5 Things I learned Moving From the South

1. Coat Closets

Coat closets exist. When I first moved up here and checked out my apartment, I was a little surprised by this random closet by my front door. I honestly assumed it was there because I live in a one-bedroom with a funky layout. Low and behold, this mysterious closet space is meant for coats! Over time, I have slowly filled it with the very few coats I own.

It is interesting because this affects the layout of Gerlach Hall (the graduate building of the Fisher College of Business). In your classroom buildings there are hooks near the door for your coats, as well as throughout the building– there are miscellaneous areas for your coats and winter gear. I think most important is the excellent use of lockers that Gerlach Hall has captured. Now, this isn’t something that you decorate and write your friends notes in. Rather, as a graduate student you will be spending a good amount of time on campus and more specifically Gerlach Hall, as all of my MAcc classes are in this building. It is extremely convenient to have a lockable space for your coats, your lunch, and your school supplies.

Fisher Lockers

2. Basements

Coming from the south, basements are a foreign concept to me. It took me the first few weeks of classes to realize that there was a whole other level below us. One of the many things that sold me on Ohio State was the Fisher College of Business tunnels. The College of Business is comprised of four main buildings: Schoenbaum, Mason, Fisher, and Gerlach Hall. Schoenbaum and Mason Hall are primarily undergraduate business buildings, Fisher is mostly faculty offices, and Gerlach is where most graduate business classes are held. There are tunnels that connect all of these buildings. When I first heard this, I imagined walking through scary, cold tunnels. However, this is not the case. The tunnels are a great resource to have on a rainy day or when you just don’t feel like dealing with the cold.

3. Soda = Pop

Columbus, Ohio, is a great city to live in. With such a diverse group of people, there is exposure to so many different cultures. One thing that the city of Columbus and more broadly, the Midwest region have in common is their usage of the word “pop.” If you ask for a pop in the south you will get some funny looks. People are much more accustomed to the word “soda” where I am from. For those of you that do not know what either of these terms are referring to, it is a sweet, carbonated beverage.

4. Humidity– or lack there of

Great hair days.

One great thing about moving north is the lack of humidity. The south is known to be extremely humid and almost like a sauna in the summertime. The great thing is that Columbus, Ohio, is pretty mild in temperature. There is way less humidity which leads to better hair days.


On the flip side, because of this drier air, chapstick will be your best friend. Not everyone feels like this, but I think because I am used to the humidity, my skin is in shell-shock.


5. There’s no Publix…

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of shopping at Publix, it is truly an amazing store. Publix is a grocery store found in the southeast. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of great grocery stores up here but it is definitely an adjustment. In Columbus, Ohio, within about a five-mile radius of Ohio State, you have Meijer, Kroger, and Giant Eagle grocery stores. Still, there is just no comparison to the happiness that shopping at Publix brings me. The absolute greatest thing about Publix is their chicken tender subs. Sweet and savory, yet crunchy and warm, there is no better way to eat lunch. If you don’t believe me, local newspapers even report when these subs are on sale.


Undergrad Classes vs. Grad Classes

When I was applying to grad school, I was so focused on where I was going, rather than what exactly I would be doing or what would be expected of me. In this blog, I will share my personal experience as our first session comes to an end in three short days.

In undergrad, I would study for weeks for an accounting test and constantly felt like I was reading textbooks. My hands would even get sore from re-writing problems. However, that’s not what grad school is about. The classes as of first session have been much more of an overview. My advice: keep your intermediate textbooks and notes! You will want to reference them. The learning curve is high, but we are all here because we want to challenge ourselves. It’s nice to focus on the big picture and try to remember the fundamentals of why we are studying this, rather than specific details.

Some major differences that stick out to me:

  • Less homework!!!
    • No busy work is a major pro for me.
  • Group Work
    • Expect a LOT of group work. I was always the type of person that despised group projects and would prefer to do the assignments by myself. Grad school has changed my opinion on this completely. Everyone in your classes is here because they want to be here. With that being said, everyone cares! For every one of my classes I have had at least one group assignment due, but I don’t let it intimidate me. The great thing about Fisher is there is so many people from different backgrounds and majors, there is always someone else with a different perspective that I may not have originally thought of.
  • Amount of time spent on campus
    • Undergrad: I would go to my one or two classes a day and then leave campus as soon as I could. Grad classes: your classes are a bit longer and you want to stay on campus to use Fisher’s resources. As a Fisher student, you have 24-hour access to Gerlach Hall (the graduate business building). You have a lounge where you can eat lunch with colleagues and just take a study break if needed. You can reserve study rooms also, which is especially helpful for group project meetings.
  • Expectations as a student
    • Undergrad was more grade-focused. This program really is about learning. As long as you are alert and paying attention in your classes, you will have no problem completing the assignments.
  • Session vs. Semester classes
    • This was one of my hardest adjustments. My undergrad institution was on a semester basis, meaning classes were 14 weeks. They were a slower pace but went over lots of little details. Grad classes in the MAcc program at Ohio State are session-based. This means that your courses are 7 weeks. 7 weeks is not a lot of time, so your classes are fast-paced. We have finals this week and it is only mid-October.
    • On the plus side, our program is only 9 months! Professors also understand that classes are 7 weeks in length. They do not expect to cram 14 weeks into 7 weeks. Rather, your classes focus on a narrower topic. For instance, Audit 2 builds upon Audit 1.

