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3 Reasons Why You Need a LinkedIn Account Right Now

In our digital age, everything seems just a little bit closer-including our job search! Whether or not you’re a freshmen or even a senior, this blog post is for you! LinkedIn is a powerful tool to showcase anything and everything (okay, maybe not everything) that you’ve done in your pre-college, college, and post-graduate years! Let me explain why you should have a LinkedIn account right now.

1) It’s a great place to network


In today’s society, it’s not what you know; it’s whom you know. A LinkedIn account allows you to network with lots of different people – from your favorite college professors, to your future employer. Most of the time people get into their dream job or career path based on their connections with people. LinkedIn is also a great place to research different organizations and career paths that may be of interest to you. When you find something that interests you, follow the company; connect with the manager or CEO so they can see that you’re interested. Who knows, they might look into your profile and offer you a job!

2) You can showcase more of your skills



The world today is all about going digital. Think of LinkedIn as both your portfolio and resume all in one. You get to showcase all of your skills, achievements, certifications and recommendations instead of being restricted to a one or two-page resume. This is the place to show off everything you’ve ever accomplished! You can always update your page when something new is added, and everyone in your connections will be notified!

3) You get personalized job alerts


If you haven’t found your career niche or don’t know what you want to do post-graduation, you can simply get notified of any job postings! How neat is that? You can make them as specific as you want them to be by your interests, location, etc. LinkedIn is a one-stop-shop because if you find a job you like, simply sending a message to the manager or CEO of a company or organization is a great way to initiate a conversation, and also all of your information is already there for them to see! Brilliant, right?

Now, if you don’t have a LinkedIn account I would encourage you to do so! If you already have one, keep updating it with everything you’re doing in college: coursework, community service, key presentations, awards and anything else you think is beneficial for your professional portfolio!

-John Otis

Books, Cats and Action Figures - What More Could You Want?!

Photos taken from the gallery on Chapter 2 Books' website.

Photos taken from the photo gallery on Chapter 2 Books’ website.

Winona may be a smaller town outside of the cities, but it has a lot to offer. I love Winona for many reasons, but I thoroughly enjoy how Winona protects its smaller businesses like Mugby Junction. It’s a nice change of pace instead of seeing restaurant and coffee chains on every corner. While exploring Winona, I found a new bookstore downtown that I highly recommend checking out: Chapter 2 Books.

I heard about this store from a friend who walked by. He knew how much I loved books, so he told me about it. As an added bonus, he saw a cat lounging in the window. I pretty much squealed with happiness because cats are my favorite. I brought a couple friends with me to check this place out.

Photos taken from the gallery on Chapter 2 Books' website.

Photos taken from the photo gallery on Chapter 2 Books’ website. 

As soon as you walk into the store, cats will greet you. If you have an allergy to cats, this place may not be for you. I love cats and I think they compliment book browsing perfectly, so I was thrilled. It’s a very small store, but the amount of bookshelves in it is overwhelming, and the books are affordable, especially on a college student budget. Discounted books are located at the front of the store. There is a wide arrangement of sections including romance, fiction, non-fiction and several cookbooks. There are also records in one section of the store so if you own a record player those are cool to check out.

Photos taken from the photo gallery on Chapter 2 Books' website.

Photos taken from the photo gallery on Chapter 2 Books’ website.

Right by the records is the comic book section. Each individual comic is 50 cents and graphic novels are half price. There are also older toys located near the comic books. That’s fun to check out, especially because I recognize most of the toys that I found. I tend to collect action figures and random trinkets so I perused that section of the store. There’s also a display case with older comics and action figures.

As I mentioned earlier, there are two cats located in the store. They are super friendly so even if you’re not a cat lady like myself, you will still find joy in seeing the cats wander around. Don’t worry about them hissing or scratching you. Mostly they will rub up against your legs while you walk because they want attention.

Photos taken from the photo gallery on Chapter 2 Books' website.

