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WSU is Out of This (Winona) World

two women make hearts with their hands in Spain

Leah Dobihal (’15) traveled to Spain during her years at WSU #WarriorTravels

Hiked up the steps of the Eiffel Tower? Snowboarded down the mountaintops of New Zealand? Or strolled down the streets of London?  Then show us!

Tweet #WarriorTravels or email the Web Communications Department at webcomm@winona.edu with your name, graduating year and a picture of you on your world travels. Images will then be added to the WSU is Out of This World Pinterest board.

Be sure to check out where in the world your fellow Warriors have been!

–Melissa VanGrinsven

You Bombed the Midterm–Now What???

a nuclear explosion

It might feel like the end of the world, but you can recover from a bad test.

We all know that college is different from high school…in many more ways than one. For me, one of the biggest shockers freshman year was that the grades I got on my tests were very much related to the final grades I received at the end of the semester. While high school teachers will give out daily assignments and give you points for reading, college professors rely much more on test grades and student responsibility.

With that said, tests are something to take very seriously in college classes. But what do you do when you bomb a really big test, let’s say, the midterm exam? It’s really easy to throw that big red “F” to the side and forget about it, but there are a few things you can do in order to make the best of a bad midterm exam grade.

Step 1: Make Sure You Can Still Pass the Class
I know that sounds dramatic, but if the entire class grade is made up only of a midterm and final exam, it’s possible that a bad midterm grade could mean a failing grade in the course. So look at your professor’s syllabus and calculate what percentage of your final grade you lost. After you do that, you can decide if withdrawing or taking an incomplete is the course of action.

Step 2: Talk to Your Professor During Office Hours
As awkward as it may be, you should talk to your professor after a not-so-perfect test score. I am a huge advocate of office hours and believe that going directly to the professor is always beneficial, no matter what the problem is. Go to your professor and explain how you prepared for the exam. Ask him or her if this seems like a successful way to study, or if they have a different method that has been helpful for students in the past. Odds are, you’re not the first student to come to them with questions about a bad test grade. Most professors will be happy to help.

Step 3: Finish Out the Semester Strong
The final step in recovering from the bombing of a big test is seemingly very simple: do your best for the rest of the semester. On everything. Go to class in order to maximize your participation points. Study for quizzes and complete any class work thoroughly as possible. The benefit to this is not only the points you’ll be racking up, but it will also help you on the next test. And when the next test rolls around, make sure to employ the study strategies that you and your professor discussed.

So now that you have a game plan for that not-so-great midterm grade sitting in your desk drawer, you can take a breath and know that life as you know it is NOT over. If you take these three steps, a bad test grade can turn into a decent (or even awesome) final grade.

–Leah Dobihal

Homecoming is #StillCoolSober

success kid meme

Homecoming is upon us, people! Whether you’re an alum or a current student, it’s a time show your school spirit and have fun.  Unfortunately, Homecoming—and not just at WSU but most colleges in general— has gotten a reputation as a weekend of all-out partying that overshadows the focus of celebrating our WSU community.

Rachel is a freshman and I, Elizabeth, am a senior, and we can both attest that there is an expectation to get wasted on Homecoming weekend, no matter if you are legal to drink or not. We’re sure you’ve all seen the unauthorized Homecoming t-shirts and tanks with bad puns about drinking. But just because you feel the pressure to drink doesn’t mean that you must get hammered to count yourself as a “true” Warrior.

Personally, I, Rachel, am not going to drink this Homecoming and I am a strong advocate for anti-drinking. I’ve never really seen the point, especially if your goal is to stay drunk all weekend. Why would you need to be drunk all day? It just wastes your money and your time.  Plus, you won’t remember any of the “good times” you’re having!

family guy characters

Also, excessive drinking does not make you cool or attractive—it just makes you a target for laughter. If you’re passed out by 9pm, people will likely draw on your face and take pictures. If you’re vomiting in the bathroom at a house party or behind the bleachers at the football game, people will be making fun of you, not cheering you on. If you are super drunk and have good friends, they will simply get annoyed by having to take care of you and will call 911 if they suspect you have alcohol poisoning. If you have really bad friends, they might just make sure you’re turned on your side.

