Year in Review

As the semester comes to a close, I wanted to reflect on this past year. I have learned

Take a walk through the tunnels and you’ll find some great art!

in so much in what has felt like a short amount of time. Not only did I learn a lot through my classes but I have also learned a lot about Rochester itself. I have made friends, ate great food, and experienced new places and experiences. One of the best parts about being an RIT student is not just the classes that I have taken but the memories that I have created. From my first time trying Turkish food to visiting the beautiful parks in the area to watching my first live hockey game, there has not been a shortage of things to do. I have also learned so much in my classes. Before attending RIT, I had not been in a classroom in two years! There was definitely a bit of learning curve trying to ease myself back into the swing of things. Here is what I felt helped me the most getting through this semester and hopefully it helps you too:

photo credit: https://www.ntid.rit.edu/ambassadors/about-ritntid/

  1. Time-management. I cannot stress this enough, as a student, father, and husband, I have had to balance my time and responsibilities in order to be successful at all three. My tip for time management: make productive use of your free time. Now, that is not to say that you should spending every free second studying, what I mean is that use your study time as an opportunity to be focused solely on studying. You should also make time to do things that you enjoy and socialize but do neither in excess. It is difficult but I have found that by finding balance that I have been able to do well at a variety of things instead of just one. 
  2. Connect with your classmates. This is very important because you want to have a social life and people who are going through the same things that you are that you can vent to. It is also great to have a friend in class who can share notes with you, study with you, and help you through your struggles.
  3. Sleep. I know you may feel like that all-nighter will help you but trust me it won’t. You’ll regret it. My first semester, I sacrificed sleep so that I could get more work done. I pulled all nighters and would sleep from 2:00am to 6:00am basically everyday. I got sick repeatedly because of this. It was also not necessary. By learning to manage my time I have been able to get as much work done, if not more and have been getting a lot more sleep. Again, I cannot stress this enough: all-nighters are not worth it.

This may seem difficult at first and possibly even a little broad but I believe these three things are the most important takeaways I have as first year graduate student. I hope this helps you even little bit as you go through grad school or learn techniques that work best for you. Graduate school is not easy but I can say wholeheartedly that it is worth it.

Turkish food

This weekend I had the pleasure of eating Turkish food for the first time at one of the best restaurants I’ve been to in Rochester at As Evi Turkish Cuisine. It’s nice to have some options that don’t always get accurate representation in cuisine. When the opportunity to try Turkish food presented itself, I just couldn’t turn it down.

The restaurant is a bit far from RIT and there aren’t any RIT buses that go this far out but if you have car and a willingness to commute then I highly suggest making the trip, especially if this is the first time you’ve had Turkish food.

As soon as you walk into the restaurant you feel as though you’ve crossed over from Rochester to Turkey. The restaurant is decorated with traditional Turkish decor, not the stuff you find from pottery barn that is mass produced, but beautiful pieces of pottery and artwork that are obviously hold a depth of tradition and meaning. The ambiance is great, the owner and employees are kind, and the food tastes like it is from another world.

Juicy, tender meat in bold sauces that can’t be found elsewhere on a bed of perfectly cooked rice pilaf and grilled vegetables. I got the iskender kebab, which is difficult to describe, but consists of thin shaved beef gyro meat covered in a spicy tomato gravy mixed generously with yogurt and grilled peppers. It’s the chef’s specialty and it’s easy to see why. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in visiting the restaurant. My wife got the chicken kebab, which was grilled with a dry rub of spices and served with a side of rice. Also, if you’re a big eater like myself then you’re in for a treat, the portion sizes are very generous. Even if you don’t finish it all in one sitting, the food makes for great leftovers.

Overall, the dinner was amazing. However, what really set them above the rest was

Best Baklava I have ever had!

their baklava. The baklava was warm and coated with chewy nuts. There was even syrup on the bottom with a nice crisp bite of phyllo dough on top. Texturally, it was the best baklava we had ever tasted. The nuts were minced perfectly, and the coating of syrup was not too overpowering, tasting faintly of rose water. It was topped off with crushed pistachios, which complemented the flavors of everything quite well. 

Between the phenomenal service, fair prices, and unique cuisine, it’s difficult to think of reasons why we won’t make As Evi Turkish Cuisine a regular staple in our restaurant rotation.

