College Dorm Room Checklist

Afure Adah

by AFURE ADAH, CSU PR Student Assistant



When I moved into the dorms for the first time, this was similar to the shopping list I used, it’s actually better. This is a very helpful checklist for dorm room shopping and preparing to move to college for the first time! It gives a list of shopping items and even some small tips. This checklist is a printable PDF so you can print it and check off the list as you go!

If you are moving into the resident hall that is off campus, Stadium Heights, I have a link for you too! 

One thing I found that I never noticed going into my freshman year, is that the residential life page has a service linked that makes getting bed and bath supplies for your dorm very easy. It’s like a one stop shop! This Company has been providing linens to students since 1997 and every purchase sends dollars back to your school for campus and housing programs. They also donate to various local charities and non-profits. Take a look!

Student Organizations Are A Great Way to Make Friends and Get Involved

An International Student’s Perspective

Alejandro Reyes Vega


Freshman year seems like a long time ago now, but it was barely two years ago that I moved to Mankato and started attending MSU. However, I can still remember what it felt like and can’t believe how much I have changed and my life has changed.

Being a freshman in college is not like being a freshman in high school. In high school you probably already had some friends whom with you attended middle school or elementary school or whom you might have even grown up with. It is also different than moving to a new school where you don’t know anyone.

When you start at a university, you barely know anyone and making friends can be a bit more challenging. Classes are way larger and people that you meet and make acquittance with might not have any other class with you or might not even be in the same major.

My first friends on campus were all international students that I met in orientation. Some were from the same country as me. Some also spoke Spanish. Others were in my orientation group and we became friends after being together for a few days.

However, over time I got involved in organizations and started talking to people whom I had class with. I strongly suggest getting to know people who you have class with. Doesn’t matter if it is only one class, it is good to have study buddies and you might even become friends. Getting involved in campus is another great way of making friends. I am part of different organizations such as CLASA – the Latino Student Organization on campus. Organizations and clubs allow you to make friends home you can share common interests and passions.

When classes started I felt lost for the first week and half. I never attended particularly large schools. The biggest school I ever attended didn’t have more than 500 people and that’s including faculty, staff, and students and that’s from sixth grade to twelfth grade. However, the map I got in orientation was useful and I soon became familiar with the names and locations of buildings (Although I must confess I still get lost in Trafton at times).

As I previously mentioned I am an international student so I was not familiar with the Mankato area and had only visited the town twice before. The first time for my tour, back when I was applying, and a second time after I graduated to leave all my stuff in storage while I traveled over the summer.

Being an international student in a new town as a freshman in college can be a little scary. First of all, we have a lot of rules to follow to make sure we maintain a legal status. Second of all, we don’t have a normal orientation like everyone else; internationals have international orientation that goes on during Welcome Week activities. Third of all, we kind of have to hear or expect stereotypes.

People assume I have Mexican ancestry or I was born in Mexico because I speak fluent Spanish. Others assume that because I am international I will have trouble speaking and that I should have a heavy accent (I have a slight accent 😁). Others think this is my first time in the U.S or I just moved to the U.S. Turns out I have been to the U.S. few times before and I moved here while I was still attending high school back when I was 16.

Your first year in college will be full of new and amazing experiences. Life will change and you as people will change too.



That First Family Reunion With Your College Student


Being a parent of a college student has its challenges. One of them can be the first meeting after students have been attending college for a few months and living away from home. No one knows what to expect when a parent first sees their student after a few weeks or months apart from home.

Are they the still dependent on mom and dad?

Have they changed so much that they don’t even resemble who they used to be?

Will they be embarrassed of being seen with their parents?

There is no rule book on what to do or what to expect when you haven’t seen your college son/daughter for a period of time. College introduces students to new experiences and opportunities. A lot of students realize that they have to start looking after themselves and have to start doing chores they never had to do; like laundry.

Your first reunion is highly encouraged. But be ready to expect changes in students. It is important to acknowledge growth and improvement. Be encouraging and supportive. Be sensitive but straightforward on criticism. It is important to have fun in your first reunion and not constantly argue on how or what they should do.

Try to meet some of your students’ friends and try to learn about their college life. Most college students are eager to see their parents. Also try to ask them what they need. College students are constantly hungry and it is useful to have snacks and food available; make sure they have a good supply.