Photos taken from the photo gallery on Chapter 2 Books’ website.

It’s important not to forget small businesses because Winona has a nice variety of them to meet the needs of college students. Give a little attention and support to these businesses because they would really appreciate it, and they’re unique! Chapter 2 Books is great for browsing or if you’re looking for a quiet place to search for what you want with an animal by your side. The shop also has a really nice and organized website if you’re looking for more information about the store, their new arrivals or even selling your own books and records.

-Mariah Kaercher

8 Signs You're Back on Campus

Winter break has passed and we already have a week of spring semester classes under our belts! Even though it’s tough to come back to Winona and face the reality of classes, work and other responsibilities, we all are also faced with the obvious signs that we’re back on campus and in the full swing of things. Here are a few of the reminders you’ll be seeing or have already seen – whether you like it or not!

1) You hate the thought of finding a parking spot


Whether you have a parking pass, use the meters or bank on finding a spot anywhere near campus, it’s always a struggle trying to park. Especially living in a state where being outdoors for more than 35 seconds freezes your entire body, no one is trying to walk further than they have to.

2) You’ve made your way to Somsen to see the new addition


For those who’ve experienced the Somsen construction during classes or work the last several months, we can definitely say it was distracting and loud. However, the new lounge is not only easy on the eyes but it is a great space for studying or holding small meetings – and it’s accessible to anyone on campus!

3) You’re waiting in line to buy textbooks


We all dread that first week or two of classes when we charge our student accounts with textbooks we wish we didn’t need.

4) You’re bombarded with “Smaug/Caf?” texts everyday


Now that everyone spends almost their entire day on campus, Smaug and Caf get-togethers are back in full swing. No one ever wants to eat alone so we find ourselves asking every friend within the Winona area to join us for food.

5) You’ve created a short cut through campus to stay out of the cold


We’ve all done it. Especially on those extra cold days where the wind makes your face hurt and your eyes water. Although it’s a short walk through campus, the extra time it takes to maneuver through every possible building to warm up for 10 seconds is worth it.

6) You try not to laugh when you see people casually recover from almost slipping on their way to class


It’s inevitable. Every season we see someone slipping on the ice while walking through campus – or acting like nothing happened when they catch themselves. Either way it’s usually a funny sight (until we are the ones that slip).

7) You see people in shorts and wonder what on Earth they’re thinking


Some Minnesotans are braver than they should be: Snow? Below freezing temperatures? No problem, I’ll just wear my favorite shorts or shirt WITH NO JACKET. And these people definitely stick out like a sore thumb as you pass by them shivering in your parka.

8) You use your laundry money for Mugby coffee in the morning


Most mornings we just need the extra caffeine boost to wake us up, but in the winter it’s a matter of retrieving all things warm. Holding that hot cup of Joe on your way to class is worth wearing the same pair of jeans three days in a row.

-Lauren Reuteler

10 Things To Add To Your Winter Break Bucket List

As we are approaching our favorite (or least favorite) time of the year, finals, something that helps me stay positive during this hectic time is what I’ll be doing with my month of freedom from classes.

So, without further ado, I present 10 things to add to your winter break bucket list!

1) Build a snowman


Do you remember how you used to love running outside at the sign of the first snowfall to build a snowman or make snow angels? Yep. It’s time to do that again!

2) Go ice-skating


Frozen ponds, lakes or rivers can provide you with some of the most scenic ice skating rinks. Winona’s Lake Lodge will be open and they have ice-skating available when you get back from break, too!

3) Make a gingerbread house


Spend an afternoon putting together a gingerbread house that is filled with sweets and treats!

4) Get around to that Netflix binge you’ve been wanting to do


Let’s be honest here. If you’ve been colleging right, you haven’t had time to watch Netflix, or at least the amount of Netflix, that you’d have liked. Winter break is the perfect time to get caught up on all your favorite shows!

