“But…is it easy?”

Seriously, look at how cute he is in his fall fleece. Shameless plug again: @livinglikebernie

First off, sorry for the delay in writing this blog post, the life of a part-time graduate student with a full-time job is not an easy one. Work had been picking up right when midterms were rolling in, leaving me with very little free time. I barely even got to spend time with Bernie (@livinglikbernie), much less sit down to write a blog post.

With how busy I’ve been, it actually got me to start thinking about a question I get a lot from those interested in the MHRM program and graduate school in general. As somebody who loves admissions work and meeting new people, I’ve met a lot of prospective graduate students, from visit days to friends of friends at parties. Regardless of how I meet them, most ask me the same question: “but…how easy is graduate school?”
They’ll then ask me about my background, if I was “good” at my undergraduate studies, how much GRE score matters, and if you actually have to read to be successful in graduate school. My answers are normally yes, depends, and yes…duh.

Captain America says “Remember kids, make sure to read for class…and also don’t let Thanos get all of the Infinity Crystals.”

Now, I’m the first to admit that I work really hard on my academics, and I believe in the concept of an educational contract, where if I expect the professor to come to class prepared and organized, the same should be expected of me as a student. Are there people who don’t read everything? Obviously. Do I think they can be just as successful as somebody who does read everything? Of course, but their success isn’t as guaranteed as those who do read and prepare.

I offer the above context about me, because I believe that my answer to the “is it easy” question can come off a little harsh without it. Simply put, I believe that if you’re looking for easy, then graduate school isn’t for you. It’s graduate school—it shouldn’t be easy. It should be challenging. It should be difficult. It should make you think and grow and push yourself to a level that you didn’t think was possible. The easy choice is never going to be attending and completing a graduate program, regardless of the subject you choose to learn.

 

“When Alex tells me I can’t find an easy way to get a Master’s degree.”

My intention isn’t to discourage anyone from getting a master’s degree, my hope would be that this inspires you and makes you want to rise to the challenge. The MHRM program requires a lot of work, just as any other graduate program in Fisher or around the world will as well. You should want that level of work, to achieve something that so few others have (about 8% of US citizens have Master’s degrees) and to feel like accomplished something truly great.

So as I head to class, my second of three this week, I’ll answer the question I get asked all of the time “Is graduate school easy?”

The MHRM program is a lot of things. It’s difficult, it takes a lot of work, it has lots of reading, writing, and arithmetic (I’m kidding about the math, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to say that). It’s also incredibly rewarding, energizing, inspiring, and you’ll leave with a sense of accomplishment that is like no other.

Career Fair Realness

With the Fisher Career and Internship Fair behind me, I’ve finally taken the time to reflect on the experience. While the dust still settles, I figured I’d take a few minutes to give out Alex’s Top 3 Tips for Succeeding at the Career Fair/Interviewing Process:

Dress Confidently

Case in point: my new suit + ties + shoes = $600-$700. That’s not money that a lot of people just having lying around. I work full-time and that still took time to save up!

A lot of times, folks will tell you to “dress professionally” which means “wear a suit” or whatever your gender equivalent of a suit is. While obviously suits are a great way to go, I say dress CONFIDENTLY for two reasons:

  1. Not everybody can afford a suit.
  2. You will literally be in a sea of suits and standing out isn’t always a bad thing.

So wear something nice that works for your price range and comfort level. Personally, I was very lucky to be able to afford a new suit and pair of dress shoes for the career fair, but that may not be your story. If you end up not being able to rock a suit-like option, maybe even make a little light-hearted joke during the opening like I used to before I could afford a suit.

After you explain your genuine interest in the company (we’ll talk more about this later) finish with “and I’m REALLY excited to get this internship/job so I can afford my first suit!” Say it with a smile and they’ll probably love it.

Don’t be a robot

Unless you’re RoboCop, then for sure be a robot.

Now, joking during an interview isn’t for everybody, so you have to do what feels comfortable when talking with employers and recruiters (are you sensing a theme yet?). That being said, these folks are going to meet and interview dozens of people over the next few days, and that doesn’t even stack up to how many people they may interact with all together.

Obviously, be professional and respectful of their time, but if you sit there and just regurgitate answers that you’ve obsessed over the past week or two, they’re going to get bored or at the very least they’re not going to remember you.

When they ask about who you are,  talk about something more than just your professional passions. Do you have a pet you love? Maybe a fun hobby? I always mention at the end of my “about me” section that my main three passions in life are education, diversity and inclusion, and my dog, Bernie. This usually shows that I’m not just some mindless worker drone, but I’m an actual person who they can connect with on a personal level.

Don’t be afraid to show a little bit of who you are and you’ll be great.

And finally..

You have about five minutes at most, so be memorable

This is something nobody really told me about when I was prepping for the career fair, and is was probably the most shocking. You walk up to the booth, get noticed by a recruiter, they take your resume and maybe take a picture (you sometimes fill out a quick questionnaire on an tablet), and then you get to do an elevator pitch. Maybe they’ll ask you a follow up, maybe they just tell you about the next steps in their process…and then that’s it.

