MLHR Internships: You Hate To Love

I am guessing/positive that most Fisher graduate programs either require or strongly suggest their students to get a summer internship throughout their studies.  Being that I am only in the MLHR program, I can only speak from that experience.  In the MLHR program, some kind of summer work is a required. The 3 options are:

1. Conduct research: Students have the opportunity to do research and write a thesis.  This is probably the least road traveled, but it is not absolutely uncommon (I know at least one person in my cohort who did this option).  Since most of what we learn in the program is applied, the knowledge is…applied…to a work setting.  From what I gather, most people who end up doing this end up wanting to get their PhD in the field.

2. HR Project: This too is not frequently done.  That is due to the fact that this is the option that part-time students do (and there are generally less part-time students in a class…there is no WPMLHR program like the MBAs.  We’re all together.)  They are require to do an HR related project at their current place of employment outside of the scope of what their job does.  For example, if I were a Compensation Analyst, I would need to do a Staffing or Training project.  It makes sense, because if you’re already doing something that you are already familiar with, you’re really not learning.  This requires a report to be written when the project is completed.

3. Internship: This is what most students do.  This requires the student obtaining working experience (generally in the summer) to apply what they have learned in the classroom.  This requires a paper to be submitted.

I did the internship, so I will comment on how that is like for the MLHR student (for the most part).


The pressure of getting an internship can be extreme.  Fisher will be telling you before you even have your first class starts how important it is you need to stay on top of the internship search.  I had prior internship experience when I came in the program, but I am sure that there were even more jitters to people who came in with no business or human resources experience.

Then your classes actually start and the rigor of graduate school hits you out of nowhere.  You can barely keep on top of your readings and you are still expected to get an internship that you basically need to graduate? SCARY.

Then there is embarrassment/jealousy that you may or may not feel.  No matter what, if you are pursuing an internship you will get one (people have gotten internships around May or June…literally weeks before the summer starts).  Some people will start to get internships with great companies, while you keep getting rejection letters, and having to take time out of your day to go to interviews (when you could be reading) to leave an interview “feeling okay”.  Ugh.  This gets worse depending on how long it takes you to actually get an interview.  Unfortunately, your classmates don’t make it better by posting on Facebook about their offers and asking you if you have an internship (no one is trying to mean – it just is what it is).

My internship was in Columbus.  Many people end up leaving Columbus, and having to move to another city for 3 months.  I am sure that causes a whole plate of annoying that I can speak of.

So after doing all this work to find an internship, you have to write a paper.  The paper requires having an internship advisor.  In my first year, I had a total of 5 teachers (one ended up leaving at the end of the year so that would have not been an option).  It can be really hard trying to think of a professor you think you have a connection with enough to be your advisor.  I had 4 classes with my advisor and really liked him, but he taught 2 of the basic classes we had to take so he was a hot topic advisor.

The internship paper.  SUCH a drag.  Seriously.  I seriously recommend taking a laid back approach like I did.  I know some people started working on their paper during their internship, and some people worked on it throughout the entire quarter.  I got an A and wrote my in about 5 days (25 or so hours).  I personally find it hard to constantly pick up from my frame a thought over and over.  My paper was about 30 pages of written content and 140ish of appendices (last year’s cohort would tell that their papers were such and such long without the breakdown and it freaked me out)…just follow the outline given in MyFisher.  I locked myself in the Gerlach computer lounge for hours just to write for 3 days.  The 4th day I edited my work, and then the 5th day I put together everything in the final product.   This might have given some people anxiety about doing something at the last minute (I did it the week before finals), but I really didn’t think about it until I actually knew I had to dig in and was ready to do it.  And I still managed to finish before a lot of people in my cohort (but that was because I had an early due date probably).


The internship hunt gives you good networking opportunities and interviewing experience.  As time consuming, grueling, and disappointing it can be, it is something that is very helpful.  I feel that recruiting for a private sector position is the most intense, so I think students in business schools end up going on a lot more interviews and networking events than the average internship-seeking individual and will be good for you later in life when seeking different career opportunities.

Trying to find an internship and deal with the newness of graduate school academics isn’t easy, but graduate school-level work only gets harder.  Being able to juggle these tasks, and keep your head afloat, you will be glad that you learned how to manage your time to deal with some of the classes that you will have to take.

Like I said before, everyone who pursues the internship option eventually finds one.  When you finally get that offer, it is such a good feeling and you’ll have a ton of people like your status if you post i on Facebook.  Plus, you can finally take that heavy weight off of your heart.  This is more satisfying depending on how long it takes you to get one.

NOTE:  Definitely market the skills you have learned if you still have not gotten an internship.   Your classmate may have gotten an offer in November, but in February you know more about HR then that person did when they interviewed so use it to your advantage!

I’m sure the people who left Columbus for their internship got to meet amazing people in different environments.  Good for them!

Selecting an internship advisor is tough, but it can be away for you to help get further connected with faculty or introduce yourself to faculty that you have never encountered.  Plenty of people have chosen faculty to be their advisors who had not yet taught us a class, had/will never teach us a class, or do not even have that close of an affiliation to the MLHR program.

The feeling of completing your internship paper is about the same as finding out that you have an internship.  You are so glad to finally have it done.  On top of that, I was very proud of the work I had done.  I have never produced so much content in my life.  Even the appendices that I had was still work that I created.  I would have never thought I would be able to individually produce such work (and good work to according to Professor Heneman).

