For some, registering for college is the same as registering for four years of stress, homework, cheap cereal and a load of debt. For others, registering for college is more about the thrill of the college experience and adventure ahead.
Either way, WSU takes good care of their students and provides an “extended nest” — a home away from home.

I interviewed a student in the English department, Sajda Omar, about her experience transitioning from high school to college. With her hometown being so close to Winona, I was interested in comparing her experience with my experience moving to Winona from a large suburb of the Twin Cities.

Was it hard to leave your childhood home?

For me, and like many others, it was difficult to move away from home. I had to leave my parents, my dog, and favorite cousins behind. However, I was ready to begin the college adventure and I was really excited to take classes that I was interested in.

For Sajda, leaving home was difficult as well. Even though she is from the nearby city of Lewiston, moving into the residence halls freshman year was still a challenging transition.  Unlike most incoming students, Sajda was very familiar with the campus as well as the city of Winona because both of her parents graduated from WSU and her dad now works for the university. Even though Sajda was familiar with her new home at WSU, it didn’t change the fact that moving away from home, attending a new school, taking new classes and living with a new roommate can be difficult.

Moving to college can present the same challenges whether your hometown is hours away or you’re from the town of Winona and WSU is in your backyard. No matter the distance, WSU offers a supportive environment to help you feel at home with people that care and programs that help fill your needs.

If you’re wondering what it’s like to live in one of WSU’s residence halls, especially how it will help you transition from high school to college, then check out WSU’s webpage, Housing & Residence Life.

Where do you find support at WSU?

Sajda and I are both only children, so we’re used to operating independently.  We also came from very individualized, supportive environments. WSU has a lot of great staff, students and resources, so it didn’t take long for us to find our footing.

The English Department has been a big source of support for me, and Sajda too, since we are both in the department. The professors have provided a lot of support over the years, even when I was deciding which major to declare. I’ve never hesitated to go to my advisor and discuss my struggles, my plans or my thoughts.

Additional Resources

If you’re like me, and had to move a decent distance from home, know that there are plenty of resources for support, along with the advisors in your department.  Here is a list of some resources you might find useful when feeling ill, bored, undecided and/or stressed.

  • Ask-A-Nurse message line – Wondering if you’re sick? Don’t hesitate to call and talk through your symptoms with a professional, like you could with a parent back home.
  • Personal interest clubs – There are many clubs for you to choose. Joining a club will help make you feel at home at WSU by immersing yourself in a group of like-minded people.
  • Fitness Center – There are three levels of exercise machines that can help you relieve stress, get some exercise and stay fit. Feel free to make a weekly or daily trip to the Fitness Center as part of your routine.
  • Degree options – Many people enter freshman year undecided or realize they want to change their major after taking some classes. Feel free to check out this list of programs, majors and minors. Never be afraid to change your major, this is your education after all!

No matter the distance you travel or the people you leave behind to get to WSU, you will find a supportive environment here. The campus resources, advisors and residence life community can help you make WSU your new home.

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Sara Wakeham

Sara Wakeman graduated in 2018 with a BA in English Writing and a minor in Geoscience. She is from Minnetonka, MN and when she isn't writing, her other favorite hobby is hiking.

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