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Ultimate Roommate Pranks

April is almost here and with April…comes April Fools’ Day.

April Fools’ Day is one of the most lighthearted days of the years. It’s a date where people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other.

And who better to prank when you’re at college than your roommate(s)?! Of course you want to be able to prank them in a way that won’t do too much harm to your room or your relationship with your roommate(s). There are plenty of friendly yet still hilarious ways to prank your roommate.

I was inspired by one of my favorite YouTube vloggers, Joe Sugg or “ThatcherJoe.” He has a series of videos where he and his roommate prank each other back and forth. So take a gander at this video, get inspired, have a few giggles and get planning!

The Ultimate Balloon Prank

Personally, I think some of ThatcherJoe’s pranks are more suited for houses than res halls since you don’t want to cause any damages that you’ll be charged for come check-out day. But ​I think buying Post-it notes and balloons should definitely make it onto your to buy list this weekend–those items may or may not be on mine. ;) These two pranks are easy going, are easy to clean up and they have a hilarious impact.

That being said, remember that April Fools’ Day is a day for jokes, and although some jokes may seem hilarious to you they might not be so funny to your roommate(s). Keep this in mind when you are hatching your devious April Fools’ pranks.

Keep it light. Keep it simple. Have fun!​

–Emily McCaleb

President Olson's Top 10 Reasons to Return the Watkins Painting

10. It takes up so much space on your wall that you had to take down your beloved poker-playing dogs poster.

dogs playing poker painting

9. Huge nautical scenes in your tiny apartment can cause bouts of seasickness and require you to load up on costly Dramamine.

dizzy cartoon Lizzie McGuire

8. New students who used the painting as a landmark to find their third floor Somsen classes have been wandering around the building all semester.

woman lost in crowd

7. The missing sailboat painting seriously derails our plan to compete with the marine art collection at Winona’s Minnesota Marine Art Museum.

man falls to floor in disappointment

6. Rumor has it that the next sequel to The Da Vinci Code focuses on secret clues hidden in this particular painting. Spoiler alert: If you look closely at the ship in the foreground, you can see Leonardo Da Vinci on the deck eating a Bloedow’s maple Long John!

man eating donut on a boat

5. The angel whispering in your ear has typically proven to be a much more reliable life coach than the devil on your other shoulder.

an angel and devil appear on man's shoulders

4. Future non-Art-majors at WSU deserve the same right to fail to notice beautiful paintings as previous generations of non-Art-majors.

teenage boy does double take

3. “Art Thief” is not a helpful addition to your resume unless you are a character in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

alfred hitchcock's shadow

2. WSU President’s best attempt to replicate the missing work looks like the paintings made by elephants Rani and Lakshmi holding paintbrushes in their trunks…minus the peanut reward motivation.

elephant paints with trunk

1. You can’t spell “Winona State University” without “Beautiful Art.” Well, actually, you CAN spell “Winona State University” without “Beautiful Art,” but why would you want to?

an oil painting of a sailboat

Anyone with information about the painting’s whereabouts or the circumstances under which it was removed is asked to contact WSU Security at 507.457.5555 or report via Silent Witness. A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information that leads directly to the recovery of this painting in good condition.

–President Scott Olson

Black Trans Lives Matter to Cece and Me

Cece McDonald

“Don’t ever feel like what someone else says you are trumps who you are” – Cece McDonald.

On Tuesday, March 17, I had the opportunity to attend Cece McDonald’s presentation “Black Trans Lives Matter” in the Harriet Johnson Auditorium. Cece McDonald is a black trans woman and social activist from Minneapolis, MN. She came into the public eye after an incident in June 2012 where she was a victim of a violent hate crime while walking to the grocery store with some of her friends. She was verbally and physically abused and, while defending herself, ended up killing her attacker.

She accepted a plea bargain of 41 months for second-degree manslaughter. Even though she is a trans woman, she was housed in male prisons against her gender identity. This attracted the attention of many advocate groups and individuals, including actress and activist Laverne Cox who is currently producing a documentary called “Free Cece.” Today, Cece works towards education and equality for all people.

