Finish Out Strong

For the last couple of weeks, I have had to be “on guard” against the temptations to shirk (Thank you, Prof. Chuck S. ) my graduate student responsibilities.  For the most part, the weather has been cooperative at best — cooperatively trying to lure me into postponing some of my final papers and presentations in order to indulge in some short-term fun in the sun now that the swimming pool at my apartment building is open :/ Amidst all the lures of life, the last two weeks have sweetly and politely reminded me of this one thing:  I am not done…yet.
Like any graduate student at this time, I have contracted an acute case of GMTHOH-itis.  For those of you who aren’t terribly astute, here is the more pedestrian exegesis:  Get-Me-The-Heck-Outta-Here-itis. As much as I “want” to be done with spring quarter, I must come to terms with the fact that I am not.  Despite my course workload being easy, it still can be tempting for anyone (even yours truly) to avoid, dodge, duck, cheat, evade, eschew, elude, skulk, malinger, slough, sneak, snake and/or pussyfoot the last leg of the race we call graduate school.
So while I cut this blog short in order to attend to my graduate student responsibilities, let’s remember to finish the final two weeks of graduate school out strong!

Summit Vision 2011

On Friday, May 6, 2011, more than 25+ 1st and 2nd MLHRs headed out to Summit Vision in Westerville, OH.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Summit Vision, Inc., check out their website.  For me, I think the best thing about Summit Vision is the unique way each of us (individually and as a group) can learn about essential skills such as trust, leadership, communication and decision-marking through outdoor team building activities.

The first activity I got to do was the “zip line”.  This was my very first time ever doing a high rope activity.  I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous climbing 55 ft. into the air – I don’t think it was so much the climb as it was that the entire platform shook as I climbed a rung higher on the ladder.  Through all of that, I conquered my fear and successfully  made it down the zip line!  My takeaways from this activity were: (1) it’s fun doing things you’ve never done before and (2) you definitely learn a lot about yourself by taking risks and/or overcoming your fear to accomplish a goal.

The 2nd activity I really enjoyed was – you guessed it – the step off swing.  Again, this was another high rope activity that required you to climb only 30 ft to a platform where you get harnessed into another rope.  The only nuance to this activity was the fact that I had to actually make myself step off (NOT jump!) to the side of the platform and then swing back and forth about 6-8 times.  For me, that was a tough decision.  I was definitely more scared this time because I felt like I actually had to choose to step off rather just letting the zip line do its thing.  So since I was scared and shaking the first time I stepped off, I asked my instructor, Paige, if I could go back up a 2nd time.  I knew deep down I needed to overcome that fear so I decided to face it head-on.  And, as you can see below by the wonderful videography by the one and only Rob Chabot, how my 2nd step-off jump turned out.

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All in all, the Summit Vision was a great individual and team-building experience for not only me, but the rest of  the MLHR graduate students.  I think each and every one of us enjoyed getting out of our comfort zones as well as getting another opportunity to get to know each other in a different way.

A special thank you to Lisa C. (fellow 2012 MLHR grad student) for taking the pictures you are about to see below.  Thank you, Lisa!

The 2011 Office of Disability Services Annual Recognition Reception

When I began my graduate studies at Ohio State University in the Fall 2010, I was encouraged by my school counselor to register with The Office of Disability Services.  At first, I was a bit standoff-ish towards the idea to register because I didn’t think that I would ever benefit from it.  In all honesty, my initial hesitance was really driven by some previous bad experiences with these types of services and so, in theory, I decided it wouldn’t be any different here.  Of course, I was wrong.  Like many veterans who have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, we find ourselves struggling with the after effects of  being in a war zone.  Those effects are more commonly referred to as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  A little over 6 years ago, I was diagnosed with PTSD and it certainly changed how I lived my life.  Thankfully, I did decide to register with ODS and feel I definitely made the right decision.

The Office of Disability Services (ODS) at Ohio State University offers a variety of services for current students who have documented disabilities, including learning, deaf/hard of hearing, blind or low vision, mobility limitations, ADD/ADHD, psychiatric disorders and medical disabilities.  The mission of ODS is to collaborate with and empower students who have disabilities in order to coordinate support services and programs that enable equal access to an education and unversity life.

