My Favorite Places on Campus

At many other colleges, it’s typical for students to move off campus after their freshman year. Christopher Newport, with some exceptions, requires us to remain on campus for the first three years. To some, this might sound like an issue, but you should definitely check out my other blog about housing before you jump to any conclusions. (Spoiler: The on-campus apartments are amazing.) I feel like the benefits of living on campus for three years definitely outweigh the issues because it brings our community closer together and garners a greater sense of appreciation for the wonderful school we have chosen.

Captains love to hang out in the library, but don’t judge us just yet. (Please come visit and see how beautiful our newly renovated library is. You’ll want to spend all day in there too.) For a small school, our library is huge with tons of study space including desks, tables, computers, as well as individual and group study rooms. I’ve never once walked into the library and not seen anyone I know. Often times, I head into the library and start studying with a friend of mine who is working somewhere, even though we didn’t plan to! The exact same can be said of the dining halls. Sometimes, I go in and grab a to-go box, but I quickly run into a friend. So, I put my box away and instead sit down to have a meal. The Christopher Newport community is no joke; we really are as close as we say.

Of course, sometimes I’m not always up to be a social butterfly. So, I’ll relax outside in the Ferguson garden, or take a walk through campus and admire all of the architecture. After all, just because we’re a small campus doesn’t mean you don’t have your individual space. It’s good to have a balance, and that’s what Christopher Newport offers.

The Newest Addition to CAB

The other day, I heard back regarding my CAB (Campus Activities Board) application. I’m very excited to say that I was accepted into the organization! I’ve been put on the leisure committee, which was my first choice.

The leisure committee is typically in charge of the weekly CAB events. These can include things like bingo, movie nights, build-a-bear and plenty more. We have our first meeting coming up and I’m sure we’ll go over new ideas for the semester.  I’ve already got a couple brewing, possibly food related (after all, who doesn’t love free food). Whatever rough ideas we throw out there, it’ll be a very engaging process as we bring them to life for the Christopher Newport community. Our first event will be after spring break, so we all have time to collect our thoughts and come prepared with concrete plans, as well as vague outlines for what we might be interested in tackling this semester!

CAB is great training for a professional setting wherein lots of different ideas flow and are pursued. I’ve been a member of lots of different organizations (sports teams, writing staffs, service and recreational clubs, etc.), but I’m particularly excited for how CAB will prepare me for the future. I know that the practical and creative skills that I’ll walk away with from this opportunity will serve me for the rest of my life. I first was interested in joining simply because of how fun the events were, so I wanted to be a part of creating them for other people. Now, I also see the gears that are constantly turning and all the work that goes into each event. This is definitely going to be a time commitment, but that’s exactly what I wanted so I can be more involved on campus!

My First and Last Signing Day

At Christopher Newport, traditions are a big deal on our campus and it’s why we’re so close as a community. What may sound like silly ideas (like ringing a bell or keeping a penny) are actually incredibly meaningful to us Captains. In that vein, signing day is a tradition where sophomore formally sign for their major and it’s a very special experience.

Freshmen cannot officially declare their major at Christopher Newport – you have to wait until your sophomore year. This is so you can take time to explore the different programs on our campus and discover what you truly like and dislike. If you’re impatient like me, it might be difficult! Though, I can personally attest that it’s for the best. Originally, I came to Christopher Newport to be a communication major and nothing else. This was a difficult decision for me because I always wanted to study something in the entertainment field, but I told myself I should be “practical.” Well, after taking a few theater introductory courses I realized that it’d be a huge mistake to not pursue this passion. So, at signing day, I declared a double major for both communication and theater (directing and dramatic literature concentration).

At signing day, we all dress in professional attire and literally sign for our major(s) at the designated booths for each department. There are refreshments provided and plenty of room to mingle and take pictures with your friends. Each department also gives a commemorative button for you to pin on your backpack or clothes and it’s another memento that students hold dear for their entire time at Christopher Newport. Now that the Class of 2021 has officially chosen their majors, we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Phew!

Casting Call Update

A few blogs back, I wrote about a pretty awful audition in which I totally forgot my monologue! Though, thankfully, I was still given some callbacks after I instead shared a funny story in its place. Well, this week, the verdict finally came in. I got casted! In addition, rehearsals for “L’Impromptu de Versailles” are well underway and going fabulously.

