Sophomore Success Series: Session 2 Overview

Posted on: October 12, 2015

Posted by Karina Wiener, CCPA

Hello again sophomores, I hope you’re having a great fall break so far! Hopefully you can find some time over break not only to re-energize, but also to reevaluate how you’re going to plan your next quarter; make some room for your summer internship search! Create a schedule for yourself, follow along with the Sophomore Success Series schedule, or talk to someone from the CCPA or the OAR to help you set some deadlines so you don’t get overwhelmed. Another great way to get involved is to sign up for the Extern Program, which you’ll hear more about in a later blog post from Dean Kelly Cleary at the CCPA.

Last week’s 3S was packed full of helpful information, mainly focused on the “Exploring and Planning” step of the job search process which, in my opinion, is the fun part! A large part of this process is understanding yourself. Only once you identify your interests, personality, values, skills, and lifestyle preferences can you begin to explore occupations and major areas of study that are compatible with your personal attributes.

3S summary diagram

For homework, students were asked to complete a StrengthsQuest assessment (which is available to anyone, just email the CCPA for an access code). After answering a series of qusetions, StrengthsQuest gives you a list of 5 “signature themes.” There are 34 themes, or strengths, overall and students were encouraged to look over the themes they didn’t get and embrace the freedom to choose the other strengths they felt applied to them. In my opinion, it’s important to understand your strengths for two main reasons:

1. Knowing your strengths gives you the content and vocabulary for talking about yourself in a positive way. Interviewers often tell the CCPA staff that Haverford students are too modest–there is definitely a way to show off your talents while still maintaining that humble and genuine “Haverfordian” quality, and being able to state your strengths with confidence is one of those ways. When you’re writing your resume, cover letter, or talking to an interviewer, it is important to be comfortable talking about your strengths.

2. Understanding your strengths can help you make a more informed decision when choosing a major or career. If this test makes you realize that many of your strengths involve dealing with other people but you’re on track to work alone at a desk, you may realize that that isn’t the career path for you after all!

We then discussed leadership, as that’s a common quality that employers look for. Below is a chart with four different styles of leadership. A different group of “themes” fits under each style. We asked students to group themselves into the four styles and look for the strengths and weaknesses of their type of leadership. It’s important to remember that all of you are leaders, you just have different ways of leading, none of which is better than another!

SQ outcome

If you’re reading this thinking “I’ve never been in a position of leadership before,” that’s totally okay–college is a great place to develop leadership skills. You can do so in the classroom, during class assignments and group work, in athletics, in student organizations, and in your on-campus or off-campus jobs. The reason we focused on strengths instead of weaknesses, even though it’s just as important to understand your weaknesses, is because it’s a lot easier to improve something you’re already good at. College is a great place to build upon your strengths so that you can have concrete examples to give when talking about yourself.

The next set of self-assessment tests were called Focus2. After a series of questions, you receive a blurb about yourself, and then a list of careers you may be good at or interested in based on your results. Interestingly enough, one of my suggested careers was to work as a Career Counselor, who knew?! But anyway, Focus2 helps you get a general idea of what kind of work environment you might thrive in based on the following image. For example, my work interest profile is mostly social, followed by artistic, then enterprising. This suggests I work well with people and that I’m comfortable working with both data and ideas, I don’t prefer one over the other.


Once the students learned a little about themselves and their ideal work environments, we directed them to the What Can I Do With This Major page found on the CCPA website. This tool gives a list of possible careers based on major which is helpful for you sophomores. However, we reminded students that you don’t have to choose a career based on what you majored in, what’s important is that you enjoy your area of study while you’re here, and you feel prepared for whatever career you choose to go into. Luckily, because you’re at a liberal arts school, you’re going to acquire a lot of useful workplace skills regardless of what classes you take. The National Association of Colleges and Employees (NACE) published the 2015 Top 10 Skills Employers Seek in Recent College Graduates:

  • Work in a team situation.
  • Make decisions and solve problems.
  • Plan, organize and prioritize work.
  • Verbally communicate with persons inside/ outside the organization.
  • Obtain and process information.
  • Analyze quantitative data.
  • Technical knowledge related to the job.
  • Proficiency with computer software programs.
  • Create and/or edit written reports.
  • Sell or influence others.

