University Chorale held a concert recently. We sang the 50-minute long “Requiem” by Mozart, and it turned out so much better than I could’ve hoped! I absolutely love being a member of the University Chorale.I have made such amazing friendships and I feel like I can unapologetically be myself around this group of people. In my other involvements, I get great experience, have lots of fun and focus on personal growth, which is very future-oriented. Don’t get me wrong, I love that, but University Chorale is different. I get to live in the moment, which is something I have struggled with throughout my life.

This semester in UC, our director challenged us. Usually, we would learn a few different pieces of music and perform two different concerts per semester, but this semester was very different from that. Mozart’s “Requiem” is one piece of music, about 80 pages long, almost 20 different movements, and 50 minutes of singing. It took us all semester to perfect it, and the end result was amazing. I absolutely love performing with my peers and showing off all of the hard work that we put into this piece.

This work was really special because it was the last spring concert I would have with my section leader. He’s one of those ‘tough love’ people, and as such, we had a dynamic friendship, sometimes we worked perfectly together, and sometimes we butted heads. Usually, we roast each other. When we were standing offstage, about to go on, I realized that this was my last spring concert with him, and we had a mushy moment, and he said: “you know I pick on you because you’re cool, right?” Any hard feelings we had for each other from butting heads disappeared and we hugged and then we went on stage and sang the heck out of some Mozart. Yes, it’s cheesy, but yes, I loved every second of that. You know why? Because it’s really cool having those dorky moments that you would see in a movie, it means a lot to me to have friendships like these, and it makes me happy to be a Captain.

Off Campus Birthday

Christopher Newport may be a relatively small school, but there’s big fun to be had around town, and don’t worry, it won’t break your budget, either. My birthday is April 25, but I have a final on that day, so instead, I decided to celebrate early! My friends from home are usually the people I spend my birthday with, and they’re only about 45 minutes away from Christopher Newport, so they had no problem coming here to visit. One of my best friends’ birthdays is on April 17, so we decided that this would be a joint-birthday celebration, and let me tell you, that was a crazy fun day.

The original plan was for us to have a whole day of fun, and while that part didn’t change, the weather, unfortunately, got in the way. The plan was to go to Busch Gardens in the morning (we all have season passes, so that’s technically free), next, we would grab some lunch and head back to campus, play Dungeons and Dragons (it’s not as nerdy as it sounds – don’t knock it till you try it!), then go to Rebounderz, which is a place where they have entire rooms with trampolines on the floor and walls, and it was really cool. We were able to do everything except the Busch Gardens part, but that’s OK! We still had a blast!

Rebounderz is only about 15 minutes away from campus, and they had a deal for three hours of play for $20 per person, which is definitely a lot of fun for cheap, if you ask me! We were thinking of other things that we could do off-campus, and in the end, we decided that there were too many options to just choose one thing, so we are going to have another fun day coming up soon! Some of the highlights will include movies, bowling, ice skating and who knows what else!

There are literally so many things to do within a short radius of our campus that I think anyone can find their favorite spot. My friends and I learned that Rebounderz isn’t our thing, ha-ha. That was our first time going, and, apparently, being on a trampoline at 20 years old is a lot more taxing than when we were 10. But that’s OK! Because we stepped out of our comfort zone and still had fun laughing at each other when we got winded on a trampoline! I think we might just stick to bowling, now that I think about it, last time we went ice skating, I almost broke my ankles! If I’ve learned anything at Christopher Newport, it’s that challenging yourself is always great, but don’t break anything trying to push yourself!


In my building, the RAs hosted a building-wide event which we called “Mocktails,” short for “Mock Cocktails,” where we focused on alcohol safety. We set up tables in the lobby and had information about how to safely engage with alcohol, with the attempt of giving students some guidance on how to make good decisions in the future.

We made a bunch of non-alcoholic versions of cocktails, let residents try to pour their own drink, to see if they can accurately judge how much of one drink equates to another, and they also put on a pair of “drunk goggles” and tried to do math problems! We had a bunch of different types of mocktails, including piña coladas and many more! It was a really fun event because residents got to ‘drink with their RA,’ but aside from that, we also showed them that alcohol has its fair share of negatives as well, and, when not consumed responsibly, bad things can happen.

The drunk goggles are just a normal pair of goggles, but the screen is distorted so that everything looks wacky, to simulate intoxication. I put them on for a second and definitely felt a little dizzy. We let the residents try them on and then had them try and do math problems, and let’s just say it was very entertaining.

I think events like these are incredibly important to college-age people because they get to experience the effects of bad decisions without having to actually live through it and suffer the consequences. Having this event hosted by the RAs shows that we aren’t here to police our residents and invade their lives, but instead, we are here to help them grow and make better decisions. Overall, this event was really fun, and although we know our efforts can only do so much, we hope that our event helps them be smarter, safer, and more responsible with their decision making going forward.

Connecting My Community

As an RA, one of the many aspects of my job is to create a sense of community on my hall, and as I am new, I was really excited to come in strong and have a really fun event for my residents. In ResLife, we call hall events ‘community connections,’ and the goal is to bring the hall together, strengthen bonds between the RA and their residents, as well as foster new friendships among the hall by presenting information to residents in a fun way.

For my community connection, I decided that I was going to host a “Mario Kart” tournament on my hall. In order to enter in the tournament, my residents had to show me that they were prepared for registration, meaning they have contacted their adviser and have not just one plan for registration, but at least one backup plan, too. Registration can be super stressful if you don’t have backup plans, and it’s really important for residents to know that they have more than just one option, especially as first-year students.

