Category Archives: Student Life

Student Spotlight: My Educational Journey

This week’s student spotlight comes from ELI student, Geofrey as he shares about what he has learned through his educational journey at NOVA.

I have learned from experience, that education never ends, has no age limit and can benefit all persons who choose to further their knowledge in different fields and aspects of life. I’m a Ugandan-American and unlike many of my college-mates at Nova, I was not born in the US nor went to high school here. Also unlike my college friends, I’m a bit on the “older side” to be taking classes with them at this point. Being in your thirties and taking classes with eighteen to twenty year-olds used to feel funny, but the environment and professors at campus are so welcoming, friendly and always willing to help. I have gotten used to going to classes without feeling ashamed or embarrassed of my extended age. I found out that no one really cares about yours or my age. My busy life has had me take classes off and on for the last few years without a definite end in sight, and I’d love to share two aspects that have helped me blend in as an older enthusiastic outsider.

Make Goals

Believing, determination and having a concrete vision is key. I always knew that I needed to complete my education and earn my degree, but was never fully vested in doing the work and getting it done. Time goes fast when you procrastinate. Making realistic goals, checking on my progress and seeking for ways to balance my education with family and work life to better focus on earning my degree has been key. I knew that if I didn’t make goals, there would be nothing to look forward to and therefore wouldn’t see a need to work hard. So, I made goals and made plans to achieve them.

Stay Positive

No one is looking, and if they are, they are on your side. Even though I knew I had what it took to be successful, my first classes at Nova were filled with a bit of self-doubt. Am I too old, will I fit in, what will they say; were questions in my head. Staying positive, asking questions and making new friends were key to gaining confidence on my college career. So, the best way for me was finding those things that made me relevant, making friends and consulting with my career counselor as much as I could. Soon or later my doubt was gone and I was part of a family. This happens to almost everybody, but the key is to stay positive and optimistic. The system is set up to help you and you alone- utilize it and you’ll be just fine!

Interested in submitting a post for our ELIfe blog? Contact for more information.

The History of Black Panther

This week marks the premier of Marvel’s Black Panther, but this is not just any other Marvel movie. This marks major milestones in the movie industry.              Before we look at how this movie is making an impact, do you know the origins of Black Panther?

Who are the Black Panthers?

Also known as the Black Panther Party, were a political party founded in 1966 to challenge police brutality against the African-American community in the United States. Black Panther Party founders Huey Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panthers in the wake of the assassination of black nationalist Malcolm X and after police in San Francisco shot and killed an unarmed black teen named Matthew Johnson.

Why were they so important to African-American history in America?

The Black Panthers were part of the larger Black Power movement, which emphasized black pride, community control and unification for civil rights. The Black Panthers started a number of popular community social programs, including free breakfast programs for school children and free health clinics in 13 African American communities across the United States. The Black Panther Party officially dissolved in 1982.

Why is the Black Panther movie making in impact?

It’s a movie about what it means to be black in both America and Africa—and, more broadly, in the world. This also is also a movie featuring an African-American director as well as a predominately black cast. Its themes challenge institutional bias and its narrative includes prismatic perspectives on black life and tradition.

Are you going to see the Black Panther movie? What are your thoughts?


Learn more from the resources below:

Black Panthers

The Black Panthers: Revolutionaries, Free Breakfast Pioneers

The Revolutionary Power of Black Panther


Cultivating Healthy Relationships

Happy Valentines day! This is typically the day we honor and celebrate the loving relationships with have in our lives. Whether you are in a romantic relationship or not, this is a great opportunity to reflect on any relationships you do have in your life.

Do you know what it looks like to have a healthy relationship? What are some things one can do to cultivate better relationships with others?

Here are a few tips:

Image result for healthy relationship gif empathy

Empathy: The most successful relationship dynamics are when each person involved in the relationship has a strong sense of empathy. Empathy basically means that you are consciously thinking about how another person might feel and acting respectfully and thoughtfully accordingly. Empathy is the foundation and core of any successful relationship.

 Image result for healthy relationship gif compromise

Compromise and Fairness: All relationships should have some feeling of reciprocity. This means both parties in the relationship do not feel like the relationship is one sided or uneven.  People who consistently take from others and expect people to give and bend over backwards for them are people who jeopardize relationships  of real substance.


Image result for emotionally drained gif

Boundaries: If you find yourself in a friendship/relationship with someone who has little or no empathy, is not thoughtful or emotionally generous, is flaky, does not compromise, or only asks for things of you when they need something from you, put up a boundary and either distance yourself from the person or end the relationship entirely. There is no point in having relationships that make you feel bad, drain you and leave you resentful.