You’ll gain most of these skills just by being a student and doing what you enjoy! And if you’re nervous about working with computer software, the OAR holds workshops for learning how to use excel and other programs!

If you’re still at a loss of what kinds of careers you could possibly be interested in, try this activity called Create-a-Career. All you do is think about two or three things you’re interested in, for example math, sports, and writing. Then, you can think of a job, either real or imaginary, that would incorporate all of those things, such as a sports analyst.

An even better way to brainstorm careers is to actually see what’s out there! Laura Reiter, who is in charge of Employer Relations at the CCPA, talked to our students about how to go about searching for job opportunities.

Laura Reiter

Laura introduced students to a few very important search tools:

1. CareerConnect: jobs and internships posted for Bi-Co students. You can also find Information Sessions and Events in the “Events” tab.

2. Liberal Arts Career Network: job and internship opportunities compiled from 9 liberal arts colleges.

3. TriCollege Recruiting: jobs and internships posted for Tri-Co students.

4. National Internships Consortium:  internship opportunities compiled from 16 colleges and universities.

5. CampusPhilly: access to career fairs and jobs in the Philadelphia area.

6. Online Subscription Sites: other specialized databases that Haverford College subscribes to so that you can have access to them!

CareerConnect and the Online Subscription Sites are the two important links that can be accessed right from the homepage.

Screenshot 2015-10-12 18.13.18


From the CareerConnect homepage, you can “jump to” LACN, TriCollege Recruiting, National Internships Consortium, Going Global, and Campus Philly.

Screenshot 2015-10-12 18.17.03

Another great way to get an idea of what it’s like to work in a certain industry is to reach out to an employer and ask for an informational interview. Some easy ways to find employers is by asking your friends if they know anyone who works in the field you’re interested in, go to LinkedIn and search through Haverford or Industry affinity groups, or by visiting the alumni directory and searching for alumni in your field of interest.

When you do contact an employer, be sure to give a little information about why you’re interested in them, and ask them if they’d be interested in talking to you about what they do for a living. Remember, they’re doing you a favor by agreeing to chat, so be sure to thank them afterwards! Here’s an example email a student might send to an employer she’s never met before:


The homework for next session is to update your profile on CareerConnect, search for an internship posting on CareerConnect (or one of the other subscription sites) that you’d be interested in applying to, and have a “career conversation” with an alum, whether that’s asking for an informational interview, or attending a CCPA event like Fords on Friday.

I know this was a lot of information but fall break is a great time to parse through it and explore the online resources on the CCPA website.

Thanks for reading!


Taking on more while taking on less

Posted on: October 7, 2015

As a freshman, you probably spent your year getting to know the different clubs and committees on campus (as well as figuring out how to work a laundry machine and debating the true meaning of a “well-rounded” meal). As a sophomore, you are probably getting more involved in those clubs and committees and beginning to think about taking on leadership positions in the near future. But you may also be thinking, “If I’m this stressed out now, how am I supposed to take on MORE responsibility?!” Incorporating more involvement into your schedule can be a challenge. The thing to remember is to also incorporate self-care into your daily routine as well.

Spending a half hour talking to a friend on the phone or watching a couple of your favorite shows on Netflix may feel like a complete waste of time, but it may be just what you need! The key is, as the Greeks say, to “know thyself.” Picture yourself as a giant battery. Over time, you are going to start running out of power and it is import to know what your “alarm bells” are. What do you feel in your body and mind as you fall into the red? How does your stress or lack of energy impact your emotions, spirituality, and relationships with others? Start to pay attention to these things; your body is trying to tell you something! Though it may feel like you are being super productive by attending a ton of club meetings and taking on extra responsibilities, you cannot be 100% present at these things if your battery is drained.