A Taste of Italy

Growing up in New York City, I didn’t have a Wegmans or a Walmart growing up. Places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods didn’t explode in popularity until the last ten years or so, and for many, those places were too expensive to shop anyways. I became used to

It was a beautiful day for some cannolis!

relying on corner stores and small markets for staple goods but also for things that are new and exciting. I never thought I would find something like that out of New York City, especially in the Rochester area, but I was wrong. Rubino’s Italian Market is everything and more. They have everything you are looking for, there it be ingredients or meals. They have imported dry goods like pasta and risotto, and my wife was marveling at the olive oil selection like a kid in a candy store. I felt the same way as her once we got to the bakery section. Rainbow cookies, sfingi, and cannoli all under one roof? It’s a no brainer. And I’m still basking in the beauty of their “cannoli cookie sandwich” which is sweet cannoli cream in between two chocolate chip cookies. I’ll take ten, please. If you’re trying to cook an old school Italian meal, this is the place to go. Or, if you don’t feel like cooking, but you want to eat an old school Italian meal, you’ve also come to the right place! They have a full selection of hot foods like pasta, chicken dishes, arancini, and roasted vegetables. Their hot items are available for purchase as a meal, and they also sell cold versions packaged up to be heated at home. Rubino’s is a small space (when you consider everything they have in there!) but they have filled it to the brim with a wide variety of foods. They have specialty sausages which are Rochester-renowned; a rotating selection changes based on seasons and right now they have a lamb sausage available. There’s also a regular meat counter where you can get cuts of beef, chicken, and other proteins. There’s a separate deli meat counter where you can order cold cuts and cold salads, like tortellini salad, a variety of pasta salads, and their selection of imported olives is more impressive than Wegman’s. If you want a deli sandwich, they have those too, they even have their own version of a garbage plate sub. Part of the charm of going to those little corner stores were the personalities working there, and at Rubino’s it’s no different. The family-owned business has many employees in the store that have been working there across generations, and their knowledge and their kindness know no limits. If you’re looking for an Italian product, it would be surprising if Rubino’s didn’t have it. Their selection and service are a rarity nowadays, and I have no doubt that I will continue going with my family for years to come.

A New York Slice in Rochester!

After you grow up in New York City, you have different standards for pizza. That’s just a fact. As a result of this, maybe our expectations are a little too high when it comes to getting a decent slice beyond a 646 area code. Let’s be real for a second. Those who grew up in New York City are more pizza crazy than actual Italians…even if you meet someone currently living in Italy, they won’t be as concerned about pizza as New Yorkers. And with so many pizza places in Rochester, how can you be sure that you’re making the right choice? Lucky for you, I found a really consistent pizza chain and it doesn’t require driving on the Long Island Expressway to get it.

Joe’s Brooklyn Pizza has not one but three locations in Henrietta, Perinton, and Brighton. And they deliver. But that’s not all. They have an online ordering system set

A pie from Joe’s Brooklyn Pizza!

up where you can do everything electronically without even having to pick up the phone. I love how convenient they are- many small pizza places are phone order only, and it’s not always easy to pick up the phone.

Let’s talk taste. You know it’s got that thin crust. Thin but not too chewy, there’s still a nice crunch when you bite into it and even browning with the bottom crust. The cheese is layered on the dough perfectly and is not overly cheesy at all. I would say that Joe’s Brooklyn Pizza is the closest to New York City style pizza that I’ve had so far in Rochester.

However, another pizza place that’s worth checking out is Salvatore’s. The pizza is very good and they make pizza pies as well as sheet pan pizza (which you’ll probably encounter at some during your time at RIT.) There is also a great selection of desserts and if you are fan of donuts like I am then you will LOVE Salvatore’s. They have excellent donuts with all sorts of exciting flavors. And if you’ve never had beef pepperoni before then you have to try it at Salvatore’s. It’s delicious. They also have great wings if you are into that sort of thing.

There are many other pizza places in Rochester but if I had to pick the two that come close a New York City slice of pizza I would recommend these two pizzerias. I know it’s going to be hard going somewhere other than your neighborhood pizza place for some pizza but trust me when I say you’ll feel like you’re back at home after eating pizza from either Joe’s or Salvatore’s.

 

Korean BBQ in Rochester!

