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A Short History of the E-Warrior Nation

a gif of several laptop and tablets

Just look at how far technology has come in the last two decades!


Oh beloved laptop, what would I do without you?

We are all very lucky to go to a university that takes into account the ever-changing technology world. Often referred to as a “Laptop University,” WSU gives each incoming student– freshmen and transfer students– their choice of the most recent Apple or PC computer upon admittance into the university. Two years later, they are able to get the new laptop model and when they graduate they have the ability to purchase a laptop as well. Recently, Winona State University became the first public university in the Midwest to distribute both laptops and tablets to their students.

Because the laptop program has had such an impact on our university, I thought a few info-graphics would be a great way to display some fun facts regarding it. After talking with a WSU alumna, faculty members and digging around the Internet, I found some interesting information to share with you guys.

It probably doesn’t come as surprise that most of you, approximately 65%, chose an Apple laptop over a PC. The growing popularity of Apple computers and Apple in general is a relatively new trend. An alumna told me that seeing a Mac computer on campus back in 2000 when she enrolled was very rare, and the only students who used them were the art students. Weird, right? It seems just the opposite these days. In recent years Apple has taken over the technology world and I’m sure we will see that 65% rise as younger generations begin attending WSU.

Surprise, surprise! The same trend can be said for the tablets. The Samsung Galaxy Tablet and the iPad Mini. Tablets at WSU were just introduced the spring of 2014, and only 50% of students received one. I don’t have one ( :( ), as I only had one year left before graduating when they were introduced. For those of you who do have them, consider yourself very lucky! I really think our society is going to start pulling away from the laptop and using only tablets. My roommate is student teaching for her degree in special education and she says she uses her iPad mini with students daily! They really are becoming a part of the lives of individuals.

When the laptop program was first implemented 18 years ago, most of us were at home watching Disney movies. Most individuals were limited to large desktop computers and those in business programs were the only ones to use laptops. Three short years later, the program was in full effect, and Winona State students had the choice between an IBM ThinkPad and an iBook. If you’ve ever seen an IBM ThinkPad you would probably wonder how students ever carried something like that around campus. They are massive laptops around 1” thick, and only carried around 6GB of storage! Now days, most iPhones and Droids have more storage than that.

The University went on further to see what it’s students wanted and they responded, “Bigger and better.” Since then WSU has brought in brands such as Gateway Toshiba and HP, and most recently tablets. Of the roughly 10,000 students enrolled in WSU,  100% now have laptops.

Soon IT will announce it’s newest additions to the Winona state laptop family. New versions will be available for students this upcoming year. In February, there was showcase event where students could preview the devices being considered for the next hardware update.  Although the final decision about new devices is a mystery, we know that WSU will be sure to impress like it has done for the past 18 years.

This is just a short history of how we became the e-Warrior nation and you can find more information about the history of the Laptop Program on the Information Technology Services webpage.

I also want to issue a special thank you to Maureen Dolezal Anderson (’05) and Ken Janz, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Information Officer, for their help with this post.

–Katlyn Plourde

Updated by: Rachel Adam

A Final Farewell

three college girls as freshmen and seniors

It’s been a long, fun journey from freshmen to seniors.

As the days continue to tick down and boxes are checked on my graduation checklist, it’s beginning to seem daunting that I’m really going to be thrust out into the real world after switching my tassel at commencement. It’s not that I’m afraid of where I’m going….rather, I think it’s that I’m afraid of what I’m leaving behind.

Winona has been such a loving and exciting home to me for the past four years, a place where I’ve made the best of friends, met the best of professors, and expanded my horizons beyond what I ever thought possible. I’m afraid to leave that behind, to lose ties, to say goodbye to a home that treated me well.

At the same time, that fear is comforting, because fear of leaving means that I chose a really amazing school for me. Apprehension about leaving my academic career behind means that I’ve learned so much, and anxiety about missing people means that I’ve made true friendships that have grown to be a part of my heart.

I don’t think I can thank any one person for that.

I thank the town, the teachers along the way, the people who supported me, the beauty of the bluffs, and the experiences that have made my time at Winona truly the time of my life. Thanks for following me through my journey at Winona State University, and cheers to the years to come.

–Leah Dobihal

Thnks fr th Mmrs, WSU!

Howarts students through hats in air

We did it–hats off to us, Class of 2015!

For the last 5 years of my life, Winona has been my home, and to be honest, I have no idea how I’m supposed to address moving on from here, but here goes nothing! Graduation is more than just getting a degree; it’s ending a huge, important chunk of your life. Yes, I’ve taken over 150 credits of classes and I finally will get to walk across the stage and call myself a college grad, but it’s so much more than that, and that’s already so incredible!

When I first came to college, I had no idea that I would be where I am today, or that I would have made the friends I have, or experienced what I have. The last 5 years have molded me into a person I could not be more proud of.

Winona is where I found myself and where I was able to authentically be me for the first time. It’s where I first came out of the closet thanks to the family I made with Full Spectrum – something I will cherish for the rest of my life. It’s where I first fell in love with an amazing guy and eventually had my first heartbreak. It’s where I learned that I have a voice and discovered it’s ability to change the world.

