I have been working on a project this summer specifically for students in 1-3 year graduate programs, called The Grad School Journal: Masters Edition. That is most likely going to be a Masters degree, but it could also be another professional program of some kind. This journal is meant to help provide space to emotionally process the graduate school experience while encouraging goal setting, providing motivation, and guiding the reader through personal and professional development. The Grad School Journal is just a beginning; it is meant to be a helpful addition to one’s life without adding too much of a burden and can be done at your own pace with your own modifications. If you are starting grad school or know some one who is, consider getting this guided journal to help start on the right track. The Grad School Journal is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle forms!
I have entered officially into what my school calls “the triad of death,” which is a series of major hurdles that are needed to complete our degrees (PsyDs and PhDs have the same requirements here). So far, I have completed one out of three, so let’s break down how it’s been going.
Comps, aka comprehensive exams, are probably things that you have heard of regardless your doctoral degree area of expertise. For us, we have 4 different comprehensive exams, each of 3.5 hours long, all of them included writing essays, 3 of them included multiple choice questions. I took my comps the 2nd week of June and got my results a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully, I was able to pass each one on the first try! Passing comps is a major milestone because you need to pass each of the exams in order to graduate from the program (one retake per exam available). We took all of the exams the same week and weren’t really given options for scheduling etc.
What are comps like during a global pandemic, you ask? Let me tell you! We still went into the school, but each of us were assigned to a professor’s office to take the exams socially distanced. We could bring anything that we wanted or needed, including headphones for music, snacks and drinks, and comfort items (I definitely had a blanket and a stuffed animal my fiancé gave me). All of our exams were graded blindly by two professors on a 5 point scale (like AP exams), with a third reader brought in to break ties between passing and failing.
Honestly, my anxiety was really overwhelming about Comps for months. We had our first meeting about comps sometime in March or April, but I became paralyzed to start and was not able to tolerate much studying for until the beginning of May. This gave me less than a month to fully study, and I was able to create a study schedule that was flexible and worked well for me. I used a mixture of Kahoots, group study guide creations (based on study guides provided to us per subject), individual study guide creation, and utilizing the learn, games, and flashcard options on Quizlet. Group studying was great review too, because it allowed me to help teach my peers and make me feel more confident in myself (take that, imposter syndrome!). This carried over into the exam week, with a group of us going over to a friend’s house to study for the next day’s exam and stuff our faces with snacks (it was surprisingly fun and I love my friends, I couldn’t have done it without them!).
I was able to survive comps, and am so thankful that I didn’t have to do any retakes (my goal was to have no more than 2 retakes). This gave me some extra time to begin unraveling from stress and end my time at my current practicum site with ease (my last day is this Friday!!). It also taught me a lot about how I get really avoidant when I get majorly stressed. This is something that I decided to nip in the bud as I begin to approach the other two parts of the triad of death: internship applications and ProQuals.
So let’s talk about internship applications (aka AAPI, aka APPIC, etc.). For those of us in the clinical psych world, we need a final year of full-time work at an internship. Typically, people go through a process of applying, interviewing, then ranking their favorite sites (and the sites ranking them) before being electronically matched to where they will end up for the next year. Match Day is in February, but much like applying to college or grad school, all of the applications are in the fall. I could write a lot more on my AAPI process and tips (see my lastest IG post, where I definitely spelt is APPI instead because UGH LIFE), but suffice it to say that being able to attack avoidance and manage overwhelm by really spacing out all of my work has done wonders for me. I am currently in the essay writing phase, and hope to finish writing them all this week sometime. Having completed some of my essays and begun updating my CV, I already feel much more productive and in control than I did for comps.
I hope to take the same approach to my Professional Qualifying Exams, which I will be taking in the fall. What is the difference between ProQuals and Comps, you ask? While Comps are more traditional exams, ProQuals look at applied clinical skills through evaluation of assessment skills, intake abilities, and therapy abilities. It includes videos of my work, written case conceptualizations and assessment results, and presentation of transcripts from actual therapy sessions demonstrating my ability to use a chosen modality. For me, I will be doing CBT. All of this is presented to a committee of 3 professors: your academic advisor, a professor of your choice (the CBT prof for me), and a third one of your choice (I chose someone from the counseling center who has watched me supervise first year students beginning clinical work). Similarly to Comps, you have two attempts to pass without being dismissed from the program. Now, I wasn’t able to get on board to do any of my ProQual stuff this summer, which feels like a blessing and a curse at this point. It’s a blessing because it allows me to go home for a long break this August to work on wedding planning and see family, AND I have been able to focus solely on my AAPI for the time being instead of having to do two high-stress things at once. But… I also just want to get it over with and start getting into the clinical stuff so I have a lot of material to choose from for presentation.
So that is what is going on for me this summer. I am hoping to post more about how I passed comps, what I am doing to prepare my AAPI, my reflections on my last practicum year, and more. Stay tuned!
If you are anything like me, it was a bit of a shocker when you were finishing your grad school applications and found out that there were requests not only for a resume, but a Curriculum Vitae. I had sort of made one for an assignment in college, but didn’t really understand what a CV was or how to write an effective one. So here’s the basics for you whether it is for your grad school applications, practicum, or for a job.
Firstly, let’s briefly talk about what a CV is and how it’s different from a resume. A resume briefly lists your skills and relevant work history ideally in a page or less. It’s the quick and dirty background of yourself that an employer can glimpse at to see if you’re a good fit for the position or not. A CV is much more comprehensive, and can even be as long as 12 pages if you have enough work history and achievements. It’s popular in the grad school world and academia here in the states, as it allows you to showcase all of your trainings, awards, and publications along with job experience and research interests. It is also useful when applying to jobs abroad.
Now for the fun part: crafting your CV! There is not one way to write a CV, and it can be really helpful to look at examples online, or to look at professionals’ CVs in your field for examples (a lot of times this is available on university websites or LinkedIn profiles). When writing out your experiences, do it similar to how you might on a resume: use action words and descriptive yet succinct (and accurate!!!) phrases to summarize the experiences. Make sure your style is consistent throughout: if you use bullets and a bolded heading with the date for one section, do it for all of your sections! Additionally, be sure to include page numbers and your professional contact information (phone and email) so that admissions folks or employers know how to reach you.
Now it’s time to structure your CV. Again, it is good to look at examples in your field and follow the general order of operations that others are using. This keeps things relevant and familiar to those reviewing the document–you want to make sure people know where to find the information you are sharing.
Here is a list of possible headings that could pop up on your CV: education (grad and undergrad info), relevant internships and practicum experience, relevant employment in your field of study, other supervised experiences, research (publications, interests, thesis, etc.), volunteer experience, awards, leadership experience, languages and special skills, relevant conferences and seminars attended, relevant courses taken (don’t just put your whole transcript here though, just do the ones that are especially relevant and stand out), and if you are in the psychology world you can put tests administered into your CV as well. This is just a brief list, so if there is something you see in your field popping up, or an area not covered but is a relevant strength of yours go ahead and add it!
If you are a new professional, your CV is likely not going to be more than about 8 pages, and that is okay! As you attend grad school and get more experience in the field it will grow, and you can (and should!) update your CV regularly and watch your accomplishments grow.
Some final reminders as you work on structuring your CV: (1) keep your writing succinct and professional, (2) double check for consistent formatting and grammatical errors, and (3) keep it relevant and up to date! Once you create your first CV, it gets a lot easier to update as your career goes on. So grab some coffee, throw your hair up in a bun, and get writing!
There are so many people who are considering going back to school next year–and understandably so! The world has been thrown into the chaos, as has all of our lives, and maybe it’s time to take the next step in your career or make a change entirely by going back to school! So how do you nail this grad school application process? Here’s what I did to get into grad school–twice (because I am nuts).
- Identify clearly how a graduate program will help you further your career. Do you really care about research? Is the program certified by the relevant boards and organizations in your field (e.g., APA)? How would training in a certificate vs. masters vs. doctoral program differ in the long-run? What kind of professional connections will I make from my time at this institution? What can i do with this degree that I can’t already?
- Decide what you are looking for from a program. Maybe you need flexibility for work hours or childcare. If so, a flexible evening or weekend program, or possibly a quality online degree may be the best fit! Or maybe you want a traditional school experience where you work during the days and have your evenings and weekends for homework because it’s what you’re used to.
- Research, research, research! You want to know what you are getting yourself into when you apply to a school. If you would have to move, is it an area that you would be okay living? What kinds of things are there to do there? Are there religious institutions nearby if you are of a faith background? What is the cost of living and commute going to be like for you? If you are partnered, be sure to check that it would be feasible for your partner to relocate their career.
- Once you have narrowed down the schools that fit your career needs, create a list of ones to apply to. It can help to have safety schools and reach schools, to provide a safety network of schools you may get into. Not sure which schools feel like a better fit for you? Create a pros and cons list. OR create a list of your dream school’s qualities, then compare the schools you’re applying to to the list and rank-order them appropriately.
- Create a list of materials required for each application to be completed and their due dates. Having a list by school and ordered by due date will help you to prioritize what needs to be completed with the most urgency. The worst feeling is realizing you are missing something and scrambling to get the materials in at the last minute!
