7 Simple Steps to Better Communication With Your Parents

My parents separated and divorced within the last year, so not only during college has my relationship changed with my parents because I am becoming an adult, but now it is changing because I have to build a relationship with them both individually; that has just made our relationships stronger.

My parents separated and divorced within the last year, so not only during college has my relationship changed with my parents because I am becoming an adult, but now it is changing because I have to build a relationship with them both individually; that has just made our relationships stronger.

​A lot changes during the transition from high school to college: surroundings, friends, interests, lifestyle, etc. However, there is one key element in life that also changes during this transition time and is often overlooked. That element is the relationship one has with their parents.

Why the change? The first reason is pretty obvious, and that’s the physical distance between you and your parents that probably did not exist before. Most teenagers do not have to put much effort into maintaining their relationship with their parents while growing up because they see them on a daily basis. Now, because of the distance, both you and your parents must be willing to put in more effort than before to stay in touch.

Your relationship with your parents will also change as you change and grow. Going to college will mark the beginning of your adult relationship with your parents. As you become more independent and less dependent on your parents, the basis of your relationship will change. Some parents may have a difficult time with you not needing them as much as you once did, so be gentle and don’t flaunt your independence too much!

Because of these two reasons it is important to maintain a healthy relationship with your parents while away at college. It is also important to understand and embrace the fact that your relationship with your parents is going to change.

So, here are a few tips to keep in mind while trying to stay connected to your parents after moving to college:

1) Find a form of communication that works for everyone

Everyday there are more communication platforms to choose from: phone calls, letters/mail, text messages, FaceTime, Skype and Facebook are just a few. You may have to help your parents learn how to use some of these applications. My dad recently got a smartphone for the first time and I’m teaching him to use it. Showing him applications such as Facebook has been such a fun, and at times frustrating, experience.

2) Find a convenient time to touch base

Whether you choose to touch base daily with a few quick text messages are block out an hour each week to Skype, scheduling this time will make it more likely to happen. This can be made easier by exchanging schedules so your parents aren’t calling you in the middle of class.

3) Be honest and communicate your feelings

Whether you feel like you need some space or need a little extra help with something, communicate it. Some parents may have eyes in the back of their heads, but they aren’t mind readers. Also, not all parents went to college, and if they did a lot has changed. So, make sure you explain the reality of college to them because at times it can be stressful and you may have to reschedule that weekly Skype date. But you don’t want your parents to think you’re blowing them off.

4) Ask your parents what is happening in their life

A lot will be changing in your life and it will be exciting, so you will probably have a lot to report back to your parents. But don’t forget to ask how things are going for them; even if they just simply tell you about their workday, it will make a difference in your relationship.

5) Communicate the struggles of young adulthood to your parents

Again, a lot has changed since our parents have been in college or have been twenty-somethings trying to start their life. College is the time you learn to become more independent, however it doesn’t all happen at once. So, you still may need help from your parents with somethings. That is okay.

7) Tell them how appreciative you are of them

Whether you are the first or last of your siblings to go off to college, remember that you not being home is going to be a difficult time for your parents. It’s always fun to get a care package from your parents during midterms, but remember you could always send them something nice too! Like all relationships, your relationship with your parents is a two way street.

Overall, every individual is different and everyone’s relationship with their parents are going to differ. But just remember how much your parents have done for you and the support they’ve provided through out your life. Parents are so awesome that there’s even a national holiday for them! Sunday, July 24 is Parents’ Day, so recognize this day and make sure to do what’s best for you and your relationship with your parents while in college!​

My mom not only gave me her small size, but more importantly her big personality. The photo of my dad and me shows how he makes me smile and laugh with his humor and one-liners which I would say is a quality of his I have.

My mom not only gave me her small size, but more importantly her big personality. The photo of my dad and me shows how he makes me laugh with his humor and one-liners, which I would say is a quality of his I have.

 –Dana Scott

Reduce Your Spending, Reduce Your Stress!


College is a fun time for many things, but not so much when it comes to finances. Between paying for rent, various bills, classes and loans, it is easy to feel like you cannot stay ahead. It is common to freak out about money. However, it is important to not let spending money stress you out too much. One way to minimize the stress is to budget!