Cece discussed a plethora of information in her presentation, from the very real issue of violence towards women to the issues with the prison industrial complex and the goals of the prison abolition movement. One of the biggest things that stuck out to me from the discussions was the quote that acts as the title to this post. “Don’t ever feel like what someone says you are, trumps who you are.” I think that this is such a powerful message. Absolutely no one can tell you who you are other than yourself. You define your truth and no one has the right to change that. As Cece said, “You’re here. You’re existing. And you can’t let anyone take that away from you [even though] they will try.”

To share everything I learned would result in a blog post that kept scrolling forever, so I will share what I believe to be the main points that really stuck out to me:

  • There is a lack of people actually getting involved. Many people want to say that they are allies to the LGBT– specifically trans– community, but they don’t actually do anything. To be an ally means to be actively fighting for equality. You can’t just throw the “ally” label on yourself to seem progressive.
  • Violence towards women is a serious issue. Physical, verbal and sexual violence all occur in greater numbers against women, and this includes trans* women. This fact is something people often forget when they are fighting against this violence.
  • Racism exists in every community. This includes the LGBTQIA community. Too often people have the idea that because they are a marginalized group that they cannot be oppressive of other marginalized groups, and quite frankly that is an idiotic notion. Failure to recognize this will result in no real change.
  • The community of people of color isn’t just black people. To ignore all the other communities of color creates a divide, which will only make the struggle towards equality harder.
  • GET INVOLVED. In the words of CeCe McDonald: “If you claim to be an ally, be a true ally. If you stand in solidarity, stand with us longer and stronger.” Enough said.
  • We need to take a critical look at the prison industry. The prison ideal was built upon inequality, and it is too corrupt and broken to be fixed. It needs to be abolished and evaluated.
  • You exist as a whole and not as parts of yourself. “People either see me as Black or as Trans, and people never really see me as both…I am a Trans Woman of Color and I can’t separate those things.” – Cece McDonald.

Inequality, racism, transphobia and marginalization: these are all very real realities and it is our job as communities of people to work towards eradicating these ideals. Cece noted, “I’m always seen as the angry black woman and you know what? I have the right to be angry.” We all do. We shouldn’t be bystanders in this struggle. We all need to get angry and use that anger to work towards true equality for everyone in all aspects of who they are. Just because I’m am able-bodied cisgender white man doesn’t mean I can’t fight for the rights of my fellow people who don’t receive the privileges I do from being of that status. We all need to work together to make sure that people can go about their lives being true to themselves and not receive any discrimination for doing so.

–Garrett Bowling

Navigating the Dining Halls with Food Allergies

students in the cafeteria

​If you live or have lived on campus, you’ve had your share of meals in the dining halls, be it Jack Kane or Lourdes Cafeteria. You know, of course, that Dining Services provides a plethora of meals on a daily basis at their all-you-can-eat buffets each day. For some students, the caf is a wonderland of options without the hassle of cooking themselves. But for those of us with allergies or other dietary restrictions, the caf is more like a minefield and we stick to a few tried and true dishes. This lack of variety in the dining halls is reason that makes living off-campus appealing for upperclassmen.

What so many people don’t realize is that the Dining Services staff are more than willing to tailor fully balanced meals to your dietary needs as part of your meal plan. If you ask any of the workers about getting a special meal put together, they will happily guide you to a supervisor who can talk you through the different items in the dining hall that will work for your diet.

There are some staff members who specialize to students’ needs and they will set up meetings to help guide you more in depth on what is available for you to eat. In these meetings,  the workers focus on your allergy, review menu items and ingredients and deal with cross contamination issues in order to develop a plan to fit your dining needs.

So, if any of you have abandoned your meal plan and resorted to buying all your own groceries in order to cope with food allergies or other restriction, stop spending your money on that. You don’t have to struggle to find food on campus–just set up a meeting with Dining Services so you can figure out how to make your meal plan work for you. They are more than willing to help!

