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Senior Advice from the Captains of CNU

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CNU chapter.

As the end of the school year approaches, for some it will be the final last day of school. Four years of knowledge and experience are encapsulated into fine young adults that may or may not be ready for the real world. Nevertheless, as these soon-to-be graduates look forward to their futures ahead, we asked them to take a look back in the past and share what they’ve learned from their college experience. 

What is the best roommate advice you can give to a college student?

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate! Be gracious if they’re going through stuff but it’s important that you talk through any issues or frustrations that may arise. – Rebecca D’Souza
  • Do not be best friends with them – Emily Allen
  • Maintain open communication, if they do something that upsets you, it’s better to talk about them to let yourself ruminate in the anger – Emily Atkins
  • Make sure to respect their boundaries. – Emilie Shrimpton
  • During the first week of living together, communicate your expectations and learn about your roommate’s expectations. This ensures that everyone is aware of boundaries and helps avoid future conflicts. – Shaunny Miles
  • Communicate! Even if it’s something small it is better to communicate before it snowballs into something bigger. – Alyssa Dickerson
  • Set boundaries with your roommates and treat them with respect. Not every roommate is going to be your best friend but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a fun living situation – Meghan Smith
  • Don’t assume people’s intentions, it’s important to talk about anything and everything. – Katharine Rowzie
  • Be ok having uncomfortable talks about boundaries, help each other out, and talk if problems arise. Sometimes people can’t read your mind, so let your problems be know instead of stewing on anger and frustrations. – Nathan Simmers
  • Communicate your expectations for the living space and address issues as they come up – Nahrin Habib
  • The best advice I would give for roommates advice is to always be willing to talk and listen. Be able to hear the others talk. Be willing to be supportive and understand that everyone is different. Your first roommates might not be the ones you end up with, but remember it is possible to have all the same roommates every year. – Masego Morake

What is the best academic advice you can give to a college student?

  • Don’t go out when you know you need to do homework. – Rebecca D’Souza
  • Go to office hours. And for the love of god go to class. don’t be afraid to ask questions in class and reach out to professors if you are struggling – Emily Allen
  • Ask questions for clarity if need be. – Tracy Nguyen
  • Don’t procrastinate. It doesn’t help you in the long run, just gives you unnecessary stress. Heavily recommend taking small bites out of assignments. – Emilie Shrimpton
  • As hard as it is, do not procrastinate on your assignments! If you wait until the last minute to do your work, something else may come up and create more stress for you. You will thank yourself later for taking the initiative to do your work ahead of time. Also, if you are struggling with the class material or have questions, don’t hesitate to visit your professor during their office hours. They are there to help! – Shaunny Miles
  • Stay organized with your assignments and utilize a calendar of some sort. As soon as you get your syllabus, write down all the important deadlines and don’t let them sneak up on you.  –Alyssa Dickerson
  • Have a study buddy to hold you accountable, because you will end up procrastinating on school work so to bond with someone and know you’re not alone is very helpful when completing assignments/studying for exams – Meghan Smith
  • Do work ahead of time. Your grades and your mental health will love you. – Katharine Rowzie
  • Stay on top of the work and make a system to keep yourself on track. That can be some kind of calendar, checklists or a notebook. Find a system that works for you. – Nathan Simmers
  • Stay focused on your studies, if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask, go to office hours. – Nahrin Habib
  • The best advice is to start early on assignment. Don’t wait until the last minute to start a really big project. Always be in communication with professors if something does come up or if something is not clear. Better to ask early and not wait until the very last minute. Professors are more understanding than you think.  – Masego Morake

What is the best relationship advice you can give to a college student?