Ever since I moved to Rochester I have been overwhelmed with the sheer number of restaurants that I feel obligated to try. There is so much variety, whether you’re looking for African food, Asian food, Spanish food, there are so many unique and locally owned restaurants to get your fix of diverse offerings. A cuisine that I had been wanting to dive into for a while but wasn’t sure where to start: Korean food. Fortunately for me, there are several places in the Rochester area alone that could fulfill my cravings. I decided to check out Seoul House on West Henrietta road, and I wasn’t disappointed. When we went, it was actually late at night just an hour before they were set to close. But the staff was as kind and accommodating as ever. The decor is beautiful; the inside has a lot of wood accents and beautiful plants placed throughout the waiting and dining area. We were greeted warmly as soon as we arrived, and I noticed throughout the meal, several different staff members came to check on us, look at the baby, and engage with us in a way that you don’t experience in most restaurants. The waitstaff was attentive, very detailed in explaining every dish, and helped us navigate what felt like an endless stream of options at our disposal. In the end, we decided on the Korean

Grilling beef and onions!

barbecue option for two, where they provide you with a whole spread of condiments, pickled vegetables, onions to grill, and of course, beef, chicken, and shrimp to grill on the table. Generally when you go out to eat, you don’t want to cook. But my wife and I had a lot of fun grilling everything. We went a little crazy and started grilling the vegetables too. Pro tip: grill the beef short rib inside of the onion, it will give it a very complex flavor as everything caramelizes. They made it easy for us in terms of preparation, everything was pre-cut and seasoned, we just had to place it on the grill and char it to our desired level of doneness. Several varieties of kimchi were waiting for us and we combined the condiments with everything we had grilled for a truly unique flavor. I can’t speak for the other Korean restaurants in the area, but if you’re looking for a place to try out the cuisine for the first time, Seoul House would be the place to go. They have the friendliest staff, a ton of options, and their food is seasoned so well. We had a wonderful experience there and can’t wait to go back again.

 

College Student Hacks for Wegmans!

One of the best parts of going to school in the Rochester area is undoubtedly all the Wegmans locations that are available. There are so many, for literally every occasion. Although each Wegmans stocks the same products, for the most part, each one has their little quirks that make them special. Several Wegmans locations within a short drive of RIT even have restaurants built-in.

The Pub at the Wegmans in Perinton

In the Perinton location, there’s the Pub, great for bar food and fried foods. The Pittsford location boasts the burger bar, and across the street is the “Next Door” restaurant. If you have the emotional strength to deal with the parking lot at the East Ave location, your reward can be trying out their Italian restaurant, Amoré. Because you will seriously need some comfort food after trying to secure a parking spot there. It will test you in ways you can’t imagine. But it is worth it. Some of the Wegmans locations have blessed us enough to have side lot parking (shoutout to the Calkins road location), usually located near the cafe entrance. There are fewer spots available but it typically gets less traffic than the main lot, and the spots are much closer to the cafe entrance compared to the main ones, so in weather like this (I’m looking at you, -20 degree windchill!) it really does make a difference and the feeling return to your toes much quicker when you’re not parking so far away. If you hate traffic, like I do, you can go at 9pm when it’s less hectic. Hey, you can even go at 11pm. 3am! Nothing is stopping you except for your own limitations because Wegmans is one of the few grocery stores that remains open for 24 hours. Don’t expect to queue up to the sub line or get some fresh soup if you’re rolling up to the store at 2am, but they will still have all of their prepackaged items available, and of course, the groceries, which is why you’re going in the first place right?

Speaking of subs, AKA submarine sandwiches for those who don’t know, Wegmans happens to make delicious ones. They make hot and toasty pressed subs as well as the cold ones. And I’ll let you in on a little secret: that delicious bread they use? It’s actually the same bread that they use at DiBella’s sandwich shops. So when that sub craving hits and the DiBella’s can’t be found, Wegmans has got your back. If you decide to be an adult and prepare your food instead of just buying, Wegmans has so many things that they do to make it easy for you. Need some carrots spiralized for that veggie spaghetti you’ve been telling yourself you’d try to make for the last 3 weeks? No problem. Got a whole chicken you want to butterfly, but don’t have the giant meat cleaver at home or the willingness to send poultry juice flying all over your kitchen with each hack of the knife? Wegmans has you covered. For pretty much anything. I haven’t been able to come up with something yet that they won’t do for me.