Some parents might also learn that their students have a life that they are no longer a part of. College students often hang out late with their friends. They might not do it during family weekend or whenever your first reunion happens. However, it is better to expect it just in case you were planning on spending an entire evening together.

The most important factor to remember is that students will change. Not all students might make their own meals or wash their clothes as frequently as they should. However, students’ first few months and their first year at college will change their behavior and that change is maturity. They have been living their own experiences and making their own decisions where the outcomes range from performing beyond their own expectations to screwing up. They all add up to learning experiences.

Parents will now not always be part of the decision making but rather witness it. All the small changes college student go through in their short time in college will be apparent all at once in your first reunion. Just remember, you’re still their parent. Their love has transitioned with their new life as a college student.

Managing College Stress

By ALEJANDRO REYES-VEGA, CSU Public Relations Student Assistant

College can be stressful for many students. Some have heavy workloads, while others have to deal with school and work,  and then there are those who just have a hard time adapting to college classes.

Learning to manage stress will not only make you more successful in college but also in life and maybe managing it could prolong it. Everyone has different ways of dealing with their stress and everyone must find what works best for them. Sometimes, I either binge eat or restrict my eating, neither of which are healthy choices. However, over time I found some healthy habits that have helped me manage my day to day stress in a better way.

First and far most get some type of physical activity into your schedule. It can be playing ping-pong, basketball, soccer, running, lifting weights, or just taking a walk around town. Any of these activities help get the mind distracted for a little while, and focus on something else other than school. Moreover, moving around helps get some much-needed physical activity. Most students will discover that they are majorly responsible for their own physical activity.

My second suggestion could be controversial, however, if managed correctly it can be helpful. Videogames can be a great stress reliever. Entering an alternate world, role playing, trying to beat your friends at FIFA, NBA 2k, or other sports games can be a great distraction and help relieve stress. Nevertheless, videogames should be used cautiously since time tends to fly when playing them and responsibilities get lost and forgotten.

My third suggestion is reading books. I know it might not sound appealing, specially to those who are not used to reading, but a good book can be a great distraction. Immersing yourself into the story and letting yourself go. It can be of great help, especially when you seem like the world is about to fall on your shoulders. I know college students are always busy and reading seems like an impossible task, but thirty minutes or an hour of reading can be the sufficient break to get a fresh mindset and be back to your responsibilities and be more efficient.

My fourth suggestion is socializing. In college, classes, homework, projects, studying, reviewing, and work can prevent you from having dinner with friends or just catching up. It is easy to isolate yourself and be buried under the work load. Classes will only get harder as time passes. That is why it is important to learn how to manage your social life along with school.

These are some suggestions that I have discovered work for me. However, everyone is different and it is important to try new things. Stress can be managed by distracting yourself every so often. Hobbies are one of the best ways to do so. I know some people that play instruments while others choose to write computer code. Just make sure to always keep those stress levels in check and keep striving for success.

Navigating Campus 101

By AFURE ADAH, CSU Public Relations Student Assistant

Being able to navigate campus efficiently is a huge part of college life and is especially important for new students. I have found that I have some issues managing my time so I am always rushing, and if you are like me, work smarter, not harder is your go-to phrase!

Also, if you are like me, walking through the Minnesota weather elements is not your favorite thing to do. That being said, I am going to give you some insight on how I navigate campus when I’m behind schedule, rushing around and how I navigate through campus completely indoors.

When I lived in the dorms on campus I felt that I had all the time in the world to get ready for class because everything was so close by. Of course, I found that I was wrong. But still I insisted on waiting those couple extra minutes before getting out of bed to go get ready. I can honestly say though, that I was never late for a class! Keep on reading to see how I achieved this.


If your time management skills are like mine, making cuts is the way to go. As we’ve all learned in math, the FASTEST route from point A to point B is DIAGONAL! Do it! Cut through the grass, no one is going to judge you. If you can lounge on the grass to study, you sure can walk on it too! Cut through buildings. If you are trying to get from the Library to Trafton, don’t walk around Armstrong or Nelson, walk through them. Work smarter, not harder people! This really works, trust me.