  • Be yourself!! – Emily Atkins
  • Make sure the relationships you keep around are bettering you as a person and contributing to your personal growth. – Tracy Nguyen
  • Reach out to hangout because chances are they may also be lonely. – Emilie Shrimpton
  • This may sound cliché, but communication is key. So, communicate communicate communicate! Also, make sure to set time aside for each other! – Shaunny Miles
  • Take each relationship as a learning experience. Learn from them and grow from them. – Alyssa Dickerson
  • Don’t date anyone from CNU – it’s a small school. But if you end up dating someone just take it easy and no need to rush into things. College is about trying to find out who you are and what you like. To rush into a relationship and not set boundaries with yourself and others will do more harm to you. Be kind to yourself and know what you are comfortable/uncomfortable with before getting into a relationship with someone. Relationships should not be your #1 priority in college. Yes it may be nice to be in one, but it’s not the only thing that matters. Friendships are incredibly important – so surround yourself with loved ones and friends because they are what make the “college experience.”  – Meghan Smith
  • Know your worth and respect yourself. Respect others too though, treat them as you would want to be treated. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Communicate!! – Katharine Rowzie
  • Be yourself, but it’s fine if you don’t really know that yet. Take a chance and ask that person out for coffee. Remember to respect your own time – Nathan Simmers
  • Open and honest communication is key in any relationship. Make sure you’re expressing your thoughts, feelings, and concerns to your partner, and encourage them to do the same. – Nahrin Habib
  • The best relationship advice is to try and take time for yourself. Make sure you have something going on besides always being with the other person. That goes for both friendships and romantic relationships. – Masego Morake

What is the best social advice you can give to a college student?

  • Be willing to try new things and meet new people  – Rebecca D’Souza
  • Try to make friend with as many people as possible; if different social groups – Emily Allen
  • Try to be involved in lots of different social groups, meet lots of new people, and go out of your comfort zone every once in a while!  – Emily Atkins
  • Balance social life with academics—they are both just as important!  – Tracy Nguyen
  • Be nice, you never know when someone else is going through it. – Emilie Shrimpton
  • Be open to meeting new people! If you are nervous about meeting new people, know that you are not alone; many others feel the same way, and it is completely normal. College is your chance to build lifelong friendships.  – Shaunny Miles
  • You don’t have to do everything, it’s okay to take time for yourself when you need it and it’s important to like spending time on your own. Put energy into the friendships that matter and learn that it’s okay to let go of friendships that you aren’t aligned with anymore. – Alyssa Dickerson
  • Don’t feel pressured to drink in order to have a fun time. If you don’t want to drink – advocate for yourself. If your friends make you feel bad for not drinking/not participating in other activities like that, then get new friends. Also, go out as much as you can. College goes by VERY fast and every time I’ve gone out with my friends I’ve had a great time. We bond over those experiences and become closer. – Meghan Smith
  • Be yourself. Don’t compromise that. It’s okay if you don’t fit in a group, you’ll find one that fits you eventually. – Katharine Rowzie
  • [preface, I am a cadet in the ROTC program so that’s a community by itself]. Find a group that fits your interests or values. Join a club, team, fraternity/sorority or make study/hangouts with other people in your field. Go to the CAB events, that is what they are there for. Say hi to people, be friends with the FDAs or Library workers. Be part of the community. Being at a smaller school is a double edged sword. The bad part of the size is if you do some dumb shit or are generally not a great person, word can get around fast. So do your best to be a kind and good person. If you do something dumb, hopefully it was funny and not dangerous to the people around you. You will have a reputation around your name whether you like it or not. Your actions shape it.  – Nathan Simmers
  • Take advantage of the numerous clubs, organizations, and activities available on campus. Getting involved not only allows you to pursue your interests but also helps you meet new people and build a sense of community. – Nahrin Habib
  • The advice socially is to know that people are the same and if nervous just speak. The most you can do is speak and if that person does not respond then that is their loss. Social awkwardness is always going to be scary at first, but you never know until you try. Being social is scary, but put yourself out there because you might find someone who likes the same things as well or build a bond within and beyond the classroom. – Masego Morake

What is the best mental health advice you can give to a college student?

