How to Make the Most of your On-Campus Spring Break

Last week, I was solely focused on anything that was mid-term exam & project-oriented.  My tiny brain was inundated with meeting deadlines; reading…reading and…RE-reading Harvard Business Review case studies; agonizing over how to piece together several 2-15 page, 12-pt, Times New Roman, double-spaced, 1-inch margin explanation and recommendation papers; and, the COUP DE GRACE, cooking up ways to describe amazing broad topics such as competencies and balance scorecards.

Now that mid-term week is officially over for me, its time to focus on Spring Break.  Yes, I do realize that I’m not “out of the woods” yet. And yes, I still have final exam week to command and conquer.  But whats the harm in dreaming for a blog or two about how great, wonderful, amazing and awesome a well-deserved 9-10 day break from classes, papers and people will be.

For me, I really don’t have anything significant (e.g. trip) planned.  Mostly, I just wanted to get myself thinking about how I make the most of my spring break…even if I’m only in Columbus.

1.  Take a Break. Sounds crazy, huh?  Well, its true.  Everyone of us needs to detox our brains & bodies from “trying to do it all”.  Take a day, do A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y nothing and feel good about it.  There is no sense in feeling guilty about having to “do something” when there is nothing to do.  For me, its a 9:53am wake-up and a date with some Cap’n Crunch and CSI Miami re-runs all day.  Horacio…such a bad man.

2.  Think Outside the Bar. This might cause some graduate students to blow a gasket.  Its fair to admit:  there are “other” forms of entertainment and socializing other than ritual ‘mug night’ at the local hole-in-the-wall.  Punxsutwaney Phil said spring is coming early this early.  I believe him and so should you.  Go for a bike ride or take on the hiking trails at Alum Creek.  Maybe hit up a new part of town and see what else Columbus has to offer.  It might be worth your while.

3.  Tie Up Loose Ends. Now that you’ve done “nothing” for a whole day, its time to be semi-productive.  Try to tie up all those loose ends  you know you have been putting off for quite some time.  Schedule that drug test for your internship (um, that’s me), clean out your car or play catch-up on your DVR.  You’ll  feel better when you do.

and

4.  Me time. Embrace the solitude of just having a week off.  Everything and everyone has been pulling at you for the last 12 weeks.  The demands of grad school have taken their toll on your body and its time to recharge your batteries.  The best thing I’ve found to get my swagger back (other than use Old Spice Swagger body wash) is to spend some good ol’ time with three people I know best:  me, myself and I.

Go Bucks!

Best Combination Since Saturday and Sunday

A couple of months ago I was watching TV and I came across a commercial that I thought was quite ingenious.  It was for Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.  The commercial was insinuating that chocolate and peanut butter was the best combination since Saturday and Sunday.  I would definitely have to agree.  Well, at least with the Saturday and Sunday part.

Up until about 3:45pm EST on Tuesday, February 1, 2011, I thought that the Saturday and Sunday combo would be untouchable.  But after today, I’m going to have to say that I found a new combination that I like almost (if not more than) as much as Saturday and Sunday.

Here is a list of other great combinations:

1.  Batman and Robin – great combo of super heroes.

2.  Saturday and Sunday – enough said.  DUH.

3.  Peanut Butter and Jelly – greatest combo on two slices of bread…ever.  This one never lets me down, especially when I’m hungry.

4.  Beavis and Butthead – greatest combo of fictional characters…ever.  Too bad MTV let that one die out.

5.  Surf and Turf – gotta be one of my favorite combo foods.  Joey’s Seafood always did it right.

6.  Garren C. (fellow MLHR blogger) and any class at OSU – class can be boring.  But class would be double boring without Garren.  Thank you G$lyce.

7.  Brad Pitt and Jen Aniston –  This was a good combination that is no longer a combination.  Stupid, Brad.  Angelina has nothing on Jen.  Just sayin’.

8.  Milk and Cookies (e.g. Oreos) – I could eat my weight in Oreos and milk.

9.  John Mayer and a Guitar – Thank you for some great music, John.

and…my new favorite combination

10.  Bad Weather and OSU canceling my class on Tuesday night – simply awesome!!

So as I sit in my apartment with NO CLASS and bad weather, I’ll have to admit, I’m liking it.