Additionally, there will be extra police patrols out on Homecoming weekend so if you’re underage there is an increased chance of getting a minor consumption ticket. If you are 21+, you could get tickets for drunken disorderliness, noise violations or providing alcohol to minors if your house party gets busted.

Now, what part of that wasted homecoming experience sounds fun? (Sorry for our own bad pun.)

We both want to be able to remember WSU HoCo14 and am sure you do too. In fact, all the Homecoming events like the comedy show, the parade and the football game will be way more enjoyable if you can see and stand up straight. For those of you who know that drinking is not for you, go to  with friends who share this view Instead of going out at night, host a Netflix party, play games and have fun your own way. As you celebrate Homecoming, tag your tweets, Instagram posts and Facebook pics with the hashtag #StillCoolSober to show that other students that you don’t need to be drunk to have fun.

All that being said, we’re not telling you that you can’t go out and party on Homecoming. We understand that partying isn’t all bad–I, Elizabeth, do enjoy going downtown on the occasional weekend–just do it responsibly. If you are going to drink, know that there is a limit to much alcohol your body can take in a given timeframe. Pace yourself to about one drink per hour and drink a glass of water every so often as well. This way you can still enjoy your time with your friends but avoid the hangover the next morning.

In fact of the matter is that, WSU’s reputation as a “turn up school” is pushed by a small section of the student population, not the majority, and Homecoming seems to bring out the worst. Together, we can work to change that obnoxious, cirrhosis-inducing culture to a culture of responsible drinking and sober fun.

–Rachel Adam & Elizabeth Meinders

Protect Yourself on Social Media

caution tape around social media icons

You need to be careful when using social media.  Photo Credit

In my last post I warned you about some of the dangers of social media. So, now I am going to tell you how avoid such embarrassing, future-ruining and potentially law-breaking activity?

1. Follow Codes of Conduct

Just do it. Yes, most of it is common sense and your gut should tell you when something might be against a code of conduct, but it’s best to know what your social media platforms deem acceptable, and more importantly, what they deem as unacceptable. It’s especially important to know the WSU’s definition of appropriate conduct because we’re using their wifi, their laptops and their iPads.

2. Think About Where Your Posts End Up

That is, remember that they are being sent into the infinity of the cyber-world. Is it something that others could use for something you never intended? Is it something you feel good about putting out into the great abyss of the internet? Will you still be proud thirty, forty, fifty years down the road? Be conscious of who can find your posts, and how they could use them.

3. WWYFET?

Write it on your planner, braid it into a bracelet, tattoo it to your bicep, but whatever you do, keep it in mind: WHAT WOULD YOUR FUTURE EMPLOYER THINK? Remember that they likely didn’t grow up in an age where sharing a pic of all your tattoos was a normal thing to do. So keep it appropriate for employer eyes.

4. Keep Your Private Matters Private

The world of social media doesn’t need to know everything about you. No, seriously…it doesn’t. The world doesn’t need to know when you last went to the bathroom, and it doesn’t need to know what underwear you chose to wear that day. Trust me, all that stuff is better kept to yourself.

6. Don’t be Hurtful

This is the rule that really gets to me and the one that I think is far more important than anything else I’ve said above. One of the worst things to come from social media is the way people think that hiding behind a computer screen is an excuse for being mean, nasty or hurtful. Why do we think that anonymity gives us the right to hurt other human beings? Think about the person on the other side of the screen before you post. What if those hurtful words were being said about your sister, your brother? Your best friend? YOU?? Let’s be better humans online and take a deep look at why you want to post hurtful comments in the first place.

Social media is a place where anything can happen. Screenshots can be taken, job opportunities can be lost, a reputation can be tarnished and posts can be reported. It’s also a place of fun—a place for memories, friendships, and even education.

So here’s the moral of the story: BE CONSCIOUS of what you post, because it’s a reflection of the person staring into the screen.

–Leah Dobihal

#HoCoWear

college girls pose together

We want to see your signature WSU style!

 

Homecoming Week is upon us! And if you’re anything like me, this means you’re busy coming up with a great HoCo outfit for all of the festivities for this week.

