Bring the Talent

Everybody loves a good talent show, and from what I’ve seen, Captains certainly know how to bring the talent. Unleash the Talent, the annual signature event of Hypnotic Control, is the perfect opportunity for us to showcase our creative abilities. The audience in Gaines Theatre was as excited as I was to see what the various acts had in store for us.

Hypnotic Control is a hip-hop dance group on campus open to all students, regardless of dancing experience, who want to have fun dancing surrounded by a great group of people. I have been a member for three years now. I absolutely love being a part of such a well-known group on campus and I have made great friends through the organization.

This year’s Unleash the Talent had a fantastic turnout of students, friends and parents of the performers. The talent varied from singing and contemporary dancing to stand-up comedy. Two of the acts performed for the first on the stage and both did so great! One of these debut acts, KPC, a group who dances to K-Pop, actually won the judges’ vote! Liesl Mattar was the other winner of the night as the recipient of the audience’s choice for her strong vocal performance! I was very impressed with the talent overall this year, even for those acts who did not win.

It was also a special night for me as it was my last Unleash the Talent performance. We work extremely hard on creating a dance routine to showcase at Unleash the Talent, and I am so proud of my Hypnotic Control family for how well we did! Unleash the Talent was very successful this year and the night was filled with laughter and smiles from start to finish! Christopher Newport Captains truly have talent like no other!

Picture-Perfect Contest

Every year the study abroad office holds an international photo contest, allowing the memories and interactions from adventures abroad to come to life. This contest is open to any student, faculty or staff member who has journeyed abroad recently… which means I can finally partake in submitting my favorite photos! Regardless, before I had always enjoyed looking at the photos that were shared by everyone because they truly captured moments of a lifetime.

I’ve seen amazing photos, from people playing music with children in Germany to students exploring a medieval castle in Scotland. There are also super-creative and sometimes abstract photos. People have done things like take photos of the amazing people they meet while abroad, or find beautiful angles of the architecture surrounding them. This category is my favorite to see, simply because everyone seems to have a unique idea and perspective to share.

Once the photos are in, the voting is ready to take place. There’s a first place and a second place decided by the students on campus, but the coolest one to see is the people’s choice award. Each winner gets a small cash prize, but the main fun is seeing all of the amazing photos. The study abroad office takes the photos that are submitted to them and post them on their facebook page, and whichever photo gets the most likes, wins the people’s choice. I love that they not only get the students involved with the vote, but also ask the community to share which adventure speaks to them the most.

Every picture submitted is priceless because it captures an experience that is so special to its owner. Having this contest allows everyone to partake in witnessing the incredible experience gained. I love seeing this event and I value the tradition behind seeing each adventure displayed, hopefully inspiring the next person to take a leap of faith and journey abroad.

Spring Career Fair

Christopher Newport recently held its bi-annual career fair. This semester was my first time going and I am extremely upset at myself for not going sooner. Essentially, loads of companies send representatives to campus and students are given the opportunity to mingle with them in a professional, yet conversational environment. It was as great experience and I was able to learn a lot.

The companies present are extremely eager to talk to students. In addition, many (if not all) of them come with job and internship opportunities for students. They are willing to take your resume and put you in touch with their hiring departments.

I spoke with several companies and handed my resume to plenty of them. The first of which was Smithfield, a food company. If I’m completely honest, I was drawn to them because they had some insanely cool wares on display. They had a cute pig stress toy, key chains, card holders and the like. The representative I spoke with was very receptive and I quickly lost interest in the knick knacks. We discussed internship opportunities and she asked for my resume. I happily handed it to her!

From there on, I visited a news station which is a career path I am deeply passionate about. I have always been drawn to journalism, but the reps I spoke too widened my perspective to a myriad of opportunities in the industry. I similarly handed them a resume and they handed me an application. The list goes on and on; I left the career fair with all of my resumes given out.

I personally have several graduated friends who found their jobs through the career fair. Knowing this, I was very optimistic when talking to the representatives because I knew that they do seriously consider Christopher Newport students. It was great to see so many people at the fair. It quickly became clear to me that no one is at Christopher Newport simply to goof off. Everyone who is here is seriously committed to professional and academic success. My hope is that I hear back about an internship opportunity soon for the summer soon. Regardless, I’m very grateful I was able to share this experience with my peers!

The Benefits of Revolving Roommates

It was the summer leading up to my freshman year of college when I started to wonder who was going to be assigned as my random roommate. Unlike a coin toss, the Housing and Residence Life Offices at Christopher Newport request that all incoming freshmen take a survey to gauge each student’s study habits, sleeping behaviors, room cleanliness preferences and other things of that nature. This allows for students to get paired with other students whose lifestyles are compatible with one another. All thanks to Christopher Newport, I was assigned two very sweet and goofy suitemates and a roommate who, shortly after we met on move-in day, became one of my closest friends.

