It is the end of the semester and, as with all endings, it is time to say our goodbyes. There are see-ya-next-years for friends returning to hometowns for the summer and congratulations-and-good-luck for those who are graduating. There are so-longs to classes while stressful exams get good-riddances! In just a few days I will be saying farewell to the city of Winona but the nostalgia won’t last long—because I am going to Italy!
It’s ciao and buongiourno (“hello” and “good morning” in Italian) that are on the tip of my tongue. I am traveling to Florence, Italy as part of a travel study group called Dante in Italy. Two professors, ten other students and I leave this Sunday for a two week trip; we’ll spend most of our time in Florence, but we’ll also be taking day trips to Venice, Piza, Ravenna, and Sienna. I am so excited!!! We are going to tour the city of Florence, go to some amazing art museums and majestic cathedrals, as well as experience authentic Italian food including a gelato festival that is held just a few blocks from our apartments.
Now, this is a travel study program so it has an academic portion– well, it’s actually the whole reason we’re going! While we are there we will be reading Dante’s Inferno because Dante was very influenced by the city and politics of Florence when he wrote the epic poem. Our assignment is to find connections between the Inferno and all the places we visit, which we will discuss as a group over our evening meals. We also have to write blog posts about Dante, the Inferno and our experience in Italy in general. Since I have been writing this Admissions blog for months now, this will be a cinch for me. My new blog is called Hello—wherever you are! and if you’re interested in finding out more about my trip, check it out!
So I’ve gone on for two paragraphs now about my totally awesome trip, are you feeling a bit jealous?? Well, this easily could be you!!! At WSU, opportunities for international travel abound; every year there are numerous travel study trips that go to distant places such as Australia, Costa Rica, and London just to name a few. On a typical travel study, you’ll spend two or three weeks abroad, have some amazing adventures and earn up to 3 credits in the process. I am earning 3 credits for Eng. 325, a class that counts as elective for my major . That is the same as taking a 16 week course here in Minnesota!
If only a few weeks isn’t enough time for you (and really, two weeks isn’t nearly enough time to see everything there is to see in Florence, let alone all of Italy!), you could schedule to study abroad for a semester or even an entire year. During a study abroad semester, you will actually enroll in a partner university and take several classes there. I actually have a friend who is studying abroad in South Korea right now and she is learning so much and having a great time. If you are interested in traveling abroad while in attending WSU, the International Programs Office has all the information you need to get started.
Traveling to another country is such an incredible experience; this will be my second time abroad (I went to visit my best friend in South Korea after I graduated high school) and I cannot wait! Yes, it can be daunting to go to a place where you don’t speak the language or understand the customs and yes, there is the expense to consider, but it is so worth the social discomfort and budget-tightening. You will learn so much about the world and gain insight into your own culture and identity—and isn’t that the point of college anyway?
Today it seems like you can’t even open your laptop to start writing a blog entry without hearing about how it’s going to be toxic for you. The word of the year seems to be “carcinogen” and that label gets attached to a multitude of materials. So lets talk for a little bit about whether we need to be worrying about this cancer craze and what can help us to avoid it!
What is good for us is what we all wish was bad. It’s the thing that keeps us at the dinner table as kids a lot longer than we wish to stay there, our green buddies– vegetables! I know this info may be hard for you to choke down (I promise to limit the puns from here on out ) but vegetables do in fact help multiple areas of our lives. Eating vegetables helps to strengthen your gastrointestinal tract (something we may not be thinking about at our young age, but a healthy pooper is a happy pooper down the road!). Some vegetables (such as dark green leafy vegetables, cauliflower and broccoli) help to get ride of carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substances! One important note though, vegetables will yield you the greatest amount of nutrients if:
You know those things you like to use daily like shampoos, lotions, makeup, hair products and toothpaste? Unfortunately all of these substances can be potentially cancer-causing. You may call me out and say that is illegal, but in reality, health companies do not have to report all dangerous chemicals in their products due to loopholes in federal law. Don’t worry, I’m not going to be that guy that tells you you’re going to die if you keep using your conditioner, but there are easy things you can do to make sure you are being healthy with these substances. A good rule of thumb to follow is that the less ingredients involved in a product, the safer it is. More ingredients means more chance that there will be toxic chemicals that are in fact bad for you! Check to make sure the word “parabens” is NOT one of the ingredients in any of your chemicals and toiletries. It is a big hormone disruptor that can cause growth problems and issues with your immune system.
