Winter is Here

This past week, Columbus had about five inches of snow fall over one night! I remember looking at the weather app hoping the forecast for snow wouldn’t be true, but when I woke up the following morning, everything was white outside– with a few flurries still coming down. I thankfully live within a 15-minute walking distance to campus, so I didn’t worry about trying to move my car. Being from the South, I have seen snow before, but I’m used to everything closing and no one leaving home when even a hint of bad weather arises. When I realized OSU rarely cancels classes, I was a little shocked at first, but took advantage of the chance to get out of the house and explore.

Gerlach Hall
local street on my walk to campus

At first, the snow is annoying and cold, but then on my walk to campus, I realized how beautiful the city and campus is coated in snow. I decided to take a campus field trip and capture some photos of the beautiful buildings on campus.

Fisher Hall
Thompson Library – at the “Oval

Despite the weather (meaning the cold), I decided to make the most of the beautiful snow. With this much fresh snow, you can also make “snow cream.” You take fresh snow and add milk, sugar, and a little vanilla. As a child, making snow cream was one of my favorite parts of snow. But luckily, I am now able to celebrate that winters do not last for years like they do in Game of Thrones.

Christmas in NYC

This past December, I went to the “Big Apple” to spend a few days admiring the Christmas features. A majority of Hallmark movies and the famous Home Alone 2 took place in New York City, but I can say the movies do not do the city justice! The atmosphere is truly amazing with gorgeous lit trees and decorations throughout the city. The most famous feature everyone wants to see is the tree at Rockefeller. While the tree was enormous and beautiful with an ice skating rink below, my favorite feature was the angels that directly faced the tree pictured below. I was lucky enough that it snowed when I visited to give all features a beautiful dusting of snow.

The angels made this night magical.

I also went to the Empire State building with my parents, as pictured below. If you’re looking for amazing views of the city and wind-blown hair, I highly recommend visiting here!

This sky-high view shows just how big New York is.
Spending time with the family was a nice way to enjoy the break from class.

While there is so much to do in Manhattan, Brooklyn also has amazing features to check out! I specifically went to Dyker Heights in Brooklyn. This is a neighborhood where you can walk around and witness some of the most expensive homes that are decorated with Christmas lights. The average monthly power bill for these homes is estimated to be over $5,000! The photo below is of “Lucy’s house” that started the tradition in Brooklyn. In the beginning, her neighbors complained about the Christmas decorations, so naturally, she added more each year to get the final product seen below. Brooklyn also has amazing local shops such as Brooklyn’s Ice Cream Factory. I must personally say there is nothing better than walking in snow and then getting delicious homemade ice cream– with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge!

Lucy’s House
Ice cream in the winter? Of course.

While, there are so many more beautiful features and things to do in New York, one of the best features is the love shown for Ohio State! Walking down a street in the Theater District, I passed a local bar that had an OSU flag hanging outside. I couldn’t be more proud to be a Buckeye!

Buckeyes truly are almost everywhere in the country– and the world!

 

Housing Options in Columbus

Happy New Year, everyone! We have officially made it to 2018! With the New Year, many admitted students and prospective students may have started the housing search for where to live. There are various affordable options near campus or further from campus if you want to commute. The general cost of living for a one bedroom apartment in Columbus can range from $650-$850. There is on-campus graduate housing along, with off-campus living. One popular off-campus location is Fisher Commons which is in the western part of campus (about a mile away– within walking distance and a campus bus route). Most, if not all of MAcc classes will be located at the Fisher College of Business, or more specifically Gerlach Hall. Note that the Fisher College of Business is considered to be “North Campus.”

 

In addition, there are several ways to travel in the city if you do not have a car. Columbus has programs such as Bike Share, Car2Go, Campus Area Bus Service (CABS) and Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA). All students are able to use CABS and COTA free with their Ohio State BuckID card. There are various apartment complexes that offer a shuttle service to the University as part of the monthly rent.

To search for Off-Campus and Commuter Housing options, the University has a direct link with filters to search for what will best benefit you.  Additional university housing options can be found here.

Best of luck with housing! There are many great options available in various neighborhoods.

Zoo Lights

Columbus has many unique features and things to do such as the Columbus Zoo. The Columbus Zoo is rated the third-best zoo in the United States, and definitely worth a visit while in Ohio! During the winter months close to the holiday season, the zoo gets transformed and decorated with millions of beautiful Christmas lights; it’s called “Wildlights.” The MAcc Council decided to plan a trip on the last day of classes. Pictured below is a group photo outside of the zoo of all the MAcc students who went.