On Friday, April 29, 2011, I was a guest and award recipient at The 2011 ODS Annual Recognition Reception in Pomerene Hall on The Ohio State University campus.  At or around the beginning of April, I received an email from ODS asking me to apply for a LifeScribe Pulse Smart Pen.   Forty LiveScribe Pulse Smart Pens were generously donated by Mr. William Zornes and his daughter, Sarah, with additional funding provided by Scitor Corporation.  The pens are an innovative study tool that combine traditional note-taking with advanced technology.  They can record spoken lecture notes while simultaneously archiving what a student writes.  In order to be eligible for this offer, I was asked to submit a 500 word essay discussing my progress in overcoming my disability and how I feel the Smart Pen would enable me to be successful while attending graduate school at OSU.  To my surprise, not only was I selected as a recipient of the Smart Pen, but my essay was chosen to be read aloud to the over 100+ people in attendance.  Up until that point, I have never openly discussed my disability with anyone.  For me, it has been a long road to recovery, but without the help of services like ODS, I don’t think I would be where I am today.  Being able to increase awareness of PTSD to those in attendance was very rewarding for me.

All in all, I am very honored to have been selected as a recipient of the Smart Pen because I know how much this “assistive” technology tool has aided me in my studies in the MLHR program at the Fisher College of Business.  Also, I want to thank wonderful people like Mr. William and Sarah Zornes who have donated their resources to support those with of us with disabilities.  I will be forever grateful and appreciative of their life-changing donation to ODS.

Below is a couple pictures of the Smart Pen and Mr. William Zornes.

Volunteering at the 2011 Fisher 5k

On Sunday, May 1, 2011, I volunteered at the 2011 Fisher 5K.  For those of you who don’t know, The Fisher 5K is a charity race organized by the Fisher 5K Association at The Fisher College of Business.  It is an annual run/walk race (3.1 miles) which began in 2004 and is the largest service event hosted by the Fisher graduate programs and the largest 5K race on campus.  The proceeds of the race go to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Columbus.

When attending the FCOB, you will have plenty of opportunities to volunteer for worthwhile causes.  Even if you decided (like me) that 3.1 miles was a little too long to run, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do something to help out.  I signed up to work at the registration booth and had a great time.  I even got to hang out with Brutus the Buckeye!

If you missed out on the Fisher 5K, below are some pictures to take a look at!


Buckeyes in Paradise

While taking a vacation/break in the Tampa Bay/Clear Water Beach area, I decided to make my way down to Anna Maria Island.  Now, I have been to quite a few beaches in my life (e.g. Bahamas, Pompano Beach, La Jolla, etc.) but I must say, this is probably the most gorgeous (and secluded) place I have ever visited.  The water was crystal clear blue, the weather was a gorgeous, humidity free 88F degrees and I had all the sun I could handle.  All I can say is this:  paradise.

But I have come to one major conclusion while attending graduate school at Ohio State University:  Buckeyes are EVERYWHERE.  Even in paradise.

As I was walking back to the restaurant to get some more iced tea, I noticed this “Ohio State” hat propped up on a beach chair.  And being as curious as a cat, I decided to strike up a conversation to see if these folks were fellow Buckeyes like me.  And, as fate would have it, the couple were fellow Buckeyes and lived just outside of Columbus.  So what do you do when you have Buckeyes in paradise?  One word:  O-H-I-O.

So the next time you find yourself in the middle of paradise, keep a look out for some fellow Buckeyes.  I am sure there are some around!

Anne Marie Island, Florida

A Break From Grad School

At the beginning of 2011 winter quarter, I decided to schedule a formal “break” from grad school.  So I came up with this really good idea to trade my compensation and staffing textbooks for a week of sun and fun in the Tampa Bay, FL, area with my girlfriend.  And if that isn’t exciting enough, I decided to pick the week of my birthday to take that break! It’s like a personal spring break …

Currently, it’s 7:55 PM EST in Largo, FL, a beautiful, cloud-less, humidity free 79 degs and I am writing a blog.  So instead of writing a diary of events (which I will do in next week’s blog), I wanted to share some of the pictures of the trip my wonderful girlfriend has taken.  She certainly does an amazing job taking photo’s.  If you want to see more of her work, check out her website.

