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The Colombian Cart

Right in the corner of the Shell Gas Station on Lane (next to Noodles & Company) there is a brightly colored “cart” that looks like it doesn’t belong in a gas station parking lot. If you’ve noticed this before, then you would not be wrong in doing a double-take. This big trailer parked in the gas station lot is home of some excellent Colombian/South American food, believe it or not. While it doesn’t look like much from the outside, the food made on the inside is DELICIOUS. I’m not sure exactly how long it has been around, but they seem to know what they are doing as I have seen lines of people waiting for their food. Finally, I was able to try it last week and I’m so sorry I didn’t try their food sooner!

“Colombian Cart,” as I have fondly named it, has only one person working there at a time and he/she makes the food right in front of you. Neither the lady or the man speak much English (aside from menu items), but both of them smile and seem to appreciate it when you try to speak Spanish with them. It’s good practice if anyone is missing the ability to practice their Spanish.

I would recommend their Baleadas with chorizo. It is served in a whole-wheat flour tortilla (which is not cooked ahead of time) with mashed beans, cheese and sour cream. They also have fried green plantains with chicken and their “salad” (which includes lettuce tomatoes, sour cream and cheese). The tacos are awesome as well. They are served with your choice of meat (or none if you are a vegetarian), cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream. Again, everything is made to order, so if you don’t want something, just ask them to omit X ingredient. Both people that I have met there are happy to help and share their food with you!

The prices are great, considering what they give you. Tacos are $1.50 each and the Baleadas are about $3.50, I believe. Nothing on the menu is over $10, so that is a huge plus. In case anyone was wondering, yes, it has been inspected by the health board in Ohio and it is current as of May 2011.

What’s also nice about this place is that it is really close to Gerlach Hall. So, while you’re studying for finals, take a little break to get some awesome food from the “Colombian Cart.”


Meeting and Exceeding Expectations

In keeping with the “end of the first year” theme from 2 weeks ago (stay tuned for another bonus blog this week, since it has been 2 weeks since my last blog), I decided to reflect on a comment I received today. I opened my email from the weekend  and in one them was the comment (directed at me), “I expected more from you.” Of course, I’m not going to go on and say who said it or even the situation surrounding the comment because it really doesn’t matter. The fact is, that comment really stung. After the inevitable hurt feelings that come after a comment like that, I started to think about expectations. Specifically, I started to remember the ones I set for myself coming into this program and how in the grand scheme of things, this little comment doesn’t have any bearing on my life as a whole at Fisher.

My expectations for myself in terms of this program were to obviously, do well academically and after that I just wanted to make some new friends, maybe 3 or 4 that could become really good friends and maybe take on more leadership-type roles,and of course, find an internship. These expectations weren’t particularly lofty in terms of specificity, but this list was a challenge none-the-less, especially at the beginning of a completely new experience.

Because of Fisher, the MLHR program, and the new friends that I’ve meet along the way, I have met and exceeded those expectations. Here’s what I actually have accomplished in one year, thanks to the three groups listed at the beginning of this paragraph:

1. Went from Co-Social Chair to Social Chair for MLHR. This really “kills 2 birds with 1 stone” because I have been able to make new friends because of this and take more a leadership role as well.

2. Found an internship via FisherConnect. After editing my resume, thanks to the Office of Career Management and FisherConnect, I was able to land and internship with the State of Ohio (Department of Natural Resources), which is one of the best internships I could ask for.

3. Made friends with students from across the globe. I’ve been able to get to know students from China and Turkey and have had the pleasure of learning about their culture and sharing some of mine with them (i.e. “Chinese Thanksgiving”). I definitely think that when the program is over, Skype will be in our future, so we can stay in touch, no matter where we are.

4. Learned so much about HR and realized that HR and the program here at Fisher is the perfect fit for me. I knew I wasn’t totally sold on Strategic Communication when I graduated as a career (although I am still a total PR and advertising nerd), so finally finding a specialty that I am passionate about is such a blessing. It doesn’t hurt that my class is full of great people to work with and see 3+ nights a week.

5. Been able to keep up a little bit with Communications through this blog. It’s been nice to still feel like I’m tied to “Comm-world” by maintaining a blog.

