Falling for Fall at Longwood

Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love the crisp bright leaves and the smell of burning wood in the air. Growing up it was a time for bonfires and roasting marshmallows. Every year we would have a huge Halloween party. We would get in trailers and go through our neighborhood trick-or-treating. The kids were in one trailer and the adults in another. It would take us forever because we were being pulled by a tractor, but that is what made it so fun.

My mom used to tell me stories about when she was in college and her mom would send her care packages at Halloween. Because my Mom grew up in Chicago and went to college in Texas, she never experienced fall at her alma mater. So her mom would send her a box of leaves from her yard just to make her feel less homesick. I think I heard that story a million times.

Two weeks ago I received my Halloween care package. Sure enough, down below all of the candy and the spooky decorations were my leaves. It made me feel happy and sad. Happy to be part of a family tradition and sad because I wasn’t home partaking in the yearly traditions that I loved growing up.

But then I realized something. I was sitting at my desk in my high-rise dorm looking out over campus, and all I saw were the bright colors of fall right out of my window. How lucky I am to be in a campus environment that is so beautiful. I love that when you come into town you can see where the campus begins and ends. I love that I can walk from one end to the other and be surrounded by such history. I love that the new buildings look like the past. I love that Longwood has continued so many traditions that I want to be a part of.

So, yes, I do get homesick, and I do miss my friends and family. But I’m steadily making new friends, forging relationships with my professors and thinking about my future at Longwood.  I’m embracing my fall here and still eating the candy my mom sent weeks ago. I’m excited to see what the next season will bring. So stay tuned!

On a side note: My mom and aunt were one recent weekend and brought me pumpkins and scarecrows and homemade chicken pot pie and, yes, more Halloween candy!!!

My First Week: Finding My Way and Starting to Feel at Home  

(This post was inadvertently not posted when Brooklynn submitted it—but it’s too good to leave out.)

Move-in day was emotional for me. It hit me that I was stepping into a whole new territory and leaving my family and friends back home—and my dogs. My older brother, Davis, went to Longwood and graduated last year. I am a triplet, and my two other brothers are at University of Lynchburg and Roanoke College.

I am excited for this opportunity and new experience/chapter of my life. Getting my dorm all set up and decorated was a long process. My roommate, Ashley King, and I went to middle school together. Ashley is so caring, kind and funny. I am so glad I have her as my roommate. We keep each other motivated, and we make time to get our work done plus have fun. Going through this new experience together has been awesome so far.

New Lancer Days did a great job of keeping me entertained and focused on what was happening here and not what I was missing at home. Cory Craig, a motivational speaker and actor, came to talk to us. He gave me great advice to remember throughout my college years and life in general.

At the Honor and Integrity Ceremony, it was cool to see all the professors and President Reveley in their fancy gowns. It gave me a feeling of reality that I am now a college student at Longwood and that I have to uphold the values and responsibilities of this great university. I believe the honor code ceremony really shows how important and serious it is here.

After three days of important talks and awesome entertainment and activities, it was time to start classes. I was nervous about not being able to find my classes the first day. Peer mentors did a guided class building tour and helped me find my classes, so I knew where to go and how long it took to get to each building. Even though I am starting out on this new journey alone, that is not the environment here at Longwood. Everyone is so kind, friendly and supportive. The first day of class it poured. My class is all the way on the other side of D-hall, and an upperclassman gave me a ride to D-hall so I didn’t have to walk in the rain.

It has only been a week since I moved in, and I have met so many awesome people already! Yesterday was First Friday Back, and one of Longwood’s many traditions is The G.A.M.E. It was neat to get the scarf every upperclassman has told me about. It was a cool feeling to experience the first tradition of the year as a freshman.

The Multipurpose Upchurch University Center

Brooklynn loves how the barista at the Starbucks in the new Upchurch University Center always remembers the extra “n” in her name.

I had been waiting for the new Upchurch University Center to open, just like everyone else. It was so awesome that it opened when we came back for fall break.