Learn more tips about healthy relationships by visiting these resources:

6 Ways to Cultivate Better Relationships for More Happiness

How to have a Healthy Relationship with Social Media

NOVA Sexual Assault Services is celebrating Healthy Relationships this week in February. This event highlights all healthy and positive things in any type of relationship. To know more about the events or to find out more about Sexual Assault Services contact SAS directly at or 703-338-0834.

NOVA Leadership & Diversity Conference

Join students from across the College for the second annual Student Life Diversity Conference hosted on the Loudoun campus on Friday, February 23rd from 8:30am-4:00pm.  This years conference theme is Boldly NOVA; Creating Inclusive Communities.

By participating in this conference, our goal is to help you achieve the following:

  • identify leadership characteristics to inform how to lead self and others
  • compile best practices to use in creating inclusive communities
  • understand the multiple dimensions of diversity and inclusion and how our background and related experiences inform our roles within the NOVA community.

This is a unique opportunity to learn more about leadership, diversity, and inclusion topics to become a better leader.

Register for the conference here: Leadership &Diversity Conference Registration form.

Please reach out to ELI Student Life ( with any questions.

Get Help Filing your Taxes


Open to all NOVA Students & their Families with an annual household income of $64,000 or less. Eligible NOVA employees also welcome.

Register Today as Space is Limited!

IRS-certified volunteers will help ensure you receive the maximum tax refund and help determine if you are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit and other Educational Credits. All taxes are prepared and filed electronically using TurboTax or other software. Volunteers do not file taxes for you, but assist you in understanding and submitting your online application. Students can attend workshops at ANY campus. Taxes normally take about 1 hour to complete. Please plan appropriately. We will not begin a new tax return 30 mins before a workshop ends.

 *International students cannot file taxes with us online. If you are an international student and you need help or have a question about your taxes, please attend the workshop. However, you will be informed that a paper tax return must be submitted.

 Alexandria Campus

FEB 5, 1-3PM (AA 477)

FEB 16, 10-2PM (AA377)

MAR 5, 5-8PM (AA377)

MAR 16, 10-2PM (AA377)

APR 2, 1-3PM (AA477)

APR 9, 5-8PM (AA295)


Annandale Campus

FEB 5, 5-8PM (CM124)

FEB 23, 10-2PM (CT116)

MAR 5, 1-3PM (CT228)

MAR 23, 10-2PM (CT116)

APR 2, 5-8PM (CM124)

APR 9, 1-3PM (CT228)


Loudoun Campus

FEB 19, 3-6PM (LR249J)

MAR 19, 1:30-4:30PM (LR104)

APR 13, 10-2PM (LR249J)


Manassas Campus

FEB 9, 10-2PM (MP114)

FEB 26, 1-4PM (MP116)

MAR 9, 10-2PM (MP114)

MAR 30, 10-2PM (MP114)


Medical Education Campus

FEB 12, 5-8PM

MAR 12, 1-3PM

APR 16, 10-2PM

Room 327


Woodbridge Campus

FEB 12, 1-3PM (WAS230K)

MAR 2, 10-2PM (Seefeldt 406)

MAR 12, 5-8PM (WAS230K)

MAR 26, 3-6PM (Room TBD)



Attend this workshop hosted once at each campus with NOVA’s Financial Professional & Coach, Diana Yacob. Learn about your tax refund, what it is, and how to make the most of the money you get back. Meet Diana and her background here:


Alexandria Campus – Friday, February 16, 2018, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, AA 377

Annanadale Campus – Friday, February 23, 2018, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, CT 116

Loudoun Campus – Friday, April 13, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, LR249J

Manassas Campus – Friday, March 30, 2018, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, MP 114

Medical Education Campus – Monday, March 12, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Room 327

Woodbridge Campus – Monday, March 26, 2018, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, Room TBD




Join eLEAD Spring 2018

Are you looking for an opportunity to identify and develop your overall leadership skills?

ELI Student Life has created a virtual co-curricular opportunity to develop leadership skills for students! eLEAD is a 4-week asynchronous program delivered via Blackboard. The overall goal is to foster a sense of community among students taking online courses, to develop more self-awareness of leadership strengths and skills, and to help you maximize your talents as they relate to academic and professional goals.

This program is free and does not offer academic credit, however, students who participate will receive a certificate of completion. This is also a great resume builder!

Dates: February 26th – April 1st

(With a break week from March 12th -16th for spring break)

Time: Work at your own pace with weekly deadlines for group discussions and journal reflections.

Registration: eLEAD Program Registration Form. Please fill out no later than February 23rd at 11:59pm.  

Please reach out to with any questions.


This Week @ ELI

* Spring eLEAD Series-  ELI Student Life has created a virtual co-curricular opportunity to develop leadership skills for students! eLEAD is a 4-week asynchronous program delivered via Blackboard. The overall goal is to foster a sense of community among students taking online courses, to develop more self-awareness of leadership strengths and skills, and to help you maximize your talents as they relate to academic and professional goals. Register now!

