Homecoming is upon us, people! Whether you’re an alum or a current student, it’s a time show your school spirit and have fun. Unfortunately, Homecoming—and not just at WSU but most colleges in general— has gotten a reputation as a weekend of all-out partying that overshadows the focus of celebrating our WSU community.
I am a freshmen and I can attest that there is an expectation to get wasted on Homecoming weekend, no matter if you are legal to drink or not. I’m sure you’ve all seen the unauthorized Homecoming t-shirts and tanks with bad puns about drinking. But just because you feel the pressure to drink doesn’t mean that you must get hammered to count yourself as a “true” Warrior.
Personally, I am not going to drink this Homecoming and I am a strong advocate for anti-drinking. I’ve never really seen the point, especially if your goal is to stay drunk all weekend. Why would you need to be drunk all day? It just wastes your money and your time. Plus, you won’t remember any of the “good times” you’re having!
Also, excessive drinking does not make you cool or attractive—it just makes you a target for laughter. If you’re passed out by 9pm, people will likely draw on your face and take pictures. If you’re vomiting in the bathroom at a house party or behind the bleachers at the football game, people will be making fun of you, not cheering you on. If you are super drunk and have good friends, they will simply get annoyed by having to take care of you and will call 911 if they suspect you have alcohol poisoning. If you have really bad friends, they might just make sure you’re turned on your side.
Additionally, there will be extra police patrols out on Homecoming weekend so if you’re underage there is an increased chance of getting a minor consumption ticket. If you are 21+, you could get tickets for drunken disorderliness, noise violations or providing alcohol to minors if your house party gets busted.
Now, what part of that wasted homecoming experience sounds fun? (Sorry for my own bad pun.)
I want to be able to remember my first homecoming and I am sure you do too. In fact, all the Homecoming events like the comedy show, the parade and the football game will be way more enjoyable if you can see and stand up straight. For those of you who know that drinking is not for you, go to with friends who share this view Instead of going out at night, host a Netflix party, play games and have fun your own way. As you celebrate Homecoming, tag your tweets, Instagram posts and Facebook pics with the hashtag #StillCoolSober to show that other students that you don’t need to be drunk to have fun.
All that being said, I’m not telling you that you can’t go out and party on Homecoming. I know partying isn’t all bad since my own father partied a lot in college and still got good grades. Just do it responsibly. If you are going to drink, know that there is a limit to much alcohol your body can take in a given timeframe. Pace yourself to about one drink per hour and drink a glass of water every so often as well. This way you can still enjoy your time with your friends but avoid the hangover the next morning.
In fact of the matter is that, WSU’s reputation as a “turn up school” is pushed by a small section of the student population, not the majority, and Homecoming seems to bring out the worst. Together, we can work to change that obnoxious, cirrhosis-inducing culture to a culture of responsible drinking and sober fun.
Contrary to popular belief, healthy stress exists—the kind that motivates you to get your reading done, work on your paper or go to the gym. However, for many of us, our mounting to-do lists result in the bad kind of stress—the kind that wears on you physically and mentally. After last semester, I was burnt out from an over-busy schedule and finals so I embarked on a journey this summer to find ways to reduce my stress levels.
I started meditating in June and, while it hasn’t been the easiest thing I’ve ever done, it’s been the most rewarding and beneficial. Here’s my how-to guide for you to start meditating too, and join me in a less-stressed world.
Before You Begin:
1. Posture: Find a place where you can sit comfortably. You can choose your posture ,whether it’s sitting on the ground on a cushion with your legs crossed or straight up in a chair with the soles of your feet on the ground. Pick the one that’s more comfortable. I don’t recommend lying down because you’ll be tempted to fall asleep.
2. Duration: Start with just 10 minutes of meditation and slowly work your way up from there. The best way to do this is to set a timer on your phone. Once you notice the 10-minute meditation getting easier, add five minutes and keep going in this pattern until you reach 30 minutes of meditation or more. The app Headspace is good for beginner meditators. The app gives you a “Take Ten” process in which a suave British male voice leads you through ten minutes of meditation for 10 days. After the initial 10 day trial, you need to subscribe and it’s a bit pricey for a student on a budget. The free trial is a great introduction though if you’re having trouble on your own.
3. Location and Time of Day: In order to meditate properly and successfully, you’ll need to pick a location and time of day in which you won’t be disturbed. A couple times I’ve tried to meditate in the middle of the afternoon but one of my roommates would knock on my door. Such interruptions throw off your concentration and it’s hard to get back on track–especially when you’re just starting out. I suggest setting your morning alarm 10 minutes earlier and meditating first thing when you get out of bed. Bringing awareness to your body in that way is a great way to start your day as well.
How to Meditate:
So you’ve found a time of day and posture that works for you. What next?