Now, in all seriousness, Minnesota weather can be a horrible, confusing mess and sometimes you just don’t want to deal with it. As a freshman in the winter months I remember being outside looking at the buildings and I noticed that many connect. I made it a mission to find these connection points to avoid the cold. I’m going to give you the main highlights of our tunnel system but if you want a full tour you can watch the Serendipitous Moments video linked to this post and be taken on a little tour!


  • There is a lower level “pedestrian walkway” or tunnel that leads from the Maverick Bullpen, to the Library. This is a great tunnel to use if you are trying to get from the CSU to the res halls – or the other way around – with minimal outdoor contact. Once you get out of the tunnel into the library basement, however, you will have a short trip outside to get to the res halls, but it’s better than nothing, trust me.
  • Morris Hall is the center point for the tunnel system. On its second floor its “crossroads” connect to the CSU, Armstrong Hall, and Highland North through hallways/skyways. These connected buildings then branch off to connect to the other buildings on campus.
  • The main level of Highland North connects to Trafton South, while the hallway on its second floor connects to Highland Center and then to the sports complexes.

These are just some quick highlighted points on the campus walkways, tunnels and skyways but definitely check out the linked video for a full tour! I hope my experiences and these tips will help you navigate campus more efficiently no matter what kind of person you are!

Taylor Zenz—Graduating Senior

by TAYLOR ZENZ, CSU Public Relations Intern

With an assignment of writing a personal reflection of my past 4 years at MSU, I’m sitting here with a blank page and a million things to say, yet I can’t seem to move my fingers across the keyboard.

Maybe it’s because I’m in denial that I’m graduating. Maybe it’s because I’m excited or actually very sad. Maybe it’s all the above.

I’ll start here – my time here at MSU has been everything that I had ever hoped for and much, much more.

From crying because I didn’t want to leave my mom and sister behind when I moved into the dorms to now tearing up writing this article because I don’t want to leave Mankato, it’s been quite the ride. In high school, I was an incredibly shy and quiet girl who didn’t know her place. When I tell people that now, they don’t believe me for a second. I have MSU to thank for turning me into an independent, enthusiastic, social human being who found a passion for leadership.

Of course, learning these things didn’t come easy, however, I got extremely lucky with my journey.

Being involved with MSU was one of the greatest decisions that I’ve made. Whether my time was being dedicated to my studies, Greek Life, Dance Marathon or the CSU, every long-hour day and sleepless night was worth it. With my involvement, I met the most influential people that this campus has to offer. From their teachings, I have become someone who I, myself, have become proud of.

The most important thing that I’ve learned is that growth only comes from being uncomfortable. From making friends, pursuing relationships and taking on leadership roles, stepping out of my comfort zone gave me my most cherished items and people.

Yes, we’re here in college to get a degree, but our time here is so much more than that. It’s about learning what it takes to succeed. It’s about learning how to get back on our feet after being down. It’s about meeting people we connect with. It’s about finding our lifelong friends and people who will be in our weddings. It’s about meeting those who we want to go into business with or spend the rest of our lives with.

I’d like to thank my freshman dorm neighbor who ultimately was responsible for breaking open my shell. To my squad who took me in as one of the “bros”, thank you for looking out for me the past 4 years. To my sorority best friends and roommates, thank you for being the best dang comedians, therapists and dancers that Mankato EVER saw. Thank you to my mom and sister for always being of constant support. And of course, thank you to my professors, advisors, mentors and co-workers at the CSU – you’ve all taught me so much. But mostly, I’d like to thank myself for the allowance of being open to different opportunities and endeavors.

I hold very high hopes of the future and I know that I can achieve them because of the valuable time that I’ve spent on this campus. When you’re in my shoes, a week shy of graduation, I know that you all will feel the same way.

Toilets on Campus: Student Favorites

by REED CARR, CSU Public Relations Intern

Minnesota State, Mankato campus is packed with great places to go number two.

While most of us would rather be in the comfort of our homes while dropping the kids off at the pool, we have classes to attend. Luckily, there is a variety of different bathrooms at MSU.

“I spend most of my time in the library, so that’s where the majority of my bathroom time is spent,” said a marketing major. “The library doesn’t have any individual bathrooms, but there are shared rooms on every floor that have plenty of stalls. I usually go up to the third floor because it has the least traffic and it’s hidden pretty well.”