5) Donate toys


There is always a warm-fuzzy feeling from helping people in need. Some people aren’t fortunate enough to have a good holiday time due to financial reasons. Whenever you’re at the store, consider buying a toy or two and donating it to someone. It’ll make their holidays just a little brighter. After all – it’s the season of giving.

6) Have a snowball fight


Gather a group of friends and spend your holiday time right! I mean, who doesn’t like a good snowball fight?

7) Make an igloo/snow-fort


Let’s be honest, we’ve always wanted to make one. Now that we are in college, our old dignity from high school has been thrown out the window. We don’t care if younger kids will think we’re weird if we do childish things. Besides…growing up is optional, right?

8) Go on a light tour


If you’re in the Winona Area over break, La Crosse has the Rotary Lights! If you’re in the cities area, consider going to the Bentleyville “Tour of Lights” in Duluth! You will not be disappointed!

9) Go caroling


Nothing shows holiday spirit like a bit of caroling! Make sure you bundle up!

10) Give a gift


Tis the season of giving. Show someone you appreciate him or her by finding something that you think they may like!

I hope you all have a great, safe break! Stay safe, and come back in one piece! 

-John Otis

5 Books to Read Over Winter Break

Winter break is filled with relaxation and unwinding after another long finals week. Ultimate relaxation and peace is sitting on my enclosed porch reading a book. I’m sure there are other bookworms such as myself on this campus, so I compiled a winter break book list!

1. Steelheart by Brian Sanderson 


I literally finished this book last week and I loved it! If you love the superhero movies and any action movie in general, this book is for you. The action in this book is incredibly fast paced and very exciting. This book is about an earth where regular humans get super powers; except all of the humans with powers (titled epics in this novel) are using their powers for evil. The reckoners are a group of people fighting the epics and the main character, David is one of them. This book is a very quick read and when you finish it, the sequel is out and waiting.

2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park

If you’re looking for a more chick flick type book with some romance, this is a great book. It’s about young love but it also tackles other themes like fatphobia, neglect and bullying. It’s easy to fall in love with both Eleanor and Park as characters. This book develops Eleanor & Park’s relationship through both points of view. Eleanor is a red-headed girl who comes from an abusive family. When she meets Park, she starts to slowly fall in love with him and realize what happiness truly is. This book is romantic, sad and a little sappy, but it’s definitely worth a read over break.

3. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn


If you devoured Gone Girl and like books with mystery and gothic elements, this book is for you. Dark Places is similar to Gone Girl as this book is really dark. The main character, Libby Day, survived this terribly family tragedy. When she was younger, her entire family was murdered and her brother was accused of the crime. Years later, a group of amateur investigators come to her to tell her that they think her brother was innocent. Libby uncovers new secrets as she investigates the murder of her family and finds out something very tragic. Like I said, if you like Gone Girl, this book needs to be read. I actually find this better than Gone Girl. Also check out Sharp Objects as well.

4. Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon by David Aja and Matt Fraction


Graphic novels are a really cool medium to read. I started reading graphic novels last year, and I really enjoy the imagery. The images are well crafted and artistic. If you haven’t read a graphic novel yet, it’s time for a new experience. This volume is a great start because you don’t have to know everything there is to know about superheroes. Hawkeye gets into loads of trouble in each part of the volume and you also meet his friend Kate Bishop, another archer who’s filled with sarcasm and one liners. If you are new to reading graphic novels, I highly recommend this one.

(BONUS: Re-reading!)

5. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling


This is what I’m planning for my winter break. The Harry Potter book series have always meant so much to me. I read them as I slowly learned how to read and my dad read them to me before I went to bed. Each book has little tidbits that the movies leave out. There are seven of them, so these should easily take up the entire winter break. My favorite is easily Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince because that’s when you learn about Voldemort’s back story and the horcruxes. If you haven’t read the Harry Potter book series, thank goodness winter break is around the corner.

