Diversions: Color Wars and Waka Flocka Concert

Drenching as many of your fellow students in red or green paint is the objective of Color Wars.

I have been at Longwood a little more than a month, and I have enjoyed majority of it. Yes, I said majority because nothing is ever perfect—but it’s fine when the good outweighs the bad.

One of the things that gets to me is learning how to be independent at this level, especially balancing my social life and academic responsibilities. Yet I know I am a lot better at it than I was when I arrived on campus. Balancing different aspects of college life is something a lot of people here find challenging, and that gives me the chance to build bonds with others who are struggling along with me.

Having a visitor from home can make a weekend. Here Phil (left) is with friend Pete Goodrich.

Seeing friends from home who stopped by Farmville for a visit and going to Oktoberfest activities helped me take my mind off those challenges for a while. Oktoberfest weekend was a lot better than I expected it to be, honestly, with the costumes and various events—especially Color Wars and the Waka Flocka concert.

Color Wars was exciting. Throwing paint on people isn’t something you get to do every day—but I wouldn’t mind if it were. I was impressed with Waka Flacka’s performance. Everyone was having a good time, and I know that some people were more impressed with it than they thought they would be.

Overall, my time this week and the past month has been good, with some highs and a couple of lows. Now I’m just getting ready to tackle my midterms and see how next month is going to be.

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.

Feeling at Home: Volunteering at the Food Pantry and Familiar Faces

I’m a communication studies major and, to help fulfill our community service requirement, we have the opportunity to help out at Farmville’s food pantry, FACES. I volunteered one Saturday morning, and I felt so fulfilled afterwards.

We helped people pick out food and then helped them load the items into their cars. I must have helped 100 or more people. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing I did my part to help families in Farmville who need a hand.

The next week, during my class, we discussed how our help could have had an impact on more people than we think—like the people who receive food at FACES. The most touching interaction I had was with a woman whose family of 12 hadn’t had enough food for weeks. I thanked her for coming and told her to please come by anytime she needs to. That was the first time I realized how much of a difference I can make while I’m here in Farmville and how many people I can help.

While walking around campus, I try to look around and see how many people I know and can say “Hi” to. I’m very happy to say that I see a several people every day when I walk to class. I’m so glad that I chose Longwood—because of its size and because of those familiar faces. Getting involved with several student organizations has introduced me to a lot of new people.

I was leaving my band class the other day and I realized that I finally feel at home. I took a photo to remember that moment. It’s my first month of living here, and I couldn’t be prouder of where I am in my life right now.

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.

A Weekend with Mom and Dad: Tasty Treats and a Shopping Spree

A few months ago, when I found out the dates for Parents Weekend, I immediately told my dad so he could get a hotel before they were all booked. Sadly, a few weeks Parents Weekend, he found out he had a work-related conflict, so he would not be able to come that weekend.

Luckily, he was able to come to Farmville the weekend before! We had a great time! We started off with brunch at D Hall, because he wanted to use a guest swipe that he had paid for rather than going to a restaurant and spending additional money. After that, we walked around Main Street and just enjoyed each other’s company.

Kara and her mom during Parents Weekend.

My mom still came for Parents Weekend! She arrived on Saturday, and we had lunch at Macado’s! It was super busy, but the burger I ordered was worth the wait! After that, we did some shopping downtown at Pairet’s, Sleeping Bee and Penelope—a few of my favorites! We made a trip to Walmart so I could stock up on snacks (thanks, Mom!). We then made our way back to the hotel for the night. For breakfast the next morning, we went to Walker’s Diner and the food there was delicious! It may look old from the outside, but I would 100 percent recommend their food!

I am so glad that both of my parents were able to come and visit! It won’t be too long before I’ll be heading back to Yorktown for fall break!

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.

Why Longwood? Let Me Count the Ways

There are two very important reasons why I chose Longwood.

