A New Journey Commences

The first week of college has been a very challenging—but yet very exciting—new journey for me. I thought that the biggest transition for me would be living in a small room with three other girls and sleeping in a twin-size bed—but it wasn’t.

The most difficult thing for me so far is getting use to Canvas (an online platform that facilitates additional communication between professors and students about courses) and waking up for my 8 a.m. class.

Also I got to experience my first G.A.M.E march. It was a very long walk and it was hot outside, but I think it was worth it because not only did I get a free scarf (see photo above)—I also got to experience my first of many Longwood traditions.

Leah (center) and two of her suitemates.

I am so excited for my next four years at Longwood!

There aren’t many college freshmen who could put “ambulance driver” on their resume, but Leah is one of the few who can. When she was in high school, she volunteered for the Halifax County Rescue Squad twice a week. Her primary job? Driving the ambulance.

 

“I started volunteering because I love helping people in time of need,” she said. When she’s not volunteering, her favorite things to do are hanging out with her friends and relaxing in front a good show on Netflix.

 

A graduate of Halifax County High School, Leah especially liked her classes in math and history. At Longwood, she’s majoring in criminal justice and hopes to put her skills to work for the Halifax County Sheriff’s Department when she graduates.

Dorm Sweet Dorm: I Thought I’d Be Homesick, But I’m Not

In the past, being away from home hasn’t always come easy to me. From summer camps to retreats, I’ve always found myself becoming homesick even if it was only a couple of nights. Before move-in day I was extremely nervous about how I was going to react to the new living situation. I was afraid of how I was going to get used to my roommate/suitemates, making new friends and, most of all, missing my family.

I’ve now been at Longwood for more than a week, and I can truthfully say that I’ve never felt more at home. Ever since move-in day, everyone at Longwood has made me feel so welcome! Everyone’s always smiling here, and they made me feel like family.

This year I have the privilege of living in Frazer, which is the most recently renovated residence hall at Longwood. Actually, the other buildings are nice as well.

Andrea and a new friend at The G.A.M.E., a Longwood tradition at the beginning of the school year.

Living in the dorms has given me the opportunity to make lots of lifelong friends. It’s fun to know that your friends live in the same room or building as you because there are plenty of places to hang out without even leaving your building.

Now, I’m not going to lie. Farmville isn’t the most entertaining place I’ve ever been. But over this past week, I’ve made so many friends—and they make living here interesting! For fun, my new friends and I enjoyed a night of watching Bachelor in Paradise together! We bonded over arguing couples, countless amounts of homework and junk food. It was the highlight of my week.

I can’t wait for more nights like that one, and I’m so excited for everything else Longwood has in store for me!

Andrea is a graduate of Woodbridge Senior High School, where her favorite classes were world history and math. She loves to perform, whether it’s in a theatrical production (you should have seen her in Seussical: The Musical at Woodbridge) or as a member of a dance team. Another passion is hockey, and she loves the movie The Mighty Ducks, though the Washington Capitals is her favorite team.

But she has her serious side, too. It doesn’t get much more no-nonsense than being a member of the National Honor Society and the National Tech Honor Society in high school. And she dreams of becoming a first-grade teacher, inspired to seek a career in the classroom, in part, by the Mr. Feeny character in her favorite TV show, Boy Meets World. The idea of eventually becoming an elementary school principal is also intriguing to her.

Currently, she’s in the five-year elementary education program at Longwood, which will take her through her bachelor’s degree and conclude with a master’s degree in early childhood education.

The First Week: Meeting New People and Making Hard Choices

I knew Longwood was meant for me when I came to campus on a school field trip last winter.

The tour guide was so friendly, and I realized how beautiful Longwood was. I live very close to the campus so at one point I was hesitant about coming to Longwood. I thought I wouldn’t get a new experience. However, when I stepped on campus it didn’t even feel like I was close to home.

One thing I really like about Longwood is that it’s not too big but not too small. Another thing I worried about was not finding friends and fitting in, but I think I have found some lifelong friends already. Honestly, college is about meeting new people and growing out of your shell a little.

My favorite thing to do around Longwood would probably be going to the D-Hall with my friends for dinner. My favorite food in the dining hall would have to be the ramen.

My favorite class was wind symphony because I love playing my clarinet. Even though I love band, I decided to drop the class so that I could focus on my core classes.

Also if you are not a morning person, do not sign up for 8 am classes.

I’ve been at Longwood for a week, and I’ve met so many different but cool people. I really love Longwood.