  • Give yourself a break when you need one. You know yourself, don’t use that as an excuse to not do homework though. Go to bed at a reasonable time.  – Rebecca D’Souza
  • Go to the counseling center! – Emily Allen
  • Talk to your friends about it!!! we are all going through mental health struggles and having people who listen and give advice is so helpful. – Emily Atkins
  • Set aside intentional time for yourself. – Tracy Nguyen
  • Take the time to assess how you’re feeling and don’t let it bottle up. – Emilie Shrimpton
  • If you’re getting overwhelmed with your workload, take a break and ask your professors for extensions if needed. Remember it’s okay to take breaks and many professors are willing to accommodate you as long as you communicate your situation to them! – Shaunny Miles
  • Talk to a therapist! I didn’t start therapy until I got to college but it has been the best thing for my mental health. It’s so nice to have someone that I can talk to about literally everything. You don’t have to wait for some big life changing event to start therapy, college itself is big enough. – Alyssa Dickerson
  • Put yourself first always. It’s easy to get caught up in the school work and trying to balance that with your social life and other things. You absolutely should be getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Before you go to bed, try doing something for yourself that has nothing to do with academia. Whether it’s a skin care routine, journaling, folding your laundry, talking to friends/family, etc. Everyone in college will have a hard time balancing their school work – it’s important to recognize when you’re overwhelmed/your mental health isn’t the best and to talk about it to those who you trust. – Meghan Smith
  • Don’t overbook yourself. Take time for yourself, but don’t waste it on your phone. Read a book, go outside, do something good for the soul! :) – Katharine Rowzie
  • Breathe, hang out with friends, journal, walk outside, touch grass, watch a whole bunch of Dr. Who speeches off YouTube (or just have a comfort show/book/movie/thing), explore the area. For fuck’s sake, please use the Counselling Services as needed. It doesn’t need to be an emergency. The counselors are there to guide you through your own thoughts and feelings and can help set a foundation when the rough times come. – Nathan Simmers
  • Take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. Prioritize your own well-being and happiness. – Nahrin Habib
  • Mental health is a real issue. If you can’t or feel that you can’t talk to your friends try a professor or utilize the resources on campus. It is okay to feel overwhelmed with all things surrounding college, but sitting in silence should not be option. Take time for yourself and find something you are passionate about. Do something for yourself and not anyone else. If you join a club or do something by yourself, it does not mean you are weird or anything like that. Ignore people and focus on making sure you are okay, just as you would for those around you. – Masego Morake

What is your favorite memory from CNU?

  • I love the small memories of just hanging with friends or roommates. – Rebecca D’Souza
  • Joining an organization that has the same values as you. – Emily Allen
  • Getting a grilled cheese at Regs. – Emily Atkins
  • Hosting Intercultural Fest with the Culture and Lecture Committee of Campus Activities Board. I loved putting on the event and sharing how different cultures celebrate the season of Spring! – Tracy Nguyen
  • My study abroad trip to Germany last year was pretty fun. I met some really cool people. – Emilie Shrimpton
  • My favorite memories include hanging out with friends. It didn’t matter what we were doing; we always had a good time! I’m going to miss the late night Cookout runs and watching shows with my besties! – Shaunny
  • My favorite memories come from times that I bonded with my previous Residence Life staffs. I have so many memories of having the funniest and deepest conversations on shift with people that were once complete strangers. They’re really the ones that made the job fun. – Alyssa Dickerson
  • I have so many – but one in particular was meeting my best friend in an intro chem lab. We were assigned partners and I never would’ve thought she’d become one of the most important people in my life. We instantly clicked and have grown together every day since 2020. I am forever grateful for her and I am proud to call her my best friend. I am so glad that we were paired up that day because otherwise I don’t think we would’ve been friends. – Meghan S
  • Spending quality time with friends on random adventures!  – Katharine Rowzie
  • t was maybe a month into my freshman year so late September, early October. I was having lunch with my friend from high school just outside of Regs. It was a sunny day, people were scattered on the Great Lawn eating their meal. We were just admiring that we made it a month into college. I think UVA or some other university already sent their students home to online schooling because of COVID-19, but we were doing it. We just felt like adults; we were independent and living (at least as much as a COVID freshman could) that college experience we were promised. It was a long time ago, but hearing that it was only four years ago is wild. It feels like yesterday but at the same time like a lifetime ago. – Nathan Simmers
  • Joining alpha kappa psi, I’ve met so many great people through this org, specifically my little, the day that we had our big/little reveal was probably my fav memory. – Nahrin Habib
  • My favorite CNU memory is when I first moved in. Two of my roommates and I have been with each other from the start and have beat the stigma and stayed together for the past four years. We have seen each other grow, laugh A LOT, and cry. As well as, conquered a lot of goals we have set for ourselves, but the memory does not encompass one specific moment. I think it encompasses everything as a whole and that we have seen the worst and best in each other. – Masego Morake