MAcc students at the Zoo

The zoo is separated by areas and locations the animals would be found, such as the Artic Zone. It’s a large area and I would have gotten lost without a wonderful tour guide and fellow classmate who knew her way around the zoo. If you want to see the animals in addition to the lights, I would recommend going early afternoon. Once it gets dark outside, many animals are hard to see and are also sleeping. There are various food carts and stops throughout the zoo, so you can get a cup of hot chocolate or a snack while looking at the attractions. The center of the zoo is a pond that plays a light show choreographed to holiday music every half-hour.

If you love taking photos or just want to get into the holiday spirit, I would highly recommend checking out Wildlights! Everywhere you look and go is lit (as seen above on a bridge inside the zoo). With the semester coming to a close, I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays!

Friendsgiving and Preparation for Finals

One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving.” This year, I was able to spend quality time with many friends from the MAcc program and various other programs at Ohio State University. It was a great time with friends to talk and share stories since we started this journey in August. Pictured below is the big feast we had– along with guests who were able to take part in “Friendsgiving.”

After “Friendsgiving,” I was able to go home to the mountains of North Carolina for a much needed break before finals start. Now that I’m back, classes are in full swing with project deadlines and finals preparation. As a way of sharing a little background on the second seven weeks of the MAcc program, I’ll briefly talk about the four classes I’m currently in.

I have two core classes that all MAcc students are required to take: Corporate Financial Reporting I and Accounting Policy and Research. The corporate Financial Reporting I class consists of lectures with cases of public companies and analyzing their financials. Accounting Policy and Research consists of projects throughout the semester and readings and discussions for class. In addition, I’m taking two electives, Assurance Services and Information Quality and Professional Research in Accounting. Both classes consist of group work and case assignments due in class. Overall, the key to success is time management and staying organized. In a short two weeks, the first semester will be completed– and I’ll be thankful for all the learning I’ve done!

CPA Self Study in Grad School

At the beginning of November, I took my first CPA exam on the BEC (Business Environment and Concepts) section. I will not know my scores until December, but I want to let everyone know it is possible to self-study while doing the MAcc program.

Let me give you a little background on the CPA exam. It consists of four sections: Business Environment and Concepts, Financial Accounting and Reporting, Auditing and Attestation, and Regulation (BEC, FAR, AUD, REG). More information on each exam section can be found at http://www.ais-cpa.com/cpa-exam-sections/

The CPA exam is a stressful topic for many students and can be overwhelming and confusing. Each state has different requirements for when you’re able to sit for the CPA exam. The State of Ohio requires 150 credit hours to sit for the exam, but each state will vary. More information on the exam requirements by State can be found at this website: https://www.thiswaytocpa.com/exam-licensure/state-requirements/

The curriculum for the MAcc program does not build in any CPA material or study classes; however, you can pick your classes to best align with when you may want to study for an exam. For example, my first semester here I will have taken two audit courses, and I plan to begin studying for the Audit section of the CPA exam to take in at the beginning of January. The key to studying for the CPA while taking MAcc courses is to be organized and work ahead. I personally try to stay on campus until I have completed all of the MAcc coursework. Once I’m home I set that time aside for CPA review. Depending on your personality, you may be a late-night studier or someone who prefers waking up at 6am to review.

There is no pressure to take the CPA exam during the MAcc program. It depends on a numerous amount of factors such as state requirements. Many students wait until they graduate from the MAcc program in May to begin studying and take the four sections of the exam. But most importantly, remember to:

Image result for keep calm meme

Fall Break Adventures

MAcc students happily celebrated OSU’s fall break (which was also the end of the first session) in various ways. Break took place from Thursday to Sunday. Some classmates traverse the country, but a few fellow MAcc students and I stayed in Columbus during the break and enjoyed activities both on-campus and off. We were able to try new foods and explore the area. Then, we worked the calories off at the Recreational and Physical Activity Center (RPAC). This gym has everything you could imagine and just outside the gym, there are sand volleyball courts and soccer fields. It’s even better with nice, crisp fall weather.