I’ve been casted as Guildenstern in “Rosencratz and Guildenstern are Dead” (a tad morbid, but an exciting role nonetheless). The cast will have its first table read next week and I am beyond ready to get started. During callbacks, Guildenstern was the main role I auditioned for that I walked away from really hoping I’d get. I was interested in all of them, but this one was especially in my wheelhouse. The play is absolutely hilarious and I can’t wait to bring it to life. In addition, “L’Impromptu de Versailles” is going very well, with our Friday rehearsal finalizing the play’s entire blocking. I still have a long way to go in perfecting my French, but I know I’ll get it down within the coming weeks.

As a second semester sophomore, I was worried I would struggle to find my footing in the Theater Department at Christopher Newport. I have been completely blown away by how welcoming the community is and how easily I am beginning to integrate myself within it. These two productions are such amazing opportunities, and I can’t think of any other way I’d rather spend my time.

No One Studies Alone

Every semester it’s the same thing, midterms and finals. I wish I could say I’ve gotten used to it, but honestly every time they come around my heart gets just a little heavy. Thankfully, I don’t have to go through it alone and the rest of campus is right there with me. I wouldn’t say I’m someone who gets stressed easily – I’d more so describe the feeling as annoyed, annoyed that I have to take a test.

Right now, it’s midterm season and the library is full of students studying for their respective classes. Though, what I like about our library is no one is ever sitting alone. Everyone is always in a group, chatting and working. Whether they’re in the main area or in private study rooms, people are together and helping one another out. We definitely bond over our collective stress and that makes this time of year so much easier to handle. My rhetoric exam was definitely the worst this time around, but thankfully I have plenty of friends in that class to help me.

My peers and I all worked on a study guide together and spent a night in the library pouring over it. The format for the exam requires detailed explanations of seven random terms from a list of about 40 or so. There were so many terms we had to learn that we thought it would be impossible, but after a few hours of grinding we had a rough outline in our minds for every term. When we actually took the exam and discussed it afterwards, we all were pleasantly surprised with how easy it was. (Shocker: studying helps you pass.)

As I said before, I get pretty annoyed during midterms/finals because I hate to study and there’s never any breaks. Thankfully, at Christopher Newport we hold one another accountable and the bonds we make with one another go a long ways in ensuring our academic success. I only have one midterm left, so let’s hope I can finish strong before spring break!

Oklahoma!

I was really excited to get out of bed this morning because I had a ticket to see the Theater Department’s rendition of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, “Oklahoma!” Even though it’s one of the most revered and popular musicals of all time, I actually hadn’t even heard the cast recording before. So, when I headed to the Ferguson Center today I could hardly wait to find my seat.

The set was absolutely beautiful and incredibly imaginative. Aside from the backdrop and physical prop buildings, there were also several scattered panels hanging down that assembled an eclectic, artistic view of the Oklahoma countryside. The lighting also really aided in telling a visual story, with lots of mood lighting to elect certain feelings from the audience. This is all to say nothing of the performances and orchestration, which were equally amazing. The leads offered incredibly commanding and captivating performances which were complimented by the very enthusiastic ensemble. The cast clearly had a very developed rapport, and it was obvious they all had a lot of fun bringing this production to life.

I’ve never been disappointed by a performance at Christopher Newport. Even though we have a smaller Theater Department than some larger schools, that definitely doesn’t mean we’re any lesser. Every aspect of our theater program has the proper attention and expertise afforded to it  and it shows with the success of every production. I’m listening to the “Oklahoma!” cast recording now, I can’t get enough!

Waiting for a CAB

After some passive coaxing from a friend of mine, I was convinced to apply for the Campus Activities Board or “CAB.” Honestly, it’s one of the most dynamic and innovative organizations on campus, so it didn’t take much to convince me. Last week, I submitted my online application, but today I went in for the group interview portion of the process.

CAB is an organization at Christopher Newport that hosts weekly, fun events for the student body. These include bingo, movie, and board game nights as well as larger events such as comedians, musical guests, mentalists, and even full scale festivals.

This morning, I woke up and was feeling a little sick. I wasn’t too excited to roll out of bed, but I did so anyway because this was an opportunity I definitely could not pass up. I got dressed in business casual and headed to Forbes for the group interview. In groups of four, we were brought to different rooms where we were interviewed by the different committee heads and e-board officials regarding why we want to join and what we can bring to the table. My nerves very quickly dissipated as I realized the relaxed, conversational atmosphere the interviews took place in. I feel as though I was able to make a great impression, primarily because I could be myself and speak candidly to the CAB officials.

