Flashcards and Midterms

Midterms week and Finals week at CNU can seem like the darkest of times. After weeks of hard work and studying you are confronted with about five days that can make or break everything that you have done in your classes up until that point. As the weeks approach, you can feel like you are standing at the bottom of Mt. Everest, the peak seems so far away and you know that you have a grueling and physically taxing quest ahead of you. The only difference is that when grades come back, you are not necessarily going to feel triumph when you are done.

All around campus people are utilizing their “tried and true” methods for getting the best possible grades on their exams. Some people drink some special energy drink that they “swear makes you way smarter”. Others turn to epic movies like Disney’s Hercules or 300 to motivate them to achieve their best in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

I have my own way, and it has seemed to work quite well each semester. In the realm of everything but math, the best method for me: FLASH CARDS.

These seemingly innocent-looking index cards can be the difference between victory and defeat on test day. The process of writing up the cards in the first place is a great way to review, but if you get someone in your class to sit down and run through the cards with you until you have them memorized, you will find that you can recall just about all the information on those cards when you are taking the test. I’m not saying that it’s fool-proof or it works for everyone, but I’ve noticed that on tests that I have prepped with flashcards, I will usually get ten points more than I usually would.

Outside of flashcards, studying for midterms requires motivation, and, sometimes; company. Girlfriends, boyfriends, best friends, and academic competitors are great to study with. The people you choose to study with ought to challenge you to memorize more and focus as much as possible. The right study partner can make the difference between being prepared, and having played Super Smash Bro’s for six hours straight.

But likely the best advice I can give to students as Midterms or Finals week approaches is to listen and reflect on the words of Samwise Gamgee: “It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”

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CNU Snow

On the 25th of January it snowed at CNU. Being from Maine, I can tell you that the white fluffy stuff doesn’t exactly thrill me when it falls and covers the ground like the coldest of blankets, but since it’s such a rarity in Newport News, people go nuts. I swear, when people around here see a snowflake it’s like it’s Apocalypse 2012 all over again (In other words, everyone posts Facebook statuses about it for a while until the novelty runs out).

Around the city cars drive more slowly and cautiously (for good reason). Many cars lack snow tires and the drivers know that their 0-60 is far less important than 60-0. Businesses shut down in the area, and some students get their classes canceled (but don’t always count on it). Everyone walks a bit more briskly and the smokers even try quitting for a couple days because they can’t stand the cold. You’ll often see kids traveling in packs, walking close together to conserve heat like penguins in Antarctica.

snow4

That said; snow on the CNU campus is beautiful. When it’s falling outside you could curl up with a cup of hot chocolate in Einstein’s or if you live in York East or West you can utilize those fancy fireplaces in the lobby. The fountain freezes over and the basketball court disappears, the roofs of the academic buildings are white and the campus is quiet because everyone is staying indoors as much as possible. In between classes, after a thick snow has fallen, the campus is peaceful and still. If you look over the Great Lawn you might not be able to tell that within the buildings are thousands of young excited people bursting with the energy and drive to be the best that they can be. I often think that if there is a metaphorical winter the world faces today, it will be the likes of CNU students that will bring the spring.

With A Little Help From My Friends

I’ve had many close friends over the course of my life. When I came to CNU I hoped I would make many new friends along my journey to becoming all I could be at the University. I never knew that within a week of moving in I would discover what would be the biggest impact of my CNU experience:

I met my best friend Michelle.

I know I’ve used this picture before.

Make no mistake, college can get very challenging at times. Like zubats in a dark cave in a Pokemon game, you will encounter all-nighters and scheduling conflicts with frustrating frequency. When you get really gung-ho at the beginning of the semester and take on much more than you are actually capable of, it usually doesn’t hit you until midway through the semester, at which point you find yourself lost and angry crying, “What have I done?” like Anakin in Revenge of the Sith.

