Kansas State University


Student Stories

Month: July 2013

Toll Road Troubles

I love traveling. An open road is my friend. Traffic happens and you learn to deal with it. I have found one little issue though when I cross state lines- toll roads.The Kansas Turnpike system makes sense to me. You get on, you get a ticket, you give the ticket when you get off, the ticket tells you how much each stop would be from where you got on, you pay when you get off. Not all toll roads are created equally.

I recently took a trip to Chicago and experienced their toll system. There are booths along the way with varying amounts. You pay each booth and when you exit there may or may not be another booth. Luckily, I looked up their amounts and locations on my phone at a rest stop.

The whole situation reminded me why I got my first K-TAG. I make trips to the Kansas City area to see family, Lawrence to see friends, and Wichita to see family. Remembering to bring cash isn’t always easy and sometimes lines get long. With a K-TAG I could use a separate lane and get through without hassle.

Most importantly, whether you are coming to school, heading home, or going on a trip, make sure to look up travel information before you head out so there aren’t any surprises. Twitter is helpful on this too if you follow @KansasTurnpike. Traffic updates from @KSHighwayPatrol are also helpful too.

Safe Travels!


Small Town to Big University

(While this post is directed toward incoming students from smaller high schools, the advice is for all incoming students.)

This post is for all you incoming students who are from a rural area and had a smaller sized graduating high school class. I am talking about schools in towns that don’t have a shopping mall or Walmart, and the only chain restaurant in town may be the local Pizza Hut. (If you even have that!) And the towns where when you run into the local ‘mom and pap’ grocery store in the winter season, you leave your car running AND unlocked so you don’t have to wait for it to warm up when you finish getting groceries.

I am personally from one of these rural towns. I am a proud 2011 graduate of Marion High School (Go Warriors!), where my graduating class was around 40 students. Marion is a town of about 1,800 people in which everybody knows everybody and there is not a single stoplight in all of Marion County. About 45% of the K-State student body is from towns or schools similar to this, where their high school graduating class was less than 200 students.

Trust me; it can be rather daunting attending a university of over 24,000 students, which is about 12 times bigger than your entire hometown. So here are just a few tips from a fellow small-town kid:

In smaller high schools, you sometimes feel like you are literally involved in everything. Not only are you on the volleyball, basketball, and track teams, but you are also involved in the school musical, choir, forensics, FCCLA, and Key Club. In college, however, you are probably not going to be able to be involved in as many activities. (At least, I’m not able to.) My suggestion is to initially find one to three clubs, organizations, or programs that you would really enjoy being a part of. Commit yourself to those for a semester and then evaluate if you can add more activities to your work load. Key tip here: Find organizations you are passionate about, and try not to over extend yourself too much.

It is very easy to become involved in a small high school, and it is the same way at K-State, but you may have to get outside of your comfort zone just a little bit. One of the biggest mistakes I personally made as a freshman was I that I was unwilling to do this. As a result, I probably missed out on some great opportunities my freshman year. So my tip here is to try something that may be a totally new experience for you. For me, that was becoming involved in a fraternity on campus.

While K-State is a large university, it is also a university that wants to get to know every one of our students. So, my final tip is to embrace the K-State Family. Meet new people in the organizations or living communities that you are a part of. Get to know your professors. You will quickly realize that you cannot walk across campus without seeing multiple people that you know.

If you are apprehensive about the transition from a smaller high school to K-State, just dedicate yourself to a couple of student organizations, be willing to step outside your comfort zone every once in a while, and get to know the amazing people on our campus. So, as you are prepare for your first college semester, keep these tips in mind. By doing so, Manhattan and K-State won’t feel like a “big” place, and instead they will feel like your new home.

K-State Proud,


APP-lying Yourself

Alright K-Staters…

As much as we might like to deny it–classes are coming.  It can be so exciting meeting new people and signing up for activities that sometimes we forget why we’re here. I know the biggest problem I had my freshman year was getting and staying organized (you should’ve seen my room). Once I got organized, though, things just seemed to fall into place. I learned that having a clean desk actually made me much more likely to sit down and really get to business. Our generation has a huge advantage – technology.  Laptops and smart phones and the technology they hold are absolutely on our side (even though sometimes it doesn’t seem that way.) Here are a few apps that can help you out in and outside of class:

1. Caffeine.  No, not the coffee kind, although I will say that does the job most times. Caffeine is an app for mac-users.  Some instructors allow you to bring your computer to class, which is great for taking notes. As most mac users know though, after not touching your computer for a while, the screen turns black and makes you sign in again, which can get pretty annoying. Caffeine shows up as a little coffee cup in the upper right corner of your screen (by the clock). Once you click that little cup of coffee, it allows your computer screen to stay lit. Although something small, I really did find this helpful while scribbling notes.