–Emily McCaleb


Bracketology: Your Odds at a Perfect Bracket

warrior wisdom logo and post title

It’s that time of year again — there’s a new energy on campus and excitement in the air as students and faculty alike chatter about seed rankings and win/loss records. Yep, it’s March Madness. But do you know what it takes to craft a perfect bracket?

Using a “Naïve” Bracket

There are a total of 63 games that will be played to determine the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball champions. If you were to flip a coin to determine the winner of each of these 63 games, the probability that in the end you would get them all right is

a math equation showing probability

Now this probability is approximately 1 in 9.2 quintillion (9.2 followed by 18 zeroes)! This I would say is called the naïve bracket or purely “by chance” bracket.

To give this small chance some context consider the following:

  • You are approximately 52 billion times more likely to win the Powerball Jackpot (which has a 1 in 175 million chance based on buying a single ticket), and you are 300 times more likely to win the Powerball Jackpot twice in a row based on buying one ticket for each!
    Mr. Krab grabs at money
  • Suppose you tested your ESP by guessing the suit of a randomly selected card from 52-card deck. The probability of getting 18 randomly cards correct in a row is twice as likely as filling out a perfect naïve bracket.
    a dog does a card trick
  • In Minnesota, your probability of being struck by lightning in a given year is approximately 1 in 668,108. Assuming you are not a “human lightning rod,” your chance of getting struck by lightning three years in a row is 31 times higher than your chance of filling out the perfect naïve bracket.
    lightning strikes
  • It is 18.6 million times more likely that a normal pregnancy (non-fertility drug enhanced) will result in septuplets (i.e. 7 babies).
    a baby waves excitedly
  • According to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File, your chances of being attacked by a shark is 1 in 11.5 million. You are 802 billion times more likely to be attacked by a shark than fill out a perfect naïve bracket. Of course, if you live in the Midwest and don’t stick a toe in the ocean your chances are 0!
    a cartoon shark laughs

Using an “Educated” Bracket

Now most people don’t fill out their brackets by simply flipping a coin to determine the winner. The teams in each region are seeded, and we generally think that the #1 seeded team in a region is going to win their first round game against the #16 seeded team. In fact, a #16 seed has never beaten in #1 seed in the men’s championship. However, this has happened in the women’s championship bracket!

Using seeding (or some other team rating scheme) to help decide which teams will win in a given match-up within your bracket is what I will refer to as the “educated” bracket. Bracketology experts are varied in their opinions on the likelihood of filling out an “educated” bracket perfectly, but there is evidence to suggest the chance is around 1 in 128 billion. Thus the “educated” bracket is approximately 72 million times more likely to be perfect than the naïve bracket described above.

To help fill-in your “educated” bracket consider the following regarding 1st round match-ups for the men’s tournament:

1 vs. 16           100% of the time the #1 seed has won.

2 vs. 15           96.1% of the time the #2 seed has won.

3 vs. 14           84.6% of the time the #3 seed has won.

4 vs. 13           78.8% of the time the #4 seed has won.

5 vs. 12           66.3% of the time the #5 seed has won.

6 vs. 11           68.3% of the time the #6 seed has won.

7 vs. 10           59.6% of the time the #7 seed has won.

8 vs. 9             46.1% of the time the #8 seed has won, i.e. #9 seeds are more likely to win.

What’s interesting is that we almost expect one 4 vs. 13 game to result in an upset win for the #13 seed. In fact, in the past 30 tournaments there has been at least one 4 vs. 13 upset in 26 of them, some years with more than one. So, in filling out a perfect bracket you will probably want to pick a #4 vs. #13 upset.

Also just because it has never happened, doesn’t mean a #1 seed couldn’t lose to a #16 seed, an occurrence that would almost destroy anyone’s bracket. In should be noted that twice in past 30 years or so the #1 seed beat the #16 seed by only one point! Could this be the year that a #1 seed falls in the first round? Could this be the year someone fills out the perfect bracket? Given how unlikely the perfect bracket is, I would bet David will beat Goliath before the perfect bracket is achieved!

Another “Optimal” Strategy

Last year after doing my homework on the match-ups etc., I finished at the 80th percentile of all brackets filled out on the NCAA March Madness site.  My wife however, who picks teams based on team colors, mascot names, and other scientific methods finished in the low 90s. So the “pretty uniforms & fun names” strategy is probably as good as any other.

