Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9 other subscribers

It’s Time for Time-Management

clocks and people

As I have learned over the my freshman year, time management is a skill that is necessary to college life. Let me tell you, proper organization and time management will help make your day-to-day routine go a lot smoother as well as reduce stress and anxiety. It’s also important to find a process that works for you that is efficient but not overwhelming.

Once you get into the semester, it often is hard to reorganize all of the material you have received if you don’t have a system in place to begin with. I know because I didn’t have a good system for balancing school and social life when arrived at WSU, and I am still working on managing my time better. If you’re like me and struggle with time-management, here are a few ideas to put to use in future semesters:

1. Use a Planner Right Away
At the beginning of the semester, take your syllabi and write down all important due dates and tests in your planner. Now you’ll have the entire semester laid out in front of you and those due dates won’t creep up on you unexpectedly.

2. Make a You Calendar Mobile
I also advise entering important dates and times into a calendar on your phone or tablet so you always have your schedule handy.

3. Only Sign Up for What You Can Handle
This goes for courses, extra-curricular activities and work. You can’t do it all–you have the same 168 hours in a week that everyone else does–so you need to prioritize the things you are involved in. This way, you will manage your time and stress levels better for a more successful semester.

4. Use Your Resources on Campus
Tutoring is a great resource to make sure you are prepared and caught up in classes as well as understanding material far before finals.

These are just a few tips to get you started on managing your time better. Here are two more articles that have really great strategies for time-management: 8 Ways to Take Control of Your Time and Top 12 Time Management Tips.

Here’s to a more organized and less stressed semester!

–Liz Doyle

Already Reduce, Reuse and Recycle? 10 More Tips for Sustainable Living at WSU

The environmental movement in the United States began, and as such most of us ’90s kids remember learning about Earth Day and recycling in schools. In fact, I’ll bet you can list off the three R’s as easily as you can name the seven titles in the Harry Potter series or the lyrics to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song.

But what more can you do if you already reduce, reuse and recycle? The answer is lots! Here are just 10 ways you can be even more sustainable as a student at WSU:

1. Print Double-Sided

challenge accepted meme
This is a pretty obvious way to save trees and be more sustainable. All of the printers on campus have the ability to print on both sides of the paper, you just have to change the settings on your laptop whenever you print something. “I don’t know how” is not a good enough excuse because the WSU Technology Knowledge Base even provides instructions on how to do so on both a Mac and a PC.

2. Skip the Packs of Bottled Water

water bottle filling station
Plastic water bottles are wasteful, cost money, and you simply don’t need them in your life. What college student can afford to buy a pack of bottled water all the time? A better option is to have your own refillable water bottle. There are many water fountains on campus that make filling up your water bottle very easy and convenient. Some even keep track of how many plastic water bottles we have saved. How cool is that? Save money, save plastic water bottles, make life easy – you won’t regret getting a refillable water bottle!

3. Live in Kirkland or New Center

water-efficient toilets
Did you know that the toilets in Kirkland and New Center are energy efficient? They have two flush-types that use different amounts of water, so if conserving energy and water with a toilet is important to you, living here is a good option!

4. Avoid Plastic Bags

plastic bag blown by wind
Plastic bags are not a sustainable option, but unfortunately it’s what most stores use to package your purchases. However, there are other options. Winona’s own Midtown Foods bags all of your groceries in paper bags. This is definitely better than using plastics bags, but there is an even better option–reusable bags! Often made of canvas, cloth or heavy plastic, reusable bags are easy to find and once you pick up a few all you have to do after that is remember to bring them with you whenever you go grocery shopping.

5. Walk or Ride a Bike to Class

dog riding bike

Depending on how far away you live or what the weather is doing, it is a brilliant idea to just walk or ride bike to campus. There a many bike racks dispersed throughout campus, so it makes it very convenient to just park your bike close to where your class is. Not only is this good for the environment, it also obviously saves you money for gas and car repairs, not to mention it’s an easy way to add some extra exercise into your daily life.

6. Use Cloth Towels instead of Paper Towels

paper towels v. rags

It’s as simple as trading out those paper towel rolls on the counter for a drawer of cloth towels. Paper towels are wasteful and they cost money to purchase over and over but cloth towels can just as easily get the job done. You don’t even have to purchase special towels either; an old t-shirt can be re-purposed as a kitchen rag!

