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Ain’t No Event Like an RA Event

Everyone knows their RA. He or she is first face you meet on campus and the last face you see before you leave for the summer. They provide you with helpful information and moral support while you’re here at college. But one of the most overlooked parts of an RA’s job are the events they organize throughout the semester for their residents.

As an RA myself, my number one goal is to host events that cover a variety of topics that could interest everyone on the floor. This is because I want to create a real sense of community for my residents. People don’t necessarily realize all the planning, time and execution that go into such events, but I don’t mind putting in the extra effort because there are many benefits for residents if they attending res hall events including meeting new people, discovering new interests and, everyone’s favorite benefit, FREE FOOD!

Meeting New People

yoda meme

You never know who you could meet when attending an event.

When you arrive at WSU at the beginning of the school year, you might not meet your closest friends on the first day, month or even year. Good friendships take time to form in order to last. Even if you do find some great friends right away, there is no reason not to make more friends as an upperclassmen too.

If you take advantage of every social opportunity you find, you will meet a plethora of people  during your time in college. The best way to meet new people is to get involved in things like student clubs and campus events. But if you are a little too shy to throw yourself into campus life, RA sponsored events can be a great way to meet people in the comfort of your home away from home!

Discovering New Interests

an RA meme

Your RA is always willing to hear suggestions for events!

Yoga. Tattoos. Condoms. Tea. Games. These are just a few topics that could be covered in events hosted by your RA! RAs try and cover many different topics to reach out to all points of interest. One way to get involved is to suggest event ideas to your RA that you think would be fun for the floor. We love it when our residents get into planning res hall events because some of the best ideas come from residents who get together and brainstorm fun ideas for the whole floor to enjoy.
Free Food

meme about free food

FREE. FOOD. PEOPLE.

Do I even need to say more? FREE. FOOD. RAs know what gets people’s attention and our res hall events usually have some form of food for the attendees–whether its popcorn, pizza, candy, cookies or even ice cream. And we are always willing to take suggestions for fun snack ideas to bring more people to events!​

These are just a few reasons why you should go to at your RA’s events. Find out what kind of events are coming in your res hall by looking for posters or bulletin boards or just asking your RA in person. I hope to see you there!

–Emily McCaleb

How to Write a Research Paper in 6 Steps

As a senior English major, I’ve written so many research papers that I’m not even fazed by them anymore. Professor wants 8-10 pages and at least 12 sources? Pssh—I’ve got this! But I wasn’t always this confident in my writing abilities. When I was freshman like you and looking at the assignment description for my first research paper, I didn’t quite know where to begin. Lucky for you though, I’m going to share with you the strategies I’ve learned over the years.

1. Start Researching Early

guy leafing through pages quickly

Despite its sketchy reputation, Wikipedia is a not a bad place to begin. You can get general ideas from a Wikipedia page, but you’ll do your real research at the Krueger Library . In addition to thousands of books, students have access to a ton of scholarly journals and online databases. JSTOR, Academic Search Premier, ScienceDirect and Lexis-Nexis are some of the more popular databases.

If the thought of diving in to databases overwhelms you, ask a library liaison for help. Each academic department has a librarian who is an expert in that field and can help direct your research. Researching is the longest step in the writing process, so give yourself plenty of time to find the right sources you need.

2. Outline, Outline, Outline

guy typing on a laptop

You might be able to write a reflection paper without a clear idea of where you’re heading, but that won’t work with a research paper. You need to outline—whether it’s official with roman numerals or just a basic sketch—you need to know how you are getting from claim A to claim B and finally to conclusion C. Develop a working thesis and map out your main points. Start picking out good quotes from your sources and file them under their respective topics. This will help you later when you turn this outline into full-fledged paragraphs.

3. Write a First Draft

guy typing furiously

Now, it’s very easy to get swept up in all the research, but at some point you’ve got to pull your head out of the books and put your fingers to the keyboard. Carve out a good chunk of time and go at it. I usually give myself at least two or three hours because once I’m in the zone I don’t want to stop until it’s done.  (Pro Tip: After expending all that brain power, take a nap or play a stupid game on your iPad and relax :) ) Don’t worry about getting the transitions or spelling totally correct at this point. You just need to figure out what you are even trying to say about your subject.

4. Revise, and Revise Again

guy looking confused

This is NOT the step to check for proper usage of commas and misspellings (that comes a bit later). Revising is taking those rough sentences you furiously typed into a Word doc and making them into coherent paragraphs with good sentence flow and an academic vocabulary. Once you have each paragraph looking pretty good, take a look at your essay as whole. Do you stick to your thesis throughout or do you wander off-topic? Do you have enough explanation about each main points or is there an obvious hole in your argument? Answering these types of big-picture questions honestly may mean that you have to re-write half your essay or go back to the library for yet another stack of sources, but this is why you started writing the paper early in the first place.

5. Double—No, Triple— Check Your Citations

a woman and a man look shocked

You do not want to get caught with plagiarism, even accidental plagiarism like forgetting to include the author’s name in a paraphrase. Professors take this issue very seriously and most have a policy that if you plagiarize you will fail the course or even get dismissed from WSU. The Purdue Online Writing Lab is a good resource for all things MLA, APA and CMS.

