We’ve all been there before. You’re cuddled up in bed at 3 in the afternoon, already wearing PJ pants and well into yet another Netflix marathon. The snow is falling hard outside, making it difficult to even leave your room. An open bag of pretzels leans up against an empty jar of Nutella. As the credits roll, your finger hovers over the “Next Episode” button…
Well it’s time to get moving! Though the gym may be a far trek from your room, it’s easy to stay active in one room. Here are some tips and tricks to keep your body healthy, even with a 12×12 foot room.
1. Get the Heart Rate Going!
This chart is perfect to add some cardio after sitting for so long. Luckily, none of these exercises require any weights or equipment. It’s easy to do and is a perfect alternative to running outside or on a treadmill!
2. Tone Those Muscles!
This month-long routine is perfect to tone your muscles in a smaller space. It only lists crunches, sit-ups and squats, but if you stick to it for the whole month, the results are awesome! Do this first thing in the morning or right before being to bed and you’ll be getting fitter – in the comfort of your own room.
3. Put in a Movie – No Really!
Another great idea on how to stay fit in a small space is simply pressing “play”. Look on YouTube or purchase a workout DVD for some heart-pumping exercises that can be done only a few feet away from your TV. It’s like having a personal trainer right there in your own home!
Be sure to check out WSU’s Wellness Pinterest board for more ideas on how to stay happy and healthy during these dreary winter months!
Graduation is coming fast, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve likely woken up in a cold sweat at 2a.m. having visions of poorly formatted résumés and a mental to-do list as tall as Mount Everest. But stay calm—here is everything you need to remember, all in one place.
Now that you’re thoroughly stressed out, take a deep breath and know that all of this means you SUCCEEDED in college. Your hard work is now all coming together, and the stress of the list above will be worth it when you walk across that stage.
While I’m not one who lives paycheck to paycheck, I know the value of living frugally. I budget carefully and think through my purchases. Sometimes though, it seems like buying eco-friendly products and living green are too expensive for a college student’s budget. For instance, there’s no way I could afford to drive a hybrid car or put solar panels on my apartment roof. But there are ways to have the best of both worlds: this is a student’s guide to sustainable frugality, saving you money and the environment too.
1. Using a Glass Water Bottle Instead of Buying Plastic
The average 24 pack of your basic, glorified tap water is around $3. Let’s say that you go through one of these packs each month. In a year you will spend $36 simply for the convenience of water in plastic bottles. This isn’t too bad for your bank account, but it is bad for the environment because you alone have added 288 plastic bottles to landfills in a single year. Think about how many plastic bottles would be wasted if all the students at WSU, let alone the entire US population went through a 24 pack of water a month! Alternatively, you can get a glass water bottle for about $12 at Target. After four months of reusing the glass water bottle, the bottle has paid for itself and now you are saving $24 a year, plus there is zero plastic waste.
2. Make Your Own Cleaning Products with Natural Ingredients
When you want something really clean, your first instinct is probably to reach for the product with disinfecting chemicals cooked up in labs. But in fact, Mother Nature already perfected two powerful cleaning solutions: white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Mix either one with water (on a 50/50 ratio) or use hydrogen peroxide on its own, and you have a natural all-purpose cleaner for counter-tops, glass surfaces, carpets and even your toilet bowl. You can get 128oz of white vinegar for $3 and 32oz of hydrogen peroxide for just $1 at the grocery or drugstore. Let’s compare that to spending $2 on a 24oz bottle toilet bowl cleaner and $3 for a 26oz bottle of counter-top disinfectant. On the surface, it doesn’t look like much of a difference, but the savings are apparent when you drill down to price per ounce. At $2, the commercial toilet bowl cleaner comes out to $0.08/oz and the commercial disinfectant at $3 cost about $0.12/oz. The vinegar costs $0.02/oz while the hydrogen peroxide comes out to $0.03/oz. The commercial products are 4 times as expensive as the natural ones! Remember, too, that you have to dilute the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide with water so your purchases will go even further. Over a year, you will spend a bit less on cleaning products by making your own natural recipes, but the real savings come from avoiding harsh chemicals that can actually make you sick even while your house is spotless.
