CNU: A Safe Place

I know as an incoming student there are some things at the top of your mind, where are my classes? Will I have people to eat and study with? Will I get invited to hang out on the weekends? But there are some things that aren’t always at the top of our minds. Will I be safe at school? This may not be at the forefront of our minds as students, but may be a concern of our over protective parents. As a senior I want to reassure you (or your parents) on these concerns.

Will I be safe?

While I can’t give a blanket statement or guarantee the future I will say that in my time at Christopher Newport there were two times that I didn’t feel safe which I will explain and discuss ways in which I was reassured and felt safe. CNU takes great strides to make sure our campus is secure and all student safety needs are met.

My sophomore year there was suspicious activity on campus early in the morning that lead to a university-wide lock down. While at first I was startled and scared because I lived in the Greek row houses, I was quickly updated by the university’s emergency system of what was occurring and how to keep myself safe. Because I didn’t live in a main building and didn’t have an RA directly in my residence the emergency notifications helped keep me calm and up to do date as the situation was resolved.

The second incident occurred my senior year in my residence. I was trying to fall asleep and between one and two in the morning I thought I heard my kitchen chairs moving. I stopped breathing and waited to see if I heard it again. I hear the same sound and immediately texted my roommate to see if she was, one: awake, and two: in the kitchen. She was awake but not in the kitchen. I told her I thought someone was in the house and of course we both were freaked out. I called my sorority sister who is an RA and lived diagonally from me and asked if she could see any movement in my kitchen because I thought there was someone in the house. She said she couldn’t and that I should call CNU PD to come and investigate because it’s better to be safe than sorry. As crazy as it sounds I called CNU PD and they responded within five minutes. They reassured us we weren’t crazy for calling them and that no one was in the apartment beside ourselves, checking in every closet and room for us. Although we’re college students and don’t need our parents to look under our beds for monsters anymore, we do have campus police to make sure we are safe, even if it turns out to be nothing at all.

I would strongly claim that CNU is a very safe campus. All student IDs have CNU PD’s emergency number printed on the back and there are alert boxes in every building on campus that can contact emergency personnel should a situation arise. Additionally RAs and other student workers go through training for emergency situations. We have a great health center that not only caters to the common cold but has a counseling center that can help with different mental health needs, both provide services to keep Captains safe and healthy. Our school also has a very active Title IX department that helps to cover different issues on campus. Furthermore, our staff and faculty are always working to improve systems, conditions, and policy to adapt and care for the students in the most effective way possible.

When it comes to safety on campus Christopher Newport takes great precaution to make sure students are cared for. If you or someone you know is in need of safety services please refer to the following list:

CNU Police 

Healthy and Wellness Services

Title IX

Student Handbook

Sign Up for CNU Alerts here.



Senior Secrets

There’s a secret sort of wisdom you accumulate as you grow old at Christopher Newport University. You learn when the right time to get a buffalo chicken wrap on Wednesday, and what professor to avoid in economics. I’ve got eight little secrets to share that I’ve learned over the years.