Yannick is one of those people who dreams big. She’s already thinking about moving to New York City and starting a YouTube channel—not necessarily in that order.

She’s a music lover, and she definitely didn’t leave home without her clarinet when she headed to Longwood. It has a special place in her residence hall room as well as in her heart. It’s no surprise that one of her favorite classes at Nottoway High school was band. During the fall semester of her senior year, she was out there on the football field Friday nights with the rest of the group. She also enjoyed U.S. history.

Yannick is a special education major and hopes to work with elementary-level special needs children when she graduates.

My Dream Room Is Here At Longwood

After going through my first week as a college student at Longwood, I have come to realize that I can officially call it home.

Going from being an only child and having my own room to moving into a small dorm room with three other girls had my anxiety up to the max. I was very nervous that my room wouldn’t feel like home and that I would get homesick very easily. But that was not the case at all.

Devan’s roommate and suitemates expressed their creativity in decorating their rooms.

My dorm room couldn’t get any cozier, cooler or safe. My roommate and suitemates have helped me a lot with making our dorm and dorm room feel like home—and I am very grateful.

Although, at this writing, I can’t hang anything on our walls until the paint is completely dry, I am very pleased with how my room looks. I have been able to create the dream room that I never was able to have at home.

I am beyond excited to spend the rest of the year in my new home!

 

A career as a kindergarten teacher is in Devan’s sights when she finishes Longwood’s program in early education. She’s a graduate of Glen Allen High School, where she played varsity lacrosse all four years after catching the “bug” for the sport in eighth grade. She also was in the DECA club.

Her claims to fame include that she can pop her hip out of its socket and back in again, and she has a penchant for piercings. Patiently waiting for her to come home for visits is her pet squirrel.

The Freshman Adventure Begins: Meeting Your Roommate

Over the course of this year I am going take you on my adventure of my freshman year. Let’s get started!

This first post is all about meeting your roommate and suitemates for the very first time. Meeting your roommate is like waking up Christmas morning. You are anxious to see what you get.

I was very nervous about meeting my roommate, Dylan, who’s on the left in the photo above. I had no idea if my roommate and I would get along. Once I found out who my roommate was, we started to email each other to get to know each other. We communicated through email not only to get to know each other but also to make sure that we didn’t bring two of everything.

After emailing each other back and forth, move-in day finally came, and I was ready to put a face to the name. We get along very well, and we respect each other’s spaces. 

Just call him Mr. Brooks.

Jonathan is in the Call Me MISTER program at Longwood, which encourages and supports young men in choosing teaching as a profession. Jonathan is an elementary education major, and hopes to teach in the Hanover County school district after completing his degree.

If he reaches that goal, he’ll be in the same district as his high-school alma mater, Lee-Davis High School, where his favorite classes were Teachers for Tomorrow and Advanced Government. During high school, he was in the French Club and the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy, and a junior marshal for the graduating class of 2018. He continues his work as a youth leader for Virginia’s I’m Determined project, which facilitates youth, especially those with disabilities, in taking a measure of control in their lives, helping them to set and steer the course.

Jonathan loves Italian food, spending time with family and friends, and the movie Coming to America.

Friendly Faces, Helpful Upperclassmen, Compatible Suitemates: What’s Not To Like?

I’m so excited to be sharing my experiences of my first year at Longwood! It took me awhile to figure out what I wanted to write about because of all of the wonderful experiences I have already had during my first few days.

The first full day at Longwood, I was part of New Lancer Days, an activity that helps you meet fellow students and a peer mentor to help you through your first year. My favorite activity was the pep rally. It was a moment when the entire Class of 2023 was in the same room. Seeing so many friendly faces was what made that day so special.

At Longwood, freshmen sign up for coaching groups that are led by a peer mentor and university staff. My peer mentor, Lauren (in the bright green shirt in the photo above with our coaching group), told me about how the first few days at Longwood are so important and how wonderful it is to have a group of friends you already know. I now know I have people I can turn to if I ever need help with anything, and that is something I will never take for granted.

Moving into my dorm was very exciting as well, thanks to the help of the upperclassmen. My family and I pulled up to my hall, and they came rushing over to help us move in. It was such an inviting experience, and I’m looking forward to being a part of that next year.

Kendal (second from left) with fellow freshmen Mallory (left), Trevor and Melanie.

My roommate and suitemates have been so helpful with moving in, and I love them for that. I first met my roommate and suitemates online. When I met them in person, it was so reassuring to learn all the similarities we share.