So now that you have thought about your alarm bells, what types of things recharge you? Are you an introvert and need some time to yourself to read (a book you actually chose, not a text book), color (yes, they have adult coloring books now), or maybe practice some meditation exercises? Maybe you are extroverted and need to recharge by going out to dinner with friends, calling a relative, or attending a FAB event. Taking outdoor walks (I mean, we live on an arboretum…it doesn’t get much better) or visiting a local animal shelter to get your dose of cat/dog time are always great stress relievers as well. The most important thing when taking these “me time” moments is to not feel guilty for doing so. Let’s be honest, the work never ends and there’s always something to be working on, so it can be hard to find the time or motivation to take a break. Therefore, don’t let your “me time” happen when you can find a moment (because that moment’s never going to come along), schedule it in! 15 minutes each afternoon or evening, an hour on the weekends, whatever works for you!

In addition, you cannot fit in breaks if your plate is simply too full. As a sophomore, your focus should be on which clubs, committees, or academic areas you feel most passionate about, rather than continuing your involvement with everything that you looked into your freshman year. Your resume will look much stronger if you stayed with a club for multiple years and have one or two leadership positions than if you are simply involved with a long list of organizations. It will be much easier for you to put your energy into just a few things rather than having to adjust your focus for multiple involvements. And remember, it really is OK to only take on one to two leadership positions! You may feel a desire to take on everything, but narrow it down to what you are most passionate about and has the most transferable skills to your vocational pursuits.

Finally, when breaks come along, use them! Fall Break is just a couple days away, so take some time to put down the schoolbooks, turn off the e-mail, and just breathe! When you get back, if you are interested in learning more about getting involved on campus, just shoot me an e-mail or stop by Chase 205 sometime so we can chat!

I hope you all have a relaxing and safe Fall Break and are able to return recharged.

Making the most of it – and making it yours

Posted on: October 5, 2015

You’re a year and five weeks in to your time at HC – so at this point, you likely know the best way to keep your new room cool (or, well, less warm), the essential ingredients at the DC stir-fry station, and the optimal time to get a treadmill in the GIAC and avoid the hordes. And that cultural knowledge is fantastic! But what I’m interested in, and what I ask you to consider, is not just knowing the landscape, but improving it; how to make Haverford better for you and your fellow ‘Fords.

These days, pundits love painting the picture of the millenial, the competition-loving, frequent job-switching, internet-dependent networker (that’s how they describe us, friends!). I’m personally somewhat skeptical of the sweeping generalizations associated with generational labels, but there is something about our modern environment that fascinates me, which in some fashion is connected to the idea of the millenial: personal content curation.

Today, we have the ability to select those voices, sources, and opinions that appeal to us, and the ability to excise those which irritate or run counter to our beliefs. Sick of a friend’s food photos? Unsubscribe. Tired of a particular website’s cat posts (is that possible?) or a biased and uninformative op-ed? Avoid the website. By withdrawing, we only consume that which we enjoy.

This applies easily to Haverford as well. It’s very easy to avoid classes, offices, meals, or activities that you don’t like, but what I ask you to do is a little harder. Instead of just curating your experience, seize upon the opportunity to design it. Haverford exists for you. But for this institution to improve and meet your needs, it requires your involvement. No issue or idea is too small or too big. Your voice on this campus is immensely important, and here are a few ways to make it heard:

  • Bring your ideas/concerns/suggestions to Students’ Council. These are actual elected students who represent you. There are specific officers and reps for topics and class years, and they meet weekly to discuss things. So give them something to discuss! Email
  • Talk to a mentor. Any faculty member or staff member that you know can be a valuable resource, and I would highly recommend all of the staff contributors to this blog. They love a chance to brainstorm and help develop student projects.
  • Meet with a senior administrator. Deans and Senior Staff members are always happy to meet with you and discuss an issue you’re thinking about.
  • Meet with the President. I’ll tell you from first-hand experience, working in the President’s Office…anyone is welcome to make an appointment and meet with Kim. Just come in to the office in Founders Hall (up the steps, turn left) and ask!
  • Talk to me. There’s nothing I love more than kicking around an idea and finding ways to make it work. Come talk to me anytime.

Here’s to a carefully curated and thoughtfully designed rest of the semester. Hoping you’ll seek me out so we can make things happen.

