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.

 

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

My Life Story: What Foster Care, Determination and Longwood Have Taught Me

On March 17, 2000, I was born to a couple that I feel didn’t deserve me and weren’t capable of taking care of an infant boy. I was given up to social services shortly after birth and jumped from foster home to foster home till the age of 3, when a family living in New Jersey adopted me and attempted to take me in as their own.

When I was 7, we moved to an old country house on the edge of Farmville, where I spent the next seven years. I was a troublesome kid, and I was the victim of a lot of emotional and physical abuse for the first 14 years of my life. I hate to admit that they had any effect on me, but I suffered from depression, anger issues, low self-esteem and deep trust issues.

Growing up, I didn’t understand these psychological issues. As I got older, they started showing more and more in everyday life because I kept getting in trouble, which caused even more problems at school and within the household. When I was 14, the people I was living with had had enough and gave me back to social services, where I was assigned a caseworker. She helped me get away from that negative environment and tried putting me in places where I could be nourished and grow.

I am very grateful now thinking back on it, but back then I was defiant. I didn’t really start to change until I met with some therapists and talked. The average therapy session is roughly an hour, but there were days where I spent hours upon hours just talking. They helped me recognize my emotions and even helped me control them. I didn’t suppress the emotions, but I learned to think rationally about them. Instead of acting on how I was feeling, I started acting on what I thought would be the best for myself and my future. I realized that how people treat you should have no impact on how you treat them or change who you want to be.

When I was 17, I moved to Newport News and started a new life. There were plenty of challenges and obstacles, but I was able to overcome them. A month into my senior year I started school at Warwick High School, where I felt as if I finally fit in and was normal. It was the best year of my life.

The day I turned 18 I moved out on my own and was maintaining a steady job while also finishing my high-school education. I had a lot of people rooting for me, but I also had a lot of people waiting for me to slip up, so when I walked across the stage with the rest of the class of 2018 in the Hampton coliseum, it was one of the proudest moments of my life.

I wish I’d had more time to congratulate myself, but I had to keep going because the next step was what was I going to do with my future. Throughout the years I had a lot of passions: I wanted to be a therapist; I wanted to be a lawyer. But I finally decided that I wanted to obtain a business degree. There were people who thought I should settle for something else like military or trade school, but I followed what I thought was right and applied to numerous colleges, Longwood being one of them.

I still remember the day that I had got my acceptance letter from Longwood. I was starting to get nervous because I had already been rejected from one college, so I tried not to get my hopes up when I saw an envelope with the official Longwood seal on it.

At Longwood, I found people who were supportive of me and what I was trying to accomplish. They helped me get started, and, no matter what, I will be forever grateful to them. It’s too late now for me to give up. It would be selfish, and I can’t let myself or anyone else rooting for me down. So I am going to do whatever it takes to get this degree and give back to the world because, aside from what I was taught growing up, there are good people in it.

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.

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.