Finals are this week, so more to come on that. I have a couple of room reservations to meet with my study group. One of my study groups is also having a Jimmy John’s party (you have to make accounting fun). Fisher also brought in therapy dogs and the café is stocked with all our coffee needs. I’m ready to finish off the first semester strong and then I will be ¼ of the way there!

Is it Possible to Study for the CPA Exam while a Student in the MAcc Program?

Everyone will tell you something different, so here is my own take on my experience with juggling the MAcc program, CPA exam prep, and a part-time job. For reference, I am taking 8 credits this quarter (or 15 for the semester), work 10 hours a week, and study about 20-25 hours a week for the CPA. I am here to tell you, you can do it! It may take an extra cup of coffee in the morning but it is completely doable.

Hogwarts or Ohio State library?
Studying isn’t so bad when the Thompson Library reading room is this beautiful

They will tell you the program is not geared towards the CPA exam and it is not. However, you can make it align a little better for yourself. For instance, one of our first required courses is Financial Reporting. I knew this when registering for the exam and chose to study for the FAR section first. While the financial reporting class is not adding much benefit to my FAR CPA study prep, on the flip side, by studying for FAR CPA it has made my financial reporting class much clearer. We just took our first midterm and because I have been studying FASB rules and very detailed transactions for my CPA class, I had the background knowledge already drilled into my brain. This helped me so much on the midterm because if I ever got stuck I could always remember the basics, think back to my CPA class, and really think about why that transaction happened the way it did. So yes, the program is not geared towards the CPA exam, however, the material coincides pretty well.

What about finding the time to study? First of all, you should be aware that Ohio has a 150-credit hour rule to sit. This means that students hoping to sit for the Ohio CPA exam will most likely not be able to start taking the exam until they have completed the MAcc program. I am an out-of-state student, so I am able to sit at 120 hours. Each state is different. This is important to note for study groups! Because I am only able to study with a select amount of people who are also in the same boat as me, a lot of my study has to be self-disciplined. I aim to study 3-4 hours a day and if we have a football game I’ll give up my Friday nights to make up for those extra hours lost spent tailgating on Saturday. I sit for my first section of the exam in November. More to come on my study experiences as the date gets closer. Go, Buckeyes!



Throughout the course of this school year, I will be one of the many authors on this blog and wanted to introduce myself. My name is Hailey Nicholas and I am one of the Graduate Student Ambassadors that work in the Graduate Programs Office. I am in the MAcc  (Master of Accounting) program here at Ohio State. I am originally from South Florida and did my undergrad at Florida State University (and received my bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting). Moving out of state and starting a new program has definitely been a big adjustment, but it has been a very smooth transition since we began the program about four weeks ago.

This summer I had the opportunity to intern with Deloitte in their audit practice in the Boca Raton office. I recently accepted a full-time offer with them! I know the MAcc will provide me with even more experiences that will help me grow as a professional.

While I have only been in the program just short of four weeks, some of my favorite things so far are:

  1. Attending football games at the Shoe
  2. Lunch breaks with my classmates
  3. Walking around Ohio State’s beautiful campus

Something unique about Ohio State compared to my undergrad classes is that there is a lunch break built in to your day. From 11:45-1:00 there are no classes scheduled. So rather than having an awkward break in your schedule and pretending to stare at your phone, every day I eat lunch with my classmates. There is a graduate student lounge on the 2nd floor of Gerlach Hall (where all our classes are held) and there is a refrigerator, microwave, couches, tables, coffee machine, and even a café in the building next door. It sounds miniscule, but having this lunch break has helped me make new connections with my classmates. On the first day of classes, a group of about six of us walked to Panera across the street and all got to know each other. Little things like this make the MAcc program feel like a small piece of home.

Grad Student Lounge
Grad Student Lounge (it looks very different when it’s full of students)
A microwave is a college student’s best friend, right?