Monthly Archives: November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, it’s officially time for students to do a happy dance- Thanksgiving break is here!  We wanted to take a moment and thank all of our readers- we are always so excited to share our information, and our students stories, with you.  We love your feedback. We are also so thankful for our students! You make every day fun for us, and it makes all of us so happy to see you grow, both personally and professionally!  We wish everyone a safe, happy, and fun Thanksgiving break!Dance Turkey


What to Avoid When Writing Your Cover Letter

Recently, we’ve had numerous students come in, stressing over their resumes and, in turn, their cover letters. They work hard to match their cover letters to each job posting, carefully pinpointing why they are the perfect candidate. When a student sees what goes into writing a cover letter, they find the process to be fairly easy and less intimidating. However, just as there are things that every cover letter SHOULD include, there are also things a cover letter SHOULD NOT include. Our friends at Careerealism have a great post on the six blunders you shouldn’t have in a cover letter. You can see the excellent examples- and explanations- in their article here: In essence, the six blunders are:

1. Writing a cover letter that is too self-serving
2. Coming off as overly desperate
3. Adding details that are irrelevant
4. Not proofreading and seeming careless
5. Writing a lacking, or too short cover letter
6. Alternatively, writing a lengthy cover letter

A cover letter is clearly about content and conveying how you would be an asset in a given role. However, just as there are things to avoid in a resume, there are also things to avoid in your cover letter. Remember your cover letter and resume are your first impression, and you don’t want either to put you in the “No” pile!

One Semester in Edinburgh almost done and a long Break to plan

Hey everyone,

Wow, I can’t believe my first semester in Edinburgh is almost done, what an amazing amount of memories and adventures. Oh and the loads of work too. Finely got finished with some last large essays, but still one more essay and 2 exams to go till this semester is done.

Ah yes Edinburgh, what a city! But I am having the feeling like I want to travel a bit more too. A few nights ago I planed my month long Winter Break. My friend Oscar Newlands from Cambridge and I tried to figure it all out. Exams end on the 10th of December so on the 11th we’re heading to Melrose Abby and Lindisfarne which is just South of us, and there we’ll be checking out the ruins and the old location of where the Vikings first invaded England. From the 12th to the 16th I’ll go visit my cousin and his family in Northern Ireland and then my friend from Warrenpoint, Ireland who did his study abroad year at our Albright College. In that freshman year that I met him, David Heatley and I became really close friends, so I’m really psyched to see him again after a year and he and the girl, Cathy Lavery, who took his place my sophomore year are going to take me around to a few places in Ireland, and hopefully visit the set of Game of Thrones! Then I return to Edinburgh on the 17th and the next day my friend from Cambridge, Oscar Newlands, will be taking a 3 day long adventure in Orkney, which, if you don’t know the map of Scotland, is the Island right off the top tip. There are a lot of Neolithic ruins there that two historians like us couldn’t miss. Then we return to Edinburgh and we’ll both make our way to his home in Cambridge where I’ll stay for Christmas. So from the 21st of December to the 3rd of January we’ll be at his home in Cambridge and we may take a few trips to close cities in the UK. We hope to be in London on New Year’s Eve. Then when the 4th of January comes around we’ll visit our flat mate who will be staying in Berlin for break and we’ll hang around the city till we leave back for London on the 7th. So between the 7th and the 12th, when classes start up, we’ll be in London/Cambridge or any other city that’s close in Southern England. So It’ll be quite hectic, but hopefully a lot of fun! Can’t wait!

Cheers, Alexio

My and the guys eating burgers right outside the Rugby Stadium where we saw Scotland beat Argentina, what an exciting game!

Amanda Kopil: My next steps after graduating from Albright


The end is near! I mean this in the best way possible, however. My very first semester as a graduate student has come and is passing me by before my eyes. Although, I believe when semesters go by in a flash that is an indication that it was a good one! Great, new beginnings are in the horizon for me I believe. I am officially going to the American Meteorology Society (AMS) conference in Phoenix, AZ this January. This was an opportunity that I could not pass up. I will be attending with my adviser and fellow graduate students for a week. At the conference, I plan on networking until I fall over! Networking is such an important aspect of a professional career because those one-time connections could be the gate to a new career. There are some important things to keep in mind while I am attending this conference and meeting tons of people: keep copies of my resume on hand, always dress presentable, have an elevator speech prepared, and maintain a strong persona (and handshake!).

