In my first year of college I was very involved with my community. During the first semester I put myself out there and became the Social Chair of the HSA (Honors Student Association) and treasurer of the Rock Climbing Club, I joined the Longwood Stampede pep band, I was nominated to be an Oktoberfest Klown where I performed a fun dance and dressed up with the other klowns, became an active member of the SNA (Student Nursing Association), and became a proud member of the Outdoors Club. As you can see my first semester was jam packed and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Although I was incredibly busy, I enjoyed every single second of it!
Being the Social Chair of the HSA was stressful but fun for me. I have never been one who enjoyed planning things but I knew it would be an important skill to have to be a functioning adult so I put myself out there to improve on that skill. That position was stressful because I had to coordinate with other people when and how I want an event to be run. What I found interesting and funny about myself was that the physical act of setting up, preparing for, and cleaning up before and after an event was what I found to be easy and fun. The act of planning WHEN the event would be and coordinating with other individuals what I needed and how it would be carried out was what I found to be stressful.
I have always enjoyed playing music, even from a young age, so I was ecstatic to find out that the college of my dreams had a pep band. I joined the second I saw the opportunity to join! Being in the pep band has been a lot of fun. It reminds me a lot of when I was in the marching band at my high school. Band is one of the best environments someone can put themselves in because it is an environment full of determination, love, support, and it feels like a family. What I love most about the pep band is that we have so many chances to play. There are so many basketball games to play for that the band is sometimes divided into two bands so that we can cover all the games in a certain week. That means all of the players have the chance to play multiple times a week! The pep band is one of my favorite parts of being a Longwood Lancer because I get to meet a lot of interesting people, create awesome music, see the amazing basketball games, and eat pizza afterwards.
Oktoberfest is one of the largest celebrated events here at Longwood where the day is spent visiting many different booths to purchase small items, hanging out, and having fun on inflatables. One of the “secret societies” at this event is called “Oktoberfest Klown” where a select few are chosen to exhibit the spirit of Longwood and motivate others to have a great time. It is uncommon for a freshman to be chosen because mainly upperclassmen are selected but I was chosen because of my big personality and fun-loving nature. I accepted within a heartbeat and just like that, I was a klown for Oktoberfest. One of the duties to be a klown was that I needed to attend the rehearsals for our big klown dance. I was going to attend these rehearsals anyways but I have no dancing capabilities in my body so I MADE SURE I was there to get as much practice as possible. It was in these rehearsals that I met some amazing, fun loving people. We had rehearsals many times until the big day. We decided to dress up in each of our class colors and knowing myself and my huge personality, I had to go all out. I went to Walmart with some friends the next day and found the “greenest” costume I could find and bought some green hair dye to go along with it. With my green hair and my green costume, I was ready to be the best (and only) freshman Oktoberfest Klown ever. I guess my performance during Oktoberfest was great because a few weeks later on the Longwood Instagram account, I was the first freshmen to receive a “Freshman Friday” shout out!
Another organization I decided to be a part of was the Student Nursing Association (SNA). I joined the SNA because I wanted to give myself to best chance possible to thrive in my nursing program. This is a service organization that is centered around nursing-related service projects with another focus on educating the public on what exactly nurses do. After I joined the nursing organization, I immediately took part in one of the committees responsible for planning/executing a Halloween haunted house! This was a very fun project to be a part of because I had the opportunity to work with dozens of intelligent people and converse on how to implement/act out a plan of action to make this haunted house successful. This was one of my first looks into what makes a nursing staff/team so successful and efficient. We were all able to voice our opinions, and converse intellectually about what needs to happen and how it should happen. It was really eye opening how professional everyone was even if we were discussing something silly and fun.
After we delegated responsibilities to different people, we were able to implement our plan and make the haunted house come to life! We spent an entire day transforming the nursing building into a scary maze, tearing up our old clothes to make us look scary, and telling the whole campus about our haunted house and to come out to have a great time. After we finished transforming the nursing building into a haunted maze, we spent the next few hours putting on makeup and getting into our characters. The next few hours were filled with excited laughter, nervous jumps, impressed faces, and TONS of terrified screams!
All of that was just within my first semester!
After I got a taste of community involvement in the first semester, I was even hungrier in the second semester for more community involvement. After Christmas break, one of the first things I did was get serious about the Lancer Stampede pep band! In the first semester there were only a few games so we did not play that much. In the second semester, we often played 2-3 times a week. In the pep band, it was our responsibility to hype up the crowd and motivate the basketball team to give it their all. This band was honestly perfect for me because we played great music, saw some great basketball games, I hung out with some of the best people in the world, AND I GOT TO HYPE PEOPLE UP! The memories I created while playing with this band are some I will never forget and were my favorite out of the entire year!
Another way I became involved in my community was help start a new club! Some of my friends and I are very passionate about rock climbing (we climbed up to 4-5 times weekly) and we noticed that there was not a dedicated rock climbing club offered by Longwood. We discovered this and took it upon ourselves to start the very first “Rock Climbing Club” for Longwood University! We discussed the specifics with multiple professors who decided to help us and become our sponsors. With their help, we created and gave a pitch to the Student Government Association (SGA) to allow us to become a recognized club for any student to join and have fun learning how to rock climb. We started the process in the first semester but became OFFICIAL in the second semester and we could not have been happier! We have plans to take weekend trips to different parts of Virginia to rock climb indoors and outdoors. In the upcoming years, we have plans to take this club to another level and make it a sports club where we compete against other universities!
After just the first year of attending Longwood University, I can honestly say it was the best year of my life. I met so many great people, learned things about myself I never knew, went outside my comfort zone to grow, and have made waves in the Longwood community. This school is perfect for me and I love it so much. It gives its students the tools they need to learn to be independent, intelligent, caring, and successful people and leaders. I can’t wait to see where my future takes me and how much I will grow!