Today’s the day. You’ve seen the house, you’ve picked out your roommates and your new home is just a short commute to campus– score!
But do you really know what you’re agreeing to in your lease? Here are few tips and tricks to make sure you know exactly what you’re signature is confirming on that new house or apartment contract.
Check Out the Neighborhood
Walk around the block before you sign your lease. While the house itself may be perfect, the location might not. Are you near a lot of busy streets? That might make it hard to get a good night’s sleep. Who are your neighbors? Go around and talk to a few potential neighbors. Ask them what they think of the area and what experience they had with the previous renters before you. Lastly, walk around the neighborhood at night. Are there streetlights? Do you feel safe walking to campus? These are all very important details to note before you sign.
Look for Trouble Spots
Mold, broken floorboards, leaky faucets–every house is bound to need a few repairs. However, make sure you look for these sorts of things during a tour of the house. It also wouldn’t hurt to ask to have these repairs made before you move in. Ask if the landlord(s) live nearby in case you need help with something in the future. These are the people you need to talk to first should something go wrong while you are living in the house. Also, chat with the previous renters about the landlord’s punctuality when the house needed fixing. This will tell you whether or not the landlords will be accommodating in the future.
When touring a house, make sure you bring a camera with you every step of the way. It’s important to document any broken floorboards, walls or doors before you rent the house. This will be your proof that these things were already broken before you moved in. Typically, landlords will go through the property at the end of the lease and charge you for any ruined areas of the house. However, if you have visual proof that these things were already broken, you won’t get charged for someone else’s messy mistakes.
Note Additional Expenses
It’s important to remember that the monthly rent does not cover EVERYTHING when leasing a house or apartment. Depending on what your contract says, you may still need to pay for heat, electric, Internet and water separately. There may be other additional fees and expenses like parking or upkeep. Be sure to include all of these costs when budgeting out for the year. These smaller bills tend to add up quickly and without notice.
Talk to Other Renters
One of the best things you can do is talk to someone who’s been there. Renting a house or apartment is intimidating at first, especially when it’s your first time. There is a lot of responsibility that goes into signing your lease contract and sometimes can be overwhelming. The best thing to do is talk to other students or landlords with any questions you have about signing a lease. It’s better to express your concerns now than halfway through the semester with endless bills to pay, a clogged toilet and a bat in your basement (been there, done that).
Once you have done all of these things, take a deep breath, pick up a pen and sign that contract. And welcome to adult world.
When I started at Winona State, I never imagined that I’d be living in on-campus housing my final year. I always thought I’d end up in some cute apartment with my closest friends or in part of a giant house divided into separate living spaces.. But every year, on-campus housing has suited my needs as a student perfectly.
For me, choosing East Lake was an easy decision. I chose East Lake last year because of everything the apartments had to offer that I wouldn’t find all together in off-campus housing: in-unit laundry, all utilities–even cable and internet–included, shuttle service, desk service and a lease that was easy to get out of when I left to study abroad this past spring. Living in East Lake is also peaceful for an apartment living situation with ample space in each unit.
When it came time to plan ahead for the 2014-2015 school year, I was given priority due to the number of credits I have and got exactly the unit I wanted during sign up. I immediately felt confident that I had made the right decision.
Although I’m independent enough to live in off-campus housing, staying in East Lake gives a little extra comfort that I can’t expect of any other living situation. I have no regrets about living on campus all four years of my academic career here at Winona. Even if you are set on moving off-campus, I encourage you to at least check out East Lake. You never know, you might discover that it is the perfect place for you too.
It’s that time of year again; the leaves are falling, the pumpkin lattes are brewing and house leases are being signed!
While it may seem a little daunting to already be thinking about living plans for next year, it’s important to weigh your options before you make a final decision. As a senior, here are some of the pros and cons to living on and off campus that I have picked up over my years in school.
On-Campus: The Pros…
1. Close to EVERYTHING
Want to roll out of bed 10 minutes before class? Or how about walking one building over for a delicious dinner? One of the sweetest benefits of living on-campus is being conveniently located in the hub of all campus happenings. No matter what residence hall you are in, you’re so close to the many amenities that campus offers. And come wintertime, you’ll be so glad you only have to walk out in the polar vortex for a minimum amount of time.