Sophomore year came along, and I found myself rooming with a new roommate I had met only once before. It was my new suitemate who brought the four of us together in our four-person suite, knowing that we would get along perfectly. And she was right! I became great friends with all three of them. In fact, the other suitemate, who I had not met until that year, ended up moving with me to our new on-campus apartment the following year.

It was junior year that I lived with my sophomore year suitemate, her best friend and a new random roommate. And once again, new friendships were made. My random roommate became a really close friend of mine and we chose to live together this year, my senior year, with two new random roommates, who are both amazing people.

Living with different roommates and suitemates over the past four years and learning from their experiences and passions has opened my eyes about the world. Two of my roommates are involved in a sorority. Two of my roommates studied abroad. One of my roommates is from another country. Three of my roommates love Harry Potter (four if I include myself!). One of my roommates wants to be a social worker while another wants to be a doctor. While it may not be typical to have a revolving door of roommates each year, there are so many stories and experiences that I have come to share with each of them. And the friendships that have formed along the way are even more valuable.

Group Projects

In high school, group projects were a pain. Now that I’m at Christopher Newport, I actually look forward to them. At CNU, we all care deeply about our academics, and do not shirk our responsibilities. So it’s easy to put your mind at ease and have faith your partners will pull their weight! This week, I’ve been working on three different group projects.

The first was assigned a few weeks ago, and it’s for my theater class. My partner and I are working on blocking, designing and acting a scene. It’s been a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. Today, she and I finalized some design ideas and discussed our characters’ motivations. Our official performance is next week, and I’m very excited to finally present everything altogether!

In addition, for my argumentation class, we were put into random groups and told to form an argument either for or against standardized testing. We’ll then present our argument to a group of judges. I love assignments like those. It fosters creative and lively discussion, and the research feels like it has a real purpose, as opposed to just writing an essay for its own sake. Lastly, two of  my friends and I presented on the film “12 Years a Slave” and its connection to Walt Whitman’s poetry. We practiced for about an hour today, so when it finally came time to present, it was a breeze.

I’m so glad my week is filled with projects like these, and I know my fellow Christopher Newport peers are too. It’s great to not only learn from professors, but also each other. Collaboration and team-building skills are just as important as the actual learning, and Christopher Newport knows that.

Behind the Scenes of Fall Break

Fall break is that wonderful time of year when we get to take a few days to de-stress from all our classes and enjoy some extended time for ourselves. During fall break, we keep the residence halls open, because it is not a long enough break to close campus. That means that I worked for the weekend, but it was actually great.

Most people would groan at the idea of working over break, but for me, I enjoyed every second. I worked a bunch of hours and pretty much nobody was here! I love all my fellow Captains, but it was so refreshing to sit behind the desk for a few hours and chill, knowing that I might only see a few people per hour. Sometimes all you need is a change of pace to re-energize yourself.

With my free time, I was able to renew my Netflix addiction, have some peace and quiet to think about life, draw, listen to music, talk to some friends that I haven’t had the time to talk to in a while, laugh awkwardly by myself at memes, take some dramatic photos of simple objects simply because I thought it would be cool, take some great selfies, take some really bad selfies and eat chicken tenders with my other friends who worked during the break (life tip: always eat chicken tenders when the opportunity presents itself.)

Some people choose to take their breaks off campus and reunite with their families. For me, I like peace and quiet, which my family does not do. With campus nearly empty, I got to enjoy the fall weather all by myself, which, as an introvert, what could be better?

Engaging Professors

Today, I played tag in class. Yes, in a 200-level college class, I played tag. And I loved it. It was in my theater class, and it was an exercise to help us get comfortable with the space as we ran lines for some scenes we were working on. The lengths Christopher Newport professors go to engage their students never ceases to amaze me.

It’s not just my theater class, plenty of my professors design their curriculums around fun and worthwhile activities that get us out of our seats. For example, in my leadership class last year, my professor would put us into groups every few weeks and we would have to solve a puzzling situation or be forced to make hard decisions that directly applied to the coursework we were learning. It was so much fun to be removed from the traditional learning atmosphere and discover the implications of our findings firsthand.  It’s an alternative style of learning, much more entertaining than a simple lecture.

Lectures are a necessary evil. No matter the class, there will likely always be a fair amount of lecturing. And that’s OK. Christopher Newport faculty lecture just as any other professor would. Though, what they do differently is they also ensure that there is more to the class. There’s always more than just sitting and taking notes. Group projects can be a pain, but at least they inspire collaboration and creativity among peers. Professors at CNU engage us, they want us to apply what we learn and explore the subject in a different way than just lecturing.