Two classmates and I traveled to Cedar Point. Cedar Point fans describe it as the roller coaster capital of the world. What makes the park even neater is that much of it is surrounded by water from Lake Erie. At the top of many roller coasters, if you look down or out into the horizon, you will just see continuous water. During October, Cedar Point also has many Halloween decorations and haunted houses that you can visit in addition to the roller coasters. It’s approximately a two-hour drive from Ohio State University to Cedar Point, but during the drive you’re able to see some beauty of Ohio terrain. Overall, it was a great fall break that allowed me to relax and also get some adrenaline pumping for the next session.

Pictured: Rachel, Mike and Liam All MAcc students

First Quarter Comes to a Close

The first seven weeks have flown by in the MAcc program, and finals are now upon us! For those who don’t know the structure of the MAcc program curriculum, this blog will hopefully help you understand it more. The program is broken up into four seven-week quarters (two quarters per semester). During the first two quarters, you will take your 10 credit-hour core classes that are required. However, the remaining 21 credits required to graduate are all electives (five credit hours must be accounting electives and three credit hours must be non-accounting). This structure gives you, the student, the ability to take classes that interest you! You have access to almost any course you can imagine.

When I first realized four quarters meant four sets of finals, I may have freaked out a little bit, but now that I have gone through the process of taking finals, I can assure you there is no need to stress. One benefit of having finals after only seven weeks of class is that all of the material is still very fresh and new in your memory. The professors prepare you and really want to see you succeed in the program. Throughout the year, if you struggle or have any questions, the professors are always available in their offices to help you. I’m happy so say I’ve completed 25% of the MAcc program at this point!

It’s FOOTBALL SEASON!

It’s once again my favorite sport season: FOOTBALL SEASON! I went to my first Ohio State football game against the University of Oklahoma and despite the loss, it was a great time. This game was at night, which was perfect considering the warm weather Columbus has had in September.  I knew before I moved to Ohio State that I would attend as many football games as possible and I’m so glad I bought the full season ticket package! The culture and school spirit is something I can’t describe in words. Even casually strolling around campus before or after the game, you will see masses of people in red clothing walking around just excited to be here. For the very first game, I was able to spend the day with some fellow MAcc students, one Law Student, and one Master of Business Logistics Engineering student all from OSU. It’s great to be able to be around other students in different programs who all share one love: OSU football.

Then, this past week, I went to the UNLV game and had two friends from my undergraduate program come up to join me. The game was a great experience as usual, but I was also happy to see them and show them life here at OSU. During the UNLV game halftime show, the marching band performed with OSU’s Alumni Marching Band. The field was covered with people comprising one large marching band, and at the end of the performance, there were four sets of Script Ohio performed on the field. If you have never seen the Script Ohio, I highly recommend checking it out! For me, the experience was made even better by seeing see so many people perform the Script at one time! Overall, I would highly recommend attending an OSU football game at least once while in Ohio.

My friends, Casey and Hailey, visiting for the UNLV game

Welcome Week at OSU

Before classes started, the MAcc program had a week-long orientation. During this orientation, students were able to meet faculty, learn more about the program and life at Fisher, and to attend Summit Vision. During orientation, I was able to meet new classmates and build relationships with them and attending Summit Vision was my favorite activity. I was randomly put into a group of about seven people where we then had to do various team-building activities outside. All the activities required trust and teamwork, and by the end of the day, I knew more about each person in my group.

The first week of class is known as “Welcome Week” which includes many activities such as a movie played in the Oval, a Fisher Involvement Fair and an OSU Involvement Fair, and a concert (see below). While there were many activities occurring during the evening, Fisher also held different events during the day.

Many students are actively looking for employment during the MAcc program, and I’m happy to say Fisher makes this process easy for students. Every day, during the first week of class, a different company would be set up outside on the Quad with free pizza and other goodies. In addition to the recruiter the represented firm would have many employees outside; therefore, every student had a chance to network while enjoying a free lunch. Fisher also has various career fairs set up and most firms that recruited on the lawn will also hold information sessions later that day, giving students many chances to network and learn more about various firms.

Students attending the Involvement Fair in the Oval.

Now… the concert! At the end of Welcome Week, there was a free concert for all students with Zedd, an EDM artist. Regardless of own music preferences, I must say it was an AMAZING concert. I recommend that all students attend the events during Welcome Week at OSU. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and learn more about various programs on campus.

Zedd Concert