Is there anything you wish you did in college that you haven’t done yet?

  • Explore the area more.  – Rebecca D’Souza
  • I wish I had stepped out of my comfort zone more and tried lots of new things.  – Emily Atkins
  • Visit the Luter observatory.  – Tracy Nguyen
  • I wish I went to a frat party and to more sporting events. – Emilie Shrimpton
  • This may shock a lot of CNU students, but I still haven’t sat on the Great Lawn and done homework. I want to do this before I graduate because it seems therapeutic! – Shaunny
  • I wish I would’ve taken advantage of the beaches more. – Alyssa Dickerson
  • Probably get into research or live in the moment more, especially my first two years of college, I don’t remember much (freshman year was Covid year so there wasn’t much to do). I don’t regret anything because I’ve met the people I consider life-long friends. – Meghan Smith
  • I do want to go to the local farmers’ market. Same with the President’s walk. The fountain challenge seemed fun, but eh. I am pretty satisfied with my time here. I just want to do everything.  – Nathan Simmers
  • I have not gone to all sporting events. I wish I did. I love sports and sometimes the games don’t align with my schedule, but within the last year I have seen one championship that was amazing. – Masego Morake

Overall, how would you describe your time at CNU?

  • My time at CNU has been great! It provided me with a chance to learn more about myself and others. – Rebecca D’Souza
  • Awesome!  – Emily Allen
  • My time at CNU has been the best years of my life. I feel like I have grown so much and learned so much more about the world as well as met a lot of great people who support me. – Emily Atkins
  • Great! I made life time friends here! :) – Tracy Nguyen
  • My time here at CNU was enjoyable but I definitely feel like I could have made it more enjoyable. – Emilie Shrimpton
  • College was definitely a learning experience, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I met some of the BEST people at CNU. – Shaunny Miles
  • I never could have imagined all the things that CNU has given me. I have absolutely loved my time here, especially the friends and faculty that I have built good relationships with. I have grown so much as a person because of my time here and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. – Alyssa Dickerson
  • Solid 8.75/10. – Meghan S
  • A growth experience. – Katharine Rowzie
  • It’s been a ride. Done some cool things, did a lot of Army Hooah shit, I’ve seen some things, and survived my four years. – Nathan Simmers
  • I’ve had a great time at CNU, would not change anything about my experience. – Nahrin Habib
  • My time at CNU has been amazing. It has definitely been a roll coaster, but like everyone else, I have seen my friends and I grow over time. The overall idea of what each year looks like has been crazy, but at CNU, I have done so much more than I ever thought I would. I have been in two clubs, done many presentations – on and off campus, given the best advice and best laughs to my friends, and stepped out of my shell more than I ever did in high school. The adventures with friends and the work itself has all gotten done, but getting closer to the end it has become so real. Since it is getting real now, CNU has prepared for me a life beyond what I actually ever imagined. – Masego Morake
Gabby is a senior at Christopher Newport University and is double majoring in Spanish and Global Studies, with a minor in Business Administration. Some of her favorite things to do in her free time are reading, spending time at the beach, and taking photos of literally everything.
Abigail Lee is a Junior at Christopher Newport University. She is a Communications Major and a Writing Minor. Her hobbies include cooking, playing the ukulele and longboarding. Her favorite show is Avatar the Last Airbender and her favorite movie is the Parent Trap(the one with Lindsey Lohan :)) .