Get thee off campus

Posted on: September 29, 2015

As you figured out last year, one of your Official Duties As a Haverford Student is to engage in the life of the mind. Honestly, it’s your main duty. From the institution’s perspective, your ability to learn stuff from books and professors is more important than going to your a capella rehearsal, watching amazing Korean soap operas, falling in love for the first time, or even going to Plenary.*

Let me just take a moment to be thankful that there’s so much more to life than homework. I’ll say it again: there’s so much more to life than homework!! And so here’s here’s a sophomore challenge for you: Continue reading

Sophomore Success Series: Session 1 Overview


Posted by Karina Wiener, CCPA

Dear Sophomores,

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Karina Wiener—I graduated from Haverford last May and I’m now working in the CCPA as the Program and Communications Fellow. One of the programs I’m helping the CCPA run is our Sophomore Success Series (or 3S). I’ll be blogging re-caps of the 3S sessions both here and on the CCPA’s blog ( because although only 31 sophomores are signed up for the “course,” I think all of you will benefit from the information!

As I mentioned, 31 of your classmates are enrolled in the 3S—a series of four sessions sponsored by the CCPA, taught by Dean Kelly Cleary and yours truly. The goal of the 3S is:

“[to] help sophomores build on their interests and talents to explore, develop, and focus career directions as they prepare to choose a major and apply for summer opportunities. This series provides a structured framework to explore your career interests and to put a plan of action into place to successfully investigate and secure professional experiences advancing you along your career path.” -Kelly Cleary

In session 1, we broke down the internship and job search process into a 3 step process:

  • exploring & planning
  • applying
  • interviewing & follow up

3S summary diagram

Hopefully this visual makes the job search process a little more digestible! The remaining 3 sessions will loosely follow these three steps, however session 1 focused mainly on writing an effective resume. Here are some tips you might find helpful in your own resume writing process:

  • Keep it to 1 page as an undergrad.
  • Make sure the email signatures and voicemail messages of the email addresses and phone numbers you put on your resume are appropriately professional.
  • Tailor your resume sections to your personal strengths—there is no right way to structure your resume, as long as it is consistent and relevant. For example resumes, click on the “Sample Resumes” here.
  • Only use the high school experiences that are relevant—try to use current college experiences when you can.
  • Use action verbs in descriptions rather than passive verbs (i.e. “organized events” rather than “was involved in organizing events”), no pronouns, and keep your sentences short.
  • Emphasize accomplishments and quantify when possible.
  • Save it as a pdf when you upload it, and use your name in the file name (i.e. save it as JoeSmithResume.pdf)
  • Put references and contact information in a separate document.
  • For more tips or to have your current resume critiqued by a CCPA employee, visit

At this point, you may be thinking “when am I going to find time to write a resume when I have 2 papers and a problem set due this week?!” That’s why we had guest speaker Brian Cuzzolina (who you probably know if you’re reading this blog…) talk to students about ways the OAR can help with time management. When you’re already juggling a full course load and extracurricular, it’s hard to think ahead to summer internships. Brian suggested making an appointment at the OAR in order to get help with organizing and prioritizing your assignments. Sometimes it’s helpful to simply talk through your schedule with another person to organize your thoughts and make a game plan.

In my opinion, the best part about the 3S is that it creates deadlines for a process that is usually ongoing. For example, the homework due at session 2 is to draft a resume, read through page 5 of CCPA Networking Guide, and to complete the career self-assessment tools available on the CCPA website, specifically Focus2 and StrengthsQuest. (If you’re interested in taking career self-assessment tests, contact me and I can help you get started!) These are all things that students are expected to complete in their free time, but the 3S creates structure so that you’ll be ahead of the game by the time you’re applying for jobs. Additionally, self-assessment exercises are a great way to reflect and understand not only what career path is best for you, but also what to major in!

I hope this information helps, and if you have any questions please email me at or come to my office, Stokes 300D.

Until next time!



Studying Abroad- Let’s Start the Conversation!

Posted on: September 14, 2015

Hi sophomores!

The Office of International Academic Programs is excited to have you back on campus and ready to help you plan your semester abroad! Now is the perfect opportunity to seriously consider if a semester or academic year overseas is right for you.

Here are some important questions you should ask yourself:
1. When would I go, if I did study abroad? (Fall/Spring? Full year program?)
One of the keys to studying abroad involves figuring out the best time during the school year for you to go. Sometimes, majors, minors, or concentrations involve a particularly crucial course that is available in one semester, and students are encouraged to plan their study abroad experience around this course. This is also true for sports (with active seasons), committees, and other clubs/jobs on campus. Talk to your advisor, your coach (if you play a sport), or other students with similar commitments to see how they consider study abroad. If you plan ahead, you CAN study abroad!

