Posts filed under 'MHRM'

Apples to Apples

In Ohio, when the leaves change from green to red and yellow, you know Fall is finally here! It’s time for football, bonfires, festivals, Halloween, and perfect weather for sweatshirts and jeans. Fall is a sign that summer is over and school has begun. When I was little, my grandparents used to take all eight grandkids to Fulton Farms to pick apples and sweet corn and every year we went on a hayride together. A couple of weekends ago, I got to share our Ohio tradition with my friend and California native, Ashley.  We went with a few of my friends from undergrad to Lynd Fruit Farm. Lynd Fruit Farm is located in Pataskala, OH about 35 minutes from campus. (But definitely worth the drive!) We picked apples and pumpkins straight from the patch! Check out a sampling of the 10,000 pictures we took that day:

What a gorgeous day for picking apples…

With my beautiful friends: Ashley, Lauren, Kati and Sarah!

Real friends…walk with you…

Share with you…

And laugh with you!

1/8th Complete!

1/8th might not sound like much of an accomplishment, but it is an accomplishment, none the less. At Fisher, each semester is broken up into two seven week long terms. A couple weeks ago we wrapped up our first term, aka our first set of seven week classes. With the end of that term, I am officially 1/8th closer to my Master’s degree! Hooray for little victories.

If you are unaware, Ohio recently converted all public colleges and universities to the semester system, meaning Ohio State is now a semester campus. Personally, I have taken both quarter long and semester long classes throughout my undergrad career, so I have the right to say: Fifteen weeks is too long for most classes. While I understand that it’s easier to divide the academic year in half and it is very convenient for all Ohio colleges and universities to be on similar schedules, I still don’t like it. With the quarter system, classes were long enough for you to learn the main concepts of each course, but not so long that you became bored with the material. Lucky for us, Fisher knows this too!

Fisher took some (but not all) of our courses and separated them into two seven week terms. There are still some classes that you need the full fifteen weeks to conquer, like Staffing or Total Rewards/Compensation. Last term, I had one semester course and two term courses. This design meant having finals and midterms back to back. It was a little awkward, but on the bright side it was great not having to study for three finals at once, and try to complete three semester-long projects and papers. Seven weeks seemed to fly by, but that’s okay with me, especially when it comes to any course that has to do with math :)

“Good times, hard times, but NEVER bad times.”

Autumn in Columbus is awesome. All the leaves are changing colors and the weather is neither too cold nor too hot. I guess it must be the best season of the year. Walking back home after class last night, I was a little emotional. It was cold and wet and the smell of the air just reminded me of Beijing, my hometown. I’m very proud of myself because I could take good care of myself during the past two months and I have never been so independent and strong. Although not everything went as I had expected, I appreciated every single progress I’ve made in the short time I’ve been here. :)

To be honest, I sometimes feel upset when I can’t catch up with my professors in class and I’m disappointed with myself whenever I hesitate to raise my hand to answer questions. What used to be so easy is sometimes difficult for me now. Sometimes I don’t have a sense of belonging here and I can’t help missing my friends and parents. I have to say that language is always the biggest challenge for international students. However, I was so glad when my host Don told me that my spoken English has improved a lot in the past couple of months. All the effort I’ve made finally paid off! I’m grateful for what I’ve got. In fact, I have never been regretful for my choice of studying in the USA. Life is amazing here and I love OSU. Just watch the video of our matching band on Youtube ( and we’re still undefeated.  (Oh, by the way, I even saw President Obama in person at a campus event a couple of weeks ago.)

I had a great weekend because I just finished my final exams. I bought two chrysanthemums because I happened to pass a lady’s yard on my way to the bus stop. My house looks so cozy with the flowers. Actually, I can see my change/improvement every day. I felt so proud when my classmates said “well-done” after my presentation and when I got my first A in graduate school. I meet different people and I try to step out of my comfort zone. I know everything won’t be easy but I can handle them anyway. I just begin to see everything in a good way.