2. Always Something to Do and People to be With
If you walk down the hall of a residence building, you’ll see endless flyers, posters and pictures begging for your attention. More often than not, these pieces of paper are promoting FREE events in the hall with FREE food. When you live on-campus, there are so many different activities in the res halls and in the academic buildings. Plus, there is always someone who would want to come to these events with you!
3. Fewer Worries
After a long day of classes, meetings and work, the last thing you want to do is drive to the store for some much-needed groceries for dinner. Or having to debate if it’s worth turning the heat up in the house or just putting on yet another sweatshirt. When you live on campus, it’s hakuna matata– there are no worries. There are no bills to pay, trash to take out to the curb or shoveling of the driveway.
… and Cons
1. Lots of Shared Space
With so many people in one building, it can be difficult sometimes to find a little privacy. You’re constantly sharing spaces with others including study areas, bathrooms and even your bedroom. While this does just take a little patience, it can be challenging to find some time alone in a residence hall.
2. Smaller or Double Rooms
While it’s not forever, it is a little trying to share all of your living space with another person. Although you can opt for a single room, many students share a room with another student. Stress levels can run a little high if you’re constantly bumping elbows with another person.
3. More Distractions
Because there are so many different things happening in the residence halls and on campus, it may be pretty easy to get distracted from your studies. It’s hard to watch other people having fun on a Wednesday night while you stay in your room finishing a last-minute paper. Living on campus can be difficult because hanging out with your friends down the hall is much more appealing than working on homework by yourself.
Off-Campus: The Pros…
Paying bills, grocery shopping and balancing checkbooks; you’re a real adult now! Living off-campus gives you real-life experience and, for many students, their first real taste of adulthood. While this may be stressful to some, others thrive in the independence that off-campus housing offers.
Your own room and bathroom?! Score! When you rent an off-campus house or apartment, students often get their own rooms and living spaces. It’s easier to stay up late studying or catching up on a Netflix marathon without having to consider whether you’re keeping your roommate up. It’s also nice to keep your shower items in the bathroom instead of lugging them back and forth every morning.
3. Learn Responsibility
While living off-campus can be overwhelming at times, it’s also a great experience for students to have before they graduate. It’s a practice run of making your own meals, paying for utilities and ensuring that your house is in working order. Living-off campus can be a confidence boost of responsibility.
1. Lots of Responsibility
On the flipside, living off campus is A LOT OF RESPONSIBILITY. Meaning you cannot be late paying your rent or electric bill. And you have to make sure you buy enough food to last you for the week (while still making healthy choices, of course). And on top of it all, you need to keep up with your studies. So, while it may be nice to have so much independence off-campus, it can be burden with all of the day-to-day tasks you need to take care of.
2. More Expenses
While it may seem cheaper to pay a monthly bill for renting a place off-campus, the smaller bills add up quickly. Heat, electricity, trash pick-up, water, and Internet are often separate from rent payment and these necessities can add up quickly. Of course, many roommates split these bills, but then there is the typical IOU if someone doesn’t have the money right away. This can be both draining for your patience and your wallet.
3. A Little Isolating
Living off-campus is great when you’re with your best friends all the time. However, it’s hard to feel very involved on campus if you see the same people over and over. It can feel a little lonely sometimes when you walk home from the busy campus to your quiet house every night. You may also not know about as many activities happening on campus because you are only there for classes during the day. Suddenly, solitary Netflix marathons seem to feel a little lonely…
Hopefully this helps, my fellow Warriors, as you make your living plans for next year! Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor during this time!
Grab your ID cards, readers, because by the end of this article you’re going to know the best place to cash in those weekly meals! Last week I reviewed the Jack Kane Dining Center, and today we’ll settle the score once and for all. Without further delay, let’s start grading our final contender, Lourdes Cafeteria.
I’m not afraid to come out and say that one of the biggest issues on West Campus is the lack of refilling during breakfast, lunch and dinner hours. Due to West’s significantly smaller traffic, the containers of lettuce, plates of cookies and bagel holder are not replenished nearly as fast as they are on Main campus. During my recon, some foods weren’t replenished at all.
