Living in the University District: Pros and Cons

I’m not from Columbus originally,  but I have pretty good knowledge of the city and surrounding area from the eight months I lived here during an internship. So even though I love the Short North and my former neighborhood of German Village, and I have friends living in Grandview and Clintonville, I picked an apartment in the University District.

I call my part of town “north campus” when I describe it to my classmates, but technically it’s “University District 1,” or to be less Hunger Games about it, “Old North Columbus.”

Talking to my fellow MBA students at Fisher, I’ve found that most of them either live at Fisher Commons, the apartment complex specifically for Fisher students, or in nearby neighborhoods and suburbs like Grandview, Victorian Village or Easton. A few also live in the University District (“UD”), but it’s not many.

Obviously living in the UD is not for everyone. For instance, those with partners and families might be better suited to the quieter suburban areas rather than the thick undergraduate culture near campus. And those who need a yard for pets won’t find many options where I live and could opt for more green space in a different part of town. I would never try to convince people who are happily living in a different part of town that they should move closer to campus, but I still love my apartment and enjoy my neighborhood. So now that I’ve been living here for about a month and a half, I came up with a handy list the benefits and drawbacks of living in the University District to help future students decide if living near campus would work for you.

PROS!

  1. Travel time– After dealing with rush hour traffic for the last two years as I drove 30 minutes to and from work, I didn’t want to spend another two years driving 20-30 minutes into campus every day. That’s time in the morning that I could use for an extra half hour of sleep, and I always need more sleep. Plus, the frustration of sitting in traffic is now replaced with exercise and fresh air as I ride my bike or walk the 5 blocks to Fisher. When one of my teammates was 15 minutes late to Marketing class last week, he told me that it took him nearly an hour to drive in from Easton that morning because of all the traffic. “How long does it take you to get here?” he asked me. “About six or seven minutes,” I said. He shook his head in disbelief.
  2. Travel cost– I drive a relatively fuel-efficient car, but as I learned from my previous commute, even at 27 mpg I was using 3/4 of my tank on just my commute. It was almost 300 miles a week! Add in the milage on my already 100,000+ car and the pricey parking passes and I knew I’d be saving a lot of cash living close enough to walk or ride my bike.
  3. Rent prices– Before I’d officially decided to live near campus, I researched apartments all over town and found that most of them were outside my price range. Yes, Victorian Village and The Short North are awesome areas with nice places to live, but $900 a month for a 1-bedroom was breaking the bank for me. I don’t plan on having a job for my first semester and possibly first year of my MBA, so I’m probably on a tighter budget than most. Knowing that I could live for cheaper while being closer to school made living in the University District especially attractive.
  4. Restaurant and bar options– As you’ll see below, I’m cheating a little and including this as a pro and con, since there are good and bad aspects. One of the good parts of living in such a student-concentrated area is the huge number of food and drink options within walking or biking distance. Not just all the college staples like McDonalds, Cane’s, Jimmy Johns and Pita Pit, but awesome authentic ethnic choices for Indian, Korean, Greek, Chinese and Mexican cuisine. One of my favorite restaurants in the whole city, Taj Mahal, is four blocks from my apartment, which is wonderful and dangerous at the same time. This is also true for bars. There are dozens of sports bars to choose from, if that’s your thing, but there are also cool dive bars and even some more upscale options nearby as well.

CONS!

