One Day of Community Service

Last Friday, organized by student organization Fisher Serves, I along with other colleagues at Fisher, went to one of the several community service spots—Life Care Alliance dining center. After a short introduction to the dining center, we were assigned different jobs to do. I worked at Harmon kitchen, helping pack and unpack delivery bags and boxes.

The work itself may not be very exciting but the experience was very precious.

1. Making friends

Getting to know people who are also interested in community service is encouraging. I made friend with Jong, a Korean MBA who drove me to the place; Galima, a pretty and smart Indian girl who worked efficiently with me in the kitchen; and Tim, another MBA student who is very kind and always wearing a friendly smile. Actually, I made many more friends with other students whose name I’ve already forgotten. But the point is that we had a very good time together contributing to the community and trying to make a difference.

2. Getting Involved

As an international student, I found that one of the best ways to get involved and prepare for internship or full-time job is to be a volunteer. No one will get mad at your awkward English. Instead, they appreciate your help.

3. Helping people who are in need

I teared up when the manager of Life Care Alliance told us that one of the things that senior citizens long for people to sit with and talking with them. Yes, sometimes a smile warms a heart.

4. Realizing how lucky we are

Helping others who’re in need is also for our soul. It reminds you that there are so many people in difficulty and we are, in comparison, so lucky.

Feel pressured? Let’s go to RPAC!

As my classmates have addressed in their blogs, last week was THE busiest week since I have been here. What we went through were two exams, one presentation, and several hundred pages of reading. As very busy as I was, I didn’t feel depressed or overwhelmed at all. I have a secret method to take care of my stress. That is…going to RPAC!

I’d like to share my ‘typical’ daily schedule with you:

6:00 AM Get up, throw food into my high pressure cooker, and then shove off.

6:40 AM Take earliest UV Shuttle bus, get off at Fisher.

7:00 AM Arrive at RPAC, jogging for half an hour

7:40 AM Lift weights. Try to build some muscle, yes, *try* to …

8:20 AM Take a shower at RPAC

8:50 AM Take UV shuttle back to my apartment.

9:10 AM Reach home, have my breakfast, feeling refreshed.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Want to give it a try?

Tips for International Students on Fisher Career Fair

I attended the 2010 Fisher Fall Career Fair held in the Ohio Union on Wednesday, October 6th. Here are some recommendations and tips for international students according to my experience.

Have a strategy for the Career Fair before going

By saying strategy, I mostly refer to a clear understanding of which companies to be your target ones. Rank them in several groups by your interests and their job availabilities (mostly by availabilities) and plan differently for firms in each group. Don’t automatically skip the ones which don’t consider international students for sometimes they do change their policies if you are really good, or at the very least you can practice your “pitch” and ease your tension by talking with those good-tempered and smiling representatives. I spoke with a few companies which don’t normally consider international candidates and surprisingly had a few pleasant conversations.

Dress professionally

I strongly recommend that international students bring at least one professional suit and one set of business casual clothes to the US. I never thought we would be attending so many occasions that require dressing professionally. Suits in US are often big and expensive, especially for Asians.

Be confident

You probably won’t get an internship or a job just because you are confident, but you could lose an opportunity merely by not acting confidently. You are an HR person who should be a master of communication.

Do (good) follow-up

You should plan on speaking with at least 15 companies’ representatives during the Career fair. As a result, you will have to remember and digest a lot of information. I advise to review all materials given by representatives and information associated with the job or internship positions right after you walk out of the ball room.

Having Fun Reading Textbooks!

Two weeks have passed since autumn quarter began. I was mostly immersed in books and companies’ information sessions. Well, let’s first talk about books.

I can still remember how resentful I was towards my undergraduate English teacher when she assigned us an entire English novel to read for that semester. So you can imagine how I feel now when I have to read English books at a one-book per one-week rate. But this does prove one thing: Impossible is nothing.

I have to admit that I read books slowly. It’s not because I can’t understand them but because I always think too much, which often gets me out of the original train of thought. But on the other hand…this is more fun! You will see how this happened.

1. By reading Brace E. Kaufman’s The Origins and Evolution of the Field of Industrial Relations in the United States, I knew that The Hawthorne experiment told us that an employee’s productivity is strongly related to his or her emotional state, his/her attitude towards work and relationship with coworkers and supervisors. What about us in daily life? For me, when I am being positive and joyful, I finish my assigned readings faster, stay awake in the library all day long, speak English confidently and even am able to recite the No.18 COTA bus schedule. But when I am upset, hanging around and doing nothing for several days is common and going to Kroger without my wallet happens like clockwork. This is why some say that EQ is much more important than IQ. A high EQ means better ability to control one’s emotional state, which results in longer times of high performance while a high IQ merely means one’s ability to do things in excellence.

2. When I read about a paragraph in Jim Collins’ Good to Great, I was surprisingly enlightened:

The good-to-great companies had no name, tag line, launch event, or program to signify their transformations. Indeed, some reported being unaware of the magnitude of the transformation at the time…they produced a truly revolutionary leap in results, but not by a revolutionary process.

I used to think that the most important thing should be exams or final interviews which directly lead to the best possible result. Well, I was wrong. Not only me but anyone who expects a monumental single moment to cause success is wrong. What really makes the difference is your day-to-day effort. So even being be admitted by one of the best business schools like Fisher is not the moment you become successful. What matters most is how you spend your time here. Your daily schedule and efforts have the secret code that reveals your future. Be alert!

Those are typical cases how I lose my train of thought when reading textbooks … don’t be like me! 🙂

JT Chen