- ASK YOUR REFERENCES FOR LETTERS ASAP! Okay so you’ve decided you want to apply to grad school, and you have determined where you want to apply and what is needed. You will need a minimum of two, if not three, letters of recommendation. If possible, get an academic reference, a professional reference in the related field, and an extra reference. The more letters related to your area of study, the better. Be sure to give your writers PLENTY of time to complete the requirements, and always thank them with a coffee or gift card–it is a significant amount of work for them, too. Many appreciate knowing where you end up going too, so keep in touch with your contacts!
- Do you need a GRE? This is crucial because not only do you need time to study for the GRE, but you will also need plenty of time for your schools to receive your scores. There has been a push recently for programs not to include the GRE, particularly with the difficulties seen from GRE testing during pandemic times, so check that this is in fact a requirement for your applications. They may also require a subject test, too. In addition to the financial requirement for submitting the applications, taking the GRE will cost a pretty penny and should be put into your application budget.
- Update your professional documents and image! Ensure that your resume is up-to-date, filled with action verbs, and is one page. Google tips about how to create a rockin’ CV and get one going. Make sure your social media has appropriate privacy settings. Update your LinkedIn. Write a personal cover letter for EACH of the institutions you will be applying to. Get someone you trust to review these items so you know what edits to make.
- Sit down and fill out the applications. For me, I prefer to do one big marathon of applications once I have narrowed down the schools on a long day. I do this because otherwise I will stress myself out and avoid the applications if I attempt to do them one by one. That being said, set a schedule if you need to break it up so that you have dedicated time to fill out all of the demographic questions and turn in all of the essays.
- Double check that you have all the required materials and that everything uploaded is the most recent document version. This is one of the last steps, hooray! One thing that you should always check for is that your cover letters and personal statements are the correct files for the school you are applying to.
- Check for fee waivers and submit! Double check to see if your schools have any fee waivers to help cover the cost of applying–this can be a major help as applications can be $50 or more. Multiply that by 6 schools (or however many you’re applying to) and GRE fees, transcript fees, etc. and it can add up pretty quick. Make sure you take this into account when working on your applications so that you don’t bite off more than you can chew. Once you are financially in the clear, SUBMIT THOSE APPS AND THANK YOUR REFERENCES!
- Confirm when you will hear if you have made it to the next step in the application process (interviews) by. Many schools that are accredited will follow a schedule for when you will know if you need to schedule interviews, as well as a decision day. This will ease some of the stress by having a rough timeline in your head of what to except. Now comes the waiting, and the interview prep! But more on that later. For now, celebrate completing this step of the process and daring to make a choice for yourself and your career!
What other tips have you heard about completing your grad school applications? Are there any GRE study tips or resume recommendations that you swear by? Spread the knowledge below and help each other out!
I’ve been thinking about writing a piece on professional confrontation for a while now (I started writing this post back in 2019, as a matter of fact). I think it’s a skill that is expected of graduate students especially, but is not explicitly taught. And it’s something that I have a lot of room to grow in as well.
I prefer to be very non-confrontational, but have been working on being assertive over the years. Now I’ve learned that this is much easier when it’s confronting a friend about blowing you off then it is when it’s a coworker or a manager trying to push you into a corner.
The first thing that I do when I’m upset is consider the rule of threes:
- Something that happened really annoyed you or you took it personally–give the person the benefit of the doubt (it may have been a mistake).
- That thing (or something similar to it) happened again. This seems like it may be a pattern; process why exactly you’re upset and what you wish had gone differently.
- The thing happened again, it’s definitely a pattern now and if it’s still upsetting to you, go have a one on one discussion with that person.
The rule of threes helps me validate my own experiences without feeling like I am being dramatic or a pushover.
But what about when the problem remains? When do you get a supervisor involved? That’s what’s been on my mind and where I’m learning to grow.
When we are having issues with the people we work with as graduate students–be that peers, professors, PIs, research assistants, etc.–we need to establish and maintain professional boundaries. Academia is brutal enough as is without our contributing outright or passive aggressively to the culture. After all, these are people that we need to maintain working relationships with for a period of time, and we should act toward others the way we want others to act toward us. To build on the well-known golden rule, we need to work to be the person we needed when we were younger (be that who we needed as a child, who we needed when we were just starting out at school or in our careers, or whatever).
So with that, the three rules mentioned above are a great starting point. You need to check yourself, and then you need to discuss with the individual what the problem is. That discussion needs to lay out what is causing you to be upset and communicate what you need from that individual. Are you upset because the person doesn’t seem invested in your project and you need them to take more pride in their work? Or maybe you feel you were unfairly evaluated and need to clarify your understanding of the expectations so that you can ensure you and your supervisor are on the same page. Whenever possible, try to keep your boundaries clear and establish how you will respond to boundary violations moving forward (e.g., I will not do work for you if you are running behind on a project, or I am not the best person to teach you in this area and need you to ask another person for assistance). Whatever it is it is important to assume the best of the other (do not put them on the defensive), be open and honest about your experiences and expectations, and communicate what you need to successfully move forward in your professional relationship. And finally, FOLLOW THROUGH ON SETTING AND MAINTAINING THE BOUNDARIES IN YOUR ACTIONS AND WORDS.
If the problem persists, there are several ways that conflict can be addressed. It can be addressed through mediation with a supervisor, you can inform a supervisor of the conflict and ask them to help you create a solution (moving you to a different team, retraining a peer in proper procedures, etc.), or you can try to approach the person again and reenforce and establish the boundaries you need to maintain a healthy work environment.
If the problem persists, or if the problem is with your supervisor, it is okay to go higher up in the system. My preferred way of doing this is by seeking advice from a professional mentor, academic advisor, etc. They can inform you of the appropriate ways to take next steps based on the system your university has in place. For example, I had some issues with a supervisor this last year and my advisor recommended I talk to one of the training directors at my program. The director was able to help coach me in setting boundaries with my supervisor and set up monthly meetings to ensure that the relationship was continuing on in a professional manner without creating a tense working environment.
I know that this all may seem like I am approaching this topic with rose colored glasses, but I want to ensure you that I take this topic very seriously. As I mentioned, I despise conflict. It makes me want to run for the hills and live alone in a cabin somewhere. But failing to address the problems are only going to make them worse. Will things always go smoothly when you aim to address conflict in a professional manner? No. Will it suck going through this process? Probably. But by addressing conflict it enables us to grow in our professional capacity, as well as allows for growth in the other person.
We are not always going to get along with everyone, and I am certain that there are times when we can love people best by creating space and minimizing interactions with them. But that is a part of life, just like there will be times when people will be frustrated with you. I have spent much of my time in graduate school learning how to navigate conflict in the professional and academic spheres. It is challenging, but the growth I have experienced makes me feel incredibly competent to handle whatever my future can throw at me. I hope that the next time you all are struggling with a person you work with that you can take the time to discern the underlying issues, your needs and boundaries, and to put those boundaries into place as best you can.
Well, as I am writing this I am thinking about how privileged I am to have added another set of letters after my name. That’s right folks, I am officially a MAMA (!!!), and well on my way to becoming a Psy.D.
This is something that I have wanted to do for a long time. When I first started to go to grad school, I wasn’t ready to get my doctorate. I needed to get my feet wet; test out the field and my capacity to do clinical work. Thankfully I fell in love, and realized that in order to best serve the population that I want to work with I would benefit from receiving more training. While it has not been quite as exciting of a commencement this time around for my most recent degree (thanks, COVID). While it wasn’t the giant celebration of pomp and circumstance that I expected, I do still feel proud and motivated to keep moving forward. Of course, I still think it is crucial to be reflecting on this time, and have thought a lot abut the people and circumstances that have set me up for the success that I have had.
What a privilege it is to be in the circumstances that I am in, as a young woman. I have been empowered by my boyfriend to pursue my education, even at the expense of an LDR. I have had a mother and siblings who have stepped up to encourage me and help me get connected to resources, people, and everything else I needed to get through school. I have friends who cheer me on and listen to me talk nonstop about all of my school stuff because it consumes my life. And not only do they listen to me drone on and on about it all, but they actually listen and have learned about what I am doing and keep up with what’s happening in my academic life.
It is not lost on me that there are so many people in my family who have not been able to pursue this level of education–to my knowledge I am the first person in my entire extended family to pursue a doctorate, and only the second to receive a graduate degree at all. My family has lived wonderful, fulfilling lives and have given me the freedom and worked hard to get me to where I am not only encouraged and accepted in my dreams, but that I am able to attempt to make them a reality at all.
Then there are the many women throughout history that have worked and broke barriers to allow women to receive an education, to be working individuals, to be independent and contribute to society in whatever ways that they want to. I stand on the shoulders of these women and their allies, yet I am painfully aware that there are so many more that do not have access to these opportunities that I do.
I want to think of ways that I can reach down and pull others up, to support them, empower them to have access to these opportunities, too. It is my hope that this is something that I can do as a professional; helping students learn the ropes of grad school, providing professional mentorship, and whatever other opportunities arise.
What are you doing to empower those less privileged than you to continue in their academic and professional pursuits? What have others done for you to get you to where you are today?
Well all, this has been a wild year for everyone. We have all had our normal educational experiences thrown overboard. It’s like learning to swim in the middle of stormy open water. But we have all found ways to manage, and I wanted to point out what I have noticed during these times.
People have reacted in one of two ways: care-taking or pursuit of structure. I think that both are important and needed, especially academically. Professors need to have grace for students working through a globally traumatic events, and also need to have grace for themselves. That being said, we can’t just throw all of our academic pursuits to the wind. We need the structure to keep learning and living. It can be hard to find balance when people are reacting out of fear and the future is uncertain, but I think that it has been encouraging to see both faculty and students finding a new sense of normalcy for this time period.
