Cody Tran constantly sought new experiences as a Winona State University student. Staying active and involved was as much a part of his college life as academics.

As Tran prepares to participate in WSU’s Fall 2015 Commencement ceremony and receive a bachelor’s degree in marketing, he can’t believe his journey as a Warrior is coming to an end.

“I feel like I blinked and it’s over,” Tran said. “It’s scary and exciting.”

Tran, who is from Minneapolis, said he “fell in love with Winona before I even stepped out of the car” on his first visit during high school. Tran enrolled at WSU and returned in August with his mother, Tonya, for the Inclusion & Diversity Office’s Family Ties: Home Away From Home Program. Nearly half of WSU students are first-generation students, meaning neither parent has a 4-year bachelor’s degree, and this is one of the programs designed to help these First-Gen Warriors transition to college life.

“I remember my mom was the last person to leave the sessions, and I was so embarrassed by it then,” Tran said. “Now I call her every day, updating her. I keep telling her I wish I had more time. Winona is the place where I met my best friends, got my heart broken a couple times, made embarrassing stories that I could tell my future grandkids, and the place that taught me I can fall a hundred times as long as I pick myself up a hundred and one times.”

During his time at WSU, Tran tried out many student clubs, from the Asian-American Club to Karate and Badminton clubs. He was a member of Delta Sigma Pi professional fraternity and served as a Brother-In-Arms.

“School and studying is important, but all work and no play can’t help you in the long run. College is about making experiences and connecting with people, do not lock yourself in your room and limit your circle. Don’t leave and think, ‘Four years and there was so much I didn’t get to do,’” Tran said.

Tran will embark on one of his biggest adventures yet a few weeks after graduation. He is planning his first trip to Vietnam to visit family on his mother’s side. The two-month trip may put his plans to attend graduate school or look for a job in marketing on hold, but he’s OK with that.

“It’s a way for me to re-connect with my heritage and see the world,” Tran said. “I’ve already been to France, Italy, Monaco, and I just want to see more.”

For more information, call the WSU Communications Office at 507-457-5024.