Surviving Syllabus Week

I thrive on routine; while it was nice to have a few weeks off during the Holiday Season, I was more than ready to get back to school for the second semester. That said, no matter how excited I am about classes starting again, it is always a bit of an adjustment to go from having plenty of relaxation time to an abundance of responsibilities.

During undergrad, especially freshman and sophomore year, professors tended to ease us back into the swing of things. We fondly called this adjustment period “Syllabus Week,” because at least the first day of class simply involved going over the syllabus, defining the expectations for the course, and answering any questions. Things are not quite that laidback at the graduate level. Professors still tend to briefly outline the syllabus, but then are quick to get into the material. Because of this, it is important to come into Day 1 prepared to start the semester on as strong a note as possible.

Here are some of my tips for making the most of “Syllabus Week”:

  • Review the syllabus prior to the first day of class. Most professors in the Fisher College of Business utilize “Carmen” (also known as “Canvas”) to house their course materials. This means that students generally have access to at least the syllabus, if not some of the readings. Take advantage of this! If you are familiar with the syllabus, you’ll be better prepared to get questions answered.
  • Research what books you will need. I know a lot of people are adamant that you should not purchase anything until the first day of classes in case a professor has a book listed that you won’t actually use. I, on the other hand, prefer to have all my books ahead of time. Not only does this afford me the opportunity to shop around to get the best deals, I am prepared to dive into the readings and don’t have to waste time trying to locate a copy of the text. At the very least, even if you don’t buy any of your books, take some time to figure out what books are required and where you can get the best price.
  • Make time for fun! Do not overlook how important this is! It can be easy to get overwhelmed but it is critical to keep everything in perspective. I definitely made the mistake first semester of not allowing myself to do more enjoyable things. For example, this past week, I went to see “La La Land” with two friends from the program. Obviously the academics are incredibly important, but the MAcc program is about the entire experience, not just what happens in the classroom.

The Final Stretch

As our final semester of the MAcc program begins, I find myself very excited for many of the classes I am taking. The spring semester allows students more flexibility for electives because there is only one core class that takes place in the spring, and the rest of your schedule is up to you.

The only core class is Accounting and Professional Research taught by the Director of the MAcc. This class involves reading research papers and in class discussions to better understand the landscape of accounting and finance research. I enjoy it so far, but it is definitely a lot of reading.

For electives this semester, I signed up for many accounting and finance courses. I am taking two fraud courses, one taught by the Chief Risk Officer at Ohio State and the other is taught by our Auditing professor from last semester. Both of these classes are very interesting and provide good insight for me as someone who is entering the audit field after graduation. I am also taking a financial modeling course that meets only once a week. I know Excel is going to be used for the rest of my life so I wanted to make sure I brush up on my skills before graduating. Next session, I will be taking Accounting for Mergers & Acquisitions, Government and Non-Profit accounting, Investments 1 and Private Equity.

No Fraud

The last class I am taking this semester is Negotiations. A classmate, Sam, recommended it to me and I absolutely love it so far. You learn the essentials to negotiating and actually practice negotiations in class. I did not do well on my first negotiation, but I am looking forward to learning a lot from this class and having a nice change of pace from my accounting and finance-heavy schedule.

I am very excited for my last semester of school. I am nervous about joining the real world, but I am set on learning as much as possible this semester and making sure I enjoy the time I have left at Ohio State.

Ringing In The New Year With Fisher

After a well-needed three-week hiatus, I am feeling rested and ready to get back to it. I’m lucky and got to embrace my inner snow bird and return to the sunshine state of Florida for a few weeks. My break consisted of mostly sleeping and spending time with family, as well as spending time on the water doing different activities such as boating and fishing.

2703-florida-snowbird

Returning to Columbus three weeks later, I felt refreshed and ready to take on this semester. I still have my personal goals (and even got a Fitbit for my birthday), but I also have academic goals in mind. In four short months, I will be graduating from The Ohio State University MAcc program. I feel very proud to even type that. It’s a bittersweet feeling because I know that I am moving this summer to another state, but that motivates me even more to enjoy my final semester in college (possibly ever).

I’m sure this semester will pose some challenges down the road, but that’s what we all signed up for. I personally enjoy tackling challenges and I look forward to what this semester has to offer.

