Letter to the Class of 2026

Vincent (right) pictured with her Big in her sorority ADPi.

Vincent (right) pictured with her Big in her sorority ADPi.

Dear Class of 2026,


I almost transferred during my first semester at Christopher Newport. 

Leaving long-time friends and the comfort of familiar surroundings, I found my adjustment to college life a bit more difficult than I originally anticipated. I am not particularly introverted, nor did I struggle with the academic transition. I felt isolated and found myself crying more than adequately hydrated for. But I knew that CNU was where I belonged, so I had to make it work. 

My roommate, Savannah Dunn, said it best: “The only people who have negative things to say about the school are the ones who don’t get involved.”

As a tour guide, cheerleader, editor for The Captain’s Log, and founder of the Captain’s Closet, Savannah kinda knows what she’s talking about. On-campus jobs, sports, and extracurriculars are all tight-knit communities housed within our already small community of Captains. But there are also so many options, so selection can be quite overwhelming. “I went to the Involvement Fair and signed up for a ton of different clubs…definitely explore and find where you feel that you fit best,” Savannah said. 

I had almost given up on finding my home here at CNU. Then, during my second semester, I decided to go through sorority recruitment. Not only did the recruitment experience bring me home to my sisters at Alpha Delta Pi, but it gave me the confidence to reach out and get to know more people on campus.

I knew I made the right choice in Alpha Delta Pi as soon as I ran home.

I knew I made the right choice in CNU when I attended Greek Stock this fall and watched the entirety of Greek Life join in singing happy birthday to a girl in attendance. On her birthday, Kiera Lipinski visited her sisters at the Gamma Phi Beta table at Greek Stock. “I felt so loved as I stood there looking around at not only just my own sisters singing to me, but people in every different organization too…we support one another every single day…and it is so special to be a part of that,” Kiera said.

Another great way to get involved is to find an on-campus job. My colleague, Amanda Wilfong, and I began working for the President’s Leadership Program office during the Spring of 2022. As Student Assistants, we engage with students within the PLP program and staff of various organizations around campus. We also speak with prospective students and their parents. More than anything, campus jobs offer connections.  “Campus jobs help to connect you more to the school in that you help contribute to the student body. It also helps you build new and valuable relationships with fellow students, as well as CNU staff members, who are incredible,” Amanda said. 

I know the transition to college can be overwhelming. Maybe the idea of adding another commitment to your plate sounds overwhelming. One thing we all have in common is academics. While you don’t have to declare yet, we all have a major or two, or three, that we are interested in. I highly encourage you to stop by various academic departments and speak with the staff to make connections and learn more about their programs. Despite not being an English major, had I not stopped by the English department one afternoon, I would have never learned that the Journalism minor was returning to CNU. I was over the moon. 

My friend from high school, Matthew Johnson, is an English major through and through. I think he would live in the department office if he could. “I’m…someone who always approaches professors during office hours, and I’ve found that’s the perfect way to build relationships with them. I also have worked with professors to begin [the] publication of essays I’ve written in their classes. Honestly, the biggest thing in terms of involvement is [get] to know your professors through office hours and be willing to talk to them,” Matthew said. 

College is about trying new things, meeting new people, and growing into the best version of yourself that you could possibly be. (I’d still suggest going to classes, though). As I sat down to write this letter to you all, I asked Savannah what her piece of advice would be. I think she kinda blows everything I have to say out of the water: “Don’t settle for anything. Don’t give up. There is something out there that will feel like home to you,” Savannah said. 

After a rough first semester, I dug my heels in. I wanted to find my people. I got involved in different ways and engaged with all walks of life on campus. Now, as a sister of Alpha Delta Pi, the Secretary of Food Fighters, and a President’s Leadership Program Student Assistant, I can confidently say that there is no place I would rather be than right here. 

Oh, I guess now I can add Captain’s Log Staff Writer to that list, too. 


Best wishes and go Captains!

Kaley Vincent