GO BUCKS!

Back to Reality

After my completing my first FULL week of Winter quarter classes, its time to update the world on my thoughts and expectations for Winter Quarter 2011.  Even though I had to drink the reality kool-aid like every other returning student, I still think there are parts of me that are on winter break.

This quarter, I was fortunate to get a few of my required core classes waived.  Because of this, I have been able to take a couple of classes that suit what I like in class material.  One of the classes I am taking is BUS 846 Talent Management.  I am really excited to be in this class because I wanted to learn more about the important of managing and retaining your organization’s talent.  This is an area that I’ve found that I have become more passionate about the last couple of years and, as of now, I am very impressed with the course content and our classroom discussions.  I recommend taking this class if it fits in your schedule.  It is definitely worth it.

I am finding that I will be doing a lot more reading and group projects than I did last quarter.  Crazy enough, I do enjoy reading.  I have found that the majority of my books are intriguing reads and keep me captivated which is a good thing.  Hopefully, I can keep up with the reading material because it sure can seem overwhelming at times.  For group projects, I am excited to work with different students from other programs being offered at Fisher.  It will be great to branch out and meet other fellow grad students.

After the completion of my  first quarter with the MLHR program, I can say that my expectations have been more than met and exceeded.  I have thoroughly enjoyed all of my instructors and have learned a great deal from each of them.  As far as Winter quarter is concerned, I hoping for that same type of experience.  I realize that my experience depends a lot on my own participation and engagement and I am glad I made the most of that opportunity.

Lets make 2011 a great year!  Time to Read!

Life Outside of MLHR

First and foremost, I have to put a disclaimer out there before continuing: Please don’t judge by the title of this post that I by any means dislike my program or the people in it, in fact just the opposite. I LOVE my program and everyone in it! However, there comes a time when you need a little space to breath outside of the program. As some of the second years told me as soon as classes started in the fall, it is very easy to get consumed with HR and the program itself. In fact, one person told me, “you really need to make an effort to have a little bit of a life outside the program because this can easily become your entire life.” Not that it’s a bad thing, but you really do need a little bit of balance of a life outside of MLHR.

Based upon this advice, I made a special effort to keep in touch with my friends from undergrad who moved away from Columbus and those who are in Columbus, but just work full-time now. Over Christmas Break, I was so fortunate to get in back in touch with one of my best friends from high school. We hadn’t talked in a while, so it was so great to catch up and come to find out that she is now a 1L at OSU!! And I thought going to school and working 32 hours per week was rough! My friend’s schedule is CRAZY, but it’s fun to hear about her graduate level experience and to meet some of her friends from law school. And, it’s a great opportunity to network with people who aren’t part of the same program. The law students offer a completely new perspective on graduate level studies and they can relate to HR in some ways, since there are plenty of laws and court cases that concern HR.

Now that my boyfriend is back from his internship in Atlanta last quarter, it has also been a blessing that I can spend time with him now. Unfortunately for him, he now has to listen to HR jargon pretty much 24-7 seeing as how the program is always fresh on my mind. But it is nice to get out of the MLHR bubble a few times a week and hear about his projects in engineering.

Finally, one of my New Year’s Resolutions (even though I try not to make them, since they usually don’t make it into action) is to go to more events outside of the MLHR program, but with other MLHR students. For example, last quarter I was a slacker and didn’t go to any of the Event of the Week activities, which is meant for all of the Fisher graduate programs. This quarter I want to make it to some of those events to meet other Fisher graduate students. It is good to meet new people, especially other Fisher Graduate students, since, as HR professionals we will be working with businesspeople who do not have a degree in HR.

It’s so important to have at least a little balance between life outside of MLHR and life within the program just to keep yourself sane. It doesn’t mean that you don’t love your program and your friends in your program, it just means a more balanced life, filled with a variety of friends who each offer different, unique perspective.