Finally, the ultimate reason we come to into this program is to achieve some kind of employment once we get our degree.  Some people in the program received full-time offers weeks after their internship was over with the company they had worked for.  Some are still being considered for future employment with the company they interned for because of the quality of their work.  There are at least 2 people in my cohort whose summer internships extended past September, because they were such rockstars.  No matter what, it is amazing work experience that will help you get a job.  In my case, my internship experiences allowed me to get a job (with a different organization).

Again, I find myself ranting but finding an internship is one of those things that you will make you jump up and down, and jump and down…while punching a wall.   No matter how frustrating any part of the process is…from finding the internship, from not knowing what you are going to write about…it is good for you.

Until next week!



Classes So Far

So I’ve once hit that snag where “I’m so over this quarter.”  It typically happens around midterms.  I think it also does not help that next week I schedule my last two classes of graduate school, so I am THAT much closer to receiving my MLHR degree.  It also does not help that I have what seems an overwhelming amount of projects to do in a very little span of time.

I don’t know why, but winter quarters always are rough.  Always.  Normally, it is due to the weather making your classes and doing work even more horrible.  But “winter” has not even been all that bad…almost even pleasant (atmospherically).  Maybe it is due to the fact that I actually have to take 3 classes to prevent getting caught up in the whole semester switch conversion.  I don’t know.  But anyways…

Employment Law

This class speaks for itself.  It covers all of the different laws that apply to organizations.  I never knew how much the law affected business.  I see why many lawyers do not actually have to be court attorneys like on Law and Order, but are able to work in corporate America.  Both of our instructors are licensed attorneys.  The first one we had has a Juris Doctor, but was also a Human Resources Director.  So much about the law applies to human resources that you don’t even need to have a “Master’s of Labor and Human Resources” to be effective.  A lot of the information can be a little legal jargon-y, but it is a lot of information that I never thought about before.  Though future students in this program will not have this class, Employment Law is different than Labor Law.  Labor law applies more to labor unions and collective bargaining.  Employment law is what most HR professionals deal with.  A lot of actual labor law human resources issues, from personal experience, are not even handled by HR professionals but lawyers.  For example, the labor adviser for the organization that I work with is an attorney (but she also has her MBA so she works with the business aspects as well).  The instructor who is in charge of the class had a child on our first day of class, so we have had someone else teach half of the class while the main instructor has been resting.  We have a group project where we have to make a video, and I have nine other group members.  Also, the final is worth 80% of our total grade.  YOWZA.

Organizational Development and Change

We actually have not covered anything concerning organizational development.  It should probably be called Change Management in the future (maybe something else though because there is already Talent and Performance Management and that might get unoriginal).  This class has been intense.  There are cases we have to discuss every week in class.  I swear every class’s purpose is to do a 180 on what we are supposed to think.  I would say a good 60% of the material was written by the professor and his wife.  He really takes some interesting perspectives to change that I have never thought of…that can apply to your everyday life (not just grandiose company “change efforts”).  I am nervous about practically every assignment we have in this class.   All the readings of this class were condensed in the first 5 weeks.  So I’m done with reading for this class thank goodness, but trying to keep up with everything in this class has sucked so far.  I mean I’m sure it won’t be easy with the midterm, project, and presentation we will have to do.  But if I have gotten through other classes I can get through this one (hopefully).

Organizational Behavior

This is the class that I really like the most this quarter.  It is taught by Dr. Inks.  All the people who I have known to have him for class have claimed he was great.  At my past internship, one of my coworkers hated everything about HR (why he was working in that position I really don’t know), but when he took OB with Inks he actually started to like HR.  When all these people were praising him, I actually thought I wasn’t going to be impressed, but I must admit I will have to agree with everyone else.  I don’t know.  I think it is something about his teaching style that makes you want to actually participate when he’s teaching.  Not many professors can pull off being interesting and inviting at the same time.   All of the topics are really interesting and feel like “progressive human resources”.  We get a say in what we want to do for our project, too.  If I go back and get a PhD in the future then this would probably what I would consider studying.

The entire month of February is not really looking like any kind of fun.  I am determined that if I can get through at least March then I will definitely be getting my degree.

Wish me luck!



You Can Be Healthy and Fit In Grad School-How To

Last blog I had, I was bragging discussing my weight loss, but did not share any of my secrets.  Though it pains me to share how I’ve lost it all, and having someone in the program look better/skinnier than me, I guess it is all for the best.


As much as we hate to exercise, it is a MUST.  You can lose weight by eating healthier, but you can lose even MORE weight by eating healthier and engaging in exercise.  It is standard to workout at least 30 minutes a day.  Thirty minutes may not sound like that much, but factoring in shower time, putting on gear and getting to and from the gym, whatever tiredness you may feel afterward that hinders productivity, and motivation (sometimes I have had 20-minute coaching sessions to get myself up to go to the gym) it can be a lot longer.  My modification of this standard exercise is to do something that makes you sweat at least for 30 minutes, 5 days a week.  You should give your body a break, but the other days you should engage in moderate physical activity…be moving but you don’t have to feel gross when you’re done.

As odd as this may sound, if you get into a long enough routine you can actually enjoy working out.  When I first started running, I HATED IT.  Nothing made me cringe more than having to go out on my run.  I actually look forward to exercise now, because I have seen the results, heard the compliments, and actually can feel the endorphins coursing through my body.  It takes a while to get there though, but you have to stay on top of it.