Further Reading

If you want to dig into all the math and science behind bracketology, here are a few research articles to help you get started:


About the Author

Professor Brant DeppaWritten by Brant Deppa, Winona State University Statistics Department





About Warrior Wisdom
warrior wisdom logoThe Warrior Wisdom project asks Winona State faculty and staff to weigh in on culturally relevant topics, sharing both their personality and expertise on topics ranging from Beards to Zen Meditation.

I’m Undecided, but I Know What My Major is NOT

a man says no

I might not know what I want, but there are some majors that are definitely not for me.

During your first year at college, you will constantly get asked about your major. At Winona State, the two answers you will hear most often are nursing or education. But that’s not my story. I do not have a declared major right now, and quite honestly, sometimes I feel ashamed telling people that when they seem to be confidently pursuing such challenging and specific majors. I mean, how are we supposed to know what we want to do with our lives at 18 years old? When I was just starting college, this demand for an answer seemed so overwhelming.

The truth is that freshmen often begin as an undecided major, and it is a route that seems to be working for me. Actually an undeclared major is pretty great because you have an opportunity to explore your many interests. I love taking a wide variety of classes in a semester and there are always a few that I really enjoy. As a result, I do well in those classes and learning is the ultimate goal, right? Currently, I have no idea what I want to major in, but I do have an idea of a few things that I don’t want pursue for my major.

Many people come to Winona State because of our great Nursing and Health Sciences program, but nursing is not for me. I admire the medical field so much, but I don’t do well competitively and so the possibility of not making it into the highly selective Nursing Program would be too much for me to handle. In addition, I’ve never been gifted in the science department, so the struggle I had in my high school chemistry and biology classes would translate into hardships in that field. I am inspired by the strength, compassion and dedication that people who become nurses possess, but I cannot realistically see myself becoming a nurse.

I’ve also realized that I won’t be declaring an English major. I have struggled with academic writing for the majority of my years in school because essay writing gives me a lot of anxiety and I never seem to improve. I have English 111 this semester, and it is by far the hardest class I have, even though it is the intro English class. I just have a hard time with how there is not one specific way to write an essay, unlike the single correct solution to a math problem (although I don’t like math either). I do love creative writing, though, which is why I enjoy activities like blogging. I like the freedom in creative writing and the ways its more “forgiving” than academic writing, so some sort of writing field may be in my future.

I encourage you to not let people pressure you into making the decision about your major before you’re ready. Personally, I can really struggle in school, so when I find a path that has classes I enjoy and do well in, I take full advantage of that and see where it takes me. I’ve heard that switching majors, although sometimes the best option, is quite a pain and a hassle, so why not take a little extra time to explore your options so you make the right choice the first time? It’s ok to be undeclared!

–Liz Doyle

Beyond the Nerves: Performing at Mugshots

If you’ve seen me perform anywhere, you’d probably think that I have never been nervous to perform. You could probably throw me in front of 500   people now and demand “PLAY GUITAR AND SING RIGHT NOW!” and I would be really excited to do it.

While that’s true now, I wasn’t always that comfortable singing or playing guitar in front of people. It might be hard to believe but I used to get really nervous about performing in front of anyone—even my parents and close friends. I mean really nervous in the stress-out-all-day kind of nervous. The first time I ever played anything in front of a crowd was at a small open mic at a local coffee shop during my senior year of high school. There were maybe ten people there that I didn’t know and I honestly felt like I was going to throw up.

It wasn’t until my first performance at Mugshots on West Campus during my freshman year that I was able to get over my fear of performing in front of people. As a junior now, I’m a bit of a seasoned Mugshots veteran. I’ve performed there five times with one or two of my musically inclined friends for the whole night.

As a musician, Mugshots is a really great opportunity to get your foot in the door. It’s great experience with professional equipment like microphones and amps, but the pressure isn’t as high as it would be if you played in a more serious setting. At Mugshots, it’s ok to mess up occasionally; I’ve even started a song over once. It’s also a great place to sing those silly or really inappropriate songs that only college students can appreciate. For example, as freshmen my friend and I made an acoustic version of “Get Low” which was a huge hit!