Last but not least, Wegmans makes it so easy for you to save money. Their store brand is as high quality as anything in there, and significantly cheaper. Just as an example, their Wegmans brand organic pasta imported from Italy and specialty balsamic vinegar and olive oils are such high quality and at a reasonable price point especially when you look at other brands and what they expect. Wegmans also offers digital coupons through their Shoppers Club program that are easy to sign up for and redeem. This is another one of the many things that makes Wegmans a great place to shop for college students because of how much they truly value their customers.

#myRITstory – Susan Wylie

Graduate Program – Master of Architecture, M.Arch

As a Rochester native Susan Wylie did not need to adjust to living in a new area when she began her graduate studies. However, Wylie did have to readjust to being in a classroom again after working professionally for 25 years. Prior to attending RIT, Wylie had not been in a classroom for almost 30 years. Although it was a difficult transition for her at first because of the use of technology in the classroom and difference in teaching methods, Susan successfully overcame these obstacles and graduated with her Master of Architecture in December 2017.

As a student at RIT, Wylie worked with a professor for a semester and attended events hosted by the architecture department. Because of her responsibilities and coursework she spent almost every day on campus. She also completed a co-op with Bero Architecture located in Rochester, NY which was also a collaboration with the Landmark Society of Western, NY. Wylie recalls her co-op favorably stating that, “The experience did help me in terms of seeing how a firm operates and coordinates its work. Also, the people at both Bero and the Landmark Society were terrific.”

In addition to earning a Master in Architecture, Wylie is a licensed attorney and is searching for a job that will allow her to utilize both her legal and architectural skills. She still resides in the Rochester area with her family and speaks fondly of her time spent RIT, “It is a fantastic institution, and I am excited to watch the school continue to grow and to have great influence in our community and beyond!”

If you are interested in the Master of Architecture program you can find more information by clicking on the link below:

Master of Architecture

 

 

 

First Semester in Review

by Imran Mahmood, MBA student

As a student who has not set foot in a classroom in two years it was a very jarring experience to be in a classroom again. It was even more nerve wracking considering I studied English and not business during my undergrad years. I had no idea what to expect. I had all of these thoughts racing through my mind: “this is the real deal,” “this is going to be tougher than undergrad,” “the professors are going to be unforgiving and strict.” As you can see, I was very nervous on my first day. However, my thoughts and what graduate was really like, could not be more different. First off, the professors have been great this semester. They have been accommodating, kind, and very knowledgeable.I have had a great experience this semester and there are so many reasons I can attribute it to. I’ve met great people, made friends, connected with professors, and learned a great deal. Don’t get me wrong, it is a lot of work. There were a lot of late nights and a lot of frustration but it was all worth it.

In my MBA program I have learned so much about business that I can hardly believe that I’ve only studied for one semester. Before this semester, I would have told you that accounting is something that I would never do. But that changed after this semester, I am taking an accounting class with Professor Pellegrino and I learned that accounting isn’t the number-crunching, soul-sucking experience that I thought it would be. I had no idea that debits and credits could be so much fun! I am also taking an intro to marketing course with Professor Dwyer and it made me even more interested in marketing than I was before. Lastly, my business ethics and organizational behavior courses are taught by the same professor, Professor Barbato. His classes have been an otherworldly experience for me. He keeps you engaged and entertained as he dissects case studies and then connects them psychological studies or classic philosophers.

As you can tell, I have really enjoyed my first semester of graduate school. Despite the constant barrage of reading, homework assignments, projects, and exams this has been a fun and rewarding experience. I have grown a lot through my experiences in graduate school. I have met people from the Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya just to name a few countries. I have learned about positioning statements and balance sheets. Before the start of this semester those words were just jargon to me and now I use those words almost daily. It’s crazy to think that just a few months ago I was an excited and extremely nervous student starting graduate school. Now, I am someone that almost has semester under his belt and ready for the next one.

Need Some Coffee? Check out These Great Spots!

It might be a cliché that students always want coffee, but whether it’s due to the massive workload we have or the fact that we probably haven’t gotten much sleep, coffee is how many graduate students get through their day.
If you’re like me, you’re bored of the typical Starbucks/ Dunkin’ Donuts/ Tim Hortons offerings and wondering what  else is out there, especially as we get closer and closer to final exams. I decided to look for other alternatives that were smaller companies or locally owned favorites.