One of the most important parts of budgeting is planning ahead. You know how much your rent and some of your other bills will be each month, and you know when these things are due. Make sure you will have that money when the time comes. I know some bill payments such as energy bills change every month, but sometimes you can set those accounts up on a budget. If you call your energy company you can set up a certain amount that you do not want to go over every month, and they will help you minimize the energy usage.

Another part is not making impulse purchases. Think about if you really need the things you are buying. Do you really need another pair of jeans or another video game just because it’s on sale?

You should also try not to eat out. At the time, going through a McDonald’s or Taco Bell drive-thru may not seem like a big deal, but it does add up. Research from 2014 reveals that the average American spends more than $1,200 on fast food every year! Also, try to avoid going grocery shopping when you are hungry. If you are like me, then you buy more at the store when you could eat everything in sight right then and there. Grocery shopping after you eat will save you money and even save you from wasting food.


To make some quick cash, sell the stuff you do not use. Have extra pieces of furniture or clothes you never wear anymore? Get rid of them. If you aren’t using them, what’s the point of keeping them around? Lets face it, the dorms and off campus housing don’t exactly have the most space. So, why not make a couple bucks for something that is just taking up space?

Finally, use your student ID to save. It is good for more than getting you into the IWC and buying spring concert tickets. Many places around town offer a student discount. All you have to do is show your student ID! Some discounts may not seem worth it, but why not save the money where you can? Be sure to ask about student discounts when you’re out and about!

Hopefully these money-saving tips and advice will save you from some stress – we have enough of it already in college!

Kayla Severson

Achieving Spiritual Health - With or Without Religion


When people discuss spiritual health, they often center on religious ideals and beliefs. Be it about gods, prayers, or church services, it’s often said that one cannot have spiritual health without being involved in a religion. I’m here to say that’s not the case. Spiritual health is something that everyone can achieve, with or without religion. Simply put, spiritual health is all about yourself and the life you choose to live.

For much of my life, I was inbetween religions. Raised Lutheran, I became disenchanted with some of the ideals the church supported. I wandered and studied for several years before finally coming upon Zen Buddhism in my freshman year of college. The thing I realized in my many studies is that spirituality is not inherently about praising a deity or regularly attending a church. While those things do help many people, not everyone will be religious. And that’s okay.

Spirituality is, in a way, the most human aspect of each and every person. A person’s spirituality can stem from a number of sources, and not just what they are taught in Sunday School. It’s about connecting with the people around you and seeing who they are, what they do, and who they can be. It’s about forming bonds with not only you friends, but those who may not always be in your favor. It’s about love, not romantic love, but the love of life and where you are.

Some people pray every day to connect with their spiritual side. Some meditate. Some read scientific texts. Every one of these options is just as good as any other. It’s important to see life as a journey, and one with its ups and downs. And everyone is on that same journey. While they may take others paths, everyone is headed to the same place in the end. During this journey, you will make many choices, and pursue many different beliefs. While you may follow a religion, religion is not necessary to have spiritual health. When you find that reason for your existence, spirituality will come.

More than anything, spiritual health is the connection to something bigger than you. Whether it’s God, the trees, the stars, your friends, or the world you live in that leads you to feel connected, what matters is to feel that you are a part of something and able to contribute to something better. We all have a strong connection to this planet, and will likely never see another. It’s the bonds and beliefs you form throughout your life that form your own unique spirituality. And that’s the most important aspect. It’s your spirituality, not anyone else’s. Everyone’s beliefs will differ. It’s the journey, which formed those beliefs that make us who we are, and we should be proud of them. So embrace them. Embrace your life, embrace your thoughts, and embrace your own unique view of the world.

Nathaniel Nelson

Find a Hobby, Find Your Happiness


“What do you like doing in your free time?”

As college students we don’t get a lot of free time, and this question makes it even more stressful to find an interesting hobby to fill our free time. This is just one of the reasons finding the right hobby for you is important. It is also important to have something that provides personal enjoyment and fulfillment.

As college students, many of the activities we find ourselves doing have other benefits other than our happiness. Such as studying for classes to get good grades with the goal to eventually graduate. Many of us also work part time or full time jobs in addition to taking classes to make money or gain experience in a certain field, regardless if you enjoy your job or not – its sole purpose is not to bring happiness, but rather to fill your pockets and resumé.