  1. Inconsiderate neighbors– The University District is populated with mostly undergraduate students, so most of my neighbors are younger and in a different phase of their lives than I am. Five years ago, I might not have minded the loud music at 2 a.m. (I might have even been the one playing it), but now that I’m older and taking school more seriously, noise disruptions can be derailing when I’m trying to study more and get to bed earlier. Like the noise pollution, many residents in the UD don’t seem concerned with littering. It’s not uncommon to see empty beer cans strewn on the grass in front of nearby houses, though trash pickup does come through for regular clean-ups. Personally, I’ve made peace with the fact that living in this area means dealing with these issues, and I go to the library when my neighbors are loud and watch where I step to avoid trash. But if these sound like deal-breakers to you, then living near campus probably isn’t a good idea.
  2. Intense apartment hunting required– If you start looking at apartments near campus and think, “Wow, all these places are dumps,” you’re not wrong. To use some concepts from my Economics class, because the demand for housing near campus is higher than the supply, the landlords have market power and therefore have little incentive to keep their properties in good condition because they’ll find renters no matter what. I looked at hundreds of places online and only  eight or nine places were worth seeing in person. Of those, only one was somewhere I would actually want to live; the others were dirty, had appliances older than I am and generally suffered from a lack of care and upkeep. So when I found that one apartment I wanted, I scooped it up immediately. Not only has my apartment been recently renovated with new carpet and fixtures, it has air conditioning, a dishwasher, a disposal and an in-unit washer and dryer. For less than $600/month, it’s a steal. Apartments like this aren’t the norm in the UD, but they are out there if you have the time and resources to hunt for them.
  3. Parking– I’m lucky enough to have  a parking lot directly behind my apartment for residents-only, but in general, parking near campus can be a hassle and a hazard. Driving down the narrow one-way streets, you’ll see cars crammed into every possible spot, and trying to turn onto a busy street is nearly impossible when a line of vehicles is parked directly in your line of vision. Even more unnerving is the number of cars with scratches and dings. I don’t know if the marks were inflicted as a result of being parked in such a high-traffic area, but it’s enough to make me worry. There are also lots of parking rules, like street-sweeping days and permit-only areas that need to be followed if you don’t want a big towing ticket.
  4. Restaurant and bar options– Like I said above, the number of options for food and drink is huge near campus, but the downside is that they’re typically very busy and most of the customers are the population of undergraduate students. If I want to get away from the throngs of people and accompanying noise, it usually means going to a different part of town which have chiller crowds. If it’s just my boyfriend and me getting a quick drink on a weeknight, we’ll pick a campus bar. However, if I had friends visiting for a weekend and wanted to show them a good time, I would definitely take them somewhere like The Short North where we’d have a better chance at getting a table to ourselves and having an audible conversation.

I could probably keep digging for more pros and cons, but I think this is a good starter, and I’d be happy to address specific questions or issues in the comments. Overall, I think that if your primary needs are space and quiet, living in the University District is probably not for you. However, for those looking for convenience and lower costs, the UD can offer some good housing options if you put in the effort to look for them. Even with the negatives I listed above, I love where I live and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Mac-N-Cheese, Mead & discounted txts

One reason I love Columbus is there is always something to do. Always. Doesn’t matter the time of day, Columbus is alive. What other city offers great food, pubs, parks, plays, ballets, breweries and more within a 10 mile radius?

My favorite ritual is Monday’s $5 Mac & Cheese at Betty’s Fine Food & Spirits in the Short North (located just north of Downtown). Betty’s is a cozy restaurant that surrounds you with pin-up artwork and a relaxed atmosphere. Unlike chain restaurants, Betty’s and the majority of the Short North restaurants are “Ohio Proud” and serve locally grown and raised products.

Betty’s Fine Food & Spirits (picture courtesy of Betty’s website)

The Short North is an area located just north of Downtown full of eclectic galleries, delicious restaurants and quant shops. This assorted neighborhood caters to all food preferences, so always feel free to bring those who are vegetarian and vegan – they will not be disappointed. It is a wonderful place to go after class or on the weekend when meeting up with friends. Prices are reasonable and, for those of us on a college budget, happy hours are everywhere!

The Short North – you will NEVER be bored here!
Picture courtesy of Experience Columbus

It is a great neighborhood to grab lunch, dinner, coffee or drinks with friends. You can pick a favorite restaurant, try everything on their menu and never be disappointed! From Mac & Cheese, to mead (a DELISH honey wine), to vegan cupcakes, the Short North is perfect for all budgets and taste buds.

If you are looking for something to do after dinner, check out the Ohio Theatre located in Downtown Columbus. Owned by CAPA (Columbus Association for the Performing Arts), the Ohio Theatre is a National Historic Landmark and hosts a variety of shows for extremely reasonable prices. From traditional to contemporary, every show is a hit. Personally, I love the BalletMet! Even better, the Ohio Student Union offers discounted tickets to students.

So take a night off of studying, get off the computer and go EXPERIENCE COLUMBUS!

