Posts tagged Eliza Eaton
Posts tagged Eliza Eaton
To be completely frank, being on a college team did not work out for me the way I planned. I came to CNU initially because I was recruited and chose to come run cross country here. Little did I know that, as much as I loved (and still do love) running, devoting the extreme amount of time to it was not really what I was looking for in a college experience. This is not to say that I didn’t appreciate the full season I did have on the team, nor to discount anyone who does devote their time to athletics, because quite honestly I find that very admirable. But for me, running was something I knew too well to make it the focus of my college career. I needed to be able to branch out and try other activities and new experiences instead of just sticking with the same sport that I’d given so much attention to for seven years. So that was the end of my relationship with NCAA athletics.
I thought for about 2.5 seconds about joining some intramural teams or something, but given my contact sports track record, I decided that maybe just supporting my other friends in their highly impressive intramural endeavors would be the way to go. Unless they do intramural Frisbee or coffee drinking, I’ll stick to watching my friends play soccer and dodge ball, which are both terrifying sports in which I would get a busted nose or a black eye. No thank you.
As for watching sports for the actual sports teams… uh… one time I went to a men’s soccer game. And that was pretty fun.
However, I did get to have a different look at college athletics after interviewing some athletes here at CNU for Voyages, the CNU alumni magazine. Both athletes had not only been impressive on the field, but also used the lessons learned through being on a team to excel in the classroom and in altogether virtuousness. A wise person I know literally just tweeted at me about five minutes ago “Sports aren’t about sports. Sports are just the stage on which you can tell people’s stories. They don’t build character, they reveal it.” (@TravisKWilliams , journalist for The Burgs newspaper in the New River Valley). The two people I interviewed for these athlete profiles epitomized this in more ways than one, and that’s why they received recognition for it.
So overall I guess you could say I’ve had many different kinds of interactions with athletic life here at CNU. Some good. Some great. But after experiencing all the greatness, I still must say that I believe sticking with afternoon runs and random volleyball games with my friends will be the extent on my physical involvement, and watching my super amazing athletic friends in their many athletic engagements is something I will always try to be on top of. You should too!
Let’s just start by saying that I used to think my “college bucket list” was super original and different from what others had said about their bucket lists. But then I got to college and started discussing these crazy and outrageous ideas with my new friends, and I realized that many of them wanted the same things I did. Essentially, I realized that the similarities between my college aspirations and my friends,’ was that everyone in college wants to accomplish one thing: Doing a bunch of stuff they’ve never done before and that (in sad reality) they’ll probably never do again. My perspective of that is slightly different, because I want college to be only the beginning of me “living.” I think many of you will be able to connect with the list I have fashioned from many years of dreaming and planning. Hopefully, in the near future, they will be dreams no longer.
1) Study abroad. This has to be number one on my list because, honestly, I feel like not seeing the world is an injustice to the world. I know that’s a very annoying statement and I apologize, but after traveling this summer to Greece, and realizing for real how vastly diverse the world is I realized that I should try to travel as much as I can. My goal with traveling is to possibly do Semester as Sea, where I would be able to travel to almost 16 countries and experience many different cultures, which would be a great introduction to further travel, as well as an extraordinary experience in itself.
2) Be in a musical or a play or sing in front of people or SOMETHING. I love performing. Period. And I’m a total ham. When I’m on stage, something clicks and I just know exactly what to do or how to conduct myself. And nothing would make me feel more alive than if I could at least feel that amazing feeling of performing in front of tons of people. Because in those moments I feel infinite. Like in that “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” movie.
3) Totally impress and astonish a professor for doing a good job. I know that sounds kinda lame, but here’s what I mean by this: I’ve had great professors so far who have encouraged me as well as guided me through learning what college academics is all about. Yet, I haven’t ever felt as if I have truly written a paper, or brought up and point in class, or given a speech that left a professor awestruck. And the “stick it to man” part of me wants to say that college is not about impressing professors, but just doing amazing things for the self. But having that sense, via the appreciation of your professor, that you have achieved a great amount of scholarly knowledge just seems like a most excellent feeling.
4) Be a crew leader for orientation. My crew leader (as well as other crew leaders who have been gracious and helpful people to get to know over my freshman year) was so supportive and kind through the process of orientation and getting adjusted to college life. So I want to do the same for others who enter the school when I’m a junior and senior. Making connections to those who are older than you and more experience in the field of college students is a good way to get guidance that is more down to earth and realistic.
5) Be a “Yes Girl”. Not in the sense of spreading myself too thin with obligations, and NOT in the sense of saying yes to a new and exciting hallucinogenic drug, but more of going out of my comfort zone and taking opportunities when they present themselves. I’m the type of person who doesn’t really know what I want until I know what I want. And over the course of my freshman year, I’ve made some decisions just because I paid attention to the yearning of my heart and the practicality of my brain. With that, I was able to be honest with myself. Now if I want something, I just go for it. It makes life more spontaneous, but at the same time it doesn’t make me feel confused or empty because I am always asking myself, “Is this what you want to be doing? Does this make you happy?” With that I’m also becoming more independent and sure of myself, which is allowing this whole college thing to get a lot easier.