  1. Print ahead of time
    • Do yourself a favor and just print the night before an assignment is due. Nothing is worse than getting stuck in a never-ending line in the library or DSU and having someone print a novel in front of you. Print ahead of time and thank me later.
  2. Bring your own (clean) coffee cup to Einstein’s
    • Love coffee? You’ll love it more when it’s a fraction of the price and in your own favorite mug. Bringing a clean personal mug not only allows you to sip from the comfort of your own mug but it makes your dinning dollars go further as it’s less expense and eco-friendly!
  3. Get to know your professors
    • Getting to know your professors not only comes in handy when you’re an old senior and need recommendation letters for graduate school or a job, it also helps to give you some slack in class. You’ll get sick, you’ll get stressed, and you’ll probably get behind on some readings. Having a professor that knows you better than just a kid in their two o’clock helps in all of these situations, don’t expect to slack but know that having personal relationships helps to make your college experience more enjoyable and a little easier in times of stress
  4. Media Center is your Friend
    • USE THE MEDIA CENTER! I was not very tech savvy coming into college, I could use a little digital camera but hand me a DSLR and I was a deer in headlights. I also have an HP Laptop and couldn’t use a Mac to save my life. The Media Center fixed both of my problems! They have cameras, camcorders, mac desktops, laptops, camera equipment all for rent and editing suites. Even better they have a whole DVD library, located on the second floor of the library this is a must visit at CNU
  5. If it’s Free it’s for Me
    • Nothing is better than free events on campus. Free food, free snacks, free pens, and the best of the best… free scantrons and blue books during finals and midterms
  6. Use Buildings as a cut through
    • It might seem obvious but this has been a soul warmer, hair saver, and dry oasis. When the weather starts to get chilly or a hurricane is passing though trek across campus a little less damp by using academic buildings as covered walk ways. As a student living on East Campus I cut through the Freeman, jumping to Christopher Newport Hall, sliding through the library, and hop to the David Student Union. I cut down exposure to wind and rain, and get to class a little dryer.
  7. Stop and enjoy Campus
    • I find myself doing this a lot in my second senior semester. As my final semester as a student I walk a little slower, smile a little more, take in the bricks a little longer, and hang out on the Great Lawn more often. Unless you decide to take a victory lap you only have four years here and the semesters will fly by. Start to enjoy everything CNU has to offer as soon as you can because you’ll be gone and off in the real world soon enough.
  8. Visit the Falk Gallery
    • Student art or a traveling show, the Falk Art Gallery in the Ferguson center allows for a quick break of math and science in CNU’s little world of the arts. As you venture to the gallery you might stumble upon aspiring actors running lines or classes sculpting in plaster.

Graduation is Coming

It’s coming….graduation.

For some seniors the dreaded life event is slowly approaching while other seniors are warmly welcoming the event. For myself it’s a bittersweet moment. Four years seems like a long time, especially when you are a bright-eyed freshman stepping on to Christopher Newport University for the first time. However, as a student you get caught up in project deadlines, joining different organizations, all while trying to juggle a social life and you first year flies by. Sophomore and junior year blend together and all of a sudden you’ve entered into your final fall semester at CNU. It wasn’t until my last semester started that I began to feel a little “old.” The fall felt like any other semester and it didn’t hit me that I was actually leaving until I bought my cap and gown.

Now that the senior class has passed our 100-day mark, ordered their senior week packages, caps and gowns things are starting to line up for us to cross the stage. As I’m getting close to completing my senior seminar and finish my last couple of projects things are really sinking in that graduation is a reality. With 54 days until graduation there is no denying its approach. All that is left to do is pass our classes and sing as much Brickhouse karaoke as we can!

100 Days ’till the Tassel Turns

Friday, February 3 marked a very important day for the Class of 2017, only 100 days left until we would be walking across the stage in our caps and gowns. To celebrate this monumental countdown, Class Council and the Office of Alumni Relations teamed up to put on a roaring ’20s-themed event to celebrate.

Transforming the Ballroom into a 1920’s speakeasy, seniors came clad in fringe and pinned curls making it seem as though we were really celebrating with Scott Fitzgerald’s J. Gatsby himself. Candelabras, art deco designs and a live swing band help to set the mood even further. 

A “sweet-easy” display of cupcakes and sweets satisfied attendees’ sweet tooth while dips and appetizers kept students happy while they waited to get signature cocktails. The bee’s knees and mint juleps were two specialty drinks we could enjoy with our drink tickets.

Seniors enjoyed remarks from Baxter Vendrick of the Office of Alumni Relations and senior class president Nora Huston and continued to dance the night away to a mix of current songs and live music from a swing band. While some seniors may feel nostalgic about their time coming to an end at Christopher Newport, the evening was full of smiles, laughs, and lots and lots of pictures.

Seniors can look forward to Commencement 101 in the upcoming weeks as the countdown begins to graduation 2017.