3. Switch Incandescent Bulbs Out for CFL Bulbs
This is a well-known energy saving tip but when you see the sticker price at the store, you might think otherwise. It’s true that you have to spend some money upfront to purchase CFL lightbulbs but you will save energy and money overall. Let me take you through the math. At Target, you can get two GE 60-Watt Incandescent Soft White Light Bulb for $2.50 while two GE 60-Watt CFL Soft White Light Bulbs will cost $8.79. Say you need 10 light bulbs for your entire apartment, so your total bill would be $12.50 for incandescent bulbs and $43.95 for CFL bulbs. That’s a big price difference! But you can see the savings already when you look at how long the bulbs will last. GE claims that the CFL bulbs will last 13.7 years while the incandescent bulbs will only make it 1.4 years. With the cost of replacement, you would end up spending $9/year on incandescent bulbs, but only $3/year on CFLs because they last so much longer. That is a yearly savings of $6. Now let’s factor in energy usage. The average Minnesotan uses 793 kilowatt hours (kWh) each month and the average cost for residential electricity in Winona is $0.11/kWh (http://www.electricitylocal.com/states/minnesota/winona/). At that rate, your average monthly electricity bill is about $87. Now, each incandescent bulb uses 60 watts, and if you used one bulb for 10 hours a day, that one bulb would use 0.6kWh. At ten bulbs for 10hrs/day, you would use 6kWh each day. Using 10 incandescent bulbs for 10 hours a day for 30 days would equate to 180 kWh/ month. The total cost for all that energy is $19.8/month. Meanwhile, each CFL bulb uses a mere 15 watts, so 1 bulb for 10 hrs/day would use .15 kWh. At 10 bulbs for 10hrs/day, the energy consumed would amount to 1.5kWh, and at 10 bulbs for 10 hrs/day for 30 days the total would be 45 kWh/month. The total cost is just $4.95/month. That is a savings of $15 each month—your $90 bill is now $75. In a year, you’ll save $180. As you can see, the savings add up quickly!
4. Eat Seasonal and Local Foods
It’s the dead of winter and we’re all longing for spring to arrive. While at the grocery store you might reach out for a nectarine or some grapes just to remember that there is warmth world. But hold up—those warm-weather fruits clearly aren’t in season here in Minnesota. No, they had a long journey to your local Hy-vee from California, Mexico or maybe even Chile, an expense you’ll see at the register when you pay $3-4 per pound for those nectarines and grapes. Even though eating fresh produce is healthy for you, eating produce when it’s in season helps the environment by lowering emissions produced by shipping foods thousands of miles and saves you money too. Not to mention that that oranges, strawberries and peppers taste better when you get them in season. Eating local produce is even better because again there are reduced shipping costs—both monetary and environmental—and you keep your dollars in the local economy. Supporting local farmers at the Winona Farmers Market is an important way to build community, which in turn supports your life as well because all businesses thrive when people have money to spend.
5. Cut Down on Food Waste
Speaking of food, let’s talk about how much money you lose by wasting food. In the U.S, 40% of the food produced gets thrown away each year at every stage of production from insect damage to commercial “beauty standards” for produce to spoilage in your fridge. All this wasted food costs Americans $43,052,480,000. That is a huge number to wrap your mind around, but think about it this way. If the average American family of four spends roughly $1,252 per month on groceries, as a single college student you might spend about $300 at the most. If you threw out 40% of the food you purchased, you would basically toss $120 in the trash—that’s some serious cash! A big reason people throw away food is because it spoils before they can use it. Here are few apps that can help you help you eliminate your own food waste and save money:
Even if food isn’t actually spoiled, most people will still toss it if the expiration date has passed. While expiration dates have good intentions to reduce food-borne illnesses, the fact is that any bad bacteria is already present regardless of the date printed on the package. Expiration dates are really more of guidelines for grocery store shelf-stockers—for you, the consumer, most foods are still perfectly good to eat even if the expiration date has passed.
