Why the Career Fair Matters

For us Captains, the spring 2019 Career, Internship and Graduate School Fair is right around the corner, and I am impatiently waiting! I attended the career fair during my sophomore and junior years and had great experiences at both. What is really neat about our Career Fair is that the Center for Career Planning spends months organizing the fair to bring in companies and graduate schools from across Virginia that students are actually interested in. Here is why I highly advise all students to attend at least one Career Fair per academic year:

  1. The Center for Career Planning has a motto: you get jobs by talking to people. And this is so true! For the sake of getting a job or internship opportunity, or for being accepted into a graduate program, it is extremely important to make meaningful connections with your potential employer. When you have the opportunity to talk to representatives of a company, like at the Career Fair on campus, take it! Those representatives might put in a good word for you when it comes to reviewing your application (if you made a good impression, of course). Stand out from other applicants by expressing your interest at the Career Fair!
  1. Christopher Newport students of all years can benefit from the Career Fair. Juniors and seniors are looking to meet and hand over their resumes to companies that they may apply to for a career after graduation or for a summer internship. Freshmen and sophomores can benefit from practicing their handshakes, their elevator pitch to sell themselves to employers in 30 seconds, their professional dress and their communication skills.
  1. The bi-annual Career Fairs are very convenient for students on and off campus. There is one large career fair each semester in the David Student Union Ballroom located in the center of campus. Instead of searching for hours on Indeed, companies who are looking to hire are brought right here to Christopher Newport! And it gets better! Some companies are looking to hire immediately, so they allow for signups for actual interviews the following day on campus. There is no need to drive out to, say Fairfax, when the companies are right here ready to interview you!

I have met with wonderful companies in the past at the Career Fair and cannot wait until January 30 for the upcoming fair!

Career Advice

Now, more than ever, is the time for me to get serious about applying for jobs, as it is my last semester. Applying for jobs, especially when you are unsure of where you want to work or what companies you want to work for, is often scary, but that’s OK! Since my freshman year, many of my professors have advised students to visit the Center for Career Planning to aid with career preparation and readiness. The Center for Career Planning, or the CCP, is a free resource open to all students that I highly recommend using at least once a semester, if not more.

The Center for Career Planning aids students in writing a standout resume, choosing a major, beginning a job search and networking with Christopher Newport alumni. Not only does the CCP provide the opportunity to speak with career professionals one-on-one, but they also hold various workshops for all majors, mock interviews and a career fair each semester.

I recently made a private appointment with Libby Westley, the director of the Center for Career Planning, who is very passionate about the power of networking on LinkedIn. As I learned, the Christopher Newport alumni community is highly supportive of helping other Captains land a good career. By connecting with and messaging alumni on LinkedIn, you have a greater opportunity to learn about available careers and a greater opportunity to get hired. Along with career search, Libby also reviewed and suggested edits to my resume that allowed for a better flow of information and a more clear format that is attractive to future employers. Without a doubt, the Center for Career Planning is one of the most helpful resources on campus to better prepare students for their futures that you can’t get anywhere else!

Slice of Business Life

Within each educational department here at Christopher Newport, there is some variation of a signature lecture program. For students like me in the Luter School of Business, we have the advantageous opportunity to attend a weekly lecture from business professionals. Topics covered in the lectures include: how to network, how to conduct a professional interview, and what everyday business looks like for marketers, accountants, managers, data scientists, etc. To top it all off, the lecture series, properly named Slice of Business Life, has free pizza!

There are a wide variety of topics covered by many business types at Slice of Business Life, from small, local business to much larger companies. This means that there is at least one lecture each semester that will interest each Luter School student, if not more. For me, as a marketing major, I was excited to attend the lecture from Snow Companies, a full-service advertising agency based in Williamsburg. I learned about how Snow Companies uses compelling patient stories to effectively market for pharmaceutical companies, and how they build relationships with their clients and their patient ambassadors, who share their stories with the world. Snow Companies quickly became a company that I see myself working at once I graduate in the spring.

Weeks prior to the lecture, my marketing professor, Dr. Lisa Spiller, worked with Adam Duncan, the Luter School Director of Outreach, to arrange a networking opportunity with Snow Companies after the Slice of Business Life presentation. This unique opportunity was held in the new Gregory P. Klich Alumni House, where a few students who registered for the event sat around a warm fireplace and helped themselves to cookies and coffee while discussing the company further with the representatives of Snow Companies. Afterwards, I received a personal invitation to visit Snow Companies in Williamsburg to take a tour and see for myself how the company operates. I have to give thanks to the Luter School of Business for wanting to provide its students opportunities such as these. This amazing opportunity to network with an advertising agency, through both the Slice of Business Life and the reception afterwards, is invaluable to me.

