Living for the Weekend: Stay on Campus or Go Home?

When I first started attending Longwood, I remember often looking forward to going home on the weekend. To be honest, my first few weeks of college were pretty hectic and a bit of a blur. However, I do remember wanting to go home most weekends.

Some parents tell their freshmen to try not to come home often so they can better become acquainted to college life. My parents were not those parents.

I remember my mom telling me (and she still tells me) I could come home whenever I wanted to, even every weekend if I felt like I needed it. At first, I took her up on this offer. I would come home either every weekend or every other weekend.

As I’ve previously mentioned, I am an only child and I never really was away from home that often without my family. So the transition into college life was a little challenging for me. At first, I felt I needed to escape a little on the weekends. Escape all the new things constantly happening around me, to unwind, and to also have my own space again and be around my family.

I remember my grandmother telling me that once I moved away and started going to college, coming home would mean so much more than before—and she was right. Because I spend most of my time at Longwood now, going home is like getting a treat. It has become something special.

I am a firm believer that, if you feel like you need a break from college, you should go home, especially at the beginning when everything seems overwhelming. For me, I also wanted to go home more frequently at first because I didn’t have many friends yet—if any at all. I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but no one else from my high school or hometown chose to go to Longwood. When I arrived at Longwood, there were no familiar faces. Everyone was new, and I had to try to socialize and find my own friends.

At the beginning, I remember not really socializing as much because I was really focused on my grades and assignments. The college workload was definitely more than high school. So I kind of took things one step at a time. Once I got my academic bearings, I tried to become more social and make some friends. I will say that I could’ve been a little more social in the beginning of my college career because that is just as important as making good grades. Feeling like you have at least one person to talk to or to wave “hello” to makes a big difference in how comfortable you feel at college.

I am not sure if there is a perfect balance to anything in life, really. A lot of experiences in life are give and take, and that’s OK.

For me, going home more frequently in college was what I needed in the beginning. For any high-school seniors reading this, you may feel that way, too, next year. Trust me—it’s completely normal. You are put into a whole new environment, so it’s normal to feel scared or a little homesick. After a couple of weeks into my first semester at college, I started going home every other week instead of every week because I became more comfortable here. This will most likely happen to you, too. New experiences in life to take time to get used to, so do what works best for you.

 

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.

In the Rearview: Reflections on Growing Up at College

When I first started my journey at Longwood, I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew going to college would be a completely different experience compared to high school, but that’s really all I knew. Over the course of my first semester, I learned many valuable lessons and became more of an adult. While I lived on campus, I became more responsible for myself and for my own education. My transition into college life wasn’t perfect, but I can truly say I am grateful for all of the knowledge I gained in just a few months.

As I have mentioned before, going to college really freaked me out. For the first couple of weeks I was on edge and just trying to get by. However, after I got more adjusted to my new lifestyle, I began really enjoying my time at Longwood. While getting more acquainted to a new way of life, I learned a lot about myself as well as other people.

During my time at Longwood so far, I have learned how to live with another person (my roommate) and how to better make compromises with people. I have also learned how to better cooperate with others by being involved in group projects. My high school didn’t require us to work in groups very often, so it has been a new experience for me.

Another lesson I have learned is to be more independent. I have always been a pretty independent person, but going to college has really forced me to become more accountable for myself. Although I’ve still had support from my friends and family, living on my own was a little hard for me to deal with at first. With time, however, I have learned more about myself and how to take care of myself.

One of the main things I learned was that my dreams wouldn’t come true if I didn’t put in the effort. So, when my classes began, I wrote down all due dates in my planner and kept all paper assignments and syllabuses in an organizer. I highly recommend doing this, by the way. Very few professors will accept late work.

Anyway, on my journey to becoming more independent, I also learned more about people. At Longwood, everyone cares about you and your success—but only to a certain extent. I learned that I really had to be in charge of my own education and also had to be comfortable being alone. Longwood is a super inviting campus but making true friends was and still is a difficult task. I learned that it’s OK to be alone sometimes and that it’s important to choose your friends wisely. While learning more about people, I learned to not be as trusting toward others. I know that doesn’t sound very nice, but it’s true and a part of growing up in the real world.

During my first few months at Longwood, I learned many important lessons. I am truly grateful for everything I have learned thus far and look forward to my future endeavors here. Longwood is a great place to not only further one’s education but also a great place to grow up and become more of an adult. Growing up is hard, but with all of the support Longwood provides, it’s a little easier.

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.

On the Spot: Sharing my Experiences in a Panel Discussion with High-School Counselors

Last semester, I participated in a panel discussion for high-school counselors from around the country who were visiting Longwood. This is something completely new to me. I’ve made presentations in class, but it’s different when you’re talking to people who are older, and it’s a really serious environment.

They asked general questions like where are you from, what are you studying and what do you like about Longwood. I told them that I like the atmosphere at Longwood where everyone is so open and so nice. The faculty give you a warm feeling. It’s completely different from the feeling I got at some other schools like Old Dominion.

Longwood is really diverse in its academic programs—it has art, business, biology, nursing. Before when I thought about diversity, I thought a bigger school like VCU would have more programs. But Longwood is very diverse.

When they asked me about what would you change about Longwood if you could, it really made me think. What could you really change about this school? It’s a really good school. I said the dining hall. People kind of laughed. The food has its days when it’s good, but it also has its days when it isn’t good.

