Your Not-So-Typical Friday Night

Dinner with Cecily and Abby in Dorrill Dining Hall — a.k.a. D-Hall. They’re both also members of the Cormier Honors College.

When people think about what happens on college campuses on Friday nights, most think of parties, loud music and crazy young adults. However, for me, none of those events takes place on a typical Friday night.

I’ll be honest, most Fridays I don’t really do much of anything. I usually just go get dinner at Dorrill Dining Dall (a.k.a. “D-Hall”) with my roommate or another friend, do some homework and then go to bed. I know, that sounds super exciting right? You might be wondering why I don’t participate in the typical party scene on Friday nights, and the reason is simple: I’m tired. After working really hard throughout the week, I just don’t feel like doing much of anything by the time Friday night rolls around.

That being said, I did mix up my routine a little this past Friday.

After my last class, I went back to my dorm and started working on some homework. I had an assignment due the next day (Saturday) and I wanted to go ahead and get it done so I could work on other assignments. After spending about 2-1/2 hours on homework, I thought I should take a break and go get some dinner. On my way to D-Hall, I saw one of my friends and she was on her way to dinner as well. We met up with one of her other friends, then all ate dinner together.

After that, her friend went back to her dorm, and we were just hanging out. People were going out for the night, and my friend asked me what I had planned for the rest of the evening. I said I was just going to continue working on some homework. To my surprise, she said she was planning to do the same thing. We went to a study lounge and started on our assignments. We talked, told stories, ate some gummy bears and managed to get everything done that we wanted to. After we got done with our assignments, we just hung out again until we were tired and wanted some rest.

As you can see, I didn’t go to any crazy parties on my Friday night, and I still had a really fun time. You don’t need to go out to have fun—you can just hang out with a friend. You can do homework or do nothing at all.

In college, it’s important to prioritize your time. It’s crucial actually. But it’s still important to do some fun things with friends from time to time because everyone eventually needs a break. But if you’re like me and parties aren’t your scene, it’s OK.

Not everyone at Longwood goes out on Friday nights. I usually study or hang out with a friend—or both.
What the Shrek? I love Shrek and couldn’t resist taking a photo with this pillow that one of my friends’ roommate brought from home.

 

Heather Waldo graduated from Staunton River High School. If you see her out on campus, she’ll often have a camera around her neck (yes, a real camera) because she’s interested in photography—which is convenient because she’s a communication studies major. She likes to write, too.

In high school, her favorite classes were yearbook, English and sociology, and she was involved in the National Honor Society. She may be new to Longwood, but her family isn’t. Both her mother and her mother’s brother (Heather’s uncle) graduated from Longwood.

Here are some random interesting facts about Heather from Heather:

  1. My family did not write or produce the book Where’s Waldo.
  2. I’m 5-foot-8, and everyone assumes I’m athletic—but I only participated in a school sport once my whole life.
  3. My two favorite books are Live Fearless by Sadie Robertson and The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. Live Fearless is all about how defeating and breaking away from fear will change your life. The author also describes how trusting in God more in your life will make all the difference in defeating fear. I just really like how it is inspirational but also mentions God and his word, and it allows me to expand my faith. The Secret is also an inspirational book. It doesn’t mention God as much as Live Fearless but puts more emphasis on how the power of positive thinking will lead to positive outcomes. It’s more karma-based I guess. I find myself using techniques from Live Fearless and The Secret simultaneously to better myself every day.

Longwood Is Home Already

I’ve been at Longwood for more than a month, and I already consider this my home. That’s something I thought would take much much longer to say because I’ve lived in the same place for 18 years. I’ve only gone home twice, each time for family purposes. When I’m back at my home town, all I want to do is come back to my real home: Longwood.

There really is no better feeling than just being on your own and learning how to provide for and take care of yourself.

For example, I have done laundry twice, and I actually love doing it because you actually feel like an adult.

Another thing I have learned to enjoy is cooking for myself. Obviously I don’t make very intricate meals, but I’m really good at making pasta. I’ve got it down to a science. D-hall is pretty good—it just gets old having the same stuff over and over. A fun tip: I take Tupperware and fill it up with ingredients to make my pasta even better. I don’t do this often, but you are already paying for the meal swipe.

Just remember that everyone is feeling nervous and homesick. Talking to the Care Team has helped. They give you ideas on how to make the transition to Lancer life.