West Campus also marginalizes the availability of breakfast sandwiches and deli sandwiches. Instead of having two separate stations like on Main, the breakfast sandwiches and deli sandwiches are made in the same location. Cream cheese is another item that isn’t readily available. Students have to wait in the grill line and ask for cream cheese. This can be very frustrating if you’re just swinging in to grab a bagel for lunch or dinner, because you end up waiting in a pretty long line for just a package of cream cheese.
Lourdes Cafeteria, however, does offer pizza and ice cream stations where students serve themselves as opposed to main campus where both pizza and ice cream dished out by an employee, which leads to long wait times. In fact, wait times on West are significantly shorter than those on Main campus.
West also suffers in the variety category. You might think that the lack of availability of certain foods is because there are so many offerings that the workers just can’t get to refilling them all. But this is not the case. On West, the variety is limited as well. Condiments are sparse, the potato bar is non-existent and you will never get to make your own waffles. That being said, it’s easy to see that the lack of variety is also due to the low traffic. There’s no reason to prepare an extreme amount of food when less than a quarter of the campus will be eating there regularly.
You know what? I’m totally okay dealing with the down sides of low traffic, because the food quality in Lourdes Cafeteria is top notch. As I mentioned this in the last post, I dedicated a week of meals to each dining center in order to make sure the comparison was fair. It’s very clear that the people at West put a lot of thought into what they’re preparing. Pizza has a perfect cheese to sauce ratio, the quesadillas are grilled to a perfect crispy golden color and the sandwiches are piled higher than hair in the 80’s. Eating on West is a great time.
Again, it comes back to low traffic. Lourdes Cafe has a higher quality product than the Jack Kane Dining center because Lourdes has a smaller population to feed and therefore can put more time into the food that they are preparing. Not to mention that the lines on Main can be very intimidating for anyone preparing food. It’s their job to get you fed and back to your life. They’re trying to do just that, and the quality of your sandwich may suffer a little big because of it.
Once again, the food isn’t necessarily better on West Campus, just the prep which makes the overall experience of eating there more positive.
In conclusion, West has top tier quality food, limited selection, and occasionally low availability on certain items. Overall I’d give Lourdes Cafeteria a 4/5. The food is just that good.
With that said it’s official. West has beaten Main Campus by a one very close point!
Cafeteria debate aside we should all take a moment to thank the Chartwells employees who ensure that we have 3 meals a day, every day. If you visit Chartwells’ website you can leave nice comments, learn more about the sack lunch program, contact staff about food allergies, make suggestions and find out what’s on the menu every day for the rest of the year!
Thanks for joining me this week, readers! Hopefully now we can all stop bickering about food and get back to what really matters—the insane amounts of test prep coming up.
For many freshmen, going to college is the time they’ve been away from their families for months at a time. Homesickness is pretty common around the residence halls and it sucks–we know, we’ve been freshmen too. To help you avoid feeling homesick, we interviewed 22 freshman and asked them what they have been doing to adjust to college life. Here is their advice:
1. Keep busy
The more active you are the easier it will be to meet people and to feel at home.
2. Go to Class
This keeps your mind occupied as well as gives you something to feel proud of.
3. Get a Job
If you get an on or off campus job, you will meet quality people who could become life-long friends as well as get work experience for your resume.
5. Hang Out with Friends from Your Hometown
Occasionally spend time with familiar faces as they can be a little piece of home at school. Be sure to return the favor and visit them at their colleges too!
6. Participate in Campus Activities
Join intramurals teams or other clubs on campus. Participate in residence hall events also. These activities are a great way to meet the people living around you as well as people with similar interests.
7. Keep Your Door Open
Keep your door open and get to know those around you. They will become some of your best friends and will see you at your best and your worst.
8. Occasionally Skype Friends and Family
Don’t call home every day as that can make you more homesick. But a little skype chat from time to time can be very reassuring and refreshing.
9. Keep Family Traditions Going
Maybe you had some fun family traditions like watching the Super Bowl, Sunday Muffin Day or Friday Game Night. Keep these traditions going with your new friend-family!