Below is a picture with some of my friends outside of the MLHR program at a football game a few years ago……

Liz, Katie, Rebecca

Pistachio Pudding

One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving.  I believe Thanksgiving is a day that everyone can agree on two things:

(1) a great day of eating amazing food with family & friends

(2) napping.

I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t seem to agree with me on no. 2.  Some of the best sleep of my life has taken place on Thanksgiving day.  I love nuzzling into the couch and drifting off to the NFL’s Detroit Lions getting blasted every year.  It seems the older that I get, the more I enjoy a nice “uninterrupted” nap.  Plus, I think my belly stuffed full of food helps, too.

Since I moved to Ohio last year, I am going to officially miss two Thanksgivings with my family.  Last year, I did make my own Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings.  It was the first time I ever made that big of a meal – all for me.  But I will tell you, it certainly was nice not having to fight my twin brother for the last piece of pumpkin pie since I had the pie all to myself.  Sadly, I’ve realized there are ‘some’ benefits of having your own Thanksgiving.  And I won’t forget I had leftovers for a month  :/

Now, there was only one ‘dish’ I didn’t make for my Thanksgiving meal last year.  Its not because I couldn’t, but its because I probably would’ve messed it up in a major way.  Every year, for as long I can remember, my mom, Bonnie, would always call me a week before we would have Thanksgiving dinner and ask me if I had any requests.  Of course, being the ‘diva’ child that I was, I did.  I told my mom, “You know what I like.  Make me pistachio pudding.”  To this day, I have NO IDEA how she makes it.  And quite honestly, I don’t want to know.  Pistachio pudding, for some odd reason, I crave in the month of November.  And Bonnie has a way of making it in such a way that makes the fat child inside of me scream for more.  I have to admit, I grew up eating amazing food cooked by an even more amazing mother.  Every meal for me was like Thanksgiving.  So missing a South Dakota Thanksgiving  is ‘kindofabigdeal’, if you know what I mean.

I want to wish all the MLHR students a Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope every can and will make it home for the holiday weekend.

And if anyone is having amazing pistachio pudding at their Thanksgiving this year, eat two bowls “In the Name of Eric”.  Please.  And thank you.

Making Friends Across the Globe: Part 2

I wanted to follow up to my post from two weeks ago entitled “Making Friends Across the Globe” this week because I actually got to practice what I preached.

This past Friday I was invited to dinner at one of the international student’s home. Of course, I was so excited to try real, traditional Chinese food, so I accepted the invitation without question. Of course, as is American custom I had to offer to bring something to add to the meal, but my host said no, that I only needed to bring myself.

When I got there, I was greeted by my friend’s roommate, his friend from the MBLE program, and three more international students from our MLHR program. Dinner was already on the table when I arrived and the guys all announced that they were starving, so it was time to eat. I sat down, then chopsticks were passed around the table, when they got to me, my host said, “Oh, here, this is for you” (handing me a spoon). It was probably best I didn’t try to make a fool of myself using chopsticks (that will be a challenge I’ll have to tackle next time).

The food itself was so good. There was rice, a chicken leg, carrots, potatoes, all covered in a thick sauce (that I cannot pronounce) all served hot in a large bowl. Everything that was “extra” or anything that wasn’t supposed to be in our bowls at first was placed on the table and served “family-style.” The atmosphere truly felt like a family dinner away from home.

The best part about the meal was getting to talk to another international student from the MBLE program, so we were all able to learn more about the kind of work he does in his program. Also, it was fun talking to everyone about China as well as what things were similar in both Chinese and American culture. One of the most interesting things was the fact that Facebook is banned in China, so it was interesting to hear the international students talk about being able to use it in the United States. One of my favorite moments of the dinner was trading relationship stories and at one point one of the women from MLHR said “I think that is an issue that is something that all girls know” after we had been talking about guys and relationships. We all started to realize that, yes we were born and raised in different countries, but the four of us are still women, which means there are so many things we have in common.

Overall, dinner was such a great experience and a nice way to learn a little bit more about Chinese culture, and more importantly the interests and feelings we all share, no matter what our nationality. These friendships with international students are so amazing because not only do you get to experience another culture, but you also get to make new friends in the process. So, while you are at OSU, take the time to get to know the international students, because they bring so much invaluable knowledge and friendship to our program.