Bella Silvus graduated from Mathews High School. Her favorite class there was early childhood education. Not surprisingly, Bella is pursuing a degree in special education and wants to eventually help children with challenges achieve their full potential.

If you see someone with a hula hoop on campus, it might be Bella. It’s one of her favorite things to do, and she even started the hula hoop club at her high school.

Here are some random interesting facts from Bella about herself:

  1. I love buying and selling vintage clothes.
  2. I love to draw landscapes using any type of pastels.
  3. I was a Brownie and once sold 400 boxes of Girl Scout cookies by driving my dad’s riding lawn mower through our neighborhood.

College Surprises: Finding Out Professors Are Helpful and It’s Easy to Make Friends

After 3 weeks of being on campus I couldn’t be happier with the place I now get to call home.

From week one, the professors treated me so nicely and were so wiling to help. This shocked me at first because all through high school I had the impression that professors weren’t willing to help and you had to figure things out on your own. This isn’t the case at Longwood. From the start, I felt like I could come to my professors with anything and they would be willing to help.

On the athletic side of my experience at Longwood, I was in for a culture change—but one that I’m so happy to be a part of.  Balancing baseball practice and school is tough, but it will all be worth it to be able to put on the Longwood jersey in the spring. The toughest part has to be the early morning conditioning, but it makes it so much better to have friends going through the same thing.

I honestly think the best thing about my first three weeks is how easy it was to make friends. I met people in these three weeks that I can already tell I will be friends with for a long time.

All of this has happened in three weeks. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store.

Hunter Gilliam graduated from Fuqua High School. When he wasn’t hitting the books (his favorite classes were government and English), he was hitting (and catching and throwing) baseballs. He must have spent a lot of time on the diamond because he got good enough to make Longwood’s Division I baseball team.

He’ll be majoring in kinesiology, which is a great complement to his interest in sports.

Judging by the number of people helping him move in to his residence hall, Hunter’s family is pretty close. His father is a Longwood graduate, and rumor has it that one of his grandmothers makes a really good pound cake.

Here are some random interesting facts about himself from Hunter:

  1. I love hunting and fishing.
  2. I enjoy watching my friends play college football on the weekends.
  3. I also enjoy spending time with rabbit beagles.

Loving College Classes, the Library and the Gym

One of Brooklynn’s first art projects was a pen mandala.

It has been almost a month since I have been here at Longwood, and I can happily say I chose the best school to go to!!

I love my classes because they are mostly for my major. I love my professors—they are all so fun and truly love what they do. The cool thing about college classes is they are mostly classes that interest you. I think that definitely makes it more fun learning about your passions and what makes you happy.

I have found that the only place I can get my work done is the library! I love the library. They have a really cool little store where I like to get a snack to take a little brain break from studying or writing a paper.

To relieve stress from classes, I like to go to the gym. The gym here is so nice. I enjoy the Zumba classes!

Brooklynn Weissenfluh graduated from Jamestown High school. She has three brothers—not so unusual—but two of them were born on the same day she was. They’re triplets! They decided to break up the “set” when they chose where to go to college, so Brooklynn is at Longwood on her own. However, her older brother did go to Longwood and graduated in 2017.

Brooklynn is a communication sciences and disorders major, and she loves to paint. In high school, her favorite classes were AP psychology and language arts, and science classes. She was involved in the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society and the Exceptional Eagles club, which was a club that helped special needs students.

Here are some random interesting facts from Brooklynn about herself:

  1. I love popcorn. I usually have it every day.
  2. I am social butterfly. I love talking to people and meeting new people. It is so fun to me!
  3. I love country music even though most of my friends hate it. It’s the music I was raised on. Kenny Chesney has to be my all-time favorite. His concert was the first one I went to—in first grade. I love Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Thomas Rhett and Dierks Bentley just to name a few others!

Fun and Freakouts

Daniel and his new friend Grace show off their Lancer scarves.

After two weeks of classes, I can say that I’ve had my fair share of stress and freakouts.

There is no hiding the fact that college classes are extremely stressful, but it’s not unmanageable. I’m beginning to learn the system that’s best for me to be successful in my classes. Having this much freedom and free time means that you almost must have a system in place to not fall behind in classes—but the system can be different for different people.

A lot of my time—aside from classes and studying—has been spent playing basketball, and I’ve finally gotten the date for tryouts to play on the club basketball team. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous for it, so I will definitely be in the gym a lot these next couple weeks preparing for tryouts.