7. Take Advantage of Recycling Bins on Campus

recycling containers
Ever notice how awesome our recycling bins on campus are? They even have open spaces made for recycling paper and for recycling bottles to make it super easy to decide what item goes where. Both of these are next to every trash can, so there is no excuse for throwing your paper or bottles into the trash.

8. Dispose of Pizza Boxes Properly

cat with pizza
Finals are coming up fast and this means one important thing: PIZZA! Most people assume that pizza boxes are recyclable. While the boxes in and of themselves are recyclable, once it is contaminated by all of that delicious grease and cheese, the box is no longer recyclable. A good option for this is to remove the contaminated portions of it and then recycle the rest.

9.  Sell or Donate Your Stuff at the End of the Year

first world problem meme

Just as finals are quickly approaching, so is the end of the school year. Often students want to get rid of a lot of their belongings so there is less to pack up and schlepp home. While the residence halls provide huge dumpsters for garbage we don’t need, if your stuff is still in decent condition it’s a better option is to sell it or give it away. Just because you don’t want it anymore doesn’t mean someone else won’t. Post your stuff for sale on Wazoo’s List and see if someone else wants what you don’t anymore.

10. Decorate Your Room

aluminum cans recycled into lanterns

Photo credit: Star Online

Now I know most of you are not thinking about next year yet, but if you are, there are many ways that you can turn recyclable items into decorations for your room. For instance, you can create lanterns and tea light holders out of aluminum cans. But those are just a few ideas, and there are many more tutorials out there on the web–as if you needed an excuse to peruse Pinterest, amiright?

–Cassandra Peterson

Res Hall End of the Year Parties

guy says "let's party"

As the semester comes to a close, and what better way to celebrate the end of the year than with a party?!

Every residence hall on campus will be having their annual End of the Year parties in the coming days. There will be food, games, fun, prizes, and more fun all wrapped up in a special theme! Your Hall Council members have put in so much effort and time into these parties so you will be able to celebrate the end of the year before settling down with your books and coffee for finals week!

Look around your hall for info posters and take the time to stop by your hall’s party. Ask your RA or Hall Council members if you have more questions!

I encourage you to attend the parties and celebrate getting through another school year because, well, you deserve it!​

–Emily McCaleb

WSU is Taking Back the Night

Take Back the Night poster

Ever since I’ve been a student here at WSU, I have made it a point to attend Take Back the Night every spring. It’s an event put together by the women’s rights/feminist clubs and groups in order to raise awareness about gender-based violence and to shatter the silence around it.

Part of Take Back the Night is a speak-out where survivors can share their stories about sexual and domestic violence so that people can understand their experiences and become more aware of the severity of the issues. This can also be a time of self-discovery and healing for many people and I’ve experiences a lot of community building as an attendee. After the speak out portion of the event, attendees march around Winona to serve as both a walk for empowerment and a way to raise more awareness in the larger Winona community.

As I said, I’ve attended the event for the last few years and I plan to attend again this year! The event is this Thursday and I know this year will be just as powerful as the last. As someone who knows many survivors of gender based violence, this event is something that really hits me emotionally. I love that I can go and show the people who bravely share their stories that I am there to support them, even if it is as a stranger in the audience, standing in solidarity is something I don’t take for granted as I help my peers overcome their struggles.

As this event rolls around, I am also reminded of my experience getting trained as a certified PACTivist through the REinitiative program at WSU, and I think that having that new knowledge will bring a new light as I attend the event this year. I think that Take Back the Night is something that people of all backgrounds because whether you have experiences gender based violence, know someone who has, or are completely unfamiliar with the issue, it’s an important night to be a part of. You learn, not only about others, but also sometimes even about yourself.

–Garrett Bowling

DIY Earth Day Crafts

aluminum cans recycled into lanterns

Photo credit: Star Online

With Earth Day right around the corner and spring weather among us, The memory of those winter months might still be putting you in a dreary mood… Don’t worry though! With a few recycled materials and a little craftiness, you can put any residence hall or bedroom into the mood of spring! Instead of tossing your bottles or cans, why not turn them into cute decorations to spruce up your room? Here are a couple great ways you can recycle your pop cans and water bottles by turning them into something fun!

