soon-to-be graduate, it is my turn to be the adult guaranteeing to younger students how wonderful college really is.
It seems like just yesterday my parents took a day off in the middle of the week to tour a school called Christopher Newport University with me. I have never heard of the school before, but had high expectations because it was the first campus I ever toured. Four years later, here I am witnessing our tour guides showing a new group of incoming freshman around our beautiful campus and wishing that I could do this whole experience all over again.
The past four years of my life have been more challenging, straining and thought-provoking than I could have planned for. However, the past four years have also been the most memorable and the most rewarding part of my life. I came into college with an undeclared major and relied on the liberal learning curriculum at Christopher Newport to help me find my way. And it did! I fell in love with business marketing and am so grateful to be earning my bachelors of science in business administration from CNU.
My knowledge has greatly developed from the high-level of education provided by our caring professors. Aside from schooling, I became involved in four organizations, a business fraternity and two honor societies whom all welcomed me and became part of my family here at Christopher Newport. I have met so many wonderful friends here and (to my surprise) became close with many of my professors and the friendly staff who say “good morning” or “have a nice day” to me each time I pass by. The Christopher Newport community is so supportive and close-knit, and I could not ask for a better school to call my alma mater. I am proud to say that I am a Christopher Newport Captain and soon-to-be alumna for life!
Here at Christopher Newport, there is no shortage of competitive spirit. It is what motivates all of us Captains to try our best every day and what drives us to achieve great things. I have seen this competitive spirit not only in the classroom and on the field, but also in various other activities as well. One of my favorite competitions on campus is the sisters of Gamma Phi Beta’s annual Best Dance Crew, where Captains prove they know how to boogie.
Best Dance Crew gives the opportunity for sororities and fraternities on campus to choreograph a dance routine and perform it in front of a large audience. Each team has to make their song mashup and outfits/props correspond to a theme of their choosing. For example, this past year the sisters of Alpha Delta Pi danced to all Beyonce songs and Alpha Phi brought in balloons to set the scene for a birthday celebration party.
Coming from someone who dances, it is really neat to see all of the well thought out choreography and routines all of the organizations create. Some are cheerful, fun routines while some are more robotic or hard rock. Having a large mix of dance styles really makes the event all that more entertaining to see what each group has to offer.
One of the greatest parts about Best Dance Crew is that the purpose of the competition is not only to see which sorority or fraternity dances the best, but to see which team can raise the most amount of money by the end of the night. The week prior to Best Dance Crew, all competing teams campaign to see who can receive the most donations. All of the donations and the ticket sales profits go to Gamma Phi Beta’s philanthropy, Girls on the Run and the Gamma Phi Beta Foundation. Girls on the Run is a great organization to teach young girls how to embrace confidence and inspire them to live a joyful, healthy life. I love seeing all my fellow Captains battle it out at Best Dance Crew each year to see who can raise the most amount of money for a wonderful organization.
Last semester I got an email from the Art Department asking for advanced-level graphic design students to participate in the first-of-its-kind Graphic Design Independent Study. And because of my passion for art and design, I registered right away! Essentially, I, as a graphic design student, am the designer for all of the illustrations and visuals that the senior-level chemistry students need for their senior project. Instead of relying on blurry pictures pulled from Google Images for their presentations and posters, I am able to create graphics tailored for each of my chemistry “clients’” specific needs. It has been a really neat opportunity that I am glad I did not pass up!
I was assigned to work with three chemistry students for the duration of the semester. I was to meet with these students to figure out what their project is on (most of which was difficult for someone non-science minded to understand) and how I can help them create the exact visuals they need for their project presentation. At the end of this semester, each chemistry student is to complete a scientific paper with my visual illustrations. My illustrations are also necessary for their PowerPoint presentation at Paideia. Paideia is an event where students from all different majors have the opportunity to present on a topic of interest, with help from faculty mentors, in front of an audience of professors, students and other interested individuals.
This course was challenging and time-consuming but also extraordinarily rewarding. Because the course is an independent study, that means that there is no set class time to meet with my professor. This also means that all of the work is to be completed on time per my own schedule. The independent study taught me how to better manage my time, as well as how to rely more on myself to complete projects.
In support of my clients, I attended all three of their Paideia presentations. It was nice to see how their chemistry work and my design work all came together in the end. On top of being praised by my chemistry clients both throughout the semester and in their presentations, three of my designs were printed on a poster and displayed in the library for the entire school to see! The Graphic Design Independent Study was simply a trial run and I would claim that it was a huge success!
It was just last year that I was sitting in my Organizational Behavior class, taking notes on Dr. McMahon’s presentation, when I heard a loud ringing down the hallway. The ringing sounded like it was coming from a cowbell. In fact, it was the sound of a cowbell! In comes Abby Brooks, the faculty adviser for Beta Gamma Sigma, and a few other adults dressed in blue and gold robes, interrupting our class for an important announcement. That announcement was for me! That afternoon I was tapped and invited into the Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society at Christopher Newport. What an honor!
A few short months later was my initiation ceremony into the prestigious honor society. I was sitting in a room with a of my few peers anxiously awaiting for my name to be called. At that ceremony, I shook hands with Dr. George Ebbs, the dean of the Luter School of Business, and recieved my honorary lapel pin, graduation stole, and a certificate signifying my acceptance into the honor society. To make the day even more special, my mom, dad and sister came to celebrate my achievements with me.
This year, it was vastly different to be on the other side of the initiation ceremony. Now as the VP of membership and public relations for the Christopher Newport chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma, I became the smiling face that welcomed and congratulated all new members into the society. It was an amazing experience to be one of the few individuals applauding the new members, just as the previous elected officials did for me during my ceremony. Being a part of such a special and intimate celebration in honor of my amazingly talented peers, many of which I am close friends with, was as special for the new Beta Gamma Sigma members as it was for me.
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.
There are many reasons why I chose Christopher Newport to be my home-away home. The small class sizes, well-educated professors, gorgeous campus, meaningful education and the friendliness of the student body are all factors that continue to draw me to this institution. Another benefit is a close proximity to my home in Virginia Beach, an asset that some but not all can appreciate.
I am a family-oriented person and have always enjoyed the time set aside to spend with my parents, my sister and my cat. When I was touring colleges three years ago, I was looking for a campus close to home so that if I am ever feeling homesick, my family can come grab lunch with me or I can drive home for the weekend. Here, I get exactly what I have always wanted in a college. I have the great education, the wonderful friends and the perfect distance from my family where I feel as if I am an independent adult living on my own, but still close enough to home that I can pop by when needed. For me, Christopher Newport is the ideal location for college.
It’s funny to me that so many Captains are from Northern Virginia and prefer to be farther away from home. But that is what is great about college! You have the choice to find the college that best suits your desires and expectations. There are pros and cons for every university, and everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions about the factors they consider to be desirable. Christopher Newport meets all my expectations for what I want to get out of my college experience and have never felt otherwise. In my opinion, being close to home has been a blessing and really makes Christopher Newport that much more important and comfortable for me.
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!
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!
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.
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!