My goal this year was to get more involved on campus and I am hopeful that becoming a member of CAB will aid me immensely in that pursuit. Let’s hope I hear back soon!

What to Do When There’s Nothing to Do

Christopher Newport never seems to have any shortage of things to do. There are always events posted and advertised in the David Student Union (DSU) and the Campus Activities Board (CAB) does a great job of ensuring that there’s something going on every week. Though, with that said, sometimes there just aren’t any events that grab your interest. However, even then, there’s always something to do at Christopher Newport.

Take a Walk: You notice it as soon as you step foot on campus – we have a beautiful campus. Walking along the Great Lawn, you have an incredible view of Christopher Newport Hall and just to your left you can check out the Whisper Wall and the Bell Tower. Every walk I take on campus, I discover something new I love. The path from the James River residence hall toward Commons looks absolutely beautiful littered in autumn leaves right now, something I never noticed a year ago.

Crow’s Nest: Located in the DSU, this is an area designated for students to hang out and relax. There are game systems, a pool table, vending machines and plenty of seating. Usually, it’s not too crowded, so it’s a great place to gather your friends and have a fun evening at no cost. Every once in awhile my friends and I take a visit and play a few rounds of pool, even though I always lose!

Library: With our newly renovated library, there is never any shortage of space to grab a room, table or seat and study. All the time, I’ll receive a text in a group chat that one of my friends has reserved a study room and he or she will invite us to come join them and hit the books. If you can’t find anything to do, you’re always welcome in the library. Oh, and the architecture is stunning as well, so that’s a plus, too.

There are endless options on our wonderful campus. I love that, no matter what, I can always text a friend to do something and have a great time for no charge.

L’Impromptu de Versailles

Last week, I had callbacks, but I also had an audition for Moliere’s “L’Impromptu de Versailles.” It’s another student-directed play, independent of the director’s showcase, but still a part of Christopher Newport’s Theater Department. Going in to the audition, I honestly didn’t know what the play was about. I knew it was written in classical prose and so prepared a classical prose monologue, but outside of that I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

I went in for my audition, performed my monologue, and the director promptly gave me some sides as well as French lines to recite back to her. That’s when I began to question “wait, is this play in French?” The answer is yes… partially. I asked the director and she informed me that half of the play is in English and the other half is in French. We laughed and I admitted that I was a bit ill-informed. After all, I have absolutely no background in French. She reassured me that this was completely fine and I was given the part of La Grange! So, I am very pleased to announce that I have been given my first part at Christopher Newport. Since then, we’ve spent our rehearsal time researching our characters. The play is based on real people, so we can research not only through the script, but also online. It’s been very interesting delving into La Grange and learning what kind of person he was.

I’ve given quite a few looks at my French lines, but I need to coached a bit more so I can get the pronounciation down correctly. The show is on March 30, so there’s still plenty of time for me to learn everything. This week, we are beginning to work on blocking and memorization as opposed to research. We’re getting into the thick of it and that’s exactly what I want. I am beyond excited to be a part of this amazing opportunity with such a bright and talented cast.

Break a Leg!

If you read one of my recent blogs, you’ll know that I had a pretty bad audition for the Theater Department’s director showcase. Thankfully, the wonderful student directors decided to take a chance on me regardless and I received five callbacks. I was absolutely astounded and excitedly grabbed my sides from the callboard. (Sides are the scenes that an actor is given to familiarize themselves with for their callback audition.)

I looked them all over and quickly became ecstatic over all the thoughtful, interesting characters I was being considered for. I rehearsed my sides and, on Monday around 5, I went to my first callback. The process was simple enough. I was given a scene partner, someone who was called back for the other role in my side, and we rehearsed together for a good five minutes as other pairings went into the audition room. When it was finally our turn, the stage manager called us over and told us “break a leg.” We walked in and performed our side. After our first performance, the director gave us notes on what we could improve and we ran the scene again. All of my other callbacks were pretty much identical to this format!

Callbacks week was extremely hectic for me. I barely had any time to sit around; I was always on the move, whether it was theater, class, homework or just meal plans. Hopefully, this week will be a little slower paced. Though, I’ll be hearing back about callbacks soon and I couldn’t be more excited. I hope I get a role!