At the start of this year I wrote a post reminding you to thank your resident assistant (RA) for all that they do. After a year of experiencing what it is like to be apart of a hall community as an RA I have learned that your residents impact your life far more than you are impacting them.
So, thank you residents for building a community I have been proud to witness. Thank you for making me laugh. Thank you for challenging me in ways I never thought I would be challenged. Thank you for showing me what it means to be an RA, what it means to be a mentor and a friend. Thank you for putting up with my many emails and asking meaningful questions. Thank you for not judging my love of memes. Thank you for being the best neighbors. Most importantly, thank you for providing me with something I am sad to say goodbye too. If I have impacted you even a sliver of the amount you have impacted me I am grateful.
Here at CNU I have learned that (1) you impact people far more than you realize and (2) you will be impacted by the people around you far more than you expected. I am so grateful.
The Registrar’s office is often forgotten as a resource on this campus. We focus so much energy on registering for classes: We constantly make sure we are taking the classes we need, we put together many possible schedules to prepare for registration, we meet with advisers and wake up early the day of. However, we forget that there is a whole office behind this process.
Entering into Christopher Newport, the Registrar puts together your entire schedule for your first semester in order to make sure you start off on the right foot. They make sure you are starting college without the stress of putting together a schedule and registering with everyone else. You are all set the minute you step foot on campus.
If registration doesn’t go as planned, the Registrar can help you see what your best choices are. If you need to override, the have a form for that. If you decide to take an internship class or independent study, they have a form for that. They are more than just the behind the scenes hands on registration processes. In fact, just today I went to the office, on the first floor of Christopher Newport Hall, and had a very helpful conversation with their welcoming staff.
It happened, here it is! Spring has arrived. After a long stretch of cold days for the winter season, the first beautiful day of spring is a celebrated day on campus. The Great Lawn goes from completely un-walked on to covered with picnics and students playing sports. The campus is filled with a new level of joy when we emerge from our inside quarters to feel the sun on our skin.
Professors take classes outside for the day, homework gets pushed off till the sun goes down and everyone smiles a little bigger. It is a new kind of magic with the sun is shining a little brighter and the grass is a little greener, as if that is possible. It is the perfect day for campus tours, and the perfect day for outside studying.
Sometimes I forget how many students attend this school until spring time comes around, and everyone spends more time outside filling the campus with energy!
Going through college tours, orientations and guidance counselor conversations I was terrified of the increased workload I kept hearing about. I knew it was going to be a bigger challenge than I was used to in high school. I was preparing myself for that time commitment and dreading the lack of free time. But, I had chosen a school I loved and was also excited for what Christopher Newport had to offer.
Since arriving, I have learned that it is not all stress. What I heard was true, it is a much bigger workload it is a much bigger time commitment. But, it is not all-consuming unless you let it. A schedule is important, but there will be days when you have little or nothing to do. Take those days! Most weeks will feel full. Some weeks will feel overwhelming, but there will be rare, beautiful weeks or days that are mostly blank. Do not take these for granted. Treat yourself to a nap or a Netflix session. Maybe you can even read a book. These are the moments where you take that time for yourself and recoup. Hit a restart button on these days so that you can thrive in the weeks that will keep you on your toes.
Classes can get stressful. This is not a secret of college life. We, as students, are often handling a lot of stuff at once. Often, it is a lot of great things at once. Even though you fill your calendar with enjoyable classes and clubs, it can still get overwhelming from time to time. Because of this busy schedule, I know that I can usually forget to take some time for myself.
An important part of mental wellness is to take time for yourself. One of the things I do to overcome the stress is yoga. The Trieshmann Health and Fitness Pavilion, located in the Freeman Center, offers many different fitness classes such as kickboxing, yoga, Pilates and more. My favorite is yoga. It is a chance to just focus on yourself. We breathe all day, but we never stop to pay attention to our breath and how we are feeling on that day. Yoga allows for an hour out of your day to stop and breathe. It is a chance to better your physical and mental wellness which is highly important as a college student.
My favorite part of the session is after you stretch and work when your yoga instructor directs you into the savasana pose. This is a pose where you lay down and work to keep your mind conscious while relaxing your entire body. It is the most refreshing thing about my day and it does wonders for the mind. If yoga is not your thing, I highly recommend finding something that refreshes your mind amidst the enjoyable chaos of college.