Start by taking deep breaths, really focusing on the air as it moves in and out of your lungs and diaphragm. Gently close your eyes. Mentally scan your body from head to toe. Is there any area that feels particularly tight? Take note of that, but don’t try to change anything. Take a moment to assess an underlying mood or feeling you might have, whether it’s exhaustion, frustration or joy. Start becoming aware of the sounds around you, both near and far away.
After a few breaths, bring your awareness back to your breath. Many people who meditate like to focus on a mantra. I like to meditate on “I am;” I breathe in on “I” and breathe out on “am.” Another helpful way to focus on your breath if you’re having trouble is to count your breaths in cycles of 10. Each inhale or exhale counts as one. Once you reach 10, start over again at one.
Especially when you first start meditating, your mind will tend to wander a lot. Without all the distractions you’re used to, you might even feel a bit uncomfortable as mindfulness may dredge up unpleasant feelings. Don’t get discouraged if you are having a lot of trouble focusing or if your mind wanders uncontrollably.You might
Like any skill, meditation takes practice and you won’t be able to master it in one or even a few tries. Just keep at it and it will eventually get easier. Trust me! Your body will thank you for it.
Now that everyone has finally gotten settled in at school and has their classes figured out, professors decide to switch it up and start giving exams, or what I like to call them, academic death traps.
No one likes to have to take exams and quizzes, but we all have to do it. Now I know it can get really difficult to stick with your classes when you are so overwhelmed and maybe even the D-word– depressed.
Depression is a very serious condition no matter if it is seasonal, situational or severe. All aspects of the condition are difficult to deal with–the anxiety, sad mood, lack of energy, lack of appetite, antisocial behavior, not wanting to do anything and even thoughts of suicide. Of course, depression has many other symptoms as well and each person is affected differently.
I myself suffer from depression so I definitely know the feeling. I am not ashamed to admit it and no one should ever feel ashamed about their struggles with mental health. Many people suffer from depression, but often put up a front and don’t tell anyone. For me, it was biological. The predisposition for depression is in my genes and being overwhelmed by exams does not help my depression.
All is not lost, however. Depression can be controlled with counseling and medications. I go to counseling every two weeks right here on campus in the wellness complex. I am also on four different medications. If it wasn’t for the counseling and medications, I can honestly say I don’t know if I would be here right now.
If you think you might have depression, please go to Kryzsko Commons 247 this Thursday, Oct. 9, at 11:30am-1:30pm to get a free depression screening. WSU Counseling Services is offering these services for free to get you the help you need to feel better. They won’t poke you with any needles or anything like that, so that’s a plus. They just want to talk to you and to show you that you don’t have to go through it alone. Trust me, they really have your best interests at heart.
If you can’t make it to the depression screening on Thursday, you can also take an online mental health screening.
On Friday, Winona State University hosted Dr. Edward Creagan from the Mayo Clinic on “How to Survive Stress in the 21st Century.” Dr. Creagan gave a multitude of tips and tricks on how college students can reduce their stress levels now and beyond graduation into the future years. As a stressed-out senior myself, I thought there were many beneficial takeaways from the lecture.
It seems like there’s been an epidemic of various illness around campus in the last two weeks and I know I’m not the only one who got sick. Many of my friends and classmates told me how they felt so miserable that they just wanted to crawl back into bed. They had colds and flus, but I got so sick that I had to skip two classes for another reason–asthma.
Allergy season isn’t over. And for those like me, who have allergy-induced asthma, it got a whole lot worse. Mine got so bad that I was using my RESCUE INHALER about five times a day, which is terrible. It was actually the worst it had ever been. It got so bad that I had an attack in the middle of class and had to head back to my dorm so I could breath. And that’s a long trek since I live on west campus.
Whether you’ve got a cold, a stomachache or asthma like I do, the point is that we’re in college now. Mommy and Daddy can’t come to take care of us and our roommates will likely just tell us that they “hope we feel better” because there isn’t too much they can do for us. It’s up to us to make sure we get better.
The day is not lost though. You see, there’s this handy resource on campus in the IWC called Health and Wellness Services that is there to help you when you are sick.
Now, you probably don’t have an awesome aunt who works there like I do, but rest assured, all of the nurse practitioners are extremely friendly and want to see you get better. All you need is your insurance card and they can prescribe you medications to get rid of anything from strep throat to an ear infection.
To make things even better, there is also a pharmacy right in the IWC! How cool and convenient, is that? Usually they have your prescription ready by the end of the day.
But the IWC isn’t just for the physically sick. If you are experiencing depression or other mental health issues and need to talk to someone, you can also find counseling help there. The IWC prides itself on being able to help all their patients, or at least being able to refer them to the right people who can help.
All in all, the IWC is a great place to go for your health. They will get you what you need to feel better, but they definitely won’t go this far.
