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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Oktoberfestivities: Color Wars, Student Organization Booths and Waka Flocka

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! 

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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.

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Hello World!!!!

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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!  

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It’s Fall, Y’all: Fall Break Info, Involvement Fair and Coping Skills

Fall Break “Register to Stay” Deadline is Tonight

If your student plans to stay in Longwood-managed housing (including apartments) during fall break—or even if they just think they might want to—they need to “register to stay” before midnight tonight (Thursday, Oct. 10).

Fall break is officially from 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, until noon Tuesday, Oct. 15. Longwood-managed housing will be inaccessible during that time period unless your student has registered to stay. Here’s the form (but your student has to fill it out): https://rms.longwood.edu:446/page/studenthousinggateway/

I apologize for mentioning this again this week, but it’s no fun to be locked out of your room/apartment!

How Do You Know It’s Fall on a College Campus?

It got a little chilly last night in Farmville, and the high today is supposed to reach only 72. The sky is blue, and there’s a light, cool breeze. From my office window, I can see a few leaves turning gold.

But there’s an even more telling sign that it’s fall: The hoodies and sweatshirts are out in full force. The majority of students were wearing them when I walked down Brock Commons yesterday. I even saw one young woman in a pair of knee-high boots. So, if your student is home for fall break, be prepared for them to pull out some warmer clothes to bring back to campus.

Your Students Are Joining the Clubs

Faculty and staff at Longwood are constantly telling students that getting involved on campus is critical to having a happy and successful college experience. Judging from the crowd that turned out for this fall’s Involvement Fair, the message is getting through.

Students flocked to Brock Commons for this fall’s Involvement Fair to learn about student organizations.

During the fair, representatives of many of Longwood’s 175+ student organizations actively recruit new members. It’s a great way for other students to find out a lot in a short amount of time—and all in one place.

When you think of wild life at college, it’s usually not deer, birds and other critters. Not so for the Longwood Wildlife club.

Maybe you’ll see your student in one of the photos here. But even if you don’t, you can ask them if they attended the fair and if they saw any organizations they’re interested in. Who knows? They could take up a new sport, join the Longwood Company of Belly Dance or help Operation Smile give children with cleft conditions something to smile about.

Operation Smile provides surgery for children with cleft lip and cleft palate.

Rugby anyone?

Coping with Challenges at College

Sometimes college life—and just life in general—can be challenging. And sometimes you need help dealing with those challenges.

Have you noticed that your student seems more stressed out than usual? Have they told you they’re having a hard time making friends? Do they seem to be getting more homesick instead of less? Or something else may not seem quite right to you. If so, there is a place your student can go for help on campus.

This semester CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) is offering a rotating series of skill-building workshops, three weekly therapeutic groups and a weekly Ally Hour. With the exception of Ally Hour, each student will first meet with a psychologist or counselor for a 30-minute initial consultation. At the end of the consultation, a referral to the workshops or group will be made if therapeutically warranted.

Your student can find out more about these services and workshops on the CAPS website: http://www.longwood.edu/caps/.

Here’s a quick synopsis:

Counseling Workshops
The Counseling Workshops are a rotating series of three skill-building sessions that cover mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation and distress tolerance, teaching students how to become more aware of their inner thought processes, improve their relationships with others, manage changing emotional states and cope when emotions are high.
Stress and Anxiety Management Group (two groups)
This weekly group is for students who have symptoms related to stress and anxiety and are seeking support and strategies to cope more effectively. In the group, students can gain support and constructive feedback from other students who struggle with problems related to stress/anxiety.
Advocacy Communication Transition (ACT) Group
This weekly support group, a longstanding collaboration between CAPS and the Office of Disability Resources (ODR), is open to any student who has registered with ODR. Students can openly share concerns, discuss issues, gain specific skills and strategies to meet personal goals, and receive support and encouragement.
Ally Hour
Ally Hour provides a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQ+ students to learn about CAPS services and offers an ongoing discussion about resources available at Longwood and in the community.