Some of the areas I have been to so far:  Tropicana Field, Tampa Bay, FL, Clearwater Beach, FL and Anna Maria Island, FL.

*WARNING*  The pictures you are about to see will result in feelings of depression, jealously, more depression and nauseousness.  Heck, it might even cause an acute case of summer fever.  Viewer Discretion is strongly advised.


Great Phone Apps for Grad School

After resisting (and resisting and resisting) for over 3+ years, I finally retired my “dinosaur” LG flip phone and caved-in to being a proud owner an HTC smartphone.  In all honesty, I was probably more “forced” to move in the direction of smartphones rather that freely choosing to move in that direction since almost all  phones packages now require a data plan.

I can quickly tell you, my feelings of resistance have quickly turned into regret – regretting the fact that I didn’t make the switch sooner.  I thought I would never say this, but I am – I will be forever a smartphone user.

So, since I will be a smartphone user for life, I decided to blog about one of the great features a smartphone can offer you:  applications.

Below are a few of the useful (and not so useful) applications that you, as a graduate student, could use if you have a smartphone.  Every one of these apps I have on my phone so I can personally speak to their usefulness in respect to graduate school and/or in my personal life.

Before getting into the app list, the first thing I recommend you do is download the Amazon Market app.  Every day, Amazon offers a “free app of the day” that you normally would have to pay for any other day of the year.  The Amazon Market doesn’t have quite the selection as Android’s market; nonetheless, if you like the “free” app, then download it.  Because its free.  And if you find it useful.  I’ve been able to download Angry Birds and SoundHound ad-free which is really nice.

Apps For Grad School:

1.  Linked-in. This is a very useful app to have on your phone, especially if you are student in the FCOB at The Ohio State University.  As we all know, having access to a professional network is very key for success in any career.  It’s a lot easier to log-on and the features are fairly streamlined and its a great way to stay connected with your classmates.

2.  Facebook for Android. Hypothetically speaking, let’s say you are sitting through MHR 854 Economics and you want to update your Facebook status to reflect all the wonderful, mind-blowing revelations regarding labor demand/supply, opportunity costs and efficiency wage models.  Not only will you be educating all your “friends” about the joys of economics but I am sure there are other members of your class cohort who are doing the same thing. Like.

Apps For Fun.

1.  Google Sky. If you want to find out “where in the sky” the Belt of Orion is located, curious about the Little or Big Dipper or even just want to gaze at the sky while holding your phone, then this is the app for you.  Kinda cool if you are into star gazing.

2.  Angry Birds (Original, Seasons & Rio). Who wouldn’t want to waste about 2-3 hours a day launching birds at egg-stealing pigs?  The answer, you say?  Me and about 10 million other people.  I love Angry Birds.  As of a week ago, I have completed every level in every Angry Bird.  Now I just need to get 3 stars in each level.  Wish me luck.

3.  Alchemy. This is an interesting app.  Maybe because it feeds the nerdy side of my brain.  The game is based off of 4 elements (fire, water, earth & air) and you have to combine these elements together to create other elements like wind, trees, seeds, ghosts, boilers, dams, butterflies, etc.  I have found it very addicting.  Currently, I have unlocked 74/360 elements.  I got a long way to go on this one.

4.  Slizzard. This is a great app for you if you hit up the Varsity Club with your cohort after evening classes.  It calculates your blood alcohol level based on your height, weight and the types/kinds/number of “beverages” you’ve drank.  Basically, you’ll be asking yourself one question:  Taxi or no taxi?

Apps For Whatever.

1.  Ambient Fire. All this app does is provide you a romantic, log burning fire complete with the crackling and popping a fire makes.  You may have seen this used on the Cap’n Morgan commercial where the guy and girl get stuck in an elevator and he pulls up this app.  Although I can’t guarantee this “same” situation will present itself as it did in the commercial – but if it does – you’ll be prepared.