2. SelfControl.  Oh, the irony in the name.  This is another app for your mac! I know personally I’m very good at distracting myself with twitter or online shopping for clothes I will never purchase. This application allows you to block certain websites for any amount of time you wish.  A procrastinators dream…or nightmare. Regardless, this app is extremely helpful when it’s crunch time.

3. Studious.  This one is for the android users out there, although there may be a similar one for iphones. I would definitely recommend this to stay on top of your classes. If you ask any student, there have been times when a quiz or essay kind of snuck up on them. By looking at your syllabus early and coordinating it with this app, that last minute fear could be eliminated. Studious allows you to plug in your class schedule, time, teacher, location, due dates, test dates, and more.  And, once you plug in your class schedule, this app automatically puts your phone on silent during class meeting times–something that will make you and your professor happy.

These few are just a sample of the many apps made just for college students. Take some time to check them out before school takes over!

Go cats,


Online Profiles: Is Ready Player One relevant?

Hey Class of 2017,

Now is the time to dig out your KSBN novel that you were given at O&E this past June! K-State has provided you Ready Player One, a novel by Ernest Cline, giving you the opportunity to come to campus and connect with your fellow freshman beyond just getting to know where they are from and what their major is.

A few weeks ago, I blogged about the book, saying that it was a quite enjoyable read that help pose many questions that apply to our society today. One of those questions was: Are we consumed by our computers and are, therefore, losing our ability to communicate face to face?

I fear the answer to this question is yes.

Dinner tables across America are starting to look like this:

Our generation is consumed by our presence online in the forms of our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram profiles. Though these “apps” help us stay in contact with each other constantly, it begs the question: Are we truly getting to know each other in a genuine way?

In the book Ready Player One, the main character Wade is consumed by the OASIS, an online program where “players” live out their daily lives by playing games, shopping, and even going to virtual school, all within this program.

Now that obviously isn’t our society……yet. With the ability we have to chat, shop, and work on homework all at once, our eyes are seeing more of our screens than each other.

I beg of you this next year to “log out” of your virtual profiles and get to know the students living on your residence hall floor, students in your classes, and those you might just happen to be sitting by at a football game.

College is the time to make some of the best friendships you will have in your entire life. Put down the cellphone, close the laptop, and leave the iPads at home because it is time to meet and become a part of the K-State family for life.

Go Cats!!

Heidi Hurtig

Guide to Move In Day

Are you moving into the Residence Halls next month?

Here is a guide prepared by Housing and Dining Services that tells you EVERYTHING you need to know. (http://housing.k-state.edu/pdfs/housing/ResourceGuide-Web.pdf)

There is a list of everything to pack, a list of things not to bring, directions, parking information, and a complete run down of how move in day will go. Along the left-hand side there is also a list of important dates that you may want to throw on your calendar. Your parents may also greatly appreciate this information!

I went school supply shopping today and used the recommended list from the guide as a jumping off point. I found myself searching for the purple version of everything. I also use an excessive amount of sticky notes and I color code everything. Anyways, I know that preparing to go back to school is always at least a little stressful. Don’t let the stress get in the way of the excitement!

I know last year when I moved in I got very frustrated because I wanted to do everything MY way and I felt my parents were trying to tell me how to unpack and organize my stuff. Now I realize they were only trying to help, and that they were nervous too. My advice to families and their students moving in is to be appreciative and supportive. Look for the positive things before getting upset with one another. Students, you can change which drawer holds your pencils after Mom and Dad leave and they will never know. Parents, your student is trying to reassure you by showing you that they can do all of this even after you leave.

See you soon!


(Countdown to 1st Day of Class for Fall 2013: 32 days!)

Wildcat Sighting: Texas

Like many of you, I check various social media sites when I get up in the morning. Today I saw a bunch of K-State videos and comments all over my news feeds. I watched every single one, some more than once.

I met Kat last year on campus and we became fast friends. Kat is originally from Texas. I know being so far from the world she grew up in is hard, as is being so far from her parents and family, but Kat is also an excellent example of The Wildcat Family.

Today Kat had not one, not two, but THREE updates about how great it is to be a Wildcat. One simply said “Proud to be a part of the biggest family there is! There are no words to describe how amazing Kansas State truly is and I can’t wait to be back!” and was accompanied by a video (A Family Supports Each Other) which was shared all over my newsfeed.

