In Pursuit of Trivia

One of my absolute favorite things about my time here at Christopher Newport has been the Office of Student Activities’ Thursday Night Trivia. For the past three years, a group of friends and I have challenged other teams to a battle of knowledge unlike any other – with the promise of Captain’s Cash as a reward dangling right in front of our noses.

Each week, we show up and put our game faces on. But really, all these nights have been opportunities for our little friend group to catch up: to share how our weeks have gone, to complain about ridiculous class assignments, and to laugh at any and everything. As the trivia questions rapidly fire by, you’d probably see us high-fiving in victory after guessing what Belgium’s national flower is … or you’d witness escalating voices and pounding fists as we argued about the name of that one actress. Our trivia nights get pretty intense.

We played our last round last night. All of us are seniors, and we’ll be walking across the commencement stage in mere weeks. Thursday Night Trivia will slowly become a thing of the past as each of us head off to new cities (and countries) for grad school and real jobs. But, I’d like to think the memories we’ve made will outlast the raffle items won. It was never really about the trivia. It was always about the friendship and the opportunity to try something new.

But, while we’re on the topic of trivia, at least I can answer more Jeopardy final questions now!


The faithful members of Team PMS pictured here with Franklin Council, the faithful host of Thursday Night Trivia!

Residence Hall, Sweet Residence Hall

I currently live in East Campus, across Warwick Boulevard from the “main campus”, and it is honestly my favorite place I’ve called home on campus during my four years. My apartment comes with my own room (don’t worry – there are three other rooms for my roomies to live in) which has become a blessed sanctuary in the busyness of college life.

Don’t get me wrong … I never had any problems sharing a room with a roommate my first two years here when I lived in York River Hall and Warwick River Hall, but there is something about coming back to the suite and knowing you have a space dedicated solely to you. My style of decorating, my own mess to worry about and more space in general to move around? All good things.

Plus, our suite’s windows face campus and therefore catch the rays of every single sunset this part of Newport News has to offer. We’ve been eyewitness to several gorgeous evenings! All in all I am extremely grateful to be finishing out my time here at Christopher Newport in such a cozy home.

Lunch With a Twist

Since I’m in the President’s Leadership Program here at Christopher Newport, I receive a scholarship towards my tuition. For my first three years, the scholarship wasn’t specifically donated by anyone, but I got a surprise in the mail the summer before my senior year. I had a donor (a couple of them, in fact) and a specific name to my scholarship!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting my donors in person at a luncheon held by the University. I wasn’t sure what to expect – would these ladies be nice? Would they be interested in talking to me or would we just sit around our table nibbling quietly? I was once again happily surprised to find that the ladies who give to my scholarship were not only friendly and down-to-earth, but full of Christopher Newport history themselves.

One of my donors is Mrs. Cunningham, the first First Lady of Christopher Newport! She was here at the very inception of the school I have called home for four years, and it was fascinating to chat with her and hear her stories. Her daughter and the other ladies at our table also shared neat tidbits, not only about the University, but also about their lives in general. It was truly great to connect with people who had been strangers and hear about their interests, favorite vacations and more.

Thanks to the luncheon, I now have faces and stories to put to the names of my generous donors. What an honor it was to spend a couple of hours meeting an extended part of the Christopher Newport family!

Hunger in the TribLib

All that studying in the Trible Library got your tummy grumbling? Never fear – Einstein’s is here! It’s like a one-stop shop for your snack needs while you work on cranking out that paper you forgot about. Here are some of the stages of library hunger, paired with a suitable selection from Einstein’s:

  1. Nibbly: All right, so you actually just ate lunch, but you still have room for a little something – try a chocolate croissant or a fruit cup. They’re both the perfect size for a small snack and aren’t messy either (a definite plus when you’re doing homework).
  2. Peckish: You’re in between meals – not starving by any means, but certainly in need of a decent snack. Go for one of the many types of bagels served at Einstein’s or treat yourself to one of their fabulous milkshakes. Either way, you won’t be disappointed!
  3. Hungry: OK, so it’s looking like you may have to snag your next meal while in the library. Why not try a sandwich? Whether you customize a bagel sandwich or select the chicken salad croissant, there is hope in your hungry future. Plus, these entrees come with chips or fruit! What could be better?
  4. Ravenous: At this point, you’ve definitely hit a hunger wall. If you’re still looking to pick up something from Einstein’s, try one of their flatbread pizzas with a giant muffin on the side. And, order yourself some coffee or tea while you’re at it – you probably need it!