At times these, you need someone to make you feel better about yourself, someone who cares about you, someone who’s willing to sit down and listen to you vent about whatever has got you stressing. Since your mom can’t go to college with you, it’s your best friend that comes to your aid.

In a way, a best friend is like family that you’re not related to. I’m an out-of-state student from Maine, so my family is even further away than most of my peers. This makes Michelle an even bigger impact on my time here at CNU. She’s the second sister I never had.

At CNU every student faces challenges, and every student at some point will feel truly victorious. When I’m stressing over a Spanish test Michelle offers to go through flashcards with me, when I get a call from a potential employer, she’s there to celebrate with me.

As anyone who’s ever been to CNU will agree, it’s not just about the classes that you take. This University has more to offer than small class sizes or the best rated residence halls in the state. This University has soul and it comes from the people in it, from the dining hall staff, to the faculty, to the friends you’ll have for a lifetime.

The Commons

Upon being invited into the oasis paradise that is Timone and Pumba’s home, young Simba is introduced to a diet of bugs. Timone assures Simba that the food is “Slimy, yet satisfying.” This Lion King quote can be attributed to the food in most college dining halls, but not so at CNU.

Fig. 1: A meal not offered in the CNU dining halls

At CNU we have two dining halls, each very unique and sporting distinct and different options from one another. On a day-to-day basis I can check the CNU website to see what’s on the menu at Regatta’s and what’s on the menu at the Commons. Often times the decision can be difficult.

Being a tremendously busy college junior, often times my choice comes down to where I can get food quicker. I live closer to Commons, and so it is usually my first pick. On a regular basis I find myself long-boarding the distance from my residence hall to the Commons, weaving in between backpack-laden students, my mouth watering with the thought of a juicy burger or one of the buffalo chicken wraps they make right in front of you.

Something about college makes people really hungry all the time. I, along with just about everyone else I know, was warned of the dreaded “freshman fifteen”. I wasn’t exactly apprehensive about this, but it turns out that at CNU, they actually give some meal options that make avoiding “the fifteen” much easier.

Commons has a “Healthy Haven” in which you can always find vegan options, low-fat meals, and gluten-free stuff. I know you’re probably thinking, “Really? You’re trying to talk up the health food?” but I am entirely serious. The healthy haven food is always really tasty and always fresh. There’s nothing that makes me feel better about eating healthy than when the food tastes delicious. Two words: crab-stuffed tilapia.

However, heed my words of wisdom: There are times of the day when everyone goes to the dining halls, specifically, midday during the week. Remember this:

Commons at noon.

On the plus side, the place will be stuffed with wonderful people that will be among your closest friends. The dull roar you hear will be the sound of hundreds of hungry and happy captains chowing down on some of the best food Newport News has to offer.

Why Science and History Are The Only Reasons I Wish I Had Cable At Home

Discovery Channel, History Channel, and Animal Planet. Those are my top three reasons for wanting to get cable at my house.When I was still in middle school my family decided that we weren’t watching enough cable t.v. to make it worth the fifty or sixty bucks that we were paying per month to watch it. We got rid of cable and picked up Netflix for the rest of my time at home.

I didn’t think much about it at the time. Back in those days the only channels I was watching were Disney, Nickelodeon and sometimes Cartoon Network. Despite my nostalgic memories of my favorite shows like Invader Zim, The Proud Family, and Kim Possible, they were not worth fifty bucks a month.

Although I’m curious as to where Nick went with this…

I was quite content over the last six years without cable television, but now I’m in college and there is a cable t.v. in every room. The influence is one that I haven’t felt in a long time, and though I don’t, all of a sudden, feel the desire to have cable t.v. in my home, I can see a valid reason why I might want it.

No, it has nothing to do with The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. …That’s what questionable television web sites are for. The thing that draws me back to cable after all these years are all the things I tended to avoid all those years ago.

This.