If you are going into a liberal arts field, do yourself a favor and purchase The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association or the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, depending on your major. Not to be sacrilegious, but these books will be your Bible for the next few years.

6. Proofread Carefully

an exhausted Squidward holds a stack of paper

Proofreading is an often overlooked step, usually because you are pressed for time to simply finish, but it is crucial if you want to avoid embarrassing mistakes including misspellings, dropped words and misplaced commas. Don’t rely on spellcheck to take care of it for you. You need to go through your paper line by line to make sure you catch those pesky “it’s” and “its” or “their” and “there.”

And there you have it.  Those are the six steps to writing a research paper.

If you are struggling at any point in this process, I encourage you to visit the Writing Center, a free tutoring service for writers at all skill levels and any writing assignment. These people are trained to help you work through the worst writer’s block and the trickiest of thesis troubles. Trust me– I was once a writing tutor and have used the Writing Center myself on more than one occasion. Soon enough, you won’t feel like this anymore:

Lisa Simpson cries on her bed

—Elizabeth Meinders

#WSUhoco14 Cover Photo Contest

Homecoming week was lovely and ripe with photo opps! If you took advantage of the autumn beauty and snapped pictures of things that inspired you—the homecoming football game, the fall leaves, the foggy bluffs, enthusiastic hoco-goers—you could be featured as the new WSU Facebook 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.” Or mention @winonastateu and tweet or tag #HoCoCover on Twitter or Instagram.
  3. Submissions will be taken now through October 28.

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

 

5 Reasons to Love Fall in Winona

Don’t get me wrong, Winona is a great place to live all year round (well, except maybe the dead of winter). But here are the top 5 reasons why I love the fall in Winona best.

1. Fall Colors on the Bluffs

How lucky are we to able to watch the bluffs transform from their green splendor into a skyline of orange, red and yellow watercolors?

red, gold and brown trees on the bluffs

2. Ferguson’s Apple Orchard is a Magical, Mystical Place

Caramel apples, apple turnovers and apple picking…need I say more?

This year I went apple picking with my best friend Alia, my mom and my mom’s best friend. Alia snapped this picture as I was reaching into a tree for more Haralson apples.

a girl picking apples

3. WSU Homecoming

Homecoming is the one time a year when everyone rallies behind our Warriors and it’s always a blast.

women in WSU apparel pose together

I went to the Homecominggame last year with my friends Aly and Lindsay.

 

4. Fall-Themed Coffee Drinks at Mugby Junction

I’m not even ashamed to utter these words: pumpkin spiced lattes.

pumpkin spice latte

5. Tews Corn Maize

Living in such a small town close to farming areas has its perks. Take an afternoon off and get lost in the corn!

a corn maze

–Kim Schneider

Think Before You Tattoo

College is the time for trying new things and, for some, going a little bit wild. We are all 18 or older so we have more freedom in our choices for how to live our lives. One of the first things I thought of on my 18th birthday was that I could now get tattoos without my parents’ permission.

I had wanted to get a tattoo for so long, but I didn’t want to get it right away– mostly because I wanted to make sure it was what I really wanted and my parents are completely against tattoos. I waited until second semester of my freshman year to get it, almost a full year from when I turned 18. My first tattoo was the word “strength” in an infinity sign  on my hip. I now have a second tattoos (a cross near my heel) and plans for more in the future.

a newly finished tattoo

I was so excited to get my first tattoo!

Because they are so permanent, tattoos are not something to take lightly. Like I said earlier, I deliberated for months before I went down to Red Wing Tattoo here in Winona. Before you get your first tattoo, here are some things you really need to consider:

  • Think about it for at least 5 months. If you haven’t changed the spot or the tattoo in that time, then it is safe to get it. Don’t ever get a tattoo on a spur of the moment or when you are intoxicated because it NEVER ends well
  • Talk to your friends and family about your ideas for a tattoo and get their opinions
  • Think about your future career and whether a tattoo will hurt you professionally. I am going to be a nurse and visible tattoos are not allowed. My tattoos, however, can be hidden under scrubs. A few other professions that might require the tattoo to be covered are: doctor, veterinarian, teacher, retail salesperson, day care provider and many office jobs
  • Research the business where you are going to get it done. Several of my friends have gotten tattoos at Red Wing Tattoo, like I have. But I also know one person someone who had gotten his tattoos at Third Eye Tattoo, also in downtown Winona.
  • Research prices and make sure you can afford to get the tattoo. The price depends on where you go, the size of the design and how much color there is. Both of my tattoos cost me $40 because they are small, one-color student discount tattoos.
  • Make sure the tattoo means something to you, something important. If you have ever watched the tv show “Bad Ink” on A&E or have seen those Buzzfeed listicles, you know what I’m talking about.

Hopefully, these tips can help some of you to figure out whether or not to get a tattoo. The major thing to remember is that tattoos are permanent! If you do want to get one taken off, it is extremely expensive and painful so make the right decision the first time around.

–Liz Peterson

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