Turkey

Thanksgiving Day: The History, The Family, The Food

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TurkeyOf all of the holidays that we celebrate each year, Thanksgiving is perhaps one of the most favored of all. It combines all of our favorite activities, while giving most of us a welcomed day off of work. But did you know that it wasn’t a recognized as a holiday until the 1860s, and wasn’t a national holiday until the 1940s? It’s true. Read on for more fun facts about Thanksgiving!

How it became a holiday begins humbly in the mid nineteenth century. Thanks to the work of nursery rhyme author Sarah Josepha Hale (composer of Mary had a Little Lamb, among others), and her nearly endless campaigning spanning five presidents and 20 years, Thanksgiving was finally adopted as a holiday by president Lincoln in 1863. Then, some 80 years later, in 1941, President Roosevelt declared the last Thursday in November a national day of giving thanks.

That is, until he had a “bright” idea about how to help the economy… In 1939, Mr. Roosevelt decided to change the date of Thanksgiving from the last Thursday to the second to last Thursday in November in order to extend the Christmas shopping season and help boost the economy.

What transpired was a mess where many states (namely Texas) decided that they would take both days as holidays, while many others were unsure what day was the actual holiday at all. Prompting mass confusion among everyone. So Congress stepped in to rectify the situation, in a way that only Congress knows how. They fixed it by declaring the fourthThursday in November the recognized holiday, which means that (cleverly) it’s sometimes the last Thursday and sometimes the second to last.

Lest you think that Sarah Hale faded into history, you might be shocked to find out that the very reason that we eat turkey on Thanksgiving is in large part due to her efforts as well, not because that’s what the original settlers ate.

Because of her advocacy of the holiday from the onset, Ms. Hale also had many ideas as to what recipes we should use to serve our family in celebration of her beloved proposition. A list that includes many things we enjoy even today (a far cry from what the “original” and first Thanksgiving revelers ate), including turkey, stuffing, pumpkin and cranberry, and sweet and mashed potatoes. Can you imagine what that day would be like without such staples? Thanks Ms. Hale!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

classic skills for 21st century

Classic Skills That You Still Need in the 21st Century

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classic skills for 21st centuryThe most common information about the skills you need in 21st century revolves around technology and the skills needed to create more of it. Because of this focus on technology and constant improvement, some more basic skills are often overlooked. These skills are the foundation to everything else that you will ever do. By honing these skills, you can learn to do almost anything.

Read

This seems extremely simple, but reading is a skill that needs to be practiced. Reading for pleasure can help you to comprehend information faster and easier. Take a little time each day to read anything that you are interested in, and you will see how your reading comprehension will improve.

Write

Being able to write well is a skill that will get you very far in the job market. Too many people come out of school and feel like they don’t have to be able to write anymore, but being able to get your message across through the written word can help improve your workplace communication.

Ask Questions

It’s easy to believe that we can figure out how to do everything by ourselves, but it is important to ask questions. There will be times when you will need more information to finish a project, and looking the answer up on the internet isn’t always going to help. If you are willing to ask questions, you will be able to get the job done right the first time.

Think Critically

Don’t assume that everything everyone tells you is true. It is important to think critically about anything that you learn, because you need to form your own opinions about the world.

Remember that these basic skills are the stepping stones to a great career. Don’t ignore these classic skills because they are the basis for the more advanced skills that everyone seeks. Please contact us for more information.

technology in higher education

Technology in Higher Education: How Online Learning is Shaping the Future of the Classroom

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technology in higher educationTechnology in general, and technology in higher education are forever changing. They evolve each year as needs and growth allow, an impact that can be felt in every facet of our lives.

Technology makes it possible for a student on the other side of the planet to participate in a classroom discussion happening in real time, from the comfort of their own home. Makes it easy for a working adult to earn an advanced degree without the pressures of fitting classroom time into their workload. While it also changes how we learn, by adapting to the way society meanders and curves, to make all of our lives easier.

This often leaves educators, and students alike, to ask,” What’s next? How much farther can we go?”

According to Forbes, technology usage in higher education is on an exponential upswing, one that will continue for many years to come and change how, when, and where we learn.

New high growth players entered the online education marketplace, and universities began to align around interactive platforms… online certificate programs became more robust and hyper-targeted towards professional development… students looked to gain these credentials as a differentiator in the work force.

Continuing, that the trend of learning through technology is no longer relegated to just satellite schools or for-profit colleges, but has, in fact, branched out to every large university in the US, encompassing every curriculum, major, and certificate program available.