10. Decorate Your Room with Pictures
Putting up photos may seem like just a little thing but making your room look and feel like home can make a big difference.
–Trevor Frosig and Sara Bahnsen
If you’re a student here at WSU, odds are that some point in your college career, someone will have attempted to get you to join their club in exchange for free food. And you’ve probably attended a meeting for that reason alone.
Why does this tactic work so well? Answer: Because, it’s a widely accepted fact that college kids love food.
In this two part post, I will tackle one of the biggest food-based debates on campus: Does the caf on Main or West Campus have better food? This is the kind of hot topic question that keeps students up at night wondering. I will evaluate the food based on availability, variety and quality.
So let’s see how our first contender, the Jack Kane Dining Center on Main Campus, matches up.
Over on Main, food is restored at a significantly fast rate. If there is no salad in the salad bar, the Chartwells employees are likely already on their way with a big tub of leafy greens. If the supply of monster cookies has been depleted, you can usually go back to your table for a few minutes and return to find the plate full of yummy baked goods. The Jack Kane Dining Center never misses a beat with food restoration.
However, the physical accessibility of some items is not that great. Pizza, for example, is assembled on the spot and then cooked for about seven minutes. Although super fresh pizza sounds great in theory, it actually creates a really long line and is less efficient than just grabbing a slice from an already cooked pizza. Dessert is another example. If you are in the mood for ice cream, you will also have to wait in a long line as opposed to serving yourself at West Campus.
On Main, your cup may runneth over with variety. There’s nowhere else on campus where you will have access to apple butter, red pepper hummus, a waffle machine and a potato bar as well as a wider range of cereals than you find on West. Of course, whether this variety matters to you or not will depend on your eating preferences. I know that a waffle covered in hummus isn’t for everybody.
Here’s where things get heated. Although variety and availability matter in terms of overall experience, quality holds the most power in this debate. In order to ensure, that this was a fair debate, I spent a week eating on Main campus and a week eating on West. The variety definitely gave Main an advantage. If I didn’t like the look of the main course I could try the vegetarian option or make myself a waffle, which were usually pretty good.
The pre-prepared food, however, seemed to be a toss-up. There were times when on Main , the sandwiches were a little sloppy, the meat a little dry and the pizza line was just too dang long. These issues though are not totally criticisms of Chartwells or the food they provide. I think a big part of why I had less than perfect experiences was because there is almost always a ton of students in the Jack Kane Dining Center. Also, Chartwells has to guess how much food will be demanded as well as how much time each dish takes to prepare which are both factors in the quality, especially in the presentation of the food.
The variety on Main campus is top notch, but the accessibility can get a little frustrating and the food at times can be a little dry or just warm rather than truly hot. Overall, I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars.
And with that I bring this first post to a close! Main will be hard to beat, so tune in next week to see if the Lourdes Cafeteria on West campus can measure up!
From the moment we all moved in, the Class of 2018 Facebook page has been inundated with posts about missing our furry friends. I’m sure that these emotional outpourings aren’t limited to the freshmen. Those brave dogs and cats that put up with our nonsense for years are probably sitting at home and content to be left alone, but also missing us terribly–just as we are missing them.
Personally, my pet, a guinea pig I had for four years, passed away a couple of weeks before I left. That gave me time to mourn (Yes, I know he was a guinea pig, but he was my first real pet) and get used to the idea that I wouldn’t see him when I woke up in the morning or when I arrived home from school. For others, kittens are being born and Scruffy has to go in for surgery. Yep, college without our beloved pets is going to be tough, but there are some alternatives to moping in the corner because you miss Mr. Cuddle-Kins’ adorable face.
The rules for living in the dorms say the only pets allowed are fish. So go get a fish! That’s what I did my first day in the dorms (which for me, was Sunday before everyone else arrived on Monday. There are some perks to moving here from the East Coast ). There may not be a huge pet store in town, but Wal-Mart has a nice selection of fish and tanks. Now you don’t have to be like me who spent $60 on fish and supplies. My tank, a one-gallon diamond-shaped bowl, was only $11. They don’t have bags of rocks smaller than 5lbs., but if you know someone who is also looking to get a fish you can share. The rest of the accessories you put in the tank is up to you–except the water. The water on campus is chlorinated and the fish won’t survive. You can pick up distilled water at Wal-Mart as well or go to any other store.