That being said, I, like everyone else, am worried about what this will look like in the future. The reality is, that the way many people have been working is not entirely sustainable. Personally, all of my classes remained synchronous. While it is an immense amount of work for professors to switch to an online format, my peers and I ended up in zoom meetings (and fifty other different platforms) sometimes for up to 6-8 hours practically straight, then going right back into writing papers and reading. It’s a lot of screen time and strain on the eyes–really my eyes wanted to fall out of my head at the end of each day and my brain felt like mush. And the truth is, if I have to keep working like this fall semester again I may lose it. So the challenge for all of us this summer in academia is not just to try and live and rebound from all that has happened, but to work together toward creative solutions should we need to quarantine again in the future. I am not sure what the answers are, but I am looking forward to hearing about what others are doing to rise to this challenge.
I haven’t written a full post in a while. My presence has been focused on twitter and a little bit on instagram, however, this is meant to be a place for me to process and think about my experiences as a grad student so I am happy to be using it for what I want and need.
That being said, I want to talk about what my second year has meant to me, and what it has meant to be a graduate student working during a global pandemic.
This has been one of the hardest years of my personal and academic life. I feel that I have grown into my adulthood a lot because of this year. For example, I have learned how to get an apartment and live independently more than ever before. My abilities to be comfortable in my own space, take ownership and responsibility, and learn how to take care of myself have grown immensely. I have learned that I am a person who needs space and other people. I am capable of providing myself the life that is best for me. I am learning about my limits, my desires for a future home and life. And while I won’t go too much into details, because this is about grad school, all of these contribute to my academic experiences.
The fact of the matter is that getting a terminal degree requires you to be shaped into a person that meets the standards of the field. I have talked a lot before about how that means that, in my field, that means there is a lot of scrutiny about who you are as a person. My institution is one of faith as well, and as such my school places an importance on the character of their students. The faculty really want their students to grow as people and professionals. While at times that can make it difficult to navigate the blending of the personal and professional identity, that is not always a bad thing. Because a the end of the day, when you are working in a field riddled with stigma, you represent your profession at all times. And I am still learning what that means and what that looks like for me each and every day.
That being said, I had my second year evaluations this year. I was evaluated by 12 faculty members, some TAs, and the clinical director of the university counseling center that I was placed at this year on many different facets of my personal and professional and research and clinical development. In addition to receiving the 20-something page document evaluating myself from all of those people, I had an individual meeting with three of them to go over it before they gave their final recommendation for me to the rest of the faculty and decided on if I passed, had remediations, or was dismissed from the program. It was easily the most intense evaluation of my entire life, and probably the most intense evaluation that I will ever have. And I am so thankful and relieved to have passed.
I have been waiting for this moment since my first day at school, when it was brought to our attention that this was looming in our future. I have been stressed about it ever since and I am finally feeling so free in my school. It was a reaffirming time, and it has empowered me in ways that I would have never thought. I learned that, developmentally, I am right where I am supposed to be and that that is enough right now, especially when the world has gone into chaos around me.
And of course I would not have been able to do this without the help of my friends and family and boyfriend who have been my cheerleaders, comforters, and have helped me get back up on my feet time and time again when I felt exhausted and discouraged. I am so thankful for them and for the growth that I have experienced (though there have been many growing pains along the way).
Now that I am free of that burden, I am able to learn more fully into the challenges to come for the next couple of years: working on my dissertation (I swear I will propose eventually), preparing for comps and pro-quals, and getting read for applying to internship. The future looks bright from here, folks!
As the year comes to a close, I’d like to join the rest of the world in posting about how 2019 ended (and will probably make another post about my hopes and goals for 2020).
This year has had many demonstrations of love and support in my life–friends helping me pack everything and move, people visiting me from home, care packages, buying me food… while I have been so grateful for all of these things they have largely been in response to the worst parts of this year as well–having to move unexpectedly when I didn’t want to, my brother deploying, mental health difficulties, and having to deal with issues at school/practicum sites.
Due to the events of this year, I’m not really even sure what to write about it. A lot of times when I write I like to say what I need to hear, what I wish someone would tell me. So I try to make it encouraging, as it’s frequently the message I need to propel myself forward. But I’m not going to lie, 2019 has not been my year. I really took a beating during this revolution around the sun. Though it has demonstrated the strength of my support system even from afar, I am so incredibly ready for a fresh start.
I want 2020 to be the year that I am able to pull myself up off the ground from the beating that was 2019 and start again, stronger and more determined this time. I’m still processing how that will look. Truthfully there is still a lot of pain looking back at this time. It’s like poking a bruise trying to process this year. So, it’ll be a process. I’ll take my time. But for now, as I start to try to stand upright again, I will say this to one of my least favorite years: good riddance.
Throughout grad school you’ll have a variety of supervisors. Each will have their own experiences, needs, and style. Your experience with supervisors will seriously shape your experiences in grad school.
I have been lucky to have some INCREDIBLE supervisors over the years; ones that I have loved to work with and have helped me to grow in ways I could never imagine. They have been supportive and insightful, discerning when I need support and when I need corrective feedback. These supervisors have also cared about me as a person, and made me feel like I was safe, sane, and understood. If you’re lucky enough to have one of these supervisors (one of my supervisors this year appears to be going this way) then take in every minute of that time. Really push yourself to learn and grow in a safe environment. Be honest about your struggles and areas of confusion. This is the time to really lean in.
But what if your supervisor is… not so easy to click with? What do you do when you feel like you’re trapped with a bad supervisor?
There’s a few different things that can happen here. First of all, there is definitely a point where you need to get a new supervisor. Your safety and education are most important. Someone who is abusing their power and bullying you is never okay.
But sometimes you just have a bad fit. And that’s frustrating, especially when your peers have a supervisor they really get on with. I have a supervisor like that this year, too, just at a different practicum site. Here’s what I say to that: know what you can handle, consult with your school representative as needed, and make sure your requirements are being met. At the end of the day, sometimes we just need a warm body to get the hours required by our program. Is it ideal? No. But rely on the support in your program and from your peers. Be willing to learn from each other, and you can make up for some of your supervision woes.
As for the supervisor themself? Be kind, be respectful, work hard, and try to take their feedback with grace. It’s not about being right or wrong. It’s about you learning and making an effort to grow as a professional. The reality is they’re responsible for you on their license. They can still give you good marks etc. when you feel like it’s a bad fit. Don’t let them ruin your year or keep you from getting the hours you need. Advocate for yourself when necessary (I had to do this the other day–it sucks but it’s does make a difference when you are respectful but firm).
What are your best tips for working with supervisors? How do you know if someone your working with is a good fit? Let me know below!
Well, it’s finally happened: summer is officially over, and I am officially a 2nd year in my program.
This summer was a wonderful couple of months of recharging. Essentially all I did was work, prepare my dissertation proposal, go to Disney, and spend time at home with my friends and family. It was the longest break between classes that I’ve had in over 3 years, and I could feel my heart returning to myself. I’m still tired, but not quite so burnt out as before and for that I am beyond grateful. But now summer has ended, and I am officially into my 2nd week of 20th grade!
There are a lot of nice things about no longer being the new cohort; I can be a TA, I have first year mentees, I know my way around campus, I am able to do more clinical work again, I have relationships with the professors and my peers, I’m settled into my living conditions… I feel like I have a place here in California, and it is so comforting to have that.
But 2nd year a notorious in my program for being busy. I’m anxious for that and being put to the rest academically and professionally. I have a public school placement to administer assessments (that I learned how to do a year ago with no opportunity to practice since) where my results will have a real impact in the life of a child, I am a TA for the first time in my life, I am still at my other on-campus job, I am proposing in October, I have normal classes, I will be seeing adult clients and have to figure out a new system of notes, emergency protocols, etc., and I am learning two new modalities.
These are all good things, but they’re keeping me in a constant state of business and feeling overwhelmed. I keep reminding myself of the good (like getting back to my true love: clinical work), and the beautiful benchmark that I will be receiving a MA at the end of this year, which will officially make me a MAMA.
I am excited for this year and all it has to hold. It will definitely help me to grow personally and professionally. For the first time I set some academic school year resolutions (anyone else do this??) that I will be writing about later, and I am eager to see how they play out. I’m proud of my work and am thankful for my support system who encourages and supports me in this wild endeavor. I am hoping that as I write out the good things it will help me to feel balanced, to remember the reasons why I’m here and to show me the light at the end of the program.
So, here’s to a new school year, new goals, new challenges, and strengthening the foundations that I’ve already built. I hope that wherever you’re at in your program you can find inspiration to keep going and motivation to stay on top of work and feeling positive about your journey.
I have been avoiding writing this post for a long time. I think that I have been afraid to look back and reflect on this year, and with reason, too. This year has been so incredibly difficult. I had to fully transition into living on my own, 1,000 miles away from my support system. I learned what it truly means to be a poor, broke grad student (my roommate and I lived out of a mini fridge and sat on the floor of our apartment for a month because we had no furniture), had medical issues, mental health flare-ups, bank account fraud, and a new, rigorous program to top it all off including hard classes, a heavy course load (18 credits a semester and summer classes), and the little clinical work that I was allowed to do was absolutely grueling. And so because of these things, I have not wanted to look back on this year.