Religion has been a part of my life since I was a baby. Every Sunday, my family and I would go to church and on Wednesday nights, I’d go to some type of youth group event with my brother or friends. While I knew that faith is meant to be more than a routine, sometimes it felt like I was just going through the motions.
Coming to college completely changed that for me. Suddenly, it was up to me if I wanted to continue to stay active in my religion. I could choose whether to go to church or sleep in. It was up to me if I wanted to spend an evening at a college ministry event, stay in and study or go out with friends. I knew what my parents and friends would expect of me, but they weren’t there to tell me what to do. It was truly my choice.
While I am telling you about my personal faith story, the fact is that we all have this choice. I am sure many of you–whether you’re Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish, Muslim or non-denominational–are also from families where you were expected to go to worship services or observe religious practices. And college presents the perfect opportunity to decide if this is a faith you want to follow for the rest of your life or not.
Now for me, I went to church in the first week of college just to see what it would be like. The church, Pleasant Valley Church, was very similar to mine at home. and I actually liked it quite a bit. I could definitely see myself as part of their community.
But fast forward a few weeks, and suddenly I didn’t think it was extremely important to go. I was confused about whether I wanted to go church consistently or put my faith lower on my list of priorities. For a few weeks, I struggled with this question. I would go to church, enjoy it a lot, but then by the middle of the week wonder if I wanted to go.
About a month into my freshman year, I went to Pleasant Valley Church’s college ministry event for young women, H2O Women: Apple Orchard. You can guess where we all went– Eckerson’s Apple Orchard! It was such a great experience and I got to know some of the girls involved with H2O. Over the next few weeks, they helped me realize why I wanted to pursue my faith. I could see their passion and fire for the God I serve and I realized that I wanted that passion too. Getting involved with a faith discussion group also strengthened my choice to serve God wholeheartedly.
In the past year, I have definitely struggled with my faith. Do I continue to actively practice my faith? Do I let it slide? But then there are always times after these doubts where I realize that I could never give up the faith I grew up with. It gets me through the stress of college and is very comforting to me. I feel like my faith helps me very much with my spiritual wellness. When I get stressed about something, I know that I can rely on my God to take care of my worries – something that I have a lot of. I just remember that I don’t have to worry about the next day because my life is in God’s hands.
Pursuing my faith in college was something I ended up choosing. By doing this, it became more than just my parent’s faith: it became my own personal faith. I couldn’t be happier with this choice and the benefits to my spiritual wellness I’ve gained from it. I hope that you all will think more about whether or not you want to pursue your childhood faith also.
Last week, I talked about the importance of saving money and why it is good to create a budget. This week, I’m going to give you some specific ways to save money and reduce your spending.
And they are (…….drumroll please…….):
I know these tips are pretty basic, but believe me, they work! It might be difficult at first to give up going to Mugby for coffee every morning or keeping yourself from clicking “Add to Cart” while browsing Amazon.com, but you can do it. If you start saving and keeping track of your money now, you future-self will thank you after graduation .
We are all starting school and trying to figure out balance in our lives, stressing about school, social life and jobs as well. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was one thing you didn’t need to worry about? The one thing I am choosing not to worry about would be money and my finances. And I’ll let you in on my strategy for financial zen (hint: it doesn’t include winning the lottery).
College students almost always struggle with money because we have to pay a lot for our tuition and textbooks and housing and groceries.. you get the idea. The bottom line is we usually don’t have much money. One thing college students don’t often realize, however, is that we need to manage our money a lot better than we do.
I personally live paycheck to paycheck and, honestly, that’s just not cutting it anymore. So I decided to take a personal finance class and it is helping me figure out how to stress less about money. I have learned that the key is to manage your spending and to save your money. It is easy enough to manage your money by creating a budget. All you have to do is to record all of your spending for one month and then cut out the expenditures that aren’t strictly necessary. For instance, if you are eating out several nights a week but didn’t realize it was that often, you can decide to cook more often at home which will usually cost less than a meal at a restaurant.
The other part of the money management equation is saving. It is very, very important to save money. I cannot stress this enough. If you don’t have a savings account then you don’t have emergency money for unexpected costs such as car repairs, heath care or even losing your job. This could cause a lot of trouble because if you don’t have any money set aside you’ll likely turn to credit cards which can be a dangerous road to start traveling.
An easy way to start saving is to take a portion of each paycheck you earn and put it into a savings account. Some workplaces will let you set up a direct deposit right to your savings account. The amount you decide to save every two weeks doesn’t have to be much. If you save just $10 a month, over 12 months you will have $120. That’s enough to buy a few textbooks or even a month’s worth of groceries. Now imagine what saving $20 or $30 will give you!
I’ve only been in my personal finance class for a few weeks, but I’ve already gotten a much better handle on my money. These simple tips on managing your money, creating a budget and saving money will help you immensely too. But I am not quite done imparting financial wisdom. Next week, I will share some specific ways you can save money and help to accomplish your financial goals.