Where should I live?

Many people don’t realize that Columbus, Ohio, is the 15th-largest city in the United States with nearly a million people living in and around the metropolitan area. With big cities come LOTS of options, particularly, lots of housing options.

As a Columbus native and having attended undergrad at Ohio State, I’ve lived in many distinct areas around the city including Upper Arlington, Victorian Village/Short North, Old North, and Central Campus. Currently I’m living in Old North Columbus, which is just north of Ohio State’s campus. It is by far my favorite area I’ve lived in. Now I’m going to tell you why.

The Old North is located just north of Lane Avenue on the edge of campus, and extends up until where Clintonville begins further north. Cost of housing here is some of the least expensive in the Columbus area. Most of the houses in the area were built in the 1920s and have a lot of personality. Front porches and backyard space is common, and off-street parking is abundant.

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Old North Arcade is a bar+arcade combo located in Old North. They do a mean trivia night on Mondays and you’re likely to catch a team of MHRMs (“merms”) in the lead.

The Old North tends to be an area where Ohio State students move when they’ve had just about enough of the somewhat more raucous atmosphere that is more common on central campus. The Old North “scene” is a bit dive-y in that the restaurants and bars themselves are older, as is the crowd that frequents them. This area tends to attract young people in their mid- to late-20s and early 30s, resulting in a fun, eclectic, laid-back vibe. The area tends to be more bustling than Grandview or Upper Arlington. I personally think it’s a really accessible, no-frills area for people that still want to be connected to the social scene of Columbus, but don’t necessarily want to be living in the middle of it.

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An Old North favorite: The Blue Danube is a popular restaurant with incredible, cheap nightly specials and they serve breakfast all day. “The Dube Special” is a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne and two grilled cheeses for $160. I’ve never seen anyone order it, and it is a bucket-list item for me.

I know from my experience in moving to other cities that housing complexes can be appealing in that you know exactly what to expect and you don’t have to worry about finding roommate. My one piece of advice for anyone coming from far away is to consider looking for a month-to-month housing option for when you first arrive. Then as you explore and acclimate to Columbus a bit more (and meet classmates who could be potential roommates) you’ll know better what area you might want to be in longer-term (for the next year or two of your life—or longer… Columbus tends to have a magnetic effect and it is difficult to leave).

I have heard from some of my classmates that they wished they had done more research, because the area they are living in is not necessarily where they spend most of their time, and they would like to be closer to the Short North, Old North, Grandview—wherever it may be. A great resource for locating housing aside from some of the bigger, more advertised complexes is the Off-Campus Housing website. You can search for available housing with filters for # of bedrooms, pets allowed or not, and other amenities. I’ve found some stellar places through this website and would highly recommend.

Vroom Vroom VITA

In addition to a wide variety of social activities, MAcc students also have the opportunity to give back to the community through a number of volunteer efforts. VITA, a tax clinic for low income-taxpayers, is one of the most popular community-service options. Participants get hands-on experience with preparing tax returns while making a difference in the lives of many.

I interviewed current MAcc student and VITA volunteer Carly Jackson to get her take on why all MAccers should participate in this great cause.

What is VITA?

VITA is a program where volunteers prepare tax returns for low-income individuals and  families for free.

How can MAcc students get involved?

MAcc students can get involved by attending an interest session during fall semester and then completing the required IRS training. During tax season, volunteers are typically assigned 3-4 volunteer days.

Do you have to have experience with completing tax returns to volunteer?

No prior experience is required!  You will be thoroughly trained and will have an IRS publication with the information you need next to you, so you can use that for reference during preparation. Also, there will typically be people on-site with prior tax preparation experience to answer any questions you have and to help you through the experience.

Can I still do VITA even if I am planning on doing audit post-graduation?

Of course you can! A lot of the people that participate in VITA are planning to do audit. I personally feel that it is advantageous to everyone to learn about the basics of taxes because they’re unavoidable and the more you know, the more equipped you are to handle them. Regardless of your intended career path, learning a little bit about tax preparation and using that knowledge to help others is a great thing to do!

What has been the most valuable lesson you have learned while working the tax clinic?

Surprisingly, the biggest lesson I’ve learned while working at the VITA clinic was not tax-related. One of the clients I worked with was going through one of the toughest times I could even imagine, yet still had the most positive outlook on everything and had a genuine joy in their heart. Working with them taught me to never take anything for granted, and to always look for the good in life, because if you look hard enough, you will find it.