 

How to have a Stress-Free Winter Break

After a fun, though stressful semester, everyone needs a break from school– and winter break is the perfect time to relax and take your mind off school for a while.

1. Pass your finals – This one may be the most important. Not that anyone needs to be concerned about this, but ensuring you put your all into each class will leave you with no regrets once break starts.

2. Spend time with family – I love spending time with my family. They are one of the best stress relievers because they are always by my side supporting me through my education. No matter what, I know they’ll be there for me.

3. Spend as much time as possible around dogs (or any pet)  – I LOVE dogs. I have been so lucky in the last year that so many dogs have come into my life. I have found dogs are the ultimate stress reliever. Last year, my parents got a puppy. Then, three months ago, my brother and his wife got twin puppies. And my cousin just got a puppy last month. These dogs always put a smile on my face, and often times get my mind off of some of the things that might cause stress. I will put some pictures of the lovely dogs in my life in this blog.

This is Izzy and Remy, my brother's twin puppies. They dressed up this year for Halloween!
This is Izzy and Remy, my brother’s twin puppies. They dressed up this year for Halloween!
This is my cousins wiener dog, his name is Dash. He is sitting in my cousins hoodie.
This is my cousin’s wiener dog. His name is Dash. (He’s sitting in my cousin’s hoodie.)

4. Reconnect with old friends – Everyone has someone who they wish they would reconnect with over break. DO IT! This is the perfect time to meet up with friends you may not have seen since college started. Make sure you hang out with your good friends, but do not be afraid to reconnect with someone you may not have talked to recently.

5. Watch Netflix – Catch up on all the shows you’ve been missing out while studying all semester!

Winter break is meant to be a relaxing time where you can catch up with family and friends and celebrate the holiday season. I wish everyone happy holidays, and I will see you in the New Year!

First Semester Favorites

It is surreal to think that my first semester of graduate school has come and gone. It seems like just yesterday I was beginning my first day of orientation, yet here I am, half a “Master.” As I reminisce on the past 15 weeks, I thought I would highlight my five favorites of the semester.

  1. Ohio State Athletics. It goes without saying that The Ohio State University is a football school, through and through. I had season tickets, which meant I spent many Saturdays at the Horseshoe. Not only did the Buckeyes have a great season– Mother Nature did her part, giving us beautiful weather (with the exception of a rainy Tulsa game).
Ohio State vs. Northwestern {10/29/16}
Ohio State vs. Northwestern {10/29/16}

As part of my Business of College Sports class, I also had the opportunity to attend a basketball game. Athletic Director Gene Smith and his wife Sheila hosted us in their suite for the men’s game against Providence. The Buckeyes pulled off a “W,” and it was so nice to relax with classmates after a particularly stressful week. This was my first Ohio State basketball game but it will not be my last!

Living the "Suite Life" with Gene Smith
Living the “Suite Life” with Gene Smith

I also went to my first hockey games this fall! One of the major components of my Sports Marketing class was doing the promotion activities for both a men’s and women’s ice hockey game. In addition to marketing the games beforehand, we were also responsible for running in-game promotions. I had no idea what to expect, and ended up having a great time. I am definitely going to make a point to get to more games during the second semester. Not only does the sport’s fast pace make it a lot of fun to watch, admission to the games is free with a valid BuckID.