Other things to factor in are family commitments during the academic year, like weddings or important graduations to attend. You should also check out the academic calendar year of the country where you are considering studying. For example, in Germany, the fall semester runs through February. Check out our Program Descriptions to see the program start and end dates for each program.

2. What do I want to gain by going abroad that I couldn’t gain at Haverford?
Consider why you’d want to be traveling abroad, and what you want your goals to be. Can you accomplish your goals in the same way at Haverford as you would while abroad?Here are some ways that study abroad can transform and positively impact your college career. Which of these are important to you?

  •  Language immersion
  •  Fulfill language requirement in one semester (at some of the programs)
  •  Specific courses (i.e. Nordic studies in Sweden)
  •  Practice independence
  •  Take a break from the routine, while still furthering your academic studies
  •  International work/abroad experience
  •  Studying abroad has significant career benefits, and will make you stand out in an interview

3. What kind of experience do I want?
The abroad programs available to Haverford students are diverse, and the kind of program that is best for you will not necessarily be the same as your friends’. Explore the Factors to Consider section of our FAQ to learn more about the different kinds, and also consider what each individual program may bring to the table– our Program Descriptions will include that information. Some programs may involve an international internship component that is integrated into the curriculum (so you’re going to school and interning at a company/organization), others promise a fully immersive language component where you can test your language skills every day. Others involve an intense single-course of study for students who are interested in delving into a single academic interest, or fulfilling a language requirement with courses in the host culture’s language.

4. How can I finance study abroad?
Just under 50% of all Haverford students who studied abroad last year are on financial aid. Studying abroad in certain countries is more expensive than in others.  If you would like to compare costs of living check out: There are many resources available to make the trip more affordable, and remember that your Haverford financial aid travels with you!

Mark your calendar!! Be sure to check our website for a complete list of upcoming events:  
1. SIT Information Table
   Wednesday, September 16th
   5:00 PM DC Lobby
We recently approved two new study abroad programs in Ecuador through SIT Study Abroad. Stop by the information table to speak with a representative and learn more about the Development, Politics, and Languages program and the Comparative Ecology and Conservation program.
SIT Information Table

2. Mandatory Information Session
  Thursday, September 17th
  6:30 PM Stokes Auditorium
This will be our only information session for the fall semester. We will be hosting another during the spring semester, but remember, all students studying abroad are required to attend one information session. Get a head start in the process and mark this off your “to do” list!
Info Session November

STA Travel Information Session + Information Table
   Wednesday, September 23rd
    4:30 PM Chase Auditorium
A representative from STA Travel will be giving a presentation on everything STA Travel has to offer students- including flight discounts! Stop by the presentation at 4:30 PM in Chase Auditorium? Can’t make it but still excited about possible flight discounts? No problem! Stop by the information table from 5:30-7:00 PM in the lobby of the Dining Center!STA Travel Information Session

4. Study Abroad Fair
   Saturday, October 31st
   1:00-5:00 PM First Floor Hallways of Stokes
Stop by the study abroad fair to meet with representatives from programs on our approved list and ask them any questions you have or share your concerns.Study Abroad Fair2

Questions? Let’s talk! Make an appointment with Dean Mancini, send me an e-mail (, check out our website, stop by Chase 213 and pick up some program brochures, or come check out the incredibly helpful black binders. Write down all of those concerns/worries that you have, and let us help you sort things out. Remember, we are here to help you with the process, and there are tons of resources for you to use- all you have to do is ask!

Ps, Start applying for a passport now if you don’t already have one! Your passport must be valid 6 months AFTER your intended return date to be able to study abroad. Check your passport’s expiration date ASAP!

Goodbyes Can Be Tough

Posted on: April 27, 2015

The end of semester crunch is always insane with final projects, solidifying summer plans, looking forward to Haverfest, and the million other things on your mind. But the end of sophomore year also comes with some social challenges. If you’re going abroad the opposite semester as a friend, or you are going abroad for a year, it can be daunting to say goodbye for such a long time. Not to mention, now that you’ve had the chance to get to know some upperclassmen pretty well, you’ll have to say goodbye to your senior friends in the next few weeks.