The library may have plenty of reading material, but some people need more seclusion while letting the dogs out.

“CSU 107 is the only way to go if you’ve really got to go,” said an international business major. “I make sure I only use individual bathrooms that have a door that locks when I got to do my business. There are only a few really good ones on campus.”

Individual restrooms are a must if you’re having a true emergency. Unfortunately, even single occupancy lavatories can have their downsides.

“The single person bathrooms in Trafton South are risky because, for some reason, the locks don’t work,” said a mechanical engineering major. “I still use them when I’m in a rush though. I just put my bag in front of the door in case someone tries to walk in. Hopefully they’re fixed soon, or I’m going to change my spot.”

If you haven’t found the best spot in school to take a royal squat, take a long walk around campus when you get the chance. It’s best to have a strategy before duty calls.

5 Things I’ll Miss About MSU

by REED CARR, CSU Public Relations Intern

Memorial Library

There is something mystifying to me about sitting in a library surrounded by mountains stories and philosophies I have no knowledge of. Even more so when it’s pitch black outside, a cup of black coffee in hand, in one of the unoccupied corners of the second floor of the Memorial Library. I spent hours ignoring homework in exchange for hours of being lost between the dusty pages of James Joyce, Ernest Hemmingway, Edgar Allan Poe and countless others. It made studying the next day a rigorous, hurried process, but I feel nighttime in the library is when and where I learned most.


The Newsletter

 My final semester at MSU has been my best yet as I’ve worked with some really great people to deliver weekly events and news through the MSU newsletter, inSIDER. I came to MSU as a marketing major and realized my talents laid in writing to the masses, not selling to them. The inSIDER has evolved my writing in a way I didn’t expect and I was able to have a blast with fellow writers and mentors while doing it. If you’re looking for an internship in writing next year, talk to Leonard Koupal in the CSU. He’s the man!


The Professors

 Mass media and English department professors at MSU are a large part of the reason I was able to keep a positive attitude with my schooling and my future. While they are the ones that assigned 10-page papers and at times asked class to read an entire book in one day, those hurdles taught the most. They have always been up for a chat about class discussion, travel, food and anything in between.


Campus and Changing Seasons

 There’s nothing quite like the beginning of a new school year. As the trees burst into reds and oranges, the MSU campus’ artistic, monumental and memorial decorations give the campus a nostalgic feel. Students sport purple and yellow as Blakeslee Stadium rumbles on the other side of Stadium Rd. Minnesota autumn is second to none, but I suppose the beginning of May isn’t such a bad time of the school year either.


The Diversity

 Growing up in Kilkenny—a town of 108 people—and moving to Mankato opened my eyes in so many ways. I met people who have helped me grow academically, spiritually and culturally. I’ve met friends that made class not only knowledgeable but fun. I’ll miss walking through the halls seeing all the friendly faces. No matter what I do after graduation, I’ll always be proud to have been a MSU Maverick.

What You’re Thinking and How to Reverse It

By BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Intern

The snow is melting. The temperatures have finally crawled into the 60s and all you want to do is go outside and enjoy the weather and get on with your summer. But alas, you stare down at your planner and see the list of 20 things you have to complete before Finals Week comes to a close. And as you stare down at the list, you probably start thinking one or more of the following five things:

  1. Sleeping all of your problems away. Your problems and stress can’t hurt or affect you if you’re sleeping, right? Everything will be just fine once you wake up.
  2. It’s okay to let it all out. Finals are one of those times when life comes at you really fast and it can be overwhelming. Sometimes the best thing to do is to let the waterworks operate at full capacity.
  3. Switching majors. If you’re not going to sleep or cry, you may consider switching majors. You look over notecards and at final projects and study guides and start thinking to yourself, “Do I really want to do this the rest of my life?”
  4. Sometimes you think you just need a change of scenery; this college town just isn’t doing it. The professors stink, you haven’t found the perfect best friend and you’re just not happy and feel like you need a fresh start.
  5. Dropping out. There are two types of college students in the world – those who have thought about dropping out because of stress…and liars. It’s a normal feeling. Everything piles up and it just feels like you’ll never get it done and the only remaining solution is to quit and give up.