The traditions have also been so much fun! The most well-known tradition that I’ve gotten to participate in so far is called The G.A.M.E.  The acronym stands for “Greatest Athletics March Ever,” and it’s where you receive the coveted scarf for that year. It’s part of an event called First Friday Back. So the first Friday after move-in, there is a carnival-like event on Wheeler Mall, then everyone gathers together and makes the long walk to the field of whichever varsity team is playing (This year it was women’s field hockey.) Finally you arrive and pick up the scarf for that year. I decided to go with someone from my small group that I met at New Lancer Days named Grace, who is becoming a very good friend of mine. There was so much energy and good vibes throughout the entire event, and that made it so much fun!

Although there is a lot of stress that comes with class and the workload, I am still loving college and am sure that Longwood was the right choice for me! The only things for me to focus on for now are my classes and club basketball tryouts.

First Friday Back features a carnival with rides and other activities.

Daniel Easter graduated from Amelia Academy. Actually, he graduated from elementary and middle school there, too. In fact, Longwood is the first new school he’s attended since first grade.

Daniel is passionate about several things, including making the most of every minute (which does not include sitting in his room) and playing basketball. He’s even thinking about trying out as a walk-on for the basketball team.

A liberal studies major, he wants to teach elementary school and is part of the Call Me Mister program, which encourages young men to be role models by becoming teachers. In high school, his favorite classes were physics and music, and he was involved in Beta Club and the National Honor Society.

Here are some random interesting facts from Daniel about himself:

  1. Working at the YMCA inspired me to want to work with children.
  2. I play guitar and piano.
  3. Before I decided that I wanted to major in liberal studies, I wanted to major in music.
  4. In junior year of high school, I was on the basketball team that went to state finals.

Making Friends and Revving Up For Classes

All new freshmen are assigned to a peer mentor group, which makes it easy to meet new friends.

I don’t think it really hit me that I had really made it to college until move-in day. Rusty and I moved our things in and would’ve lain in our beds all day if we didn’t have to go to New Lancer Days, which was like a weekend orientation for the freshmen.

The weekend of New Lancer Days is FULL of activities, some of which are informative while others are more relaxed and fun. There is also something to do most nights so that you aren’t just staying in your dorm room.

New Lancer Days made it very easy to meet people because, for that first weekend after you move in, you are put in a small group to do the activities that are scheduled. Lots of people struggle to meet new people, so the system they have here is great. During this weekend full of things, you get small bits of free time. I used this free time to go play basketball and network, so I could learn more about playing on the club basketball team.

Now that New Lancer Days are over, I’m ready to start my classes and meet the professors. I’m honestly not sure what to think or expect yet so it will definitely be an adventure!

Turning over a new leaf.
The Greenwood Library got creative for New Lancer Days and set up a mini golf course.

Daniel Easter graduated from Amelia Academy. Actually, he graduated from elementary and middle school there, too. In fact, Longwood is the first new school he’s attended since first grade.

Daniel is passionate about several things, including making the most of every minute (which does not include sitting in his room) and playing basketball. He’s even thinking about trying out as a walk-on for the basketball team.

A liberal studies major, he wants to teach elementary school and is part of the Call Me Mister program, which encourages young men to be role models by becoming teachers. In high school, his favorite classes were physics and music, and he was involved in Beta Club and the National Honor Society.

Here are some random interesting facts from Daniel about himself:

  1. Working at the YMCA inspired me to want to work with children.
  2. I play guitar and piano.
  3. Before I decided that I wanted to major in liberal studies, I wanted to major in music.
  4. In junior year of high school, I was on the basketball team that went to state finals.

Embracing the Chaos

This week has been so hectic and chaotic.

August 14 is the day I moved into college, which is so crazy to say out loud. I’ve been so excited to finally become a college student. I moved in two days before everyone else because I’m a part of the work study program in financial aid, which is a program that gives you the opportunity to earn money like a real job.

The first week was sooo crazy because it was the start of New Lancer Days, which is for the incoming freshmen like myself. We were paired up with our peer mentors to guide us throughout the week since we were new. The days were so long and draining. Sometimes it started at 9 a.m. and ended sometimes at midnight. Either way it was a fun and great experience.

I’ve met some friends who were in my mentor group, and some of them even have the same major as I do, which is biology. New Lancer Days started on Thursday and went all the way to Sunday, it was pretty long week. Once New Lancer Days had come to an end, I was so excited because I was so tired from being outside all day.