We all also fill many other roles as friends, parents, significant others, siblings, children, etc. These can all be very fulfilling roles, but the most important role you will fill in your life is being yourself and part of that job includes providing your own happiness. To do this effectively and without the risk of also draining yourself, you need to find a hobby or activity you can participate in solely for your own fulfillment and enjoyment.

It may take some time to find the perfect hobby for you, so don’t get discouraged! Don’t be afraid to try something new and don’t worry about whether you will be “good” at this hobby because as long as it provides happiness and enjoyment, that’s all that matters. Here is a list of some hobbies for you to try out:

 1) Reading

Many college students do a lot of reading already, so try to find books you can read at your own leisure. You could also join or create a book club for motivation or discussion.

2) Writing

Many college students also do a lot of writing, so again, do this for leisure. There are many things you could start writing: daily journals, letters to friends, short stories, poetry, or start a blog.

3) Hiking, biking, running and other outdoor activities

Winona is a great place for this! Between the bluffs, the lakes and the river, there are a lot of outdoor activities to pick from!

4) Photography

Even if you don’t want to buy a new, expensive camera, you can always go out with your phone in the search for the perfect Instagram-worthy picture!

5) Painting

If you are 21 or older, you could start by attending a wine and canvas night for a fun and interesting experience.

6) Cooking or baking

Hit up Pinterest for recipes to try. Follow WSU’s College-Friendly Recipes Pinterest board for some cheap and delicious ideas. You could even invite friends over and host a dinner party!

7) Knitting

This skill could come in handy around the holidays to make all your loved ones scarfs or hats for gifts.

8) Scrapbooking

You get to reminisce on old times and create something that will allow you to look back on great memories.

9) Yoga

Attend yoga in the park, go to a class at the IWC or even look up videos on YouTube.

10) Gardening

This is great during the summertime!

11) Teach yourself something new

Whether it’s learning to play an instrument or a speak a new language, trying something new is always fun!

12) Volunteering

Donate your time to a cause you are passionate about.

13) Sports

Join an intramural team or league for fun.

14) Collections

Start a collection of anything from stamps to coins, and go out in search for the perfect additions to your collection.​

Now, get out there and find your next hobby and find your happiness!

Dana Scott

Why Pacifism?


Pacifism : the belief that it is wrong to use war or violence to settle disputes. 

Pacifism is an ideology as old as time itself, but for many of us, it seems like a pipe dream. It seems there’s never an end to the constant stream of wars and violent acts, so what’s the point of being pacifist anyways? Well, here are 4 distinct and immediate benefits from denouncing violence and following a peaceful way of life:

1) Low level of stress

Part of pacifism is avoiding conflict. But this isn’t just war-based conflict. It can be everything from conflict between workers, to between friends, to the short fights in a relationship. Oftentimes, stress is caused by the worry about these sorts of conflicts. Without them, stress flows right off of you like you’re a stone in the Mississippi.

2) Understanding of the individual

Pacifism’s number one ideological fact is the importance of every person, no matter who they are on the inside or out. Each person is just as special and interesting as anyone else. You may find people you don’t like, but you can understand that they matter. In this crazy messed up world of ours, everybody is in the same boat going down the same river. Though people may take different routes, they are all just as important.

3) Certainty of safety

This one is a bit strange. “How can you be sure of your safety with how much violence there is in the world today?” Here’s the thing: by avoiding violence and actively denouncing it, other people will learn to see life from the same angle. Not only that, but nobody wants to pick a fight with a pacifist. There’s no gratification from fighting with someone who finds no reason to fight, after all.

4) Living a peaceful life

This is the biggest, most obvious benefit from pursuing a pacifist lifestyle. When you live a life devoid of violent anger and hatred, and see the beauty in the individual, life becomes a peaceful journey without fear and without stress. You can spend your days awing at the wonders of the natural world, and of the individuals who work to keep people wondering. Without war, without violence, without hatred, the world is just a much better place.

Nathaniel Nelson

Address Your Spiritual Wellness!

How is your spiritual health?

Do you feel a sense of purpose? Joy? Inner peace?

Is your outlook on life positive or negative?

Are you stressed, anxious, or feel as if you have no control over your life?