As a part of #MentalHealthMonth I wanted to talk a little about medication!💊
You would never tell someone who had a physical ailment not to take their prescription (i.e. diabetes & insulin), so why do we so often tell people the opposite when it’s for mental health?👩🏽⚕️👨🏻⚕️
Medication can be used short-term, long-term, in tandem with therapy or alone, and can have life changing benefits for individuals! Yes there can be side effects, but doctors are working hard to minimize the side effects and they’re not experience by everyone. Many people who have decided to use medication to improve their mental health have also worked carefully with their doctors to pick the option that works the best for them.💪🏻
Using medication does not make you weak; it does not mean you failed. It’s important that people stop forcing their thoughts into other people. If you don’t use medication your job is to be supportive of the people around you, what type(s) of treatment others choose for their mental health need to be individualized, and is between them and their care team.👯♀️👯♂️
If you decide to take medication to help improve your mental health: that’s excellent! Don’t forget to follow the prescription carefully and to keep up your use and communication with your care team! Remember to never go off of your medication without letting a doctor know. Be proud of the brave steps you are taking towards better health! 🧠
We all just want to live the best lives we can, weather or not medication is a part of that for you I wish you all good mental health today and everyday. It’s our job to spread awareness about mental health & medication stigma, correcting misinformation, so that everyone can receive the best possible mental health care. What can you do to decrease stigma in your field?👇🏻
May is #mentalhealthawareness month! 🧠
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. It can be impacted by our genetics🧬, life experiences 🏕, and family history 👨👩👧👦.
Mental health is just as important as physical health!💚
Just like there are things to do to maintain physical health like taking vitamins and exercise, there are things we can do to take care of our mental health. Some of these things include: connecting with others👯♀️, going to therapy🛋, getting medication if needed💊, getting enough sleep😴, staying active🧗🏼♀️and learning coping skills🧘🏼♀️
Throughout this month I will be making several posts about mental health! If there’s anything you want to learn about specifically, let me know!⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️
Something that has been a part of my grad school story is dating. I met my boyfriend during my M.A. program while I was applying for doctorate programs. Much to my amazement, this wonderful man was the first one who encouraged me to attend my current program because he knew it would be an amazing opportunity–even though it meant I ended up moving 1,000 miles away. He helped me pack, he comforted me when I said goodbyes to loved ones. He even made the drive with me in one shot, and then he helped me unload and unpack everything in the middle of the night when my electric company turned on the wrong apartment’s power. He wasn’t grumpy about it, he was patient, kind, and supportive. He made where I am today possible; I could not have done it without him and I am so thankful. And now we’re doing long distance, which has been a new and challenging and rewarding road all of its own.
While we have a long ways to go on this LDR journey, I wanted to take some time today to share what’s worked for us and what I’ve learned.
- Communication is key: if you feel like you and your partner need to work on your communication skills, and LDR will really highlight this. Talk about how you give and receive affection with one another. Make efforts to connect in some way every single day (even if it’s just a 10 minute phone call check in).
- Effective Care Packages don’t have to be big or all the time. For example, my boyfriend occasionally sends me really thoughtful packages filled with goodies! I can’t really afford to send a large package (getting all the goodies, paying the shipping cost, etc.) so I do my own versions by sending him monthly cards, making a monthly playlist, and occasionally sending him gifts through amazon!
- Go on dates. Yes, dates. Make a date jar of ideas for how you can spend an evening together and pull one out once a week. Something we love to do is buy ingredients to make the same meal, then we FaceTime and cook together and eat together. Some other options for date night include: movie nights, be fitness accountability partners, watch a show together, read a book together, and play games long distance together.
- Count down timers are great ways to make time apart feel shorter. Always know the next time you’re going to see your partner; if there’s a possibility you’ll see them sooner that’s cool too, but set the timer for the set in stone days of reunion. Everything else will just be a bonus.
- Be proactive and open with your partner. I make an effort to connect with my boyfriend every day, and I don’t expect it to be sunshine and roses all the time. When I’m having a horrible day, I tell him and vice versa. We comfort each other. When I get really exciting news (even if it’s small) I share that joy with him and we can celebrate together. I want him to feel involved and informed on my life: he knows my goals, who my new friends are down here, and my stresses. When we miss each other extra we build in an extra date to help. We aren’t mind readers, so we’re committed to being open and honest about where we’re at so whatever comes up can be experienced together.
- Airport days get easier. They always suck. Always. I’m not going to lie about that. But the more you do it, and when you know when you’ll be together next, it feels a lot less heartbreaking each time you get through it.
- Find someone who has done long distance before. I can’t tell you how much I have learned from people who have been in LDRs before me or are also currently in one. Whether or not they worked out in the long run, I have learned so much about communication, tips, and found comfort in community. This is honestly such a must and important support for our relationship that I didn’t realize I’d lean on so heavily.
Finally, there’s some practical apps, websites, etc. that you can use to help you connect with your LDR partner. Here are some of my favorites:
- Rabb.it is a website/app that allows you to watch movies and TV shows together long distance without having to sync up pressing play etc. You can make private groups and rooms to watch things together and it includes a chat and microphone option to hear the others watching. It can be finicky, but it’s getting better with each update!
- Marco Polo is a wonderful app that lets you video chat with people. You can make group chats or just talk to one person. It saves the videos and lets you save videos (your own or another’s) to your phone. It also tells you when people are watching live which is fun! It’s like a step up from texting and snapchat.
- Social media. Talk to each other across platforms: IG, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, tumblr, Reddit, etc. Share what you like and see so they can experience it all with you!
- Try out LDR specific apps like Between. They’re cute and a fun way to keep track of anniversaries, photos, and important events.
- If you and your partner like playing games together, try different ways of screen sharing or find an online place to play games together as a means of quality time. There are tons out there, so find one that works for you!
This has been a long post with lots of information, so if you made it this far thanks for sticking with me! If you have any other LDR tips, tricks, or resources please share them here! I’m sure I’ll be making more posts about relationships in the future and would love to learn more for myself.
How do you want to grow this summer, what are your goals? 🌿🌻☀️
I used to be very good at sitting in the stillness and the silence. I’d soak up the here and now, take time to appreciate the moment. But since I moved? Not so much.
I’m finding myself very nostalgic for times of wonder, joy, and curiosity. These times are typically burned into my mind through the places I’ve traveled 🌎 and the friends I’ve found genuine connection with👯♀️; this #tbt picture represents that to me.
I recognize that it is a blessing to have the support of my community and to have such wonderful humans in my life, as not everyone can say such things. Yet it makes it harder for me being far away; I fill the time I would have spent going on adventures with My People with jobs, homework, research, busywork… it makes me terrified for the summer because for the first time in forever I will be forced to look up and acknowledge that things have changed. 🆘
I want to spend my time this summer reconnecting. With the silence, the here and now, exploration, solo adventures with God. ✝️ Things I used to do a lot better. As I think of how I want to shape my summer (although it doesn’t officially start until June), I am hopeful to recapture some of what’s been driving me to homesickness and nostalgia. While my life is different, and sitting in that discomfort scares me, I will strive to embrace the changes and openly settle into my new life—without as much constant chaos to district me. We’ll see how it goes.
I am up for a could of TA opportunities for next year… I am REALLY hoping to get my foot in the door and to set myself up well for my upper years!
Got any advice for a new TA or for someone in the application process? Maybe something you wish you had known when you were in my shoes, or something you wish your TAs this year knew or did better or something they did really well?
Let me know your thoughts, I’m eager to hear what everyone has to say!
This week I got to work with high schoolers providing education and information around human trafficking as a prevention effort in the community.
Now if you know me, you know I love high schoolers so this was absolutely the best day for me. It was so much fun getting to be a part of this day and to see students wanting to learn and caring about this important issue!
They went through different stations so to speak, so we had a bunch of small groups meeting. I led a discussion on resilience: defining it, providing examples, and discussing the important role it plays in the lives of survivors.
It made me to hyped. I get such life and joy from working with high school students. I couldn’t imagine a better way to give me a boost before finals begins for spring semester.
I also got to go to a baseball game that was WILD from start to finish (game didn’t end until after 11:00) with a bunch of friends from my cohort and my roommate which was just a wonderful time and day.
This week has really taken a turn for the better that I needed in my life and I am so excited to take advantage of the better mood and circumstances that I’m in now. Maybe there’s something about Holy Week that brought out the good in the world.
I don’t have class today because it is Good Friday, and I am hoping to use this day to get back down to business and see a friend. I’m thankful for Jesus and who He is extra this week especially, and I’m hoping that I can celebrate His death and resurrection with joy and full attention.
Okay this is really on my heart today as I just came from a pretty brutal group supervision today, and we recently had student government elections that my peers were running in. It’s been rough, and apparently you can tell. As one of my professors put it today:
You guys are usually buzzing with energy at the beginning of class and today you’re all looking like zombies… are you okay?
And that’s the Big Question, isn’t it? Are you okay? As I’m pondering all of this in consideration of my peers–the harsh comments, lost elections, the general lack of encouragement– I am wondering how to best support those around me.
Sometimes it gets so easy to get lost in my own anxiety, my own assignments, my own agenda, that it is easy to overlook those beside us. Being in a cohort model especially, I am not as concerned about the competitive nature that could easy consume grad students. This gives me a unique opportunity to think about those around me and how I can possibly throw a lifeline to someone.