Oh, and did I mention that Mugshots also pays its performers?? It’s not only easy money. but also probably the most fun I’ve ever had while getting paid. Plus, not only is it easy for my friends to get there because it’s on campus, but random students whom I don’t know come to listen too. It’s just fun to share my music and perform for my peers and great that I can even make an extra buck while doing it too.

–Kim Schneider

5 Items You Should Have In Your College Medicine Cabinet

an almost empty medicine cabinent

Ahh…the average college medicine cabinet!

Springtime: Full of sunshine, running along the Winona lakes and a few cases of the sniffles. While just getting over a week-long cold, I was reminded of all the important items every college student should have in their medicine cabinet/closet for those unexpected cold and flu bugs.  Here are just a few things you should pick up to keep away from those pesky germs:

1.  Hand Sanitizer

A must-have when you are constantly touching public handles and sharing pencils with a coughing desk mate. Keep a large bottle in your room and a small keychain-size container in your backpack to use on-the-go.

2.  Kleenex

There’s nothing worse than having to run to the bathroom every five minutes to blow your nose with a little bit of toilet paper. Keep some Kleenex boxes on hand for those drippy messes.

3.  Ibuprofen or Nyquil

Trying to go to class with a pounding headache and stuffy nose is never ideal. Make sure you have some pain-relieving medicine to make it through that important exam and then take a well-deserved nap afterwards.

4.  Chicken Noodle Soup

While you may not want to keep this in your medicine cabinet, try to keep some cans of soup on hand to soothe an unexpected sore throat. It may not be as good as your mom’s homemade recipe, but the warm broth will feel heavenly!

5.  Vitamin C Tablets/Emergen-C

While it’s important to get lots of vitamin c when you are sick, it’s as equally as important to take it BEFORE YOU GET SICK to fight off any potential sicknesses.  Try to take a multivitamin or supplement to get your daily dose of the infection-fighting miracle worker.

–Melissa VanGrinsven

7 Ways to Spend Spring Break in Winona

There’s no easy way to put this. Breaks can kind of suck if you’re spending them here in Winona while your friends are all off having adventures. If are stuck in your dorm this Spring Break like I am, you might be afraid that you’ll be bored most of the time. So how do you break the boredom? It’s actually not that difficult, and here are 7 ways you can have fun over breaks in your dorm.

1. Start a Project
I am one of those kinds of people that love to work on crafts and recently I started a rag rug. For me, it was a little pricy getting all the supplies but it’s been a good way to keep busy and be creative too.

The beginnings of my rag rug

The beginnings of my rag rug

2. Get Nostalgic

Re-live the 90s this week and watch all those old movies from when you were little. Personally I’ve been on a Hayao Miyazaki kick and enjoying the memories of the first time I met Totoro, Kiki and Chihiro. Check out this ultimate 90s movies list and find the Disney movies and more that you loved as a kid.

a photo with the phrase "You are never too old for a disney movie"

3. Experiment with Cooking

The cafeteria is closed over break so that means you’re on your own food-wise. I generally go with pasta-based meals that I can make lots of leftovers to eat later. But there are a lot of other stuff you can cook as well and you have the lounge kitchen basically to yourself, so why not use it! Take a chance and cook something obscure, because there’s no one around to make fun of you or smell it if it gets burnt.

person making stir fry

4. Get Out and Exercise

The fitness center on Main campus is still open (although if you live on West campus like me you’ll to figure out how to get there since the shuttle isn’t running), but the lakes only about 4 blocks from both campuses so ride your bike or take a walk. The weather is going to be beautiful this spring break so take advantage of it while it lasts.

two women jog around lake

5. Clean Your Room 

As soon as my roommate left I ended up not caring how messy my room get which made getting out of my bed extremely difficult. I end up having to clean my room every night before I finally go to sleep. I can definitely say that my sleep schedule if all sorts of wrong. Although the cleaning is a hassle, it keeps my hands and body busy so I don’t eat out of boredom.