 

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Happy Chinese New Year

It’s the year of the Rooster! And here at the Fisher SMF program we could not think of a better way to start off the new year than a delicious meal at one of our new favorite restaurants. Recently opened, HY Asian Cuisine offers authentic Chinese and Japanese food– at least as claimed by several students as their favorite restaurant here in Columbus.

Good friends, good food

The above picture shows jut one of our two roundtables. Professors, alumni, students, and friends all joined together. All together, our group was about 40 people.

We had many excellent dishes. My personal favorites were the crab, spicy pepper chicken, and mushrooms. There were many good vegetable dishes and good rice.

The works

The rooster is independent, quick minded, capable, and warm towards others, so lore says. The same attributes can be said of our 2017 SMF class. It was wonderful to celebrate the new year with such good people and I’m looking forward to our next dinner.

Vulnerability

Through participation in the Fisher Leaders program, I have been provided many assessments to help me to understand my leadership style and how others perceive me (“360 feedback”).  This gift of information is wonderful to have to understand how I can improve.  I confess that it has been difficult to integrate that feedback into my life.  It seems as though, almost daily, I realize how my leadership needs improve.  Sometimes it feels like I am stumbling around with respect to leading.

Leadership development is difficult.  I grossly underestimated the emotional impact that the leadership development would have on me.  I confess that I had a hard time keeping up with blogging last semester because of the emotional turmoil through this growth process.

One of the greatest benefits of all of this struggle is the improved relationship with my family and friends.  Before learning about leadership, I internalized quite a bit and neglected to share things with people, because I thought that they already had enough to deal with and felt like I would be adding to the troubles.  The Fisher Leaders program has helped me to understand the importance and necessity to share experiences with the people I care for and that the best decisions in life are “we-based” ones.

It has been very difficult to consider so many new elements in my life.  Hearing where I need improvements, learning a new job, reconciling emotions, and sharing my feelings more with others is helping me to grow.  It is truly encouraging to learn and practice all of these things in a safe context (in school, work, and with my peers).  Although not desirable, it is okay to make errors here without long-lasting damage.  Developing my skills in these safe environments has helped me prepare for after graduation, where I will have greater accountability from more people.

Evening Classes?!

One of the unique aspects that differentiates the MHRM program from the other full-time grad programs at the Fisher College of Business and many other Master’s-level HR programs is that classes are held almost exclusively in the evenings. I have to be honest here—this was a big reservation of mine when I was considering the program. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to adapt my lifestyle to accommodate that sort of schedule—I was sure I wouldn’t be able to concentrate as well at night and I was worried that the schedule would cut into my hobbies (I’m a big fan of live music, trivia night, and happy hours).

I challenged myself to see the forest beyond the trees and keep an open mind about the class schedule. It would require a little “schedule Tetris” on my part, but I knew the program was an investment in my future—and something that I could justify making some lifestyle changes for. Here’s what a typical day in Jen’s life looks like since beginning the MHRM program:

8 AM             Wake up (okay, my alarm goes off at 8:00, 8:15, 8:30, and                                8:45, so, let’s call it 8:45 in the spirit of full transparency)

10 AM           Work-out

11 AM            Read for class/eat lunch (each class’s reading typically fits                                into a two-hour timeframe for me)

1 PM              Go to work

5 PM              Dinner (*options, see below)

6:15-9:30     Class

9:30 PM        Relax at home/socialize with friends

1) Make dinner in advance and bring it from home: this is a popular option for those who plan their meals in advance. I am not one of these people.

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I mean, I really wish I was one of those people.

2) Bring a Lean Cuisine or other frozen meal: When I have them in the freezer, I absolutely opt for this option. Quick and easy– and we have three microwaves in the graduate student lounge so that makes things very convenient.

Microwave station. (Also, that is a coffee machine next door)
Microwave station. (also, that is a coffee machine next door)

3) Order food: Sometimes I wait until the last minute to figure dinner out. It works because of technology. Jimmy John’s delivers “freaky fast,” Panera is within walking distance, and UberEats caters to a wide variety of tastes.

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Deliciousness delivered right to your classroom door. (Disclaimer: I do not actually recommend delivering directly to your classroom; the front door of Gerlach Hall is a safe bet, however)

I quickly realized that with a little pre-planning and self-discipline, I would still be able to fit everything in without compromise. The other important note here is that some of my classmates have turned out to be my best friends, so we can hold one another accountable to a) get our school work done and b) make certain we are finding a balance between work and play.