It is helpful to find a time of day where you just need to get away from everyone and go to the gym.  Some people find it easier to go to the gym with others, but most of my friends are not as motivated as me and when I am exercising I tend to be “in the zone” and not one to talk to anyone.  Some people  can get up early to workout (just getting it out of the way for the day), or do it at night at the end of their day when they are done with all of their activities.   I can’t do any of these things, because I am too tired.  By the time it is lunch at my workplace, I need to get out of the office so I head to the gym.  It breaks up my day, and I come back to the office jittery off of endorphins.  You just have to find out what works for you!

Last, campus has plenty of gyms all around campus.  There are 2 really close by Gerlach Hall.  There is the Recreation Physical Activities Center (RPAC) located by the football stadium.  It is state of the art with tons of equipment and they have shower facilities, so it is the perfect place to go to after work or class to get a quick workout in.  I don’t believe in being sweaty in class, and I’m pretty sure all of my classmates would hate me if I was funky in class, but there is a gym literally right across from Gerlach.  The only bad thing about campus gyms is that they are swarmed with young and overly muscular showcase exercisers (aka bros) that can kind of be annoying


Diet is the most important aspect of losing weight.  You can spend 2 hours in the gym a day (which is actually unhealthy for you), but if you’re still eating Taco Bell every night (like my roommate) then you won’t achieve all that you can in losing weight (and are still susceptible to a stroke).

First of all don’t buy snacks.  One time I read something that if you don’t buy snacks at the grocery store, then you won’t have them in your house.  Aka you won’t eat them.  Simple but genius!  By not snacking on bad food, you can have extra money to buy fruits and vegetables.  Okay the annoying thing about this is that fruits and vegetables are super expensive and expire super early.  However, they are better and skinnier for you.  Want a bag of Doritos?  Put that down AND HAVE SOME CELERY.

Second, cut down on red meat.  As discussed in an earlier blog, cows, pigs, and sheep are the fatties of the animal world.  Chicken (kind of) and fishes are the leaner (aka skinnier) meats, so that is what you should go for.  I mean it is still hard for me to resist Taco Bell sometimes, but if you are craving the taste ground turkey is lean and tastes almost like beef.

Third, cut out everything you KNOW is bad for you.  This can be hard, but like exercise, if you do it often enough it will become routine.  Like a veggie tray makes me as happy as a plate of cookies to me now.  I almost swear for the last 2 weeks, there has been Adriatico’s (this delicious but obscenely unhealthy pizza) in every class.  It can actually be annoying sometimes, so it is good to have that apple handy and then mentally compliment yourself for your self-restraint. Self-compliments also help.  If you have to eat out, eat the healthy options provided if they have any.  One thing that I have learned about being a Fisher graduate student is that the Subway across the street (NEXT TO THE GYM) is practically a staple.  The sell really good salads (enough for a meal) for only $4…and yogurt parfaits!

I also cook more and eat less.  What that means is that I cook a more than  an average size meal for myself.  I don’t eat it all in one sitting.  I pack up about half of it to use for lunch/dinner the next day.  So instead of eating out, you already have a meal the next day.  And in doing so you save money on eating out or have cut out one thing you have to worry about doing the next day.

Last, I know right, generally eat less in one sitting.  You can eat more but break  up that one meal throughout the day.  This helps because I am eating, but never really hungry (because when you’re hungry you tend to overeat).  I also never eat until I am full anymore.  Oh and  I drink  A LOT of water.  Many times when someone is hungry, they are actually thirsty (or so says this article someone posted on my mini feed on Facebook one time).

Ok so once again, I apologize for a super long post, but many have asked me how I’ve lost my weight (and no not really eating disorders which is a joke in my cohort).  I am no fitness expert, and I definitely am not a calorie counter or someone who analyzes every single nutrient of what I am eating.  These are the simple things that I do that have worked for me as a busy graduate student.

Hope I see less of everyone (as in weight not as in frequency)!


You Can Be Healthy and Fit While in Grad School (I’m living proof)

Music Television (MTV) produces some pretty great TV shows…America’s Best Dance Crew, Teen Mom 2, Teen Wolf, JERSEY SHORE.  Though I could write an entire blog about MTV shows, the base of this blog is coming from a show they have titled “I Used To Be Fat”.  Basically, MTV takes some teenager with low self-esteem (caused by his/her weight) and sends him/her a trainer.  They have an entire summer to lose the pounds, and by summer’s end they can officially say “Hey! At the beginning of the summer I Used To Be Fat!” Genius.

Recently, I have had a physical transformation myself.   When I started graduate school, I looked semi-normal.  As I progressed throughout graduate school the pounds kept adding and adding and adding.  I had to go up a size in pants.  I had to abandon certain shirts, because they no longer fit me.  Everything was tight.  I embarrassingly broke several zippers off trying to put on pants, and many times I would have to pray to God to get clothes on.  I almost even considered wearing pajama jeans.  The worst part was the fact that I looked terrible in pictures!  I would have to crop out my stomach or not even upload or tag myself in certain photos, because of how awful I looked.  Also, my worst fear of graduating undergraduate was not finding a job or not getting into grad school.  If I was homeless, it would be fine as long as I was skinny.  My fear was developing what I call the “old man pooch”.  It is where you seen adult men who’s arms, legs, upper body, neck, face, and everything else all seem at a relatively average size for their body.  But their stomach is out of control, and they look like they could be expecting to have children or something.  THAT was happening to me.  Plus, other than that time of my life where I was an infant and barely alive, I’ve ALWAYS been really thin.  Plus, I ran cross country in high school which was a the prime time height of skinny in my life.  I felt like people were judging me, and it was just abnormal for me.  I got up to a weight that was way out of my BMI range.  It was just so terrible.