The time has come and gone: Resident Assistant Decision Day is over. For some it was a very joyous event, but for others it may not have been what they expected. As someone who has been through this exact same process, I have a message for you whether you got the RA job or not.
For those who got RA positions…
Congratulations! You are about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime! Being a Resident Assistant is one of the most rewarding jobs on campus in my opinion because you are in a role to impact future residents’ college careers. You have to realize that you are now a campus leader and your residents will be looking to you for help, information and friendship next year and you are fully capable of all of this.
For those who got alternate positions…
Do NOT let this get you down! There is no such thing as being “JUST” an alternate, you have a very good chance of getting a position in the next year. You have to keep your chin up and be proud that you made it that far, you put yourself out there and made it up there. You’re at the final steps to becoming an RA just keep telling yourself that!
For those who did not receive a position…
You can’t give up! The RA process is a very competitive process and you tried your best! As a freshmen I did not receive an RA position. Instead of getting discouraged, I met with my Hall Director and asked what I could do to improve, got more involved my sophomore year of college and now I am an RA. The key is not to give up, you are capable of this position and as long as you try your best and go at it again, anything is possible!
Upon entering Winona State University as a freshman two and a half years ago, I never suspected that I might get involved with the Theater and Dance department. Actually, I never thought I’d be in a dance performance period (unless you count the one I did in third grade with the cute yellow tutu). But here I am, post-Dancescape after nearly six months of sweaty rehearsals and the remnants of last night’s stage makeup still under my eyes.
Although I have played guitar and sang for people many times without getting nervous, I’ll be honest, I was pretty nervous on opening night. But as the first three notes of the song “Spacedrum” went off and the hot lights went up, all the nerves faded. It was just my fellow dancers, the choreography and me. I was in the piece “Mindswarm,” choreographed by WSU Senior Pedro Lander, and “Ode to Swimme,” choreographed by faculty Jacqueline MarkevitchPaulsen.
I was also really nervous to show my friends and family what I’d been working on for the past six months. Since I haven’t been a long-term dancer, they didn’t know what to expect. Both the pieces I was in were very modern and nontraditional, but it seemed all my friends and family loved it.
To say that Dancescape was just a rewarding experience for me would be a bit of an understatement. Not only did I meet some of the most kind and welcoming people in our Dance department, but the studio also became a safe space for me where I could work out personal issues, anger or sadness through movement. I’ve heard of the healing powers of dance before but sheesh—I had no idea how effective it could be.
Working with my fellow dancers was an inspiring experience. There’s just something about looking into my friend’s eyes as we dance together that makes us feel like a true team, devoted to the piece and devoted to each other. A lot of the choreography was shaped collaboratively between choreographer and cast, so it was exciting to be a part of the whole creative process.
Over the past four days, I’ve heard the same review from everyone: this year was the best Dancescape they’ve ever seen. I feel so proud to be part of such a creative, collaborative and loving group of people and even more proud to be part of a show that left impressions on many.
I think over the coming months, I’ll miss the Memorial 300 studio, the walls of mirrors, the soreness of dancing on the black floor in bare feet and the way dance allows me to throw both my mind and body into something freeing and wonderful. Dancescape was a terrifyingly new experience that pushed me about ten paces out of my comfort zone—but it was so rewarding for the very same reasons.
As Valentines Day quickly approaches, I’m sure most of us single people can’t help but dread it just a little bit. What’s the point of Valentine’s Day with no significant other to spend it with? Your plans might probably something along the lines of getting a tub of ice cream and sitting down to watch a romantic film by yourself, but I would like to share a little piece of advice that I learned awhile ago: Valentine’s Day isn’t just for the lovebirds.
Valentine’s Day is about really just about love and luckily for us, love isn’t an emotion reserved for those with significant others. Think about it: you love your parents, you love your siblings, you love your grandma, your roommates, your best friend, your dog – the list could go on and on. Valentine’s Day should be about showing all the people in your life how much you care about them.