* Join our Virtual Student Union. 
Are you taking online classes and looking to connect with other students outside of a classroom setting? Check out our Virtual Student Union or VSU. This is an engagement hub where ELI students have access to create a profile, join discussion forums and connect with other students. In celebration of our new site launch, students will be eligible for raffle prizes once they create an account and interact on the site. Drawings will be done weekly and monthly through the fall semester. Join now!

* Engage in your Community! We want to learn more about how NOVA ELI Students are engaging in the community! Email us at and tell us where and when you are volunteering and we will send you a FREE NOVA Student Life T-shirt to wear!  Coming Soon! (Community volunteer booklet to learn more about the variety of non-profits participating and volunteer opportunities available)

College-wide event highlight:

Student Leadership Diversity Conference February 23. Join students from across the College for the Student Life Diversity Conference hosted on the Loudoun campus. You will have a unique opportunity to learn more about leadership, diversity, and inclusion topics to become a better leader. Register for the conference here:



Spring 2018: Be Prepared on Your First Day

Hand writing Are You Ready, business conceptAs you are preparing for your spring courses, it is important to keep in mind the importance of attendance and participation. Be mindful of Critical Course Deadlines and course specific deadlines so you don’t miss any assignments and fall behind in your course work.

Courses are made available in Blackboard the first day the course is scheduled to begin, or sometimes a few days in advance. If your course begins on Monday, August 21, you may not see your course in Blackboard until that day. If you are scheduled for a later starting ELI course you may not see your course until closer to that start date.

As soon as your class begins, log into Blackboard and explore your virtual classroom. Use this opportunity to locate and review the course syllabus and assignments folder. This will give you a chance to see what you will be responsible for throughout the term. In addition, this will also allow you sufficient time to plan your time appropriately, making certain you will be able to complete your readings, assignments, projects and tests in time for their specified due dates. It is crucial to ensure you have completed and submitted your first assignment prior to the First Assignment Due Date to avoid being administratively withdrawn from your course. 

Logging into Blackboard as soon as the course begins will also give you the opportunity to identify any unexpected issues and provide ample time to ask any questions you might have.

New to online learning at NOVA? Join us for an ELI Orientation Webinar to help you get started!

If you have any questions or you are not sure where to start, you can contact the ELI Student Success Coaching Team at or Student Services Team at 703-323-3347. We are more than happy to answer your questions, as well as refer you to useful resources and services that will support your online learning experience.

Holiday Safety Tips

We all look forward to the holiday season. We get time off from work and school and spend festive time with family and friends. However, the holiday season has risks that threaten our safety.
Sadly, we are not the only people looking forward to the holidays. Predators and thieves look forward to enhanced opportunities to rob and steal. Thieves who get their hands on personal  items have valuable assistance in    stealing one’s identity.

Here are some tips to protect you and your family:

– The best defense against predators is to be aware of what’s happening around you. Most crimes are crimes of opportunity. If you are aware of what’s happening around you and appear empowered to protect yourself, a predator will likely choose a victim who appears more vulnerable; an easier “mark”.

– Keep valuable parcels locked in your vehicle and out of sight.

-Do not announce your holiday plans on social media. Wait until you return to tell your friends about your travels.

-If you are going away for more than 2-3 days, ask the
post office to hold your mail and/or have a neighbor retrieve any packages or other deliveries.

Courtesy of NOVA Public Safety. To learn more safety tips during the holidays, visit the December 2017 edition of their newsletter.

Student Spotlight: International Student Experience at an American College

Check out the following student spotlight post from Yaw, highlighting their experience as an international student and the strength and value of our diverse student body.


Adapting to a new culture is often challenging. I moved from Ghana to the United States for college. It was nothing like I imagined. Beforehand, my point of reference to life in the US is movies, pictures and other forms of media. College could be an exciting opportunity to mature away from parents but just as easily, the gift of freedom could motivate bad decisions and a drastic fall off. I have found that it is important to discover one’s balance with work and play as well as entertaining fruitful relationships with fellow school mates.

Upon arrival, my first significant shock was just how open everyone is. The experience of meeting a vast variety of personalities was very enlightening. I have found that integrating into the college is made easier by the range of diversity present. I believe that my perspective on issues has broadened, having the opportunity to appreciate different points of view. The faculty have been welcoming at the same time blunt. Nova presents an atmosphere not too comfortable for its students causing complacency but rather a competitive one that keeps me motivated throughout the course of the semester. Academic assistance is easily accessible. I often utilize writing labs for my ENG 111 essays, it has been extremely helpful to get more eyes on your paper to critique and help improve.

I would rate my experience so far, an 8 out of 10. It is definitely an experience I would never forget and would love to go through a second time.

If you are interested to share your NOVA story in one of our student spotlight posts, please reach out to us at