Now here is another video that further explains the “K-State Experience” (Sense of Place) for those that wonder how this reflects on the rest of campus.

Future Wildcats, the word “Family” isn’t used lightly here. See how full the stands are in that first video? That amount of purple isn’t just seen on Game Day. See how when you come to Manhattan you find a home and a family? Look how our family comes together to help one another in this video (The Wildcat Way) about K-State Proud.

I agree with Kat’s statement that we are the biggest family around, and I must add that I think we are the best too. We support each other, even when things are hard because we are The Wildcat Family.

Welcome to the Family!


Hale Library Saves the Day

I was stressed. I was nervous. Yet, I arrived to a beautiful summer day in Manhattan, Kansas. When I turned into town, I realized that street lights weren’t working. I heard the words “power outage” on the radio and almost burst into tears. I was headed to an interview and needed to print off some forms and I was banking on Hale Library’s computers and printer.

As always, Hale pulled through for me. The power outage didn’t impact campus and I was able to quickly (under 15 minutes) locate files, download them, print them, and fill them out. All of this while enjoying some wonderful air conditioning.

During the school year I had my own printer and computer in my room. I found that the printing money on my Wildcat ID (the same card used for CAT CASH) did come in handy when I forgot a paper at home and had to quickly print it at Hale between classes. My advice to incoming students is to make sure you know the balances on your cards. “Emergency” situations like needing to buy a snack, print a paper, or do a load of laundry happen and your life will be much less stressful if you plan ahead a little.

Thanks Hale!



Getting Around the ‘Hat

One of my favorite things about Manhattan is how easy it is to get around. This is my mental map of Manhattan (The ‘Hat) which I refer to often, mostly including hand signals and drawing in the air, when someone needs directions.

The large purple rectangle is campus and the other buildings shown are Bramlage, The Rec, and The Bill. I included them because they make great landmarks for those who can’t master the “East-West” concept. Some of the roads further from campus are also numbered highways, but the name functions just fine as it is on all signage in town.

Walking around town is easy and is my personal preferred method of transportation for adventures near campus. Biking is a popular option in town as well. In fact, Manhattan is VERY bike friendly and has posted street routes so you can get to the store or wherever you need to go safely. (For more information, here is a map! http://ks-manhattancvb4.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/60)

I knew we had bus service on campus, but I had NO CLUE until recently that ATA ran routes around the community. I figured this would be good information for those who don’t have cars and want a back up plan in case friends can’t help you out. Many places to get jobs are along this route also in case you are looking for a way to get to work without driving. (Here is a link with a map, fare information, and hours of operation!http://www.rileycountyks.gov/documents/150/04%2013Revise%2011×17%20ATAbus_201304061226267516.pdf)

See you around town!


Campus Visit 101

I could talk ALL DAY about why K-State is AWESOME, but see for yourself! Come visit us! I know many parents and students are trying to squeeze campus visits into their schedules for this fall. Group visits are a great way to learn lots about a school in a short amount of time. It’s also fun to see friendly faces at events like Senior Days and Junior Days on campus. Open House last April was so fun and was a great way to see all of the ways to get involved and active on campus. The more you see, the more you know!

For those of you who have attended some of these events but are still trying to narrow things down, try a personal campus visit. See if you can talk to a professor or academic advisor in your intended field of study. I knew K-State was the right place for me after I sat in on a class. Though it was a lecture style, the professor made the class interactive for everyone. I had the option to have a student sit with me during the class and lead me back to the Union after, but I chose to try to do it on my own. I had a chance to talk to students before and after class. I found out navigating campus, a campus I previously thought was SO LARGE, was easy. I found students and faculty were friendly and welcoming and I felt completely comfortable. Most of all, I knew I wanted to spend every day here. Why would I want to leave?

http://www.k-state.edu/admissions/visit/#p=visit%2F Here is a link for more information.




Job Hunt: Update 2


The interview I mentioned in my previous post had me a little nervous, but I walked out with a job! I am so excited! I start the same week that school starts so hopefully I will get back in the swing of things fairly quickly.

My advice to anybody still on the Job Hunt is DON’T WAIT! Positions fill quickly, so apply as soon as possible. Also, don’t be afraid to ask around in Manhattan to see if people are hiring. One local business owner handed me an application to fill out, just in case anything comes up in the next few months, and referred me to another business they knew was hiring.

Happy Hunting!