girl chased by dirty clothes wave

6. Read a Novel

You know that book you’ve been meaning to start? Yeah, read it! I’ve had Bram Stoker’s Dracula on my nightstand since fall semester and I’m only on page 23. It not because it’s boring– it’s actually really good–but I just didn’t have time during the semester. Well, now that is Spring Break I do have time and I plan to make quite a dent on the 391 pages I have left. So, pick up that book sitting on your shelf and get to reading it!

teen reading a book

7. Complete Your “To Do Tomorrow” List

We all have those tasks that we keep putting off but Spring Break can be the perfect time to take care of them.  I’ve been putting off calling my phone provider to cancel my phone insurance because I just hate being put on hold! And there are other things as well like applying for scholarships, getting a list together of stuff I need to get from home for the summer, putting together material to get into the graphic design program–all of which are very important but I just need to take the time to do it. Spring Break gives me the time I need.

"later" crossed out and "Now" circled

There are many other activities you can do in and around your dorm during break– you just have to find something want to do and do it! It’s not hard to have fun even if you aren’t traveling to some exotic location. So enjoy the quiet, alone time while it lasts, and when everyone gets back you might just realize how good you had it!

–Rachel Adam

Student Teaching: It’s Not So Scary

a comic about being a teacher

The realization that you are the adult in charge is probably the scariest part.

Before I launch into talking about student teaching, let me give some background about my teaching major and how I felt before beginning student teaching. I’m a Vocal Music Education major, so my licensure is for Kindergarten through 12th grade. This means that I have 2 separate placements for my final semester of student teaching. For the first half of the semester, I was placed in a high school and soon I start my second placement at an elementary/middle school for the second half. It seems to me that the focus in my education and content classes at WSU has been very heavily elementary oriented, so I was definitely a lot more nervous for the high school because I didn’t know what to expect.

I was scared out of my mind to do my student teaching and, with the daunting task of taking the edTPA on top of that, I didn’t know what I was going to do. The night before my first day in the classroom I couldn’t sleep because I was sitting up thinking about the next day and how it would go. As midterm approaches, I can safely say, however, that I had absolutely no reason to be scared or anxious. I just had to be willing and motivated to put in the work student teaching requires.

I was lucky with my first placement. The high school I’m located at has a great environment, the students are respectful, the teachers are all welcoming and there are many of extra-curricular activities so that I can learn more about how the school functions. I am learning a lot and finding my excitement for teaching again.

Now if I was anyone reading this, I wouldn’t want to hear about someone else’s experience as much as I’d like to get some pointers and tips for when I start my own student teaching. So that’s exactly what I’m going to provide you with:

  • Let the students know you care. Attend their extra-curricular activities, talk to them, ask them about their lives and just get to know them! They are probably excited to see a new face in front of them and if you show them that you want to be there, they will show you respect.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions!!! Your cooperating teacher, other faculty, students– absolutely everyone has something they can teach you.
  • Plan ahead and stay on top of your work. Because all the work you have to do for student teaching is amplified by the preparation you have to do for the edTPA, you need to make sure you’re staying on top of it all. As college students, procrastination is sometimes our biggest problem, and you can’t afford to procrastinate while student teaching!
  • Break-up the edTPA into smaller steps. There are 3 tasks to the edTPA, but those tasks should be broken up as well. Don’t try to do it all at once. Give yourself a timeline and stick to it and you won’t be overwhelmed.
  • The edTPA isn’t as hard as it’s made out to be. If you stay on top of it and focus and read all the instructions, you will be able to complete the edTPA effectively and without too much stress.
  • Give yourself some “You Time.” I’m often stressed by all the work I have to do, but taking time to sit for a half hour and read a book or watch an episode of Friends on Netflix has proven to be a great way to re-focus my head on the tasks at hand.

In closing, student teaching isn’t so scary. Allow yourself the opportunity to learn, grow and have fun. This is what you’ve chosen as your future, and it doesn’t have to be so strict, scary and stressful! Enjoy yourself!

–Garrett Bowling