E. Gordon Gee

Most university Presidents/Chancellors do not have many opportunities to interact with students. At my undergraduate institution I saw the Chancellor at our “Freshman Welcome” event and at graduation, and I certainly never got the opportunity to meet him personally.

That is most definitely not the case with Ohio State’s President Mr. E. Gordon Gee. President Gee makes a massive effort to interact with as many students as he possibly can. You never know where you may run in to him! Gordon Gee comes to most big campus events- like Buckeye-A-Thon or the recent “Rock The Oval” concert with O.A.R. He comes to football games, meetings for student organizations, classes, graduation parties/engagements, and even campus bars.

Meeting Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee

President Gee is definitely a campus celebrity. Recently, while out on a Saturday night after a football game I had the great pleasure of meeting him. Just as my friends and I were walking out of one of the campus bars we noticed our bow-tie wearing university President walking in. Of course, we quickly turned around to score a photo with him. He was barely able to walk two steps in to the bar before students were crowding around him. He politely posed for pictures with everyone who asked, and even tried to have a mini conversation with everyone.

My interaction consisted of a quick picture (see above), after which he asked me what year I was- I told him I am an MHRM grad student at Fisher. He then asked where I went to undergrad and when I told him UCLA and that I had just moved out from CA a couple months ago, he responded “Don’t you just love it here?” Yes I do, President Gee. Yes I do.

Home is where the heart is =)

So before I got here, I had the comfort of knowing that there will be someone to pick me up from the airport and help me settle down a little before I had to start living completely on my own.

I had no idea who these people were which begs the question why wasn’t I worried about that. Well, simply because OSU directed me to this website called the International Friendships Incorporation and my worries were laid to rest knowing anything referred to by the university is credible.

It was as simple as filling out a form, letting them know of my arrival details, and how long I need to stay with them, (the options ranging between 1-4 days). Soon after I was contacted by the people at IFI, providing me with contact details of the people I was assigned as my ‘host family’. Given the term, I’d quite literally expected a family but as it turned out, it was 3 girls, living in one house.

Since then I was in touch with these three lovely ladies. They were considerate enough to ask me about my food preferences, my agenda for those 4 days, whether or not I’d need a ride to some place, etc.

The entire process is 100% voluntary; these people sign themselves up as host families purely out of goodwill and the desire to help out.

Despite noticing how meticulous they were over email about the tiniest details to make me comfortable, I wasn’t quite expecting it to be as awesome an experience as it turned out to be. They had taken in not only me but also another international student who had arrived from China for her PHD in Sociology. I hit it off with them instantly and they were super nice to us. They cooked for us, they gave up their room for us, they took us out to meet their friends, took us shopping, and what not. To the extent that when I felt even a tad bit home-sick, one of the girls (Hilary), who has a Bangladeshi sister-in-law made me ‘chaye’, the traditional tea I had back home. Now how ridiculously nice is that?

My lovely ‘host family’!


Point being, I consider myself lucky to have had that opportunity, because not only did it ease me into the process of living alone, but I was able to make new friends as soon as I landed here in Columbus. I still talk to them regularly; in fact, the first party I attended in the US was at their new place that they just moved into 3 weeks ago.

These kind of things you never forget, these kind of people you never want to lose touch with and it was just nice to be welcomed; to feel so at home despite being so far away from home.