The Final Countdown

It is surreal to think that my final semester of school is well underway! We are already wrapping up our third week of classes and I have a midterm in just a few days. In order to make the most of the time I have left, I compiled a list of things I am hoping to accomplish before graduation in May:

  • Take a trip to Chicago. One of my cousins lives in Chicago, so I really want to spend a weekend visiting her. Southwest has super cheap flights out of the Dayton airport, so this could be a relatively easy and affordable getaway. [editor’s note: Southwest also offers several daily flights out of Columbus]
  • Explore German Village. Although I have been living in Columbus since August, I have yet to take advantage of all that the city has to offer. German Village is located just south of downtown and is a fun neighborhood with lots of different restaurants and shops.
  • Go to Hocking Hills. This one will have to wait until it warms up a bit, but I am eager to go hiking in Hocking Hills. It is a bit of a drive, a little over an hour from my apartment, but I hear the scenery is well worth the trek.
  • Going off #3, I would also like to get back to Clear Creek Metro Park. I was able to go once during the autumn and it was phenomenal. It is about an hour drive and there are several trails to explore.
  • Cheer on the Columbus Clippers (minor league baseball), Columbus Crew (soccer), or Columbus Blue Jackets (hockey). Though often overshadowed by The Ohio State University Buckeyes, Columbus is home to several professional teams. I have yet to go to any of their games, but I would love to get to at least one before the semester is over.

These next couple months are sure to fly by, and I am eager to make the most of the time I have left!

Ball is Life

I believe the legendary NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby once said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” How is this relevant? Well, the Specialized Master in Finance program fielded a team of Grade-A all-stars to play intramural B-league basketball every Tuesday night at 9:50pm, and the fellas are undefeated. Led by team captain Brian Perry, Big K & The Gang is already paving its path to the Finals: the internet has been blowing up with memes about how the squad is taking the Finals home in 6 games this year.

One of the internet's meme renditions of the team.
One of the internet’s meme renditions of the team.

Last Tuesday night was our opening night, in which we faced a fierce competitor; however, the SMF team ultimately pulled ahead towards the end of the game and notched our first victory of the season. Coach Terence Mordi after the game was quoted saying: “These guys started off a bit rough, shooting a dismal field percentage; however, in the second half they played as if it was their last game ever. I can’t get over how proud I am of these guys and the effort it took to pull out that W.”

Steve “Big K” Mowry was a dominate presence in the post, while Mark Venzor was an absolute weapon on the defensive end of the court. Ian Ding also provided valuable minutes at point guard, notching several assists in the process. Overall, each of the 8 team members showed strong initial performances, providing ESPN and other basketball analysts with some positive insights for what is to come throughout the rest of the season.

Rumor has it (albeit unconfirmed), this is the most wins that an SMF team has had in an intramural sport this school year. From what I have seen thus far, this team is the epitome of hard-working and blue-collar. Although the team has been surrounded by media and fans looking for comments and autographs, respectively, this group of financiers is looking to carry this momentum heading into our second game of the season this Tuesday night.

Best Places to Workout

My New Year’s resolution for 2017 is to workout 5 days a week. The awesome thing about going to a school such as Ohio State is that we have so many Recreational Facilities available for use.  I am going to rank my top 4 places to work out on campus and provide some of my favorite things about them.

1. RPAC – The RPAC is out largest gym on campus. Located right next to the Horseshoe (our football stadium), this facility has it all. It has a pool, sauna, more than 10 basketball courts, 8 racquetball courts, table tennis, and much more. There are also group fitness classes offered that are free to attend such as cycling and yoga.

RPAC: You can see the Scarlet Skyway, which is one of the entrances into the RPAC.

    RPAC: You can see the Scarlet Skyway, which is one of the two entrances into the RPAC.

2. North Recreation Center – The “North Rec” is a brand-new gym built at the beginning of the school year. Located just a few minutes from Gerlach Hall, it is the perfect place to go for a quick workout in between classes. Just like at the RPAC, there are group fitness classes offered throughout the week. There are also four outdoor basketball courts at the North Rec.

This facility was completed in Fall of 2016.
This facility was completed in Fall of 2016.

3. Adventure Recreation Center (ARC) – This facility is somewhat of an unknown around campus because it is located on West Campus. The unique part about the ARC is that they have indoor soccer fields as well as a rock climbing wall. I grew up playing soccer my entire life and it is always fun to go to the ARC and play a game of pickup soccer.

