Beating the cold

“It’s currently 7 degrees, but with the windchill it feel about 5 degrees below zero.” OK, not exactly what I wanted to hear waking up and getting ready for class. Coming off a long weekend filled with leisurely studying made the news even more painful.

But, no matter the temperature outside, we are already in our 3rd week of the term and classes are in full swing. Cases are due within days, project deadlines are approaching, two midterms on Monday and my operations homework is due on Thursday.

Don’t forget the internship search is in full swing and interviews are popping up every week. Fisher keeps students on their toes and constantly growing and improving… However, it’s not all work and studying!

After about 18 weeks of being in class together, I know and love my core group. We have a system in place for projects and it seems to be working on very well. All the first years have figured out ways to study and prepare for class – even good ol’ finance. Our social chairs host great events that allow the class to mingle and relax at the end of the week.

If looking to get off campus for a bit, I am happy to report the Columbus Blue Jackets have (finally) returned – and starting the season off strong. You can always take a Short North Walking tour and experience the incredible food of the North Market. I love the Arena District, and they always have something exciting going out to beat the cold and snow.

Bottom line? No time for winter blues here at Fisher.  

Under the Weather

Actually, if you talk to a number of people in the program, you’d hear the opposite: they’re “so over the weather”.  Yes, friends, we’ve just started to get some more snow over the past two days.  Heh.  In the melodic words of Bachman-Turner Overdrive: “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet”.

As for me, since starting on our student health insurance plan, I have encountered three occasions that required prescription meds.  The most recent occurred this week.  The quarter started on Monday and by Tuesday afternoon in Cost Accounting, I could tell my cold was developing into something more.  I hoped for the best (2pm) and opted to see how things developed.  By 8pm that night, I was miserable and opted to inform my roommate of that fact every couple of minutes.  He knew I was sick but had no idea to what extent . . . until I grabbed a flashlight and had him glance at the back of my throat.  Sparing you the details, I’ll leave it at: it was quite a mess.

Here’s the thing: as students, we have health coverage for doctors appointments and unanticipated illness.  We can make appointments to be seen at the Wilce Health Center… which is fine and dandy as long as you don’t need to be seen outside of the hours of 8am-5pm M-F or 8am-noon on Saturdays (unless there’s a football game and then you’re out of luck).  Appointments are meant to be scheduled in advance.  Unfortunately, many of us can’t pre-plan when we’re going to really need to see a doctor.  Considering that, you can call in the morning and try to get seen the same day.  I had to do that in October and it happened to work out extremely well.  That time, I called at 7:30am and got a lab appt followed by a doctor’s appointment within about an hour.  The process there went like clockwork: all ran on time and I was in and out within about an hour.  There’s a pharmacy on site and I was good to go.  That was October . . .

. . . flash back to the nastiness of my throat infection on a Tuesday night ….

After seeing the mess my throat became, my roommate was a bit freaked out and worried (it really was nasty) and believed I should seek more immediate medical attention rather than wait until 7:30am and try to score an appointment at the health center.  By this time (10pm), the alternative treatment options listed on the website had all closed for the day… all except for one: the OSU Medical Center Emergency Room.

Desperate times call for desperate measures . . . but I really did not want to be one of “those people” tying up emergency resources for something non-critical (it’s not like I had a severed arm).  I was really on the fence: my situation was becoming increasingly dire and I didn’t want to be up a proverbial creek the next morning unable to attend class AND unable to get an appointment.  For reassurance, I called the phone number listed and spoke with a delightful woman named Nicole.  She said they’ve treated people with less serious issues; if I wanted to come in to see a doctor I should.  Given that, I opted to give it a go and head over there . . . knowing the wait would likely be a long one.  I wasn’t mistaken.  My roommate, aspiring for sainthood, chose to accompany me.  By 3am we were at a 24-hr CVS picking up my prescriptions.  We woke up at 7am to make it to classes (8:30am start).

The first time I needed to see a doctor was a few days after our insurance began but a couple of weeks before school was actually in session.  I did not have my student insurance card yet and was unsure of how everything worked.  Luckily, there is a lot of pertinent information listed on the OSU web and I was able to reach the website of the administrator of our student insurance plan.  On their site, I registered and gained immediate access to a version of my insurance card.  With a printout in hand, I visited a local urgent care center (the Wilce Health Center wasn’t open; it was a weekend during break) and was taken care of rather promptly.  The only dismay came when getting my prescription filled: if you don’t do it at the pharmacy on campus, the cost is out of pocket.  Luckily, I was still on my previous employer’s insurance and could use their prescription coverage to make ends meet.