Fair Trade Fashion Show

One thing that I enjoy most about having so many types of organizations at Christopher Newport is all of the activities and events that each organization holds. The Alpha Phi chapter at Christopher Newport has an annual macaroni and cheese event, the Zeta Tau Alpha chapter has a yearly male pageant and the Campus Activities Board holds more events than I can count! One of the most recent events that I attended was A Fair Trade Fashion Show hosted by the International Justice Mission. This is my first time attending this yearly show, and, oh boy, have I been missing out!

The purpose of the fashion show is not only to entertain, but to enlighten. The beginning of the event is more of a speaker event, in which two members of the International Justice Mission here on campus speak on the issues of human trafficking. I learned so much about how slavery still exists in many countries around the world, which brands of clothing are ethically made, and what are the requirements for a brand to become fair trade certified. I was also exposed to new ideas on how to decrease my environmental footprint when it comes to buying and disposing of clothing, something important to me.

After the educational portion was the actual fashion show, the highlight of the night. Students representing many organizations on campus walked in the fashion show flaunting their ethically made clothing in many different fashions. They all sure looked fabulous! One of my friends, representing Hypnotic Control, the hip-hop dance group on campus that I am involved in, was walking in the show wearing ethically made pajamas! Also, at the event were several booths of ethically made clothing and accessories created by local companies, as well as fair trade certified hot chocolate! With the large turnout and the smiles on everyone’s face in the audience, I would say that the Fair Trade Fashion Show was a huge hit!

Grocery Shopping is a Breeze

When I was touring college campuses with my mom and dad, we were looking for a school that had a strong academic focus, comfortable living facilities and a sense of community. Christopher Newport certainly met those criteria. Another checkbox that Christopher Newport checked off is the campus’s proximity to grocery stores. The convenience of having a grocery store right around the corner comes in handy for upperclassmen who can lower their meal plans and cook in fully equipped kitchens in their apartments. Now that I have been living on campus for four years, I am grateful that I have easy access to food, especially for my late night munchies.

Within walking distance of main campus, approximately a five-minute walk, is both Harris Teeter and Food Lion. Food Lion is perfect for averagely priced food items and snacks. I tend to shop there when I am trying to save money. Harris Teeter, while more expensive, is a popular place for Christopher Newport students to shop for groceries, especially since it is open 24 hours a day. One night a year they hold a College Night when half of the store is on a huge clearance and there is a DJ playing music just for us Captains! Harris Teeter also has a college rewards program that is super easy to sign up for, and you get a small discount off of every purchase.

For those students who have a car on campus, just down the road is both a Lidl and an Aldi. Their produce is fresh, as are their meats, and their prices are outstanding. Even Walmart could not beat their prices! I buy all of my meat from Lidl and too often find myself buying from their bakery or buying imported chocolate from Europe. Very delicious! With so many groceries stores around campus, you are sure to find all of the food you need, without any hassle.

It’s great to have all these options so close by, but it’s also comforting to know that our great dining halls are never more than a five-minute walk away!

The Life of a Senior

Senior year of college is not like senior year of high school. It’s no walk in the park. Having said that, senior year means that my journey at Christopher Newport is coming to an end and I have to overcome that final hurdle to make it all the way through. This hurdle of senior year, while challenging, has so far been very rewarding and has taught me how to better manage my time and set strict goals for myself. My senior year is preparing me well for my future.

As a business administration major with a concentration in marketing, my senior year consists of many upper-level courses in business and marketing. This means that group projects are a constant, tests count as a larger part of my final grade, and papers are now longer than they have ever been before. But do not fret! All of this can be managed if you are careful in planning out your schedule. Personally, writing down every detail of the day that I must complete in my planner is most helpful, while others heavily rely on Google Calendar which is accessible anywhere via phone or computer. No matter your preference, come to college with organization in mind.

Christopher Newport and its faculty are also here to help you along the way because they want to see you succeed. You are not climbing this mountain alone! If you and your group are not seeing eye to eye, your professors would be happy to give advice during office hours. My group once received extra credit just for coming to our professor’s office hours!

For papers, Christopher Newport professors can provide their students access to Grammarly, a website that finds grammatical errors that Word might not detect. It is also a great idea to use the student employees at the Christopher Newport Center for Academic Success, who are there to help you edit and formalize your papers! The new addition to the library and online databases are also a huge help if you need to research for essays, projects or assignments. With all of the academic resources at Christopher Newport, my senior year has been difficult, but completely manageable.

The Power of Vulnerability

Is it bad to be vulnerable? Defined by Collins Dictionary, “Someone who is vulnerable is weak and without protection, with the result that they are easily hurt physically or emotionally.” To me, this definition gives the term “vulnerable” a negative perception. A group of Christopher Newport students, alumni and staff set out to change this perception at the annual Speak CNU event, this year’s theme being “The Power of Vulnerability.”