These books will keep you busy for a while! Otherwise, if you are an extremely fast reader, take some time and find a quiet, small bookstore and find pick up something that interests you. For me, nothing beats the winter blues like snuggling under a blanket with flames crackling in the fireplace and reading a fast-paced book.

-Mariah Kaercher

Warriors, What Are You Thankful For?

Too often we get so caught up in the thought of tables full of delicious turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie during this time of year and we forget the true meaning of Thanksgiving. This is the time of year to express our gratitude for all of the many blessings we have been given and to spend quality time with loved ones. With that being said, let’s see what a few Winona State students are thankful for this year…

“What are you thankful for?”



“Family, old friends and new friends.” -Amber Pribnow


“I am thankful for every blessing, lesson learned, lost love and the
wonderful friends I have made here at Winona State.” -Emily Olson


“I am thankful that God loves me, for my family,
and for the people I have met here at Winona State.” -Anna Cho


“I am thankful for my friends, family, and experiences
here so far at Winona State.” -Ellie Figlmiller


“I am thankful to serve a loving God who never
changes in a world that always is.” -McKenna Cook


“I am thankful for this Winona community
and the friendships that I have made.” -Leah Stoeckel


“I am thankful for every day that I am alive.
Some days may be harder than other days but any day
above ground is a good day.” -Lizette Salazar

As you can see, there are many things to be grateful for, especially when you are a Winona State student. Many lasting memories and friendships are created here at Winona and those are treasures to be truly grateful for. Each of these girls have their differences in interests ranging from gymnastics to sororities to videography, but they are all thankful for the diverse community that Winona State offers, which granted them the opportunity to become best friends.

-Erin Kloepping

Holiday Mug Design Contest!


As everyone has probably seen on Facebook and other social media outlets, controversy has been brewing over Starbucks’ red holiday cups. According to some people, the red design of the cups that lack Christmas-related images is offensive, while other people think it’s ridiculous people are making such a big deal out of this.

Out of this disagreement, an awesome contest here at WSU is born!

We want to see your holiday creativity on a mug as WSU holds a Holiday Mug Design Contest. Create a festive design to be printed on a mug, incorporating Winona State graphics and any other holiday components.

Submissions will be accepted until Friday, Dec. 4 and the winner will be revealed Monday, Dec. 7. If your design is chosen, you will win a mug with your design printed on it! Other Warriors will also be able to order your mug.

Please submit your design by either messaging Winona State University on Facebook with your file and contact information, or tweet your image at @winonastateu with the hashtag: #WSUMug

Design specs:
900px x 680px at 200ppi

We know you have a latte on your mind with finals, but take an hour or two and espresso yourself and turn your stress into creativity!

-Allison Mueller

A Day in the Life of a Tournament Bass Fisherman

The Winona State Fishing Club has seen many successes this year and are becoming more widely known over the country and in our community. The club has racked up roughly $30,000 in winnings over the past few years, and had held a number one ranking in the nation for a while. Many of us don’t know what it takes to be a competitive bass fisherman, so I interviewed the president of our fishing club to get a better idea of what a tournament day looks like! Here is his step-by-step breakdown of the day. The quotes, photos and gifs are contributed by Winona State Fishing Club president Cade Laufenberg.

1) Waking up before the sun rises


If take off is at 6 a.m., anglers are usually up no later than 4:30 a.m. to make final preparations on the boat, eat and drive to the launch site.

“If things go smoothly, I love the morning anticipation. If there is anything wrong and I have to fix something or otherwise do something I didn’t plan on when time is running out before take off, and this happens from time to time, it can be extremely stressful.”

2) Waiting in line to put the boat in the water


“If you’re at the back of a 100 boat line, it can be a grueling wait for your turn. The anxiousness to get competition underway only amplifies the situation.”

3) Boat is in the water – now you can enjoy your coffee


Winona State Fishing Club members.

“It’s nice to take a sip of coffee, and go through a brief run down in your head, or with your fishing partner of where you plan to fish today, how you plan to catch fish, and a series of possible outcomes and alternatives.”