2.  Shazam & Soundhound. Ever heard a song on the radio and want to know who is singing it?  Well, Shazam!  Shazam and Soundhound are great apps to use to locate music or find out who sings that song you can never remember.  Just load the app and either hum the tune or run it when the song is playing.  Within 15 seconds, song name and artist delivered!

3.  Open Table. Great app for making dinner reservations at some of the swankiest places in Columbus (and the US).  If you need a reservation to Eddie Merlot’s in Polaris, then you can do it right from your phone.  Just make sure you bring a couple hundred bucks because that’s what it will cost you to dine there.

4.  Barcode Scanner. Tired of your Kroger, Giant Eagle, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Lifestyle Family Fitness and Meijer’s keychain scanner bogging down your key ring?  If you are, then this app is for you.  Easy to set up and it sure makes  like easier checking out of the grocery store or gym.

Again, these are just a few of the thousands of apps that are available to download.  If you have any favorite apps you would like to share and have found useful, fun or other, be sure to comment them to the blog!

Spring Into Action!

I know what you are thinking.  And, believe me, I thought it too.  For starters, my blog title is a bit cliche (and lame-o).  But, if you can move past that, it’s hard NOT to notice the signs of spring all around us:  Birds chirping their brains out at 6am and prematurely waking me up; trees budding; tulips beginning to push up through the ground; grass turning green, consistent 50-60 degree weather and the lovely April rain showers that produce May flowers.

With Spring in the air, I’m hard pressed not to think about the one thing I dislike that is associated with the Spring season.  The dreaded “SPRING CLEANING / TO-DO LIST”.  Yes, I said it.  Shame on me.  And shame on us for trying to ignore all those things we’ve been so covertly putting off to do because it was cold outside.

With that being said, I decided to put together a Spring to-do list that I think will be helpful for every one of us who is in graduate school.

1.  Lose the Winter Coats/Layers. Spring in Ohio can be a bit capricious.  Especially when it was snowing less than a week ago.  But, I’m going to go out on a limb and say, “PACK IT UP, PEOPLE.”  Replace your winter coats, sweaters, cardigans, stocking caps, scarfs and jackets with shorts, polo’s, t-shirts, sandals, flip-flops.  The only way I’ve found to convince mother nature to make Spring stay is to change the way I dress.

2.  Clean. I’m keeping this one short because this word around this time of year seems to be an inevitable “cuss” word.  Clean your desk, garage and car out.  Maybe you just need to tidy up your room or get rid of some old clothes.  Whatever it is, get on with it and do what I call, “The Nasty”.

3.  Take a Drive with the Windows Down. Sunday was a gorgeous 85 degrees.  What makes those days even more gorgeous is going for a drive with the windows down.  If you have a convertible, then I envy you.

4.  Flip-flops, flip-flops, flip-flops. Need I say more.  It’s time to break them out if you haven’t done so already.  Personally,  I haven’t met any more aggressive when it comes to flip-flop wearing that fellow MLHR blogger, Shawn H.  This man sets the standard for flop wearing.

5.  Bust Out the Sunglasses. With the temperatures rising and the sun staying out longer, it’s important to protect our eyes from damaging UV rays.  I can’t think of anyone else I know who dons the sunglasses more than fellow MLHR blogger, Garren C.  This man wears sunglasses 25 hrs day/ 8 days per week/  365 days per year.  Take a tip from, Garren.  He believes in protecting his eyes from damaging UV rays.  So should you.

6.  BBQ. In southern states, it’s BBQ.  In SoDak and other Midwestern states, it’s grilling.  Eh, same thing.  Nuances aside, it’s just plain time to fire up the grill, invite some friends over and enjoy some good burgers & brats and sip some cold drinks.


7.  Enjoy the Great Outdoors. When the weather is nice, it’s time to put away the TV and get outside.  Go for a bike ride or take your dog for a walk.  Maybe join a volleyball or softball league.  Whatever it is, stay active and enjoy being outside.

Go Bucks!