Now, you all know I’m a broke grad student who can’t be buying everyone a round of pick-me-up coffee. But that doesn’t mean I am helpless! This week I am going to commit to doing something nice for someone in my cohort. And if it goes well, maybe I will continue to do this once a week until the end of the school year! I’d like to invite you all to join in with me and find someone in your life who you can show a little extra support. You never know what small act of kindness can turn into someone’s lifeline.
Here’s some FREE nice things you can do for someone this week:
- Write them a note of encouragement
- Give your peers a genuine compliment (on their work, appearance, etc.)
- Ask someone how they are and mean it–make time to have this conversation well
- Send someone a positive text if you notice they’re a little off
- Offer to edit someone’s paper if they want a second set of eyes
- Write someone you’ve worked with a recommendation on LinkedIn
- Try to include the human who gets left out of conversations and events
- Send an email of gratitude to a mentor or professor who is important to you
- Try to be electronic free when having conversations with people this week
- Invite someone to study or eat or take a break with you
We all need a little boost now and then (or often). Think about the people who have made a difference in your life during school and how you can pay it forward.
Got something else to add to my list of random acts of kindness? Share them in the comments! 💖
Sometimes school is dumb–confusing assignments, excessive busy work, really particular professors. Other times is super frustrating–stressed out peers butting heads, miscommunications, family and friends not understanding where you’re coming from. And sometimes the classes feel pointless. For whatever reason that be to you: not applicable to your speciality, the course material isn’t new to you, or like me you’re taking intro classes for the 3rd (+) time in 6 years.
It might be hard in these times to understand what possessed you to continue your education. I don’t blame you. I think since moving I’ve questioned myself and choices already 100 times.
So whether you hate your classes, are completely overwhelmed with homework, your having trouble with family or friends or peers, I hope you can hold onto the hope of your long term dreams. I hope that you can find comfort in knowing this is all temporary. And I know that you can get through it somehow.
As for me, I’m 100% fed up with life right now. Nothing is going quite the way I had planned and I’m trying to adapt and move forward. Even if that means I have to disconnect and work on autopilot for a while and survive on pure stubborn force of will alone: I will finish this school year, get this degree, and complete what I set out to do. And I believe you all will, too (just hopefully less dramatically than how I’m feeling right now).
How do you keep yourself motivated or get out of a rut or find the determination to keep grinding when you have to? Share in the comments!
Just made some other social media accounts for this blog, feel free to check it out!
Right now I am really struggling with this. I am having the most extreme case of countertransference of my (albeit short) career. Truthfully, if I wasn’t in training and had the option to, I would consider transferring.
But, I’ve been having a lot of supervision and got one excellent piece of advice that I thought I’d pass along in hopes of helping someone else:
If the countertransference is too strong and you can’t delve into the primary emotions of the client, choose a secondary one that you can access yourself and work on deepening affect in that way.
Anyways, I hope that this helps someone else out there. It’s certainly made my situation more manageable.
I’m writing today from a place of exhaustion, of defeat, of anxiety, of stress over what’s to come.
This semester has been rough. I’ve had some mental health issues acting up since I moved that I’m still trying to return to baseline, some physical health issues arise, and the school work just does not stop.
I’m still passing all of my classes (praise God for the strength and ability to do so–that’s all Him folks because I alone am running on complete empty) and I’m not behind on any of my projects.
This semester has, thankfully been one where the workload is stacked at the end, so I’ve been able to have a period of just showing up and that being enough for now.
But today is the end of spring break. We lost an hour, I have to go back to school tomorrow, and now all of the stuff is going to be due soon.
Truth be told I haven’t had a real break in a long while. Between ending my last program and going home and hosting visitors, I’ve been swamped even on my little time without school. I’m ready for summer break, but that won’t happen until June.
I am at a place right now where I’m finally feeling the weight of what I’ve been doing. I’m finally feeling the maybe I should just quit and maybe I can’t do this after all thoughts creep into my mind. It’s the self doubt that I was warned of by mentors past, and the self doubt I was able to mostly avoid in my last program as I was not so burnt out yet. But it’s here now, and I’m trying to find a way to cope.
I truly believe that I am capable of this. I have a lot of support and knowledge and am making progress. I’m not perfect, but I’m not expected to be. The hoops that school is making me jump through feel endless, but I know in reality they’re not. I feel like I’m stuck on a treadmill and going nowhere, but I am moving forward. It’s slow, and grueling, and painful, and hard. And if I’m being honest, it’s one of few true, genuinely difficult, pivotal challenges that I have faced in my life.
The question remains: who do I want to be on this journey; who do I want to become? I have faith that God will carry me forward in this journey and give me the strength to do so. How I approach the path set before me is entirely my choice.
He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it. –1 Thessalonians 5:24
I am at a place right now in my life where I cannot offer much encouragement or wisdom or help. I am struggling. But God is good, and I have hope for the future and trust that He will bring to completion the journey He has called my life to.
I ask that you all pray for me during this time of struggle; know that I will be praying for all the other graduate students out there no matter the place they are at themselves.
Here’s hoping that everyone got to enjoy their holidays with loved ones! I personally got to go home for Christmas and New Years, but unfortunately my time was short lived as I needed to return to California to work on my dissertation and try and get some $$$ to sustain adult life (read: bills).
What’re your resolutions? I just came up with mine today and am in the process of planning them out!
This semester has been really interesting for me. My new cohort’s culture is so different from my last–largely because of the different age range (my age-early 30’s) and life stages (ex: only one person has a kid, who just turned one). This has made me aware of some new personalities (so to speak) that can come out for younger people when starting grad school, which are as follows:
In addition to many personal things that have happened contributing to the rollercoaster that has been this semester, something great happened today.
TODAY I GOT MY DISSERTATION CHAIR AND HONESTLY FEEL SO EXCITED AND BLESSED AND EAGER TO WORK ON MY DISSERTATION AGAIN!!!
Now the real work can begin! Wish me luck! If you have any tips please leave them below!
And now here’s a little bit of research humor for you all:
Counselors and Therapists out there: I know you guys love phone calls because they’re more confidential and can take less time than emails (although that’s certainly debatable) but here’s the thing. Not everybody has time to call you in between your sessions. Not everybody likes phone calls.
In fact, phone calls can make me really anxious if I’m having a bad day and sometimes I just don’t have it in me to make them. Especially if your email is already out there/how someone originally contacted you, start with email.
And if you don’t have an email available for potential clients, do your anxious clients a favor make one so they don’t have to play phone tag with you, worrying about the phone call or message they left and if they’re misremembering or forgetting any information.
That is all, thank you.
Y’all those questions are stressful and can remind us that our lives are a wreck. Here’s some more productive questions you can ask the grad student in your life instead:
- Did you travel anywhere for research this year?
- Who’s your favorite professor?
- Where do you think your field will be in five years?
- Does your department have any unsolved mysteries, weird quirks, or is it potentially haunted?
- What is your favorite and least favorite thing about school?
- Do you have a bucket list of things to do in the city your school’s located in?
- If you had unlimited funding what would you do?
- If you had to change careers, what would you choose?
- What do you do for fun outside of school?
- Does your program do anything fun together?
- Do you have some recommendations or ways for me to learn more about your field?
- Are there any old wives tales about your field?
- What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened since you started your program?
- Tell me about your research project and how you got interested in it?
- Who do you look up to in your field or program?
- Is there anything you need right now (i.e. a snack or more alcohol)?
Be kind to your grad students this season, they’re probably very stressed and very tired.
Be kind to everyone this season, they’re probably very stressed and very tired (and don’t want to talk about deciding on a career or when they’ll get married or when they’ll have kids etc.).
Happy early thanksgiving everyone! 🍁🦃🍂
This post was inspired by cancerbiophd.tumblr.com
Today went from pulling an all-nighter to passing a big exam that I was very worried about, finding out my insurance has great mental health coverage so I can meet my program’s requirement more affordably, and coming home to gifts from my boyfriend back in Seattle and the Christmas tree my roommate and I bought being delivered. God is good y’all even in the chaos.
There are a lot of things that I’m learning right now living on my own and at grad school; one of the biggest things I’m learning is about self-advocacy.
Now let me say this upfront: I do not like self-advocacy as it feels too much like conflict. By no means at i good at it yet. And I think that’s okay because I am certainly trying my best and I know I will get better at it as time goes on.
I think that I had several misconceptions going into this program. The first relating to the way my transfer items worked out (although I have some rising concern that I might be missing a form) as I had no say in the matter and was more or less guided through the process. This is not the case for forming my dissertation committee or beginning my 80-odd hour didactic therapy requirement.
Let’s face the fact that the transition to life on my own and 1,000 miles away from home has been very difficult for me. For the first third of the semester I was such a wreck that I couldn’t do much of anything–even take competency exams for assessments–without extreme anxiety. Unfortunately for me this makes it a double whammy that I need to seek out these two crucial elements to the program on my own while trying to get a job and licensure going.
But excuses are lame so I’ve spent the last couple of weeks building courage in myself. Or maybe rather I’ve gotten more accustomed to the anxiety and am able to Do The Things Anyways now when I couldn’t before. Regardless, I’m starting to tackle 2/3 of my Big Scary Tasks this week: talking to my academic advisor about figuring out what to take next semester and starting didactic therapy. My advisor is kind and wonderful, so he seemed like an easier way to start and build courage rather than blindly approaching professors and hoping they’ll help me do my research (which I’m having to adjust slightly, so I need to do more background research before I approach people anyways).