The first reason is the size of the campus. As soon as I took my first steps on campus, I felt a sense of community. I felt like I was about to be a part of something that would make me a better citizen. To me that is very important because of what I want to do after my time here at Longwood—be a teacher.

 

Jonathan (second from right) participates in the Call Me MISTER program, which supports young men who aspire to be teachers.

At Longwood, I would not be just a number. The professors know you by name, and they are here to help you. It is extremely important to go to a university where you feel that you would be supported by students and faculty 24/7.

Another important reason I chose Longwood is because of its rich history of producing great teachers. I want to become a fifth-grade teacher, and Longwood’s liberal studies program will give me the skills I need to become the best fifth-grade teacher I can be.

There are a ton of other reasons I chose Longwood, but I believe these are the most important.

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.

Quizzes, Homework and a Road Trip with New Friends

This week is the fourth week of classes. So much has happened, and time is flying by.

I have had three quizzes, one exam and a ton of homework. I also was finally able to hang up all my things on my walls!! Now my dorm room definitely feels like home, and I am very proud of how my room has turned out.

Devan (top, teal shirt) and friends on their road trip to Short Pump Mall in Richmond. Fellow My Life As A Freshman blogger Kira (far right) joined in.

This past weekend my roommate, some of my new Longwood friends and I decided to go take a day trip back to my hometown. I decided to take them to Short Pump Mall, since they had never been there. We went to lunch at California Pizza Kitchen with my mom and my best friend, Kenny. We also went shopping and all got some new cute clothes that we are excited to wear.

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.

Bringing the Heat: My Roommate and I Made the Blue Heat Dance Team

In high school, I participated in varsity dance team. It was one of the many things that excited me about going to school. The team gave me a feeling of comfort and made me feel at home. When the dance season was over, I was devastated thinking that my dance career was over. I wanted nothing more than to be part of a team again.

When I finally committed to Longwood, I decided to research the dance opportunities. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to dance forever. Three options came up, including Blue Heat Dance Team, Fierce Dance Team and The Company. I did some additional research and decided that Blue Heat was the team I wanted to join because its dance styles are similar to the team I was on in high school.

Andrea (front row, second from right) with some of her Blue Heat dance teammates.

As the tryouts were approaching, I finally convinced my roommate, Ashley, to try out for the team as well. Knowing that we both had some type of dance background, I thought it would be something fun for us to experience together. Though the tryouts were tough, we both made the team!! We then had our team initiation and met the rest of our new family. Even though joining the team will be a time commitment, I think it’ll be worth it.

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.

Loving Longwood—Ups, Downs and a Great Grilled Cheese

I’m really loving Longwood. I’m adjusting to college life, and I think I’m doing pretty well.

I tried FarmGrill in the Upchurch University Center for the first time and got the grilled cheese. Now it’s my favorite place to go when I’m hungry. Also I have a tip: Don’t spend all of your bonus dollars at Starbucks!

I’m not feeling quite as motivated this week, but I think it’s just because I miss my home. Overall things are going great.

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.

Oktoberfestivities: Color Wars, Student Organization Booths and Waka Flocka

Kendal (third from right) and friends Mallory, Trevor and Melanie drenched in paint after Color Wars.

As I was getting ready for Color Wars, I was wondering how much paint would get on me. I originally had on a pair of Nikes, and then someone told me you just take your shoes off. Luckily, I listened to them because, when it was all over, I was drenched in a crazy amount of paint!

They had the freshmen and juniors on the green team, and the seniors and sophomores on the red team. There were buckets of paint on each side of the field and a line in the middle. When the time came, we all sprinted toward each other and flung as much paint as we could.

By the time all the paint was gone, every white T-shirt was no longer white, and everyone was covered in paint from head to toe. It’s a memory I will look forward to making every year here at Longwood.

I can’t wait to see the photo I take next year and who I will get to enjoy the experience with in fall 2020.  