6. Ran my first 5k. As I said in the Fisher 5k blog, this wouldn’t have been possible without the support from classmates who were volunteers and fellow runners who were so encouraging every step of the way. I doubt I would have done a 5k if it weren’t for some of classmates in MLHR and everyone who organized the Fisher 5k.

7. Went down zip line. This FOR SURE would not have happened without the help and encouragement of the classmates that were in my team. It may not seem like a big deal to some reading this, but for me, it is a big deal. I put my faith in people who were telling me it was OK to slide myself off of the ledge and being able to put my faith into other people saying it was OK is a HUGE accomplishment for me.

These are only some of the highlights from this past year, and for me, just these alone are proof that I have met and exceeded expectations that I set for myself starting out as a first year graduate student. I would encourage everyone starting in any of the graduate programs at Fisher to think about what expectations you have for yourself starting in the program and after one year look back at how much you have accomplished. It really puts things into perspective if  you’re having a bad day or if you feel overwhelmed with everything that is going on at the end of the year. So, when you come to Fisher, get ready make your list of expectations and be ready to meet and exceed every single of one them.


First Year Reflections and Summit Vision

When I first started graduate school, I thought it would be a lot like undergrad, where you met a few people that you liked in classes, were maybe in a few groups together, but at the end of the day, we would all go home and hang out with our friends from either back home or from undergrad. Of course, I couldn’t be more wrong. This year has been quite the opposite, in fact. I know I’ve made friends for life in this program.

At the beginning of our first year, our class was required to participate in team-building exercises at one of the fitness facilities on campus led by a group from Summit Vision. They told us that in the spring, we would go to Summit Vision after having spent a year together to do more of these types of activities. I thought, at the time, that a year wouldn’t make too much difference in how we were towards each other. But, what a difference a year really does make.

When we first got to Summit Vision we were divided into teams, then each team did their own activities with one of the leaders from Summit Vision. Our first event was the zip-line, which put me right into anxiety mode. I wasn’t sure how I was going to deal with the zip-line because we were told that we needed to stay in our “growth zone” and not put ourselves in our “panic zone.” As soon as the lady told us our first activity was the zip-line my mind went right to the boarder of “panic zone” and “growth zone.” However, we got suited up in our harnesses and thank goodness the guys volunteered to go first. It really helped to see them go first. Not to be left out or be a baby, I decided to at least climb up the thing and see how bad the height was before making any final decisions on whether or not to do the zip-line. Once I got up there, I watched 2 people go ahead. They didn’t die, so I thought it might be ok. Emily and I were the last to go, and probably the most scared, but we both were able to encourage each other to move forward. Sure enough, we both counted down from 3 and off we went, down the zip-line. It was actually pretty fun, quite honestly. I enjoyed it and I might even zip-line in the future.

It was after this activity that I really started to realize how much we all had changed over the past year. We really had developed friendships, that I didn’t even know existed. It sounds silly, but I always thought a friend was someone who went to the bars with you on Friday night and someone who was there for you when you needed to cry.I didn’t realize until Friday during these activities that friends don’t always have to come like that (meaning they don’t always have to be your best friends who you over-share everything with). Friends can be the people who just encourage you to scoot your behind off of a platform to go on the zip-line. Friends can be there to calm you down after you’ve been scared about doing the zip-line.Everyone in my group were all of those things and more.

Our next activity was the “Commitment Bridge” or as I called it, “Marriage/Dating Counseling 101.” This was one where you had to get on the ropes and balance each other as the two ropes got further and further apart. This, again, got me thinking about how I’d developed a friendship with everyone in my group. Emily and I had to lean on each other and trust that the other one could help with balance. You also had to trust that the people who were standing in front of you or behind you were going to catch you if you fell. Having, a few trust issues myself, this was one that was difficult for me, mentally. Yet, the important thing was that I had friends there to help me. A few people were there to grab me when I fell and Emily proved that she really could help me balance on the rope and vice versa.

This trip really helped me to fully understand how great the people in our first year class are and how I really have developed friendships with most people in our class. I may not be out at the bars with everyone in the class on a Friday night  nor has everyone in the class seen me cry; however, I have learned to lean on my classmates for support, and I’ve learned to be support for classmates. We’ve learned about each others strengths and weaknesses through group projects and we’ve seen how everybody holds up after a 2-day long case competition. The activities at Summit Vision really helped to cement those friendships and helped those of us who hadn’t before this, realize that they actually had developed.