Goodbyes are tough and added with the stress of the end of the year can cause quite a lot of anxiety. But here are a few things to keep in mind.

If you’re going abroad…

This part of the process is tough because you’re saying goodbye to one part of your life (Haverford) for now but it hasn’t been replaced yet (i.e. you haven’t gone abroad yet). But remember that once you go abroad, you’ll be wonderfully overwhelmed with all of the awesome “gains” you get from studying abroad even if right now it seems like the “losses” (e.g. time with friends) are more salient. Know that this is just part of the process and make sure to take advantage of the resources the Study Abroad Office has to offer.

If your friend is going abroad…

Junior year can be a bit disjointed and a little scary to think about with a good chunk of the class studying abroad at some point. But try to revel in all of the stories that you’ll get to share with your abroad friends about Haverford – you’ll be responsible for keeping them in the loop about the Ford. While it can be really hard to say goodbye to a friend who is leaving, look forward to getting to know other members of your class and community. Some of the best friendships are formed in unlikely circumstances. And keep in mind how epic the reunion will be when everyone is reunited!

If you’re saying goodbye to senior friends…

Just because your senior friends are graduating doesn’t mean that they’re not going to be your friends anymore. While you can’t go on late night Wawa runs with them next year, you’ll now be their main connection back to Haverford. So you’ll get to tell them about how silly foam party was since they won’t be there with you. Plus, you’ll now have a network of friends beyond the limits of Haverford. Utilize this! You can even try to visit some of your Haverford friends over fall or winter break.

Here are a few things you can do:

Let your friends know! Share your feelings. Have a conversation about ways to stay in touch. Consider trying some fun form of communication like snail mail. Don’t silently freak out without letting your friends know so they can support you. Also, consider going to CAPS if you think it’d help to talk it out and get some advice.

Depending on your finals load (if you are super overwhelmed and don’t have much wiggle room with your work, then definitely don’t worry about this), consider trying to finish up your work early. Even having the last Thursday and Friday to get a chance to find your friends and say goodbye is really helpful.

Above all, remember that even though a lot is changing, everything always works out. Do your best not to stress out, enjoy the last few weeks, and remember to reach out for help when you need it.

Wrapping it up (and reaching out!)

Posted on: April 20, 2015

It’s April – famously the most chaotic, demanding, and cram-it-all-in-before-Haverfest month at Haverford. Midterms may have just concluded, but finals are around the corner, and the stress of predicting the impending Pinwheel Day may understandably be weighing heavily on you.

With four weeks to go, it’s time to streamline your schedule, focusing on your top priorities and tuning out the rest. But even the best intentions hit roadblocks, and as the days tick down and the work only increases, please remember that there are an immense number of people at Haverford who are here to help you. That might include a faculty mentor, your Dean, a research librarian, CAPS counselor, or another member of the staff or faculty with whom you feel comfortable. You may want to talk over a challenging assignment, review your planned finals schedule, or prepare for your summer adventure. You should! So often, Haverford students say, “I didn’t want to bother you since I know you’re really really busy, and my stuff isn’t that important, so I didn’t email you/set up an appointment.” It’s not a bother at all – in fact, it’s their job and passion to help!

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I’m going to stop procrastinating… eventually

Posted on: April 13, 2015

It’s that time of year. Finals are quickly approaching, and the work is starting to pile up. At the same time time, the weather has finally come around, and the distractions are plentiful. It’s procrastination season. As someone unsurpassed in procrastinatory ability in college, I have really enjoyed learning a bit more about that habit and how to combat it since I began working here at Haverford – certainly my graduate school performance was better for it!

One thing that I quickly picked up on was the difference between time management and procrastination. Just because something gets done at the last possible minute doesn’t necessarily mean that it was the victim of procrastination. Sometimes, there’s just too much to do, and dedicated hard work just keeps you afloat, pumping water out of the metaphorical boat as fast as it comes in. In that case, you might need to reduce your load or work more efficiently, but procrastination isn’t your hobgoblin.

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