It is especially reassuring that I have known one of my suitemates since high school. I feel very privileged to share a dorm with her. We had a lot of fun at the late-night New Lancer Days event with a mini golf course, two inflatables, lawn games and more!

I’m looking forward to all my experiences at Longwood, and I’m so proud of everything I have been a part of so far.

Most people are at least a little afraid of speaking in public, but for Kendal it’s no big deal. “My leadership class in high school made me more comfortable with public speaking and socially interacting with large groups,” she says. Another favorite course was a dual enrollment English class that provided some college-level skills she plans to put to use at Longwood.

Kendal loves playing the flute, which she began in middle school. “I thought it would just be a class, but I ended up loving everything about band,” she says. During her years at Frank W. Cox High School, she was part of the marching band during her junior and senior years and was on the swim team as a freshman and sophomore.

At Longwood, she’s majoring in communication studies with an emphasis in digital media, and she eventually hopes to work in advertising, particularly in promoting artists and musicians. The experience she got promoting and selling cookies during her 11 years as a Girl Scout will no doubt give her a bit of an advantage in her future career.

Like Father Like Daughter: I Followed in my Dad’s Footsteps to Frazer Hall

Move-in day was a whole mix of emotions: nervousness, excitement, stress and so on. I don’t think there is any one thing that can really prepare you for it.

It started off with waking up in our hotel room in Farmville. We had driven to Farmville the night before so we wouldn’t have to leave home on move-in day during the wee hours of the morning! We were first in line on campus at 6:45 a.m. (I highly recommend getting in line as early as possible!)

Part of the reason we got there so early is that I wanted to be the first to move in and I wanted to get all of my things moved in as quickly as possible! The other part is that the marketing and communications staff from Longwood had reached out to both of my parents because, when they were students here at Longwood, they both lived in the high rises!

Throughout the morning, we were followed by a photographer, and my parents were also interviewed by a videographer. It’s pretty cool that I get to live in the newly renovated Frazer, which is where my dad also lived when he was a student.

Both of Kara’s parents are Longwood alums, and her dad lived in Frazer Hall, too, though Frazer looks much different today after its complete renovation.

In the midst of all of that, my roommate, suitemates and I were trying to get everything moved into our room. After getting most of our things settled, my family and I, along with my roommate and her family, went to lunch at Pino’s, a local Italian restaurant very close to campus that I can see from my dorm room.

My parents then wished me the best and started the journey back to Yorktown after a long day.

I know that this is just the beginning, but I am very excited for all of the memories and friendships that I will create during my time here at Longwood!

Kara would like to go back to fourth grade—as a teacher when she graduates from Longwood with her degree in liberal studies, which is the major for aspiring elementary school teachers.

She is the fourth and final person in her family to attend Longwood. Her dad graduated in 1985, her mom in 1986 and her sister in 2017. Longwood is definitely a family affair for the Parrs. A graduate of Tabb High School, Kara was in the Key Club, National Honor Society, Bowling Club and the National Beta Club. But her favorite thing by far was singing. She was in the Girls’ Ensemble, serving as its president when she was a senior, and Jazz Choir, and she participated in school musicals.

When she’s on the listening end of music, it has to be country: “I’m a big fan,” she says. And she’s a big fan of dogs, as well: “I LOVE dogs.” She has a cockapoo named Sophie and a cocker spaniel named Henry.

From Boarding School to College: Getting By With the Help of My New Friends

The transition from a private boarding school to college was much different from what I expected it to be. (I’m on the left in the photo.)

I attended Christchurch School in Saluda, Virginia, for all four years of high school, and I expected my initial time at Longwood to be exactly the same as when I was a freshman there—but that hasn’t been the case.

So far, being at Longwood has been an emotional time for me, with feelings of excitement, nervousness and many others. 

In 2014, I was a kid from the city going off to a school an hour away from home. It was the first time I’d been away from home for an extended period, and I have to say that it was a scary moment in my young life. I was the only one from my middle school to go there, and I didn’t know what to expect.

Even though it was hard, that first year of high school was very beneficial to my maturity and character. Throughout the years at Christchurch, I continued to grow, learning how to manage my time, how to live with someone and many other skills.

However, there is a difference between college and boarding school. I’m adjusting—but I’m still trying to figure everything out. This learning period has been fun, effective and efficient thanks to New Lancer Days and the help of the community that I knew was going to be here for me.

I am so glad that people are friendly and will make sure you aren’t lost. On top of this I have met so many people who are easy to talk to—many of them from the area where I live in Richmond, which has made me feel even more comfortable.