Fat, fat and more fat! Make sure you are trying to decrease your fat intake, mainly trans fats as they are the most potently dangerous from of fat! Hand sanitizers are also to be given a second thought before use as they actually contain antibacterials that cause more harm than good.
So with this info in mind, try to implement some safe eating and living strategies over the summer! This will be my last post for this blog for awhile, so stay healthy and stay happy everyone!
It’s everyone’s favorite time of year, when stress levels rise in inverse proportion as finals draw nearer and on top of that its registration for fall courses! Usually, I actually enjoy registering for new classes; I like figuring out my schedule and the anticipation of new classes reminds me that learning is fun. But at this moment, I myself am writing in a state of anxiety as I wait impatiently for my window to open and hope against hope that there is a seat left for me in the classes I need.
Let me back up and explain the registration process a little bit though.
For all you high school seniors who have decided to attend Winona State this fall, your registration process is a bit different than mine right now. Entering freshmen all come to WSU on assigned days either in April or June and the entire second floor of the library is turned into an advising center. You will meet with a professor (usually someone in your declared major) who will pretty much walk you through the process He or she will help you decide which classes to take and show you how to use the online program. As freshmen, you’ll definitely take ENG 111 College Reading & Writing or CMST 191 Intro to Public Speaking your first semester but then you get to choose which general education credits to start tackling first.
In the following semesters, you’ll meet with your assigned advisor privately (though some departments, including the English Department, have group advising sessions). The most basic purpose of going to an advising session is to receive your access code which you need to log in and register. But advising sessions can offer so much more; faculty advisors can help you decide which classes to take, give advice about the difficulty or structure of particular classes, and make sure that you are taking the necessary courses to fulfill your major or minor. I usually look at all the classes available and plan my schedule well in advance so I don’t typically need much help but talking to English professors about class topics gets me so excited for my upcoming classes. (I told you I LIKE registration!)
Now, you may, like me, have decided on all your courses, creating this perfect schedule, and gotten your access code and that part was fun. NOW the dreadful waiting period begins while you count down the hours for your registration window to open. The registration windows, that is the time slots when your account become active, are staggered throughout the week and privileges those students with more credit hours under their belts. Windows for Senior-status students typically open on Monday, then Juniors on Tuesday, Sophomores on Wednesday-Thursday, and finally Freshmen on Thursday-Friday. You incoming freshmen are lucky (for your first semester that is)—you actually enroll for classes before anyone else does! While this system is obviously necessary for seniors who need to take certain courses in order to graduate on time, for underclassmen this spells agony as the days pass and there more potential that the classes you want will be filled by the time your registration window opens.
But don’t let the anxiety about not getting in and fear of falling behind get to you. Even if a class you want does fill up before you can register, you can get on the wait list or potentially blue card in, which means getting special permission from the professor to be added to the class. If neither recourse works out for you, you just have to face facts and try to take that particularly popular class next semester, when you will have more of a head start on THOSE incoming students!
P.S. By the time this blog was posted, my registration window opened. One of the classes I wanted was full but the others still had several seats left which I quickly claimed. Registration Week 2013—SUCCESS!
If you’re anything like me, then you may be rather frustrated with our current weather conditions. We get a nice bout of good, that is, endurable weather only to get kicked back down by torrential rain storms and even SNOW!!! Last time I checked, the birds are chirping, there is grass on the ground and Spring is supposed to be here. So what do we do with this lackluster effort from the green shinny days of Spring? The answer may be far simpler than it seems.
Prepare! Get in the mindset to get ready for a whole new world of workouts open up! It’s a lot harder than you may remember to get back into the swing of things. Since most of us probably do not even remember what it is like to get outside and exercise daily, START NOW! Work your way towards getting used to doing some kind of physical activity for an hour a day. Pushups and core exercises are a great way to work a good majority of the muscles in your body, and you can do it inside! Just do up to 10 to 15 minutes of ab workouts every other day and try doing at least three sets of a comfortable level of pushups to get your muscles active again! Got some high ceilings? Then jump roping is another great way to get your limbs a swingin’ so you won’t have to regret the full on effects of working out after a lazy and LONG winter. The ever popular Integrated Wellness Center also offers us continual use of its track, weight room and abundance of easy classes to enjoy such as yoga, Pilates, Zumba, Tighten and Tone and more! So lets start that ignition and get are rears in gear ’cause believe it or not, Winter is on its way out for good! (Well, for a few months at least!)