Also, there’s always Winston, the therapy dog. He is a 3-year-old Blue Heeler/Rat Terrier and as cute as can be. He’ll cheer you right up! Wednesdays with Winston, held from 4-5pm in the IWC every Wednesday, might be just the thing you need to pick up your spirits.
Then, of course, there’s Skype; the only way to talk to your pet from the comfort of your dorm.
But I mean, come on–fish are great! And even though you can’t play with them like a dog, cat or even a guinea pig, they have their own unique personalities and can fill the void in your heart that was once filled with taking care of that special little friend back home.
Tired of the person above you dragging a chair across the floor at 3am? Me too! My name is Hannah Carmack and by the end of this article you’ll know how to deal with some of the downsides of res life. Don’t get me wrong–for the most part, res life is great. The food is all you can eat, your RA plans activities to keep the hall entertained, friends are only a few doors down and you can commute from home to class in minutes. The pros of living on campus far outweigh the cons, but that doesn’t make the cons any easier to deal with.
Here are a few quick tips to help you deal with some of the less pleasant parts of res life.
Oh the Hills are Alive with the Sound of College Students
Proving to be one of the biggest issues on campus, unwanted noise continues to aggravate innocent hall residents. However, there are multiple ways to adjust to noisy neighbors. The first and most direct way is to talk to your neighbors. Many students don’t realize their noise travels through the walls or down long hallways, so alerting them to that fact in a kind and cordial manner can help a lot. The second way to go about handling noisy neighbors is to block them out. I like to place a fan directly next to my bed to drown out the elephant-laden basketball game that seems to go on in the hallways. Another option is to give ear plugs a try. They’re not for everybody, but they work wonders to silence your surroundings.
RubbaDubDub There is No Tub
Plagued by long lines and low shower pressure? You’re not alone. But do not fear as there are a few ways to make showering here on campus a bit smoother. If you keep getting stuck in long lines for showers you may want to consider changing the time you shower. Like the café and the quad, there are times where the showers are insanely busy and times where it is incredibly busy. If you are trying to shower at 8 or 9am, odds are you’re hitting the rush. If shower pressure is the problem, the best advice I can give is ask your RA. Each hall has at *least* one good shower, and odds are your RA knows exactly where it is.
Are You Done with that Dryer?
My advice for laundry is pretty much the same as my advice for the showers. Keep your eyes peeled for the busy times to avoid. You’ll get your laundry done a lot quicker if you’re not waiting for someone to get their clothes. But you don’t want to be that person hogging the washer and dryer either, so set an alarm on your phone so you can pick up your clothes promptly. Your hall-mates will thank you for it!
Hey, “Free” Pizza!
Ahhhh, the community fridge. Just as much of an issue in college as it in the workplace. Food theft is real, and although there is no surefire way to ensure that it doesn’t happen to you, here are a few tricks to help deter thieves. First, try labeling your food, like Marco here, with your name and what’s in the box.
Second, try to keep any leftovers you do have in your own mini-fridge. If the pizza box is too big, ditch the box and store the slices on plates or in tupperware. If you don’t have a mini-fridge, ask a trusted friend to store them for you. The community fridge is great, but if you’re paranoid about possibly losing your beloved three-day old pizza slice, find a securer place to put it.
It’s Getting Hot in Herre but Please Keep Your Clothes On
Here in Minnesota we have ‘real’ seasons, and by real I of course mean ungodly hot summers and arctic tundra-esque winters. Seeing as how the highs have been in the 90s the last couple weeks, here are a few tips to help you beat the heat. Try putting a box fan in your window; bringing in the air from outside can really help your room cool down. If you only have an oscillating fan (one that sits on the floor or table and turns to the left and right), try putting it in your doorway to bring some of the cool air from the hallway in. Placing a frozen water bottle in front of your fan can also give your room an icy chill.
Res life may not always be perfect, but the community will always be there for you. If you’re ever feeling lonely or homesick, you need only to walk out your dorm room door.
