Spring Weekend and Longwood Lions

Spring weekend was a fun way to de-stress from the never-ending papers, projects and tests that come at the end of the semester.  Anna Clendening, A Thousand Horses, Young Gravy and We the Kings performed. They were all really great. Oozeball was fun to watch, and all the booths were really cool to look at—just like at Oktoberfest.

Student organizations set up fundraising booths during Spring Weekend.
Oozeball is volleyball played in the mud. Students form teams and compete against each other.

Longwood Lions is officially chartered at Longwood as a student organization. I had the honor of attending the initiation and pinning ceremony. It is a service organization that does work within the community but also contributes worldwide. Some very important people were there, including Longwood university President W. Taylor Reveley IV and the mayor of Farmville. The Farmville Lions Club is excited to have new people in Lions, and having a chapter on the Longwood campus will help the bring the college and community closer. Since we are new to campus, we want to grow our organization. The mission statement of the Lions Club is to empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding.

Thanks for the Memories: A Recap of My Freshman Year

Wow. My freshman year of college is quickly coming to an end. It’s really hard for me to believe that my first year of college is practically over. As I am writing this, exams start next week and then I move out. That is so crazy to me.

When I think about everything I have seen, experienced and overcome during my first year of college, my mind is overflowing with memories and emotions. There are so many things I have done over the past couple of months that it’s hard to remember and name them all. However, I will try my best to do so.

When I first got to college I lived with a roommate and two suitemates. In my previous journals, I mentioned I am an only child and that the thought of living with other people really freaked me out. I think I even wrote a whole journal about it—be sure to look back and read it. Anyway, living with my roommate and suitemates was definitely a unique experience, but after the first semester, I knew I wanted to live alone. Through many emails, meetings and a lot of hope, I managed to get my own room. This was the first time I have ever lived alone in my life. Living alone took some getting used to, but I can confidently say I love it and think I made the right decision for me.

Speaking of making difficult decisions, that is also something I faced during my freshman year.  Because I was basically living on my own, I was making all of own decisions all of the time. At first, I didn’t really know how to handle it, but I quickly learned I loved being in charge of myself. In college you have the power to make all of your own choices. Whether you succeed or fail is up to you and no one else.

This is something I love about college. I love being independent and proactive, and taking charge of my own education. I knew everything was up to me, so I wanted to try my best to do everything right. People always called me a “try hard,” so when I got to college, I decided to embrace it. Being a try hard worked for me during my first year of college. I was invited to join numerous honor societies, received a scholarship within my major and was recognized by Phi Kappa Phi for being in the top 1 percent of my class for my grades during the fall semester (I got a 4.0 GPA).

I’m not mentioning these things to brag about my accomplishments (though I am proud of them) but more to serve as motivation for prospective students who may read this. Working hard really does pay off in the long run. Sometimes it is hard to see when you feel like you have a million assignments due all in one week, but just do your best in everything and things will work out.

During my freshman year, I also learned a lot about myself, my passions and other people. As I mentioned before, I learned that I love being independent. I like making my own decisions and interpreting things in my own way. I really don’t like being told what to do. I like having guidance and pointers, but when it comes to working on something, I like to do it my own way. However, I also love learning, which is obviously an important aspect of college.

I have also realized my passion for writing. In high school, I only wrote academically (like research papers), which is very boring to me. It wasn’t until I got to college and began taking other writing courses that I realized how much I really enjoy it. I like writing about my own experiences and giving my viewpoint on things, like I do for this blog, and being a part of the Odyssey (a writing club on campus). But I also enjoy the media style of writing and listening to people’s stories and writing about their experiences. There is so much you can do and say in writing. I think it is one of the best forms of expression.

Lastly, I not only learned about myself but about other people as well. I learned that making friends can be hard and that it takes time. I also learned that it is OK to be alone and to feel comfortable being your own company. Over the course of my first year of college, I can honestly say I have made some true friends. I met people I could talk to, and I knew they would actually listen and care about what I was saying. Finding true friends is so important in college. It’s easy to put friendships in the back of your mind and only focus on assignments. Trust me I know—I did this a lot during my first semester. However, I learned that having some true friends is really important. Making yourself talk to new people can be hard, but I encourage you to do it anyway because the friendships you make in college have a huge impact on your overall experience.

As you can probably see, I learned a lot during my freshman year of college. The crazy thing is, I didn’t even mention everything. I would have to write a book to include every single thing I learned, experienced or just witnessed.