On Saturday night of Oktoberfest weekend, Waka Flocka performed on Stubbs lawn, and it could not have been a more perfect night! The weather was just right, and everyone was just down to enjoy the concert. It was so crowded that people were getting on other people’s shoulders so they could see.

I honestly thought it was an amazing show, and I was glad I was a part of it.

Earlier in the day on Saturday, many of Longwood’s student organizations set up booths to recruit members and raise money. It was so awesome to see all the clubs in one place. There were a variety of booths giving out really good food! 

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.

Becoming More Independent, CHI and Weekends

The past several weeks at Longwood have been a learning experience for me. It’s been enjoyable even though there have been some growing pains with it!

I’m learning how to do things independently, like making sure I plan out my days to meet my deadlines and keep up with my academic obligations. Now, don’t get me wrong, these things take some time to get used to, especially when you haven’t had to do them before. But the process is fun because I know that I am becoming more of an adult.

This is primarily related to my academics.

When it comes to my social life, I have been having a lot of fun meeting people, having lunch with peers and even watching TV with them in the sunroom on a weekend. All of these experiences are what I expected.

Founded in 1900, CHI is the oldest service organization at Longwood. Its purpose is to promote and maintain a spirit of cooperation among students during every phase of college life. Members of CHI are secret until a grand reveal at each spring’s CHI Burning, a bonfire on campus that marks a new chapter in CHI.

I also went to the CHI walk (http://www.longwood.edu/lancer-life/traditions/chi/) recently along with some other students. The walk was at night and a little creepy, yet kind of fun. I wish I had gotten a CHI dropping while I was there, but I’m still glad I got to be a part of the tradition—and I’m looking forward to other school events in the future.

Weekends provide a time to relax and hang out on campus.

The weekend culture here is nice, with people outside socializing and the special programs, like move nights and the hypnotist who “performed.” Even though it gets hard sometimes academically, it is good to know that there are opportunities for me to wind down for a bit and give myself a mental break.

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.

The Way I See It: Roommates, Professors and Exploring Farmville 

Before arriving at Longwood, I didn’t really know what to expect from college. I had only heard stories about how mean and lacking in understanding college professors are and how terrible living with a roommate could be.  

Well, I am here to tell you the opposite is true when it comes to the professors here at Longwood! From the first day of class, each professor has said multiple times that they are here for us and that they want to see us succeed. Also, because my classes are very small compared with other universities, the professors have an opportunity to get to know their students on a personal level.

Another plus is that every professor has certain times they are in their office with the door open, and they’re prepared for students to show up with questions. They set this time aside so that they can help students be successful in their class! Before I came to Longwood, I thought professors didn’t care about who you are or if you were successful or if you were struggling in the class—but that’s not the case at Longwood.  

I have heard plenty of stories about experiences with bad roommates! I got the impression that your roommate was going to make or break your freshman year—or your college experience in general. Leading up to my freshman year, I was a bit nervous about finding a roommate because I didn’t really know anyone who would be attending Longwood, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go random or not.

Kara (right) and her roommate, Kathryn, a nursing major.

Let me tell you that I lucked out with a great roommate! It turns out that our dads actually met through Longwood. My dad was an education major, and he did his student teaching at my roommate’s dad’s high school. Her dad was interested in the same major that my dad was pursuing, so my dad talked to him about Longwood, and he graduated from here, too!

When living with a roommate, I suggest that you discuss your expectations: for example, if you want to keep the room clean, if you are normally cold/hot, if you care about other people being in the room. After all, it is both your and your roommate’s room! It’s an adjustment to share a room and have such a small space for yourself, but after a few weeks of being in the dorm, I have finally found a place for everything and gotten in the groove of things! 

Although it is only about a month into the college life, I am loving it! It took me a little bit to figure out my time-management skills with schoolwork coming first and my social life coming second. But I am making new friends and enjoying my classes (for the most part!), and I love venturing out into Farmville on the weekends! I cannot wait to see what the next few weeks will hold!  

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.