Posts tagged Cailey Slade
Posts tagged Cailey Slade
Last semester, my boyfriend and I were beyond psyched to attend our first Christopher Newport football game! The entire day was geared for the evening when I would walk through the gates and root on my new school. I had been ready since I moved in to cheer for my new school and hopefully feel all the school spirit that comes along with the games.
The day flew by and before I realized it, my boyfriend and I left campus to get dinner before the game. Through the typical series of events that happens when you have somewhere to be, traffic was horrible, there was a wait at the restaurant, our waiter took forever to bring the bill and we ended up being 40 minutes late to the game. I was so stressed and angry about missing the first half of my very first CNU game that I was on my way into POMOCO stadium scowling and complaining about not having time to change into my new CNU T-shirt I had gotten to show my school pride. I was so upset, I was nearly crying from ridiculous frustration.
We got into the stadium and found some seats. I was able to see one of my best friends in the crowd and the cheer squad encouraging our team. I ran into a million of my new friends, and managed to calm down. I realized that I had been so caught up with making sure everything went perfectly, I hadn’t embraced the perfect chaos of reality. The silliness of my friends with their body paint, the screaming crowds that had annoyed me at first but were there supporting their team, now my team. Standing looking around the crowds and recognizing the faces of friends I had made, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of acceptance, a feeling of being home. As our team made touchdowns and advances I found myself screaming along with the rest of the fans without thinking. My boyfriend looked over at me proudly, smiling, and said, “look at you go, ya’ Captain.” Ahh that perfect moment when you realize you fit.
During this semester at CNU, I really wanted to get involved in some service projects as I personally feel that giving back to the community around you should always be at least a portion of one’s life. I found a local cat shelter called the Cat Corner, where I volunteer my time to clean cages, feed the cats, and of course, just play with them and make sure they get plenty of affection. As good as it has felt giving a little of my time to help make the day a little better or a little easier for others, there is nothing more fulfilling than completing service to the community while doing it with people you love and having a blast at the same time. That is what initially drew me to Alpha Phi Omego or APO as it is often known.
APO is the only service fraternity on campus and its events allow the brothers (co-ed) to assist CNU, the local community, and the nation at large. While I am just a pledge at this point, I will soon be inducted and considered a full-time brother within this fellowship, leadership, and service oriented group of great individuals. So far APO has held repeated Red Cross blood drives and the exciting Fur-ball where they took care of the pets of attendees to a CNU gala during the event. Hours of hanging out with your friends, playing with adorable and fun dogs, and it is good for others too? There isn’t a better feeling.
Now when I go to the Cat Corner, my hours will be logged as completing the service hours for my fraternity and even better, I will have infinite new friends that want to come along with me! We all have to give a little to get a lot in the end and by helping out through APO, I have found a fun and educational outlet for my service aspirations. So get out there and get involved with the community in one form or another because nothing feels better than knowing you made someone’s day a little easier or a little brighter!
It’s that time of year again! The trees are up, everyone is shopping and wrapping presents, there’s a general glow in people’s faces, and … finals are coming. That’s right, just as everyone is getting in the holiday spirit, the bane of our semesters has fallen upon us. Between decorating your residence hall and pulling out the hideous Christmas sweaters, you’ll see people in their pajamas staggering across campus from their all-nighter with a cup of coffee in hand. The library is full of people cramming or finishing up that last paper and Einstein’s is even busier than normal!
Luckily for me, I go to Christopher Newport University where the atmosphere, while similar in many ways, is entirely less stressful than my last university. I was shocked when my English professor asked the class when we felt we could turn in our papers. I’m sorry? A professor asking about the reality of when students can finish an assignment? Seriously? Then, when my African-American literature professor listened as the class asked for a take-home final and she actually did change the final to a take-home, I started to realize why this time of year is significantly calmer than my previous school. The professors here at CNU actually care about their students and understand how many other obligations each of us has beyond that one class.
Finals week is always a stressful time at any university. However, when you have a faculty that wants to help rather than catch students with their educational guard down, it creates an atmosphere of success. While studying in the library or meeting in Einstein’s to “caff up,” students acknowledge the similar stresses. Knowing that everyone around you is feeling the same pressure unifies you together in a way that makes it a little easier. My suitemates and I have had repeated study nights, and being able to take breaks together to just relax and play a quick round of the card game, Speed, is the most helpful thing my girls could do for me. CNU just keeps surprising me and surpassing any expectations I had. I’m loving this ride and can’t wait for the next thrill!
Thanksgiving is a holiday about celebrating what you are thankful for with the people you love and cherish. So how lucky am I that not only do I get to celebrate on the actual day with my family but I get a “Mini-Thanksgiving” (as my suitemates and I are calling it) in my residence hall!