When it comes to homecoming attire, my style can be summed up in three words: comfy, cozy and cute.  With all of the outside activities like Tuesday’s bonfire and Saturday’s football game, the best thing you can do is LAYER. Since we are in Minnesota and the weather can be very unpredictable, it would be wise to make your outfit versatile for both the warm and cool hours in the day.

If you’re looking for more HoCo outfit inspiration, check out WSU’s HoCoWear Pinterest for some great tips and tricks on various outfits for the week.

AND if you have a great ensemble, why not add it to the Pinterest world? Snap a picture of your Warrior HoCo wear and submit it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #WSUHoCoWear. Your brilliant creations will then be added to the WSU Pinterest page! So, get those creative juices flowing, fellow fashionistas. And Happy Homecoming!

If you’re a WSU alumni, you can still participate too! Take a picture of your chosen HoCo Wear and use the hashtag #OnceAWarrior to submit your images to the WSU Pinterest page.

–Melissa VanGrinsven

How to Find Volunteer Opportunities at WSU

A WSU flag in the sunlight

The motto on our school flag says it all: “A Community of Learners Improving Our World.”

It’s about two months into my freshman year of college and one of the biggest things I’ve learned so far is that being as involved as possible at school is incredibly beneficial. Not only does it help you meet new people, it also helps you in the long-run as you build up your resume.Extracurricular sports and clubs are always a good idea, as well as eventually finding some sort of job whether on or off campus. But volunteering has a special significance and value all its own because you are helping others.

For me personally, I didn’t get a lot of job experience in high school, but I was involved in volunteering and this sticks out on my resume. If you can time can be found in your busy schedules during the week, or even a day on the weekend, you can change someone else’s life by just setting aside a few hours of your time.

Volunteer opportunities can be found all over campus. A great place to start is simply the Improving Our World – Winona State University Facebook page. This page is constantly posting information about service opportunities on and off campus. Just scroll through and you will find countless causes that need volunteers. Some of these causes are Winona-based such as the Sauer Health Care and the Winona County Historical Society and these are more casual and less of a commitment. But others need volunteers to travel around the world such as the International Volunteer Abroad Programs for Students. IVS would be an amazing life-changing opportunity for students interested in traveling abroad and you could potentially even get academic credit for it too. If you go on a service-based travel study through WSU you will defintiely receive academic credit. For example my  Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies teacher offers a trip during the summer to the Virgin Islands where you can do volunteer work on the islands and take a class as at the same time.

Another tip for finding places to volunteer is to pay attention to posters and fliers in your residence halls and academic buildings. These colorful papers hanging in the common areas of offer so many different things for students to do. This is where I saw the information to join Hall Council and the Residence Housing Association of WSU. RHA is a group on campus and it is fantastic to put on resumes, to meet new people, and to work with a group of people to help with events and socials to make campus life the best it can possibly be for students. It has been one of the best choices I have made this year so far, and I found the information for it simply by looking at a poster by the Sheehan elevator and talking to my RA.  RAs are another great resource to help you get involved with volunteering as well because they have been at the university longer and have more connections than we freshmen do.

These are just a few different ways to find volunteer opportunities. The internet is always a great source, but you don’t even have to search that hard if you pay attention next time you walk through the halls of Kryzsko as well. I strongly recommend keeping on the lookout for amazing opportunities throughout the year!

–Liz Doyle

Social Media’s Hidden Dangers

How many days could you go without checking social media? Maybe two, tops? It seems we live in a world where social media runs our lives. We check Instagram while walking to class, take Facebook breaks during study sessions and tweet while out to dinner with friends. But how much do we think about what we write? What we share? What we post? Because as you and I both know, it’s not always pretty.

Let’s be honest–we’ve probably all posted something we shouldn’t have on social media. And we’ve regretted it. Since sharing our entire lives on the web seems to be so commonplace to our generation, I’m going to dissect that habit and see what’s inside.

First, let’s talk about the dangers of social media. (And there are plenty.)