So, to quickly summarize: OSU has outstanding facilities and services available to students.  With pre-planning, all works like clockwork.  Unexpected illness can be dealt with rather timely although a small wait could be involved.  Our medical staff and support personnel are professional, courteous, and very patient-oriented.  They are truly a first-class operation at the OSU Medical Center as well as the Wilce Health Center.  I am very happy with the treatment I’ve received and I’m confident you will be too.  To me, it is just one more reason to illustrate the power of a large research university backing an intimate and individual MBA program like Fisher.  You get the best of both worlds.

It’s All Relative

One thing I guarantee you: it snows in Ohio.  Being from the Cleveland area, I don’t think it snows much in Columbus.  However, I forget how many people aren’t used to snow . . . and how many of my classmates have never seen snow before (much less driven in it).  This year, the weather turned colder earlier than usual and we’ve had snow accumulation for at least a week.  Right now I’d guess we have only 2-3 inches on the ground… which really translates to nothing major… especially if you’re from Minnesota (where they received a couple of feet within a single day last weekend).  My roommate is from France: according to him it was a blizzard.  What can I say?  It’s all relative.

Speaking of my roommate, he accompanied me home for Thanksgiving.  From my perspective, it was really neat to be able to extend a warm welcome to a friend that has never celebrated such a holiday.  Thanksgiving is an American custom that I’ve taken for granted all my life.  When I think of “Americans”, I don’t consider us to have a culture per se.  We all come from different backgrounds and heritages – which means many of us still practice the customs and traditions our ancestors did.  It was nice to realize that, as Americans, we share a common bond and tradition that dates back a few hundred years.  Nicer was the fact that my father decided to cook the turkey Martha Stewart-style (he covered it with cheesecloth) and it came out beautifully (my roommate took the picture to prove it).  Along with preparing a fine meal, my dad set the table and decorated the dining room with harvest-time colors and patterns.  I felt quite proud when my roommate first saw it and whispered “It reminds me of home”.  Being far away from loved ones for an extended amount of time has got to be difficult.  I’m glad I was able to share my family with him… surrogate relatives.

Final grades just finished posting = fall quarter is officially in the books.  One thing that can throw you for a bit of a loop in b-school is the way you are graded.  Grades are distributed on a forced curve with the average at B+.  Being the achievers we are, we aren’t exactly used to being average . . . much less *below* average.  Sadly, the fact of the matter is: someone has to be below average (technically, half of us).  What you’ll need to figure out, amongst many other things, is how much effort you need to spend on your academic work in order to achieve the standing you want… and then hope all of your cohort teammates share the same goal.  Grades aren’t everything but they do matter.  Realistically, your final grades should come as no major surprise… most of the time.  By the reactions I’m reading on Facebook, many of us got surprised by at least one of our grades (class varied by individual).  Inherently, your calculated percentage could normally equate to an A- but you get a B+ in the class.  Why?  Because it depends how the rest of your classmates scored.  So, as much as you want to celebrate each others’ successes, you also want to stay near the top of the pack.  Yes friends, it is all relative.

Turkey Martha-style

the table is set for Thanksgiving

Let It Snow

Long before I got to know anything else about Ohio, this state is famous for its annual amount of snow, in my perspective. I have been pretty convinced of this belief judging on the snows I experienced since I moved into Columbus. Snow accumulated during the past two weeks is more than a foot deep, almost reaching knee height. And, school is closed today.

But, what I am going to say is, I like the snow in Columbus, not because of the class cancellation, but the way it snows. Born in Guangzhou in southern China, a city that hasn’t snowed for more than a century, I was not used to snow and cold weathers. The couple years spent in New York have made me hate snowing enough. Most of the snow in NYC came in the form of snow and shower. Whether you have an umbrella or not, the rain, the snow, and the droughts would guarantee a messy day. Muddy slush, traffic sprays, and water hollows with illusive “solid” looks are everybody’s nightmare. There was hardly a snow that I could truly enjoy because everything becomes wet and ugly, and making snow angels was most unlikely.

Compare to that in NYC, the snow in Columbus is way fancier! Most importantly, it is rarely snow and shower. The air is fresh and crisp when it snows here. As a result, the snow usually falls down as fine granules, instead of large clusters. Sometimes it even floats down in light single complete snowflakes. The large amount of snow is not totally due to heavy snows. Once entered into winter, snow falls down almost every day, loosely and slowly. Walking out-door everyday with snowflakes quietly landing on your shoulders, your hands, is as common as seeing birds flying above in the sky and watching squirrels running across. These little scenes are not annoying, but more likely to add a blend of refreshing taste in your day.