It’s good to be missed

“I’ve been thinking about you.” Whether it’s a text from your high school friend, an email from a past co-worker or a call from an ex-boyfriend, everyone likes to hear those five little words. When most of us decided to go to grad school, we left some pretty important things behind us. Personally, I moved on from a full-time position in Human Resources at OSU. One of my best girlfriends left her friends and family in California. Another one of my best friends left a relationship of five years behind her in her hometown.
It was time to move on. It was time to be a little selfish and take a risk. We each had to leave our comfort zone. And I can tell you, I was hesitant. Did I really want to leave a full-time position in HR for a part-time job, lectures, homework, exams and internships? Thoughts flooded my brain: “In this economy, you’re lucky to have a job! Don’t be ungrateful. You can stay in this job for 30 years, retire and be completely content.” So why did I do it? Because it was uncomfortable, scary, overwhelming and more than anything, exciting.
Anytime you finish a chapter of your life, you are unsure of what’s to come. It’s not easy not knowing what’s next for you. Of course your friends, coworkers, or significant others will miss having you in their life; YOU’RE WONDERFUL! Now is the time to make a decision that is all for you. You are moving on with your life, and investing in your future. It’s time to step out of your comfort zone and take the plunge. Just know, you will be missed.

Overdue snippets from my transition to the Buckeye life

Okay, so it’s been a little late in the coming, but I have finally managed to sit down and get myself to write my first blog.

I apologize if it becomes a little monotonous, but I’ll have to work my way through these blogs chronologically, starting from as early as  getting all geared up for flying in to Ohio from halfway across the globe and then slowly work my way through to present day over a series of blogs. In order to do so, I’ll need to cover some basics about myself:

  • I’m 23 and I’m from Pakistan
  • I’m the youngest of 4 siblings, meaning I’ve been fed everything in a silver spoon all my life
  • I have a bachelors degree in marketing and finance
  • I ended up at Fisher simply because it’s one of the best business schools and it’s got one of the best HR graduate programs
  • Also, the more I read about Columbus, the more I fell in love with the city, and the more sure I was about Fisher being my final choice

So, first things first; for international students, packing for college when you don’t know how long you’re going for and when your next trip back home is going to be, basically equals stress, uncertainty, and anxiety. There were checklists, then those check lists were revised, then those checklists were revised so many times that I had to come up with new ones from scratch.

The process is too personal for me to comment on what I think are ‘must-haves’ and ‘can-do-withouts’. My only two pieces of advice would be:

  1. Plan well in advance–Even though the process overall entailed quite a bit of chaos, I’m very proud of myself for being able to spend the last couple of days at home with my family instead of being out and about running last minute errands
  2. Make sure you bring certain things from home that, well, simply put, just bring a smile to your face. No matter how independent you are or how exciting the idea of you being on your own is, I assure you, you WILL inevitably get home-sick every now and then–I brought pictures (obviously). But then I also brought along a pack of Pakistani candy that I absolutely love; I brought shalwar kameez, the national clothing of Pakistan, and believe it or not, these tiny little things make me feel better when I miss home.
For those of you who were wondering, that's what a shalwar kameez looks like

Me on my first ever Eid (religious holiday) away from home


Whatever you do though, don’t let your nerves get the best of you. Yes, leaving home is stressful and you’d like to make sure you have everything you might need, right down to a bar of soap for immediate use, but if you overlook it, breath. It isn’t the end of the world. This phase is nothing but the beginning of a very very exciting yet intensely challenging journey. So embrace it; don’t panic; don’t stress over it; in fact, try enjoying every bit of it.

That’ll be all for now. I shall revisit soon hopefully, with a more frequent influx of blogs from me, taking me through to present day. Ciao!

Living The Life

In committing to being a blogger I assumed I would have no trouble posting at least once a week. I’ve recently realized that finding the time to share all the amazing things I am doing since beginning the MHRM program is not as simple as expected. Grad school is time consuming. I never envisioned otherwise, but even after four weeks there is still adjusting to be done.

A typical week for me includes class Mon, Wed, and Thurs evenings, work daily, meetings for extra curriculars, group projects, socializing with friends, searching/applying for internships, football games on Saturdays, and finding time to get all your homework/reading done. All that considered, it is far too easy to get busy. Even simple tasks like going to the grocery store get replaced with eating at Panera to accommodate studying for upcoming exams.