I absolutely love the new Upchurch Center. It is such a great addition to Longwood’s campus. I love that we have a Starbucks and that that they accept gift cards, so I don’t spend all my bonus dollars all at one place. As midterms have been happening and this is the time in the semester when there are so many different assignments due at the same time, coffee is great!

Au Bon Pain is nice—it is just like Panera! Now that it has started to get cold outside, I really like how they have so many soups/stews to pick from. They change the flavors daily.

The new center is also a place where I can hang out with friends and study.

Brooklynn and her friend Lucie, a senior, both participated in a recent Alzheimer’s walk.

Oktoberfest: Color Wars and Country Music

Brooklynn with her 8th floor “peeps” from Curry Hall. Her RA, Sophie, is the one with the green cups.

As soon as I was accepted to Longwood, I was so excited to experience all the traditions of this special school. So I was super excited to kick off Oktoberfest weekend with Color Wars! It was a blast—such a fun event with so much positive energy and spirit. I am glad I wore sunglasses! (It’s not fun getting paint in your eyes!) Because they have an even-number graduation year (2022) freshmen this year are a red class.

Saturday of Oktoberfest was the best day here for me so far. I love country music, and concerts are my favorite thing to go to. So my favorite part of Oktoberfest was that Chris Lane came and put on an amazing show. Not only is he a great singer, he also is a great performer! He knows how to engage with the audience very well. It was such a great way to de-stress from classes.

It is so crazy that Oktoberfest  marks the halfway point of the fall semester. The days are slow but the weeks just keep flying by!

Get Organized, Girl!!

Jayla writes all of her assignments, tests and social events down on a white board each week so she won’t forget anything.

Being able to get into the swing of classes hasn’t really been hard for me. I’ve just been struggling with taking time to manage my assignments and my social life.

I have definitely fallen in love with all of my classes and professors. They have given me so much insight and have encouraged me to get organized.

I also enjoy hanging out with friends and getting involved with stuff happening on campus. Since the second week of classes, I have been planning out my day on a white board—that way I never forget an assignment, test, paper or even a social event. It’s little things like that help with time management.

I find that it is easy to forget stuff and completely fall behind. So I would advise you to write it ALL down in a planner or on a white board like me.

Staying Healthy and Fit in College

Longwood’s Fitness Center offers lots of options for staying in shape, including classes, a climbing wall, cardio and weight-training equipment, and an indoor jogging track.

Being a student in college you have to really be mindful of how you eat and when to get your physical activity in. Sometimes you don’t have the time to make food, eat healthy or even make time to go to the gym to work out.

For me, with lacrosse, we are expected to work out every day even if we don’t have practice. We have weight training three times a week in Iler Hall, which is the athletes’ weight-training facility, but there is also the rec center to get in extra work.

All student-athletes here are required to do weight training and practice on and off season.

If you don’t play a sport, the rec center has so many options to make working out fun!

There are also trails around where you can bike and run, like the High Bridge Trail, or even around campus.

All in all, Longwood is a great place to focus on academics while having a good balance with bettering yourself in a healthy way!

Longwood’s Fitness Center offers lots of options for staying in shape, including classes, a climbing wall, cardio and weight-training equipment, and an indoor jogging track.

My Home, My Place, My Town

Bella and her mom, Deborah.

Despite the fact that I’ve been away from home now for almost seven weeks, I really haven’t gotten my first bout of homesickness. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I miss my family. But when I’m back home, I miss my new life in Longwood even more!

From the time that I was 9 years old, I spent four weeks every summer at camp. I can remember my mom saying she waited by the phone that first week convinced I would be calling her to come and pick me up. But I never did make that call.

My mother brought me up to be adventurous, and together we have traveled the world.

But that first night that I spent in my own room in Curry Hall at Longwood, I realized that I had found my home, my place, my town. I was in love!!!