It is so easy, at any school, to fall into the trap of group stereotypes. With different clubs on campus, different majors, different classes, different residence halls, etc. groups can easily be made based off of these differences. Christopher Newport is not immune to this. However, the diversity that is highlighted here is special. At Christopher Newport we celebrate diversity: diversity of thought, personality and race.
What we so often forget is that we are all college students. We all know what it is like to hate a class or to love a class. We all know what it is like to have that third cup of coffee, or tea, for the day and still feel tired. We all know what it is like to cry when that paper is finally done and you have reached the weekend. We know what it’s like to live with a roommate and maybe feel a little homesick.
We are all here in the same place, same position. Our involvements might be different, our GPAs might be different. But here at Christopher Newport we are all leading lives of significance in our own ways and no one particular experience is better than another.
Recently, I had an interview with the Office of Residence Life. In this interview we had to prepare a presentation that encompassed a problem in higher education and solutions for said problem. Where did I even begin?
For one, Google Drive is a life-changer. I had never learned how to use Google Drive prior to college, but considering our student email accounts are through Gmail it has been inevitable that I would become Google Drive fluent. This has proven helpful for times like group projects and presentations. It is much safer than emailing the file or carrying a flash drive. Both of those options could result in losing the file. However, Google Drive is strictly through WiFi so all you need is internet access and you can edit or view your document. Multiple people can work on it at the same time too.
However, this is not an advertisement for Gmail or a blog post about the helpfulness CNU provides with their student email accounts. Instead, it is an appreciation for how simple Christopher Newport makes it to build and execute a presentation. With Google Drive it was so simple to create a presentation in my dorm and just log in to my account in the interview room for viewing. It is also an appreciation post about how Christopher Newport is passionate about constant improvement. So much so that they value student feedback and find it admirable when a student can articulate and provide solutions for a problem that students sees from their perspective.
With the opening of the new and improved Regattas dining hall a couple of weeks behind us I wanted to reflect on the change it has brought to campus. For starters the new addition to the back half of our dining hall is beautiful. I wouldn’t expect anything else from the architecture of Christopher Newport. It matches perfectly with the red brick and columns on campus. I have also enjoyed having the famous Francis of Assisi statue back on campus.
The expansion was long-awaited and the talk of the town. With a performance from our pep band and a speech from our student assembly president, the opening ceremony was short and sweet. It ended with an open tour of the new facility. It was unique to be one of the first to set foot on the new tile.
After experiencing the addition for the last couple weeks I have enjoyed having a bigger and better Mongolian grill. I now plan my days in order to get to Regattas before the lunch rush just to get the Mongolian grill special. I have also enjoyed the open space with new seating. Before, I would often get to-go because of Regattas seating. Problem solved! There are many more features to come and explore including a whole second floor of seating and a flavor machine for drinks.
Christopher Newport University recently gave me the opportunity to attend a leadership conference at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Through the Leadership and American Studies Department my professor told me about the conference that the department attends every year. She encouraged me to apply and so I did. The encouragement I received led to an amazing experience in Annapolis. As a leadership studies minor it was insightful to hear from leaders throughout or military, government and country.
We left Sunday afternoon and returned on Wednesday. We spent two full days in back-to-back speeches and group sessions where we got to network and discuss with students from around the world. Our group consisted of us four students and a leadership professor. I have now made four more connections at CNU that I didn’t have before.
Being a leadership minor separate from the President’s Leadership Program does not limit my opportunities. CNU is constantly providing opportunities to its students. I will forever be grateful for the opportunities I have gotten since attending this university.
Christopher Newport is a small university. There are many benefits to this fact. Class sizes are generally smaller allowing for class discussion and engagement. You get to know everyone in your class, leading to more relationships and bigger study groups. With class sizes ranging around 19, CNU sets forth an engaging class experience. Your professor gets a chance to learn your name and you get to know the class.
However, this means they know when you are absent and they care when you are gone. Many professors set forth attendance policies to encourage class participation. I enjoy the motivation and the caring that comes from the professors here. Christopher Newport University values academic success.
The other day I missed classes for a conference I attended. I provided documentation for my absence, but one of my professors still took my absence as an opportunity to email me and ask how I was doing due to my absence. I appreciated the time my professor took to reach out and check on my because I was not in class. You wouldn’t get that attention in a big lecture class.