All in all though sending that email to meet with my advisor was terrifying for me to my very core. As small of a thing it may be for someone else. So I want to encourage you to take time to center yourself, pick one of the many mountains in front of you, and start climbing it. No matter how big or small it may appear in someone else’s eyes, it’s your mountain to conquer and that important and worth celebrating the achievements along the way. That is my prayer for everyone going into this week; courage, confidence, and centeredness. May you find it wherever you’re starting at and wherever you go.
There’s so much I could talk about but basically I’m still in the throws of trying to form a dissertation committee, I can’t seem to figure out what classes I’m meant to take next semester, etc. mostly the things causing me anxious are the things that are more complicated and inherently overwhelming. I’m struggling to even start them.
A lot of things are going right and well down here too, but I’m working to push past some pessimistic attitudes at the present. The abundance of visits from people have helped, but I think mostly I miss my family and friends back at home, even though it’s very nice here and I’ve made new friends, I’m still homesick. I’ve always planned to go home after this program, but I didn’t realize how difficult it would be at the beginning.
Here’s to new challenges and chapters and plans for future coming to be through God’s love, power, and planning!
Had a classmate call my doodles nonthreatening and absolutely precious today and tbh that may be one of the cutest compliments I’ve ever received??
I am going to begin Registered Behavior Technician work soon and have been breaking my back to finish the 40-hr training and other requirements in time to get the bonus. I am so excited for this job that should work with my school schedule, and they’re paying really well since I have my MA.
I’m still needing to begin LMHCA to APCC transfer stuff–other priorities are taking over right now.
I learned while doing aforementioned online training today that when the picture frame on my desk covers the clock on my monitor I will work for an ungodly amount of time (hence this 2:30am post).
I have to get vetted for WAIS-IV administration on Monday morning and have to video myself administering it to a undergraduate volunteer on Friday. I am nervous.
I still get homesick and feel the weight of moving 1000 miles away and wanting to please everyone (which is impossible I know but the pressure is still there).
Long distance is difficult. I miss my boyfriend a lot.
I am beyond excited to have all of the visitors and have been beyond blessed to successfully keep in touch with many people from home.
I like my cohort. A lot. They’re chill. Apparently the professors are even noticing how close our cohort is.
Not having a real fall is by far the worst and most difficult thing–my body is longing for the change of seasons. Part of me thinks if I fake it enough it’ll just happen.
My roommate and I have yet to use the pool at our place for some reason. Idk what that’s about? 🤷🏼♀️
I have some neighbors who love to blast 80’s music and sometimes some 90’s-2000’s r&b after like 12:30 on the weekends. Tbh I’m so here for it.
Still not used to having my dog by my side every night even though I’ve been here a month.
I really want to get another tattoo but have no idea what or where or who to get it from or where I’d get the money to afford it right now.
I feel simultaneously anchored and thrown overboard into the storm. I’m still trying to figure out how that can be.
“It’s like psychodynamic on speed”
I’ve started school! It’s been great so far and I am really enjoying my new cohort. It’s odd being with students closer to my own age again, but refreshing. Everyone is from all over and has been so kind and welcoming (a culture shock to this Seattleite used to The Freeze).
I have two mentors from the cohorts above me, who have been very kind and gracious to meet with me and share their advice. I’ve already made connections with several staff members who embody the balance between professional and vulnerable/genuine. I am supposed to be hearing back about transfer credits this upcoming week.
Until then, I’m currently enrolled in seven classes and everyone is already working their butts off to do well (especially in stats, apparently all of us are scared of math lol).
My LMHCA in WA is finally in the pending bracket, and hopefully will be pushed to full soon so that I can begin the transfer process.
I have several job opportunities coming my way, particularly one on campus having to do with graduate admissions that I am excited about. One job won’t be enough, but if I can get my APCC I think it would be a perfect match so I can have two jobs and slowly work towards licensure.
It’s hard being away from home, I get lonely and still struggle to find introvert time. Poor grad student has taken on a new meaning as my roommate/best friend (how lucky am I to have a friend who would move 1,000 miles away with me??) and I have lived off of eggs and rice and sat on the floor until we finally got a couch not even a week ago. But all that being said I am feeling really grateful and blessed. Things seem to be falling into place for the most part and I am happy to be on this adventurous journey. God has clearly ordained my steps and set me on this path, I am faithful that He will continue to guide and look after me in the months and years to come.
You guys. I moved. I’m in California for my degree. Here’s what I learned about getting an apartment for the first time (both ever and from out of state):
- Honestly it’s a million times harder if you can’t be there in person
- Seriously it took us a month to do what could happen within a day or two
- If you are out of state, use your connections to view the apartment
- Hotpads and Apartments.com have a lot of great listings
- Find a list of places you like, then do more individual research on each place
- The market moves fast so you need to be prepared to
- If you’re out of state, be flexible on what date you’re willing to put on the lease (it’s better to have a place that you can move into whenever you arrive, especially if you’re driving from far away, then not being sure if you’ll be able to get into your place)
- Always, and I mean always put everything in writing–send confirmation emails after all of your phone calls!
- Prioritize what stuff you can bring, what you need to buy, and what you need to buy first (example: in CA most apartments don’t come with fridges, so buying one was at the top of our priorities).
- Make sure you pack a box of things that you’ll need for the first few days (coffee, cleaning supplies, some changes of clothes, snacks, etc.)
- When you’re moving from afar, even with online tours and pictures, you can’t tell exactly what your space will look like. Be flexible with expectations and be willing to negotiate with your roommate (example: I got the bigger room so all of my stuff would comfortably fit, but my roommate has the parking spot)
- Command products are life and you can hang just about anything with them
- Textured walls require more to attach items to them (namely extra command hooks)
- If you’re smart you can fit almost anything into your car and a small U-Haul. My roommate and I both fit everything into our cars and a shared 5×8 U-Haul.
- Check your oil as you go (I realized when I got here that my oil was almost completely empty–thank goodness I remembered to check and had a quart in my car!!)
- In Oregon, even with the law change, they will still not let you pump your own gas and they won’t ask for your number for discounts/rewards which is annoying
- Be intentional about which driver is going through the mountain passes (example: I forgot about the grapevine and so my poor boyfriend drove through it in the darkness)
- Have your copilot practice driving your car before it’s all filled up (my boyfriend found this really helpful–especially since my breaks aren’t as sensitive as other cars)
- Get your car checked for the drive wherever you get it serviced, it’ll be good to take care of anything before you go
- Things can be notarized on multiple occasions (example my mom and I got our signatures on the lease notarized then handed it off to my roommate and her mom)
- Always pay extra for quick shipping. Even if it says it’ll take two-three days it’ll probably take five.
- Write. All. Of. The. Thank-You. Notes!! This doesn’t happen alone and if you think it does you’re just wrong
- You’ll call people and they won’t respond. Move on.
- Some people will laugh in your face when you say you’re out of state–it’s frustrating but just move on and don’t waste your time trying to convince them otherwise.
- If it’s meant to be it’ll all work out. God will make things happen. The place I’m in now is perfect for my roommate and it–beautiful, safe, friendly, good size and price… it it was the
- place out of over 25 places that we found online we applied to.
Hope this helps you guys in your search, especially those of you who (like me) are new to the whole living on your own thing.
Thought some of you guys might appreciate this tweet!😜
Summer to do list! Still make daily ones with other chores etc. on them!
If someone reminds me later I’ll post my walk covered in various to do lists. Including for licensure (for WA associates, then CA associates, then finally for full licensure).
But basically here’s how things have to go for me:
- Complete MA in Washington
- Obtain LMHCA from the WA Department of Health (including paperwork, 4 hours of AIDS education, transcripts, etc.)
- After (and only after) step 2, I can begin to work with CA’s Board of Behavioral Sciences and apply for my APCC
- Once the BBS reviews my application, and acknowledges my license from WA’s DOH, they will tell me exactly what needs to be remediated to be awarded the APCC license (without my LMHCA I have to do more remediating work)
- Once I remediate all of those things, and get my APCC, I can begin to work towards full-licensure in the state of CA (mostly including obtaining hours and passing the NMHCME)
- This is the short version. Each step has many little steps included. But it feels nice to make progress and have an understanding of it all finally.
- Oh, and did I mention that I will be submitting all of my LMHCA materials tomorrow? 😜🎉
It’s done. I am officially graduated with my MA in Counseling Psychology.
It feels surreal still, almost two weeks since class ended. On the one hand my mind is going, wait you mean that’s it? There’s nothing else I had to do? And on the other hand I think, thank God that’s over! I am so ready to move on with my life.
It’s a weird balance. And maybe it feels different because I still have another five years of education ahead of me. But I really do think that the whole experience was a little overhyped. Was it hard? Absolutely! But it’s 100% totally and completely doable. Advanced degrees really exemplify the ways that education, particularly higher education, has more to do with privilege, opportunity, and connection than capabilities.
Through the highs and lows, I am happy to have walked through this journey with my cohort. They are not the extremely close and bonded family that I was told they would be, but that’s okay. They are my professional family and I am happy to say that I like, or at least am neutral, towards all but two of them. They will be great professionals. They will impact their communities. And I am excited to witness them make their marks on society.
Having completed my program with entirely A’s, I am proud of my hard work. Having completed my internship with the highest praise and remarks from my supervisor, I am humbled by my growth and hopeful for my future and competence. Having spent 30 hours each with most of my clients this year, I am honored and blessed to be a part of their stories.
