So a few times per semester, the resident assistants and the front desk assistants on my staff get together for a staff social, and we just hang out together having fun and bonding. This time around, my co-workers and good friends made the terrible mistake of bringing a Nintendo Switch and playing Mario Kart. There are very few universal truths in life, but one of them is that you don’t cross Eddie in Mario Kart unless you are prepared to lose. Needless to say, I destroyed my friends that night, and I am definitely OK with that.
All jokes aside, it’s nice to have these kinds of fun times with friends and come together as a staff. The bonds that I have made working with Christopher Newport residence life are all amazing, and I feel so fortunate to know so many amazing people. I recently had to relinquish my position as a front desk assistant, as I received the amazing opportunity to be a resident assistant, filling an immediate opening.
When I announced to my now former staff that I had been called up to be a resident assistant and would no longer be working in their building, I was met with a rush of bittersweet feelings. Everyone was really happy for me and said that I definitely deserved the opportunity, however, they were sad that I would be leaving. It made me feel really proud to have made such a great group of friends and to have established a good reputation among my peers.
The day I told them I would be leaving was really melodramatic, because we acted as if we’d never see each other again, but I’m only going to be halfway across campus, which is maybe a five-minute walk.
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.
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!
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.
Valentine’s Day was only a short time ago, and you know what that means?! Yup! I’m still single! Which means I had a lot of time to make valentines for my friends in the University Chorale and the Residence Hall Association!
All jokes aside, this Valentine’s Day was pretty good, because I realized that Valentine’s Day is basically reverse Halloween. Yes, that’s right. Think about it. You go to class and the candy comes to you! It’s honestly pretty great. RHA and University Chorale both decided that we would exchange valentines, and being single with candy is better than being single without candy.
I’m a pretty corny guy, so my valentines reflected that. University Chorale is singing Mozart’s “Requiem,” so my valentines for my choir friends read “My life would be a requiem without you,” (get it? Like a wreck, but also the song) and my RHA ones read “U R Really Heckin’ Awesome” (get it? Because really heckin’ awesome starts with ‘RHA’). Everyone liked my corny jokes so I’m happy with it. Making people smile is one of my favorite things, and this Valentine’s Day I got to make a bunch of people happy, which makes this Valentine’s Day the best one yet.
Valentine’s Day has historically been a bad day for me because I tend to be a pessimistic person (I’m working on being more optimistic, but it’s a process) and I would just be salty or sad because of my relationship status. But once you stop thinking about that and focus on what great things are around you, the darkness goes away, and everything is better. While those little valentines may not have meant the world to any of us, they really did make my day a lot better and reminded me that even on my worst days, I still have a shipful of Captains who love me.
PLPHVD stands for “President’s Leadership Program (and) Honor’s Visit Day,” and these visit days occur about three times per semester. The idea of the program is for upcoming freshmen and prospective students in those programs to get to see what it’s like to be a Captain for a day. First-year students get to apply to have the opportunity to show prospective students around campus and take them to some events and answer questions they may have about college. The prospective student then gets a first-hand experience of residence life and stay overnight with their host. There are receptions that happen, our awesome President Paul Trible speaks to the groups of prospective students, and it is a great time.
I really love the PLPHVD weekends, because it’s really nostalgic for me. I currently work behind the desk in one of the first-year residence halls we use for the visit day, so I get to check in the prospective students and make sure that they are accounted for in our system. Seeing them come in reminds me of when I came to Christopher Newport for my PLP visit day.
My PLP visit day was awesome. I still talk to the guy who was my host, and we are good friends now. We went to see a lip-sync battle in the Freeman Center, ate at the Commons, played Cards Against Humanity with some other hosts and their prospective students, and my host showed me the wondrous phenomenon that is Bob Ross.
When I applied to college, I wish I could have had the knowledge I have now. I applied only to Christopher Newport and no other universities, and I didn’t even visit the campus before applying early decision, which was just objectively a not-smart thing to do. I took a shot in the dark when I applied, but I somehow still hit a bullseye with this university. That weekend I started out not knowing what Christopher Newport was or even what it looked like, and by the end of the weekend, I was thanking the stars that I applied here. I am so happy to be here, and every day I am thankful to be a Captain.
Every semester, I try to coordinate my classes to all fall within a certain theme, because it’s really nice when one or more classes cover similar topics. Christopher Newport focuses greatly on a liberal arts education, which is inherently interdisciplinary, so my plans to coordinate my semesters usually reveal a lot of other overlaps that I didn’t see coming.
I planned for this to be my electives semester. I am taking an argumentation class for my communication major, cross-cultural leadership for my leadership minor, a general language-major class about critical thinking for different texts in context, and a special topics course in Spanish on how ghosts were used in storytelling to convey the struggle of migrants. In addition, I am in an economics class, a biology lab and the University Chorale, rounding out my 17 credit hours.