Discovery channel is awesome. I can sit down in my living room and eat a quick snack and learn that there is a hexagonal-shaped super storm on the north pole of Saturn that has been there as long as we have taken a close enough look at Saturn. To put that in perspective; Spongebob is annoying.

But there’s more: It also turns out that the Klu Klux Klan were a major influence on southern politics from the late 1800’s through the late 1900’s. For a while, in certain parts of the country, you could not get elected without being an official Klansman. (History Channel)

And this is a whale. (Animal Planet)

These channels that teach me stuff are awesome. If there was any reason to get cable again, it would be to watch a couple of channels where I can learn some random facts that I never really needed to know in the first place. If I had cable all these years, I would be the best Jeopardy player ever.

Why “Bros Before Hoes” Is More Than Just a Joke

We’ve all heard the classic expression. Legend has it that the phrase was first said by King Menelaus to Paris before Paris stole Helen away from him and kicked off the Trojan War. Since then, the phrase has been put into a somewhat humorous context, but that doesn’t mean that the core message should be abandoned.

Really, there’s nothing funny about this.

In the modern day, “bros before hoes” is commonly used to prod a guy who is choosing to hang out with a girl rather than his guy friends. Yet there is a very serious basis for this prodding. Whether intentional or otherwise, a guy who consistently chooses a “hoe” over a “bro” sets a negative precedent of being unreliable with little value for friends.

For example, the perfect wingman is a “bros before hoes” guy. As a wingman, it is your mission to make the other guy look good. If you find yourself leaving him behind for the girl across the room that keeps staring at you, then you have failed your mission. Strategically switching off between primary and wingman roles is key.

Who a guy chooses to hang out with often correlates with where their priorities lie. In high school and college, guys risk spending a disproportionate amount of time with women due to the common misconception that if you spend enough time with a woman, you will eventually get laid. While they are consistently putting off hang-out time with the bros, they are advertising to guys and girls alike that any chance that they might possibly get some is more important than friends.

Inadvertently, the “hoes before bros” mentality could end up hindering a guy’s sex-driven mission more than it helps. Through practice, the guy reveals that he is more desperate for the girl’s attention than anything else. General tendencies would suggest that this desperation is actually a turn-off for a girl rather than a turn on. In some best-case scenarios, women will just take advantage of this desperation to get what they want. In the eternal words of Good Charlotte, “Girls don’t like boys, girls like cars and money.”

 

You can tell how smart a wiseman is by how much black he wears.

It turns out that man’s greatest strength is his apathy.

When you take this into account, you realize just how important “bros before hoes” is. When you hang with your bros you make yourself more attractive to women, you make yourself more liked by your bros, and you won’t have to spend money on anyone.

Late Night Commercials

(Post credit goes to Ian Fontaine)

Have you ever noticed that after a certain point at night advertisements don’t even try any more? It’s as if someone in sales took a look at viewer demographic after 12AM and said, “Well, they’re all drunk anyway…” If you don’t know what I’m talking about, allow me to enlighten you.

With the exception of very small children, there is no one who would be compelled to pick up the phone and fork over money for “Lots and Lots of Jets and Planes”. The catch, of course, is that very small children are usually incapable of using a phone and understanding the function of a credit card, but that doesn’t stop the advertisers from trying!

You think I’m kidding.

Sales people just don’t always think about what their commercials are going to look like or how they sound. Maybe they just don’t care!

We’ve all seen this one. “Slap Chop”. We get to watch some overly-enthusiastic, spikey-haired psychopath tell us all about this kitchen product.  At :54 we hear an absolute absurd line that should never be in a commercial.

“You’re gonna love my nuts”

Really? They had to be nuts? They had to be his nuts? Haven’t these people ever heard of the internet? There’s literally only one way this was going to go. …Downhill.

Seriously, let’s think about some of these…

…Yes, “TIDDY bear”

I’m sure Tiger uses this.

Are you kidding me?

Oh, that was a parody.

You get the idea.