It’s nearly the end of the semester and students, you are probably excited to finish your classes and move out of the residence halls. But, as you start packing you might realize that you have a lot of stuff– such as textbooks, furniture, a bike– that you don’t want to bring home with you. This year instead of tossing all your unwanted items in the dumpster, “recycle” them on Wazoo’s List! Wazoo’s List is a Craiglist-style Facebook group exclusively for members of the WSU community and it is far more sustainable way to get that perfectly good futon or mini-fridge off your hands.
Wazoo’s List is also the place to go to find people, whether you are looking for a sub-leaser or roommate or just a ride to or from your hometown. You can also use this space to recruit for clubs and organizations.
But Wazoo’s List is not just for students—faculty, staff and retirees can use it too! Wazoo’s List is the perfect place to advertise for pet-sitter or someone to mow your lawn as well as pass down any of your gently-used items to someone (like a broke college-student) looking to upgrade.
Ultimately, Wazoo’s List provides connections within the WSU community– pairing buyers and sellers, finding takers for those offering. It is meant to be a resource to meet our community’s needs while supporting WSU’s efforts for sustainability.
If you are interested join Wazoo’s List on Facebook.
After 2 emails reminding me that this blog post was due on Friday, I figured I should get the ball rolling on this week’s blog post. So in the spirit of due date-eve, this week’s post will be about PROCRASTINATION. (I’m going to pull the “do as I say and not as I do” card on this one. You know, to help you guys out. I’ll start to work on myself later.)
Now clearly I am not an expert on this subject, but luckily, there are these strange people known as psychologists that actually know how the human mind really works, and Hara Marano happens to be one of these people! She states that “up to 70% of college students identify themselves as chronic procrastinators” (the other 30% put off responding [Are you sick of the procrastination jokes yet, because I'm not!]). Now since this is a blog about wellness, I have to tell you the GRAVE repercussions of procrastinating. Okay, “grave” probably isn’t the best word, but it does have some adverse health effects like adding stress to your life that can result in a compromised immune system, leading to a plethora of horrible diseases. Again, there I go freaking you guys out. It’ll probably just end up being a cold.
“How do I end the misery Caleb?” you say. I’m glad you guys asked! A man with a Ph.D. named Joseph Ferrari (vrooom!) says that procrastination is a acquired lifestyle that people pick up as a result of culture, family influence, etc. Since it is a learned trait, procrastination can therefore be corrected. Ferrari gives a great list of proactive steps one can take in order to stop procrastinating:
With finals right around the corner, following some of these steps can make this time of the year a lot less stressful. Now to help you start, here is a funny, but sadly true for some of us, picture about procrastination.
Choosing the right major for you is no easy task. The best way to begin narrowing down interest areas is to look at what you’ve done so far. You may look back at your high school years and be happy with the classes you took and the success you’ve had. You might also see successes and accomplishments that don’t necessarily include academic work. Either way, your past is a good place to start looking for what you are interested in as far as deciding on a major. This decision may be one of the most difficult because people often think that once they decide, they are stuck with that choice. The relieving truth is that this decision is not set in stone forever. Many of my fellow classmates, as well as myself have changed majors once, twice, maybe even three times. This flexibility is important to keep in mind when thinking about what you want to major in here at Winona State. It will make the decision less stressful for you, as well as helping you keep the door for opportunity open.
At Winona State we are lucky to have a great group of people working in the Advising Services Office to make things a bit easier in this situation where you are trying to figure out what direction you might take with your education. Advising Services staff works day in and day out to help you make good choices about courses and declaring a major, among their many other great resources. The best part is that all of these helpful services are available for free. I have personally experienced great results in utilizing the tools they have available to all Winona State students. If you are unsure of what direction to tailor your education or you just have a question about classes in general, I recommend scheduling to meet with somebody in the Advising Offices. I promise, you will not regret it.
Aside from advising, you can find more help by learning about the different departments on campus. Every department’s web page can be accessed through the university web site. On the department website you will find all kinds of great information including an overview of what the department is about, outlines of what you will be studying and information about the faculty in each department. This is a great resource if you are particularly unsettled by thoughts of the curriculum included in certain majors. A source, which I find goes hand in hand with the department itself, is talking to other students that are involved within the departments you feel interested in. By talking with students you may get different perspectives on the department from students currently going through the coursework of that department. Learning from your peers is extremely important in college and talking to students about the departments is part of that. Unlike high school, the people you will eventually end up taking most classes with will be the students expressing the same educational interests as yours. What better way to meet other students is there than to talk about common interests?