So here’s a few thing you can do instead of watching that movie based on a Nicholas Sparks novel.
If you surround yourself with the people who mean the world to you, and I can assure you that you won’t spend February 15 regretting the fact that you ate an entire tub of ice cream and cried for 2 hours over The Notebook. Furthermore, you should revel in the fact that you are blessed with people who love you every day of the year and not just on February 14.
So, you can either choose to be the Valentine’s Day Scrooge or sit back and realize that, yes, not having someone to go on a romantic date with may be disheartening and at times very frustrating, but there are so many other people in your life to love and they wall want it just as much as you do.
While there are plenty of good date night opportunities around the city of Winona, your res hall can actually be perfect for a romantic rendezvous this Valentine’s Day. Hey now, don’t look so skeptical! It’s true, and here’s how I know.
The first Valentine’s Day my boyfriend and I shared came just two months after we started dating. Not ready for an all-out celebration, we opted for a simple evening in my res hall room. He came over around 8pm and we curled up together to watch the sweet romance between Llyod Dobler and Diane Court unfold in the classic romantic comedy Say Anything. Honestly, it was just as fun as any of the more elaborate Valentine’s Day’s we’ve had because we talked and laughed and enjoyed each other’s company.
If you’re also thinking about going the route of a low-key movie night, here are a few tips for creating romance in the res halls:
1. Clean Your Room
It seems obvious, but a clean room is always more inviting than a messy space. Vacuum the floor, take out the trash, spray some air freshener— particularly if you want to make a good impression on a date who has never seen your room before. Even if your date has already seen your messy side, they’ll be sure to notice the extra effort you made to pick up your socks and make your bed.
Respectfully Relocate Your Roommate
A big part of romance is being open and emotionally vulnerable, but sharing your thoughts and feelings can be awkward if your roommate is sitting just a few feet away. So, make arrangements with your roommate to have the room to yourself for a few hours. Do this ahead of time so as not to make your roommate feel exiled from their own room. You want to wake up on 2/15 with two successful relationships, not a romantic partner at the cost of a roommate.
Nix the Overhead Lighting
Because nothing sets the mood better than the harsh glare of overhead lighting, amirite? WRONG. What you want is a softer glow from a few table laps or maybe some rope lights strung up around the room for an amorous atmosphere. Hey, a cozy dimness might be cliché, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t effective.
Pick the Right Movie
There are probably literally a million romantic movies out there so choosing the right one is important. Don’t test your date’s patience by choosing a movie that gets you feeling lovey-dovey but has them counting down until the credits roll. Also, I’d advise against The Titanic and The Notebook because, while they’re classic love stories, they’re also tear-jerkers. And, let’s be honest, no one cries as prettily in real life as people do in the movies.
Of course, these things are not necessary to falling in love—that’s just what happens when two people connect on a deeper level—but they can help make the evening special. This year, my boyfriend and I are planning a Valentine’s night-in very similar to that one our freshman year. And it’s going to be just as sweet this time around too.
I have waited for this day for four long years. The day I could fill out the graduation application because this is my final semester. In just a few months I will be saying sayonara to the student status that I’ve held for the last two decades (Wow, that’s a long time!).
Ok, so it’s not the same as actually graduating with the cap and the gown and the diploma in hand, but it’s still one step closer to that momentous day. Though I had mentally prepared and set aside some time, the application was surprisingly simple to complete. In just a few clicks, having reviewed my degree completion information and indicating the mailing address for my diploma, it was done. The whole thing took all of three minutes and then I was looking at a redirect screen with the message “Thank you for submitting your application”.
For some reason, I thought there would be more to it—perhaps because this such a big deal in my life, I expected the application to exude the same gravitas. But this was not the case. In fact, it was much more like I was announcing to WSU that I was graduating than asking for leave to do so. I guess this makes sense because as a nervous, naive freshman, I needed permission to attend the University. Now as a confident senior, I know that I’ve truly earned my degrees and I am ready to take those few steps across the stage into the next phase of my life.