Then they asked me, since you’re from Richmond, a big city, is it hard for you to find something to do in Farmville. I said no—depending on the group of friends that you have. My group of friends, we always have something to do. There are about 20 of us—a mixture of girls and guys—and there’s never a dull moment. We don’t do anything wild—but we always try to have fun. One Sunday, we went riding four-wheelers. The week before that we went to Lynchburg. A couple of weeks before that, we all took a trip to Norfolk. In Farmville, we go out to eat a lot.

I love it here because it’s quiet. No crime. Everything’s in walking distance. And I like that—you don’t see that every day. I don’t need a car, except when I want to go home.

I actually enjoyed the experience of being on the panel. I was a little bit terrifiying with the on-the-spot questions. But it was a great experience, and I wouldn’t mind doing it again.

 

Timothy Holcey graduated from Thomas Dale High School, where he really liked his history classes—not because they were easy but because he enjoyed learning about how people have changed over time and become better as a society.

At Longwood, he’s majoring in cyber security, which is a part of the College of Business and Economics. Hackers beware when he graduates! Anyone who spends even a few minutes with Timothy will see the glint of mischief in his eyes and be introduced to his sly sense of humor.

Here are some interesting random facts from Timothy about himself:

  1. My favorite musical artist is H.E.R. The way she expresses her feelings in her about who ever she is talking about is just amazing.
  2. My favorite sport to watch is basketball. My favorite basketball player is Giannis Antetokounmpo or, as I like to call him, the Greek Freak. The way he stretches the floor because of his height and the way moves laterally on defense is amazing.
  3. I am also a very lazy person so I do like to eat a lot of food, and I love to sleep some of day away.

Hindsight is 20/20: Spring Semester Finals Week Will Be Better

Photo #1

The fall was beautiful here at Longwood. A sense of security finally settled in as I finished up my first semester. Then slowly all those warm and toasty feelings began to dissolve like the colorful leaves outside my window.

Conversations turned to the dreaded word “finals.”

Finals aren’t something that students really discuss. It’s more like a hush or a dreaded secret— something you see at the end of your new syllabus.

Now that it’s all over I can now give you the truth: Finals week was just the worst!

As you can see by my first picture, I started out feeling super positive (Photo #1). Surely it couldn’t be much worse than finals in high school. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

 

Photo #2

As I looked out my window at Curry with finals just around the corner, all I could see was the humongous crane hanging outside. (Photo #2) I was ready for it to come smashing through my room and save me from the week ahead. I guess I really didn’t know what to expect. Perhaps I thought I could “wing it” like I had done so many times in high school.

But college is a whole new world. I tried to study, tried to push myself, stayed up all night and crammed like never before. It didn’t work. I felt myself going into a week of no sleep, no food and a feeling of twilight that even Starbucks couldn’t fix.

Photo #3

My third picture speaks for itself. Yes, even a tear might have been shed at some point. (Photo #3)

But you know what? I did it. I made it through my first semester at college—finals and all.

Through all the worry and the tears and the lack of sleep, I learned something:
—I learned that this semester I’ll know what I’m getting into.
—I learned that the next time I want to roll over in bed and skip a class that I’m going to make some coffee and trudge on.
—I learned that you have to take the good with the bad.

Second semester here I come!

 

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.

Getting Back Into the Groove: Lessons Learned from my First Semester in College

I am proud to say I not only survived my first semester of college, but actually did pretty well. When I say I did “pretty well” that means that I ended the semester with all A’s and a 4.0 GPA—so not half bad.

With that being said, my first semester was not easy—not at all actually. I worked really hard and spent a lot of time studying, reading, writing and just doing all that I possibly could to succeed. I would say that all the time I devoted to school paid off. I have been invited to join three different honor society groups and have gotten a lot of praise from my family and friends. When I look back on my first semester, I am proud of what I accomplished, but there are also some things I plan on doing a little differently this semester.

When I mentioned earlier that all I did last semester was study, read and write, I wasn’t lying. I guess since it was my first time away from home and at college, I wanted to do everything right and to the best of my ability. I can definitely say I accomplished that. However, this semester I want to do some other things besides schoolwork 24/7.

I plan to get more involved in the clubs I have joined and to make more of a point to have some down time either with my friends or just by myself.

Last semester I learned that getting good grades isn’t the only thing that’s important in college. It is also important to eat lunch or dinner with a friend, to play pool with a group of friends, and to call your family and friends to keep in touch with them. I learned you need to balance all aspects of life and not just focus on one or two.

I learned a lot in my first semester of college and am ready to take what I have learned and make my second semester even better.

Coming back to school after being on break for a month felt really strange, and it honestly still feels a little weird to be back. In a way, I feel like I am starting over again but with some more background knowledge than before.

As I said, I plan on being more involved in clubs and organizations this semester. I am a super dedicated person when it comes to academics. I don’t really know why—I just always have been. I literally have to force myself sometimes to stop doing homework or studying and go hang out with a friend for a while. I plan on making that more a priority this semester. I’m going to work really hard on finding a good balance so I can still do well in school but also do some social things as well.

That’s actually why I titled this journey entry “Getting back into the groove.” I want to keep my motivation for school but I also want to figure out some other things out and “find my groove.”

Just like last semester, I am sure I will learn a lot this spring—things I want to do differently next semester. I kind of think that’s what life is all about, making mistakes and trying your best to learn from them and keep bettering yourself day after day—or, in my case, semester after semester.

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.