Although Winona State has incredible resources for helping you choose the right major for you, don’t feel like you are behind if you are unsure of what major you want to earn. I think one of the first things I felt when starting at Winona State was that I felt behind, because I began my freshman year without any sort of idea as to what major I wanted to declare. Which is completely understandable for first year students. Deciding on what major you want to declare can be rough for some people because the opportunities vary widely. Not only was I unsure of which major I wanted, but when I chose my major the first time around, I ended up changing my mind and did a complete 180 degree turn from my original decision. College is a great chance to explore new areas that may not have been available to you in your high school. So don’t be uneasy if you aren’t sure at this moment what you want for your major; most college students end up changing their minds anyway so use your uncertainty to explore new opportunities. The best way to do this is to attack your General Education courses and maybe you’ll find you perfect major within them!
– Alex Russell
Hey–guess what!!! This Friday, Phillip Phillips of American Idol 2012 fame will be at WSU! You may know his song “Home;” it has been on the radio for several weeks now. The show is sold out but luckily my friends & I got our tickets almost two weeks ago. It is going to be so fun! I love concerts; I’ve been to Warped Tour three times, seen Owl City twice, and saw LMFAO at the Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee, WI to name just a few. But I haven’t been to a concert in months (daily classes and a lack of wheels, not to mention funds, makes going to concerts kinda difficult) so I am very excited, especially since this is my first time going to a concert at WSU. Last year I did not attend because it was a country band called Elenowen and I simply draw the line at country music.
The Phillip Phillips concert is this year’s big Spring Concert, an annual event sponsored by the University Programming Activity Committee. The members of this student organization coordinate the entire event: contacting musicians, advertising, selling tickets and setting up the venue. They do a tremendous amount of work and I know that I really appreciate it as student because they bring the music right to me. Tickets are cheap—only $10!—while concert tickets typically run upwards of $50 what with all the extra venue fees and taxes. Also, there isn’t the expense and hassle of driving to the venue because the Spring Concerts are right on campus in the McCown Fieldhouse.
The Spring Concert is probably the largest event UPAC that organizes but they also bring magicians and comedians, and other performers, including Chris Carter, Adam Grabowski, and George Watsky, to perform in Somsen Auditorium. They also have Grocery Bingo, where you play bingo for grocery prizes, $3 Bowling night at Westgate Lanes, and $3 movie nights at the Winona 7 theater downtown. If you are looking to get out of Winona for a day, watch for the UPAC bus trips to the Cities to attend baseball games, watch plays at the Orpheum Theater, and shop at Mall of America.
Does that sound like we have a lot of fun at WSU? You bet we do! The University Programming Activities Committee is an integral part of student life on this college campus. Check out UPAC’s official WSU page or their Facebook page for all their upcoming programs and past events
Now that Mother Nature has turned and finally decided to grace us with this pleasant weather, a friend of mine and I decided to pull the old running shoes out of their winter hibernation and hit the trails around the lake. However, within the first mile, our run turned into more of an oxygen-deprived trot around the big lake. As we walked the last half mile back to East Lake Apartments, she brought up how thanks to her sporadic motivation (I’m trying to get the CDC to make it a legitimate condition, but they won’t return my calls) during the winter always puts her back at square one and forces her to get back into shape.
Since this is something I assume affects the 90% of us who are sane and don’t want to go out in the cold to run around and stay in shape, we must find a way to get over the hump and get back what was lost (or gained) during the winter. Of course, doing something active and fun is the best way to get out and moving on a recurring basis, and a great place to start is basketball! As most of you already know, right in our very own Integrated Wellness Center are 2 full size basketball courts open to student use. Grab a couple friends and start a pick up game; it’s a fun, active way to spend an afternoon or evening. If you’re a loner, you’re still in luck! You can grab a ball and start shooting baskets by yourself. Can’t dunk? That’s okay, you don’t need to be competitive. There are fun, intramural teams you can join and just have fun playing and meeting some new people. It’s a great way to burn those winter calories off, build up endurance, improve coordination, and build up muscle.
Grab your athletic shorts and lace up those shoes!