Feeling the end of the semester coming reminds me to reflect on everything that happened. I somehow learned the in’s and out’s of accounting and finance (who would have thought!), which I was very nervous to learn. Accounting and finance is very much out of my science-y comfort zone. This is the one online course that was required for my program. It has surprisingly taught me more than expected and I am very glad I was able to take it. My sustainability course turned out to be a well-respected favorite. My professor for the course is constantly assisting me with my field experience practicum (internship) search and it has been much appreciated. It is really important to never be afraid to speak with your professors about new opportunities; you never know what kind of connections they have! This always includes your advisor. A student’s advisor can be the most useful tool in their college years. Ask questions, get involved with their research, and take time to analyze ideas with your advisor. My advisor is the reason I am attending the AMS conference this January and I could not be more grateful for his recommendations. As long as you always take a strong leadership role in your life, you will be successful.

Amy Rader, Paris, France

So the halfway point has come and gone.  Since my last post, so many things have happened.  I took a trip to Normandy and visited Mont St. Michel and the Omaha beaches.  It was an incredible experience.  We were able to walk on the sand surrounding the city.  It was awesome.  Since it was low tide, the sand was wet and gross but it was beautiful anyways.  There were spots of quicksand, so we had a guide.  The Omaha beaches were absolutely gorgeous.  It was also a very emotional place with the American cemetery.  It truly was a place of history.

Mont St. Michel

Omaha Beaches

Since then, I have been working on checking off things on my list of all the things I want to do before I leave Paris.   I visited the Tulieries garden, Place de la Concorde (where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were beheaded), La Madeleine, Les Invalides (where Napoleon is buried) and Cemetery du Pere Lachaise.  All these places are beautiful and so interesting.  I am continuing to check things off my list.  I also went to a haunted house for Halloween.  It was terrifying.  I really don’t do good with horror or scary things, I don’t even really know why I went.  It was free, so maybe that’s why. I probably won’t do that ever again.

For the past week, I had a vacation from school for All Saint’s Day.  I went to Lisbon, Portugal to visit a good friend who lives there.  I was there for 8 days and it was great.  I got to see so much of the city and the coast of Portugal.  I also had a chance to relax, which was much needed.  Being in Portugal  was the first time in my life that I was in a country where I knew NONE of the language.  It was also my 4th country to eat McDonald’s in.  I don’t know if I should be proud of that or not. It might be more after I go to London this weekend.  Anyway, Portugal was so warm, 75-80 everyday.  The sun was always shining.  I visited the most western place in all of continental Europe.  Being on the coast was incredibly beautiful. I’d love to go back someday.

Sintra, Portugal

Carmo Ruins, Lisbon, Portugal

Belem, Portugal and Boca de Inferno(top right)

Lisbon Cathedral, Castelo de Sao Jorge, Portugal

Moor Castle Ruin (my favorite place in all of Portugal)

So as I said, I am going to London tomorrow. I’m so excited.  I’ll let you know how it goes!!

Willpower: One Now, Two Later

We’ve recently started getting emails from a personal branding specialist named Michael Peggs. In his blog, he shares his experiences and translates them into ways to help those who are job searching. In a recent blog post, he discussed The Marshmallow Test. In this exercise, kindergarteners were given the option of having one marshmallow now, or waiting fifteen minutes and getting two marshmallows. As you can imagine, the kindergarteners struggled with the concept of waiting!

However, even as grownups, we still struggle with waiting and self-control. It’s important to remember that willpower and persistence always pay off! It’s difficult to accept delayed gratification, because who wouldn’t want instant gratification? The reward is sweeter, though, when you’ve had to worker harder and longer to achieve your goals. Never give up, and never cut corners and take the easy way out. Things will happen that are out of your control, and may delay your dreams from coming true, but when they do come true, you’ll be even more excited about your accomplishment because you overcame all of the obstacles that stood in your way.

