Happy New Year! I hope that you all had a great vacation. I had a truly restful vacation. My initial plans were to do some intensive reading to prepare myself for the Spring semester. Those plans quickly fell to the wayside as I spent most of my time with my family. I must have read “Cat Power” and “Madeline” at least 50 times to my son and daughter, respectively. Our family passed around a cold throughout the break, but finally recovered. Despite the illnesses, we all truly appreciated the time together and the lack of pressure from school. The break was perfect, but as the new year arrived, I started yearning to get back into the groove of the semester.
The first week did not disappoint. In the first class of the week, we learned about tunnels underneath the business school! The data analytics professor mentioned it in class and I was among others who went to explore. Our class was in Schoenbaum hall. We went to the basement to find a locked door. Luckily, a faculty member happened to come downstairs and he let us in! We curiously found our way through empty classrooms, computer labs, and hallways with exposed pipes. We ended up coming up through Fisher Hall facing the garage. Of course, I”ll be spending sometime on campus before class further exploring this new area! In addition to the data analysis class, I will also be taking Staffing and Employment Law.
Work has been going well and I have still been actively utilizing many of the skills learned in the program. I recently proposed an Office Exchange program in order to increase company client knowledge, participate in a distinctly different work culture, and to facilitate more company wide cooperation. I will be going to the East office for three days and one of their coordinators will take my place at the West office. It should be an interesting experiment!
I got a new email from OUAB (Ohio Union Activities Board – ouab.osu.edu) about an opportunity to learn dining etiquette. Free meal and learn something, why not? After registration, they sent another email for us to pick the dishes. When I stepped into the dining hall, I was impressed by the well placed knives, forks, plates, glasses, etc. I’m glad that the university is so thoughtful to provide international students opportunities to learn life here. But what moved me even more is that the faculties and staff are devoted to give us the best care and help they can.
They served delicate food, from appetizers to coffee. At meal time, the speaker provided us suggestions from choosing food to taking a bite. We learned that the formal dinner is not about eating, but a chance to display our grace and make connections with people that will foster our future.
At the end, when the waiter cleaned the table, he thanked us for keeping the table clean. It’s just a tiny thing, but he even expressed his appreciation for that while we were grateful for his considerate service. You can feel the efforts the university is making to get everybody involved. No wonder every time we shout out “O-H”, we will definitely get an “I-O”. We know we are embraced and have become part of it.
On Dec. 16, I watched a basketball game with my friend. The game was between our very own OSU and North Illinois University. It was the first time that I watch a basketball game. Although I was not very familiar with basketball rules, it was still an exciting experience to me.
When we arrived at Jerome Schottenstein Center at 6:45 p.m., many people were already there. As we entered the center, I found people walking around, holding food and drinks and talking excitingly. It was hard to describe the atmosphere. It was like people were waiting for something exciting, but the atmosphere was more like a festival. When we found our seats and sat down, I was shocked because I had never seen so many basketball fans, which reminded me of the Quidditch games in“Harry Potter”. When I was young and reading “Harry Potter”, it was hard to me to image why wizards have such great enthusiasm in a sport game. Now I understood.
Thanks to my basketball courses in my undergraduate university, I knew the basic rules of basketball. When the game began, people were caught by the game. They cheered for every goal and sighed for every miss. The first half of the game was quite exciting because the goals were so close. The beginning of the second part of the game was even more tense. I could feel a desire to win the game. At about the last 10 minutes, we gradually achieved the dominant position. The atmosphere changed again and it now became exciting. But it was different from the beginning of the game, as at first people were excited about the basketball game but now they were excited about the results.
I was excited about the game, too. It was so different from watching a game on TV. I could hear people cheering, feel people’s excitement, and got exciting myself. But what impressed me the most is one small thing that happened during the game. Two men who sat on my right were loyal basketball fans. One of them was eager for a souvenir T-shirt given out by cheering squads members. Sitting on my left side was a father with a child. During the game the father introduced the game rules to his son patiently. When the guy threw the souvenir T-shirt for the last time, the father got a T-shirt and he gave it to his son. But later, the son gave the T-shirt to the man who sat on my right. The father explained that his son wanted to do so. It was so warm.
As we won the game, people left with a sense of pride and excitement. When my friend and I waited for the bus, a car passed by and people in the car shout to us “O-H”, we responded by a loud “I-O”. Before the game, I never thought I would be so excited. But now I understand why people all around the world are crazy for sports: sports are really exciting and inspiring.
“Final” might be a terrifying word for students. But as usual, OSU updated my impression again.
After the international food sharing class, our final class ended with a talk with our classmates in the bar, beer provided by our professor. We reviewed our first semester and shared our new great findings about our classmates’ presentation styles and so on. It was really fun!
