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Growing up in Gen Z, media has always been a big part of our lives. From movies, to books, tv shows, music and more, none of our lives would be the same without them. We asked our CNU Chapter what pieces of media have shaped their lives and how. Here’s what our girls had to say!

Little WOmen

Brynne: “A piece of media that has shaped my life is Greta Gerwig’s Little Women movie from 2019. I have always loved the book and when her movie depiction came out, I fell even more in love with the story. I identify very strongly with my March Sister, Beth, and I love the way she was depicted in this adaptation! Little Women has been my go-to comfort movie since it came out and I think I saw it in theaters three or four times!”

Define “Normal” by: Julie a. Peters

Tiffany: “It would have to be ‘Define “Normal”‘ by Julie A. Peters. I found this book at a local book sale when I was in middle school and was really drawn in by how cool the book cover looked (the black 2000s cover version). Like any kid, I always thought that my life was the hardest and that no one would ever understand what I was going through. But this story about two young girls – a “punk” and “prep” – overcoming hardships and forming an unlikely friendship after meeting in a peer-counseling program made me realize that I should be more empathic towards others and to understand that people should be more compassionate in life. It was so relatable that I still have the book with me to this day.”


Brooke: “A piece of sacred media that represents my childhood is the movie Aquamarine (2006). I had chronic nightmares as a child and needed a source of light and sound as I went to sleep to feel safe. I used a DVD player to play the movie Aquamarine, as it brought me happiness and comfort (and still does as a 20-year-old). I fell asleep to this movie replaying for about a year. As a result, my brain subconsciously memorized every line, song, and sound effect. I can recite the movie perfectly like a public speech and picture the exact moment in my head like a film roll.”


Sierra: “It may seem silly, but the Barbie movies completely shaped me as a kid, like to the point where I still watch them to this day. I remember feeling so inspired by the vibrant visuals, creative settings, and memorable characters. My personal favorite is probably Barbie: Fairytopia, although I could easily compile a top-10 list with some other solid contenders.”

Apple Music and spotify

Graciela: “I think music media like Apple Music/Spotify has shaped me because music is a huge part of my life. Being able to listen to music is very stress relieving and I like to find songs I relate to. These apps allow me to explore all kinds of music, as well. I am able to expand my genre/artist knowledge giving me more opportunities to find cool songs.”

Percy Jackson and The Olympians series by Rick Riordan

Nora: “When I was younger, I was the type of kid to bring a book with me everywhere I went, and this series was the standout favorite of my childhood. It’s based around Greek mythology and my early self-identification as a “child of Athena” can still be seen in my over-achiever (and over-thinker) personality today. I reread them all during early quarantine and they triggered a renaissance of my reading habits. I feel like I grew up with the characters and these books and the subsequent series will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Avatar the last airbender

Avery: “The first thing that comes to mind is Avatar: The Last Airbender. I remember watching this show on Nickelodeon as a kid. It has become one of my go-to comfort shows over the years. I am obsessed with the style of animation and also the music. I find the music really inspiring and soothing. The music makes up half my homework playlist. The show also makes me laugh every time I watch it, so it’s something that I reach for when I’m feeling stressed or anxious.”


Shaunny: “Music, in general, has shaped me as a person. Over the years, I’ve discovered my music taste. I’ve learned that 90s R&B and early 2000s R&B have a special place in my heart. Listening to music is also like therapy to me; it calms me down and makes me relax in stressful situations. Music has also empowered me through the representation of minority women in the industry. Seeing successful women who look like me makes me feel like I can achieve my goals.”


Alauni: “I spend a lot of my media time on Youtube. It’s been a part of my childhood for a long time. I remember I would rush to finish my homework to watch Jacksepticeye & other fun videos from YouTubers that have now grown to be more recognizable in the media.”


Chaeli: “Generally, I feel that tv shows have shaped who I am as a person. Growing up I was a really lonely kid. Tv shows helped me to gain some form of social awareness out in public. Even though what I was watching was fiction, it helped me to gain an understanding of how people can be based on the tiny kernels of truth in each scripted scenario. I believe art imitates life and tv shows are just one example of that. That may make me sound like I was not socialized well enough, but I feel like tv shows help me to pick out the nuances about the complexities of humanity. Tv shows are mirrors of life to me.”


Emilie: “YouTube has been really influential in my life. I have used it for educational purposes and for entertainment. Also, it introduced me to vine and I quote the most well-known ones almost everyday.”

netflix selection page
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

The Fault in our stars by: john green

Allison: “This book was character defining for me when I first read it in 2014. It was the catalyst of my reading obsession and I’ve accumulated many copies of it over the years. For me, it was just so real. I feel like it was the first piece of media that depicted what life really is, not some happily ever after fairy tale catered to kids. I was really struggling with my mental health when I first read it, and it made me feel seen in the sense that other people struggle too, and that’s okay, it’s normal.”

Allison is a sophomore at Christopher Newport University, studying Psychology and Leadership Studies. She plans to go to P.A. school after undegraduate to become a Psychiatric P.A. She enjoys reading, writing poetry, and listening to Alt Rock music. Find her on insta @allibryan
Brynne is a current Freshman at Christopher Newport University. She enjoys trips to Barnes & Noble and is totally open to debate who the superior member of One Direction is!
Tiffany's a senior studying psychology with a double minor. On campus, she's a part of Student Honor Council and the Student Sustainability Commission. In her free time, she's usually trying new food places with friends, cooking, or hitting the gym! You can check her out on Instagram @tiffy_ni
Junior Communications She likes to watch Criminal Minds with her roommates.
Sierra is a senior at Christopher Newport University. She is majoring in psychology with intent to receive her masters in speech language pathology. In her free time, she loves thrift shopping, going on Target runs, and caring for all of her plants.
Marvel. Hot Sauce. Club Sports. Chaeli is a first-gen college kid looking to find her voice on campus. She is a double major in Criminology and Anthropology with a minor in chemistry in the Class of '24 at Christopher Newport University. She is hoping to explore more of the criminal justice field in law school.
CNU Freshman Class of 2026 Major: Cellular, Molecular, & Physiological Biology Minor: Leadership PLP & MAPS Loves writing, traveling, and being a goofball 🫶🏾
Shaundrea is a junior at Christopher Newport University. She is majoring in Psychology and double minoring in Childhood Studies and Leadership Studies. She aspires to become a child psychologist.
Nora (she/her) is a sophomore attending Christopher Newport University. She's majoring in psychology and plans to become an elementary teacher after college. Nora enjoys social media, but when she's not researching trends to incorporate into her HC chapter's Instagram (definitely not just scrolling endlessly) she loves reading, cooking, and attempting to crochet.
Hello my name is Graci! I’m a senior studying biochemistry. I’m excited to be a part of HC!!
20 yr old Virgo writer at Christopher Newport University. Big feminist. Coffee ice cream enthusiast. Communication Major.