College Relationships

College relationships. They’re fun, complicated, fleeting and sometimes, just sometimes, they’re the “one.” With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching you may find yourself stressing to find a valentine, you’re running away from prospective lovers, or planning your own Valentine’s Day festivities with an established love. Love in college is a unique spectacle. There are the couples who are attached at the hip walking across the Great Lawn, the couples you question if they are still dating because they’re so independent, the high school sweethearts, the hallmates, the junior-freshman combos, the power couple of the Office of Student Activities and the list just goes on and on.

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For me personally, I am in a long-distance relationship with someone who doesn’t attend CNU. He’s in North Carolina about four hours away from me. This obviously is a little more difficult of a relationship to have during college. The distance can put some strains on things and we don’t always have time to sit and talk on the phone for hours with our different lifestyles. But! We do plan constant trips to see each other and mini weekend vacations to different cities in Southern Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina. I will say one big benefit of dating long distance is that he’s never here to distract me from my studies! During the week I have time for myself, school and friends, which helps to balance all of the things that are important to me.

Another common type of relationship I’ve seen on campus has been the welcome week meet up. I’m going to be 100 percent honest: welcome week will be the most fun you’ve ever had in college IF you leave your dorm room and go meet people. It doesn’t have to be party hopping it can be as simple as going to the gym or a school sponsored event. While you’re out getting to know people you’ll probably meet some of your best friends and maybe even your significant other. I know a lot of people who met welcome week and have been together ever since. This is kind of cool because they are building college memories together.

A third type of relationship common at CNU is the love from back home. Some high school sweethearts attend college together at CNU while others attend separate schools. While these can be possible long-distance or short-distance relationships if one goes to another school, these type of relationships seem to be rock-solid. Having already been together for three or four years, these couples know everything about each other but still maintain their own sense of independence when it comes to their college years. It’s really cool to see these couples last until senior year of college and beyond! Image result for valentines day candy

Regardless of if you’ve been in a relationship for years, weeks, days or never, college is all about having fun and making the most of your time. This Valentine’s Day surround yourself with those who make you happiest. If that’s a boyfriend or girlfriend, awesome! If not, grab your galentines or your bromance and pass the cheap candy hearts!

Miss Independent

This past week I found myself sitting in the lobby of Pep Boys for a few hours, waiting for my car to be serviced so I could find out why different lights had been coming on when I start my car. Planning to take a few road trips in the following weeks, I wanted to make sure my car wouldn’t quit on me as I was driving down the interstate. Forty dollars and two-and-a-half hours later, I was told that my car was fine. I was already at a car store and in need of new wipers. As I was staring at the wipers I called my dad to try to figure out what my car needed. Trying to look like I knew what I was doing, I picked up a couple different wipers and looked them over. My attempt to look like I knew what I was doing failed and a nice grandpa who worked at the store helped look up my car’s needs. One 19″ wiper and one 22″ wiper and I was headed back to campus.

My father had told me that if you purchase the wipers they would install them for you, but I was determined to install them on my own. After all, the last time my windshield wipers were replaced was when my dad and I did them in August. Once I started to attempt to take the current wipers off I remembered that this wasn’t an easy task, and then I felt really overwhelmed at the task I had just given myself.

Cold and windy, my hands were stiff and I was blindly trying to switch out the wipers. The directions on the package didn’t help and my two attempts for help were also clueless. Alas, after about 20 minutes of self-questioning and prayers that I wasn’t going to break my car, I had successfully changed my windshield wipers. To some, changing your windshield wipers may be simple, but for me, it was a task! College is about learning, studies and how to be an adult. If there’s only one thing I learned in college it may be to have the mechanic install your wipers for free,  but I like to think of myself as strong independent women who can do that herself.

Post Recruitment Feelings

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If you’ve been on Christopher Newport’s campus recently or just this past weekend you may have seen flocks of girls cycling from the Freeman, to the DSU, to the New Greek Village. These larger-than-usual packs of girls were participating in Panhellenic formal recruitment. This is when all seven of our sororities on campus host rounds to showcase their philanthropies and sisterhoods. Potential new members met with each sorority Friday night and over the course of Saturday and Sunday morning narrowed down their preferences.