Over the past year, we’ve laughed, cried, had anxiety, stressed, studied, shared stories of significant others mis-behaving, shared stories about work, discussed job searches, and most importantly, gone to Varsity Club on most Thursdays together. I think I can say with confidence that I can call everyone in the 1st year MLHR class a friend. Classes come and go, but the relationships that have been built with our classmates will hopefully last a lifetime. Here’s to an awesome first year with everyone and hopefully, here’s to a speedy/challenging 2nd year. Cheers!

Lisa and Rebecca

Emily and Rebecca - getting ready to zip-line

PS- Thanks for letting me use these pictures, Lisa :)

Photos courtesy of Lisa Carpinone


My First Fisher 5k

Last week I had a little bit of anxiety, to say the least and believe it or not, it was not because of Heneman’s 865 midterm exam, but rather because I knew my first 5k was coming up today. I ran extra on the treadmill this week, thinking that any little bit of extra running I could do would help and I really watched the caloric intake. However, nothing matched the anxiety of this morning. I want everyone to understand my anxiety by saying, that I’m not a runner. I kind of was in high school (purely for tennis), but that was it. My philosophy on running was that you should do so only when necessary (i.e. running from someone bad who is chasing you or if you running for a tennis/soccer ball). I had never actually run in any type of race before today, hence anxiety. I thought I was going to be so slow, which in turn, would lead to embarrassment, and/or that I would trip and fall, and/or that I would pass out before the race was over.

At this point, you may be asking/thinking, if this girl doesn’t like running and has never done anything like this before in her life, then why the heck did she sign up? Well, I signed up for the Fisher 5k for a few reasons. The first is that it is for a great cause. The Fisher 5k benefits the Boys and Girls Club of America, which provides after-school programs to kids. How can anyone resist helping kids? Seriously? Another reason is that I wanted to get more exercise. I’m on a new plan to run more and do more activity in general. Thirdly, the race was close to home! It started at Fisher and only went about 1.5 miles out and then you come back to Fisher. I live right off campus, so there was none of the usual excuse of “parking downtown will be bad.” Finally, it is open to anyone who wants to run, so I didn’t have to do it alone (of course I enlisted my boyfriend to do it with me, what are boyfriends for it they won’t run 5k’s with you? :) ) and there were other MLHR students that ran too.

This morning, I was so tempted to just say “forget it” because I won’t run very fast at all and I might even trip and embarrass myself in front of EVERYONE. However, I thought about what some of my friends had told me in class about how it is a relaxed pace and you don’t have to sprint the whole way. I also thought about how horrible I would feel if I didn’t even try to do it. So, I hopped out of bed (at the late time of 7:30am) to at least try this race.

What actually happened to me during the race? No, I did not pass out before it finished. No, I didn’t trip and fall. No, I don’t think I embarrassed myself, although that one is still up for debate. My style for this event was to jog for a little bit, walk for a little bit, and sprint for a little bit (what can I say, I like to vary things up :) ). Not too bad for first-timer.

I also can’t say enough about the people who volunteered for the event. If I’m not mistaken, it was mostly students who were volunteering. It was so nice that they were willing to give up their Sunday morning to not only pass out water, check people in, and set up food, but also to give support to all of the participants. As I walked, (yes walked), to get water, one of the guy’s from my class handing out water said “great job” to everyone who needed water. It was an awesome feeling knowing and seeing people from class who were there just offering kind words of encouragement. It made me realize what a wonderful group of students we have at the graduate level here.

Overall, it was a great first 5k experience. Everyone I talked to told me not to worry so much about speed and all of my friends, both in the program and outside were all just supportive of the fact that I was doing it. For me, this was the first time that I wasn’t so concerned with being in “first place” or doing my absolute best. This was a way to get some good exercise in, do something different with my friends/boyfriend, and do something for a good cause. In fact, I think this event has inspired me to get better and continue to do more 5k’s (before moving on to anything longer than that). I’m already excited to improve my time next year!

First Race Number EVER!


First HR Summit – successful!