Winona is where I found my RunnerUp crew with whom I got to laugh every week. It’s where I had my first drink (and of course got drunk for the first time). It’s where I learned what stress really is and it’s where I discovered my passion. It’s where I met friends who I can’t imagine calling anything but family. It’s where my love for music grew more than I ever thought it could. It’s where I made mistakes both small and large and realized that I can learn from all of them.

On May 8, 2015, I will walk across that stage and enter the real world; the actual real world (you know, the one you thought you were entering after high school?), and I could not be more excited to see what comes next. All my hard work has paid off and I finally get to celebrate that. The best part about graduation, besides getting a degree, is that now I have 5 years of laughs, smiles, tears, excitement, and love that I get to look back on and remember forever.

I wouldn’t change a single day of the experience I had at WSU and I am so thrilled for the next chapter in the extraordinary novel that is my life.

Congratulations WSU class of 2015 and good luck! WE DID IT!

–Garrett Bowling

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

7 Things We Need to Stop Doing to Our Professors

There’s nothing that bothers me more than watching a student strut into class late (with no apology) and proceed to ignore the professor, text, chat with their friend before packing up early and leave. Professors work hard, and there are some things we just really need to stop doing to them.

1. Walking in Late

cartoon rabbit running with clock

It’s one thing to be late because you got stuck behind a train but using that excuse every day is another. Plan ahead. Be on time.

2. Talking During Their Lecture

girl talking to friend in class

Not only is it disrespectful, but it’s also really distracting for the students trying to listen

3. Expecting Them to Email Back Within the Hour

Bellatrix LeStrange waiting in hall

They’re busy people. Give them 24…not 1.

4. Packing Up Our Bags 5 Minutes Early

Genie packing a suitcase

Professors are trying to teach you from the start of class to the end. It’s just rude to start shoving books in your bag, unzipping and zipping your backpack, and rustling papers all while the professor is still talking.

5. Asking for Too Much Help

man yelling "help me"

Don’t misinterpret this one. Professors want to help in all circumstances, but it’s not fair to ask them to do all of your work for you. Ask for their suggestions and expertise, but don’t make them write your essay for you.

6. Texting During Class

Justin Bieber texting

Don’t kid yourself–you’re not being sneaky. Your professor knows you’re texting, and it’ll only hurt you in the long run.

7. Not Taking Their Class Seriously

smiling man says "don't even care"

If you didn’t want to learn, you shouldn’t have taken the class. Be respectful and take your education seriously or reassess why you enrolled in the first place.

So there you have it, Warriors. Stop the texting, stop the talking, stop the distracting, and make some real learning possible. Let’s all be more conscious of how we treat the people who make our education possible.

–Leah Dobihal

Late Work and the Race Against Time

a cat under a notebook

It might look grim, but it is possible to catch up!

I’m going to be straight with you: everyone skips class. Even the best of students — and professors — take a day off, but as the school year dwindles down, those who skipped more than a few days may find themselves drowning in the slew of homework they missed. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at a time like this, but I am here to assure you that you can catch up with enough hard work.

I am no stranger to missing class. Due to health complications this semester, I missed over 6 days of classes and came back to a veritable mountain of homework. Tackling this monstrosity seemed impossible. No matter how hard I worked, no matter how fast I wrote, I was suffocating in dense political science readings and English papers.

Luckily, with a little help from my professors and a lot of help from my planner, I’ve caught up and am finishing this semester with great grades despite my high amount of absences. Catching up is surprisingly easier than it appears. That pile of homework can look daunting, but once you come up with a plan of attack, the homework flies by and before you know it you’re back to watching Netflix and eating Doritos.

First and foremost, grab your syllabus. I cannot stress this enough — your syllabus is your ticket to freedom. You cannot start making up homework until you have a complete list of everything you missed. I know that compiling a list of everything you missed can make the task appear even more stressful, but at the end of the day  is going to help you out in the long run. Be sure to also check out your professors late work policy. If your professor doesn’t accept late work, there is no reason to stress over it. If they won’t accept it, they won’t accept it. Dedicate that time to the assignments your professors will accept.

This brings me to my second point: prioritize your list. If you’ve got homework due today, do it. It’s better to get your assignments done on time than add another assignment to your pile of late work. Once you’ve got all of today’s homework out of the way, prioritize in terms of importance. If an assignment is worth 100 points, do it before moving onto a 20 point assignment. Once you’ve determined which are most important, write it all down from the most important to least important assignment.

Finally, get to work. Easier said than done, I know, but the sooner you get to work, the sooner you’re back on top of all your classes. Keep at your homework. Close out those Facebook and Pineterst tabs, and keep your internet limited to school-related purposes. I know it’s hard, but if you want to catch up as fast as possible a homework binge is how ya do it. Of course, it’s important to schedule 15 minute sanity breaks, but for the most part, stick to getting your homework done. It is that easy and it is that hard.