Of these classes, my communication, leadership and Spanish courses are not part of the core curriculum, but rather classes that I chose to take to fill elective requirements. My class on ghosts is super interesting, and we have great discussions about our readings and the way that authors describe the Mexican-American border and the culture of the region. We had another professor come in and talk about “crossfade” culture, which is the idea that the U.S. and Mexico share a culture near the border, rather than act completely independently on either side.
My classes at Christopher Newport open my eyes to varying perspectives and give me the opportunity to simultaneously learn from a wide variety of disciplines while also specializing in certain skills. My classes last year focused on the different aspects of rhetoric, last semester was focused on different aspects of communicating, and this semester is about understanding the perspectives of others. I’m excited to find out what’s in store for the rest of the semester!
I absolutely love Residence Life at Christopher Newport. I didn’t know where my place was at this university during my first year, and when I applied for a summer job in ResLife, I immediately was smitten with every aspect of it. Over the summer I was a resident and desk assistant, which is a hybrid role. I acted as the RA for a small group of students, but took a more passive approach at that (because it was summer and the residents are only on campus for a few weeks) and, also, the role as a desk assistant, helping people get into their rooms when they lose their ID and ensuring the safety of the residence hall.
Last year I applied to be a school-year year RA, and unfortunately, I was not selected for the job, however, that just made me more driven to get there. This year, I still work in Residence Life as a front desk assistant in a freshman residence hall, and I am reapplying for the RA position.
Applying to be an RA at Christopher Newport is a pretty long and thorough process that takes almost the full academic year to complete. We want to make sure that we have qualified people who are taking responsibility over residents. This year I have gotten past the point at which I was cut off last year, so I’m really proud of myself and how I’ve grown. I’m so thankful for Christopher Newport and the Department of Residence Life for helping me grow along the way. Fingers crossed that I get the job for next year! Wish me luck Y’all!
For the requirements for the President’s Leadership Program, we need to complete a certain amount of service hours every year, and by our second year, we should be completing those hours within a specific service track with one of the university’s community partners. For the longest time, it was pretty hard for me to get into a service track, but this semester I was able to find a community partner that fit within a service track that I like, and on top of that, it’s ON CAMPUS!
The service track that I was interested in was Arts & Culture because I feel like that is inherently more interesting for my personality type. I knew that there were a few things that I wouldn’t find fun, such as working in a museum, because history is definitely not my favorite subject. Then one day, while I was in the library procrastinating on a paper, I looked on the CNU Engage website (where we log our service hours) and went under the community partners tab and found the Arts for All program, sent an email and my resume, and the next thing I knew, I was on the schedule for this semester to volunteer!
Volunteering with the Arts for All program is fun, pretty easy, and I can immediately see where my efforts are making a difference. The Arts for All program works with the Ferguson Center for the Arts on campus, and we sell merchandise and posters before, during, and after shows in the Diamonstein Concert Hall, and all of the proceeds go towards funding for free and reduced tickets for Newport News Public School students who want to attend shows but cannot afford it, as well as compensating for veterans and senior citizen discounts for tickets.
While I was working the table last week, I saw a lot of people who came with Arts for All tickets, and it was really awesome for them to come up to the table and say thanks for helping them see the show, and it really made me feel happy that I chose to volunteer with Arts for All, and I look forward to volunteering with them for the rest of my time at Christopher Newport!
Earlier this school year I wrote a blog post about how I wanted to push myself this year and get as involved on campus as possible. Well, I definitely did that. This semester I am busier than I have ever been. Unfortunately, I think I have gotten myself involved in too many things.
This semester I am taking 17 credit hours of class, which includes three classes for my majors, one class for my minor, a two-hour lab and an economics class to fulfill some liberal learning requirements, and finally, University Chorale rehearsal.
On top of my coursework, I have two on-campus jobs, writing blogs and sitting behind the front desk, totaling about 20 hours of work per week, I am still a member of the Residence Hall Association on the marketing committee, and this semester I am running for a position on the executive board, and I am also still presiding over the Spanish Club. I have also started volunteering with the Arts for All program, which helps me fulfill my requirements for the President’s Leadership Program.
Finally, I am in the process of (hopefully) becoming a resident assistant on campus, which means I am currently enrolled in a five-week course that focuses on teambuilding and policy enforcement.
Something that I have learned this year is that stretching myself too thin isn’t going to help me in the long run. I need to be able to have time to put in work for all of my involvements. It’s really sad that I will have to step down from some of my positions. However, it definitely is necessary. I am grateful that Christopher Newport has given me the opportunity to experience and grow from all of my involvements. As for what I am going to drop, I still have to figure that out, but I’m definitely going to give my calendar a break coming up soon.