So at the end of the summer, I want to say right around the third week, I decided that I was going to start running again.  When I started was weird, because it was technically finals week, but all of them were side projects, so I thought it would be the perfect time.  Since then I have been consistently running at least 5 times a week.  I obviously hated it at first, so to better motivate myself, I started to run on the treadmill at my work during my lunch.  During winter break, I used the time not studying or learning anything to work out and run more.  I think one week I ran 40 miles (which was technically more than I worked that week, because we had a holiday).  Second week into winter quarter and I actually MISS running.  Like I wish I could be wearing my running shoes more.

Anyway, my place of employment had a holiday challenge put on by my office (Human Resources) called “Maintain Not Gain”.  The goal was to maintain your weight from the third week of November (during the Thanksgiving Holiday) until the end of the first week of January.  The idea was to maintain your weight, because with all of the eating that goes on during the holidays, pot lucks, bowl games, parties, and everything it can be a real challenge to lose weight.  My office, the sponsors, did not make it easy when they  were bringing in deserts and throwing random pizza parties for what felt like every day of December.  I got really into the challenge.  I knew I could maintain my weight, so my challenge was to lose.  Ideally, I wanted to lose 15 pounds but realistically I set my goal for 10.  So in doing this, I took my health to the next level.  I completely changed my diet and eating habits just to win (I’m not actually really that competitive of a person but when it is something I’m really into I can get a little crazy).

So last Friday was the final weigh in.  In 6 weeks I lost 11 pounds (1 more than my goal)!  Since I initially started my running again in August I’ve lost THIRTY ONE POUNDS.  It feels so good to be skinny again and in a healthy BMI.  Also, my friends, classmates, coworkers, people I don’t even know have given me rave reviews on my weight loss.

So remember.  The freshmen 15 (more like 50 for me) is not just a thing that happens to freshmen.  Actually, they should call it the “first year fifteen”…any kind of weight gain that could possibly happen under the new circumstances you are going through in higher education.  I’m sure this applies law students, doctoral students, and other first-year grad students.  However, as impossible as it may seem with going to class, reading out the you know what, studying, group meetings, quizzes, tests, work, internships, group meetings, student organization activities, and making some attempt to having a social life YOU CAN be healthy and fit in grad school!

Next week, I will give you insights in what I have done to get rid of the small human child that I lost off of my frame.

BEFORE and AFTER photos:

BEFORE – heinous with an obscene amount of stomach and face and I couldn’t even button up my vest (I know harsh and I may look normal to most people but I thought I was out of control).  Circa 8/2011

AFTER – vest is like HUGGING me tightly now. Circa 1/2012




Garren’s 2K12 Resolutions

First of all before I go into my resolutions, let me preface by saying that I do not believe that the end of the world will happen in 2012 (knock on wood), because I watched a Discovery Channel special about it and Jay Sean made a song about it with Nicki Minaj.

Back to my resolutions, I really do not have that many so I will TRY to keep it quick and simple.

*Note: I am not putting anything in here that I KNOW will happen (like graduating), because resolutions are supposed to be challenging right?  I also don’t believe in having a resolution for the sake of “being a better person” if you don’t believe in it?  For example,  I could resolve to be more outgoing to people, but I don’t think I really need to and it is not something I find to be important, so why would I try to be more outgoing when I really don’t care to?

1.  Blog Once A Week Until I Graduate

This was a challenge last quarter.  I kind of felt bad, because the MLHR program dominated the blog last year.  I know it is not entirely my part, but I still feel bad.  I am glad that there are more people in other programs providing their experiences, because you can only hear so much about the same program before you start yawning.  Each program is told to direct their blogs toward their “target audience” (which for me would be people interested in getting their degree in Labor and Human Resources).  However, I think it is good for those interested and potential MLHR students to look at other student blogs too, because you will be interacting with all of the programs (if you do graduate school “right)”.  Ok maybe not ALL of the programs, but more than the people in your cohort.

2.  Spend Time In Gerlach Hall EVERYDAY For Winter Quarter

This will honestly be my biggest challenge.  I did really well GPA wise last quarter, but I felt SO lazy (hence the lack of posts too).  I already know that this quarter is going to be demanding on me.  I haven’t taken 12 credit hours since June either, so that will ALSO be a struggle.  I am vowing to come to Gerlach everyday, because this is the only place where I feel like I can really do anything productive.  When I’m home, I am less likely to do my readings and more likely to drink a glass of wine and watch ABC Family programming.  The biggest challenge will be coming in on Fridays and the weekends which I NEVER want to do (but I am motivating myself to come by working out at the Recreational Physical Activities Center or Jesse Owens North right across the street…which I know is weird that I am motivating myself with physical activity but I’ve recently become slightly obsessed with exercising).  For the fact that I essentially avoided this building like the plague other than when I was technically obligated to go to class last quarter will just be another road block.  However, if I can do this, I believe that I will be able to stay on task and have another great quarter.