—Sabrina Brown

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The Run-up to Fall Break: Oktoberfest, Elwood Tryouts and More

Fall break is set for Oct. 14-15 and, judging from everything that’s happening between now and then, your student is going to need it. (Be sure to see the important information about housing over the break at the end of this post.)

Here are a few details about some of the upcoming activities.

OKTOBERFEST
The biggest fall student event, Oktoberfest got started this past Sunday with Longwood’s traditional bonfire (see photo above), where students learn about the history of the university. But there’s plenty more in store through Saturday—and it’s definitely not to be missed.

Here are some of the highlights:
*Alzheimer’s Walk (Thursday). Students walk to raise awareness and money for research.
*Color Wars (Friday). The freshmen and juniors, armed with green paint, team up against the sophomores and seniors, armed with red paint, to see how much “color” they can throw on each other. Most people wear a white T-shirt to the event so they’ll have a paint-soaked keepsake. Here’s a glimpse of the typical action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AzRUt0EB6k (Look for President W. Taylor Reveley IV at the 1:27 mark.)

Freshmen and juniors team up against seniors and sophomores for paint-hurling bragging rights.

Colors Wars gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “paint party.”

Paint-soaked T-shirts are a cherished keepsake from Color Wars.

*Black Student Association Ball (Friday). Students enjoy a night of food, fun and dancing. Proceeds go to local charities.
*Oktoberfest Celebration (Saturday). This is the main event, which starts with a picnic lunch and goes into the night. Time-honored activities include the Klown performance and dancers dressed in lederhosen.

It just wouldn’t be Oktoberfest without students in lederhosen.

There are also student organization and novelty booths; student performances by musical  ensembles, the Longwood Company of Belly Dancers and more; and lots and lots of bands playing on a large outdoor stage.

Student organizations set up booths to raise awareness and money at Oktoberfest.

ELWOOD TRYOUTS
Everybody loves Elwood, Longwood’s mascot, and each year a few talented students are chosen to bring Elwood to life.

Basketball games wouldn’t be the same without Elwood.

Everybody loves Elwood.

This year’s tryouts are scheduled for 4-6 p.m. Oct. 8 in the Willett Hall dance studio. The identities of the students who are selected are closely guarded until their graduation day, where they are revealed and celebrated.

MAJORS AND MINORS FAIR
Is your student still in the process of deciding on a major? Or maybe they’d like to add a minor or a second major? This is the place to get information about all the options. It’s set for 3:30-5 p.m. Oct. 8 in Blackwell Ballroom.

JOB, INTERNSHIP AND GRADUATE SCHOOL FAIR
The title of this event, scheduled for noon-4 p.m. Oct. 9 in Blackwell Ballroom,  just about says it all. More than 30 companies and organizations and more than 15 graduate programs are expected to be at the fair to talk to students. Currently signed up to recruit employees and/or interns are the National Ground Intelligence Center, MassMutual Commonwealth,  the cities of Richmond and Roanoke, Cetera Financial Group and Charlotte County Public Schools. Graduate programs to be represented include the University of Virginia, ODU, George Mason, James Madison and Drexel.  Students should bring copies of their resumes and be prepared to work the room.

The Job, Internship and Graduate School Fair brings employers and university representatives to campus.

FALL BREAK AND HOUSING 
No undergraduate classes will be held on Oct. 14 and Oct. 15. For housing, fall break is considered to be from 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, to noon Tuesday, Oct. 15. Longwood-managed housing will be inaccessible during that time period unless your student has registered to stay.

Students who live in Longwood-managed housing, including apartments, and want to have access to their housing over fall break must register to stay. Even if your student isn’t sure about their plans, they should register to stay. Here’s the form (but your student has to fill it out): https://rms.longwood.edu:446/page/studenthousinggateway/

The deadline to register to stay on campus during fall break is one week from today: 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10. 

Whether your student comes home to be with you over the break or decides to stay in Farmville, these days off are a great opportunity for them to relax and recharge—or maybe to get caught up on assignments and prepare for upcoming tests. Mid-term grades should be posted no later than the end of October.

—Sabrina Brown

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