TGI Football Season

Saturday saw the beginning of the Urban Meyer era at THE Ohio State University. A slow start was followed by several exciting scores (if you’re a Buckeye fan, that is). Without looking at the archives of the 2010-2011 season, I can’t say with certainty that the Buckeyes scored 56 points in their first 4 games combined last year (they must have, but the fact that I’m not certain should tell you something about my recollection of last year’s offensive prowess). All in all, it was an exciting game to watch as a Buckeye fan. Braxton Miller (whom my wife calls “B” like they’re BFFs) set a single-game rushing yardage record for an OSU quarterback. Devin Smith had what LeBron James tweeted was the catch of the year (The King may be right), and the oft-maligned Travis Howard had two interceptions.

So why have I recounted all this for you, my captivated reader? Because at Ohio State, football matters. An ESPN Sports Poll in 2011 revealed that the Buckeyes are the most popular football team in the country (follow link, scroll down to last paragraph of the story). That, plus the football program brings in about $35 to $45 million in profit, some of which goes right back to the University’s general fund. None of that even takes into account the economic benefit conferred upon the city of Columbus by 100,000+ people huddled into The ‘Shoe and countless (OK, they’re probably countable) others who come out of their hovels to simply be near the action.

But I digress… I don’t really, deep down in my soul, care as much about any of that financial/economic benefit mumbo jumbo as I care about the football games themselves. I grew up in the suburbs of Columbus, less than 20 miles from Ohio Stadium. Buckeye football is on Saturdays… Church is on Sundays. Let’s just say… I’m a fan.

Some of you may be unfamiliar with Ohio State football, college football, or even American football altogether. If you’re thinking of visiting campus this fall, I encourage you to schedule your trip to coincide with a home football weekend (assuming you can get a hotel room). If nothing else, please make a point of walking by the stadium just to bask in its glory (ok, I’ll stop gushing now). And if you’re like some of my classmates of international origin and have some questions about American football, just ask. People who love football love to talk about football.

GO BUCKS! Here’s another picture of my rascally animal from his youth…

We took this on the day we got Captain home. I think this is still set as the wallpaper on my wife’s phone.

Football Madness

You didn’t think that I would skip over a chance to write about Buckeye football did you?!

Everything you’ve heard about the boys in scarlet & grey, the ‘Shoe, tailgating and Buckeye Nation is true. It’s big, it’s loud…and  there is nothing better then looking around at thousands of other fans and knowing you are part of it all.

This weekend was the first OSU football game and it felt so great to take a few hours away from stressing about homework and school. The Fisher Social Chairs threw a tailgate at Fisher Commons and the dreary skies couldn’t stop us from enjoying the pregame excitement. It was Urban Meyer’s first game as a buckeye, and I think we can all agree that the 56-10 victory over the Miami RedHawks put Columbus in a cheerful mood.

O-H-I-O!

When you become a buckeye, you become part of a family. Yup, I just typed that (very) cheesy line. But how can you cheer with thousands of other fans and sing Carmen Ohio without knowing that you are part of something more?

Students, professors, faculty and the entire city of Columbus come together for football games, and it’s pretty easy to see that same family-bond in the classroom. I was talking to my Ethics Professor this morning about the game, and within minutes he is telling me about his own family tailgate and his opinion of the new coaching staff. My core team was still talking about Devin Smith’s catch and deciding what food to bring for NEXT Saturday’s tailgate.

I cannot wait for next weekend’s game and to see even more of Coach Meyer and the Buckeyes, but I also can’t wait to watch the game with my new-found friends. The nervousness of my program is starting to fade (quickly replaced by nervousness of approaching midterms), and I feel that I am finding my footing at Fisher…including some amazing friendships that I know will continue throughout the years.

And, could you believe that it all started with a football game?

