Posts tagged Carrie Pennypacker
Posts tagged Carrie Pennypacker
Fall at CNU is arguably one of the most fun times of the year, because it marks the beginning of football season and tailgating before games. While my knowledge of the true ins and outs of football is slim, going to the games is still a fun time. Last year President Trible started our newest CNU tradition of hosting night football games. This is such a great addition to CNU because cheering on our Captains is so much more fun once the hot September sun sets. These games are a great way to welcome everyone back to campus in the fall. They unite the student body together and engage them in our school’s athletic events.
My favorite part about football games is the tailgating before the kickoff. Fraternities, sororities, alumni and parents grill out at their parking spaces and people wander the tailgate zone having a great time. Mingling at the tailgates also allows for anyone in attendance to see our classmates decked out in their best CNU blue attire. In recent years tailgating and games have become more of a dressy affair where girls don their best royal blue sundresses or skirts and boys might choose to wear the CNU bowtie or other game day attire. That doesn’t mean that students forgo the classic body painting, and the CNU Blue Crew does this justice. Their tailgate spot becomes spattered with blue and white paint as they cover their bodies and prepare to stand in the front row of the student section to lead cheers for the student and fans in the stands.
What I love about tailgating and football season is that, as an undergraduate student, I have seen these football games and tailgates become a new and well-loved tradition at our school. Our homecoming weekend is the highlight of the season when hundreds of alumni descend on campus to see how much it has grown and changed. Participating in this yearly tradition is something I look forward to attending when I come back as a CNU alumna this fall. While I may not know everything about the sport, or have the ability or desire to watch an entire game, I enjoy the fellowship and community that our football games and tailgates offer to our campus.
The thing I have loved most about college is the different opportunities I have had as an undergraduate to enhance my academic as well as my social life. Finding the balance between the two has sometimes been challenging, but the great thing about attending a school like CNU is that there is always someone to keep you accountable for your actions (academically and socially). It is hard to choose one person who has helped shaped me academically or socially, because CNU is the kind of school where there is constant support from everyone you run into on campus. Professors are always around to challenge you academically, and push you to be the best version of yourself. My friends at CNU are always around to pick me up when I am having a bad day or give me a reality check when I need it.
The faculty at CNU, especially our advisers, are constantly looking out for students to make sure that they get the classes they need, and are able to graduate on time. I have to give huge kudos to my adviser, Dr. Barclay, who has helped me pick courses and give me previews of revised academic catalogs to ensure that I could take more business writing-based classes and less Brit-lit classes. This attention to my personal needs and interests has been so helpful for me throughout college, and it has made me feel valued as an individual. The professors in the English department have been outstanding. Each professor is such an expert in their field of study, and having the chance to take multiple courses from them throughout college and see the range in expertise has been so rewarding. We as CNU students are so lucky to have faculty like this because they are willing to come to class everyday to inspire and challenge their students.
Socially, I have to credit that experience to each and every one of my sorority sisters, both active collegians and alumna. Being in a sorority in college has taught me how to work with, get along with and become friends with girls I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to know had I not made the decision to go through formal recruitment. Prior to coming to college I was a fairly self-involved teenager; I was all about myself and making the decisions that were best for myself without thinking how my actions would impact other people. When I joined Phi Mu, I soon learned that I was apart of something bigger than myself and that my actions reflected the organization as a whole and not just myself. Each of the women I have met though Phi Mu has taught me something different about myself, and has taught me how to utilize the talents I have been given. I learned how to let down my guard, be less judgmental and befriend girls from all walks of life. My sorority sisters are my family at school and inspire me daily to be the best person I can be. Without them my college experience would not have been the same.
When my crew leader filled us in on the list of essential list of clothing needed for CNU’s campus, I didn’t believe her when she told us that rain boots of all things would be the most important thing as an undergraduate student at CNU. I was never a huge fan of rain boots in high school, I thought they were clunky and comfortable, but I heeded the advice of my crew leader and begrudgingly purchased and packed a pair of rain boots for college.
I never thought I was going to wear these rain boots and that they were going to collect dust in the back of my closet; yet within two weeks of being on CNU’s campus I found myself trekking to class in the midst of a nor’easter. Buckets of rain fell from the sky, and I was glad I had those boots despite how much I secretly hated them. What is unique about being caught in a rain storm on a college campus is that it gets you from every angle, it sneaks down the sleeves of your rain coat and gets the front of your pants soaked through just in time to sit through a 50-minute lecture in a freezing academic building.