To read more about The Marshmallow Test and Michael Peggs’ reaction to it, check out the blog post here:

Amanda Kopil: My next steps after graduating from Albright


Everything at work and school is finally really flowing smoothly. I am able to go to work and have a very successful day and get a lot of stuff done. It is always an awkward period when starting a new job. Your not sure how to work throughout the day or just the little things that makes the day go by quicker. Now that I have been there for a couple of months I know some of the professors, administration, and students. One of the big events that I have been putting together, the Science Lectureship, is on November 20th so it is approaching. I am very excited because I sent the invitations, organized registrations, and worked on a lot of small details. I will be working all day with a slight break for class. I will be working registration, ushering during the lecture, and just making sure everything runs smoothly. Working so hard on a project, then seeing it all come together is the best feeling!

My classes are going very well also. I really feel like I got the hang of online classes. I was so nervous at first to take two online classes for the first time but I really have mastered it! My secret is to schedule the assignments in your planner for the day before it is due so you will not forget. I do all of my online course work on the same day at the same time and I make sure it is all finished. The hardest part about the online classes is making sure you do not forget to do what the professor asks because there is not a constant reminder of your course. I do not have to work or go to school on Mondays so I dedicate my day to homework. This way I feel as though the online class is on Mondays and I have to get my work done! My sustainability class is going great. I love the discussions that we have in class they are all very interesting. My classmates all come from different undergraduate backgrounds so that is what makes the discussions so intense. I am finding that I really do love what I have started with this new program.

Halloween in Edinburgh!!!!

Hi everyone,

So since last I wrote I have had another world of experiences. I do have to say that I haven’t been doing too much traveling around Europe or the United Kingdom for that fact, but I could say that I know Edinburgh really well now. In past blogs I spoke about how I take long walks around the city that go on for five or six hours long. Well those walks are still happening and I feel so comfortable about getting around Edinburgh and knowing what road will get me where and which is the fastest route to places. And all of this even just after two months. So with the additional eight months to go, I’ll end up knowing Edinburgh better than I know my own New York City haha! But no matter how many times I walk along the same streets it still has not become boring, not by a long shot. I truly love this city. When this whole experience is over with I’ll love to come back years later and walk the streets again and allow all the memories to flood back into my mind. One for example was something I just did last night with one of my best friends over here who’s from Cambridge. So I had to go to my bank to take out money, but it was 5 pm and so I asked my friend to join me for this half hour walk. He agreed but he could not be bothered to change out of his dress and gown (pajamas) so while we walked through the busiest streets in the city (equivalent to New York City’s Time Square) we caught the eye of many people and had a mix of confusion and laughter from people. So with this we decided to make an event out of it, so we decided to record this experience and take photos of my friend in front of many the memorials and monuments in the city, here are a few of the photos from that night:   

Oh and I nearly forgot, Halloween! I have not had such a great Halloween like this one in years. On the 30th our accommodation and a few others bought out a club called The Caves. This club was once an old wine cellar and it looks so cool and archaic. So we all went there in our crazy costumes and had an amazing time. I went dressed up as the Phantom of the Opera and I also almost won a costume contest there. But the guy dressed as Nessie won, and honestly I really liked his outfit so he deserved the win. Here are a few pictures from that night:

Our crew before we leave for the party

Me in the Caves dressed as Phantom of the Opera

My friend boogying in the Caves club before the crowd arrives.

All of my friends from my accommodation partying on stage

Nessie who won the costume contest

3 nominees of the costume contest. You can see me on the stage looking at the guy on my left.

Then Halloween day rolled around and more adventures were to be had. So the first on the list was getting dressed in my costume again and going to see the Beltane Society Samhain fire festival. It is going back to pagan times and performing the ritual they would have done thousands of years ago. So they depict how Winter defeats Summer in a dual and is crown king of the seasons, but also it shows how fertility doesn’t work out between a man all painted in blue and the goddess of nature, and that is why Winter brings no growth. That festival was really cool to see; and of course with the festival came loads of fire as you can see in this picture:

You can see the stage to the right and the fire burning on the left. And this huge crowd watching.

After this we went to a flat party, then to a club called Frankenstein which was so much fun and loads of people in awesome costumes and then my night ended off at the Halloween party at Teviot our Student center that had invited the actor who plays Hodor from the tv series “Game of Thrones” to DJ there. He puts of a show and does his DJ mixes in an event he calls “Rave of Thrones”. Sadly I missed him DJing but I hope he does come again ad I’ll definitely come earlier then. But all in all Halloween in Edinburgh was amazing and loads of fun.

Cheers, Alexio