Once your homework is done and submitted,  double check with your professors that they received the homework and make things are still good between you and the professor. It’s always nice to just check in with them, especially if you’re turning in late assignments. Odds are, they’ll understand. Your professors are human too, and they were in your position at one point in time.When that is all said and done, you’re free to return to your Netflix subscription and sail through the rest of the semester at ease. Just be sure to not fall behind again!

–Hannah Carmack

10 Stages of Enjoying Spring in Winona

In Winona, the winters are long—very long. And though many of us are in denial that warmth will ever come again, gradually, we pass through the stages of acceptance and enjoy a Winona spring once again.

1. Absolute denial

girl says no

Because we know better than to think warmth is ever coming back.

2. Being skeptical

man looks skeptical

We’re not really sure how to feel when the temp reaches above 30 degrees.

3. Shedding layers

woman takes off coat

And it feels so good.

4. Putting the layers back on to endure the inevitable last-minute snow storm

man talking

We can’t even.

5. Taking your winter coat out of storage, because you actually still need it

woman asks"are you kidding me?"

Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

6. Wearing a T-shirt in 40 degrees and not feeling cold at all
woman skipping and singing

Even when spring hasn’t really arrived, we just pretend it has.

7. Refusing to acknowledge any temperature below 50

man shakes finger

No, we will NEVER go back there.

8. Actually smiling when you’re outside

little girl smiles

It’s not really our fault; our faces were frozen the entirety of winter.

9. Hitting the Drive-Inn, the lakes, the bluffs, the baseball fields and everything else you associate with Winona in the Spring

man yells "yes to all"

Yes. Yes to all.

10. Forgetting that winter ever even happened

man says "it's over" on cellphone

Were the past four months even real?

Put away the boots and coats because the winter amnesia is coming, and so is the warm weather!

–Leah Dobihal

No Car? No Problem!

people exit a city bus

Behold the Winona Transit in action!

As the snow finally begins to melt and we are freed from our arctic prison, it’s time to venture back outside and explore all the scenery and downtown life that Winona has to offer. Now, this won’t be a post about where to go and all the fun events going on in Winona because there are already many posts about that! I’m actually here to help you figure out how to utilize one of Winona’s most underutilized resources — the public transit options.

If you’re like most students at Winona State University, you don’t have a car of your own right now. This can make trips to the doctor, food runs and retail shopping seem like an enormous undertaking —especially if you are over on West Campus. Using the Winona Public City Transit can make these errands much easier. I started using the public transit when I caught a bad case of strep throat first semester. I had put off seeing a doctor for almost a week because I didn’t have access to a vehicle, and stubbornly thought I could sweat the fever off, but when that didn’t work I took the plunge and tried navigating the public transit.

Since there is a lot of timing to figure out and different shuttles to catch, getting started with the transit system can seem intimidating at first. I certainly had an awkward adjustment period, and my first attempt was pretty pathetic. I got on the wrong shuttle and ended up at Shopko when I needed to be at West Campus. The second time I managed to strand myself at Walmart by missing the last shuttle to Winona State University.

But with just a little bit more practice I was hooked! Now I have can visit the hospital when I need to, take weekly supply runs to Walmart and visit friends over at St. Mary’s University. I quickly got the hang of it, and I’m sure you can too.

To help you out, here are a few tips so you’ll be fully prepared to tackle the Winona Public Transit system:

1. Make Sure You’ve Got the Funds
One of the best things about the Winona Public Transit is that it is an extremely inexpensive mode of transportation. If you decide spur of the moment to take the transit, you’ll only need to pay one dollar for your ride to your location and then another dollar for your ride back. However, if you prepare in advance, you can visit one of the transit’s 3 selling locations and purchase a student token. A student token will knock your fee down to only 80 cents, but the tokens must be purchased in advance. If you plan on using the public transit often, a monthly pass is probably the best bet! The cost is unlisted on the Public Transit’s homepage, so you should call in advance or stop by one of their purchasing locations for more information.

2. Map Out Your Destination(s)
You’d be surprised at how far the transit can take you, but just to be safe make sure you know you can get to where you need to go. The city bus stops at Winona Health Urgent Care, St. Mary’s, Winona Health Hospital, Walmart, Shopko, Hyvee and lots of other places around town.  I’ve used the transit for all sorts of trips. If there isn’t an exact drop of point for your location, you can pull the “Stop Here” rope along the walls to get as close as possible. So pick a destination and carry on!

3. Know the Details of Your Bus
Winona Public Transit is not just one bus that travels the city, but actually four buses that cover different sections of Winona. There’s the Green Line East, Green Line West, Red Line and Blue Line. Once you’ve identified what line(s) you need to take, make sure you know the time and pick up location as well! The transit is pretty much always on time and leaves shortly after arriving at its stops. There isn’t much flex time so it’s better to get to your stop sooner than later.

Once you’ve got your shuttle picked out and you are at your stop, navigating the transit is actually quite easy. If you need to transfer from one line to another or are unsure as to where your stop is on the route, don’t hesitate to ask the drivers! The drivers over at the Public Transit are very nice and know all four of the routes very well. If I hadn’t spoken with them, I would have had a lot of trouble figuring out what shuttle to take get where I was going. If you have any questions they’ll know the answers.

–Hannah Carmack

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