Please note that this goal ends winter quarter, because I only have to take 2 classes in the spring, and I am going to have the 8th or 9th case of senioritis in my life (hopefully not too bad).

3.  Maintain My Exercise and Diet

Since August, I have really transformed my diet and exercise.  I am still running, and am eating a lot of vegetables.  One thing that I vow to do is (for the most part), cut out all red meat from my diet.  I am not going to be super crazy about it, but for the most part I am no longer eating any kind of red meat.  I mean if you are what you eat then why would I want to look like a cow or a pig?  I’d rather be a fish…because they’re the skinny creatures of the animal world (minus whales…not eating any whales).  Last year when I tried to be all healthy, school overwhelmed me and I sank into fatness.  I have made it more of a priority now, but I resolve to keep a balance, and make sure that I do not let grad school turn me into an obese monster.

4.  Be More Spiritual

I generally want to be more spiritual.  I am not going into my personal religious beliefs.  To me, being spiritual is more about having a connection with your faith.  I don’t plan on “going to this sacred building more” or “reading this religious text more”.  I generally just want to have a deeper faith in 2012.

I just wrote this blog entry, I am in Gerlach on a day I don’t have class, I ran 4 miles on my lunch hour, I ate healthy all day, and I prayed twice today.  I think I am going to do well in keeping my resolutions this year!


Well the Rest of Fall Quarter and Winter Break

Apparently, since I dropped off the face of the blogging world during the latter half of fall quarter, I feel I should give an update.  I tend to ramble in my blogs, so I am going to try and keep it quick and simple (we’ll see how that goes).

So first, I feel like I need to explain my absence of postings.  I feel actually bad.  But I am attributing this to two things.  One, my job has gotten more intense, so the adjustment of working and going to school was taking it’s toll on my free time…sort of.  Though this hasn’t been the hardest quarter I have had(ish) academically, I just lost all energy to do anything once I got home from either work or class.  The main reason I took summer classes was to make sure that I kept on going with the program.  I honestly thought if I had any kind of mental break that I would not return to the program.  I am starting to realize that I should have actually taken the summer off.  I think without having time to rest and soothe my brain, it seeped into fall quarter and made me way lazier than I wanted to be.  I may go further into this in another blog, but I don’t want to give any particular advice on taking summer classes (if able based on internship location).  However, I only had to take 2 classes for the fall and only have to take 2 in the spring.  Technically I only have to take 2 in the winter, but all 3 are required so that should be fun for my life.

Ok back to not rambling. Though I felt kind of lazy in how I was approaching my academics last quarter I ended up doing really well.  I got a 3.77 for the quarter.  I was extremely proud of my internship paper.  With writing and appendices, it was approximately 140 pages!  I’ve never wrote something that extensive by myself in my life.  I was not really sure about how to approach it so, once again I need to make a note to myself to refer to this blog for future material.

As far as my winter break goes, it has actually been “meh. ” Since I work for a college, as SOON as I go on break, I get swamped with hiring for instructors to teach in the winter quarter.  I thought I would get some kind of break from it all with my academic break, but to no avail.

Outside of work, I have been using the time not in classes to work out more.  I am participating in a “Maintain Not Gain” wellness challenge at Columbus State.  Between the week of Thanksgiving, until the end of the first week of the New Year, the goal for employees is not to lose any weight but maintain your weight.  Between all the gorging people do at Thanksgiving, various December holidays, New Years, and holiday potlucks/parties in between, it is pretty hard to do.  I’ve taken the challenge a little bit more seriously, and have been trying to lose weight.  I’ve been getting rave reviews on my progress, and can’t wait to see my results for my final weigh in!

The other thing I’ve been doing is watching Switched at Birth.  It is show obviously on ABC Family.  SUCH A GOOD SHOW…I cannot wait until the winter premiere.

Ok that’s about it.  Just for memory sake, I am going to outline future topics for me to write about for memory purposes (and for you guys to hold me to later)!

1. New Year’s Resolutions

2. To take or not take summer classes

3. Writing your internship paper

4. Maintain Not Gain results and my new found healthiness

5. The sanity I achieve from my cable TV

6. Classes

7.  My planned winter quarter study structure

That’s seven topics and I am sure more will pop up, so I should be good for almost all of winter!  I’m not going to lie that I kind of was struggling with topics last quarter, so I am glad I was able to brainstorm some while writing this winter break blog.

Happy Holidays Everyone!


PS-I wrote this last week and never actually published it so by the way my holidays were very happy!

Grades and Exams In Graduate School (At Least From My Perspective)

This post has been inspired by a recent exam grade that I have received for one of my classes.  It wasn’t absolutely stellar, but it didn’t make me want to down cyanide pills (and the way this class is designed it is better that I chance having my slightly better than mediocre grade than take the comprehensive final).  My experiences with assignments, grades, and exams in graduate school can only come from the experience of someone who graduated with a degree in journalism just a few years ago from Ohio State, so if anything that I write about applies to you then be fortunate that you are already one step ahead!


Undergrad was sort of easy for me.  To be fair, the journalism program here isn’t anything prestigious in the world of journalism like Fisher is in the world of business.  I will say though that not everyone is a writer, so what I may have found easy a mathematician, engineer, or pre-med student would have struggled with.  I was though very involved in student organizations and normally held down like 2 jobs, so I wasn’t just a lazy bum.  Anyway, being that I studied journalism, the majority of my assignments were papers done by myself.  The majority of my tests were some kind of multiple choice, and my professors normally gave us some kind of guidance and direction to how to study.  A lot of it was the regurgitation of theory (which I cannot stand), or memorizing some crazy rule from the AP Stylebook (the grammar rules of journalists).