“A bird chirps, a dog barks, and a cat goes…”

When I decided to enroll in the MLHR program at the Fisher College of Business, I knew that I would be required to take a “few” statistics classes.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love math especially algebra and calculus.  On the other hand, geometry and statistics were not my favorites.  For whatever reason, my teeny tiny brain couldn’t make the connection between cylinders, bell curves and probabilities.

The MLHR 2012 class has done a fantastic job of working together to ensure everyone who doesn’t understand statistics can get help from those who do understand it.  A 12pm (noon) Wednesday stats study group was started at the beginning of the quarter and I feel a lot of my fellow classmates (including myself) have greatly benefited as result of it.

Once you begin the MLHR program, you will soon realize that you can draw off of others strengths.  Some of your fellow classmates may be better with statistics (i.e. SULTAN who is a mini-Einstein) and this will provide you with a great opportunity to connect with them as well as get some much needed help in the areas that you aren’t strong in.  If you haven’t been doing this, I suggest that you do.  It has been extremely helpful for me.  FYI:  Check out a picture of our stats group at the end of the blog.

As I close, I am reminded of a statistics joke my twin brother, Adam, shared with me about a month ago.  Needless to say, I’ve never heard this before and I’ll have to admit, its kinda corny – so brace yourself.

About a month ago, I was talking with my brother about statistics and how I’m “asi asi” on the whole class right now.  My brother, in a generous attempt to cheer me up, says, “Hey, I got a stats joke for you.”

So here it goes, people:

“A bird chirps, a dog barks, and a cat goes…μ”

I hope I didn’t lose anyone on that one 🙂

GE 2nd Round Interview – Crotonville, NY

Currently, I am on-site and on-assignment at the GE HRLP 2nd Round Interview Forum located in Crotonville, New York.  The last couple of days have been non-stop.  From airport to airport to informational meetings/interviews for internships has been fun, fast-paced, chaotic and a blur.  At the moment, I feel like I still am trying to catch my breath all the while trying to make the most of this experience.

While at GE Crotonville, I have met a lot of great graduate students from across the United States who are also interviewing for internship positions within GE.  It has been a great experience to connect with fellow HR students from different programs like Vanderbilt, Columbia, University of South Carolina and Indiana University.  I am very thankful and fortunate to have been chosen by GE to represent The Ohio State University – Fisher College of Business and I hope that I make the university and the MLHR program proud.

During our down time, we are making home-made greeting cards for the Project Sunshine initiative.  Project Sunshine is a non-profit organization that provides free educational, recreational and social programs for children facing medical challenges and their families.  Check out my card design (picture) at the end of the blog. 

All in all, I am very excited to be here interviewing with GE.  Thus far, it has been a great experience.  I will tell you, GE sure does know how to feed you like a KING – and I mean KING.  The food spread is amazing – especially the 13 Starbuck’s Frappuccinos I have dominated so far.  I have personally attributed my alertness during my interviews to Starbuck’s.  TGFS (Thank Goodness For Starbucks).

I am very thankful fellow MLHR & 2nd-year graduate student, Jue Wang, was invited to the GE HRLP Forum.  It has been refreshing to speak with him and gain some valuable insight into the MLHR program as well as having an “partner in crime” to associate with while I’m we are on this trip.  I think of Jue as the “coolest Asian I know”.  Not because he’s Asian, but because he is COOL.  He reminds me of an Asain version of Tom Cruise.  He is a great guy and I am glad that I got an opportunity to connect with him.  Jue is interviewing for a Full-time position; I am interviewing for an summer internship.  I wish him the best of luck – he definitely deserves it.

As I get ready to prepare for my next round of interviews, I have attached some pictures of the trip. 

Enjoy!

HUG a Veteran on Veteran’s Day, Novemer 11, 2010

It’s been over seven years since I’ve returned home from my tour of duty in Iraq.  I will definitely tell you, it was a long 18-month stint in Iraq and I came away from that experience with a lot of positive memories.