In addition to having a fun tournament, I also added some other incentives for attending the program. The grand prize for the tournament was $25 in Captain’s Cash, which at this point in the semester is such a great incentive because it will cover laundry for the rest of the semester and even some coffee during finals week. The tournament was really fun, I found out my residents are super competitive. We all had a blast. I made up a bracket, and we all celebrated for the winner. I also had Chick-fil-A cater the event, so even though all my residents weren’t able to win the money, they definitely ate their fair share of chicken nuggets.

Being an RA is awesome. I get to hang out with so many different types of people, and I get to have an impact on all of their lives. Whether big or small, it makes me really happy to know that I can help other Captains navigate their college experience, and pay forward the great experience that I had with my previous RAs.

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!

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!

Arts for All

As you may know, I am in the President’s Leadership Program, and one component of the program is to fulfill a service requirement each year with a specific service track. There are a bunch of service tracks, so there are a bunch of service sites available, and something for everyone! I was struggling for a while to find a service site, but one day I found the Arts For All Program and am super happy volunteering with them.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and my time volunteering, for now, has come to an end. I’ve enjoyed volunteering a lot this year, but I need to dedicate some more time to myself, and as I have taken on some more responsibilities on campus as an RA, I could use the extra time. Don’t fret though, this isn’t my last time ever volunteering with them, I’ll be back next year!

When I came to Christopher Newport, I wasn’t too keen on volunteering, because I haven’t had the most lucrative life, so volunteering to me seemed like just working for no pay, but since coming to this university, I’ve realized that volunteering is about way more than money. With Arts for All, I help fundraise to provide accessibility equipment for people who come to see our shows in the Ferguson Center for the Arts. I have gotten to see the impact of my volunteering this semester, and it is so fulfilling.

Volunteering is one of the most important aspects of being a Captain. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to work with such an amazing organization. I am very thankful for Christopher Newport for turning me on to volunteering. I’m not sure that I would have had this revelation anywhere else, and that’s just one more reason that I’m so glad to be a Captain!

The Meal I Was Waiting For

So after being at Christopher Newport for a while, I can let you in on a little secret: The dining halls have certain foods they keep on rotation. Trust me, I keep my eyes on my favorites, one of which happens to be the AMAZING fried chicken breast with creamy sun-dried tomato sauce. Yes, I DID memorize the exact name of it, because yes, it IS that good. My spring break was pretty great, and I enjoyed some food at home, but man, I did miss some of the dining hall’s specialties.

While I do really love that sundried tomato chicken, some other highlights include burrito Mondays, the new quesadilla Wednesdays, General Tso’s chicken Thursdays and Philly steak Fridays.

There are some great hits, too, other than my favorite chicken on the planet. We have slushies, and more importantly, there’s breakfast every day, and the best made-to-order omelets out there. The only thing better than omelets is the person who makes them. Every captain knows Miss Virginia in Commons, and every Captain knows she is one of the nicest people ever, and she makes AMAZING omelets. Every time I get breakfast she is there with a smile and some great conversation, and she knows almost everyone by name, and she’s even memorized our orders! Not only is she the omelet expert, but you can occasionally find her on nugget Mondays giving everyone big ole’ baskets of nugs and fries!

Christopher Newport dining halls are the buffets that I’ve been looking for my whole life, and the staff there are always so nice and love having conversations with us and getting to know us, and we love them too! Now look, mom, I still love your cooking, but there’s almost nothing that can beat a Miss Virginia omelet or my favorite sundried-tomato chicken.

RA: Resident Assistant, or Really Anxious

Christopher Newport’s Department of Residence Life has helped me figure out who I am and what I want to be in life, and since joining the ResLife team, I have strived to be better every day. I applied to be a resident assistant last year, but unfortunately, I didn’t make it through to the end. This year I reapplied and made it to the final boss. The Resident Assistant In Training Series (TRAITS). From here it was either get hired, get offered alternate status or be cut off.

I knew I was ready to take on the job as a resident assistant, and I felt confident in my resume and my skills. I had developed amazing relationships with the professional staff and had a great reputation for my work ethic. I was confident but needless to say I was also healthily skeptical of my chances.

We were to be notified of our job placement status the second Friday after the last TRAITS session. That was the longest week of my life. I needed to know. I also had friends in the process who were nervous, and we comforted each other through the week. That Friday at noon, I was astonished that the letters still hadn’t come. I asked my supervisor, and she said they’d be out at around 3:30 p.m. I’ll have you know I counted every second between noon and 3:30 that day. I got my email in the middle of my leadership class. I started sweating. I almost couldn’t open it. I felt bad, because I was in class, and I probably shouldn’t have been looking at my phone, but I think the stakes of this situation offer a good explanation as to why I was.

I looked at the email, and the waterworks started. Picture me, silently crying in the front of my leadership class looking at an email, trying to not draw attention to myself. I was crying because I was so proud of myself for receiving my placement as a resident assistant in James River Hall for the 2019-20 academic year! This has been a journey spanning two years and has prompted a heck of a lot of personal growth and learning about myself, but I did it. And I’m gosh darn proud of me. My friends, my family, and my Captains have helped me get here, and for that, I’ll be forever thankful. I look forward to the adventure that awaits me next year!