 

My first two weeks at Ohio State

This is the very first time I’ve left my country and to begin an entirely new adventure in a totally different place as a new graduate student in the Fisher MLHR program. I’ve been here for more than two weeks and I enjoy everything here in Ohio State. Personally, I couldn’t figure out a better way to present my new life in Columbus than using pictures. I’ll show you several photos and tell you my Ohio State “newcomer” story.
The Oval   If you let me pick a place to be my favourite in Ohio State, I would definitely choose the Oval. Several days ago, I took my first campus walk from Fisher to the Ohio Union on a sunny afternoon and took this photo. When I walked on the Oval, I was immediately attracted to the beautiful green grassland and the pure blue sky. Many new OSU students with red t-shirts played teamwork games on the Oval. Laughter could be heard everywhere. Green, blue and smiling faces, how peaceful is this picture. Suddenly I realized why almost all the people who lived in Columbus or Ohio love OSU THIS much, not only for football, but also for this campus, this amazing campus.

UV   The next thing I want to talk about is my new apartment in UV. UV stands for University Village, which is a student community near campus. An interesting fact is that many of the Chinese students in Fisher master programs live in UV. During my first two weeks in UV, I was busy handling my furnitures and appliances. Everytime we saw our American neighbour move those things from home to their apartment with family’s help, we really admire that while what we can only do is to go to Walmart by bus and carry things as much as we can do. Prices of goods are also relatively high here when compared to China, and we still multiply the price by six subconsciously. However, we need to get used to it and make every effort to start a brand new life here. I look at the blue sky in Columbus, and I know everything will be fine in future.

Food   Food here is totally different. My host family took me to have some traditional American food and Mexican food. I could still remember my first meal was breakfast at McDonald’s, then lunch at Skyline Chili, and a dinner of homemade hotdogs. Then the second day were Chipotle and BBQ. Almost all of these are meat-and-bread-based, unlike vegetable-based in China. So I’m so amazed at most Americans are still in good shape though foods here are high in calories. If it was me, I may already be thousands of pounds! 🙂 Anyway, I prepare to cook for myself in consideration of both cost and calories. I bought rice and some vegetables at Kroger (local grocery store) and got some Chinese style ingredient in Walmart. This picture is my first Chinese meal I cooked for myself: rice and fried chicken with potatoes. They are really delicious!

 

 

IFI Welcom Party   America is famous for its culture of party and social gatherings. Fortunately, I have a great chance to be part of it. IFI, International Friendship Inc, is a really nice organization who provided airport pick-up and temporary housing services for us international students. By IFI, I meet John and Cyndi, who picked me up at the airport and let me stay with them before I move in UV. They treated me like family and we shared a really unforgettable happy memory. So, on Saturday we had an Thank-you party in Union. I met John and Cyndi again, together with other 5 international students they were hosting. We danced together and chatted a lot. This party is so enjoyable to me that I may have missed another welcome activity at Fisher! (oops) This is my first American party, with my favourite American people. I’ll never forget it!

Market to Market – Another Rockin Time in Columbus

I’ve written a few posts that talk about how awesome Columbus is, mostly dedicated to the awesome coffee shops we’ve got, but also to boast about some restaurants and events that are put on in our fantastic city.  Today I write about another event that occurs twice per year (once in the spring and once in the fall) and is INCREDIBLE.  So what’s this event?  The Market to Market Bicycle Adventure.

They always have such great advertisements - and themes!!

Before I can tell you about the Market to Market Bicycle Adventure though, I feel as though I must tell you about the North Market and the Worthington Hills Market, which are the two markets that sponsor the event and give it its name.  The Hills Market offers local products, such as coffees, meats, and beers.  It’s really cool to see products from all over Ohio in one location, and all are fairly priced.  There are tons of events to partake in too, such as wine tastings and food samplings.  The North Market is less of a grocery store, and more of a permanent indoor farmer’s market.  During the warmer months, the market extends outdoors too.  Tons of people love going to the North Market for lunch, as many of its vendors don’t sell produce but meals…and there is some GREAT food there.  I recommend Clever Crow Pizza! North Market is definitely something you need to see in person when you’re in Columbus.

Now – onto the ride!  Participants choose which market they would like to start at and have breakfast and coffee.  At your leisure, you then ride to the next market along the Olentangy Bike Trail.  This is about a 13 mile ride, but there are sponsors all along the route to stop at and refresh.  This year’s sponsors included Pattycake Bakery, Yelp!, and Wild Goose Creative to name a few.  At the destination market, riders enjoy a few scoop of Jeni’s Ice Cream – said by many to be the best in Columbus!  Riders are also given a bag full of coupons to use at both markets for discounts on groceries, produce, and meals.  We used some of ours for lunch at the North Market, and it was delicious.