Wellness is made up of several different dimensions including physical, emotional, social and even spiritual wellness. Unfortunately, spiritual wellness is most commonly the first facet to get pushed to the back burner when people are trying to improve their overall health and well-being. This is ironic because without a connection with your spirituality, every other aspect of your wellness cannot and will not reach its full potential. Spiritual wellness is the backbone of wellness because it affects all of the other components of your well-being.

Often overlooked, spiritual wellness is very important and ultimately effects and influences the other dimensions of wellness (Image taken from WSU's Integrated Wellness Complex site).

Often overlooked, spiritual wellness is very important and ultimately effects and influences the other dimensions of wellness (Image taken from WSU’s Integrated Wellness Complex site).

You see, spiritual wellness encompasses everything from our daily disciplines to finding our true purpose in life. It is the values and beliefs in which we live by. Implementing realistic standards and boundaries based on our beliefs and values is crucial because without them it is next to impossible to find your calling and reach your full potential. Moreover, spirituality is necessary in order to attain fulfillment.

Additionally, being spiritually healthy is the only way to live with genuine JOY. Some may think that is an overstatement on my part, but what they may not realize is the difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is simply a temporary emotion. Today, so many people have found themselves caught up in pursuing the things this world says will make them happy. A few examples of these falsely advertised ‘must-haves’ may be attaining a 4.0 GPA, accumulating a large amount of money, or having the ‘perfect’ body image. But what they don’t know is the things of this world are only temporary and can never bring long-term fulfillment or satisfaction.

Meanwhile, joy is also an emotion or a feeling, but is one that we have been commanded to feel. Therefore, I believe that command can only be granted by God himself, because joy is the natural reaction to the ways God is working and moving in our lives. Just as we are commanded to be joyful, we are commanded to rejoice, express gratitude, and be tenderhearted. However, these things are all out of our control to produce because we are sinful human beings and have fallen short. Only through a relationship with God can we produce these emotions. It is written that through Christ and Christ alone we can do all things. As humans we were never meant to do everything in our own strength. As a matter of fact, we can’t. We become not only spiritually weak, but also physically and mentally weak when we try to do everything in our own strength. This is why I believe stress affects every aspect of wellness.


Stress is one of the biggest struggles people are faced with today, especially college students. Some may say it is the result of living in our extremely fast paced society with unrealistic expectations. Although that may be true, I believe there is more to it. Without values and beliefs and ultimately without having a relationship with our Creator, there is no ‘bigger picture’ or purpose in life. When you begin to live only in the moment instead of living as if this is only your temporary home, you tend to handle certain trials and temptations differently.

Spiritual wellness also involves community. It is crucial to surround yourself with a positive community of people or those who will help you stay true to the values and beliefs you have decided to live your life by. One of my mentors in high school always said, “Show me your friends, I’ll show you your future.” Realizing who is influencing you and how they are influencing you is an extremely important analysis to do, especially in college when there are always pressures to make poor decisions. Finding this community may be difficult to find and it might take some time, but it will be so worth the wait.

For me, I found my community through a campus ministry called Chi Alpha. This year, Chi Alpha has been a place for me to grow in my faith alongside other college students who were also intentionally pursuing the promises of Christ and not the things of this world. The opportunities Chi Alpha presented me this year and the friendships I made within this community are truly what made my transition from living at home to college so smooth.

Overall, it is my hope that each student on our campus will realize their need for spiritual wellness and choose to seek out and get involved with a community in college that positively influences them.

Erin Kloepping

Must-Follow Wellness Vloggers

Blogging has really exploded in popularity, and they are a great way to learn about others and gain new ideas and perspectives on things. There are many different websites to develop a blog and followers, and YouTube happens to be one of my favorite sites. I love following different vloggers (video bloggers) and hearing their stories, and I’ve composed a list of different YouTubers who talk about wellness and promote positivity while doing so. Aspects of health can be hard to get good information about because of all the negativity and close-mindedness on the internet. These three vloggers talk about different areas of wellness including mental, spiritual and sexual health.


