First Year Vibes: What a College Freshman Needs

Anna-Catherine Kueng ~ Assistant Editor

As my freshman year of college comes to a close, and I prepare for next year, I cannot help but think about all the happy times I have experienced since August. Furthermore, I think about all the things that have gotten me through this year. Here is a list of what my freshman self needed, and will continue to need over the next three years.


  1. Close friends. It is nice to have people to talk to in class, but it is even better to have people to spend your weekends with and vent to them when times are tough. My roommate has seen me cry more times than I can count and I am so grateful for her.
  2. Money-managing skills. Sadly, I lacked these and spent all my Lynchburg Express money on Starbucks and peaches within two months of the new semester.
  3. Time at home. While being away from school has its perks, if I had not gotten to go home on some of the weekends, I would have lost my mind.
  4. Shower shoes. This one still makes me cringe, but just remember you will not have to live in a dorm building forever!
  5. Cuddles. Even if your number one love language is not touch, you still need hugs here and there. College can get lonely sometimes and nothing compares to a warm embrace from a friend.
  6. Downtime. You will not get this much in college, but take advantage of it when you have it. Sometimes, you need to take a break from schoolwork in order to stay sane. Play ping-pong, watch a movie, or just take a walk around campus!
  7. Exercise. I know this list is starting to sound like the basic necessities of life, but going to the gym in college is a huge stress reliever and it is good for your health.
  8. Group chats. There is a lot that goes on in a day and it is hard to update all of your friends individually between going to class, doing homework, and other time-consuming activities. A group chat, albeit annoying sometimes, makes it much easier to communicate with a lot of people at once.
  9. Food. Granted you need this even if you are not in college, but even more so in college. If it were not for SkinnyPop, Welch’s gummy snacks, and Smart Water, I do not think I could have made it through finals week. Plus, going to Chick-Fil-A occasionally has never hurt anyone, right?
  10. Hope. This is not a material thing, but it is just as important as the others on the list. College is tough and you can feel really discouraged sometimes. I know it is hard to believe in the moment, but you will not be in college forever. It is just preparing you for another chapter of your life, so enjoy the one you are in while you can.


Overall, my first year at U of L has been challenging, but also infinitely rewarding. I have grown as a person in more ways than I can count and I am so glad to be a Hornet.

Mystic Magic: Not Every Book Is Perfect

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Staff Writer

I have one more book recommendation for the end of the semester. Again, it was a book my aunt gave me, back in 2017 for my birthday. At the time, it was an advanced reader’s copy because it would not be published until later in that month.

The book is Caraval by Stephanie Garber. At the time, it was a much-awaited book, the first of a series. It took me until this year to finally read the book, and it did not live up to my expectations.

From Goodreads, “Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.”

Scarlett has dreamed of going to Caraval since she was a child. She shared this dream with her sister Donatella. However, after years stuck on the island they call home and her imminent marriage to a man she has not met, Scarlett has given up on the dream.

“But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner,” the Goodreads blurb continues.

I will tell you the sailor’s name is Julian, because that is not a spoiler. There is a lot between Scarlett’s kidnapping and Donatella’s kidnapping, though.

Goodreads finished, “Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.”

Of course, there is magic in this story. It is not necessarily the same magic as other books, because the main character herself cannot use magic. In fact, there does not seem to be any clear magic rules, and it is explained away by characters who also do not understand the magic rules.

The book does have some common YA tropes, which is disappointing because it was a more recent YA novel. The main character is annoying for a majority of the book, there is an insta-romance, and there is a lack of diversity.

This is book was a little underwhelming, and definitely not as good as any of the other magic books I have read. There are glaring issues, and plenty of other books worth your time. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a better, older version of Caraval. The Raven Boys series by Maggie Steifvater that I have touched on. Even the Harry Potter series.

This summer, go out and find a book or a series that has magic, good magic with set rules. Find something that has decent characters, and a world that is complete. Enjoy your summer with an enchanting read, and if it is any good, let me know.

Have a good summer, everyone, and I hope it is magical.

College Life: 10 ways to Destress

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Illustration by Nicole Freewalt

Katherine Daniel ~ Editor-in-Chief

It is now that time at the end of the school year where everything gets stressful. You might even have assignments due every single day of the week and wonder when you might ever get a break and when is summer break coming? Some of the past weeks have been very stressful on me and they are not slowing down either since finals are coming in less than a week. I have so much school work (projects, papers, presentations, etc.), my job, and not to mention extracurricular activities. This semester has been again testing my time management skills like no other. But, every once in a while, the week’s tasks get to be a little too much for anybody and we all need something to get us through the week.

So, here are 10 things that can help you destress, give you a break, or give you something to look forward to doing over the weekend.