Going to college has given me more opportunities than I could have ever dreamed of. There are so many things I know I would not done if I had decided not to attend Longwood. I am truly grateful for everything I have learned and accomplished during my freshman year.

And it all started with My Life As A Freshman. I guess you could say it was the first club or organization that I became involved in at Longwood. I owe a lot of my growth and successes to this organization. If I weren’t in My Life As A Freshman, a story I wrote most likely would not have ended up in the alumni magazine. I am truly thankful for being able to be a part of the first My Life As A Freshman group, and the experiences and friendships I have formed because of it mean so much to me. Thank you.

Managing Your Mental Health at College: Don’t Despair—Help Is Available

Everyone likes to talk about the fun and the laughs at college, but no one really wants to talk about the deeper issues. Mental health has always had a stigma, and, despite how far we have come, it is still something that is whispered about among family and very good friends.

But let’s face it: College is hard work and a huge adjustment. Having the tools and the support is the key not only to being physically healthy but also mentally healthy. Because not all of us really think about our mental health. Sometimes it begins to creep in when you realize that you may have taken too many hours or signed up for a super hard class that at the time seemed like a really great idea. Or it might rear its ugly head during midterms or final exams, and none of us really knows it’s there, sitting on our shoulder.

Recently I found myself needing a little extra help. I realized that I wasn’t super woman. Little did I know that Longwood has an entire school of experts just waiting to help us. Young adults, probably more than any other demographic, seem to think they can do it all and that asking for help is a flaw.  But sometimes asking opens up an entirely new world that we didn’t even know existed.

Did you know that the Dean of Students Office manages something called the Care Team here on campus that is made up of professionals from departments across the campus? Did you know that students who are studying psychology and social services act as interns to learn firsthand the needs of their fellow students? Did you know that they are available 24/7 and are just a phone call away?

I didn’t!!!

Whether it be depression, anxiety, stress or even a problem with your roommate, there is ALWAYS someone that will listen. No judging, no lecturing, no shaming—just help. Let’s face it, sometimes all of us just need a little extra help.

Finally, for you parents reading this, did you know that you can call the Care Team if you are worried about your student?

It could be that you haven’t heard from them or they won’t return your calls. Or perhaps you have an idea that there might be something going on. The Care Team will reach out and never let on that you called. It may be a professor or an RA or even someone from the Care Team, but they will never give away your secret!

Because remember, we still want to think that we’re grown up and that we don’t need anyone’s help. But deep down inside, sometimes we really do!

Painting with a Pro: My Close Encounter with a Professional Artist

Have you ever had the opportunity to learn how to paint from a professional artist? With the help of Professor Alex Grabiec, a faculty scholar in the Cormier Honors College and the curator for the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts, I am proud to say that I got this opportunity.

Professor Grabiec knows professional artist Morgan Everheart personally and was part of the team that brought some of her work to the LCVA for an exhibition this semester.

Artist Morgan Everheart, whose paintings were exhibited at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts this semester, conducted a painting workshop and tour of the exhibition for students in the Cormier Honors College.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Morgan agreed to host a paint night for the members of the Honors College. Meeting Morgan was an eye-opening experience. Actually being able to hear an artist’s thought process is truly special. (I had the opportunity to see Morgan’s artwork twice—the second time was when she gave my classmates and me a mini tour of the exhibition, explaining the process of creating some of her pieces and the meaning behind them.)

I had been to other paint nights where the instructor told everyone to do the same exact thing and everyone’s paintings looked very similar. Luckily, that wasn’t how Morgan chose to conduct her session.

She first told us to paint how we feel—meaning we could paint anything we wanted. Most of my peers painted a simple background. I was one of the only people who decided to paint a face. This didn’t bother me because I enjoy being the oddball.

She then told us to paint all of the greenery in the flowers on our tables. (It’s important to note that Morgan’s exhibition at the LCVA was comprised primarily of floral-themed paintings.) We finished up by painting the brightest colors in the bouquets on the table.

Heather’s friends Jason and Cecily also participated in the painting workshop.

Morgan also told us to take breaks in between painting different elements to do various activities. One of the activities was to introduce yourself to someone you didn’t know and talk about your painting. We did this two to three times throughout the session, performing different tasks. That was something new to me. I had never been to a paint night where the instructor told you to get up and talk to the people around you. I enjoyed it.