This event is perfect for anyone.  I had an incredible time (and I’ve done it for the past three years, each time more fun than the last), as did everyone I rode with.  The group I rode with covered everyone from serious riders to those that ride a bike maybe once per year.  It caters to all!

Here's my girlfriend and I rocking the moustache theme - although mine ended up on my eyebrows since I was rocking a real 'stache

To polish off this Columbus-themed post, I thought I’d include a quick video about some of the other awesome offerings in Columbus.  Warning:  After watching this video, you’ll find moving to our city absolutely irresistible!

How To Celebrate National Cupcake Day in Columbus

Ah – December 15th.  I wish you were better known as National Cupcake Day, but don’t worry…you’ll get there.

For those of you that didn’t know, December 15th is in fact National Cupcake Day.  A few months ago, I gave you all some suggestions on how to celebrate National Coffee Day so I thought it would only be fitting to share some suggestions on how to celebrate National Cupcake Day in Columbus, too!  I will say many of these suggestions are based on word of mouth…I personally have not tried a lot of these cupcakes!

I’ve been hearing a lot about a place called Our Cupcakery (out of Dublin) lately.  They specialize in cupcakes and wedding cakes, and I hear they specialize very well.  Their website proudly boasts a “Create Your Own Cupcake Bar” which to me, sounds like a ton of fun.  Luckily, I’ll be checking them out on Monday!  I bought a Groupon (actually I think it’s a Faveroo…same thing as a Groupon but only focused on Columbus) for a Basic Cupcake Icing class.  I’m very excited to check it out!  Their cupcakes do look pretty good!

Some of their cupcakes....seeing as I'm a triathlete, these immediately drew my attention!
Some of their cupcakes....seeing as I'm a triathlete, these immediately drew my attention!

Next up is Pattycake Bakery.  Pattycake is conveniently located on High Street, and offers much much more than cupcakes.  I’ve actually never had a cupcake from Pattycake, but the muffins and cookies I’ve had assure me that their cupcakes would be outstanding.  Pattycake is a vegan bakery as well, which makes it really fun to try items off of their menu!  If you’re not in the mood for a cupcake next time you’re there, I suggest the “Marry Me Blueberry Muffin”.  Seriously, I’ve considered marrying it.  Seriously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rob Chabot was highly recommending this next one to me – it’s a cupcake food cart called 3 Babes and a Baker.   I love the name!  Their website makes them seem new to the game, but that makes it even more exciting.  However, go check out their menu.  Their cupcakes do sound delicious!  Also, they’ve got to be a winner if they come with such a high recommendation from Rob.

They have a Buckeye Cupcake.  Oh.  Yes.
They have a Buckeye Cupcake. Oh. Yes.

Another place that comes highly recommended, yet I haven’t tried, is Surly Girl Saloon located in the Short North.  Yes, I know, you probably think I’m crazy suggesting a saloon has great cupcakes.  I’ll admit…I’m skeptical too!  But from what I hear, these cupcakes are the bomb.  I hear the regular food is really good too.  I checked out their website, and it looks like they offer Red Velvet Cupcakes and a Cupcake of the Day – not a huge selection, but I bet that means what they do offer is fantastic.  They’re definitely on my “Go To” list!

If you’re feeling a little less adventurous and just want to pick up some cupcakes at the grocery store, that’s okay too.  Especially if you’re doing your grocery shopping at Giant Eagle.  Giant Eagle delivers a solid cupcake (and cake) experience…the cake is always moist and fluffy, and they have a few different frosting options to suit your mood.  I love their Aunt Martha’s Buttercream frosting.  The cream cheese is decent as well, and my mom loves the almond one…sorry, I forget exactly what it’s called.  Don’t write them off just because its a super market – give the cupcakes a try!

I’ve got a few others places to list, but these are all places I haven’t yet tried.  Again, I’ve heard good things about them, but not specifically from friends so I didn’t feel I could write an entire paragraph on them.  Anywho, other places you can go to satisfy your sweet tooth on National Cupcake Day (or any day) include Bakery Gingham, Sugar Inc. Cupcakes, and the Tremont Goodie Shop.