One of my most beloved parts of daily life is breakfast.
I love to invent splendidly original versions of breakfast staples, and I absolutely adore it when anyone wants to make a delicious, hot breakfast for me. It just places me in a complete euphoric state of blissful contentment.
So when I arrived at college, I was somewhat worried about how the beginning of each day would be different without me being able to make my own spinach omelets, or my mum being there to fry up some cinnamon French toast and brew some hot coffee.
I shouldn’t have been so concerned because at the Common’s dining hall, breakfast is always hot, hearty and delicious. Not only that, but the wonderful cooks and servers at the dining hall have a huge smile on their faces and a cheerful “Good morning, baby!” every single day at breakfast. I literally go to bed most nights, thinking about how wonderfully fluffy the French toast will be tomorrow, or how scrumptious the muffins will be for muffin Wednesday, and last but not least, how absolutely delicious Ms. Virginia’s made-to-order omelets will be.
Always made with precision and care, Ms. Virginia always prepares delicious omelets as you order them. Not only does she make sure that they’re cooked to completion, and folded exactly right, but she also does it with a smile on her face as she hands you the plate displaying the final masterpiece. Most days, she adds a friendly “You have a great day, baby”, which makes me unable to refrain form cracking a smile.
On top of all that, Ms. Virginia, and her trusty co-omelet making extraordinaires, even know some peoples’ orders before they even have to tell her. For example, Ms. Virginia knows that my friend John always gets egg substitute instead of real egg, while Paris (another amazing maker of omelets) knows that my other friend, Melissa always gets ham and cheese in her omelet.
Aside from all of this, almost all the people that work in our dining halls and other dining places are all extremely kind people who even on your worst days, can bring a little light in just by saying, “I hope you have a wonderful day, sweetie! Now enjoy your meal!” It just makes CNU feel a little bit more like home.
If I could have planned my spring break any way that I wanted, without the hassles of having to fret about money, school or time, I would have taken a trip to Barcelona and stayed there. Realistically, that wasn’t an option for spring break, so therefore I have no groundbreaking stories from my experience; just recollections of a tranquil week that I sorely needed.
I will say that I did go on an extremely enjoyable camping trip with two of my best friends, John and Melissa. We drove the four hours (or more than that) from Newport News to good ol’ Christiansburg, Va., where they stayed at my home a couple of nights before we set off for another three hour drive to Asheville, N.C. We camped in an area near Chimney Rock and Lake Lure, an apparently incredibly popular vacation area for North Carolinians. It was sweet and touristy, but not too crowded due to the fact that it was about 25-35 degrees average temperature. When we arrived at our camp spot, a small private one that worked its way up the side of a mountain, we chose a spot located in a crevasse carved by a small creek. It was dazzling there.
After assembling a camp in the gusty winds that, to us, were reminiscent of the tornado indicating ones in The Wizard of Oz, we set off down the winding roads to a place where we intended to do some rock climbing. Alas, the climbing was not a success in terms of how tricky the climbing sites were, we did take pleasure in trail-blazing a bit and teeter-tottering up the side of the mountain only to gaze back at the now visible Lake Lure, which shown brightly in the light of the sunset.
After filling ourselves up like fat eskimos at a dimly lit Italian restaurant (which summoned us off the road with its bright lights that screamed, “Lots of carbs, come eat here, you will be full afterwards”) we ran through the piercingly bitter winds of the parking lot just realizing that we still had to spend the night in a tent.
It was a chilly night for certain. We all wrapped ourselves in every article of clothing available, and then squeezed into the already slim sleeping bags. I slept better than I imagined I would, but I do recall waking up a few times for various reasons such as realizing my arm had consequently fallen asleep from being wrapped under so many sleeves of clothing. On top of that, winds bashed our tent throughout the night so violently that we were terrified that it may blow us away into the side of the mountain, but I believe the carbo-loading before sleeping weighed us down just enough to stay put.
In the morning we arose at a crisp 6:30 – so early due to the fact that we had hit the sack at roughly 8:30 the night before. Huddled around the bright orange fire (a stark contrast against the dull colors of a shady mountain morning) we sipped coffee and hot chocolate, trying to thaw out before we began our adventures for the day. As soon as the sun was peeping through the skinny trees on the hills, we finally got the feeling in our fingers, and were able to strip down camp and set off down the road again. My feet were still numb until I removed several pairs of socks, realizing that my toes lack of movement from being to jammed into my boots caused a shortage of blood flow in the extremities.
We arrived at the destination to begin a seven-mile hike up a mountain, overlooking the beautiful scenery of Western North Carolina. The hike was up an old fire road, which was neither maintained nor an easy stroll. Still, it was all the more adventurous. As we got higher and higher, we removed articles of clothing, going from looking like we were trudging through the tundra, to wearing T-shirts and shorts. Finally, we stopped at a place at the top, exhausted from climbing and quite hungry. We picnicked while overlooking the majestic view before we carefully began to make our way down the steep trail.
