Have you ever found yourself in an entirely new place but you get the strange sense that you have been there before? This sense of deja vu is common for students of Christopher Newport University. After a summer away from their place of academia, CNU students return to a campus that looks only vaguely like the one they left the year before.
Is suddenly replaced by stuff like this:
Just last year, as I was getting ready to start my Sophomore year, I decided to take my sister on a tour of the campus. It was embarrassing. There is no question why the vetting process is so extreme for tour-guide-candidates. The campus is changing faster than the emptying of your bank account. I turned a corner and gestured to the hall that I had my first American history class and I had to stop and do a double take because the building was literally gone. (It has since been replaced by the ironically-named Luter School of Business)
I had to discontinue the tour of the campus because I was learning as much about the campus as my sister was at that point.
This year I will be returning to a school that allegedly has a new, “double-wide” dining hall, a new dorm building, a completed business building, and a chapel. Another dorm building is under construction on the far side of campus. I’m particularly interested to see what the great lawn is going to look like when we return to campus.
It seems that the great lawn changes by semester. In the last two years they have taken out trees, added trees, gotten rid of some paths, added some paths, painted the grass green and put up “stay off the lawn” signs (no joke). As I head back, my expectation is that the great lawn will be painted blue with a big Captain Chris head smiling menacingly in the direction of McMurran (anything less will be a disappointment to us now.)
All that said, CNU has something that other universities are missing. Whereas most schools will have buildings that will be recognizable to all alumni, CNU goes a step further and inadvertently provides memories that all the alumni can share. If there’s anything that every single student at CNU can relate to, it’s the enjoyment of learning in a University that is exploded with culture, success, and good people.
And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.