Ashley Mardell

Ashley Mardell discusses sexuality including homosexuality, asexuality and being demisexual. If you don’t know what some of these terms mean, I guarantee that she will clear up the confusion. I really like her videos discussing sexuality because sexuality isn’t just straight or not. Sexuality is a lot more complicated than that. Sexuality is something that’s not really talked about so if you have questions, you really have to do this research on your own. Ashley also promotes her followers to ask questions. Ashley also has a video detailing her depression so she is also a good resource for mental health as well. If you want to know more about sexuality, gender and depression, Ashley is someone you need to subscribe to and follow on Instagram.



Loey is more active on Instagram than she is on YouTube, but she promotes body positivity. She is someone who is unapologetic about her body and her goal is to let other women know that if you’re not a certain size, you’re still beautiful. She’s also trying to eliminate fatphobia because it’s rather horrendous to judge someone based on weight. She shares pictures of herself in swimsuits and other clothing to inspire women that nothing is off limits. If you are someone who struggles with body image and/or has insecurities, then she should be someone you should follow.



Zoella is a vlogger who discusses her anxiety and panic attacks. Although I haven’t dealt with anxiety and depression myself, I know friends who have been diagnosed with anxiety and depression and I try to be there for them. Watching Zoella helps me be a better friend to them because I will never understand what they are going through. Her videos are great for people like myself to try and better understand mental illness because there’s a lot I still have left to learn. In addition, if you’re someone who has anxiety, she may be a great resource for you. She is also present on Instagram!

YouTube is a great resource because it’s great to hear about people discuss topics that directly relate to you or loved ones. There are many aspects to health, and YouTubers do a pretty good job of sharing their stories and educating followers. I highly recommend these vloggers because they are open, honest and nonjudgemental. If you have a different blogger or vlogger you follow for wellness; let me know in a comment on this blog post!

Mariah Kaercher

How to Pick the Perfect Workout Shoe!

If there is one thing I hate buying, it’s shoes. For some people, shoe shopping is a lot of fun, but it’s really not for me. If I could go barefoot and walk around and get away with it, I definitely would. One reason I hate buying shoes is how expensive shoes can be. So when I looked at my two pairs of workout shoes and saw they were breaking down, I knew I had to suck it up and buy workout shoes. I dreaded going because I had no idea how much I was going to pay. I ended up only spending $75 on two pair of good quality shoes, which I have to say is a pretty good deal. If you’re looking for new walking shoes/physical activity shoes, here is a short guide on how to not break your bank account when shoe shopping.

Shop around! 
So, you found this really cute pair of bright blue Nikes for 90 bucks and you’re considering buying them. The biggest advice I can give is shop around. I can guarantee you can find a better deal on Nikes than spending 90 bucks. Shopko is a really good place to start. They have deals all the time on shoes. That is where I purchased my newest pairs of sneakers and I can’t recommend it enough. Otherwise, I have heard TJ Maxx is another cheap place to get shoes for a lot less. You don’t have to spend a lot on workout shoes; you just need to know where to shop and how to find the deals.
When it comes to actually buying workout shoes, here are some considerations to keep in mind:
What are you going to do in these shoes? Are you going to run and walk? Are you going to do weight training? Figure out what activities you are using this shoe for. If you’re a runner, you should probably buy a shoe that fits running. I typically purchase cross training shoes because that way I can pretty much do everything in one pair of sneakers.
Where are you going to be using your shoes? 
Are you going to be working out outside or inside? If you’re probably going to be working out outside you shouldn’t buy a white pair of sneakers since they will get dirty faster. Where you perform each activity will be something to consider, especially when buying shoes.
Buy Inserts! 
Your shoes should feel comfy. If you’re going to walk in shoes, they should be comfortable for your feet. If they aren’t, you can get blisters and foot pain in general. I recommend buying some sort of inserts that give your feet some more support. My current pair of gym shoes honestly feel like I’m walking on clouds.
Having a good pair of workout/physical activity/walking shoes that you love is super important. If you have comfy shoes, you’re more likely to walk places than to drive or take a bus. They are worth spending the money on, but you don’t have to spend a lot. I was able to save a lot of money by shopping around and finding discounted pairs of shoes. However, that still doesn’t change the fact that I hate buying shoes.

Enjoy Outdoor Activities in Winona!