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For many students, and not just those going through recruitment, bid day is the best day. Bid day is when the girls going through formal recruitment receive their bids and then physically run home to their new sisterhood.  Bid day was held in the Freeman Fieldhouse for the second year in a row and was packed with sorority girls clad in gold leggings (a popular trend this year), glitter and face paint. The stands and leftover standing room was filled with fraternity men, friends, staff and curious spectators. A very overwhelming day, Bid day is filled with lots of tears, laughs, hugs and regrettably a few trips.

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As a senior who just ran ( I was in charge of my sorority’s recruitment) and went through her last recruitment, it’s a bittersweet moment as all things senior year are. Not only was I emotional over the four years I’ve gotten to experience Greek life but thinking back on all the memories I have made at CNU and through my sorority had me feeling very grateful.  However, after welcoming home our new members I have a new-found hope. These girls are going to carry on the legacy I helped to shape and advance, these girls are the future of the organization I have come to love and call home. It’s exciting to be standing on the end and seeing these girls coming in wide-eyed and bushy-tailed. While I would change places with them in a heartbeat I know there’s so much for them to come.

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While I start to pursue post-graduate options rather than possible littles I know my time in the collegiate chapter is coming to an end, However, I will be forever in debt to my sisters for their constant love, support, motivation and laughs. Regardless of what letters you wear, joining a sisterhood is one of the greatest decisions you’ll make. As you grow in the organization and finish your schooling you’ll be blind to all that it gives you, until you’ve reached your senior year and look back on your successes and downfalls. You’ll know then that without your sisterhood you wouldn’t understand how you made it through everything. To all of the girls who just went through Recruitment congratulations and welcome to the Panhellenic sisterhood. To those who have been Greek for some time don’t forget to really soak up your time with sisters and reflect periodically. To the seniors on their final lap take advantage of everything you have left, sign up for intramurals, volunteer to sing a cappella, study all night with sisters, this time next year we’ll be without them and wishing we could repeat those things the most.

Go Greek and make a change in your life.

Gearing Up for Finals

As our last week of classes is coming to an end, Finals are quickly approaching. But have no fear! I’ve got a few quick tips to help make your finals week a little more manageable.

  1. Make a To-Do List
    • I know I work so much better when I can check things off. Writing out a to-do list ensures a way to stay on track and not forget anything. I’d suggest going back through your syllabi to make sure you have all set due dates, and it doesn’t hurt to check and double-check when your finals are.
  2. Stay Hydrated
    • Keep a water bottle handy. While you might want to throw back energy drinks and coffee, water helps to keep your body going without crashing.
  3. SLEEP!
    • This is really important. I have friends who think they can tackle finals week by pulling all-nighters but this is not a highly suggested route. Plan out your study time but make sure to carve at least five to six hours of sleep if you can.
  4. Take Breaks
    • Be sure to take some time for yourself, go get food with friends, take a half-hour Netflix break. It’s important to maximize study time but it’s also good to take a few minutes to let your brain rest from all your studying.
  5. Ask Professors Questions Now
    • Don’t wait until the night of to email your professors frantic questions, chances are they will be sleeping and by the time they reply the next day you’ll be sitting in your exam. Take time to look over things this week and ask your questions before finals week starts.
  6. Avoid the Reading Day Eve Parties
    • As tempting as it might be to have one last get together before we all head home for the holidays, stick to the library. You won’t regret the extra hours when you ace your exam but you will regret going out over studying when you tank your on the cusp exam and miss dean’s list by .01.
  7. Get Blue Books and Scantrons Now
    • After you read this walk over to the Captain’s Locker and get your exam needs now, you don’t want to forget the day of and have to scramble to find a friend who has one.

Best of luck, Captains and happy exam week!