While you technically have some time to apply for graduation, you have to submit the application by midterm to be eligible for provisional academic honors and get your name in the Commencement program. I advise you to get it done as soon as possible —it takes less time than ordering a cup of coffee, and who doesn’t want to see their name printed in the program?
Whenever you decide to fill out the application, don’t be fooled by its mundane appearance. It does have a special meaning to it—savor that and hold on to it through these last weeks until the big day, May 8, finally arrives.
Imagine if you will…an ordinary man– not unlike yourself– who wakes up every morning and goes to the office of the job he hates. Despite hating every minute at this job, he stays, telling himself that if he just sticks to it for 12 more years he’ll get the retirement benefits and move somewhere exotic. Although this is true, his day-to-day life is still miserable, and his work lets him down over and over again. More and more often, he contemplates quitting, but he still has ten more years to go.
This is a story true for a large sum of Americans. This could be our parents, our aunts, our uncles, our friend’s parents, sometimes even our teachers. But this will not be me and it shouldn’t be you.
Choosing the right major is vital to your post-secondary education
success happiness. Luckily, there’s no big rush to declare if you’re a freshman or even a first semester sophomore. You’ve got some time to figure it out. However, if you are approaching your junior year the time to choose is coming quickly, and odds are you’re feeling anxious, confused and lost. So I’m here to tell you that everything is going to be okay.
A lot of people make picking your major out to be the end all decision that determines whether you succeed or fail in life, but in reality picking your major shouldn’t be stressful. In fact, picking your major should be easy. Because like it or not, we all know exactly what we want to be when we grow up.
I came to Winona four months ago with a passion for writing and a major in English Education/CALT. I told myself over and over being a teacher would be great. I would love being a teacher. There was no better career for me. And I believed this for about two weeks. But in the panic of studying for the MTLEs, trying to sharpen my public speaking skills and attempting to figure out what grade level I wanted to teach, I realized this was too much for me. So I went searching for help from the CAL adviser.
He was happy to make an appointment with me and when we sat down he asked me one important question: “Why do you want to teach?” I mulled the question over, desperate to impress the head of the CALT program, and proudly replied that I had a passion for writing and felt that I could really contribute to a classroom environment because of my knowledge.
He shot me down without hesitation, and I mean that in the best way possible. He told me that if I wasn’t passionate about teaching kids and willing to deal with the extra hours after work, the angry parents, the unwilling students and the bureaucratic red tape, that I should reconsider my major. Teaching is a noble job, but it’s not an easy path to take. Despite not impressing the head of the CAL department, I was relieved. He’d told me what I’d known all along. I wasn’t cut out to be a teacher, I didn’t have the patience or want the time commitment. I wanted to write and only write.
I was terrified, naturally, as no freshman wants to come in and lose their major right off the bat especially with no real back up plan. I tried all the different venues of finding a new major, including:
But at the end of the day it all came back to writing. It was all I could think about and all I wanted to do, but no one can deny that’s scary. No one knows the job outlook for broad majors like that. You could be employed right out of college or you could be unemployed for more than six months. It’s a scary tossup. Or so I thought. If you’re having the same feelings towards a major you’re interested in, try going in and talking to the head of the department, because you may be surprised at what they tell you.
The professors I spoke with over in the English department as well as my orientation teacher all stressed two key messages, and I think that these are the most important things to remember while choosing a major.
1. If you do what makes you happy, you’ll never work a day in your life.
2. Anyone can get a degree, it’s how you apply it that will find you your job.
So, if you know what you love and you know what makes you happy, then that’s exactly what you should pursue. Don’t worry about what other people will think and don’t worry about what your parents or friends say: worry about what makes you happy, because that’s how you’ll truly be successful in life.
Because at the end of the day, you are the one that has to live with your decisions, not them. You have the capacity to do amazing, wonderful, powerful things with your dreams. You just need to be brave enough to follow them.