Aluminum Can Lantern and Tea Light Holder (found on Star Online)

What you need:

  • 2 aluminum soda cans
  • Wire – 30cm
  • Cutter and small pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Piercing tool
  • Black marker
  • Dish cloth
  • Basin
  • Tea lights

To Make a Lantern:

  1. Pull the tab to open the can, taking care to leave the tab intact. Rinse the can and fill it with tap water. Freeze it for six to eight hours.
  2. Lay the frozen can on a piece of folded dish cloth and keep wiping it as you work on it. If the tab was detached when you opened the can, pierce two holes on opposite side of the top of the can.
  3. Use the black marker to draw 12 equally spaced dots around the can, 2cm from the top edge. Draw another set of 12 dots corresponding to the top dots on the lower part of the can, also 2cm from the bottom.
  4. Lightly mark a cutting line to join a top dot to the bottom dot, which is on the right of the one directly beneath it. Draw it in a slight S-curve. Join all the top dots to the bottom ones in the same way. Follow the lines to cut through the can with the cutter. Take care to hold the can firmly with your left hand.
  5. Leave the can inside a basin for the ice to melt. Wipe it dry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

diagram to construct lantern

Photo credit: Star Online

 

 

  1. Light press the top of the can downwards to open the cuts. As you do that, slip the screwdriver inside a slit to press onto the bottom of a strip of the can to shape it outwards. Repeat for all the strips to shape the can into a lantern.
  2. Turn the can upside down and press onto the strips in the same way, to obtain an equally balanced lantern shape.
  3. Place the lantern in both hands and twist it slightly, pressing inwards a little.
  4. Pass the wire through the set of holes at the top of the lantern. Bring the ends together to form a loop before twisting into a hook for hanging. If the tab is intact, use it to hang the lantern.

 

 

 

 

 

To Make a Tea Light Holder:

 

Follow the same steps for making the lantern but do not pierce the set of holes at the top of the can. (Note: The body of the orange can is cut in straight lines unlike the lanterns, which has lines cut in S-curves.)

 

 

diagram to construct tea light holder

Photo credit: Star Online

 

  1. Cut out two strips from the can to make a wide opening. Use the pliers to bend the cut sharp edges of the top and bottom of the opening inwards.

 

 

  1. Use the top of the can as the base instead since it is flatter than the base. Place a tea light in the upside down can.

Remember, never leave the light unattended. If you live in the residence halls, you can still use these in your rooms! Just use a flame-less tea light candle.

 

 

 

 

 

Plastic Water Bottle Art Spirals (found on Washington Post)

 

What you need:

  • 1 plastic water bottle
  • Paint
  • Glitter, stickers, etc.

To Make the Water Bottle Spirals:

  1. Take your water bottle and take any paper that is wrapped around it and take it off.
  2. Cut the bottom off the end of your water bottle. Paint your entire water bottle before starting to cut. Let the paint dry completely.
  3. To make a spiral design, start at the bottom and cut on a slight diagonal. This can be tricky and take some practice. Decorate your spiral design, using different color paints, glitter and even stickers can help create cool designs.
  4. Tie a string around the top of your bottle and hang for decoration!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kids making plastic water bottle spirals

Photo credit: Washington Post

 

 

 

 

With the dreary weather coming to an end, here’s hoping that these recycled decorations will help boost your spirit, Warriors!

–Allison White

The Humane Thing To Do

woman and a dog

We’ve all seen the Sarah McLachlan commercials on TV about hurt and abandoned animals. We all want to help, but don’t know how. Well, my Speech class had to figure that out on our own.

At the beginning of the semester, our professor, Dr. Susan Hatfield, gave us a challenge: double the money I give you. She gave the 6 groups each $20 to raise money for the Humane Society here in Winona. She did this with the other two public speaking classes the same challenge and actually does this project every year, just with different causes.

With the $20, we could do anything! Well, nothing illegal, of course, so people sold puppy chow, went door-to-door asking for change, did trash for cash, sold cupcakes and even snow cones. My group put on a movie night for friends. We sat around, ate puppy chow, drank soda and watched movies about animals.

My friends at movie night

We didn’t have a huge turn out but we had fun anyway!

It was a great time, and my group doubled our money and then some! We plan on buying some toys with the extra money and bring them to the Humane Society on Friday.

But stuff like this shouldn’t just be done for a letter grade. The Humane Society is always looking for volunteers, always looking for donations and always looking for help.

I have always wanted to help out at a shelter, and because of this project I am finally going to go through with that plan. I suggest the rest of you don’t wait.