While it’s terrifying and devastating to leave the only home I’ve ever known and the people I love most, I am excited to move forward and continue the journey.
Updated on housing to come! (It’s been rough)!
I stayed up for several more hours panicking and looking at some housing and transfer credit options after I made that post.
In fact, I heard back from a couple of houses who I will be getting to know better and might move in with. I even had a phone interview with one house and will hopefully hear back soon. So my panicking was productive at least!
So fingers crossed that things start working out and falling into place. Most importantly please be praying for me in this process for all of the pieces to work out and my sanity because I think I’m not too far away from losing it.
It’s true, I should be sleeping right now. I have the week off of class (and am so so close to the end of my MA) and I started a nanny job for the summer, and it’s late. So I should be sleeping.
But I’m not.
Instead I’m thinking about all of the summer planning I need to do for the tweens I’m watching this summer. I’m thinking about all the shit that needs to happen before I move (it’s so much and so overwhelming). I’m panicking about finding a place to live. I’m thinking about all of the things that need to happen for my next school (deadlines and paperwork and transfers and ugh). Instead I’m stressing over how I am possibly going to get all of this done and make sure that my friends and family feel connected and appreciated.
I simply can’t do it all. I need help. I’m tired, and overtaken by late night worries. And I should be sleeping.
But I should be sleeping.
It freaks me out how much is happening so fast. I’ve never felt so terrified and overwhelmed to the point of immobilization. So I think and think and think and think and it doesn’t do much of anything and I should be sleeping.
You all know how much I adore the mindfulness app, Stop Breathe and Think. I’ve mentioned it several times and described it, and it is my favorite and go to app for mindfulness. It lets you mentally, physically, emotionally check in, and allows you to track yourself in those areas and mindfulness. It also has daily messages and recommendations. I recommend it to my clients all the time. That being said, when an ad for a new mindfulness app came across my IG feed, I had to bite. I mean what’s not to love about more mindfulness, right? So I’ve been using it for the past eight days, and here’s my thoughts on their free version. The app is called Shine-Daily Self-Care and here’s what their logo looks like (so cute!)! First, let’s go over how it works:
- Shine sends you daily messages (even via text if you don’t want to do it through the app) including two articles on a mental health topic and a free mindfulness track. This happens during the weekdays.
- Everyday, including weekends, it has you check in by cultivating gratitude (they ask what are you grateful for today) and setting a daily wellness goal (what are you doing to feel good today) and you message back your responses.
- It tracks how many days in a row you check in!
- It sends you a reminder for your next check in so you don’t forget.
So here’s what I love about the app:
- The text style is fun and easy to use, I like that I get to actually reply.
- I appreciate that the check ins promote gratitude and setting a wellness goal daily.
- It’s nice to have more materials on weekdays when I am stressed the most
- I value that they tackle different areas explicitly (like motivation or focus) and do all the work for me
- It’s aesthetically pleasing
- The check in reminders are nice
- I have not repeated any materials yet
- They have information about crisis hotlines and calling 911 in an emergency
Here’s what I’m on the fence about for Shine:
- Sometimes their mindfulness tracks seem more like audio lessons, which is fine but it’s definitely not pure mindfulness every time
- The articles are a little long to read, so it takes a while on the weekdays to read all of the materials while other apps are quicker
- I can’t tell how much of their content was developed by mental health professionals, or at least what’s empirically backed in the materials they provide.
Overall though, I really like Shine. It’s fun, simple to use, and an easy way to help make mental health a priority. They provide good content, and large amounts of it (especially for a free version). I definitely will consider recommending it to clients in the future to help give them options in mental health apps! Was this helpful for you guys? Would you like it if I did this kind of thing more? What are your favorite apps to recommend to clients? Have you used Shine before and what are your thoughts? Let me know about it all in the comments!
Okay so I have a million things to do and this has nothing to do with my tasks or lists… BUT I just found out today that I’ve been given a grant by my school for next year which is such an incredible and huge blessing! The Lord is good, y’all!
It’s okay not to have your shit together, but you have to know what your shit is so you can be responsible and take care of it. Broken people can heal broken people if they’re taking care of themselves.
In other news it’s fun seeing how much debt I have… 🙄
Been researching like a crazy woman different salary estimates and how I’m finna pay all this off hopefully before I’m 100 years old. 🙃
Anyone else living that broke af grad student life?😭
Hey guys! I’m trying to get my first real life adult place to live in California for school next year and I’m struggling to find a place that’s in budget and will be ready around August 25. I’ve never moved out of state before and am very overwhelmed. I don’t have any roommates and people I tried to connect with through the school aren’t keen on living with a 22 year old (and seriously don’t even get me started on this I swear…). SO I’d appreciate all the help I can get!
What’re your tips and tricks? How can I fit my budget and time frame? How do I make sure I’m not in a sketchy area or too far from campus? What do I do to make sure I’m not being scammed or moving into a shit-hole, since I’m 1,000 miles away and can’t check out the place myself?
Seriously, please help!! And thanks in advance!
This was my last week at my clinical internship. And I was so sad to go. (Though by some miracle did not cry… until the next day anyways). We only have 30 days left until the end of school.
I have grown so much this year. I know my preferred modalities and orientations (and more importantly how to implement them). I know my therapeutic style—definitely am not a blank slate kinda girl, if you’re my client my reactions will be genuine (although not extreme). I know how and when to safety plan. I learned how to always have a plan and to never expect to use it. I discovered that my intuition was right; I want to work with high schoolers.
I cannot tell you how grateful I am for my supervisor and all of the work that he put into the program this year for us and the kids. He guided me and directed me and supported me when I wasn’t sure how to support myself. He was a constant reminder of God’s grace, compassion, and love; he never let me forget that God is in the room with the students and I, and that I need to take care of myself and take time to soak up life’s experiences.
This was my first supervisor. My first clients. My first office. Arguable my first time ending something 100% well and not an emotional wreck. I have been beyond blessed by everyone and everything this year. I will never forget them or that place.
As I look to the future I am amazed and thankful. This was a formative year for me. At the beginning of the year when I saw my first client I was dumbfounded. I thought, holy crap, I am actually a counselor now, this is insane! But now I feel that I’ve really started to grow into that. I am a counselor. And a good one at that (at least, according to supervisor and student feedback–definitely have a lot to learn and have made mistakes along the way!). But it feels great to say that and to mean it and to own it and incorporate it into a professional identity.
I know I was lucky this year, not everybody has such positive first experiences with their internships. I hope that everyone has been able to take away some of the same levels of confidence and lessons. Let me know in the comments below!
Me!! ……………… except I have class until mid-July but whatever we had commencement and it was great!
It’s crazy idk about you guys but I can’t go to commencements and not get emotional. It was a lot of fun to get to hear my name called, get hooded, and spend some time with my cohort because we are so close to being done!
Here’s a lot of pictures of me because I was super feeling myself and it’s been a week so why not.
Just one semester left to go before we’re done and just about 4 months until I move to California for my next degree!
When thinking about your own experience and practices in self-care, do you think that self-care and more of a mindset that you carry into each day and moment, or do you think it is a series of intentional activities that you build into your routine?
This came up in my core group at class last night, and I’m wondering what you guys think! Personally, I’ve always leaned towards the second definition, but I’m hoping to adjust my mindset to the first!
We should be striving to make every part of every day something that helps us grow, makes us more capable, defines our sense of self, or makes us able to accept and appreciate our lives for what they are.
For any fellow Christians out there, I’m trying to take an approach that goes along with the notion of praying without ceasing. I constantly try and do breath prayers throughout the day, and I think approaching self care in a similar way (which of course for me incorporates prayer) will help me take it to the next level, so to speak.
What do you guys thinks?
Hello all! I’m here at the beginning of my last semester of my master program, totally freaking out, with commencement on Saturday and classes through July.
A while ago I decided on the school I want to attend for my doctorate. It was a difficult decision; all of my options were good so it felt like I couldn’t go wrong which makes it harder for me. After a lot of panicking and prayer, I decided on attending school in the LA area, which means I will be moving 1,000 miles away in August, and out of state for the first time in my life.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t having a hard time with it. My people, my life, it’s all here. This is my home and while I’m scared to leave it I’m counting on my best friend’s advice that this is likely the last time that I’ll be able to move out of state and minimize the consequences because I can just come home as soon as the program is done.
But I’m still nervous and terrified—I even delayed making my public announcement (though decision day was April 15) until last weekend because I still needed time to process and adjust to my choice. And honestly I think it’ll take every day until I move to truly have a grip on the whole thing (adjusting to change is not necessarily my forte). I just can’t believe I’m leaving my beautiful city of Seattle!
As of now my to do list (outside of current homework) has several major things with a lot of little things tied to them. But for now, here’s the biggies:
- Figure out California licensing laws and what I need to do to catch up
- Find a place (and possibly person) to live
- Graduate successfully
- Figure out transfer credits, registration, etc. for my new school
If anybody has any sort of suggestions in regards to any of these things, please let me know! Even just encouragement towards this semester since I have commencement months before I’m actually finished with school (they’re just asking for us to have senioritis, honestly). Hmu in the comments with your thoughts!
Starting to feel like an old lady over here! I can’t believe I’ll have my MA at 22, and hopefully be a fully licensed MA level clinician with a real job providing therapy while I’m getting my next degree! How crazy life is!