I’d also like to take this post to shamelessly promote another blog I co-write.  I really enjoy baking and cooking, and decided that I’d like to share some of my recipes.  Check out my blog, Bake Yourself Happy, and see what you think!  Unfortunately I don’t have any cupcake recipes up yet, but there are fantastic muffins on there!

Taking a Spin Around Columbus

Map of Existing and Proposed Bicycle Trails in Columbus

 

As I packed my truck prior to leaving for Columbus, I faced the harsh reality that I would not be able to bring everything.  After fitting in a bed, dresser, furniture, and clothes, I had to decide which items would get to spend the year in Ohio and which items would stay in Kansas.

Included in the junk that did not make the cut was my road bike. Over the past few years, I have developed a very amateur passion for cycling. One day, while watching the Tour de France on TV, I decided to order a road bike online.  It opened up a whole new world, where I could ride far enough to explore new places but slow enough to take in all of the scenery.  As an added bonus, cycling offers a great endurance workout.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Columbus cycling community.  There are a series of paved bike paths that wind through nearly every part of town.  The streets are also very bike friendly, and drivers seem to be cautious around cyclists.  Even at football games, there is a free bicycle valet called Pedal Instead that allows Buckeye fans to bike to the stadium.  Three weeks into the quarter, I realized that I needed to invest in a new bike.

From a buyer’s perspective, the great thing about a bike-friendly town is that there are numerous new and used bicycle shops.  There are at least seven stores on High Street alone.  I spent one Saturday morning visiting many of these stores, and I found almost every store to have great service and a high level of expertise.  I ended up returning to a store called Handy Bikes, where I found a hybrid bike for $160 (I later discovered the same model used bike was selling online for around $300).  The advantage of the hybrid is that it offers the strong frame needed to bike on city streets, but it is light enough to take for a long road ride.

Although Columbus has one of the best systems of bike paths in the region, it is only going to get better.  There is a project right now, called the Ohio to Erie Trail, that aims allow cyclists to ride from Cincinnati to Cleveland (through Columbus).  When this project is complete, we will have a “Tour” of our own right here in Ohio.

It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon

I recently ran the Nationwide ½ marathon in Columbus this past weekend and it struck me how similar a marathon (or ½ a marathon in my case) is to the MBA experience.   There are countless similarities and lessons, but there are five that stand out to me immediately.

 

1.       There’s no substitute for hard work…

This is probably the most obvious, yet it’s the one that we overlook the most.  Many of us in the MBA program have to prioritize our time and meet endless obligations like: class, studies, clubs, info sessions, networking, interviewing, and the list could go on and on.  In our desire to get a job, we may neglect the reading in order to research a company coming to campus.  Everyone realizes that, as students, we still have (or want to have) lives outside the classroom.  BUT, there’s no substitute for putting the time in.  Just like training for a marathon, if you neglect it or push it back on the priorities list, you will feel it later on!  This is one I particularly struggle with, in my running and in my studies.

2.       Know your pace!

If you were the Type A – President of your class, 4.0 GPA, joined every club that was offered – then you will really need to figure out what you want in Grad School.  You may thrive on doing as many activities as humanly possible, and maybe you can do that!  But for those mere mortals out there, we aren’t Olympic runners and we aren’t able to participate in everything that we want to.  So, know your pace.  In my running, I can sustain a 12 minute mile for 13 miles, but if I tried to run an 8 minute mile pace, I would flame out within the first 5 miles.  The same is true for your school endeavors.  If you want the most out of an MBA education, be selective and commit to the activities that truly interest you, not necessarily the ones that will enhance your resume the most.  If you try to do everything, you will be miserable.

3.       Just keep running…

There will be times when you regret the decisions that you make.  For me, this was at mile 7.  I had run fine up until this point, but that’s when my muscles really started to experience the pain from my lack of training.  In class, there are times that you will fall behind.  It’s inevitable if you are going to football games, visiting with friends, and meticulously scoping out job opportunities.  The trick is to keep going!  Don’t get discouraged because you weren’t able to get your Data Analysis homework done.  At some points along the journey, you may have to take it easy, maybe even walk.  That’s OK!  But always keep moving forward.  Never quit, even when you’ve not as prepared as you should have been. 