Well well well, I know people are going to complain about all these thoughts because I am a person without a car and live close to campus. But no matter where you are, if you have a car to shovel, you have a car to shovel. My point is, if there has to be some snow, I would rather have it here than in somewhere else. So, let it snow, let it snow. =)

Kid’s story: New Priorities

Timeline: Tuesday morning

I see: snow

I hear: Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F

I smell: good 🙂

I feel: like I have a lot of time available today

School was canceled today due to the snow storm, but I assume plenty has been or will be posted about it, so I won’t dwell on that. We are on a level 2 storm watch, which means “drive only if strictly necessary”, and which I understand as “be smart and just stay home”.

I haven’t posted of late since my priorities have somewhat shifted for this quarter. During autumn, my top priority was definitely keeping up with the topics that were taught and to have enough free time to do extracurricular stuff outdoors (by outdoors I simply mean elsewhere other than my house; a bar counts as outdoors for me). During winter, those two things have been stuck in the very bottom of the pile, giving way to my internship search and some research of my own. I have eliminated my outdoor activities almost completely given three facts:

  • Most of my outdoor activities take place at night and they imply that I don’t drive, but I really don’t want to spend money on cabs. Also, I’ve been a little bit out of the loop for carpooling or sharing a cab for some reason.
  • I’m getting old, definitely. I used to be able to be outdoors Wednesday evening to Sunday morning nonstop; now I generally feel too tired to actually go outside.
  • The weather is not too welcoming either, and going out implies big jacket, scarf, gloves, sweater, and so on; which become bulky at a bar or club.

So I’ve searched for a summer internship. The main problem is that I’m an international student and it’s legal for companies to discriminate based on employment eligibility. Now, you might know that we don’t need visa sponsorship for an internship, but since companies offer internships hoping to transform them into full-time employment offers, they will simply shut us out without even looking at our curricula vitae. As I said, this is perfectly legal, unlike other forms of discrimination. Naturally, the Office of Career Management can do (and actually does) little more than say “keep your hopes up”.

Of course, you may look for an internship with the government, which I have, but they will not pay the internships. It would seem that an MBA is thought of as something that pays the rent and food and costs nothing in itself, but that’s definitely not my case, so those are not viable options.

Despite all this, there are several promising opportunities, and I must say that dedicating time and effort to it has been at least partially rewarding. As of right now, I have received no offers, but the outlook seems less bleak every day.

In other news, I have an engineering project going on this quarter, which I’m very pleased with despite all the complaints from our faculty adviser about how we have no idea what we’re doing. Also, I start teaching again next Saturday, and I’m really looking forward to it. I will try to go back to my weekly posting routine during Lent, which starts tomorrow.

Below are some pictures of what it looks like outside today. I made them really small so that this thing didn’t cut them off but they’re still getting cut off. Oh, well. Enjoy.

“Did you miss me? Be honest!”  – the Genie.

Does $30,000 a year include snow removal?

Apparently it does not. At least not today.

For the past ten years, I have been asking Santa Claus to bring the City of Columbus a snow plow and some rock salt. Santa is not real, though, and that is why we continue to plow our own paths on highways and side streets to school and work.

However, because it is great in so many ways, I expected more from our University. I thought the greatness would include safe and luxurious travel through the parking lots. Maybe they were cleared earlier today, but when I arrived to class at 3:00 this afternoon and left at 8:00, me and Hyundai played snow plow again, to and fro our $7,000 winter classes. So all I am asking is this:

Dear Santa Claus, or President Gordon Gee, could we please have a clear and salty parking lot this year?  Thank you!


Well, the habitual “check your grades every 2 hours” has commenced. In light of being done with my first quarter as a graduate student, I figured I would prepare for everyone for winter by listing the biggest misconceptions about Ohio winters.

1. It’s really not the worst winter out there. Sure, the snow is horrible and the roads are never clear enough, but let me tell you about Michigan. In one night, they got over 3 inches, in the morning, at 10:00, the roads still weren’t that great and even the ones that had been cleared had snow drifts over them. If you want bad weather, drive up 23 approximately 230 miles.

2. Don’t let the sun fool you. While it may be sunny, it still is only -5 degrees out, and freezing. Cold enough that my Columbia coat makes crinkle noises when I move.

3. Don’t be fooled. Even though it may be raining one day, this does not necessarily mean it will be raining, or even above freezing tomorrow (or even later that day). Always expect the worst, and if you don’t like the weather, just wait 2 or 3 hours and it will change.

4. Even though there are hills in Ohio, there is still a lot of wind. The wind is the worst part.

5. Don’t bother taking your car to the car wash. Next week it will be covered in salt again, even if it doesn’t snow. We Ohioans like to stay prepared, just in case.

Stay warm out there. Congrats to everyone for finishing the quarter. I know it was rough for some of us, but the first one’s out of the way. Just think, we are 1/6 finished with our degree! In 6 months, we will be half way there!