After my first run in with the nor’easter, I realized that CNU is a campus that lives by the mantra “when it rains it pours,” and as a Captain, the proper rain gear is in fact necessary to purchase prior to coming to college. All students on campus have different methods and ways they like to guard themselves from the rain. Occasionally you’ll see someone donning a black trash bag to cover their backpack and themselves from the deluge of rain, but many stick to the traditional version of the rain coat, umbrella and dreaded rain boots.
Rainy days at CNU means the library becomes packed as students wait out the rain between classes. Einstein’s overflows with students ordering hot drinks and everyone is hopefully chattering about possible class cancellations. Unfortunately, the CNU faculty never give us a rain day to hide under the covers and watch Netflix, much to our chagrin. We always end up walking to class, no matter how much we wish we could hide from the rain, and the parade of colorful rain boots is always interesting to see. I have since learned to love and embrace my rain boots since my freshman year, and my dry feet thank me for it. So this is for you future Captains, make sure to snag a pair of rain boots before coming to campus in the fall, you’ll be happy you did!
“To lend to those less fortunate a helping hand” comes from a line of the creed of Phi Mu, and it has been the foundational line and cornerstone for how I have learned to serve others as an undergraduate at CNU. Before joining Phi Mu, I thought service to others was just something to boost your resume, and something I occasionally participated in when I needed services hours for an honor society in high school. It had never occurred to me that regular participation in community outreach and service could impact my life. Phi Mu has taught me that “being steadfast in every duty small or large” especially in regard to serving others is not just an occasional activity, but a way of life.
Phi Mu supports the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) as our national philanthropy, and it is an organization that my sisters commit much time and effort to. Our biggest fundraising event for Children’s Miracle Network comes each fall when we host our annual dance marathon. For five hours we have different teams from all over the CNU community come out for a night of nonstop dancing as a way to raise funds for CMN. This is one of the most fun events we host on campus, and we were able to raise almost $6,000 this year for CMN and its patients. Dance marathon is even more special and fun because we invite children who have received treatment at CMN hospitals to come dance and share their stories of how receiving treatment at a CMN hospital has changed their life, and their families lives as well.
Hearing these stories and seeing how many of these children have grown as a result of the help that my organization can give has been such a rewarding experience. I have learned that through service to others it can be in small ways, like visiting our local CMN hospital to deliver cards with notes of encouragement for the patients, or in large ways like hosting dance marathon every fall. Phi Mu has shown me that “lending those less fortunate a helping hand” is an integral aspect of living a fulfilling life.
I came to college thinking I was going to be the next Elle Woods. I was positive that I was going to take Capitol Hill by storm, which is why I came to CNU with a pre-declared major in history and pre-law. I had received AP credit for some history courses in high school so felt the history classes at CNU where going to be a breeze. I was totally and completely wrong in my assumptions. The first history class I took as a freshman was at 8 a.m., on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Sitting through the dry PowerPoint lectures left me struggling to keep my eyes open through the 50-minute class. History classes in general are designed to be all lecture and leave little room for student-professor interaction and conversation, something that was important to keeping me engaged and interested in a class and major. Despite this dislike for the History Department, I kept plugging through the basic courses thinking that I could trick myself into enjoying being a history major.
Unlike Elle Woods, my determination to stay with the history and pre-law major did not stick. By spring semester of sophomore year, I was finally through with history. I was unhappy in the major, but I was at a loss of what to study for my degree. I signed up for an English class to see if maybe by chance this would be a good fit for me. It was. My first English class I took at CNU left me excited, and wanting more at the end of every class. I was finally getting the discussion and student-professor interaction I wanted, coupled with information I found interesting and challenging. Throughout my time in the English Department at CNU I have taken classes ranging from business and professional writing, to British literature, to courses on creative writing. In each of these classes I have learned how to shape and hone my skills as a writer and creative thinker.
Being an English major allows me to look at texts through a different lens and still receive praise and interest in my thought process. It has showed me that there is always a need for writing and freedom of thought – otherwise history would not have been recorded. There still is hope that I may one day follow in the footsteps of Elle Woods, which is the beauty that encapsulates my major. I have the freedom to do what I want with an English degree and the opportunity to pursue many paths and career goals with my degree in hand.