Moreover, the usage of “hybrid classrooms” is also becoming popular. That is, a student will attend about one class session a week, where they will interact with an instructor via Skype (or other medium) as a class. Then, they will watch “modules” on their own time, which consist of spoken lectures recorded by their instructor.

This type of learning hybrid program will make it easier for the student to learn on their own terms. Something that is especially beneficial for busy adults and working professionals by adding increased flexibility to be able to access materials as their schedules allow.

For sure, learning in the future will forever evolve as it is doing now. So while it changes for the better, you can be rest assured that modern universities will lead the charge and adapt with it to ensure a brighter future for their students by offering online degree programs to fit a their growing needs.

Interested in more information about online learning and our online degree programs? Or how online learning compares to the more traditional method of learning? Click here to check out an in-depth comparison.

For any other questions, please feel free to contact us any time.

Technology Trends 2

Utilizing Technology Trends: Coding Skills for Your Career

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If Technology Trends 2you are tired of the daily grind, it may be time to make a career change. No matter what skills you currently possess, there is always room to learn a few more. One skill that is essential now and for the future is to learn basic coding skills. Coding is just one of many technology trends that lets you create websites and programs, troubleshoot web code and do a variety of other essential tasks. Here are some reason you will want to consider learning code for a career change.

Coders are Needed

Most companies today need someone on their team that knows coding because of all the online products and services that are utilized for marketing. Even if a business has nothing to do with computers or online products and services, they will at the very least have a website. Those who have a combination of skills, such as coding and marketing, can easily find jobs with small businesses and startup companies.

You Can Freelance with Coding

Coding is a skill that in many offices is good to have, but you may not utilize it on a daily basis. If that is the case, you can always start your own business as a coding freelancer. You can either choose to keep your day job while freelancing on the weekends, or you can set up your own consulting business and dedicate your career full-time to coding for your clients.

Understanding Product Development

If you work at a company where creating new products is the mainstay of the business, it is important to understand the cycle of product development, even if you are working on only a small part of that process. Once you learn coding, you have a better grasp at understanding how products like websites and computer programs are developed and how when something goes wrong, you can search and execute a fix through coding language.

Are you interested in adding coding skills to your resume? contact us to learn more about education programs that can help you grow professionally.

interview skills and tips

Interview Skills and Tips: The Best Way to Avoid Stress Before an Interview

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interview skills and tipsWhen you are in search of a job, interviewing can be quite stressful because you really want the job and want to succeed and impress your potential future employer. It is important that you work to combat this stress though in order to be successful in an interview. Stress can prevent you from being your usual, confident self. So here are some interview skills and tips to help you avoid stressing before an interview:

  • Be Prepared: Understand the job in which you are going to be interviewing for. This is going to help you prepare with answering questions. You will want to pinpoint your specific skills and past experiences that make you the right candidate for the job. Plus, knowing a great deal about the company and their goals in hiring you can be impressive for the employer because it shows that you have interest and drive in their company.
  • Avoid Negative Self-Talk: Before an interview, and even after an interview, you may begin to notice that you are pointing out flaws to yourself in your head. You want to be sure that you avoid this and instead recognize the good in yourself. Negative self-talk takes away from your confidence and abilities to succeed because you will be so distracted on what not to do instead of what you should do in order to succeed.
  • Focus on the Success: Again, by steering clear of negative self-talk, you are allowing yourself more room to focus on success. You are going to be able to think about what you can do to show that you have drive and understand what it is that you need to do to impress your employer. This is going to help give you the confidence that you need to be able to answer questions thoroughly, as well instead of stuttering.

For more information about how to be successful in your future, please contact us. We have all the resources and information that you need to be successful in landing a job in America.

skills you need in 21st century

Why Learning a Foreign Language is one of the Most Important Skills You Can Acquire

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skills you need in 21st centuryAlthough we live in the age of globalization, not everyone is doing their part to learn a second language. While the Information Age has made it easier for businesses to enter foreign markets and for people to communicate internationally, there is still a lack bilingual Americans due to the prevalence of English and a misguided dependency on quick-translation websites.

One of the most important skills you can learn is to speak a foreign language fluently. Put into practice, that can help businesses enter foreign markets or filmmakers introduce their movie to new regions of the world.