1. Screenshots

We all know what these are. Snap a pic of your screen and you can have it forever. Or another way to look at it is that other people can save your posts forever. The other day I was scrolling through Twitter and I saw one of my Instagram pictures being featured in a random organization’s tweet. I had no idea that something I’d posted on Instagram would end up on a different media platform and in the hands of someone I have never met. Scary? Definitely.

screenshotgif

2. Un-impress Employers

Probably the most important person to think about when posting to social media is your future employer. Picture him or her—powerful, professional, maybe sporting glasses or a polished mustache. Now picture them looking at what you posted yesterday, or last week or last year. Would they hire you? I’m not talking about goofy photos with your friends. Those won’t get your résumé thrown into the trash, but posts featuring alcohol, drugs, nudity or other illegal activities will seriously hurt your chances of an employer taking you seriously.

employersgif

3. You can Never Un-Post

One of the most dangerous things about the internet is that it’s forever. A mean comment, a racy photo, an embarrassing video or an inappropriate status—you’re never getting them back. They’ll be floating around in the cyber-universe until you’re bouncing your grandchildren on your knees. So think twice before you send something into the blackhole, because you’re never getting it back.

neverunpostgif

4. Wreck a Good Reputation

Let’s face it, our generation judges people based on their social media presence. Post too much and you’ll be labeled annoying, post too little and you’ll be labeled mysterious. But these aren’t the labels we need to worry about. How about being labeled as mean? Or being labeled a bully? The way we talk on social media reflects on us, even when we don’t realize it.

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5. Breaking Codes of Conduct

You may know that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all have their own codes of conduct. They’ll tell you what you can post, what you can’t and everything in between. What you might not know is that Winona State has it’s own code of conduct regarding how students use the internet. So as much as you want to post that racy meme, is it really worth the embarrassment of being reported to the university and possibly getting suspended or expelled? Whether you realize it or not, there are consequences for breaking the rules.

codeofconductgif

 

So, there is a little more to social media than you thought, huh?

–Leah Dobihal

Sailing Toward Sustainability

 

Sustainability was never really a topic I thought I would be interested in. And I didn’t think I would learn more about this topic while riding on the Cal Fremling. However, both of these things happened when I was given the opportunity at the sustainability fair kick off a month ago. I was taking selfies of people in the Futures Photo Booth, when I ran into the WSU Sustainability advisor, Tex Hawkins. He asked if I would like to accompany WSU club leaders on a “boat ride to the wild side” as he called it, I couldn’t pass that up! Taking pictures and learning about something I knew little of sounded great to me.

Aboard WSU’s new educational vessel, the Cal Fremling, with Captain Rudy Beshensky highlighting navigation landmarks, student club leaders and myself got an entirely new perspective on the Mississippi from the river’s point of view. A group of “River Rat” philosophers, scientists, historians and conservationists were invited by Tex Hawkins to share their knowledge and experiences. The expedition was co-hosted by Friends of the Mississippi Headwaters President Todd Paddock, and assisted by Friends Crewmen Bruce Nicklay and John Lyons. After a few words from Captain Rudy on safety and a welcome from the Friends, we were on our way!

The boat ride was a blast! I listened to a professor sing us a Native American song, saw a couple bald eagles fly over us and took tons of pictures of the whole event. It was very informative and fascinating. The best part was standing on the upper deck and seeing the beautiful scenery surrounding us. It was such a gorgeous sight!

Afterwards, I asked Tex about that giant Eco-Warrior button, which I had seen before at the Sustainability Fair on Puddles, the Refuge’s big blue goose mascot. “I consider all of those on board today Eco-Warriors,” he said. “We are people who care enough about what is happening in our world to show up, pay attention, get involved and stand up for our core values. We love the outdoors, the beauty of nature that surrounds and sustains us, and we’re willing to fight for our future.”

Students who share these core values and want to be involved in Sustainable Futures Theme Year activities, including future educational excursions on the Cal Fremling, are encouraged to participate in Eco-Warrior on-line certification. They also can participate in the upcoming “Sustainability Challenge” and all of the other events scheduled on the Theme Year Calendar. Also, if you participate, don’t forget to complete the short on-line evaluations – it helps with future event planning. After my experience on the Cal Fremling boat, I would definitely recommend people looking into learning more about our theme of the year, sustainability.

–Sharna Miller

#WSUhoco14 Cover Photo Contest

The weather forecast this Homecoming week is lovely and ripe with photo opps! Take advantage of the autumn beauty and snap a picture of something that inspires you—the homecoming football game, the fall leaves, the foggy bluffs, enthusiastic hoco-goers—for the chance to be featured as the new WSU Faceook cover photo AND win prizes!