Note: Wearing a beekeeper outfit is not what I mean by “being memorable”

It’s quick, it feels slightly awkward, and I can only imagine the amount of hand shaking that goes down. It’s not the recruiter’s fault, I remember some lines being wrapped around the ball room, with undergraduates and graduates patiently waiting for their few precious minutes. I’m not knocking the system at all, but what I am saying is that you have a short amount of time to make a good impression, so you have to make it. To borrow the iconic words of a meme, you have to shoot your shot.

Introduce yourself confidentially, talk about a few key things about your experiences that you think stand out or that you’re most proud of, be upfront that you’re interested (if you are, don’t lie) and would like to know the next steps of their process. This will, hopefully, signal to them you’re the real deal and are worth their time to interview. Add in tip one and two and you’re on your way to getting a job/internship!

So there you have it, Alex’s Top 3 Tips for Succeeding at the Career Fair/Interviewing Process. I can’t guarantee your success, but I’ve found past success with these few tips. As long as you’re honest about who you are and what you what from/in an employer, you’ll be fine!

Good luck with the internship/job search and may the odds be ever in your favor!

It is like an Amusement Park…

Since this is my first blog post, it’s probably best that I do a quick little introduction. I do these all the time with the students I work with, and I assure you that they love it (they actually hate it), because everybody loves icebreakers (everybody hates icebreakers).

Alex BroshiousMy names Alex Broshious and I’m a part-time student in the Master of Human Resource Management program in The Ohio State University‘s Fisher College of Business (did you get all that? there’s going to be a quiz at the end). I currently work full-time at Ohio State as a Hall Director and have a undergraduate degree in Education from Capital University and a Master’s in Education from Miami University. This is my second year in the MHRM program and I’m currently in the internship search for Summer 2019 with an expected graduation date in 2020 (nothing expected about it, it’s happening).

My cute dog, Bernie!

I also have a mini dachshund puppy named Bernie and he’s perfect, his Instagram is @livinglikebernie if you want to follow his adorable life.

Now, icebreaker out of the way, I wanted to dedicate my first official post to talking a little bit about the roller coaster of an experience graduate school is and compare it to, well, a roller coaster.

Over Labor Day weekend, I won two free tickets to Cedar Point, one of the largest amusement parks in the world conveniently located in Sandusky, Ohio. I grew up in the Sandusky area, but I hadn’t been to Cedar Point for about 10 years, so I pretty hyped to experience all the new rides and relive my childhood memories of The Iron Dragon and overpriced amusement park food. At the early hour of 7 a.m., my friend, Michael, and I got into a car and made the two-hour drive to Cedar Point.

Cedar Point was mostly how I remembered it. The layout was burned into my memory after multiple childhood summers spent running through the park (fun fact: I was so hyped about Cedar Point as a toddler that my mom had to put me in one of those kid leashes to keep me from running through Camp Snoopy with reckless abandon), but there were multiple new rides and buildings that threw me off my game. The park was reasonably packed, so we only got through about five roller coasters before we called it a day due to one roller coaster breaking down twice while we were in line (looking at you, Maverick), but I’d say we got our money’s worth.

The most jarring experience came when, about halfway through the second roller coaster, I had a wave of motion sickness hit me. It was a feeling I’d never had before at Cedar Point, or at least something so far back in my memory that I’d forgotten all about it. After that first hit of motion sickness, the rest of the day was a onslaught of metaphorical (and quite literal) highs and lows. While I was living for the experience of feeling like a kid again as we climbed the first hill of roller coasters I’d never experienced before, I was also dying a little bit inside due to the new feelings of motion sickness. Cedar Point was familiar, but also completely new and a tad scary.

So, why admit that I’m no longer the ride warrior (that’s what they call people who are all about the roller coaster life) I was when I was 16? What does that have to do with my MHRM experience?

Well, I think the feelings of familiarity and concern that I felt during my time at Cedar Point are similar to my experience in MHRM. Graduate programs, no matter where you go or what you decide to study, are always going to be somewhat familiar and somewhat scary. You understand the structure, you go to class, do papers, sometimes you do exams, but it has this different feel that really hits you in the pit of your stomach. For some, this feeling causes extra stress they didn’t know was possible, and for others it spurs you to do the best work of your life. Sometimes you’re cheering as you come to a stop after a big final that you just crushed, and sometimes you’re holding on for dear life as you fly around a corner.

Much like Cedar Point, I’ve loved my experience with MHRM so far, even if I still get that feeling in the pit of my stomach at least once a month. You’ll hit your highest highs and maybe even some of your lowest lows, but when you look back on what you accomplished, just like how you look up at a roller coaster and can’t believe you really went that high, you’ll feel this sense of pride and amazement at what you’re able to do.

Oh, and the food’s much better here at OSU.