Glen Edith Coffee Roasters on Park Ave has some really good breakfast options (how can you go wrong with avocado toast and a runny egg? You can’t) and their coffee is very, very good. A favorite of mine is their iced vanilla latte, served in a glass jar. But if you’re looking for something a bit more unique, they also have other offerings such as lavender or chamomile flavors available at times. Another cafe with really robust, unique caffeinated offerings happens to be right in front of it, on the street running parallel. Cafe Sasso not only has really unique coffee flavors (might I suggest “The Honey Bear?) They also have a wide variety of baked goods, they have both vegan and non-vegan offerings, and their muffins and cookies are among some of my favorites. If you’re hungry for more than dessert, they even have a wide variety of salads and pressed sandwiches, making it much more than your typical coffee shop. A cafe that I discovered more recently, the Village Bakery, actually has multiple locations but the one in Pittsford is where I have been the most. Their coffee is artful and delicious, their

Even the coffee cups in Village Bakery look great!

baked goods are incredible-their half moons are offered year round, and they’re easily the star of the show. Recently I tried the salted caramel pumpkin cheesecake, and it was as good as it sounds. They also have egg sandwiches, deli sandwiches or paninis, and salads. They offer some very interesting flavors, like dried cranberry mayo, which happens to go great on a turkey sandwich.

If you’re looking for somewhere different to hang out and study as final exams approach but aren’t into spending time at chains every day, these local shops have a really great selection of coffee, brunch fare, and pastries that really set them apart from the usual places.

Coming from NYC to Rochester? Here Are Five Things You Should Know!

by Imran Mahmood, MBA student

  1. You will no longer have to deal with the treacherous MTA. If you have ever had the “privilege” of riding with the MTA then you know all about the infamous MTA delays. Well thankfully here at RIT you know longer have to deal with that! You’ll even be able to have your own seat(pretty sweet, right?) Would you believe there’s more? You’ll even be able to have room to breathe! Amazing, right?
  2. Miss all the sites and attractions at NYC? Well, Rochester is home to quite a few great ones. The Strong Museum of Play is home to the World Video Game Hall of Fame, the National Toy Hall of Fame, and houses many other great exhibits. This is is a great place to go if you want to feel like a kid again. If you’re into photography then I recommend the George Eastman Museum which is the world’s oldest photography museum! There’s also the Seneca Park Zoo which is 20 acres and has over 90 different species, including red pandas, elephants, and giraffes. You can also watch the Rochester Amerks, which is a minor league hockey team, play at the Blue Cross Arena.
  3. Tired of NYC traffic? Want to drive without feeling like an unwilling participant in the Fast and the Furious? Then Rochester is great for you. Gone are the days of waiting several minutes on the Long Island Expressway just to move a few inches. Thankfully, the roads here in Rochester are a lot less congested and the drivers are a lot less aggressive.
  4. Tired of walking through the concrete jungle and want to see some actual grass? Here in Rochester,

    Here’s a photo of the beautiful highland park!

    there are plenty of parks to visit with your friends and loved ones. My favorite park to visit is Highland Park. Highland Park is home to 500 varieties of flowering shrubs, a collection of exotic trees, 1200 lilac shrubs, the Lamberton Conservatory, and even a castle! I would definitely suggest checking out Highland Park, it’s not as big as Central Park but it is as exciting to visit. There are also other parks in Rochester that are worth checking out such as Genesee Valley Park and Corbett’s Glen Park.

  5. Okay, so maybe all of those great things I mentioned earlier aren’t enough. Maybe you want to see more. Well, guess what? Rochester is close to some other cool places to visit. Want to visit Canada? Well, Toronto is only about two and a half hours away from Rochester. This could be a great destination for a weekend trip. You could also visit Buffalo which is another great city to visit. If you’re an NFL or NHL fan the Buffalo Bills and Sabres are only about an hour away from Rochester. If you’re into theater, Shea’s Performing Arts Center is another great place to check out. There are many Broadway shows that are performed there, such as Aladdin and Hamilton! You’ll get Broadway-level performances for a lot less than you would pay in NYC.