Another class is harder because of the strict requirement of the exams, in which we must be very accurate and clear to get a high score. We have covered a wide range of topics about organizational change and development, but the professor perfectly wrapped it up by drawing two boxes and several lines between it. And he has invited several senior students to talk about how they have applied what they learned in real work. They all looked confident and happy about what they are doing. It makes me feel excited about my own future.
There are students studying late for their finals, but for us, we mainly got take home exams. They are not easy, but we have more flexibility in doing it. It really drives me to think about how I can turn what I have read and lectures into my tool-kit to analyze and solve problems.
Also, there were people giving out candies, good luck notes, and coffee near the Ohio Union on campus. “Good luck with your final” is just 5 simple words, but you have no idea how encouraging it can be during finals week.
Just as I believe I am getting a good hold on everything and starting to catch up, the avalanche, that is the end of the semester, begins. Time just seemed particularly fast and at times almost overwhelming.
Family life was the usual, joyful craziness. It was probably due to the fact that between staying late at work and all the extra time working on school work, my kids clung to me whenever I was home. I would be looking over old articles and notes while my daughter sat in my lap drawing pictures of stick figures “going to the potty” and other miscellaneous topics. My son would alternate walking between my wife and I, practicing his new words such as, “bear”, “ball”, and “Uh oh”. My workload increased substantially because our peak season was officially upon us and the extra duties from working on the national conference that I am spearheading. Schoolwork included a group paper and two take home exams. One exam was a “timed exam”. Up to this point in my academic career, I had never done this, so I didn’t quite know how to prepare for it. Basically, you submit a file to a dropbox and it populates a folder which is timestamped. You then have to submit your exam back into the dropbox before the time limit expires (self monitored). It was an interesting experience and the 1 hour and 45 minutes seemed to disappear so quickly. I decided to take the exam at 5 am in the morning, because I am a morning person and my children were less likely to be awake!
One very odd experience was the last lecture that we attended as a group. We were standing outside Gerlach Hall saying “goodbye and happy new year” to each other, when suddenly there was a silence. I don’t know if anybody else felt this way, but I felt a moment of sadness in saying goodbye to a group of friends that I would not see for another month.
I turned in my last exam and am still getting used to not being in school. It was strange, but wonderful to drive straight from work to home (instead of to OSU). Instead of attending lectures, my family and I met up with another family at the Columbus Zoo to see the holiday lights. Near the end of the evening, we sat by the lake for the musical light show and danced through the medley of songs played. This was one of those moments which took my breath away. The smile from my daughter and son as we held hands and danced is still fresh in my mind. Yesterday, my family and I actually sat together on the couch and watched the Minion movie (well, most of the movie) together. This was the first time that we have ever done that! We are looking forward to more time together as we celebrate the holidays.
Finally, I am still stuck on my semester clock, so I am still waking up around 4 am daily. I have used this time to “clean up” my e-mail box. I noticed how many people have helped me to be where I am today and started sending holiday wishes and thank you’s to those people. In these few short months, I feel like I have lived a lifetime of experiences. It also was shocking to note that I am only about 20% through the program. I end the semester and the year, anxiously looking forward to the new year and new challenges that will be brought. Thank you to all of you for reading my posts and I look forward to keeping you up to date in the new year!. Happy holidays and Happy New Year!
The Columbus Zoo is one of the many notable attractions of Columbus, and is nationally recognized as one of the best Zoos in America. It is home to a wide variety of animals from around the globe, and includes additional features like the Safari Golf Club, Zoombezi Bay (water park) and Jungle Jack’s Landing amusement park.
The zoo’s main attractions include: Shores hosts a variety of sea creatures, and features a touch pool. Asia Quest hosts a range of species from Asia, such as bats, Amur tigers, sun bears and elephants. Australia and the Islands hosts animals from Australia and New Zealand, and features a walk-in kangaroo yard. Expedition Congo hosts animals like monkeys and gorillas. North America and Polar Frontier hosts wolves, moose, polar bears and grizzly bears. Lastly, the Heart of Africa hosts cheetahs, lions, giraffes, zebras and more. It also features an area where visitors can take a ride on a camel or feed the giraffes.
The Columbus Zoo holds special events throughout the year, one of which is Wildlights. This runs from mid-November thru early January, and showcases the Zoo decorated in millions of twinkling lights and activities for all. The Ohio State University’s Ohio Union Activities Board (OUAB) plans several programs and events throughout the year for students, and this year they are organizing a trip to Wildlights! Our own MHRM council is organizing a trip too! So there are numerous ways to experience this event, but it is definitely a site to see!