If you have ever seen a Ted Talk, then you should be familiar with the style of the Speak CNU event. Speak CNU allows Captains to speak freely on their personal experiences and stories in a judgement-free zone.

“Vulnerability is a strength, not a hindrance,” as one of the speakers stated. Captains, one by one, stood bravely on stage and shared their stories on how they chose vulnerability over suppressing their feelings. The speakers preached on the power of speaking to a friend, loved one, roommate, counselor and even social media about the difficulties faced in life.

For these Captains, once they admitted their problems, they were able to love themselves and find joy. It was mentioned that it is important to be vulnerable about your feelings not only because it frees your own mind, but it can also help others who find themselves facing similar situations. Staying silent only hurts each other as we can never learn from experiences we never hear. Speak CNU was a very emotional and empowering event that will affect me, and other Captains, for the better. I look forward to embracing my vulnerability.

Stress: Not Always Stressful

Much like a rollercoaster, college has its fair share of ups and downs. With three years under my belt, I can assure that you will experience a greater amount of high points in your college career than low points. While this is true for the vast majority of college students, I have to admit that the low points still terrify me, regardless of how infrequently they occur. That is why I am thankful that Christopher Newport and the CNU community offers many ways for us to relieve stress.

Just this week, I have been overly consumed with work. My planner is covered in illegible scribbles of many papers, group projects, deadlines, tests, homework assignments, readings and club meetings that I have this week. It seems like a lot, especially compared to other weeks where my workload is very minimal. In fact, it is a lot. That being said, I am tackling one thing at a time and taking necessary breaks to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

For the times that I am feeling stressed during my busy weeks, I throw on my gym clothes and take a short walk over to the Freeman Center to work out in the gym. I am already a frequent gym goer, so the gym is nothing new to me, but I highly recommend using the gym even for a quick walk on the treadmill or a short session of lifting weights. When you work out, your body releases chemicals called endorphins which reduce stress. (You can thank me later.) I also designate time to go to the dining halls either Commons or Regattas, to eat a healthy meal and spend time with friends. This is very relaxing to me because it is proven that taking breaks helps with productivity by giving your mind time to rest. My stressful week is coming to an end, and using these tips, I know that I can make it through!

Captains Have a Soft Spot for Dogs

It was not until I came to Christopher Newport that I was exposed to a community that is so passionate about dogs. Sure, in my neighborhood back at home, there were plenty of pups around, but no one in my neighborhood has ever acted as nutty as Captains do when a dog is nearby. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about our enthusiasm for dogs, in fact, I love it! I am sure that any fellow Captains will agree that seeing a dog running around the Great Lawn with its ears flapping in the wind brings a smile to your face. For that, I am thankful.

Just today, the co-ed business and professional fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, hosted the fundraising event: Paws and Relax. As a member of Alpha Kappa Psi, this is one of my favorite charitable events. It is both funny and amazing to see how excited students became as they neared the dogs brought from the local SPCA. Despite the chilly weather and the $1 donation to the SPCA, students could not have been happier to pet the adorable dogs!

With just one wag of its tail or a roll on its back, a dog will have a swarm of students admiring it within minutes. And when there is a dog on campus, word spreads quickly, especially through the power of social media. Maybe it is because we miss our pets from home or because we cannot resist their irresistible cuteness, but it seems like we, as Captains, are attracted to dogs like a magnet. I know that I certainly have a soft spot for dogs. When the dogs are out at Christopher Newport, so are the smiles.

Stroll to the Polls

It is the sixth year of Alpha Phi Alpha’s annual Stroll to the Polls. As a dance competition with an increasing amount of student participation, both on stage and in the audience, Stroll to the Polls is quickly becoming a must-see tradition on campus. In fact, the Christopher Newport University Ferguson Center for the Arts, the beautiful theatre where Stroll to the Polls is held, is packed with students excited to see the performance each year.

If your high school has a step dance team, then you might be familiar with strolling, the style of dance performed at Stroll to the Polls. It’s easiest to imagine strolling as a mixture of step, marching and hip-hop dance. This style of dance is commonly performed by multicultural Greek organizations. However, in Stroll to the Polls, all Greek organizations on campus are encouraged to form a stroll team to compete against other sororities and fraternities. May the best stroll routine win!

This year, each Greek organization participant, and for the first time, my hip-hop dance group, Hypnotic Control, really brought the energy and enthusiasm into each performance. My favorite part will always be watching Alpha Phi Alpha perform their own choreographed stroll routine.

Stroll to the Polls isn’t just an event for entertainment. In support the Alpha Phi Alpha’s national program, A Voteless People Is A Hopeless People, the purpose of Stroll to the Polls is to promote voter awareness for the upcoming midterm elections. Additionally, all proceeds from the event go to March of Dimes, which fights for the health of all moms and babies, and Beautiful Kids, a nonprofit that helps children with Alopecia. I had so much fun at this event, and it feels great to give to a good cause!