–Rachel Adam

What to Do When You Have No Motivation

We are 14 long weeks into the semester, the beautiful weather is finally sticking around, and many are already making their summer plans. But finals week will be here in the blink of an eye! Here are some tips to make sure you stay on top of things and finish strong.

1. Fight the Urge to Go Home

Ryan Gosling says "don't go"

Seriously, don’t do it. It will just be even harder to come back and finish out these last two weeks.

2. Get Out of Your Room

Ferris Bueller

The weather is nice, so study outside and breathe fresh air, ya silly goose!

3. Keep Clean and Organized

teen hides messy room behind curtain

I’m just saying, you’ll never find your homework under all those piles of clothes.

4. Go to All Your Classes

Spongebob and Patrick in a classroom

You can always gain more knowledge, my friend, plus don’t lose out on those easy participation points that might bump up your grade.

5. Attend Study Groups or Tutoring Sessions

Warrior from Mulan

Cramming last minute is never a successful strategy and studying with friends or peers definitely heightens motivation.

6. Go to Bed and Wake Up Early

cartoon dragon wakes up

Always get a good night’s rest and you’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day.

7. Eat Healthy

Abu the monkey stuffs face with fruit

Fill up on fruits and veggies rather than cards and caffeine to get your brain the nutrients it rightly deserves to keep focused and alert.

–Liz Doyle

Cleaning Out Your College Home

Mary Poppins magically cleans kids' room

If only cleaning out your room was THIS easy…

The time is finally upon us. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and everyone has a little extra skip in their step on the way to classes because IT’S THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR!

But before you can hit the beach, you need to hit the books. And on top of all that finals studying, you somehow need to find the time to clean up/pack your living spaces of the last 9 months. That sounds pretty doable, right?

It can be if you are proactive these last few weeks of classes and don’t wait until the last minute to pack! Trust me, in 4 years I’ve learned a thing or two about the dos (and don’ts) when it comes to hauling all your things back home. Here are some tips and tricks on how to make the moving process as smooth as possible and to start off your stress-free summer! (Otherwise, you’re going to be that one person frantically running piles of clothes to your car, dropping a few unmentionables along way…red emoji )

1. Start Early!

This may seem like the obvious answer here, but it can be a huge time-saver.  Over the last few weeks of school, start putting things into boxes and bins.  Now that winter is officially over (fingers crossed), I like to put away all of my boots and coats into a bin right away. If you have a car on campus, you can even start filling it with items you no longer need the rest of the semester.

2. Clean Out & Organize

Use this time to really evaluate the things you need to bring home and what you can do without. If you have clothes in your closet that have gone untouched the entire year, it would be wise to donate them to the local Salvation Army or other thrift store. The more you donate, the less you need to bring home. You could also try to post thing you no longer want on Wazoo’s List.

3. Share Cleaning Supplies

Most residence halls do not have a vacuum to check out, so ask a friend to borrow theirs. You can also share other cleaning items like sanitizing wipes, dusting materials, brooms etc. This will help keep costs down and you won’t be stuck with random leftover supplies. Your parents have enough of those at home.

4. Bring a Load Home

If you plan on going home between now and finals week, it’s a good idea to bring home some of your already-packed items. This clears out more space in your room AND gives you a head start on unpacking and re-organizing your room at home. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to re-locating your entire room again.

5. Take Pictures

This may seem silly, but take pictures of your room now! It’s always fun to go back and reminisce on your college home. Grab your roommate and pretend you’re on MTV College Cribs – clean and organize your room before the packing begins and have a photo-shoot. Packing up your entire life at school may be sad and stressful, but enjoy these last few moments at your current college home, Warriors!

–Melissa VanGrinsven

Traits of a World Traveler

wing of a plane while flying

Soon enough I will begin my new life in Sydney!

141. That’s how many days I have left in the U.S. before I move abroad to Sydney, Australia. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but now that I have my visa and bought my plane ticket, the reality of moving abroad is beginning to set in.

The process of my decision to move abroad really got me thinking…what is it about me that makes me want to move abroad? Or, better yet, what is it that makes me the RIGHT person to move abroad?

Well, I had participated in the semester-long study abroad in Granada, Spain. To say that the experience was the best of my life would be an understatement. After studying abroad, I knew that moving abroad after graduation was on my bucket list.

Winona State offers all kinds of travel opportunities for students, but how do you know if you’re the right fit for studying abroad? There are a few personality traits that I think are crucial to determining if studying abroad (or moving abroad) is right for you.