Two Fridays ago was the first HR Summit held by GHRA (the professional development committee) and I have to say, kudos to them. It was held in the Fawcett Center from noon to four and people from all of Fisher was invited (although it was mostly HR students) as well as HR professionals from around Columbus.

Over lunch we had the opportunity to talk to everyone at the table. It was actually nice to be able to talk to one of the second years that I had never formally met before as well as a professional consultant, who had worked in HR for about ten years before starting his own consulting firm. I also shard a table with Amber, one of the other MLHR bloggers/first years, and an MBA student focused in finance. It was a great experience to talk to other students that I had never really had a chance to talk to before as well as a professional consultant.

After/during lunch, there was a speaker from Cardinal Health, who talked about the health care industry/Cardinal Health. It was interesting to hear his insight into how the new health care bill affects their business and, in turn, how it affects HR professionals. It was great to start with him because what he spoke about was more general HR information, not too much into the specifics. After he spoke, we had a little discussion/activity at our tables. We had the luxury of having a professional consultant at our table, so he helped lead the discussion in terms of where we should start when it came to solving the problem in the mini-case study. I learned so much about consulting in that 30 minutes, than I knew after about a year of the MLHR program, which is not a knock on the program, it just isn’t HR consulting focused. Also, it was interesting to hear from the MBA student at our table who wanted to look at solving the issue from a financial perspective instead of an HR perspective. After the activity we heard from a panel of two professionals, one lady from Nationwide Insurance who focuses on diversity and Steve Russell, the Chief People Officer, at McDonald’s. Both professionals discussed the issue of diversity and how it relates to HR. They answered questions from one of the second year GHRA executive board members about what their company’s definition of diversity was and how they handle diversity. Finally, we had our last speaker from Nationwide, who also summarized what her company does and then lead a discussion about anything we wanted to talk about further.

I certainly hope next year that the new GHRA professional development committee and our new president (hint hint Shawn H.) will continue this tradition.


Zumba Zumba

Because I didn’t write a blog last week, this week there is a BONUS blog from me!

This past Sunday, I tried Zumba for the first time. I had heard from friends and family that it is so much fun, exhausting, but it really is a fun workout. And for the longest time, I had been so freaked out to try it that I put it off and put off. Well finally, in an effort to prepare for the Fisher 5k (preview and advertisement for next week’s blog) and with the encouragement from my friends I decided to get up the nerve to do it.

To figure out how I was going to try Zumba, I did some research online as to where they have classes, times, and prices. I heard and somewhat knew that at the RPAC (the most amazing university gym in the country) they offer all different types of fitness classes. You can either pay per class, which is $5 per class, or $50 for an entire quarter and you can go to any class you want at any time. These are prices for students who are currently paying tuition in that quarter. I have yet to figure out what will happen in the summer if I want to take classes…. However, this, for me, is an EXCELLENT price and they also offer so many different classes at pretty convenient times too.

Anyway, back to Zumba… my friend and I went to the class on Sunday from 5:30-6:30pm. All you have to do, if you are paying per class, is go to the Welcome Center at the RPAC, then go downstairs to the South Gym. They have different instructors depending on the day, but the lady that taught our class was named Amanda and she was AWESOME. She told us at the beginning that if we couldn’t hear her, to just put our hands to our ears so she could see and she would turn her mic up. She did the moves with us the whole time and she would always show you what to do first, before we actually started the song. What this means is that it was really easy to pick up, especially considering it was my friend’s and my first time. Of course, we stood in the back, but neither of us felt left behind or that we weren’t capable of doing whatever it was we were supposed to be doing.

As far as the actual workout, it is INTENSE. It is all cardio, although, you can add weights if you want to. You are constantly bouncing on your feet, jumping, and moving your hips. It certainly lives up to its’ “fitness party” tagline. The music is played pretty loud, which is fun (way too much fun), and you incorporate dance moves into the cardio routine, based on the music. The music is a mix of reggae ton, hip hop, Latin, and pop music.

I cannot say enough about Zumba. I’ve never thoroughly “enjoyed” working out unless it was for a sport, but this is so much fun! It’s a great way to get out and relieve some stress, especially on Sundays, it is a perfect way to start the week!