Here’s the thing though, it’s all going to be okay. Finals are stressful and have the tendency to be overwhelming and chances are you probably will think about some of those things above.. and that’s okay, just don’t let it consume you. Instead, use some of these tips to help you push through and get to the summer with a smile on your face!

  1. Take breaks. Don’t over exhaust yourself with endless hours of studying. Hop on YouTube and watch a funny cat video. Grab some friends and take a walk outside. Blast some music. Take a power nap. Eat a snack. Just give your mind a break and decompress a little bit for 20-30 minutes and get back at it. Studies have shown that taking breaks actually helps you do better, so don’t hesitate to take one.
  2. Form a study group. Whether it’s with your roommates or classmates, find some people to bounce ideas off of and help you study. It keeps the mood light and makes studying a little more fun. One of the best ways to solidify that you know something is being able to teach someone else. Explain to your roommate something they know nothing about and see if they understand. Have your classmate run some flashcards by you, so you can nail those definitions.
  3. Visit a tutor. Campuses always offer lots of tutors to help you with whatever you might be struggling with. Asking for help doesn’t make you look bad or like you’re dumb. It shows you’re serious about your education and that you want to learn. Visit a tutor so you can get the knowledge and resources you need to get a good grade on your final exam.
  4. Talk to your professor. Professors are there to help you learn. If you get stuck or start to freak out about your tests, stop into their office hours and ask for some help or about what specific material you should look over. Chances are they will be able to help you and you’ll be more prepared when test day rolls around.
  5. Don’t be afraid of a bad score. Everyone has had a bad test at some point in their life. Don’t let it define you. You can always retake a class. That one test will not be a difference maker in the rest of your life. Just take a deep breath, realize it’s going to be okay and work hard to do better the next time around.

So to summarize, it’s okay to feel a little stressed about finals and like you want to quit school and give up, but just remember to relax, take breaks and use your resources. You’ll get through them and be on your way the next chapter of your life — you  got this!

“See Us” Draws Attention to the Underrepresented

By BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Intern

Students and female athletes made a powerful statement April 16 when they began their “See Us” campaign at Minnesota State Mankato.

“The campaign’s purpose is to spread awareness of the underrepresentation, sexualization and judgements made toward female athletes based on their appearances rather than talented abilities,” said Callie Rohlik, the head of MSU’s campaign.

Rohlik and her group of fellow honors program members, Olivia Thomas, Samuel Oluwadoromi and Mellary Jayathunge, got the idea from Courtney Place, a student-athlete from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, S. D., who started the campaign at her school a few months ago.

“’See Us’ had been getting an increasing recognition from female athletes and supporters throughout southwestern Minnesota and I wanted to aid in her expansion by bringing it to MSU,” Rohlik said. “An MSU softball athlete had served as a rep for her movement and I knew fellow female athletes at Minnesota State would love to join the movement as well.

Rohlik, her group and athletes set up a table in the Centennial Student Union with a bright pink display board with the “See Us” logo surrounding an opening where athletes could pose for a picture, which was then sent to social media with the #SEEUS hashtag.

The campaign focus comes from various injustices female athletes face compared to male athletes. A study done by Cheryl Cooky and Nicole Lavoi that analyzed women’s sports after Title IX found that the media coverage for female athletics was only two percent of all news coverage in 2009.

“That particular statistic was appalling to my group members and myself,” Rohlik said. “We believe there’s no reason female athletics shouldn’t be broadcasted just as often as male sporting events.”

Rohlik expressed that injustice for female athletes doesn’t end with broadcast inequality.

“Another issue lies within the perspectives and comments viewed and made by many throughout the world. These statements regard sexualizing females based on their uniforms or judging their incredible talents through negative statements like, ‘Well she’s really good, but that’s because she’s basically a man. Did you see those quads?’” she said. “These judgmental comments are why we joined Courtney’s movement and what we are trying to place an end to.”

Rohlik says students can show support for the movement by following “See Us” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and by being active fans at female athletic events.

“Support those that are underrepresented and respect their amazing athletic talents just as one would a male athlete.”

Rohlik, Thomas, Oluwadoromi and Jayathunge are all members of MSU’s Honors Program and were inspired to become activists for “See Us” after going through the “Social Change in the 21st Century” seminar, which is apart of the Honors Program. More information for “See Us” can be found by visiting the movement’s social media pages “See Us Movement.”