I was worried about making the transition to college despite my high-school experience, but it has been a lot better than I expected. I am so ready to see what the year is going to bring. I can’t wait see everything this campus has to offer, and I am ready to experience everything this year with open arms. 

Phil loves sports. How much?

So much that the most memorable part of a high-school trip to Senegal was playing soccer with a group of children there. So much that on any given afternoon you might see him catching a long football pass in front of his residence hall. So much that he’s signed up for the Longwood men’s basketball team’s rigorous practice and game schedule—as a walk-on point guard.

Phil attended Christchurch School, a private, college-prep school in Saluda, Virginia, where he  boarded all four years and his favorite classes were psychology and English. When asked about his favorite book, he named not a novel but instead We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, which is a collection of essays originally published in The Atlantic magazine over the course of the Barack Obama administration. He also played basketball and lacrosse in high school.

Phil is currently keeping his options open about a major at Longwood because “there are so many options here.” Meanwhile, he’ll be enjoying the pancakes in D-hall: Breakfast is his favorite meal of the day, and pancakes are his go-to breakfast.

Emotions and Hunger Pangs

Over the past few days I have felt many emotions. Here are a few:

  • Sadness over leaving my pets behind (and my family, of course, but they know where I am and how to work a phone)
  • Excitement about what’s to come
  • Nervousness about the first day of classes

But let me tell you one continuous feeling I have had this whole college experience so far. Hunger. I truly don’t think I have ever wanted real food more in my life.

Kira swipes in for a meal at D-Hall.

What I miss most about the food at home is a restaurant called Don Pepe—where my favorite dish is the shrimp chimichangas!—and just a home-cooked meal. I especially miss the huge brunch my dad makes every Sunday after church.

Sure, we have D-Hall, but let’s be honest here—it’s D-Hall food. Although, if you ever get a chance to try the tortellini and the grilled cheese, you won’t be too disappointed. I should know. I have had both for lunch and dinner more than once already.

Kira is literally the girl (or young woman) with a dragon tattoo—a bearded dragon, that is. In addition to the tattoo, her eyes are two different colors. Combine those traits with the fact that she drives a Volkswagen, and she’s no doubt a unique individual on campus.

A criminal justice major, Kira plans to go into law enforcement when she finishes her degree at Longwood. When she does, she hopes her partner will have a bite that’s worse than his bark. That’s because her goal is to be a K-9 officer, trusting a four-legged co-worker to watch her back.

At Clover Hill High School, her favorite classes were Spanish and history, and she was a member of the debate and tennis teams.

An Impulsive Choice Was the Right Choice: I Found the Perfect College

I wouldn’t exactly say I chose Longwood.

I’m a first-generation college student, so college seemed like a stretch. I wasn’t sure of even the simplest of things—like how to apply.

Because of that, I initially committed to the University of Lynchburg because they were the first college to contact me—even though I’d never heard of that school before. I attended a scholarship award ceremony (they gave me a $27,000 scholarship), and I loved the campus.

Abbie (left) and her roommate, Karina, at the main entrance to campus.

A few months went by, and people I knew were being accepted to their dream schools—but it didn’t feel the same for me. I procrastinated about applying to other schools and filling out my mandatory Lynchburg paperwork because I simply didn’t know what I truly wanted from college.

I had heard about Longwood and decided to apply. I was accepted, so now I had two options. Still nothing felt right for me. Then came the FAFSA deadline, which meant I had to make a last-minute decision. Impulsively, I cancelled my commitment to Lynchburg and committed to Longwood before I even stepped foot on campus.

I had no reason behind my choice to switch to Longwood. My process of choosing my college was very confusing, and the worries of, “What if I chose the wrong college?” never stopped until move-in day.

I am now at Longwood, and I have no doubt that I chose the perfect place for me. I’m thankful that my impulsive, unknowledgeable choices led me to where I truly feel I belong.

Abbie is a young woman who thinks ahead.

She’s already thinking about going to graduate school in criminal psychology or counseling after she finishes her undergraduate psychology degree. She’s already planning her wedding for next summer. And she’s already decided to continue “forever” her family tradition of attending The Nutcracker at Christmas.

A graduate of Gloucester High School, her favorite classes were English and AP Psychology. She was always working during high school, so the only extracurricular activity she had time for was chorus. What she misses most from home is her pit bull, a sweetheart named Nugget who got his name “simply because he looks like a chicken nugget.”