Winona State University
Winona State University - Comments and Student Experiences|
The long version (as I am very verbose):
I went to Winona for the first two years and then, I did a travel abroad in Granada. I would say that the average student body was overly intelligent. Many students here were simply just going to school, without a passion, because it was the thing to do and this is where they got in. It took away a lot of my personal passion for learning, which was a heavy disappointment. Granted, you can find intelligent people anywhere and you can always learn something from anyone. Thus, I would say, the student body as a whole was very close-minded, if not the usual Midwestern friendly charm. I did find people who were semi-interesting, the issue was that most of them were into drinking and smoking weed. I'll admit, at first, I was totally down to drink and smoke most weekends and, actually weekdays, to keep myself entertained. But, I found that after six months, the social life was lacking in both intellectual stimulation or a diversity of students to meet. Because the campus size is quite small, and it isn't in a very "happening" town, parties are usually the same story. I know that you can find this anywhere, but it was the very typical experience of get drunk with a group of friends, hunt for a party that was either dead or "the cops were being called" and move on to the next one. I think the lastest I ever stayed out was until 3:00 a.m. there. There are bars there. But, I found most of them to be cheap and very "townie." It is not an environment to find diversity or cultural events. Don't get me wrong, there is the Frozen River Film Festival and the Midwest Music Fest, and of course, Boats and Bluegrass. But, these are small and often filled with (in my opinion) kind of creepy leftover hippies. This isn't a bad thing, it just wasn't what I was into. After my first couple of months, I decided to sign a lease with some people because I was lost and decided that staying two years at this institution wasn't going to be the worst thing. Then, after I studied abroad, I would transfer. So, I lived with them. My boredom after the first year was exacerbated and I can tell you, that second year has been one of the worst years of my life. I swore that I would try to focus on the academics of Winona and I would try to focus on finding different niches. But, I can tell you, I tried to explore almost every aspect of that town. It was too small for my liking. And, that is frankly it. I think that if you like small towns, you feel comfort from repetition and you enjoy staying home most weekends, I highly recommend this school for you. Again, the people are (in my opinion) very kind and almost everyone wants to make friends all the time, probably to diversify their party circles, to be honest.
As for the academics, again, there was nothing inherently wrong with them. I loved most of my professors, as they were all somewhat insane. Maybe it was the courses I was taking, but my classes in high school were far more difficult than anything that I actually took in Winona. I do not think I am overly intelligent by any means. I am very average in intelligence. I managed to get a decent GPA (3.28) and I think I attended maybe 50% of my classes and the ones I did attend, I was either too feverish to really know what was going on, or too hungover to actually pay attention. The fact that it was so easy for me made me lose a lot of my competitiveness and passion for learning. Trust me, I maintained, if not improved my GPA overtime and still, it was never as difficult as I wished it would have been.
I will say this, the absolute worst part of Winona is the administration. I was extremely lost my first two years of school. I had no idea what I wanted to study, where I was going and what I needed to get by. Besides my orientation professor, I do not feel like any of the administration was adept at helping me figure things out. TechSupport was probably the strongest part of the administration, clearly because the students pay the most for their laptops and support. Which, in my opinion, was simply a ruse to get people to be roped into their university. I will say this, as an academic institution, the fact that there were so many grammatical errors in their e-mails and other information they sent out was kind of off-putting to say the least, if not made me mock them.
I lived in the dorms my first year. And, my first semester, I lived with a great RA, he was definitely a social outcast in Winona. But, I thought he was really sweet, if he didn't necessarily make a lot of effort to befriend everyone on our floor. But, our floor got along quite well. From my perspective, most people were friends, if they made fun of the kind eccentricities that everyone had. However, a girl flooded out floor and we all had to be moved. My new RA was a righteous bitch who wanted the floor to be like the Third Reich, to which my friends and I responded with the typical rebellious behavior. I will say this, many of the people that I choose to hang out with had similar problems with their RA's as I did with my second semester one. Needless to say, I got thrown out and the head director, Ann Durley, is without the biggest joke out there. She didn't even do her job, but kept up a fa?ade, as though she did. I would say the only redeeming quality she had was that she would walk her two dogs on campus. As someone who a lover of dogs, I enjoyed this. Furthermore, there is a no smoking policy on campus. I heard that even having a hookah is not permissible anymore. Not too mention, even having alcohol in the dorms is illegal and will get you in trouble. With few ways of making friends, without the ridiculously childish RA get-togethers, I think that this is stupid. The food wasn't horrible at the cafeteria, but I did put on a few pounds, except when I was so sick of eating the same thing, day-in-day-out. Then, I relied on alcohol consumption to make the food remotely appetizing. Living off campus IS THE WAY TO GO.
The travel study to Granada, Spain is kind of a joke. The program that they used was fucking horrible. And, really, the process to be accepted is so tedious and off-putting, that had I not truly wanted to get the flying-fuck out of Winona, at that point, I probably wouldn't have done it, as I'm lazy. Regardless of this, I recommend you study abroad, no matter what institution you go to! Anyways, the process is stupid, the program that I went with was an immediate reflection of the quality that Winona puts into the students' education, which isn't very high. The classes in Spain were even bigger joke than the classes in Winona, which I didn't think could get any worse. I had no difficulty sleeping/texting through half of them. This isn't to say I didn't learn anything, I came back nearly a fluent speaker, because I put the time and effort in. However, many students found that the classes for the study abroad program offered them no way to meet Spanish speakers, nor study the language and culture of Spain. I agree with this statement. In essence, Winona is a boring university that is trying very hard to maintain itself in a society where universities are as common as a McDonald's. As there is nothing here that is truly remarkable besides its' price and the computer program, you will probably die of boredom if you are like me (i.e. need intellectual rigor, a creative environment and lots of things to do with a lot of different sorts of people). I know a lot of people who absolutely loved it. And, I just saw them as very different sorts of people than I was. And, it wasn't a bad thing, it just wasn't the right place for me.
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