This was not how I planned it – my first blog. Just after the hour when I was given the ‘blogging orientation’, I had a lot on my mind. I had a list of things to write, to share and be a window to the world that I see every day here. It’s been a month here and I have SO much to say. What a whirlwind of activities that I saw myself in – coming in, settling down, moving in to a new apartment, getting familiar with the place, getting lost (women CAN read maps and I can, too … I just didn’t know the directions). I wanted them in a chronological order. Not like this, jumping into something without even giving you an opportunity to lead up to this day. But I had to write this post. Never mind if it is not ordered in a neat fashion. I will write more on my first month at Columbus and Fisher in my next posts. Now, it’s about today ‘cause this day happened to be the most fruitful and beautiful days since I landed at Fisher.
‘Network’ ‘Network’ ‘Network’ ‘Network’.. this was what I remember from my orientation. On those days I had to plug my ears before I went to sleep as that word was buzzing nonstop. We made a lot of jokes on networking if we even saw anyone from my class talking to some stranger. They might as well be asking for directions. I used to wonder – why such a big deal about networking? Lets be honest..in such networking events, if I am talking to some guest, I know that I want a job through him or her. He/She knows that I want a job. Isn’t the picture clear? Both of us know the agenda of the conversation, then why ask ‘intelligent’ questions, make them talk, get business cards, go back and write to them, maintain relationships.. phew!! Can’t we just get to the point and save a lot of energy and time?
But just a week into doing this, I know there is a lot of difference between talking to a person because you are genuinely interested in knowing her, her work, her achievements etc and in trying to talk to them while thinking ‘can you please give me your card and lets just get this over with’ . There is an unsaid joy in just knowing people. Of course we will get back to them in case we need any kind of help in our career, but that comes as a pleasant side effect. And when you try to get to know a person, it shows. He/she knows how interested you are in their work and does that little extra to help you without even your asking. Something like that happened today – twice!
I was talking to one of our Fisher alumni from Nationwide. I was genuinely interested in his work profile because it sounded challenging. I knew that I wasn’t going to do something akin to what he did, but I still enjoyed talking to him about his work. I think that showed. And guess what, when I bumped into him at a dinner a little later, he remembered me and introduced me to his wife who was working at a place which was one of my target companies! The other instance was when I was talking to one of my seniors whom I met for the first time at the dinner. Within minutes we found a common ground and he was ready to help me with my interview practice and resume pruning. So yea, the point is, try to know people with a genuine interest. People are interesting. Trust me!
Well, I told you that I was at the Boot Camp. During the lunch break, I spoke to one of our Career Management friends (yes, I prefer to call them friends), Brittany Buxton who was also in that room. She knew that I was looking at Consulting as one of my ‘ever changing’ career choices. She couldn’t spot me earlier as I was seated in the same row as she was. Thinking I didn’t turn up, she had started to take in some points from the session to share with me later on. Really. Who does that? I would be a devil if I wasn’t grateful to have such people around me.
An hour after the boot camp, I was at ‘2010 Dean’s Dinner and Alumni Awards’. Do you hear ‘networking’ already? Then you are indeed listening to my rant. Okay, back to the dinner..five extraordinary people were awarded for their spectacular achievements in their fields. One of them, Mr. Stephen G. Mehallis, who was awarded in the ‘Distinguished’ category, had passed out of OSU/Fisher in 1961. Wow! That was a long time back! Every speaker went down their memory lanes and spoke about the Fisher that they had seen and studied in. The fondness and the love that they had for Fisher were indeed beautiful and touching.
Every table at the dinner had a mix of students from various disciplines and one faculty/alumni member. At my table was one professor who taught under graduate kids . He had come to Ohio Fisher after doing a couple of masters and a PhD from places like California and NYU Stern. When asked why he chose Fisher, the answer wasn’t surprising. He said that he found a warm and a collaborative community within the walls of this college, which he did not find elsewhere…one of the main reasons that I chose to come here and one of the traits that keep reflecting through the various people in these offices, who really care about our progress.
All these bring me to the fundamental question that everyone needs to ask themselves before deciding on the school – Am I a right fit for this college? Is this college a right fit for me? Though I too did my research and had my ground work done before I decided on Fisher, I completely understood the gravity of that question and the implications of not answering it honestly only now when I am constantly reminded, day after day, on how fortunate I am to be here.