This past weekend I came home to help care for my mother after she had surgery. It was so good to see her and be with her, but I couldn’t stop thinking of my new home—Longwood.

I’m sure I will continue to have bouts of loneliness and at times I will question what I’m doing. But, for right now, I’m loving my new life, and I am ready to enjoy every minute of it!

Living the Dorm Life

Heather (left) and her roommate, Jessi, have figured out how to get used to sharing a dorm room.

Most people know what a college dorm consists of: a really small space in which you have at least one roommate. At Longwood, you’re actually required to live in a dormitory your first year. As to why this rule exists, I couldn’t tell you, but living in a dorm is definitely a unique experience that everyone should have (maybe that’s one reason behind the rule).

Living in a dormitory is unlike any other living situation you’ve most likely had. Some dorms are coed (meaning guys and girls are on the same hall; my dorm is like this) or some are strictly for boys or girls. As I just mentioned, my dorm is coed, and I was very unsure about how I would adjust.

In movies and in TV shows, living in a college dorm looks super fun all of the time. However, I was really scared to live in a dorm. I actually thought about how I was going to get used to living with a roommate and sharing a bathroom with suitemates more so than the difficultly of my classes!

This fear most likely stems from my being an only child. Throughout my whole life—up until going to college—I always had my own bedroom, bathroom and space to myself. So the thought of always having to share my space and always be considering other people’s class schedules (for the bathroom) was a really scary thought to me.

On the bright side, you’ll be happy to know it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.

When sharing a small space with someone else, it helps if you can get along. Luckily for me, my roommate and I get along very well. My suitemates and my roommate and I get along pretty well also. So if you luck out and get a decent roommate and suitemates (or request to live with someone when choosing housing), then that makes everything else run more smoothly.

As you can see from the photos, the dorms are small, probably even smaller than you think, so getting along with your roommate is key. That being said, one big tip about housing that I remembered from Orientation was that you don’t need to be BFFs with your roommate. As long as you can both respect each other, that’s really all that matters.

It’s something to remember when you’re trying to adjust to living in a shoebox with a complete stranger.

Living in a dorm can be a little challenging sometimes, I’m not going to lie.

Always having to consider others and not really having that much time to yourself can be hard to get used to, but, trust me, you’ll get used to it more easily than you would think. Take it from someone who grew up always having her own space and didn’t even want to go to sleep-away camps because I didn’t want to live with other people!

Just be open-minded, work out a bathroom schedule and find a place of your own to escape to sometimes when you want some privacy and you’ll be fine.

A Change of Plans: I Want to be Closer to Home

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been communicating with Virginia State University because I’m planning to transfer there in the spring semester.

I made this choice because I would like to be closer to home, especially because I commute. Virginia State is also a good school, and it’s about 25 minutes from my home. Right now it takes me about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to school every day from where I live. The drive isn’t so bad in the morning, but in the afternoon there is so much traffic.

I’ve decided that Longwood University isn’t the place that makes me happy, and it’s not what I expected. In the beginning, I was so happy to become a part of the Lancer family, but as weeks went by I realized what really makes me happy and that there are other things I wish to do.

I’m excited about being closer to home, and I can’t wait to discover what opportunities I may come across in the future.

Why I Chose Commuting

I recently started commuting to school.

It’s been almost a month since I made the transition. What made me chose this decision is that living with a group of girls is fun and all, but I like to have my own space. I also like to be alone sometimes and have personal time to myself. Living on campus wasn’t for me, and it’s not what I expected. I’m used to being alone, so that’s what I realized I preferred.

It was a small process to go through to be able to commute. I had to give my reasons for why I wanted to commute to the residential housing office. I was waiting for about three days to find out what their decision was. They finally reached out to me while I was in class, and I was so excited and happy to be commuting.

Once I got the decision, I made my way to my dorm and started packing my things. I called my mom and told her what was happening, and that’s when she came to pick me up. It was a long day that day, but it was all worth it because I was finally happy and not homesick anymore.