4) Making last minute preparations


“After some last minute preparations and game plans are made, usually some casual mingling takes place among anglers. This usually means floating around in the boats looking for other anglers who you consider your friends. Jokes are made, conversations are had to lighten the mood and you wish each other luck before take off.”

5) Going through the final boat check


“Finally, its time for things to get underway. The tournament director plays the national anthem, and begins to run boat checks and take off procedure. This means a last minute check of all boat equipment is necessary. The live wells must be working properly, lifejackets must be on, and the boat’s running lights must be working in order to be authorized for take off. Once these things past the test, all is good to go.”

6) And the tournament begins!


“It’s blast off time! A short idle out to the end of the slow no wake, and then time to put the hammer down on the throttle. Its an all out race to the starting spot, which is usually the best spot an angler has found in their week of pre-tournament practice. Boats traveling as fast as 80 mph, ripping up and down the lake to try and get to their areas first, and its an adrenaline rush.”

7) The first hurdle and changing strategy fast


“You get to your starting spot only to find out someone else is already on it. This is a tournament angler’s worst nightmare. Not only are you worried because you relied on catching fish there, but you also know that your fellow competitor will probably do well there. Luckily you have a strategy in case this happened so you go to your secondary spot. Nobody is there! Thank goodness.”

8) Catching your first fish of the day


“Spot number two had a ton of fish in practice, but they weren’t very big. At least you should be able to get your five bass limit here, you reason, and then you can upgrade elsewhere. Hold up! It’s the first bite of the day – and it’s a big one!”

9) Completely changing your game plan


“You’re taken by surprise that you caught a big one at this area. Now your game plan has completely changed. You decide to give this area a couple of hours on a hunch that there are more quality fish there. After you finish here, you’ll re-prioritize your spots accordingly to fit what’s left of your eight-hour day.”

10) Moving to your next spot


“You grind out this spot for two hours and manage to pull two more big fish off the area. But it’s been over an hour without a bite and it’s time to look at other areas. You’re extremely happy with how this decision panned out, and it just goes to show how quickly things can change in this sport. If someone was not on your starting area, you never would have started here and caught those big fish.”

11) Keeping your head in the game


Featuring Cade Laufenberg, created by Lauren Reuteler.

“With six hours left in the day and only two quality fish needed to have a great chance to win the tournament, you’re on cloud nine. But it’s important to keep it together. Sometimes catching two fish is easier said than done.”

12) Hurdle number two


Featuring Cade Laufenberg, created by Lauren Reuteler.

“Sure enough, suddenly its 12 p.m. Weigh in is at 3:00 and you’ve still got only the three fish you caught earlier. You’ve stopped at several locations that you thought you could catch fish and failed to register even a bite. It’s time to make a change- both in area and fishing techniques.”

13) Changing up your fishing strategies


“You decide to run to the opposite end of the lake, and instead of fishing deep water for big fish like you had been, you’ll opt for shallow water where you think you can just catch some smaller fish to finish out your limit. At this point you’ll take anything you can get.”

14) Getting your confidence back


Featuring Cade Laufenberg, created by Lauren Reuteler.

“Finally at 2:00, fish number four goes in the live well. Its not huge, but respectable, and is a monumental lift, breathing new life into you. You were almost out of it mentally, but now realizing you’re one big fish away from potentially winning, you’re fishing harder than ever before.”

15) Showing those fish who is boss


“The next cast, you hook a giant. It gives you a huge fight, and you’re shaking the entire time. 45 seconds feels like hours. Finally it comes to the net and is in the boat. You know you have a good chance to win now, and you’re moved to the point of screaming uncontrollably in a boat on a public lake with hundreds of people who can hear you plain as day. You don’t care.”