Speaking of exams- in the MHRM program we just completed our first set of midterms. After our second exam Wednesday we all let out a sigh of relief and vowed to continue to stay on top of our schoolwork in hopes that finals (just a few weeks from now) will not be too stressful. But first, to de-stress I think it is important to take a little bit of time for yourself.

Grad school is tiring- sometimes piggy back rides are necessary.

Find some time to take a quick break from grad school craziness. Catch up on the DVR, hit the gym (which dearly missed you while you were studying), skype with your family or friends who are not in Columbus, take a walk to enjoy the beautiful fall weather, treat yourself to a fun dinner out with friends- I suggest Cap City Fine Diner and Bar, or simply take that nap you’ve been dying to take. Your body and mind will thank you.  Trust me.

However, after you’ve de-stressed, jump right back in and get back to work; because I’ll take a busy, exciting grad school life at OSU over a monotonous, routine life anywhere else any day.

Ready for the Career Fair?

During the past one month, I have been to two big career fairs of Fisher. Dressed in business professional style and holding a stack of resumes, I definitely looked serious and professional! I have never been to a career fair, so I’m glad to say that it was a great experience for me. As a first year graduate student without much working experience, I found myself initially a little bit confused and timid in the fair. Therefore, I’d love to share some of the tips about the career fair which I learned from both the fair and the career workshops.

  • Before the Fair (Get fully prepared!)

1. It’s highly recommended to identify your target employers from the career fair guide in advance. (It’s embarrassing if you know nothing about the companies. This happens to me.)
2. You should prepare a few common questions for each company as well as some specific questions for your target companies.
3. Prepare copies of your resume. This may seem obvious but you should be familiar with all things listed in your resume and ready to discuss anything on it at the drop of a hat.
4. In the career fair workshop, we were told to prepare a 30-second introduction which I found quite useful in the fair. (I have to say that I did too much self-introduction in the fair. I’m working on improving this!)
5. As for international students, some knowledge of OPT and CPT is required because we have to face this annoying/constant question.
6. Check FisherConnect before the fair because it’s possible that some companies are already open to application even before the fair.

  • During the Fair (Get fully involved!)

1. You must be confident and show your passion and strengths to your target companies.
2. There are some who recommend that you could start with some “smaller” companies before you are ready to head for your dream employers. It’s like a warm-up!
3. Avoid making just self introductions again and again. Ask specific questions to show your interest in each company.
4. Don’t be too shy to ask for some gifts provided by the company. Some of the gifts are really cute. (You can ignore this tip :-))

  • After the Fair (It’s not over yet!)

1. Always remember to follow-up!
2. Basically, most job positions need the process of online application. Therefore, you still need to check carefully online even if you’ve already handed in your resume in the fair.
3. You can send a thank you email (with your cover letter and resume attached) to the employers you met at the fair and/or connect to them in LinkedIn.
4. Take some time to think what you’ve learned from the fair and try to improve next time.
5. Don’t lose confidence if you failed to find any luck in the fair, especially for international students. It’s just a single event – you will have more opportunities. Have faith in yourself!

I hope I find my summer internship successfully. Good luck everyone! 


Being a full-time employee/part-time student

In my undergrad studies, finding time to study wasn’t hard to do. I worked maybe 20 hours a week and the rest of my time was free. Now that I work full-time, I have to schedule time to study. If I didn’t schedule study time, I would have no idea when I would be able to study. I have finally mastered my work/school/study time down-it took the first 3 weeks of class to do so.

I typically give myself a break on Friday and Saturday, then it is back to the grind on Monday. Throughout the week I schedule about 2 1/2- 3 hours a night on studying. Originally I thought I would be able to take three classes a semester, but for now two is plenty.

It is always important, if you are a full-time employee and going back to school part-time, you have to take some time to yourself and your family. The mix of work and school can sometimes make you feel overwhelmed and make your family feel neglected. As long as you can make time for yourself and family, school will be much easier!


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