Last Thursday, I attended a Hub event: Luncheon with Kevin Malhame, North Star Cafe.
Hub events are activities that Fisher provides for us outside of classes. There are different kinds of activities such as tours, parties, lectures, and so on. But the most popular activities are opportunities to communicate with business leaders. These activities often begin with the leader’s introduction with his or her company and then followed by questions and answers. These activities are more like informal communications rather than lectures as lunch is often provided and we can ask questions freely.
Mr. Malhame first introduced the process that he started North Star Cafe. I really like his opinion that running a business has some similarities with marriage. According to Mr. Malhame, they both require a long-term, magic relationship. For example, just like you cannot only meet the basic needs of your wife/husband in order to maintain a happy marriage, you must not only meet employees’ and customers’ needs but also make them excited. In addition, you must invest both in your marriage life and your business. You cannot be selfish but devote yourself to “build a beautiful future by servicing others”, as Mr. Malhame referred.
During Q&A part, Mr. Malhame also made several interesting points. For example, some small activities such as receiving a birthday card and having an employees tour can be very useful to motivate employees. This point actually supported what I have learned in class that intrinsic motivation can be at least as useful as money motivation in motivating employees.
I always learn something new from these events. For example, by communicating with HR from Huntington, I learned how diversity creates value to a business. What is more important is that I can link what we have learned in the class to the actual practices. I can also broaden my horizons by knowing different perspectives from different people. Last but not least, I think these Hub events provide us with great opportunities to network, which is of great use for us students to gather information in a certain industry or an organization and make career decisions.
November 26th, my roommates and I joined the Ohio State Thanksgiving Dinner. It was a wonderful experience.
As there are thousands of students who took part in this event, the dinner was separated into two sections. We could choose either to have dinner at 11:45 a.m. or at 2 p.m. Tickets are required, but we could get them for free at the Student Union.
When my roommates and I arrived at the Union, I found it was decorated with a welcome board and some special designs, which created a festive atmosphere.
At about 11:30a.m. We saw the volunteers of the Ohio State Thanksgiving Dinner. And then the “Turkey”. The “turkey” was very cooperative and made many funny poses as people took pictures with him. It was a funny but really cute “turkey!”
When we were waiting in line, we met many of our friends. It seemed that the Ohio State Thanksgiving Dinner was a popular event as so many people came. We waited for about 20 minutes and then we got into the Archie Griffin Grand Ballroom. Volunteers were already there. With the volunteers’ help, we came into the room and sat down. During the speech, I learned that the dinner has been held for more than 10 years. No wonder they can arrange thousands of people and make sure that everything was in order.
The food was great, too. Beans, turkey, potatoes, and pies……all kinds of traditional Thanksgiving food.
After dinner, there was a board outside the room to write down what or whom we wanted to thank. I wrote down my thanks to my roommates because with their company and help, I did not feel lonely as a student – one who had left family to study alone in a different country. We then signed our names on the board and took a picture. I thought it was a meaningful picture because it was such a memorable moment.
I really appreciated the Ohio State Thanksgiving Dinner as it created a special memory for our Thanksgiving holiday. And I really want to say “thank you” to all of the volunteers, who made this event such a success.
On the night of 26th, November, my host family invited me and some other Chinese students for a Thanksgiving dinner. It was the first time I spent Thanksgiving day with an American family and I took a close look at how they celebrate the holiday.
After about half an hour’s drive, we finally arrived at our host family’s house. When we arrived, many people had already been there. Actually, there were about 15 people in the house. Because our hostess, Hyesuk, was Korean, she prepared not only traditional American Thanksgiving food such as turkey, pies but also some delicious Korean food for dinner. Guests also brought some dishes. For example, I brought tofu and chicken. A Chinese family brought a bottle of wine. Hyesuk put all the dishes in the kitchen so that we can pick up whatever we like. We also shared some wine and several good conversation at the table. By the way, the dessert was really delicious!
After dinner, we played some games. One of which was called pictionary. We were separated into two groups. One person in the group picked a card and drew a picture about the word on the card while the rest group members had to guess the word in 60 seconds. I had played this game in China and it was one of my favorite games.
We also shared some family stories that night. For example, Bob, showed us a pair of shoes that was worn by 10 of his family members. He also showed us a special clock. See the picture below, can you tell what time it is? It must be difficult as the clock was opposite!
The day after Thanksgiving Day, when I was on the coach bus to visit my cousin who lived in Buffalo, a lady who sat next to me asked what I thought about Ohio. I told her I liked it very much because people here are so nice and warm-hearted. I was deeply touched by what they did for me and actually I have already considered it as my second hometown now. Sometimes when I think about leaving one day to go back to China, I get upset since I would miss the people I met here and the experience they brought to me.