The Logistics:

  1. Remember that official Winona State pages have a purple overlay, so make sure your picture could be cropped and look something like this:

    WSU Facebook cover photo

    WSU Facebook cover photo

  2. Submit your photo. You can send your photo via Facebook message to WSU’s Facebook page or email your photo to webcomm@winona.edu and make sure you include your name and graduating year. List the subject of your email as “Cover Photo Contest.”
  3. Submissions will be taken now through October 25.

Have fun and unleash your creativity! We can’t wait to see what inspires you!

 

Tips to Tackle Those Tests

using a crib note on an exam

Sneaking in a cheat sheet is NOT a good test-taking strategy!!!

 

Midterms. Love em’ or hate em’–there’s no way to avoid em’. It’s that time of year again where we take a step back from the food debates and workout routines to focus on the nitty-gritty academic aspect of college. But have no fear, because I’m here to help This post is all about tips on test-taking so you can tackle those formidable midterms.

The fact is that you can study all you want, but if you don’t have good test-taking strategies all that knowledge is going to stay locked in your brain. And no matter what the class you are more than likely going to run into at least one of these two types of questions: multiple choice and paragraph response.

Taking a Multiple Choice Exam

Now, when a professor says the test will be multiple choice, most students are relieved–and for good reason. Multiple choice tests are significantly easier to pass even when you don’t fully understand the material because you have a 1 in 4 chance of guessing correctly. This is not to say don’t study. You should absolutely study. But if you’re walking into a multiple choice test feeling uneasy about the subject matter, here is some advice:

  1. Read All the Answer Options– Always.
    Looking at all the possible answers will ensure that you don’t fall for any tricky questions with answers that sound plausible.
  2. Take Your Time. Never hesitate to go back and check your answers. I know it’s tempting to just turn in your test and get out of class early, but many times students lose points because they skimmed over questions and end up missing key phrases like “Which of these is NOT accurate?” Going back and reading the questions will ensure that you didn’t accidentally skim over something as vital as a “Not.”
  3. Don’t Feel Overwhelmed by Choices.
    Elimination is key in getting the correct answer on questions you have no clue about. Everyone’s been there. You’re taking a test and come across a question that seems to come out of nowhere, but nevertheless there it is and you’re expected to take a guess at it. So it’s best to find the option that you know isn’t right. For most multiple choice questions there are two “throw away” answers that most students easily recognize as incorrect. This leaves test-takers with two answers that sound right. From that point, it’s all about luck.

Taking a Paragraph Response Exam

While students are usually thrilled to hear their professor is doing a multiple choice test, almost no one is excited to hear that they will be seeing paragraph responses on an exam. These questions can really tank test takers and giving advice is not easy because each subject has different standards. However, here are some general guidelines so you aren’t left horribly confused when you come across this type of question on your mid-terms.

  1. OUTLINE.
    I cannot stress this enough–planning what you’re going to say is vital for any length of written response. When you are trying to think of the answer and write it down at the same time, it’s really easy for words to get left out or jumbled up. Professors may take off points for simply leaving out key descriptive words that make answers specific. Just plotting out what you’re going to say and the order you’re going to say it in helps make your wording a lot cleaner.
  2. Fake It Until You Make It.
    Just because you’re not 100% sure about the answer doesn’t mean you throw away the question. Say what you THINK is right. Unless your professor docks points for misinformation, you’ll probably get at least partial credit. Feel free to add extra information as well. It’s better to have too much than too little.
  3. Use Your Time Wisely.
    Professors give you the entire class time to take a test for a reason. Don’t rush through answering your paragraph response questions. The more you can think about a subject the more likely you are to remember material on that subject. Take your time, read the question carefully and re-read your answers before turning it in. Of course, if you have several questions, you can’t spend too much time on any one question. Divide the number of minutes allotted by the number of questions on the exam to find out the average time you should spend on a question. Try to stick to that schedule in order to get to all the questions.

Hopefully these test-taking strategies help you feel a lot more confident heading into your exams this week. That A is totally achievable but you have to work for it too. Don’t take midterms lightheartedly and be as prepared as you can be.

Wishing you the best of luck on your exams this week!

–Hannah Carmack