Started From the Bottom, Now We’re Here

College is a great time to re-invent yourself – not in the “become some totally fake version of yourself just to be liked by others” sense, but in the “I’ve always wanted to try that” way. Were there things you wanted to be involved in high school that you just never found time for? Perhaps a sport you were never truly confident in or a part-time job that seemed a little too intimidating?

I’ve definitely grown and matured throughout my time at Christopher Newport, and a lot of that is due to trying new things! Upon entering my freshman year, I decided I would become a runner (of sorts). Now, as a senior, I have two half-marathons and a host of other races behind me … and I’m on the lookout for my next! This change didn’t happen overnight. It took months and months of making myself jog short distances until I could build up the strength to run for longer amounts of time.

So, maybe running’s not your thing. That’s completely OK. However, you should explore at least one new opportunity that college provides, just to see if you like it! Start small and grab sushi for dinner one night, or go all in and rush Greek life or apply for an on-campus job. Most of us have just four years here, so I encourage you to branch out of your comfort zone and see what new adventures await!

A Few Captain Memories

Even though the tradition of CNU Day started just last year, I’ve already completely jumped on board with the idea of a day set aside to celebrate all things Christopher Newport. As a senior, I’m already feeling nostalgic just about every time I walk on campus, so it was easy to take some time this week and think back on a few of my favorite college memories!

Freshman year: I had a #blessed experience with my random roomie, and there are so many great moments from freshman year, it’s hard to pick just one. But, one time she created an elaborate, Nicolas Cage-themed scavenger hunt for me to complete in our room – she even added in references from my favorite books and television shows! It was a great de-stresser to spend some time away from homework just laughing and putting together silly puzzles.

Sophomore year: I’m part of a Christian organization called Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) here at Christopher Newport, and sophomore year we put on an event called Pumpkin Football – which is just as crazy fun as it sounds. One Saturday morning, we took to the field behind James River Hall, split into two teams and had a blast trying to get broken pumpkin pieces into the other team’s basket. Thankfully, we had very few injuries (except for the pumpkins), and we gathered after in one of the hall kitchens in Warwick River Hall to make pancakes.

Junior year: Getting accepted to Christopher Newport’s Master of Arts in Teaching program was definitely one of the highlights of junior year! I had known since before Welcome Week that I wanted to study education here, so it was such an honor to be welcomed into the program and start making my future career goals real!

Senior year: And, what about this year? I’ve already had several standout moments, but a favorite memory would be going to see the band Borns perform at The Norva (a little venue in Norfolk, just a short drive from campus) with one of my friends during the tail end of Thanksgiving break. I had never heard of the band before, but on an adventurous whim, I decided to make the best of it. We had such a great time: the music was actually pretty good, there were plenty of hipster couples to make fun of and we ended the night with milkshakes from Cookout!

As I get closer and closer to graduation, I look forward to all the memories and moments that await me post-commencement, and getting to join the elite club of Captains for Life!

Let the Light In

Fact: warm days at Christopher Newport are better than cold days.

If you want to get a glimpse of campus in action, for sure come visit on a warmer day (if you can make it). Not only does the sunshine make it tolerable to hang out on the Great Lawn or in the Trible Plaza, but you’ll also get the opportunity to observe much of the student body in their natural, college-y habitat!

Yesterday, spring weather made an appearance once again, and the transformation that fell over campus was actually astounding. For one thing, everyone’s mood seemed brightened; students were smiling and greeting each other as they passed. Some classes were moved outside, and everywhere you looked friends were gathered in little groups sharing a lunch or dinner meal together.