Thanksgiving Break: Then and Now

As I senior I’ve felt very sentimental this semester. Last “First Day of School,” last football games, the last time I’ll walk to McMurran in the changing fall leaves. It’s been a very emotional year so far and it’s not even the end of the semester yet! Adding to my lists of lasts is my final Thanksgiving break home.

As I drove from Christopher Newport to Northern Virginia I thought back over my years. My first Thanksgiving taking the train from Newport News to Union Station in Washington, D.C., to making friends and carpooling home with them, to now driving back home on my own senior year.

It’s always a tough transition coming home your freshman year, you still have to follow the parent’s rules, but want to go out and see your friends, come and go as you please. Now as a senior I’m much more inclined to snuggle up on the couch and binge watch TV with my family than run around town. The biggest difference I noticed in myself from my freshman year to my senior year when coming home for Thanksgiving is my want to be with family. As we get older it’s really easy to simply want to go out and explore and get away from the nest, but after a summer interning in New York and a fall break cheering on the Tar Heels in a hurricane I found myself just wanting family time.

I drove back home mid morning and made it back  before my family had returned from work and school, warmly greeted by my yellow lab Abby. My freshman year I would have just flopped on the couch to watch TV until they all got home, but I found myself cleaning up the kitchen, putting away the dishes, and cleaning up the living room, in addition to taking my bags to my room and staring laundry (all successfully on my own might I add). Freshman year I would’ve whined to my mom about how hard it is to do laundry on my own in the residence halls and begging her to just do my laundry for me, but I found myself cleaning up trying to make it easier for my mom when she got home from work. And that’s the difference I think. As an adult you shift from the mentality of what can they for me?, to asking what can I do for others?

This Thanksgiving, be kind, a take an extra minute out of your day to do something for someone you care about. A little kindness goes a long way, and as you get older family becomes much more valuable. So while your great-aunt Mary might be pinching your cheeks at the dinner table or your grandfather brings up opposing politics, spread the love and thanks and don’t forget about the little things.

Registration 101

It’s that time of the semester again: registering for classes. This is a time that some students love and others fear. I know my roommate reacts to the release of next semester’s classes like it’s Christmas morning. Personally, it’s a love-hate relationship. I can’t get too excited about my classes until registration has come and gone and my classes are solid.

As a senior who is double majoring and minoring, I feel like I’ve mastered the art of mixing and matching my classes. I didn’t want to spend my time at Christopher Newport taking classes that wouldn’t advance me for post-grad life. I’ve made sure that each class I take has a purpose. With a liberal learning core you may feel that some classes you’re taking are pointless, but they really help to round you out and prepare you for the basics of any job. Once you’re a junior and senior you’re pretty much in your major classes and loving life.

Here are a few tips I have for registration:

  • Have plenty of back ups, nothing is worse than having a perfect list of classes to find half of them have been filled and you’re left scrambling at seven in the morning
  • Talk to your professors, really talk to them. You might find a new interest or a professor that has a teaching style that works for you
  • If you’re interested, try it! Especially as a freshman or sophomore try out classes, you might find a new passion, major or minor
  • Save your Creative Expression, you’re senior self will thank you
  • Aim for subject over class time, if there is a class you really want to take, take it regardless of time. You might not get out of class on Friday before Four but you’ll enjoy your classes so much more
  • Don’t anticipate override forms. Sometimes you might get lucky, but most of the time override forms are limited and hard to get, try your best to make your classes work without having to rely on them
  • SET MULTIPLE ALARMS! It’s not the end of the world if you oversleep but waking up on time will make your life much easier
  • Test your PIN ahead of time and verify when your time to register is
  • Some students suggest going off campus because Wi-Fi gets iffy with so many people jumping on at the same time, save yourself the hassle and use your smart phone for 10 minutes as a hot spot. It might spike your data for a few minutes but a few minutes off your data plan is better than the hassle of not getting the classes you want

Have fun, Captains and may the academic odds be ever in your favor….