Graduate assignments and tests are a whole new level of crazy.

  1. You are expected to know like an infinity more amount for a test.  The amount you’re expected to read and study is a lot more intense than what I had in undergrad.
  2. There really are not that many smaller papers, projects, or assignments.  Normally it is one huge project or paper that you have to work on with a group of people.  Group work occurred, but did not happen that often with me in undergrad (how many group news reports have you ever read?).  Group work is the nature of Fisher though, because my friends in the undergraduate program would always complain tell me about how many group meetings they had to go to.  My teachers in undergrad would always comment on how everyone’s schedules were so different that they tried to avoid group projects.  I almost never had the same classes with the same people so this was true and difficult, but even when you have all your classes together it is still hard to coordinate the schedules of grad students.
  3. Because there are very few assignments, you really have to make sure that you don’t screw up on an assignment or that could be your grade for the class.   Professors will be willing to help you out, but they don’t have structured mini assignments to make sure you’re doing the reading that you’re even more expected to keep up with in graduate school.  It is nice to not constantly have to be tested on something….sometimes you just need to have a few days where you don’t read anything because of other things going on and have a few days that you don’t ever leave the library.
  4. I wrote a few papers where I was the sole author (if any) in graduate school.  I NEVER wrote a group paper in undergrad (once again though journalism is kind of solo field).  I am sure other graduate students write many individual papers, but due to the collaboration and teamwork of the business world many papers are done with others.  Though it is good that you can split up that 25 page paper among 3 or 4 other people, but truth be told there have been quite a few times I have raised an eyebrow or rolled my eyes at some people’s writing styles or overall lack of effort and would have rather had wrote the paper myself.
  5. The exams are a lot less straightforward.  If you want a study guide, you better study and then make your own guide.  You could be tested on literally anything that you have covered (no matter how obscure it appeared to be in class or in the text).  Professors want you to know theory, but they also want you to apply in some kind of way or example (that either they make up or you have to make up).  This may not be odd for some, but has been a challenge for me in spending time in remembering some particular thing and having an application to it.
  6. Exams also may lead to arthritis as well, because I would say at least 75% of the exams I have taken have been essay.  Essay exams are always the hardest, because you can BS a paper or have a lucky guess on a multiple choice exam but you HAVE to know your stuff in these exams.  There is no way getting out of this.
  7. Last thing I want to say is that a lot of professors in graduate school do not follow the standard midterm/final schedule that most of my teachers did in undergrad.  Midterm and finals week are still stressful, but instead of having to worry about all exams I need to individually study for, I may have one paper, one exam, or one project due (that have due dates that all are annoyingly close to each other).  For my Research Methods and Negotiations class, there was neither a midterm or final.  The final was optional for Staffing and is optional for Collective Bargaining.  With Staffing, the exam was factored in your final grade, and CB if you take the final than your midterm does not factor into your grades (both are comprehensive so it can be worse if you take the final).   There was only one exam for my HRIS class.  A lot of professors believe in different methods of learning than the dreaded test, but regardless these tests/projects/papers are worth a lot of your grade.
  8. There are a lot more presentations.  Most of the presentations that I had to do in undergrad were individual, where most of mine  in graduate school have been group (which you can have the same issues with group papers like someone really not contributing, reads straight from their slides, etc).
So I think that about covers everything.  Oh and being that it is graduate school, it is more challenging obviously.  So though I would love to get an A in everything, I am no longer in high school so it would be good when you start to accept one of my favorite mottoes “Bs get degrees.”

No Need To Fear the MLHR’s Future

After midterms, my brain has still been in recovery mood and it took me FOREVER to finally think of a blog topic to write about.  I have been to two different meetings that concern changes to the MLHR (which I am assuming will be called MHRM next year) program.  Hopefully, discussing what I learned (and my jealousy being that I will be graduating this spring) about the changes to the program will make future applicants and current students even more excited about the program.

Last Tuesday morning, I and a few other MLHR students got to sit down with the new Director of the MLHR program, Professor Raymond Noe.  Dr. Robert Heneman was the program Director for the past 20 years or so (but don’t worry and be THANKFUL he hasn’t retired from teaching because he is one of my favorite professors).  This meeting was a way for Noe to get to know some of the students in the program. It was good to meet to him and discuss the program with him and other students.

Now nothing I say is set in stone and should be taken as “given.”  These are just ideas that have been discussed.