La’Mya Perry graduated from Lloyd C. Bird High School. If you see her out on campus, feel free to say hi. She’s super friendly—how many people recruit a suitemate after meeting them for the first time at the IT Helpdesk during orientation?

She’s majoring in biology and considering joining an intramural volleyball team. In high school, her favorite class was Algebra II and she was involved in Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).

Here are some random interesting facts from La’Mya about herself:

  1. I’m an only child.
  2. I had all my wisdom teeth pulled out at once.
  3. I used to do gymnastics.

My Roommate: I Expected the Worst but Got a Blessing Instead

Jayla gets things squared away in her room in Arc.

A planned roommate assignment wasn’t exactly what I wanted when I thought about going to college—but it was honestly well worth it.

I remember walking in on move-in day. I looked up and saw her right beside me signing her name. She waved at me and I smiled. I had so many expectations. Some were good but mostly bad.

15 pairs of shoes and more on the way.

I feared that this roommate assignment was going to change my experience at Longwood. In my head, I figured that she was going to be a strange person that I would have to share the same space with. I automatically was pessimistic and knew it was going to suck. I worried that she was going to be mean and a control freak. I really thought my first roommate was going to be a horror story because that’s what so many people told me.

But, after that first day, I knew it was a blessing.

Laya (above) and Jayla had never met before move-in day.

My roommate, Laya, is absolutely the best. It seemed like the more we talked and hung out—things just clicked. One day we stayed up all night doing our hair. We laughed uncontrollably. We kept saying over and over again that we were a perfect match.

This has truly been a BLESSING.

Jayla Beechaum graduated from Richmond Community High School. Her favorite classes there were anatomy and biology, and she was involved in Student Government, Math Honor Society, Robotics Club and the Environmental Club—to name just a few.

Jayla will be focusing on her studies as she works toward her goal of going to medical school—she’s majoring in biology—but she’s also taking time for other things important to her. Like hauling in and storing away the 15 pairs of shoes she brought with her on move-in day (with more on the way) and working in the admissions office.

Here are some random interesting facts from Jayla about herself:

  1. My favorite pastime is listening to music and running. I like being able to clear my head while being active.
  2. My favorite movie in the world is The Lion King. The first time I watched it, I cried when Mufasa died.
  3. I like hanging out and meeting new people. So if you see me, just say HEY!

A Life-Changing Day

Giving the move-in cart the heave-ho.

Move-in day was truly one of the most life-changing days I’ve ever experienced.

Before move in, I was nervous about everything involved in the way the next four years of my life was going to go. I was nervous for how I was going to get used to my roommates, and living in a room so much smaller than the one I was used to at home, and the fact that I wouldn’t have my family around all the time.

For Hunter, one of the hardest things about moving in was saying goodbye to his Mom.

But everything changed as soon as I pulled into Longwood on move-in day. When I saw all the happy faces and people so willing to help, I knew this was going to be a good place where I was going to thrive in all aspects. The people outside of my residence hall were so eager to help and provide any service that I needed.

When I got all my stuff in my room, I was so excited to start hanging out with the people on the hall and getting to know the people who are going to be around me for the next year. The first night in my room I didn’t get much sleep, as everyone was in and out of everyone’s room hanging out and getting to know each other.

The hardest part about move-in day was saying goodbye to my mom. Even though she doesn’t live too far away, knowing I wouldn’t be seeing her everyday was tough.

Move-in day made everything real: College was no longer something that I was going to do in the future—it was happening now.  I will never forget that first day, seeing the endless  hugs to family members and all the clothes that everyone brought with them.

Move-in day was really the first step in my four-year journey at Longwood.

Hunter Gilliam graduated from Fuqua High School. When he wasn’t hitting the books (his favorite classes were government and English), he was hitting (and catching and throwing) baseballs. He must have spent a lot of time on the diamond because he got good enough to make Longwood’s Division I baseball team.

He’ll be majoring in kinesiology, which is a great complement to his interest in sports.

Judging by the number of people helping him move in to his residence hall, Hunter’s family is pretty close. His father is a Longwood graduate, and rumor has it that one of his grandmothers makes a really good pound cake.

Here are some random interesting facts about himself from Hunter:

  1. I love hunting and fishing.
  2. I enjoy watching my friends play college football on the weekends.
  3. I also enjoy spending time with rabbit beagles.