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The ARC at night

4. Jesse Owens North (JON)– JO North is the closest gym to Gerlach Hall. It is literally across the street from the classroom building you will spend most of your time at. While this building is a little old, it is conveniently located and has all of the equipment you can imagine. It also has one basketball court. JO North is a great backup place to work out in case the North Rec is too busy.

JON is located across the street from Gerlach Hall.
JON is located across the street from Gerlach Hall.

Sticking to my New Year’s resolution is no doubt going to be difficult. Since there are so many options for working out, it makes it difficult to come up with excuses to not work out. Hopefully, this blog helps you get a better understanding of some of the recreational facilities offered at Ohio State. Click here if you want to learn more about these and others.

The Beautiful Game: Morning Brunch with the SMFs

(For the best experience, listen to this song while reading.)

On Sunday January 15th, there was a major sporting event that captivated the attention of several SMF students. No, there was not a big Ohio State game that day. Neither did we focus on OSU alumni Ezekiel Elliot playing in the National Football League (NFL) playoffs. Our attention was not actually on the NFL playoffs at all. We instead woke up early to tune into a different type of football. We cheered for our sides in the English Premier League (EPL).

The EPL is not as popular here as Ohio State athletics, or even a U.S. professional league; still, you do not have to look far to see signs of “real football” supporters. Spilling over from across the pond, EPL rivalries are heating up within our SMF class as the competition thickens. One advantage, in my opinion, of our class is that there are no Chelsea fans – on the downside, there is one Manchester United supporter (I kid, I kid). All joking aside, it is a real good time to kick back over the weekend and catch a match together!

Both squads about to take the pitch!

Sunday’s match featured a contested match-up between Manchester United and Liverpool (yes, you caught me – I’m a Reds supporter!). I hosted a game time brunch in my home, and along with several SMF candidates and my roommates we had a full house. We joked around about Pogba being out of position most of the game (too bad he wasn’t out of position when he scored the tying goal), and whenever a Liverpool player slipped like Gerrard (jeering goes both ways mate).

Finishing the game tied ensured that no one was too down to prevent them from enjoying the excellent food. If you are not a soccer fan, don’t worry, the food is almost as important – and a big match deserves a big brunch. Sunday’s match featured breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs, boiled potatoes, fried onions & peppers, and shredded cheese with a dabble of hummus or guacamole. We also had yogurt with fresh mixed berries and granola. After the main course, like any good college student, we snacked on pizza.

All in all, this is just another example of Fisher students building community outside the classroom. Always remember – You’ll Never Walk Alone

Image result for you'll never walk alone scarf

 

My First Winter

For those of you that are used to warmer temperatures like myself, going to school in the Midwest or anywhere up North may seem a bit taboo. This year was my first winter experience. Here are a few tips that I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Stock up on winter gear over spring or summer

This may seem crazy to some, but prior to moving to Ohio for the Fisher MAcc program I owned ZERO coats. I had some light jackets, but I was not prepared at all for weather less than 50 degrees. My advice: get your winter gear in spring or summer! Most retail stores have a great clearance selection and you can find gloves, heavy coats, scarves, and boots for a great price.Duck Boots

  1. Buy an Ice Scraper!

These things cost about $10 and are a must-have for early mornings. Also, allow yourself an extra five minutes in the morning to defrost and de-ice your car.

Ice Scraper

  1. Scarlet and Grey Skies

During the winter months, the sun is not out nearly as much. This does not mean you will never see sun, but it’s just something to get used to. What I learned is not to let the weather dictate your mood or your day. We are all here to learn– don’t let some clouds put a damper on your day.Picture from fall, right before a football game!

  1. Thank You, Fisher Tunnels

I’m not sure who thought of this ingenious idea, but I’d personally like to say “thank you.” In classrooms, there are hooks where you can hang your coat. If you want to run out and grab a cup of coffee from the café in the next building over, you can leave your coat hanging and take the tunnels to four of the buildings on the Fisher College of Business campus. The tunnels are useful not only in cold weather when you don’t feel like putting on your coat, but also just to avoid the rain and stay dry.

Winter officially began December 21st and ends March 20th. With that being said, there is still plenty of time for winter weather as it is only mid-January. So far, it has been very mild (knock on wood). To put it in perspective, it has only snowed three times to date. As a reference, here is a helpful link to look at weather averages for Columbus, OH.

Don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you from pursuing your dreams of attending the Fisher College of Business. The winter season isn’t so bad!