The weather is heating up and there is no better way to take advantage of it than to go outside! The changing season brings more options to get active outdoors rather than staying cooped up inside. Here’s a list of things you can do this summer that are great for your health and will help you fully enjoy the sunny and warm weather:

1) Take the wheels for a spin


This is my personal favorite thing you can do outside because it’s an effective and amusing workout. You can bike in the nice weather as both a form of transportation and leisure. This way of transportation is good for the environment, an awesome calorie burner, a muscle builder and something you could do to cut down on gas money as well. Check out Winona’s map of city bike trails, other bike trails and Winona County bike loops!

2) Take a stroll


You could have a friend tag along on a walk and just talk about life or you could go by yourself and listen to your favorite playlist. It won’t even feel like you’re exercising. Otherwise, power walking is a great workout option! Hiking is also a fun activity as well! The Sugarloaf hiking trails provide a way to get some fresh air and a workout all at the same time, and you can enjoy the beautiful nature and scenery!

3) Run, Forrest, Run!


Some people would much rather go for a run or a nice jog over a walk. It’s another wonderful way to get active outside with plenty of positive benefits. Keep in mind running is a major stress reliever when you’re feeling the weight of life stressors. On May 14 there is a Bluffview Explorer 10K Run and 5K Run/Walk in Winona to raise money for the Bluffview Montessori School PTA. Sign up online, and mark your calendars for other races in Winona this summer and fall!

4) Go to the park


Many local parks, including Winona’s, have basketball courts, soccer fields, baseball fields and tennis courts available to the public to use. Playing sports as a hobby is an amazing way to get a workout in and have a blast with your friends while doing it. Throw around a Frisbee or play some football…the choices are endless if you have the space. The Willows Disc Golf Course provides an 18 hole course on East Lake Winona and a 9 hole course on the West Lake. Grab some friends and play!

5) Channel your inner mermaid/merman


Whether it’s a community pool or a waterpark, swimming laps or running around a waterpark is entertaining way to burn some calories while getting vitamin D. In Winona, the Bob Welch Aquatic Center is open in the summer for swimming for $5 a day, and there will be a FREE pool party concert Friday, July 15!

6) Pick up a paddle!


If you want to take to the waters, the Lake Lodge Recreation Center in town offers canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding for a year-long membership of $15.

7) Get your blade or board on


Going for a rollerblade or skateboard ride is another excellent way to get moving in the nice temperatures. If you don’t know how to, give it a try and learn! Who knows, it might end up being one of your favorite activities. If you’re looking for a fun location to blade or board, the Winona Skatepark is a great option! The new Anthem Skatepark and Board Shop is located at 800 West 5th Street.

I hope this gives you inspiration for some ways to get out of the house and get some exercise. For more options, visit the Winona Park and Rec website. Enjoy the beautiful weather, Warriors!

Allison Mueller and Kassidy Jackson

Rock Your Health!

Take advantage of the rock wall on campus! (Photo by Ka Vang '16)

Take advantage of the rock wall in the Wabash Recreation Center! (Photo by Ka Vang ’16)

This blog post is to all those people who want a change of pace in their workout routine. For me, I get tired of the constant gym routine and I like to switch it up every now and then. One of the latest fitness trends is rock climbing. Rock climbing can be a physically and mentally demanding sport that can test mental toughness and endurance and without proper knowledge, it can be dangerous. But many people don’t realize the benefits that it can have.

Many don’t think of rock climbing as cardio, but according to an article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the cardio and energy exerted in rock climbing is similar to running at a pace of 8-11 minutes a mile. It requires an increase in a range of motion, which will also increase the flexibility of the climber.

As well as strengthening both your upper and lower body, rock climbing will strengthen your mental health. By figuring out the routes to take to ascend, whether indoor or outdoor, you are learning problem solving skills. Just like any other exercise, rock climbing reduces stress. By increasing levels of norepinephrine, a sense of ecstasy can be felt through the reaching, climbing and leaping.


Winona is a great place to enjoy some rock climbing. We have our very own rock climbing center in the Wabasha Recreation Center that has nearly 6,000 square feet of climbing surface, 32 top ropes, two bouldering walls, belay edge and a traditional climbing anchor practice wall. The center is open to all. And if you are itching to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather, the OREC has open climbing on Tuesdays at Sugarloaf.​

Hannah Peterson