  1.     Take a nap. Taking a nap is always a good way to destress yourself. After having four classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, sometimes taking a nap really helps me release all of the stuff I have going on in my head and helps me destress.
  2.     Watch Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube. After a long day of school, I love to just come lay on the couch and watch Netflix and eat a snack. Watching a favorite movie or show on Netflix helps me to destress a lot.
  3.     Do some face masks. At the end of the day, you are probably warn out and feel like you need a facial. I love to do Black Mask Purifying peel-off Mask.
  4.     Go to the gym. I do not know about you, but going to the gym and running on the treadmill or boxing helps me relieve stress.
  5.     Pet some dogs and cats. Go out to the Lynchburg Humane Society and pet all the dogs and cats you wish to. It is one of my favorite places to go because I love animals. If you are more of a reptile fan, go to Pets and Aquatic Warehouse.
  6.     Call your mom and dad. Calling my mom is always a way for me to vent to her about my stressful days and it helps me destress when she gives me ideas of ways to help me.
  7.     Go for a drive. Going for a drive and listening to music is always great, especially now that the weather is nice. Roll those windows down in your car and jam out to some of your favorite hits.
  8.     Start a bullet journal. Maybe you have always dreamed of going somewhere out of the country or have a to do list you would like to start. Well, a bullet journal is a good way to start. Make bullets of things you want to do or places you would like to go to relieve some stress.
  9.     Take a walk or run. Taking a walk with my dog helps me get outside and seeing the nature helps me relieve my stress.
  10.  Go shopping. Go to the boutiques in downtown Lynchburg or go to the mall to shop. I absolutely love to go shopping and that is definitely a way that de-stresses me.

These are ten tips for you and I hope you have enjoyed my opinion column this year. I will be back next year, so make sure to look at all of the tips and info that I have to write about it. If you have any thoughts on what I should write about next year, send an email to the Critograph and let me know. Make sure you study for your exams and ace them, and I will see you all next year!

Hornets Breakfast for Dinner

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Illustration by Nicole Freewalt 

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Staff Writer

Late Night Breakfast will be in the Burton Dining Hall on May 9, 2019 at 9:30 p.m.

SGA’s Vice President of Internal Affairs, Jeffrey Snow, said, “Late Night Breakfast is an event that SGA hosts every semester with dining services to open up the dining hall after hours to serve breakfast food and give out prizes!”

Snow continued, “The prizes given out throughout include gift cards and special items that are a surprise until the night of. […] Like always, there is an exclusive door prize item for the first 100 students. This year, it is aviator sunglasses!”

Snow  said, “There will be all kinds of breakfast food and desserts to keep the students nice and full.”

Sophomore, Amanda Linehan said, “I think it is a really amazing time. I love being able to take a break from studying and hanging out with friends. The dining services does an amazing job with all the food and I appreciate SGA putting it on.”

While sophomore Julia Melone shared Linehan’s sentiments, she said, “I really appreciate all the work the dining services puts into it. They could be home relaxing with their families, but they do this awesome thing for us.”

“I have never gone, but it sounds like a lot of fun for the whole school to come together and be involved with,” said sophomore, Stephanie Arnold.

Late Night Breakfast does get pretty busy, though. Snow said, “The doors open at 9:30 [p.m.], but people line up early. At the latest, a pretty solid line is forming at 8:30 [p.m.].”

A few students are apprehensive about the crowds. Sophomore, Larry Hamlett said, “I never go. It is always too packed for me.” Junior, Hiatt O’Connor said, “[It is] a fun concept but crazy crowded, fun for only a [little] bit.”

Freshman, Jarett Murano saw both sides, saying, “It is packed, but if you go with people, it is fun.”

The Vice President of External Affairs, Nathaniel Pierce, said, “The Late Night Breakfast has been a blast to host every semester! Seeing so many fellow Hornets light up as they get their breakfasts and door prizes has been so awesome. And shout out to Dining Services who do so much for the event!”

“This is an event that all of us in SGA love hosting, and we love seeing the huge turnout with it being one of the most well-attended events on campus!” said Snow.

First Year Vibes: Being Full of Life

Anna – Catherine Keung ~ Assistant Editor

Recently, I started listening to “Let It Happen” by United Pursuit and it has very beautiful song lyrics of “You’re full of life now / and full of passion / that’s how He made you / just let it happen.”

Regardless of your religious beliefs, I hope you agree that being full of life is a great quality to have. I know in college, it is not always easy to be that way. You may even be wondering, what does it mean to be “full of life?”

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College Life: When People Talk Behind Your Back, Just Smile

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Katherine Daniel ~ Editor-in-Chief

No one ever likes being talked about behind their back. I absolutely despise it. Recently, I found out from a “guy” friend that my ex-roommate was talking crap about me and how she does not like me, so her friends do not like me either. To be honest, I thought we were on good terms, but after that I was pissed. She was a person I still considered a friend, but after that I debated. I was so angry that I wanted to confront her about it, but I did not. The thing is, the stuff that she was complaining about, she never even told me. This was a year ago… and she still has a problem about it now, but never even told me. It was over a situation where my fiancé would come in the room and hang out with me when she was there or when there were times when she was not there, I would warn with her with a text *code red * which meant to not come in the room, because it was a little more than hanging out. She got mad over that? Seriously? After all the times, she had her friends over in the room late in the evenings and did not even ask me if they could come hang out in the room? I did not mind it, but at least I was a decent enough roommate to say, like, “doing the do, do not come in,” rather than her walking into my room while stuff was going on. By the end of the semester, I had bought a futon and put it in my fiancé’s room when we lived in Mont and stayed down there because I felt like things were a little rough between my roommate and I. But anyways… enough of my rant. Here are a few ways to deal with people when they talk behind your back or about you to one of your friends.

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First Year Vibes: Changing Your Major

Anna-Catherine Kueng ~ Assistant Editor

When I was eighteen-years-old, which comically was only two months ago, I thought I wanted to be a nurse. More than that, I thought I wanted to be a pediatric nurse with a speciality in cardiology. Before I started college, I ordered the cute laptop stickers relating to the major; for example, “I can’t. I’m in nursing school.” (Since starting college, I realized that if you take out the ‘nursing’ part of that sentence, it is still accurate).

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