  • Workshops on Excel before program orientation
  • Expanding employer relationships with more companies in the Midwest for placement for internship and full-time job opportunities
  • Setting up additional employer relationships with more non-profits
  • Getting students more familiarity with PeopleSoft and Access
Last week, I had a meeting with faculty, staff, and other students about leadership development for students in the program.  Here were some of the things discussed.
  • Having a leadership development program starting before orientation that includes training in Excel, basic finance overview, Access, and team facilitation
  • Developing workshops on issues not discussed in class like government documents, grievance provisions, and handling downsizes and terminations (no undergrad, graduate, and probably even PhD program could accommodate EVERY single aspect of human resources that an organization faces)
Like I said, none of these ideas are set in stone.  None of them could even happen (but I highly doubt that … I am sure a few (if not all) of them will come to fruition – this is just my standard disclaimer).  Fisher MLHR faculty and staff are working really hard to not only ensure the switch to semesters is as smooth as possible, but that it is still improving despite all the changes occurring university-wide.  Also, at the meeting, I got the opportunity to express things that 2nd year students in the program are concerned about and will (eventually, if not immediately) be important. The first year students do not know what is going on (yet) since they are still adjusting to graduate school, interviewing for internships, etc.  Most people who apply to the MLHR program do not have business or human resources experience.  Even with the HR experience I had when I came into the program with my student job, I had no idea about what I would need to know to be a true HR professional.  These are some things that you should explore if you plan on being an HR student.  And when the program offers all of these great future opportunities, it is something that you should definitely want to participate in.
I almost wonder whether the 1st years will come out of the program more knowledgeable than me with the future opportunities the program plans to offer.  I know that we will still have the labor classes under our belt (which, since I work in a union environment, is beneficial to me), but I get a little envious planning out the framework for something that I will not be able to experience myself.  If you are in the program starting autumn 2012, don’t let all of our hard work go to waste! 🙂
Stay tuned for what the future of the program holds and Happy Halloween weekend (the link below will give you the hint to what my costume will be).
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Reflections of …The Way I Used To Be

First let me express, that I would like to apologize for not blogging for a little while and for the lack of MLHR posts in general.  We have all been pretty busy, and I will be the first one to say  that I have fallen behind in my studies, and now am desperately trying to catch up (if you thought this would change from undergraduate you are mistaken…procrastination never gets old).

So I have been reflecting about how I felt this time last year, and how I feel right now.  To tell you the truth, I have felt that things have been a little easier.  I am only taking 2 classes, have no group projects, and PRAISE BE TO GOD that I am not taking statistics.  Last year, I thought I was in over my head.  I thought that maybe graduate school was a mistake.  I either needed more work experience, actual business experience, or maybe I was not cut out for graduate school.  There were so many different group projects.  Such a different kind of learning atmosphere and subjects than what I was used to in undergrad.  And plus, I will say it took me a little longer than the others to warm up to the cohort.  I was still stuck in a weird phase of “learning how to be an adult but not quite there”.  The general adjustment to graduate school on top of the coursework can be very challenging.  And let’s not forget about that horrible feeling of being rejected from employers, and thinking that you will never get an internship, and will fail out or have to do another year in the program, because no wants to hire you (sorry about the terrible run-on).  There were definite times I felt like dropping out.

As I just stated, I have thought this quarter to be a little easier.  Sure there is still a lot of reading, classes are still long, and I have this internship paper looming over my head.  I also am working more now.  I think this quarter has been less difficult, because I have a year’s worth of maturity (or whatever) from being in the program.  When you’re a first year, I feel like you are trying desperately to prove that you’re worthy to be in the program and that you can cut graduate school.  All that trying can cause a lot of stress.  After a year in the program, I am just more knowledgeable and feel by getting through the first year I have proven that I will be worthy of this diploma I will receive in June.  One of my first blogs said that I was taking 3 classes.  It is now going to be 2 (still need to tell my adviser and the professor).  I just know that I don’t have the time for my Independent Study, and I am not going to burn myself out just to prove myself.  This year I also chose to be just a dancer for BuckeyeThon, and not involved with the organization.  Same goes with the Ohio Union Activities Board (they don’t know this yet).  I don’t need to prove myself in being involved with these organizations anymore.  I still am participating in the dance marathon, and am the Leadership Chair of the MLHR Council.  I know next quarter will be hard with taking 3 classes, but I have gotten through 4 (about to be 5) quarters of graduate school and I will get through the next 2.  I call it a different kind of difficult…there are still challenges that I and the second years are having…they are just different from when we were newbies in the program.

All the first years though should still try really hard to be involved and do things that will challenge them.  No one likes stress, but it builds character and you’ll be prouder of yourself that you got through it all looking to the future now.  And I’m really jealous that you guys have tutors.

14 Simple But Effective LinkedIn Tips (Why You Need a LinkedIn Part 2)

In my last blog post, I talked about the importance for any aspiring or working professional (inside OR outside of HR) to not only have but actively use LinkedIn.  When I say “actively,” I mean actually use it.  Many people will set up a sub-par and boring profile, and will only get on the site when they have a new invite connection.  Having a LinkedIn just to have a LinkedIn defeats the purpose of it all together.  You don’t put all that time and effort into constructing a resume to not use it.  Same goes with LI (abbreviation for LinkedIn…kind of like FB for Facebook).  It is still a social networking site, so you need to be social.

I will give you some simple but effective tips to amp up your LinkedIn page.

1) Picture: You need to have a photo of yourself.  I find it very annoying (and I’m sure recruiters do as well) when you see this faceless image on someone’s profile.  It should look professional, so a good head shot of you in interview attire is great.  I currently do not have any good picture of myself in a suit or tie, but when I do I am changing it immediately.  Now, some people are afraid of discrimination or something.  First of all, recruiters should know the law and wouldn’t risk doing that.  Plus, if a recruiter actually does not have any human decency and would discriminate against you because of what you look like then would you really want to work there?  Now, if you have a picture of yourself shotgunning a beer that may be different (e.g. DON’T do that), but if you follow my advice with the head shot then you should be good.  I mean, you don’t go to a career fair or an interview with a bag over your head?

