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!

Fantastic February: New Friends, New Responsibilities

February has been a month full of new adventures and new opportunities! I have gotten settled back into school mode, and it feels good to have a routine again.

At the beginning of February, I celebrated my birthday—which, as a triplet, I share with two of my brothers. My older brother, Davis, and his girlfriend, Brittany, came and helped me celebrate. The next day we went to Lynchburg, where we met my parents and brothers (the other two of the triplets) for lunch. It was so great being with them and getting to celebrate our birthday together for the weekend.

Brooklynn found her first CHI dropping in February on her way to her 8 a.m. physics class. CHI is a secret society at Longwood, and “droppings” are extremely rare to find.

I have found this semester more difficult—classes are harder. But with office hours, supportive professors and tutors I am not scared for the challenge. I am so thankful to have great professors who want to help me succeed and be the best that I can.

I love going to the Lancer Production events and basketball games here on campus! The most recent Lancer production events that I have gone to are the stuff-a-stuffed-animal event and Pinterest night. It is fun after a long week of classes to just relax and have fun with friends.

Basketball games have become one of Brooklynn’s favorite activities.
Brooklynn and Daniel, another freshman blogger, attended the Lancer Productions event where students got to “stuff” their own stuffed animals.

I recently found out about CCM, the Catholic campus ministry for students at Longwood and Hampden-Sydney College, a men’s college just outside of Farmville. Even though it was my first time meeting all these new people, I was not nervous and was very comfortable. I felt so very welcomed. On Tuesdays, we have a dinner together, play some kind of game and then listen to a message for the week. On Thursdays, there is Bible study. I have found such a great community here. It is where faith, fun and friends gather!

I recently found out I have been selected to be serve as an Honor & Conduct Board member for the 2019-20 school year. I am excited for this new opportunity! At Longwood we take the honor code very seriously, and I am honored to be on the board and represent Longwood in such a great way. I will be in the honor and conduct ceremony.

I also was elected to serve as an executive officer for Longwood’s chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) for the 2019-20 school year. This position is extremely important in encouraging freshman and sophomore membership. I will be responsible for informing, engaging and motivating the students to join the organization; orchestrating the annual involvement fairs during Oktoberfest and Spring Weekend; visiting a freshman class to encourage membership; keeping all social media outlets current; and creating flyers to promote the group.


The Magic of the Traveling Sweatshirt

My mom and my uncle both attended Longwood (back when it was a college and not a university). This means that two of my grandmother’s three children were attending the same school, and she consequently felt compelled to get some form of Longwood merchandise to show her support. She chose a sweatshirt.

My mom, Tamara Smith Waldo ’90, also purchased a Longwood sweatshirt that she wore for a long time—even years after she graduated. Sadly, my mom’s sweatshirt didn’t survive to the present day. But my grandmother, Donna Carr, decided to hang onto hers through all of the changes and phases of her life after my mom and uncle graduated. And this is where my story begins.

Heather Waldo ’22 (center) with her grandmother, Donna Carr (right), who purchased the sweatshirt 30 years ago, and her mom, Tamara Smith Waldo, who graduated in 1990

Recently my grandmother was looking through some things in her cedar chest, and she came across the sweatshirt she had purchased so many years earlier. Once she found it, she texted a picture of it to my mom and me, saying, “Look what I found!” My mom couldn’t believe she had kept the sweatshirt for so long and how good it still looked.

The sweatshirt is still white with vibrant colors of yellow and blue. You would never think that it is nearly 30 years old.

As soon as I saw the photo, I immediately asked if I could have the sweatshirt. I loved how retro it looked and how it is completely different from any Longwood apparel you can buy now. So my grandmother washed it and gave it to me the next time she came to visit. Since then, I have worn the sweatshirt multiple times, and people often comment on it. One of my friends even asked me if I had gotten it at Pairet’s, a store on Main Street that sells Longwood apparel. When I told her it was actually my grandmother’s from 30 years ago, she thought that was pretty cool.

That same day, a lady in the dining hall also commented on it. She said, “Does that say Longwood College?” I looked down at it, laughed a little, then replied, “Yes, it does. It was my grandmother’s.” She went on to say how much she loved my sweatshirt and how it reminded her of her Longwood experience. (She had also attended Longwood when it was still a college.)

To me, the sweatshirt was something I thought looked unique, and I liked the retro style. Of course, it’s also special to me because it belonged to my grandmother. But to the lady in the dining hall, the sweatshirt was a reminder of a time when all of life’s possibilities lay before her. She began to smile and reminisce about her college days.

It’s fascinating how the same object can evoke such different feelings and memories for different people. The sweatshirt took on a new meaning for me that day. I resolved to take care of it and keep up with it, just as my grandmother had. One day I’ll pass the sweatshirt—and its history—on to someone in the next generation of our family. I hope that someone will also be a freshman at Longwood.

How My Spring Semester Is Shaping Up

Initially, I thought it would be a weird transition coming back to campus after being home for so long. Surprisingly, I got right back into the groove of things.

One thing I was worried about was my schedule. My classes are at a higher level this semester, and I thought I would be playing more basketball.

It turns out that higher-level classes don’t necessarily mean more work—it’s just a different kind of work. You’re not really doing more homework, but you are doing more reading and then discussing what you read in class. So the biggest difference to me is that you learn more through discussing than through doing extra work, which I’ve enjoyed a lot.

Unfortunately, basketball has not panned out the way I wanted it to. I talked in one of my previous posts about making the club basketball team, but unfortunately the whole team fell out. We’re not even playing or practicing this semester, which was a major disappointment to me. Luckily, I was asked to play on an intramural team that takes the game seriously and wants to win. This isn’t what I expected for this semester, but I really like the guys on this team, and it seems like it’s going to work out well. As of right now, I am the third-highest scorer on the team, which I think is good for a freshman.

Spring Classes and Lacrosse Season: A Busy Semester

Here’s to the second semester of freshman year! Winter break was very long, and it gave me the opportunity to make some money and work out on my own schedule. But now it’s time to get back into classes.

Averee is ready for her first season of Division I lacrosse.

It is also the start of our spring lacrosse season, so I am very busy! I am starting to get a schedule down to help balance my classes, homework and practice. My class schedule is very nice, I have four classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, three classes on Friday, one class on Tuesdays and my Thursdays are free! I highly suggest that you make a schedule that fits your schedule and personal style.

I love having some days off. I can focus on homework/makeup work on those days and get everything done that I need to get done. After my classes every day, we have practice that is usually 2- 2 ½ hours long. After that, I am either finished for the day or I go swimming in the Willett Hall pool.

Our season starts very soon, so be sure to check out our schedule online and come to our games!

The lacrosse team gathers by the holiday tree.


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.


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.