1. Open-minded

You need to be open-minded if you’re going to enjoy traveling abroad, especially for a longer period of time. While studying abroad, you experience new cultures, new people, new food, well…just about new everything. If you’re someone who can open your mind to new things, and even be excited about trying new and different things, then studying abroad might be a good match for you.

2. Flexible and adaptable

Moving abroad is a whirlwind of change in a small amount of time. I remember stepping off my plane into Spain and thinking, “Wow, these mountains are officially my neighbors, the language I’m hearing is what I’ll be hearing, these streets are where I’ll be walking.” It’s important to be adaptable, because if you don’t adapt, you’ll always feel like an outsider, and that can be lonely. Having a willingness to immerse yourself in a new place is key to being a successful traveler.

3. Independent

Independent is one personality trait of world travelers, and it’s an important one. Leaving family, friends, pets and acquaintances behind is inevitable when studying abroad, and as much as I wished I could pack everyone in my suitcase, that simply wasn’t going to happen. When you’re away from home for five months (or more), it’s important that you can feel content by yourself whether it’s on the subway to and from class, grabbing lunch alone or venturing out to make new friends.

If you read through this list thinking, “That’s so me!” then studying abroad just might be an awesome experience to explore. If you were thinking “kind of” or “possibly,” then a travel study might be a better option. A travel study give you the amazing gift of travel and experience without keeping you away from home for months at a time. Either way, I encourage everyone to travel the world because the learning is endless and the experience is life changing!

–Leah Dobihal

Get Pumped for PRIDE Week!

Pride Week banner

Next week, Full Spectrum: Winona State University’s Gender & Sexuality Alliance will be hosting its 3rdannual PRIDE Week surrounding the national Day of Silence. Before I jump in to tell you about all the exciting events Full Spectrum has planned from April 13-18, I’m sure you want to know a little more about the Day of Silence, which is the inspiration for PRIDE Week.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) started the Day of Silence in 1996. This group stated that the “Day of Silence is a national day of action in which students across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.” Now 19 years later, we here on the WSU campus are an active part of the movement!

Full Spectrum’s PRIDE Week not only brings attention to the silencing effects of anti-LGBTQIA+ bullying, but celebrates being a part of, or being an ally to, the LGBTQIA+ community. In addition to tabling all week in the entrance to Kryszko from 11am-2pm, the week is jam packed with events that are both educational and fun!

Here’s a run-down of the schedule:

  • Monday, April 13– SEX-O
    Come to Kryszko Dining Room C at 4pm to learn about sex in a fun new way and win prizes including prom tickets, raffle tickets and candy.
  • Tuesday, April 14– Safe Space Training
    This is an open question workshop will be held from 3-5pm in Minne 241 where you can learn about the LGBTQIA+ community and about how to become an active ally!
  • Wednesday, April 15 – Avenues Speaker: Rocki Simoes
    At 6pm in the New Center Conference Room, a representative from Avenues will tell us how the organization aids and benefits LGBTQIA+ homeless youth. Additionally, Full Spectrum has decided to donate a portion of their fundraising this semester to Avenues.
  • Thursday, April 16 – Speaker Ray Rhea
    Join Full Spectrum at 7pm in the Harriet Johnson Auditorium to listen to this speaker hosted by the GLBTA Issues Committee.
  • Friday April 17 – National Day of Silence
    From 11am-2pm, Full Spectrum will be in the entrance to Kryszko handing out information about the Day of Silence. They will also be handing out duct tape to those who wish to participate as well as condoms and candy! Stop by and take a “Selfie for Silence” to show your support for the movement and the LGBTQIA+ community!
  • Saturday, April 18 – Night of Noise Masquerade
    Join Full Spectrum at Bub’s Brewing Company downtown from 8pm-12am for a night of masks, music and dancing! Tickets are $10 and the event is sponsored in part by F.O.R.G.E. and MSUSA.

As you can tell, the week is sure to be an exciting and educational one! Please feel free to stop by any or all of the events and enjoy WSU PRIDE Week with Full Spectrum! Also, check out Full Spectrum on Facebook and Twitter (@WSUFullSpectrum) for more information about events.

I am Full Spectrum’s Public Outreach Co-Chair so if you have any further questions, feel free to contact me at GBowling09@winona.edu or contact Full Spectrum directly at FullSpectrum@winona.edu.

–Garrett Bowling