4.       The power of community.

One of the best attributes of a marathon is the support that the community gives for the event.  While running, you may see signs like this: “I know you’re a random stranger, but I’m so proud of you!” or “Stop reading this sign, keep running!” or “Kick Asphalt!”  It’s amazing to see people come out of their homes to cheer runners on.  Children will be on the curb soliciting high fives.  It’s just fun.  In the same way that the community supports running, Fisher’s community supports its students.  One of the things that drew me to Fisher was that staff, professors, donors, and peers alike truly want you to succeed.  Although we are all trying to get jobs, the program is small and intimate enough for our priorities to be focused on supporting one another, rather than stepping on one another.  This is probably the best thing about Fisher!

5.       Have fun!

No matter what, have fun!  You are obviously a highly qualified individual if you’re considering Fisher, and you obviously want to invest in yourself.  Though that’s all well and good, remember that you will only be here two years.  You will make some amazing friendships that will last a lifetime, but you have to first make those friendships!  That means you may have to skip a reading in order to go out to dinner with someone.  Do it!  This time is valuable in so many ways, but I would argue the most important way is in developing your network.  Show the other Fisher students that you’re more than simply focused on your studies or the job afterwards.  You should hang out at the tailgate, join a club, or perform community service, maybe even help out with (or run) a marathon.  You won’t regret it. 

Regardless of your ambitions, remember that the time spent in the program is not a sprint, though at times it certainly feels that way.  It is a marathon, unfolding even after you’ve left the program.  So, prepare and compete, but never forget to enjoy every moment. 

Can the football team affect your grad school experience?

Grown men crying
Buckeyes football - Bringing grown men to tears since 1890.

Ok, let me get this out of the way, I promise this is not a “The Buckeyes lost two games in a row, the Mayans were right, the world is ending soon” post. And I am not suggesting that the SMF program or Fisher in general is an expansion of the football team. However, the SMF program provides the unique experience to spend only one year (read: one football season) in Columbus. For the regular Buckeye fans (ok, I may be a bit past regular), this is just a sad season, and everyone will deal with it using their own levels of mourning, denial, and anger. I am talking about the out-of-towners, whether they are from Boston, Beijing, or Bombay.

There is an undeniable connection between Columbus and the Ohio State football team. This is sewn into the fabric of the city. So what if that huge chunk of the experience is missing for a season (like so many of our players are “missing”). Saturday, October 8, was one of the strangest “Football Saturday’s” I have experienced in my seven years in Columbus. Regardless if the game is home or away, campus is flooded with fans ages 8-80 decked out in their scarlet and gray, with as many Buckeye necklaces as you can find. Even on Fridays, all around Columbus and in the surrounding suburbs, businessmen and women don their Ohio State attire to show support and excitement for the upcoming game. After the game, it is commonplace to wear your attire out the local watering holes where throngs of your counterparts are either celebrating or drowning their sorrows along with you.

This was not the case a couple of weekends ago. This year – no national title talks, no College GameDay invading campus at least once, no January bowl trips giving us a great reason to extend our winter break just a few days longer. Maybe it is because I live off campus now, but I lived off campus last season and I did not seem to notice a big difference. It is certainly not depressing around campus this year, just different. I was out before and after the game. Jerseys were scarce. Buckeye beads were nowhere to be found. It might as well have been April. Maybe with only one year here, outsiders would never know what they are missing. Or maybe they don’t care. But part of the fun of a new country, city, or school is the local nuances.

So explore the arts district in the Short North. Gorge yourself with a Thurman’s Burger or a Dagwood from Ohio Deli. Watch out for the basketball team to make a Final Four run. And certainly do not lose sight of the top notch academics offered at Fisher. Those will always be here. I’m just saying, if you are on the fence about coming to OSU, ask any of the 105,000 people below. I can safely say that most of us (yes, I am in there somewhere) will never forget this day or this season. I hope our visitors will be able to say the same.

 

Fans rush the field after "The Game" in 2006