Because English has become so widespread, many companies depend on their knowledge of the language to do business with all customers, no matter what their native language is. While this has helped some companies expand, it ultimately promotes ethnocentrism, the belief that one’s culture is inherently superior. In an article titled “A New Great Wall,” Edith Grossman wrote about this common pitfall and explained how detrimental it is:

“The dearth of translated literature in the English-speaking world represents a new kind of iron curtain we have constructed around ourselves. We are choosing to block off access to the writing of a large and significant portion of the world, including movements and societies whose potentially dreadful political impact on us is made even more menacing by our general lack of familiarity with them. Our stubborn and willful ignorance could have — and arguably, already has had — dangerous consequences.”

Grossman makes the good point that while relying on English is convenient, it ultimately sets limits for those who do not consider other languages. Students can take advantage of this by learning a foreign language to diversify their resumes. By being able to speak multiple languages, you’ll become a much more attractive job candidate for international companies.

If you would like more information about skills you need in the 21st century, contact us.

resume writing tips (1)

Top five resume writing tips to land you your dream job

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resume writing tips (1)Are you having trouble getting the perfect job? If so, then this is the article for you. Read on to learn the top five tips for creating an outstanding resume that will land you your dream job.

1. Create a resume with a clear job target. A targeted resume will assure the employer or interviewer that your work will benefit them specifically. Research the duties that individuals in that certain position do and highlight any previous experience that you have doing similar duties.

2. Choose your stationary wisely. Believe it or not, most employers prefer a physical copy of your resume over an electronic one. In addition, the stationary that you use can make a difference to a potential employer. First of all, off white or cream colored stationary can make your resume stand out more than just plain white. In addition, a resume printed on thicker paper, such as card-stock, will appear more professional than one printed on lightweight copy paper.

3. Format your resume chronologically and be sure to not make it too long. Typically, your resume should only be one or two pages. Most employers do not want to read your entire life history. In addition, by using a chronological resume format, it is easy for the employer to follow your work history, titles, and job descriptions.

4. Make sure you that you highlight personality qualities that employers look for. When it comes to resume writing tips, this one is definitely one of the most important. While most people have a wide variety of positive attributes, make sure to only list the ones that would be important to a potential employer. Some of these could include: honesty, work hard, integrity, team-working skills, punctuality, and problem-solving skills.

5. Verify that you have included your contact information near the top of the resume. Surprisingly, some people fail to include their contact information on their resume at all. This is critical so that the employer has a way to contact you for an interview. In addition, it should be included at the top so that the employer can find it quickly and easily. The contact information that you should include is: full name, address, email address, phone number, and an alternative phone number if applicable.

There is no doubt that finding the perfect job for you can be a stressful process. However, by following these resume tips you can ensure an interview and potential job offer in no time.

For more information and tips on how to improve your resume, please feel free to contact us.

international students

3 Tips for International Students, Written by Someone Who’s Been Through the Process

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international studentsSo you’ve taken a pretty daring step by choosing to leave the country where you grew up to move to the U.S. for further studies.  You’re probably going to face some form of culture shock, even if you grew up in the Western hemisphere.  However, this doesn’t mean that your stay in the U.S. has to be unpleasant.  You can learn a great deal, in academic and social terms, and you can have a good time if you give in to the spirit of adventure.  The process is going to ask a great deal from  you, so it’s important to stay positive.  Here are a few tips for international students, written by someone who has gone through the process herself:

  1. Climate.  Before you move to Washington D.C., it’s best to know what you’re getting into in terms of climate.  The average winter temperature here is 38 degrees while the average summer temperature is 80 degrees.  If you’re used to calculating temperature in Celsius, that comes to 3.3 degrees in the winter and 26.6 degrees in the summer.  It’s best to prepare for the weather as much as you can before you come.  However, if you live somewhere warm, don’t bother buying a winter jacket there because you’ll find much more variety in the stores here.  So it’s better to do your shopping after you move.
  2. Food.  You’re going to have to adjust to American cuisine.  Depending on where you come from, this may be harder or easier.  If you grew up in a country like India where the food is spicy, the adjustment will seem hard.  Also, if you grew up vegetarian, you may not find many options.  When it comes to food, don’t try to change your palate overnight.  Your body doesn’t react well to ingesting food that is totally different from what you’re used to.  So break it in slowly.  And if you can carry seasonings that will make the food more palatable, then feel free to do so.
  3. People.  Once you’ve made the physical adjustments to a certain place, you also have to make the mental adjustments.  You’ll need to learn how people communicate in the U.S. and how it’s different from where you grew up.  Often, people tend to think of Americans as loners but this doesn’t have to be true.  In the U.S., people often take things at face value.  If someone asks you to join them for a social gathering and you say no, they won’t force you.  In other cultures, it’s often considered customary to try to persuade someone to join you for a night out.  Keep this in mind and say exactly what you feel.  The people you meet will appreciate you for it.