Everyday at Christopher Newport, I’m always excited to go to class. I’ve had my share of “boring” classes in high school, and I haven’t had anything close to those experiences now that I’m at Christopher Newport.

Music – Not Just for Majors

College is a time to grow as an individual and seek out new avenues to explore. Coming to Christopher Newport, I knew there were many things I wanted to pursue and discover about myself, but I was determined to also bring with me my commitment to violin. I have been playing violin since the fifth grade and was incredibly worried about how I could continue throughout college if I was not a music major. Orchestra in high school had given me such a passion for violin, I didn’t want to leave those experiences behind. When I went through orientation I expressed my concerns with my crew leader and she instantly found me the contact information for the Music Department.

I emailed them and was happy to find my answer the very next day: non-music majors are welcome to join the orchestra! I could take the class as a creative expressions credit that would contribute to my liberal arts learning and I would just audition to determine seating arrangements. The Music Department was so welcoming and immensely helpful when it came time to the auditions. I was a little nervous because I had never played with such experienced musicians, but they eased my worries by informing me that all levels are welcome and the audition is just for placement purposes.

As a sophomore this year, my schedule conflicted with when the orchestra classes were offered, sadly meaning I could not partake in orchestra this year. Once more I notified the department of this disappointment and they offered me the opportunity to join a student-led quartet. This is so wonderful because now I can continue the joys of playing with my peers while also maintaining my current schedule for this year.

I love playing as an ensemble and I am so grateful for the opportunities the Music Department has offered me here. Regardless of schedule, major, or level, all musicians are welcome at Christopher Newport. I highly encourage you, music related or not, to bring the passions unique to you, because Captains were made to inspire.

Five Places to Eat on Campus (other than dining halls)

The dining halls, Commons and Regattas, are fantastic. There’s no doubt about it. Today, I had some delicious mac n’ cheese, mashed potatoes and vegetarian “chicken” with asparagus. Though, it’s nice to be able to switch things up every once in awhile, and that’s why Christopher Newport offers so many other dining options.


  • Discovery Grill: I wanted to start this list off strong, so I’m going with my favorite option, Discovery Grill. Wow, their mozzarella sticks are something else, absolutely amazing. Once a week, I have an order of those as well as an egg and cheese croissant sandwich. Now, I know that’s a bit of an odd pairing, but trust me, it’s delicious. The grill has so many choices: burgers, salads, melts, subs and plenty of sides. There’s something for everyone!
  • Discovery Pizzeria: Every great college campus has a pizza place, and Christopher Newport is no exception. Though, I’d argue the most special thing on the menu is their garlic breadsticks. They’re only $2.40 and they’re worth every penny.
  • Discovery Bistro: The bistro is a little pricier than the other restaurants, but don’t let that stop you. It’s definitely a great place to splurge every once in awhile. They have tons of great sandwiches and sushi to choose from.
  • Chick-fil-A: I mentioned how every great college campus has a pizza place; well, every great college should have a Chick-fil-A, too. Those waffle fries can get me out of my bed anytime, any day.
  • Einstein’s: Most people go here for the coffee, but they also have a huge menu with plenty of delicious foods to choose from. They have a breakfast and lunch menu with tons of options, but also snacks and drinks that are served all day.


You don’t have to always go to a dining hall. There’s always something new and delicious to eat at Christopher Newport!

Late Night Reward

Last night, I’m proud to say I was up until 2 a.m., working on an essay. Okay, I know that doesn’t sound like something to be proud of. Consider this though, the essay isn’t due until Thursday! So, why did I stay up so late?

Well, yesterday I was sitting in my room, dreading all of the homework I’d have to squeeze in before the start of fall break. I was pouring over the syllabi for my classes, very disheartened. Then, I had a thought, a radical thought. What if I finished all of my homework today? How crazy would that be? I opened up my laptop and got started.

For theater, I had to read through an entire play and catalog every description of my character that is said by my character or one of the other characters about my character. Even with skimming, that took me a solid 90 minutes or so. Next up, I had to watch a movie for English class and make a short presentation on it. This took up the majority of my afternoon. Though, once it was done I felt a huge weight lifted. It was nice to have my schedule a little less full! I ate a late dinner and finished up a few other assignments. There was just one left.

I had an essay due on Thursday for my leadership course. For me, the hardest part about essays is starting. It was already 10 p.m., I figured “maybe I should just go to sleep.” Then I thought, “well, if I’ve come this far, I might as well at least start my essay.” To my surprise, once the ideas started flowing, I couldn’t stop myself. Seven pages later, I had a fully APA formatted and cited leadership paper finished. The only issue was, well, it was 2 a.m. and I had a class at 9:30 a.m. I crawled into bed. I was tired, but proud.

Now, my week is wide open and I can spend it with my friends. Although, I think tonight I’ll probably go to sleep early!