Coming Full Circle

Here I am, in my second spring quarter in the MLHR program in the Fisher College of Business at THE Ohio State University.  Yes, it is my second spring quarter, yes I am a first year, no I am not graduating early.

What I did instead was take two courses SP10 as a graduate non-degree student to try out the program.  Since there were no pre-reqs for the program, I was able to apply and have my application approved without issue and register as soon as registration closed for students in the program.  For those on the fence about the program, this is a great way to get a feel for the program and its demands.

I took BMHR855 and 865, Training and Development with Dr. Noe and Compensation with Dr. Heneman, respectively.  It was a tremendous experience:  tremendously educating, tremendously challenging, tremendously frightening and tremendously exciting!

Who remembers the first day of our program, sitting down in your first seat (the one you probably kept all quarter long), grabbing your new best friend from orientation, affixing your name tag (that no one uses anymore) and putting your name plate up in its little slot.  Felt good, right!?  You were talking excitedly with everyone else, sharing secrets about the professor you learned from a 2nd year at Varsity Club after the team building, and catching up about what you’ve done since orientation.  You were anxious and nervous but the burgeoning Cohort mentality was mitigating all that and you felt good!  Happy!  Excited!

Now, take that all away.  As a graduate non-degree, I had no orientation, no team-building, no socials, no name plate (I had a sad piece of paper that Noe wrote my name on for me because my handwriting is so small) or name tag.  One of the courses I took is generally geared toward 2nd years, one more toward 1st years.  Regardless, the Cohort for each year had been established and bonds had been built.  And in walks me, GND Guy, the loner, the weirdo.  No one to talk to, no one I knew.

That was the frightening part.  Next was the challenging part: being in a course with grad students in a very intimate setting (compared to the cavernous, student-packed halls of undergrad Psych lectures), with renowned professors who are experts in their fields.

That was also the educational part.  These professors knew what they were talking about!  Noe is a whiz and up to date with all the most recent training and development methods and technology and generational nuances.  Noe literally wrote the book that was taught.  Heneman is a compensation Jedi master, and to see him in his depth and speaking passionately about his specialty is to see a man come alive.  Heneman is cited in the compensation book every other paragraph seemingly, and that is no exaggeration.  And of course, the mixture of students with me provided insight from either their jobs that were directly involved with HR or were able to draw connections between the material and their own careers. Very exciting stuff.

I had no idea what to expect from that moment on. It was difficult making connections, if only because I was being uncharacteristically shy and intimidated.  But once we began working in groups, it became incredibly easy to speak to people and get to know them.  Because true to the MLHR spirit, we are great people who love to connect, support each other  and help out a friend or colleague in need.

And that’s how I fell in love with the program.  The first time.  Then came all the hooplah that came with my official acceptance, like the name plate and bonding and big huge envelopes.  And of course, the Cohort.  How much I love my Cohort and how they have enriched my experience in the program cannot be expressed.  Maybe they’ll get their own blog entry, because it would take too many words to show my appreciation for them and describe how they have made this program so memorable.

So here I am, come full circle, second spring quarter.  Very different than the first, but just as tremendously educating, tremendously challenging, tremendously frightening (in a different sense) and tremendously exciting as the first time around.