Celebrating Birthdays: MLHR Style

This past weekend we had a special birthday celebration for our favorite Turkish student in the MLHR program. It was the first big birthday celebration I had been to for a friend in the MLHR program, believe it or not. It’s something that I think is important to be a part of for one another. Yes, we all see each other in class, but how much can you really get to know a person just purely by sitting in class with them three times a week? It’s important to take time out from working on homework, reading, and seeing other friends outside of MLHR to actually get to know people outside of class. It is becoming more apparent to me everyday that I will be good friends with most of the people our MLHR class for years after we graduate. Celebrating birthdays together is a way to really become better friends with a classmate…

Here’s how it went down:

One of Sultan’s good friends told a few people in our class to invite as many people as possible to Olive Garden this past Saturday night. The plan was for him to tell her that she was going out with him and a few of the other Turkish students to the restaurant and she was not to know that any of her friends from class would be there. We all were there by 7:00 and of course we specifically told the servers to make sure she was surprised when she walked in.

Sultan got there around 7:15, after all, she was “working to cure cancer all day.” It was so cute seeing the look on her face as she turned the corner and realized it was a mini-surprise party in her honor. She was so happy to see everyone who could make it! We shared Sangria and talked about the “Crawl for Cancer” event during the day and we talked about classes.  Of course we also made sure to be extra loud so people around us felt the need the move (only in one case did this happen and we’re not 100% sure they left because of us) and we also made sure that the servers helped us make sure Sultan “got ready to live” by singing Happy Birthday with a little candle in her birthday cake. Overall, Sultan seemed more than happy to have people from her class there, her roommate, and some of her other friends from outside MLHR as well. What more could you want from a birthday celebration?

For me, I sat with two people I hadn’t really gotten to know very well (I mean, they do usually sit on the opposite side of the room in class, so really….), which was great. I learned that Sarah S. likes to go to outdoor theater productions in the summer and Lisa and I had fun looking at Jenna’s old undergrad student ID. It was so much fun talking with people that I hadn’t really had the opportunity to talk to over the past few months. They had so many interesting perspectives to share about classes and even things to do in Columbus, that even after living here for almost 5 years I didn’t even know about.

I’ve heard there are a few more birthdays in MLHR coming up in the near future, so let the birthday celebrations continue!


How to Buy Textbooks Like a Graduate Student

Every quarter as an undergrad, I went to the bookstores and paid for either a used copy or, for the most part, a new copy. I started to see the light when it came to buying textbooks last year. Winter Quarter 2011 was when I found amazon.com. I was tired of paying between $200-$400 for textbooks every quarter, so I started checking out other options.

Here are a few ways I’ve learned to keep textbook costs down:

1. amazon.com – This is where it’s at. You can buy from Amazon directly or you can buy from an individual seller. Each seller has a rating. (Hint: look for sellers that would be shipping from somewhere near Ohio. I didn’t pay attention to this before and some of my books would take awhile to get to my apartment).

2. half.com – part of e-bay, but it is where individual sellers put their books online. They usually have prices that are about the same as Amazon. This is all sellers though, so there isn’t an option to buy straight from them instead of going through a seller. The good thing is, they have some of the best prices.

3. Other students – For our program, a lot of us first year students have become friends with second year students. One of my friends saved some of her textbooks for this quarter, so she is letting me borrow her book. I’ve been told this program has really taken off in the School of Engineering, where textbook prices are even more outrageous.

4. Buying other editions – you can usually find older editions (if they are available) on amazon.com or half.com. For MLHR, most professors are understanding that students have to watch their money with textbooks, so they don’t mind if you get a different edition.

5. Renting textbooks – I’ve never tried this option, but I’ve heard for some people it works out great. I think you have to do the math with this one, since some are cheaper to rent (like math textbooks or anything else that is really technical). Sometimes, however it is cheaper to just go ahead and buy the textbooks.

6. Sell your textbooks at the end of the quarter. This nice thing about this is when you buy your textbooks at a cheaper price from Amazon or half.com, you can sell the books back to the bookstores and break-even. Again, this varies from textbook to textbook, but I’ve had some success in terms of getting most of my money back after buying online.

Plus, a bonus of buying online, is that you don’t have to deal with the long lines.

Happy Textbook Hunting!


