A “Wisky” Weekend

This post was intended to get out much, much earlier, but as you will see below, I picked a horrible time to leave for a weekend because all I had was a couple straight weeks of work and midterms rolling along. Still, should have gotten this out a touch earlier, and let’s be honest, nobody wanted to remember this weekend until we had a few wins under our belt anyhow:

The only way to appreciate the end is to know the beginning. So, let me start things there; ‘there’, being the Student Lounge this very moment. I’ll end things back at Gerlach on Sunday night where I will be chugging coffee and cursing myself for being so reckless with the precious little time I have to complete the increasing pile of work in front of me and every other 1st year. But, before I go on another profanity-laced tirade aimed at the data analysis textbook in front of me…let’s just move on:

Thur., Oct. 14

Ok, so I’m sitting in the lounge, frantically trying to complete all the work that is due next week. A midterm, a paper, accounting HW, econ memo, on and on….I normally would spread this punishment out over the entire weekend, but this weekend is different. Tomorrow afternoon I’ll be on the road with my final destination being Camp Randall stadium in Madison, WI. I’ve been told the scenery is beautiful this time of year, and who knows? Maybe I’ll catch a football game while I’m up there. When you have a ticket at face value on the 25th row at the 45-yard line you don’t ask questions, you just start driving.

Fri., Oct. 15

I wake up early and realize that not only am I laughably behind on the work I won’t have time to complete this weekend, but I’ve also drastically misjudged the amount of time I am going to need to complete the Madison to Columbus car ride on the back-end of this whole excursion. Three free coffees from the Commons student lounge later, I’m speeding towards Stauf’s in Grandview for what I assume will be a quiet and productive study session. Afterall, it’s Friday morning and students are the only ones that don’t have jobs and require a no distraction environment with the occasional coffee refill and sugar-rush via donuts before 9am. No, in fact, hipsters and a competitive chess league also keep this schedule and have these demands. So, the head phones go on, the head goes down, and you just have to try  and not to laugh too much at the skinny jeans moving knight to Nf4. As if.

It’s 3pm, on the road.

This sentence is brought to you from the wi-fi hot spot of the rest station about an hour outside of Indianapolis.

9pm (CST) : arrive in Chicago,immediately get turned around by host to go back out for the evening.

Sat., Oct. 16

Gameday, quick 3-hour drive up to Madison (furiously trying to study Accounting the entire way as my friend/driver speeds in order to “get more tailgating time in”…its a 7pm start, we’ll be OK getting there at noon.

Arriving in Madison is like driving into Columbus. There is red everywhere on the buildings and the cars around you, but the entire city is pretty much empty until you start getting closer to the stadium. Then it’s just crazy. Badger fans, if they weren’t the enemy, would make fine Buckeyes. This of course is until they get a few of Wisconsin’s fine ales in them, then it quicky turns into a constant profanity-chanting ordeal that is only ended when they are out of breath or beer. That being said, it was fun to be the villain for an afternoon. Thank you Mark Titus, wherever you are.

Camp Randall was pretty impressive to walk into. I don’t know how an 80,000 person stadium can seem cozy to walk into, but that’s the feeling I got. It had these brick linings and simple layout that just seemed quaint when compared to the bigger, more tiered, more intimidating, more everything that the 105,000 that pack the shoe each week seem like.

Kickoff: You have got to be kidding me.

First Quarter: Crap.

Second Quarter: At least it didn’t get worse.

Third Quarter: Hope. Already anticipating the enjoyment I will feel as I am screamed at by the Madison faithful.

Fourth Quarter: More hope. Finally, dread.

I’ll spare you the bloody details, but the end of the game was me idly standing by as my hosts took pictures on the field as I agonized over the loss and began lamenting ever coming up to his cursed place. I actually wished that I could’ve been home studying instead. This was especially felt as I narrowly dodged a water-balloon that was…not filled with water. Not a whole lot else to say about the evening except the cab service in downtown Madison leaves a lot to be desired and the one bad apple (with worse aim) was in no way indicative of the bunch. Great night out, despite stubbornly/proudly/stupidly keeping my Ohio State gear on.

Sun., Oct. 17

I stayed the night, got up at the crack of dawn and high-tailed toward the safe borders of our temporarily down-trodden state and campus. Nine hours later, I pull up to the 315 off-ramp and have to make a right towards Gerlach, because I have a team meeting and we need to get on that accounting, and study for that Data…and you get the idea. Go Bucks.

Missing Class: Cold, Rainy and Possibly Worthwhile

I receive a message from a classmate at exactly 10:19, a minute after Data Analysis had just let out: “Why weren’t you in class today? One week in and you’re already cutting? Unbelievable.” It’s a good question and one I don’t have a quick answer to. I suppose the best response I could have mustered at the time would go something like this: “The Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates don’t send recruiters to the Varsity Club to mingle with students too often…I have to go to them.”

So, this past Tuesday I skipped all my classes. Only my fourth day at Fisher and you won’t find me at Gerlach, Schoenbaum or anywhere near campus. I’m racing up I-71 through the pouring rain instead of sprinting up to the 3rd floor to avoid our professors’ wrath for walking in late. I am driving to Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians and location of a job fair that might give me access to the hiring managers of two Major League baseball clubs. More likely, it will lead to nothing at all and I will have missed a day’s worth of class, driven 6 hours in the rain and sat through a few hours of speeches focused on every job but the one I am seeking, which, of course, had no speakers at all.

Upon arriving at the entrance to Progressive, two things become immediately apparent: I am 5 years older than nearly every other person here and my suit and tie are a little dressier than the Doc Martens, cargo pants and wrinkled shirts that my fellow attendees are sporting. Going in, I had some idea that things would be a little different than most other professional networking events, but I was not prepared for this drastic of a change. The job fair consisted of tables in a breezeway between the lower and upper deck of the stadium. The howling winds, driving rain and 50-something degree weather are not making this a pleasant networking experience.

Still, my goal was simple: create some kind of a connection with someone from one of the teams that I want to work for. I soon realized that the elevator speeches that we were taught to practice and master during orientation were invaluable ways to strike up good conversations with the various employees of the Indians organization. I am immediately glad that I had those 3 hours in the car to think about what I wanted to say (and I am also immediately cursing myself for taking the orientation session where we learned about elevator speeches more lightly than I should have). So, I quickly map out my pitch (ha!) in my head and set out to meet everyone at this fair currently employed by a Major League baseball team. After a couple hours of furious hand-shaking, head-nodding and small-talking, I am lucky enough to be able to stumble into a conversation regarding a possible lead on doing some kind of collaborative research project while still in school.  If things go right, I would have a chance to do research at Ohio State that would ultimately be used by the Cleveland Indians. The mere possibility of this made the entire trip worthwhile.

I returned to Fisher around 9pm that night thinking I would be behind the 8-ball on all my missed classes and that my team would be upset about having to pick up the slack. Instead, over the next 12 hours, every one of them emailed, texted or asked me in class the next morning how the job fair went. They let me know what I missed and even offered to let me look over their notes. It was yet another refreshing moment of reassurance about why I returned to the Ohio State to get my MBA. They were genuinely interested in my success and well-being, not solely focused on the snowballing amounts of work that were being set before us. Two days later, when I returned to Data Analysis and Econ, as the returning AWOL student, I was approached by a professor and he remembered why I missed, asked how it went and got me back into the flow of things.

I was, and am, genuinely shocked how putting forth the effort at the job fair may lead to a wonderful opportunity. I was, and am, still continually surprised by the genuine sincerity of my fellow classmates and the program-wide attitude that we are all in this thing together.