Contact us for more tips for adjusting to life in the United States.

resume writing tips

Three Great Resume Writing Tips for All Job Seekers

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resume writing tipsYou never get a second chance to make a first impression, says the old proverb. That’s precisely the reason why all job seekers need to take special precautions in properly preparing their resumes. For most of us, the resume is the first thing that a prospective employer will see and learn about us and our skill sets. It is truly the first impression that a candidate can make. In fact, it’s just about the only document that an employer will have to decide to grant you an interview and an actual chance at landing that dream job… or at least the job that just pays the bills for now until you can get that dream job. With that in mind, here are three great resume writing tips for all job seekers:

  1. Use Correct Tense – Present positions should use present tense. Past positions should use past tense. For example: “File documents, write notes, and perform clerical duties as needed.” This would be a good example of how to present a job skill at a current position you hold. If this were a job you no longer have, you would say something like this: “Filed documents, wrote notes, and performed clerical duties as needed.” For some reason a lot of people want to use past tense for all jobs, but there is a very important distinction to make that will display your fine attention to detail.
  2. Keep it Short – One page is perfect for most job seekers. If you have more than ten years experience, it is okay to extend your resume to two pages, but make sure you are able to fill at least three-quarters of the second page when doing so. Information Technology (IT) job seekers are the rare exception to this rule, whereas they can accumulate so many certifications and qualifications in such a short period of time. They also tend to change jobs frequently. For these reasons, an IT professional may increase the page length of their resume to three pages if needed.
  3. Proofread not once, but twice – Nothing will get your application thrown in the round file faster than typos, misspellings, and bad grammar used on your resume. If you’re not willing to put in the time and effort to making sure your resume is perfect, then an employer assumes you’re not willing to make the same dedication to their job opening either. Proofread your final draft, and after you think you’ve got everything right, proofread it one more time just to be certain.

“The University of the Potomac” offers many different degree programs that will allow you to achieve a nice balance between higher education, work, and family. Please contact us for more information today about graduation rates, our programs, and more. We would love to talk with you!

intl students app

3 College Application Tips for International Students

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intl students appWhether you’re an international student applying to come to the U.S. for the first time or you’re about to graduate and apply to schools for a Master’s degree or a Ph.D., there are certain things you’ll need to keep in mind.  Applying to schools in the U.S. is a lengthy process which involves filling out forms, writing essays, getting recommendations, sending in writing samples and taking standardized tests.  You need to know early on exactly what your plans are going to be; you can’t decide to go to school at the last minute.  There are schools that offer rolling admissions but most schools have deadlines in December or January.  So be ready to send your applications in at this point.

  1. Essay.  The essay or personal statement is one of the most important elements of your application.  It can really make or break your chances of getting in.  So you need to make sure that you’re sending in your best work.  Ask yourself whether the essay you have written is truly everything that you’re capable of.  If it isn’t, then start again.  You may have to write 3-4 essays before you end up with something that you truly feel proud of.  Don’t think of this as a waste of time because it’s probably the most important thing about your application.
  2. Tests.  If you’re going as an undergraduate, you’ll have to take the SAT and possibly, the TOEFL.  A graduate student will have to take the GRE, GMAT or one of a number of other tests, depending on what field you plan to go into.  Although you may be a great student otherwise, you still need to study for these tests.  It’s important to build up your speed so that you’re able to answer the questions in the time allotted.  There are a number of books available on the market that can help you to prepare for these tests, such as the Peterson’s guide or the Barron’s guide.
  3. Recommendations.  When it comes to recommendations, make sure to ask professors with whom you have a good rapport.  There may be professors in whose classes you’re doing well.  But if you don’t talk to them much, it may be a better idea to ask other professors with  whom you’ve communicated in the past.  Make sure you give them enough time to write the recommendations.  You can either give them stamped envelopes to send in the recommendations or tell them to paste the envelopes shut and sign over the flap before returning them to you.  This way, the schools you apply to will know that the recommendation has not been tampered with.  Many schools also allow email recommendations nowadays.  If your professor prefers this, you can give him/her a list of email addresses to send the recommendations to.

Overall, make sure that you’re professional in the way you present yourself but also try to give the admissions committee a glimpse into who you really are.  The more you do this, the more you’re likely to succeed in the application process. Contact us for more information.