Coming to Christopher Newport, I was hoping even to make a casual friend to have lunch or coffee with occasionally. At my old school, I had friends that I liked and hung out with but I could never count on them the way you count on family. I hoped to eventually find a support system outside of my family (who of course have to love me) and CNU helped me find that surrogate family.
My new suitemates are the best friends I always wanted to live with. How lucky that four transfers would have been put into the same suite and all completely complement each other. Jaime is the brain and she makes the rest of us get our work done when we’re procrastinating. Amy is the cheerleader, always peppy and excited, always there for a group dog-pile hug or to chat the night away in our living room. Tessa is our go-getter who doesn’t take crap from anybody and encourages us to go for what we want. Then there’s me, the grounded one who is a mix of all the others, always planning trips to the mall or the movies (most recently the midnight premier of the last Twilight movie!) or game nights.
Over the last months of living together we have grown so close we’re almost attached! When we realized we wouldn’t be spending Thanksgiving together, we immediately decided to have a Mini-Thanksgiving! We’re each bringing some of our favorite dishes complete with mashed potatoes, corn, green bean casserole, rolls, chicken (in place of turkey), and a pumpkin pie of course for dessert!
Even as we’re planning our night and already getting ready to decorate our suite for Christmas and talking about the Secret Santa we’re going to put on, I can’t help but brim with tears as my biggest wish for my life at CNU has come true. I have finally found this oddly mixed surrogate family. We get tissues and food when one of us is sick, we have study nights when we have big exams or papers, and we make plans to have “Stay-In” nights all the time making food and watching TV (Nashville is our newest addiction). Taking the time to celebrate Thanksgiving with them gives me the opportunity to really appreciate not only how much I have come to love my new best friends but how great CNU has been for me and that my decision to transfer here has probably been one of the best choices of my life. So I am grateful for these new family members that I have found, for the beauty and challenges that CNU has provided me, and for the massive amounts of food that I will soon be gorging on in my little haven, Suite 236.
As a transfer student, you get the absolute last pick out of everyone to register for classes. This left me hoping that I would even have enough classes to register for! When I went to sign up for my English major classes, I was shocked at how few classes were still open. When I realized that to stay on track for graduation, I had to take African American Literature, I’ll admit that I was bummed. Years of public school drilling African American history month into my head had me dreading a semester of statistics and cringing at horror stories while also somehow feeling guilty during the “blame the whites” lectures. Without a choice, I sulked into my first class with a major attitude problem.
I have to call out Dr. Hopkins herself and say that she definitely proved me wrong. Dr. Hopkins presents this course in a way that teaches so much more than just about the “race question.” We have looked at the construct of slavery and drawn parallels to other government enforced segregation across the globe and throughout history. Reading the personal stories of slaves, former slaves, Industrial Revolution black factory workers, and Civil Rights movement writers, I have seen the progression and I feel intimately connected with individuals from these periods. After reading their words and hearing their first person accounts, I don’t view African American history as statistics and facts anymore but as people that not only can I understand but relate to.
In my mid-term paper for this course, describing the goals of Booker T. Washington in his struggle to keep his people safe, I suddenly realized that I had written “we” rather than “they” and found that I, despite my race, had connected to these people on an even deeper level than I had understood. In a similar shock, I was answering an interview in Spanish for my Spanish 200 course and I was asked which of my courses this semester was my favorite. I answered in Spanish that it was a good question and then thought for a moment. I was surprised when I found myself answering “Literatura afroamericana.”
As a transfer student, I thought I was getting the short end of the stick, getting stuck with classes that I didn’t want. Instead, CNU surprised me again and I found that it presented me with an opportunity to not only forget my public school drilled perception of African American Literature but also to apply a knowledge that I thought was very narrow to almost every experience. I have learned that race is a construct created to keep people in line and that the issue was never black and white but rather entirely grey. There is no right and the only wrong is that of ignorance. I highly, as in stick-my-neck-out-to-guarantee-you-will-enjoy-the-experience highly, recommend that anyone and everyone needing an English course take English 345, African American Literature with Dr. Patricia D. Hopkins. Not only is she an incredibly intelligent individual who will make you question and learn about yourself the way that higher education was originally meant to, but she is a hilarious person. Our class laughs daily and constantly throughout the class: another misconception proven wrong that an African American Lit class has to be depressing. It is true that we have our share of tearful moments and I have left the class stricken at our history as Americans. I look at this as an amazing opportunity however because if I hadn’t had to take this course, I definitely would not have. So I thank God for schools where we can learn our history, for transfer students being forced to sometimes take courses they wouldn’t have chosen at first, and for Dr. Hopkins for ridding me of my ignorance and for making me LOL every day in her class.