Ohio State Men's Ice Hockey vs. Bowling Green State University {10/22/16}
Ohio State Men’s Ice Hockey vs. Bowling Green State University {10/22/16}
  1. MAcc Activities. Each MAcc class has a MAcc Council, tasked with providing various social opportunities for students enrolled in the program. Some events are geared toward only MAcc students, while others are hosted in conjunction with the other Fisher graduate programs. These activities included a scavenger hunt, a Halloween party, tailgates for every home football game, a white elephant gift exchange, and the Lights at the Columbus Zoo. It is so nice to have the chance to spend time with classmates outside of the classroom and I appreciate that so much effort goes into planning these happenings.
MAcc at the Lights at the Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo
MAcc at the Lights at the Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo
  1. Classes. While the Business of College Sports was definitely one of my favorite classes, another favorite was Professional Research. The course was designed to teach us how to use the FASB Accounting Standards Codification online database and how to apply the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to various cases. The professor was outstanding and while the assignments were incredibly challenging, I really liked learning the “real world” application of GAAP.
  1. Group Work. Never in a million years did I imagine this would be the highlight of my semester, but I have truly come to love working in a group. This is partially attributable to my teammates. Everyone I have worked with has been so much fun, which makes for really enjoyable meetings. I have also come to appreciate how much easier it is to do things with the help of others. Everyone brings a different set of skills and a new perspective, which means the final product is that much stronger.
  1. Being a Buckeye. I can honestly say that I love coming to campus every single day. I love my classes, the people I am surrounded by, and my job in the Graduate Programs Office. It is so fulfilling to be a part of a university where there is so much pride for the institution. While it will be refreshing to have a break to get some much needed rest, I am already looking forward to the second semester! Columbus definitely feels like home.

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MAcc Fall Reception

As an end-of-the year celebration, the MAcc program (including faculty and students )all got together for one last hoorah. We had an evening reception with dinner and drinks the Friday before finals week began. I can’t believe we are 50% there! [editor’s note: the MAcc program duration is nine months]

The night started off with a cocktail hour followed by a dinner. A great thing about the reception was that it was a mix of faculty and students so we got to sit with our professors and interact with them on a more social level, rather than professional level. Of course, this was followed up by Professor Zach’s excellent jokes and Professor Turner’s “twas the night before finals” rendition. All in all it was a great time to get to know the professors and program director better. It was also yet another opportunity to get to know my classmates more. There was also an alumna speaker that graduated from the program two years ago. Her speech really got to me as I realized this is my last year of college, last year to enjoy not working full-time, and last year to get to know these wonderful people I just met (but feel like I have known for much longer).

Macc Reception
MAcc Reception

After the reception, a large portion of us attended the Fisher College of Business ugly sweater party downtown. With only half of the program still to complete, I couldn’t have made it this far without my fellow classmates. I didn’t know anyone before moving up here and now I am worried about how much I will miss them just over winter break. Your classmates really will be your support system as everyone is in the same boat. I’m looking forward to being done with finals, but also looking forward to another (last) semester at Fisher! Happy New Year!

Why 24-Hour Access Matters

At the Fisher College of Business, all buildings close at 10 pm and reopen at 7am. This can be problematic for some when they need to get into a building, whether it’s to meet with a group or to access their locker (yep, most Fisher grad students get a locker). One of the cool perks that Fisher MAcc students have is 24-access to our home-base, Gerlach Hall. Every student that goes here for school receives a Buck ID, and this Buck ID can be used to pay for things, to get into the recreational centers on campus– and, for grad students, to get into Gerlach Hall.

Here is my Buck ID (ignore my fake smile)
Here is my Buck ID (ignore my fake smile)

Since the libraries at Ohio State get really busy during midterms and finals, if you need a place to study late at night, you can swipe linto Gerlach Hall. You will be able to find a quiet place to study, or a great room where you can work on a group assignment in Gerlach hall, 24/7. One time, I was studying for a final with a few classmates and we were occupying a classroom in Gerlach hall until about 4am when we finally called it a night. I was surprised, but glad, we were able to stay in the building that late. With how often you work in groups in the MAcc, this is going to be very useful if your group has to meet outside of normal building hours.

There is one of these outside both of the main entrances to Gerlach Hall.
There is one of these outside both of the main entrances to Gerlach Hall.

It is so convenient to know that if you ever have to meet with a group, no matter how early or how late at night, you will be able to meet in Gerlach Hall.

Fun in the MAcc

One of my favorite things about the MAcc program here at Ohio state is how social and friendly everyone is. While we see our classmates every day in class, it is great to get to know each other outside of class. Our MAcc Council has done a great job coordinating social events for us to go to so we can get to know our classmates better. Some of my favorite MAcc social events have been the Fisher scavenger hunt, the Fisher Graduate Programs Halloween party, and tailgating for the Michigan game.