Our campus is gloriously beautiful in the snow, and I love when the leaves change color in the fall … but my favorite type of Christopher Newport is a sunshine-y, warm one. Here’s to many more spring days spent outside avoiding homework!!

Major Whoas

You wait your entire college career for one single moment: the senior seminar class for your major.

Well, maybe that’s just me.

As an English major, I knew my final English class would most likely include some reading and writing. I also knew it would be centered around a specific theme, like Food and Culture or 19th Century Monsters.

What I didn’t know: how it would feel to sit in a class and know it was the capstone course of everything I’ve been doing for four whole years.

For four years, I’ve attended English courses at Christopher Newport. I’ve learned to throw away the five-paragraph essay format, to analyze literature with a multitude of viewpoints, including post-colonial, physiological and Marxist, to write journalistic accounts of my own life, and much more. I’ve read Austen, Shakespeare and Thoreau, but also Diaz, Morrison and O’Connor. I’ve turned in papers so long, they probably contributed to the deforestation of our rainforests.

And now, I sit in my final English class. It’s focused on literary families. It’s equal parts fascinating, tedious and thought-provoking (as are most college classes/college in general).

The end is near.

We’re Gonna Make This Place Your Home

Picture this: you walk into a dorm room and immediately see a giant “Walking Dead” poster on the cinderblock wall right above a bed covered with a purple chevron bedspread and monogrammed pillows. Does that seem like an odd juxtaposition?

What about a room with several hand-crafted, water-color canvases (I really wish the plural of canvas was canvi…), a desk littered with snow globes from vacations long past, and a miniature figurine of Bilbo Baggins?

I love visiting my friends’ rooms on campus because it allows me to get an even better picture of who they are as a person. When we move away to college, we do bring a lot of our high school selves with us. I for sure had plenty of pictures of friends from my “glory days” on my desk along with a T-shirt blanket composed of my Drama Club and student choir shirts.

As my years at Christopher Newport passed, however, I started growing into a new style of decorating. I realized I didn’t like having walls plastered in pictures and posters (no matter what society tried to sell as the typical college dorm); I wanted clean space on the walls so my mind would feel less cluttered when I studied late at night in my room.

I also decided it’s OK to have a few general colors present in my room, but it’s also all right to not have everything perfectly matchy-matchy – that’s just too much work, let’s be real.

It’s OK to use my room as a place to express all of who I am. That’s why there’s delicate, hand-lettered canvi with lyrics from a One Direction song, a map of the U.S. tracing all the states I’ve lived in, and two GIANT “Lord of the Rings” posters. I still have a few pictures of my high school friends, but I’ve added snapshots of memories with my college roommates.

Make your room your own while you’re here. Decorate it as much or as little as you want. Hang up those twinkly lights and that Aerosmith poster.

This is college, after all.

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When your English major consumes your room decor.


Pet Peeves

Christopher Newport is a pretty great school, if I do say so myself (though admittedly, I’m a little biased!). But, even great schools lack certain things. What do I think would make my university better?


Now, before you rise up in arms, declaring your cat allergies and the noisiness of dogs – hear me out. What if we had an area dedicated to a couple of campus pets? Think about it. Perhaps we change one of those office spaces in the David Student Union into a mini animal zone (not miniature animals, just minimal space). A couple of campus pups, a few cool cats, and maybe even a sweet iguana or two.

We could provide more campus jobs by allowing some students to become caretakers, and studies have proven over and over again that petting furry, friendly animals reduces people’s stress levels.

Most of this post is in light-hearted jest, but I do love when pets make campus visits. So, on the next sunny day, you’ll find me out on the Great Lawn making friends with the fraternity brother’s new pug or petting the giant bunny that visits during the Farmer’s Market.

And, if you keep your eyes peeled at night, you just might spot one of the elusive cats that has made Christopher Newport its home. Perhaps we already have all the animals here we need!