Going into the first year of college, no one really knows what’s going on around campus. However, that’s what we have our upperclassmen friends for, to show us the ropes and help us out. And then after a while, you get the hang of things!


Girl walking through campus with backpack

Kelsa Katzfey ’21


Freshman year was definitely full of “firsts” for me, but I was able to learn a lot through it all. Here are 5 things I learned during my freshman year at Winona State:


1. ALWAYS go to your professor’s office hours.

A majority of your classes you’ll take in your first year at WSU will be general education courses. There can be a lot of students in these classes, so your professors can’t always get to know you the way they would like to.

A great way to get to know your professors or ask more in-depth questions is to visit their office hours. You will also have classes where there aren’t as many students. It is still important to see those professors during their office hours to get to know them better and get the help you need.


2. Get to class!

In the beginning of fall semester, it was easy for me to be up and ready for class with extra time. But I will tell you, as the semester goes on, it will be tempting to stay in bed 5 minutes before class starts, but that is not the best idea!

Living on campus allows you to leave your residence hall 10-15 minutes before class starts and still have some time to get situated before your professor starts class.


3. Finding the right study routine can take time.

There are many beautiful spots on campus to study and get homework done. If you like it to be quiet but also enjoy scenery, then Baldwin Lounge might be the place for you. If you like background noise and studying in groups, then the first floor of the library might be your place.

My personal favorite is the second floor of Minné Hall because you can see almost all of campus from the windows, but it is still quiet. Don’t be afraid to try different spots on campus and find what works for you!

Something I learned from my upperclassmen friends is that you can get a lot done in your breaks between classes. Find your favorite study space, read, or start an assignment.


4. How to tackle having a meal plan

It’s really easy to stop by Zane’s or grab a coffee from Caribou every day, but you will burn through your Kryzsko Kash. Quickly. I decided to create a budget, which really helped me manage my weekly spending for the semester.

Another way to manage your funds is through the GET app. It allows students to see how many meal swipes they have remaining for the week and how much Kryzsko Kash they have left.

But don’t worry, there is an option to add Kryzsko Kash if you do run out of it at any point in the semester. You can do this through the Housing and Residence Life Office on campus or by using the GET funds website too.


5. It’s important to get involved to know what’s going on around campus.

Getting involved on campus is probably the best way to be kept in the loop. If you are involved, you will participate in different events and establish great connections!

We have a wide variety of clubs and organizations on our campus (over 170)! There are academic-based clubs, many unique campus organizations, diversity organizations, faith-based clubs and many more!


My freshman year was full of discovering what this amazing campus has to offer, adjusting to the academic pace, and figuring out how to best manage my time. I wish all of you incoming freshmen the best of luck! The transition can be a lot to handle but remember to use your upperclassmen friends and campus resources. Going into my sophomore year, I am so excited to learn more about our campus and continue to get more involved!

– Victoria Alatorre ’22