2) Tagline: Most individuals’ taglines will say their current positions at their jobs.  It also already says that in your work experience section.  Instead, it should be something about you that is distinctive.  My tagline says “Budding HR Professional and Graduate Student”.  Maybe not the most impressive title but it is still a much more interesting than “Human Resources Specialist”.

I’ll use my best friend Eric J Dosch for example.  His LI profile currently says “HR Intern at ExxonMobil.”  First of all E, your internship is over.  Second, I almost slipped into unconsciousness from reading that tagline.  A better version would be “Experienced Veteran and Graduate Student Emerging Into The HR Profession” (or something along those lines).  This comments on his a) work experience b) veteran status because many employers look for that with their EEO stuff-my past internship did and c) that he is emerging…aka has HR experience but needs a job.  You’re welcome Eric. 🙂

3) Posting:  YOU NEED TO POST.  It shows that you are actively on LinkedIn and that you can be contacted.  As I said before, some people don’t use LinkedIn, and if you don’t look like you use it than a recruiter may not make the effort to contact you.  Now you don’t have to go crazy like Twitter and they should not include how excited about the EOTW you’re going to like on Facebook.  I normally like to post things that are work related or things that I am doing at work.  However, they should not be things you complain about, because you don’t want your coworkers you’re linked to to tell on you.  My team had a retreat on Wednesday, so I posted about that.  If I can’t think of anything, I will normally try to post something related to the business or the HR world (or whatever your profession/career might be).  Today, I posted a link about how the US economy has added 103, 000 jobs in the month of September.  This also shows that you’re knowledgeable about your field, the world of business, and that you care about the news (hint: Twitter is a really helpful source of info in, more or less, real-time).  I check LI at least once a day I’m at work to post something.

4) Recommendations:  You know how employers do reference checks? BAM.  No need if you already have a professional who has given you a strong recommendation.  The more the merrier (for my current job I would love three).  I currently do not have any recommendations, because my old boss doesn’t believe in LI and isn’t social media savvy. But I’m working on it …

5) Website:  Putting a link to your company, student organization, or school website is good.  TIP:  LI will give you a list of options like Personal Website, Company Website, etc and then you can add the link.  When you go to someone’s LI, it just says “Personal Website.”  INSTEAD, you should use “Other” and then you can put a name to your website.  So instead of “Company Website”, I have “Columbus St. Community College”.

6) Summary:  Once again, try not to be boring.  I talk about what I do, what I want to do, and eventually a generalization of my experience and skills.  But you also want to demonstrate you aren’t a robot and was born with a soul, so I also put some personal information about how I support Nationwide Children’s Hospital and have a link to my BuckeyeThon page so people can donate money.  I would leave out stupid quotes and how you like cars or shopping from this summary.

7) Specialties/Skills: Definitely have them, but be real about them.  Just because you took a Research Methods class, does not mean that is your specialty.  No one likes a liar, and that is embarrassing if you can’t demonstrate it in an interview.

8) Resume: There is a nice feature that allows you to upload your resume.  Make sure you adjust the formatting, and if you have already put up some positions, make sure you delete them so that it doesn’t show that you were a GA five times on your work experience.  NOTE: Just because you have the option to write more about your experience doesn’t mean you should.  No one cares about every single thing you did…keep it standard resume length.

9) Publications:  This may not apply to a lot of people, but we are in grad school.  You may want to include a thesis, long paper, or anything published here.  I was a journalism major in undergrad, so I posted all the stories I wrote.  I will probably delete them later in my work experience since I have switched career paths.

10) Education: Include it.  Also, this is where you can include that extra stuff that your one page resume did let you fit in about student organizations and leadership positions you were involved with.  You can also get recommendations, but that is not as important as the ones from your employer (maybe helpful if you don’t have that much work experience). ALSO: Listing “Graduate Student” I think is fine if you’re unemployed for occupation but listing that you’re the “President at [Student Org]” under Education is something I wouldn’t do (but that’s a personal opinion).

11) Groups: JOIN THEM.  Ones in your profession, ones in industries you are in/would like to get in.  This allows you to expand your network with strangers.  And many recruiters will join groups related to their industry to find talent.

12) Honors and Awards: Once again, I don’t have room for this on my actual resume so list them here!

13) Contact/Personal Information:  You should have the information you want posted so that you can be contacted.  You should also have an open profile so that recruiters can look at you, and definitely do not make it so that someone needs to know your email to link with you.  Also, make sure people can InMail you.  Don’t give people to much work to contact you or they may not bother.  PS: information about your birthday and marital status are irrelevant.

14) Using Connections:  Once you’re linked with someone you can go through person’s links as well in your search for whatever (so get started!).  Also, there are a number of search features you can use to ID what you want to look for.

Like FB, when it comes to LI, you shouldn’t just go and link with random people.  You’ll look like a lunatic, and it will probably get denied anyway.  The best thing to do is to ask if it is okay to link with someone you don’t know by sending them an InMail.  Normally, if you explain why you would like to link with them, instead of doing it, you appear like a rational human being, and it is more likely to be accepted.  Plus, by establishing communication you are doing that whole networking thing.  Asking to be someone’s LI friend really isn’t that much networking.  Recruiters tend to do the same.

Sorry this was lengthy but hope this was helpful.  Feel free to link in with me here (no need to InMail)