A few weeks ago, the Fisher graduate programs put on a scavenger hunt to help students learn more about Ohio State and get to know the campus a little better. Items on the scavenger hunt ranged from finding a buckeye on the ground (A “buckeye” is a plant!), to jumping into Mirror Lake. My team was made up of several people I was already close with, but I also had a few people on my team who I was very lucky to get to know during this event and who are friends now. During the scavenger hunt, we visited places that in my four years at Ohio State I had never seen before. While the Fisher College of Business is self-sustaining and you are not required to leave this part of campus, there is much more to explore, and this scavenger hunt gave everyone the opportunity to explore campus more.

Challenge: your team must climb a tree
Challenge: your team must climb a tree

For Halloween, the Fisher Graduate Programs decided to have a Halloween party for all of the graduate students. The VIP space of Big Bar was rented out and we had about 100 graduate students at this event, including many MAcc students, SMF students, MBA students, and MHRM students.  This was a great event that allowed us to mingle with the other programs as well as getting to know our own classmates better. It was also fun to see all of the creative costumes people thought of, such as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, a Tyrannosaurus Rex costume, and several Bananas.

This past weekend, when our football team faced off with the University of Michigan (ew), one of our classmates hosted an early morning tailgate. Since the game started at noon, we began tailgating before 9 am. We had breakfast for everyone to enjoy, and drinks for those getting ready to go to the game. This event allowed some of the students who did not fully understand the rivalry with Michigan to get a feel for how important it is to most students who study here.

Some of my classmates at the Tailgate before
Some of my classmates at the Tailgate before

While classes are important and we are here most importantly for school, it is awesome that our MAcc program has gotten so close in just one semester. I’ve made more friends in this program than I ever thought I would, and the social events that the people within the MAcc are able to put on helps contribute to the closeness of the program.

Grad School – Expectations vs. Reality

Though I consider myself a relatively rational person, there are still times where I let my imagination get the best of me. Before beginning the MAcc program, I had plenty of preconceived notions about what the next year was going to look like. Now that I am about halfway through, I can safely say that things have not played out exactly how I thought they would…

Expectation: I will finally learn how to cook. Healthy, home-cooked meals will become a part of my everyday routine.

Reality: Despite having a plethora of recipes saved on Pinterest, most nights I settle on grilled cheese, pizza, or scrambled eggs for dinner.

Expectation: I will make it to the RPAC to workout at least 5 days a week. Who wouldn’t want to work out at such a nice facility?

Reality: No comment.

Expectation: I will take advantage of living in a new city. Columbus has a ton to offer (restaurants, events, etc.) and I want to explore it all.

img_2045-minReality: I have been to a few new restaurants and a couple different Metro Parks but have not done nearly as much as I planned or hoped I would. Most of my weekends involve lots of sleeping and studying.

Expectation: I will be challenged on a daily basis, learn a lot, and make new friends.

Reality: I have been challenged on a daily basis, learned a lot, and made new friends.

Though I am looking forward to having some time to rest and recharge over the Holiday Break, I am equally excited for all the adventures second semester is sure to bring!

Double the Overtime, Double the Anxiety

Experiencing my first “TTUN” week (keep reading…) was and will be one of my best memories here at The Ohio State. The *ichigan rivalry is a long-standing source of angst in college football. During the week leading up to the big game, all the “Ms” are crossed out on campus and the team is referred to as “that team up north.” Being from out-of-state, I had a decision to make: fly home for Thanksgiving and miss the game, or go to the game to cheer on my Buckeyes. I chose the latter of the two. I have a flight home in three short weeks for winter break so I decided to save the money of booking two flights and stay up here for Thanksgiving to go to one of the all-time greatest college football games I have seen.

No “M’s” allowed!
Storming the field!

It was a noon game so the MAcc program decided to put on a tailgate in the morning so we could all get together before the big game. We had it at a house close to campus (shout-out to Kaitlyn) and then for those of us whot had tickets, we walked to the game together. Once we were at the game, time flew! It was so exhilarating just to be in the stands experiencing the ups and downs of the game, but mainly the ups! I have never seen a double overtime game, but once Curtis Samuel ran it in for a touchdown, the entire student section just started running for the field. People were hopping over the railings and helping each other on to the field to celebrate a breathtaking Buckeye win! I made it onto the field and listened to the band play the fight song and cheer. A 30-27 double overtime win was an amazing way to end the last home football game during my time here as a MAcc student.