Over the years, I have had time to reflect on my military service.  I am extremely grateful that I commited to serving my country for eight years of life.  I am not going to say it was ‘easy’ all of the time, that I enjoyed every every minute of it or even, at times, questioned my reasoning for doing it.  I have come to realize that the military is not for everyone just as everyone is not cut out for the military.  All in all, I am glad to have fought for our freedom in the capacity that I did.  Every day I am thankful that I live in a free country.  I do believe there is a price tag to enjoy the freedoms that we do in the United States and I am glad that I was a part of paying that price for all of us to enjoy.

Now, Thursday, November 11, 2010, is Veteran’s Day.

I know that throughout The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business, there are numerous veterans that span through all the programs offered (i.e. FT MBA, MLHR, MBLE, MACC, Working Profesional MBA).

I offer the following challenge:  if you know someone who is currently serving, has served or has been out of the military for a LONG time, let them know how much you appreciate them and the sacrifices and service they have given to this great nation we call America.

Some of my personal favorite ‘thank you’s’ are:  “High-Five” a Veteran…or… “Hug” A Veteran.  Whatever you do to show you care and appreciate them and their service, do it.  I feel it is our patriotic duty to reach out and honor those who served in any of our armed forces branches.

What I have taken away from my whole miliary experience is this:  Its not about equal giving, its about equal sacrifice.

Below I have included some pictures from Iraq!  ENJOY!

Happy Veteran’s Day!

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

When I was growing up, my favorite day of the week was Saturday.  As a kid, life always made a lot of sense to me.  Oddly enough, I had a fuzzy understanding that Monday through Friday was meant for school.  But Saturday, now that was a different story.  Saturday was MY DAY!

I have so many great memories of Saturday morning.  I have to admit, I was a ‘tootsie pop’ for cartoons.  And for the most part, I still am (I love Tom & Jerry).  I would definitely say a large part of my young adolescent life was completely and totally dedicated to cartoon watching.  All I wanted to do was wake up early and turn on the television to watch TMNT (that would be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, by the way), GI Joe and, occasionally, sneak in an episode of Bill Nye, ‘The Science Guy’.  Nonetheless, I felt it was somewhat of a Saturday morning tradition for me.  Now, on Satudays, I like my bed and the amazing sleep that comes along with it.  Oh, how times have changed for this guy.

Now, I need to fair to the Saturday morning cartoon argument.  Sure, I had my favorite 3-4 shows I watched with religious fervor and intent.  Yet, what I remember the most about Saturday mornings was all my “not-so-favorite” shows.  Seriously, you almost had to be methodical in your approach because if you got up too late, you were gonna get stuck watching horrible cartoon television programming.  Take my word for it:  horrible cartoons = no fun.

The show that quickly became one of my “not-so-favorite” shows was, “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”.  I strongly disliked this show.  And I even more strongly disliked the “annoying, still to this day can’t get it out of my head” theme song (listen).  The basic premise of the show has you (the watcher) being agents for ACME Detective Agency attempting to thwart the featured V.I.L.E. ringleader, thieving villainess and former ACME Detective Agent, Carmen Sandiego.  The series initially focused on teaching geography and history.  All I can say to that is:  boring.  To me, Saturday mornings are meant for mindless watching of cartoons, not educational stimulation.  I felt I was getting enough of that in school.  Eh, I was 10 years old.

Now, in the month of November, I think I’m going to finally know how Carmen Sandiego “really” felt all those years while she was on the run from the ACME Detective Agency.

After a long month of interviewing at OSU for summer internships, I have been invited to some 2nd round interviews.  I feel very fortunate, humbled and excited to be considered for as many opportunities as I have thus far.  My ‘Carmen Sandiego-esque’ itinerary is as follows (so far):  Kansas City, to New York, back Cleveland and a few other places in between.

Needless to say, I am just going to take one day at a time and let the chips fall where they may.  As always, I will have to continue to balance my studies/class time/etc. around all of this traveling, but I know that’s what I signed up for.  I may feel like ‘I’m on the run’ this next month, but I am sure it will be an experience I will be sure to enjoy!