If you’re anything like me, you prefer to know exactly what you’re getting into before you get into it. Knowing what to expect and, thus, being prepared are two of the best ways to erase fear. When it comes to Move-In Day, I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t a little nervous my freshman year. This is why I have whipped up this little guide for you so you can have a run down of what Move-In Day will be like. Hopefully, this will put your nerves to rest so you can sleep in peace the night before the big day!
Now, without further ado, here is “Your Ultimate Guide to Move-In Day.” You’re welcome!
Before You Leave Home
Make sure to bring the following:
You’ll get a good workout moving in so wear loose, comfortable clothing. Also, get here early because it’s going to be a crazy busy day! Moving into your residence hall is an all day event and begins at 9am.
First Things First
Before you start unloading, check in with the RAs at front desk.
They have a few forms you must fill out:
Then, you will receive:
You new address should be posted at the front desk, so make sure you write that down! Also located at the front desk should be a “Transit and Safety Ride” pamphlet and free Winona State notepad. Feel free to grab these.
After You Complete the Paperwork
You will be escorted to your room. If you are not escorted, don’t be afraid to ask a Move-In crew member to help you. The Move-In Crew are volunteers who will be wearing purple t-shirts so they are easy to find!
They are there to help you in any way, including:
Once You Get to Your Room
Before you move anything in, check your room over and fill out the Room Condition Report (RCR). This is your chance to write down any damages currently in your room so you don’t get charged for them at the end of the year.
Also, this is where those cleaning supplies I mentioned earlier will come in handy! The rooms were thoroughly cleaned after the previous resident moved out in May, but over the summer your room has likely gathered a little dust so take a quick spin through and wipe down surfaces.
Time to Move In Your Stuff
Moving carts should be floating around all the residence halls. Don’t hesitate to grab one!
Your roommate might also be moving at the same time you are. This is great because you can coordinate on how to arrange the room and who gets which desk. If your roommate isn’t there yet, be mindful of where you place your stuff so he or she can move in later on without tripping over your boxes and bags.
You’ll probably realize that you forgot to bring something (extra hangers or Command strips, for example) and if you find yourself in need of anything, check out Wal-mart and Target. They are located off Mankato St. right across from Winona Health.
After Your Parents Leave
Your family may be gone, but you are not alone! Remember, this is your first opportunity to get to know people so leave your door open and introduce yourself to your neighbors!
You should also check your email. You will likely be receiving an informational email about your agenda (PDF) for the rest of the week. Stay up to date and make sure you know what is going on so you’re not left out.
There will be a mandatory hall meeting where you meet your RA and the rest of your hallmates. You will likely go to dinner with them and go to the UPAC’s outdoor movie located on Main Campus in front of Phelps. If you haven’t already, start making some friends!
Other Tips for Orientation Week
Make sure to bring your warrior ID card with you everywhere you go. Remember, the residence halls lock their doors after 11pm so you will need your ID to get inside!
I’m sure you have heard this before, but I will say it again: be outgoing!!! I cannot stress this enough. Worried because you’re shy? You might surprise yourself! Everyone is extra friendly so breaking out of your shell will be easier than you think. The thing to remember is that everyone is new and will be open and willing to making new friends. A simple smile will go a long way!
Still have questions or concerns? The Housing and Residence Life Office also has a move-in day guide to help you get settled in at WSU.
When you move into the residence halls next week, you will meet your residence assistants. You may wonder, “Who are these supernatural beings that always keep their cool and have endless amounts of knowledge and energy to go around? How ever did they get to this level of awesomeness?”
Well, the RAs don’t have supernatural powers nor did they come from outer space. In fact, they are normal students just like you and me who have a passion for helping others and making a difference! All of these RAs were once freshman too and walked onto campus for the first time a little unsure of themselves and the road ahead. They learned many things on their journey and were influenced by their awesome RAs to follow in their footsteps. These people who walk the halls in confidence are ready and excited to connect with you on a personal level to make your first year at Winona a memorable one. They want to be your mentor and see you grow as much as you do. But before you officially arrive at your new home, there are a few things they want you to know.
In their own words…