Overall, I had a very fun time. I really liked being able to paint with my friends, meet new people, learn techniques from a professional and eat pizza. It was evident from my painting that trying to depict flowers is not my strong suit—but I still had fun.

The painting I created actually wasn’t my favorite part of the experience. What I will remember most is meeting an artist and being able to talk to her and find out how and why she paints.

Spring Semester: The Good, the Bad and the Meniscus Tear

It’s hard to believe that freshman year is almost over. This semester has been pretty straightforward and consistent, and midterms flew by—mostly because they were easier than expected.

I’ve gotten into a groove and schedule, which is both a good and a bad thing. It’s a good thing because it means that I’m not lost or overwhelmed, and I have felt little to no stress. However, it is a bad thing because it’s a struggle for me that every day is almost exactly the same. I have unfortunately fallen into what a lot of students tell you not to do: constantly finding myself in my room without doing new things. This is something I’m going to try to be better at for the rest of this semester.

Daniel’s time on the court has been limited by a major knee injury, and it’s been a challenge for him to find another activity to take the place of basketball. He’s slated to have surgery soon.

A big reason I’m in my room more than before is my knee injury. Before the injury, I spent most of my time playing basketball. In November, I had a major tear of my meniscus, which is a muscle in the knee. We thought it was a minor tear, which is why I went ahead with playing intramural basketball. But a recent MRI showed it is a major tear, and I will be having surgery soon.

Now I can only play on occasion and will play my last game for three months on April 9.

The only goal I currently have for the rest of the semester is to find ways to make my days less scripted and to find new things to do or just to change it up.

What’s In Store Next Year: I Will Be an RA!

Brooklynn could be living in Sharp or Register hall next year as an RA. (The two buildings are identical.)

Getting the email that I had been selected as an RA (resident assistant) for the 2019-20 school year was such an exciting and surreal moment!

I want to be an RA so I can be a part of something bigger than myself and make a positive impact on the lives of Longwood students. Having that sense of a close-knit community with all the other resident assistants and my residents is another aspect that attracted me.

This awesome experience will allow me to improve my leadership skills, meet new people and help others. I am a rule follower, so I will be a role model for my residents. And with my social butterfly personality, big heart, creativity and positive energy, I will help them have a great experience.

When you’re an RA, your housing and meal plan are paid for, so that will be very helpful with saving money to go to graduate school.

The process for becoming an RA was pretty involved.

First I applied with my resume. Then I had to get recommendations from a professor, a current RA and from someone who knows me. I found out I made it through to the interview process, which includes an individual interview and a group interview, during winter break. I came back to campus a few days early  this semester for the interviews. The anticipation and waiting was so stressful, but it was definitely worth it.

Next year, I will be assigned to either Arc, Sharp, Register or Stubbs. All of these dorms are a huge upgrade from Curry, where I live now, so that will be fun. (Of course, Curry is scheduled to be completely renovated next year.) I will find out a little later in the semester what building I will be assigned to. In April, I will start spring training and leadership workshops. In the fall I will take an Intro to Residence Life class to continue my training.

It will be a lot of responsibility and hard work—but I can’t wait to be an RA!

Christmas Memories, Spring Semester Excitement

Brooklynn and her family in Colorado for Christmas.

My first Christmas home from college is one I will remember forever. I found out on Christmas Day that we were taking a family vacation to Colorado! It was so fun to visit with all my family. It had been two years since I’d seen them, and that’s a long time. I’m so grateful that we got to take that trip. It was filled with laughter, love, memories, great people and great food!

Spring semester has quickly begun, so that means new classes! I am taking Conceptual Physics, Child Development, English 165, a grammar class and American sign language! I have made new friends and learned how fun the game pool is. I have also finally gone to my first Longwood basketball game.

Elwood rocks the court at Brooklynn’s first basketball game.

I am so excited to say that I will be an RA (resident assistant) for the 2019-20 school year. I am so blessed to have this amazing opportunity. I can’t wait for this new experience!

This semester I am going to try to have more balance of school work and fun. Making time to de-compress, de-stress and relax by hanging out with friends more. I’m looking forward to Spring Weekend this semester and to the events put on by Lancer Productions. I went to the first one of the semester: Welcome Back Bingo. It was fun to go and see all my friends and catch up since Christmas vacation.

I am excited for this new semester and all the new experiences I will have!