The Fisher MLHR Buddy System

I never really liked the buddy system as a little kid. Teachers would always tell us we had to be “responsible” for whoever we were assigned to for the day (usually on a field trip or some kind of outing away from school).  I always thought that everyone should be responsible for themselves and if the teacher couldn’t keep track of the students, well then someone would get left behind. However, my attitude has since changed after becoming a graduate student. As Professor Bendapudi says, “I won’t leave anyone behind.” It seems we all need someone to be somewhat “responsible” for us every once in awhile and vice versa …

At the beginning of school,  us first years had the option of getting assigned a “second-year buddy” in GHRA, who would help you get acclimated to life as a Fisher graduate student (this is all encompassing, I know.. it is a big job). I thought “Oh the heck. It may be nice to get to know a 2nd year, even if we just meet once.” Coincidentally, I met my buddy (before we knew we were buddies) through the 2nd year social chair. He seemed nice enough and we seemed to have a lot in common.

Academically, my buddy has been FANTASTIC. He’s helped me study for Stats, which is my major weakness, by explaining the general concepts whenever I don’t really get what is going on in that class. He’s also helped me navigate Professor Heneman’s class by telling me not to freak out about his exams and “just study the main ideas.”

Socially, my buddy has been incredibly helpful. (Yes, he has introduced me to the Park Street bar scene, all in good fun, of course). Aside from being a fun bar-hopping buddy, he’s been really helpful introducing me to other second years, which makes my network increase.

It’s bittersweet that he will be graduating after Winter Quarter (of this year) although he swears he’ll answer his phone when I call in a panic about  2nd year classes. (It has been documented that I warned him he’ll probably want to change his number starting in the fall). However, in just a few short months I feel like I’ve made a friendship that will last far after school is over for both of us.


Insider’s View of the 1st Annual Fisher MLHR Case Competition

This year GHRA (including Eva Verghese (president of GHRA) and some of the MLHR faculty) worked really hard to put together the first MLHR Case Competition at Fisher.  For our first year, there were eight AMAZING teams who were all trying to solve a “real-life” HR issue for Whirlpool. I was really worried about trying to solve a real-world HR issue as a first year because we haven’t had that many classes specifically for HR, yet. The great thing about the case competition was we had to work in teams of four, which had to include at least one first year and at least one second year, to make things a little more even. Here are some of my favorite things about the case competition:

1. Spending “quality time” with my friends who are 2nd years. I was fortunate enough to be on a team with 2nd years I’ve been friends with pretty much since school started. I’m 99.9% sure we learned a lot about each other in the 36 hours we spent together in Gerlach 250. We never really got at each other’s throats and we all pretty much knew how each other operated. Plus, everyone had fun and a good attitude (for the most part). It helps when you’re known as “the party team.”

2. Getting “face time” with executives from Whirlpool, Tween Brands and Children’s Highlights. We had to present in front of top executives from these companies, so the experience was great. In today’s business world, young people have to be prepared to present their ideas or even their internship projects to top executives.

3. Panera boxed lunches. Two words: Sierra Turkey. Cassie and I bonded over our new found love of the Sierra Turkey. They are served in these fun boxes with a sandwich, chips and a cookie. The best part is looking under the sandwich to see what cookie you’ve gotten. My team and I traded bites of each other’s to “test” all of them.

4. Seeing what Gerlach looks like at 2:30am. It is pretty darn quiet in Gerlach in the wee hours of a Saturday morning. It is very quiet at this time, but the restrooms are very clean and you can swipe in to the rooms that have projectors in there to practice your presentation.

5. Feedback from the judges after the presentations. Our team didn’t “win” so it scary going into a room of executives and hearing why they didn’t pick you to move on, but they were really nice about it and seemed genuinely eager to help us try to improve for another time. I know I learned a lot about how to improve my presentation skills and that I need to get over the nervousness that comes over me when I present something.

I definitely want to participate again next year. Hopefully I can convince my other team members to re-enroll as MLHR students for Winter Quarter, so they can participate as well. If I do it again next year, I will miss them terribly. Overall, it was a great success and I’m so happy to have been able to participate!

All of our hard work!

Cassie, Jue (John), David, Rebecca

If we look tired, we are. 1-3 hours of sleep = very sleepy team.


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