Best Place in Town, Pt. II

Last week, I wrote a blog about eating at one of the best places in town – Tai’s Asian Bistro.  As for this week’s blog entry, I wasn’t really planning on blogging about “another” best place in town to eat, but I couldn’t pass it up.  I felt the need to get the word out about this great dining place in Columbus, OH.

On any given Monday, if you find yourself craving pizza between the hours of 5pm – 11pm, then it’s time for you to hit up Classic’s Pizza & Sports Bar at Tuttle Mall Crossing.  Classic’s has your typical sports bar feel, complete with all the flat screen sports-watching you can handle.  If you aren’t into watching sports, you can still enjoy some billiards or casual conversation with some friends.  At times the music can be a bit loud (and annoying), but if you read on, the food is definitely worth it.

Now, let’s get to the good part:  the pizza.  One of my favorite foods of all time happens to be pizza.  And, like anyone, we have all had our fair share of “good and bad” pizza.  At least I know I have.  Classic’s pizza comes in four different ordering sizes:  7-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch and 14-inch.  You can’t go wrong with “Classics Pizza”, which is any one-topping plus cheese.  There are several specialty pizzas too, including supreme, Hawaiian, major meat, veggie, chicken veggie, barbecue chicken and dimo’s margarita.  I have tried all, but the chicken veggie and barbecue chicken.  Personally, I don’t think you can go wrong with any kind.  The pizza is ALWAYS served HOT and within 15 minutes of ordering.  The crust is just right – not too thick and not too thin and the toppings are more than generous.  Take a look at the 14-inch pepperoni pizza I ordered last Monday night (see below) – every square inch of the pizza is covered with pepperonis.  Classic’s definitely doesn’t skimp when it comes to toppings.  Classic’s pizza is comparable to Donato’s, except that I think it tastes better, is fresher and (if you go on Monday Nights) is WAY cheaper!

All in all, Classic’s is a great place to check out if you want to get outside of the OSU campus area and try to some great pizza.  The good thing about Monday nights from 5pm-11pm is this:  PIZZA is HALF-OFF.  So you cannot go wrong with ordering a 14-inch pizza because it will only cost you $6.00.  And I don’t think any college student would argue with that price.  Plus, as you can see below, my 2nd favorite food is cold leftover pizza.  It certainly complements my reading assignments from MHR 854 Economics.

Go Bucks!

Best Place in Town

I have always had a penchant for trying to find the best places to dine out.  For me, there is nothing like going to my favorite restaurant, bar, diner, cafe’ or sidewalk shack to get some amazingly delicious and succulent food.  I would almost consider dining out as a personal hobby of mine.  It’s really no big secret, I like food and food likes me.

This past week, after an early dismissal from class, a few of my fellow MLHR classmates and I decided to hit up one of those “best places” in town.  Now, I have only lived in Columbus for about a year and a half so I cannot say with much confidence that I know all the eatery “hot spots”.  But thank goodness I was introduced to this place – much kudos to fellow MLHR blogger, Shawn H.

So, what’s the name of this restaurant, you ask?  The name:  Tai’s Asian Bistro.  The game:  eating THE best Vietnamese/Thai food you have ever tasted in your life.

If you plan on dining at Tai’s, be prepared to bring your appetite with and leave with a doggy bag full of food.  The portions are more than enough for two people.  Whatever dish you choose to eat, it’s always served hot and fresh!  I must admit, I am a creature of habit and I usually stick to what I like (and won’t disappoint) so I haven’t tried any other dish than the fan favorite, ‘Tai’s Asian Chicken’.  It is a dish served with your choice of friend or steamed rice as well as deep-fried breaded chicken covered in a savory spicy sauce that’s accompanied by green peppers, onions, carrots and jalapenos (see picture at end of blog).  And if that doesn’t sound good enough, remember to show your BuckID at the counter and you will get a free soda!

All in all, if you are looking for an excuse to ditch your packed lunch or just need a break to catch up with some friends while enjoying some great food, Tai’s Asian Bistro is a great place to check out.  As you can see, MLHR 2012 students Shawn, David, Sultan and Sarah love it 🙂