16) Weigh in


“Finally, its time to weigh your fish; your 5 bass limit totally 22 pounds is impressive, but now you must wait to see if anyone else can knock it off. One by one, anglers come to the stage with bags that look heavy, only to fall just short. It’s the same feeling you had on your way to the starting spot, hoping you’d get it. The same feeling you had at the end when you hooked the big fish and battled it, shaking, to the boat. When you find out that nobody has beaten you, the feeling is indescribable. Your day consisted of so much emotion, so much mental focus, and now you get to pour it all out on stage while you collect your trophy and check.

17) Resting and reflecting on your day


“At this point, you feel more energized and excited than ever before, but in a few short hours, you’ll be passed out. Fishing takes a lot out of you – physically, mentally and emotionally. But that is why it is so much fun, exciting, and addicting.”

-Lauren Reuteler and Cade Laufenberg

Alumni do it Best


When I graduate from this institution, I will be proud to call myself a Winona State Warrior. I’m proud and completely devoted to the school that provided me an education, friendships and plenty of memories that will last a lifetime. Winona State puts on many various alumni events to keep our alumni connected to this university. Just because graduation is arriving for me in a year or so does that mean I have to cut off all ties with the school. I will always try and help future students by donating back to Winona State.

Many students on campus don’t realize how crucial donations are to WSU. I hear students casually conversing and I always hear complaints about being called and asked for money after graduation. The most common statements I hear include, “Winona State doesn’t need anymore money” and “I already pay tuition, isn’t that enough?” I fully understand why students are saying this around campus, but hear me out. The Integrated Wellness Complex, the gym and my home as an exercise science student, was funded by donations. That building wouldn’t exist if we didn’t have alumni who cared about the future of Winona State University. It’s crazy to think that past alumni, who love this school as much as I do, fund one of my favorite buildings on campus. Also, our state only gives 18% to WSU alone. That’s really not a lot. Plus if WSU wants to expand and create new programs to attract upcoming students, that budget will be depleted rather quickly. Donations are really key in the success of any university. WSU isn’t the only university that asks its students to give back.

Let’s take tuition for example. Sure, you pay a lot each semester, but let’s think of some basic expenses. There are the professors’ salaries, bills to for all the buildings, the laptop program in which you receive a laptop, room and board, and more. Tuition goes to a variety of things, but not to building renovations or to scholarships. The presence of alumni on campus allows for the existence of scholarships. Past alumni and local businesses in the Winona area fund scholarships. Any scholarship amount really makes a difference, even if it only pays for books for a semester. If alumni never gave back to WSU, scholarships would be nonexistent and that would make paying for school that much more difficult.

If and when a caller calls you for donations after graduation, don’t just shut them down. Even giving $20 can make a difference. Many people will have student loans, car payments and other bills to pay off, but everyone can make a difference. This university is growing rapidly and it needs as much support as it can get. If donating money isn’t something you’re interested in, donate your time. Connect at different alumni events when you’re invited to them and connect with future students, too.

Once a warrior, always a warrior.

-Mariah Kaercher

Internships are Important!


Landing your dream job right after you graduate college may seem impossible. Many of us struggle because we need to gain experience working in the field, but most employers want you to have experience before they hire you. This is where an internship can come into to play. Many of you are probably sick of hearing about internships or the thought of finding one and applying stresses you out. Some people are required to have one to graduate, while others are “strongly encouraged.” But what many people do not know is why EVERYONE should have an internship during their college years.

An internship is crucial. Not only does it give you experience in the field you are studying, but it also helps you determine if you truly love that field. Maybe you would rather work in public relations versus advertising or you’re a better fit for social work rather than psychology. In addition, if you succeed at an internship you may get your foot in the door with a future employer!

You can also build relationships with your employer, which can lead to him or her mentoring you. You can gain firsthand experience working in the field, and you will learn new skills. This can lead to you to establishing other connections that will also help you in the future. As annoying or stressful it is to hear about internships right now, it will only benefit you in the long run!

Start your internship search today!

-Kayla Severson