Finally we made it to our car, where we delighted ourselves in being able to change clothes for the first time in nearly 24 hours. Before making our way back up north to head home, we stopped in Asheville to take in a couple trademarks of the city: outdoors stores, a overwhelmingly huge antique shop and a charming café inside an old double decker bus. We then made a straight shot home, only to arrive to a warm house and a delicious pizza dinner from my favorite local place.
John and Melissa went home the next day, and I spent the remainder of spring break, relaxing, cooking, taking in every coffee shop in Montgomery County and being as aloof as possible. To say the least, it was a splendid way to unwind. And while it was over too quickly, I did look forward to coming back to see the sunny skies of Newport News to begin the final stretch of my second semester of college.
Art is all over the place. The past week or so, for me, has shown that very plainly. I love art in nearly all its forms: performing, performances, paintings, sculptures, writing, music, etc.
Now for those of you who didn’t stop reading after seeing the first sentence, “Art is all over the place,” bear with me for the duration of this blog post. I was told I should write about something I’m passionate about for this week, so if I begin to start rambling relentlessly about how much I love the arts … well … I hope you don’ t see that because I plan to edit out all the embarrassingly fervent details. But there is a message in the end. So stay with me just a little bit longer.
Ever since I’ve come into a place in my life where I have a lot more free time to be responsible for, I’ve been trying to be virtuous in using it. By that I mean, instead of taking the free time to sit around like a bum, I’ve tried to involve myself in activities that inspire and stimulate my creative senses. I’ve kind of taken baby steps too. To start off with trying to live my life with a more passionate and sparkling aura about me, I began with simple steps like listening to more interesting music, drawing in my sketchbook, writing a lot more, watching independent or old movies (I’m crazy about Woody Allen), and reading articles from NPR and Vanity Fair. I know that about 85 percent of the people who know me well are shaking their heads right now, but I truly do think that substituting free time with these activities is enlightening and interesting for my life, especially while living in the sometimes stressful, narrowly focused college world. A place where I feel like everyone spends way too much time moaning about how expensive college is, how much they just abhor the amount of homework they have for the week, and how utterly dreadful it is to walk a whole two minutes from their residence hall to McMurran in the cold weather.
But I digress.
With these fancy new ways of utilizing my free time, I was inspired to get out and move beyond the magazines articles, movies and my sketchbook. I started first with spending an afternoon at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center (which is just a short walk/bike ride down the road) to look at the art exhibitions currently on display. I didn’t regret my decision to go. While I did have to pay $6 to get in, the ticket I got was good for the whole week and I got to stay as long as I wanted. Also, it’s good to support local artists, so I was pleased to oblige. The exhibits were lovely and each very different: a collection of 1920s workplace posters, very original multimedia sculptures, retro photography of now abandoned or nonexistent diners across America and politically inspired paintings. To say the least, I felt very fulfilled and enlightened. Then, that same day, I watched “Workaholics,” just to balance everything out.
Another aspect of art that I’m extremely passionate about is performing and watching performances (mostly having to do with theater and musical theater). Sadly, I’ve not been able to participate in any type of musical or musical theater performances yet. However, it is one of my goals to get back into that field as soon as humanly possible because I’m just mad about it. I’m just mad about it, I tell you!! (This is one of the crazy moments I was talking about). But until then, I’ve done a different type of performing: sketch comedy. I recently joined CNU Tonight, which puts on two original shows every semester with absolutely brilliant (and original) skits and comedic styling by all the members of the group. I joined rather late in the year, but I still was lucky enough to be in their most recent show. To say the least, it was a grand ol’ time. They were so much fun to perform with and a fantastically hysterical group to hang around. I can’t wait to be in more shows with them in the future. I may even try my hand at writing a few skits. However I may need to seek the writing advice of other members of CNU Tonight, for the last few times I tried to write skits, it ended in me calling my mother and venting unremittingly about how terrible of a writer I am. Pathetic.
Lastly, I just want to quickly mention that a few nights ago I made the extraordinarily wise decision to go see TheaterCNU’s production of “Chicago.” Let me just put it this way: It was marvelous. It was a smashing success. It made me cry.
“Wait, what is that, crazy girl? You cried?”
Yes, I cried. Not like *sob, sob, boo-hoo*. No, this just happens every time I’m listening to music or watching a performance and my body is just overcome by the greatness that I’m being exposed to, causing chills to scatter over my body, and my eyes to well up with tears. Quite frankly, tears of pure joy. In this particular performance of “Chicago,”I don’t know if it was Brandon Lareau’s spot on vocals for Miss Mary Sunshine, Sam Jones’ brilliant “Mr. Cellophane,” or everyone’s favorite: the electrifying “Cell Block Tango,” but each time I was astounded by the performances, as I was with the whole show itself. If you haven’t and weren’t on planning seeing TheaterCNU’s production of “Chicago,”you’ve simply lost your marbles.
If you are a student at CNU and anything I’ve said in this post has appealed to you, then take this advice and make use of the art around you. Whether it is anything from going to see the art exhibit in the Ferg, joining an a cappella group (or CNU Tonight), or going to see all of the productions put on by TheaterCNU (which we get to go to for free!), make use of the art that is right at your finger tips. And for those of you who aren’t necessarily apart of this art-enthusiastic category, you might take interest once or twice. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.