Also, just want to point out that me flying to California was the first time I have ever traveled ENTIRELY BY MYSELF, hotel, rental car, the whole thing, and it was oddly freeing and by far the most adult thing I have ever done in my entire life. What a time to be alive!
I’ve had a very interesting experience interviewing for PsyD programs, and having gotten into several and waitlisted already, I’d like to share some words that I hope will be comforting for others going through the process in the future.
First I want to mention that I was actually able to fly down to the California schools I applied to and interview in person. I think this makes a huge difference and impression—while some schools may require an in person interview, those who do not will notice the effort you’ve put in to be there and how seriously you are taking the process. While I recognize this isn’t always possible, I think it’s entirely worth it if you can make it work. For me, it was also crucial in helping me get a feel for the different programs and where I thought I might be a good fit.
While I was interviewing at one California school, I was also given some very comforting words from the professor interviewing me:
I know that interviews can be anxiety provoking, but I want to encourage you to take a deep breath. The fact that you’ve made it here means that we know you’re qualified and capable of handling this program. At this point we are looking entirely at fit; today we are really just having a conversation more than an interview.
I cannot tell you how comforting it was for me to hear those words. It was reassuring: I deserved to be there, I am capable of getting this degree. And it also changed my mindset from oh my god I have to get in somewhere bring on the competition to a mindset of do I like these people and this place enough to spend the next several years of my life here? Is this worth it for me?
This mindset was solidified further when one of the schools I interviewed at did their group interview after their individual interview. The faculty were truly looking to see how all of the remaining interviewees could interact and get along as a cohort, which almost all programs I applied to are using now. This reminded me as well to be observant of the people around me and ask myself could I see myself being friends and forming relationships with these people? Will they annoy the hell out of me after a semester or do I think we could support each other when school gets rough?
So I encourage all of you applying to programs out there to adopt the mindset of searching for fit rather than a mindset of having to prove yourself to the people you interview with. Have confidence in yourself, know yourself, have plans for the future and goals, and trust that you will find places that will be the right match for you.
Of course, I would be remiss not to mention some explicit tips to help in the process, so in standard Elizabeth format, here’s a list of interview tips:
- Know your elevator pitch (10-30 seconds of who you are, what you [want to] do, and where you want to go in the future.
- Know your weaknesses and how to spin them—I always choose weaknesses that I am currently working on so I can discuss my progress and plans for future improvement. (It doesn’t hurt if your weaknesses are also things like perfectionism that can also make you a good student/hard working professional).
- Don’t forget to send thank you cards/emails! Especially if you are only interviewing with one member of the faculty and not several. Also, it helps if in your thank you you include details (ex: thank you so much for taking the time to interview me yesterday! I really enjoyed getting to know you and hearing your perspective on play therapy [or whatever they do] and look forward to potentially working with you in the future!).
- If you’re in a group interview, try to adopt a pace of everybody taking turns/going in a similar order so everyone gets the chance to answer and you aren’t talking over each other.
- Dress to impress; be well groomed (I feel like this going without saying, but if you’re unsure if it’s business casual or business you should ask because that would be an awkward mix up to show up in nice jeans when everyone else is wearing a suit).
- Be aware of research interests, it helps if you can be specific! For example, my broad areas are cognition and youth (25 and under). Zoom in and you get anxiety, depression, and adolescents. Zoom in even further and you get how do depression rates change across college, particularly in the years immediately following graduation?
- If you know who is going to interview you in advance, stalk their resumes and CVs (these should be on the school’s website).
- When mingling with staff during down time, ask them about what area of the field they are in and what developments and trends they are noticing.
- Have your questions prepared in advance! Here are some of my favorites:
- What do your students typically wish they knew before beginning your program?
- How are you promoting multicultural competence in your students?
- What makes students a good fit or a poor fit for your program? What is your school’s culture like?
- When forming dissertations, do students typically come alongside staff’s research, or do they have more freedom to decide what they would like to do?
- How would transferring credits impact my experience at your school?
- Finally, don’t forget that the APA has deadlines: you should first hear from schools by March 1. You should get decisions by April 1. You have until April 15 to decide.
So. It’s been a long process for me… I’m exhausted, in awe of myself for the options I have, and incredibly stressed out of my mind because I have to decide by April 15 if I am going to move 1000 miles away or not. Please consider praying for me and sending positive vibes my way as I try to figure everything out!!
Also we had a midterm yesterday and the cohort is CONVINCED that the prof heavily curved it because everybody felt like they did HORRIBLY. Here’s some memes I relate with from this experience, enjoy!
Hello, fam! I’ve been MIA for a couple of months now, basically because I’m horrible at staying consistent with anything that’s not in my planner. 🤷🏼♀️ sorry bout it.
But I’m back now, and I have SUCCESSFULLY SUBMITTED MY DOCTORATE APPLICATIONS!! I applied to both PsyD and PhD programs, planning to focus primarily on adolescents, young adults, and children.
I originally applied to 8 programs, because I am a crazy woman. I withdrew my application from three, mostly because they kept losing my stuff (test scores, transcripts, etc) that I was tired of paying for resending. Once again, sorry bout it?🤷🏼♀️
That being said, I applied to two state schools, which I am not expecting to get into because my GRE math scores weren’t the best, and I was NOT about to pay a million dollars to retake a test I wouldn’t have the time, energy, or drive to study for. Plus my other scores were great, so once more, sorry bout it. 🤷🏼♀️😉
That leaves me with three most likely candidates for schools. Two are in CA, and one is in WA. I’ve already had the local individual interview, with a group interview coming up at the end of the month. I will be traveling to California for the other interviews the week of Valentine’s Day. I swear to the Lord above this is arguably the most adult thing I have done in my life and I am pretty excited about it!
All three schools are wonderful, and I have the full support of my cohort, supervisor, family, friends, and boyfriend. I would be amiss not to recognize the incredible privilege and blessing to even apply to any of these schools, let alone be able to afford to travel for interviews and have an extremely encouraging social support system. The Lord has truly blessed me, and I am so anxious to see where He will call me to next! Your prayers for me during this time would be incredible appreciated as I anticipate next steps and continue in the interview processes. 😇
I will post more about some thoughts on my mind, hopefully throughout the next two weeks. Some things I’ve been thinking a lot about lately are: toxic relationships–mental health professionals experience them, too! The pros and cons of being in a cohort educational model. The unique realities of being in a therapeutic relationship with clients for so long (I’ve already hit around 15 sessions with most clients) and how to continue progress after so much time. When, what, and how to drop something out of your schedule when everything feels so important. The importance of knowing when to invest in relationships and when to invest in school. And loads of other things because life has just been crazy! Soooo be on the lookout, more posts are definitely coming your way in 2018! Happy (belated) New Years everyone! 😘
- Upon turning in a final: “Good luck, now go be a kickass therapist!”
- A student/client ran up to me in the hallway and hugged me and I don’t think I’ve ever been more uncomfortable in my entire life
- Except when same student tried to put my hand on her heart to feel how fast it was going
- Somebody dissociated in front of me for the first time (in a clinical setting) and it was wild
- Having clients’ parents pull them from school suddenly and not getting to say goodbye is difficult
- I turned in all of my doctorate applications (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
- Schools keep losing parts of my doctorate applications 🙄
- Somehow I ended up having a good experience for my group therapy class and I’m still not over how that happened
- I’m officially TWO THIRDS DONE WITH MY PROGRAM!!!!!
- It’s so bizarre seeing myself actually be a therapist because I have been actively working for so many years to get to this spot and I’m still in shock tbh
Did I mention this is right before we take the final?
UPDATE: he never ended up giving us feedback
Okay seriously guys I need to know if this is just me…
So I’m applying to doctorate programs (because apparently I hate myself—but actually I’ll make a post about that decision later) and I’m apply to eight schools (which depending on who you ask that is either a lot or totally normal. I personally think it’s leaning more towards normal (particularly because several schools I’m applying to are state schools which are hella competitive).
Applying to doctorates is what I really had wanted to do when I applied to grad school the first time, but didn’t because I convinced myself that I didn’t have the experience to get in. So I already have a sort of baseline anxiety going on here of trying to do something that feels so big.
Here’s the real kicker that I got hung up on: asking my references to write letters for me. People are so. Damn. Busy! I felt so bad having to ask people to write not one, not three, but EIGHT letters. I’ve found a way to make 2/3 people only have to write seven recommendations, but it still just feels like so much of me to ask. To the point where I was procrastinating asking (never good when there’s deadlines approaching) because I felt guilty asking these incredibly lovely (and totally willing) and insanely busy professors and mentors to help me.
literally metaphorically had to rip the bandaid off and just send the damn emails asking people. And. It. Made. Me. So. NERVOUS! It was ridiculous, like honestly I don’t even remember how I asked people the first time for grad school? And in high school it was basically a given (all students got a letter from their counselor and were required to ask two teachers [i don’t think anybody ever said no…]).
Anybody else struggle with that? Or is it just me? Or is this just want being an adult
realizing the weight of adult schedules is like?
Tell me your application struggles in the comments!
So here I am, finished with all my intakes, supposedly doing real therapy now, and still feeling pretty out of my league. Apparently this is pretty common, and I’m definitely feeling like progress is being made, it just feels a little slower compared to everybody else in my cohort. Then again, maybe that’s just me comparing and making a big deal out of nothing.
I can already see how intentional I will have to be for the rest of my career about countertransference and not taking clients home with me. I can see myself being pushed to face my own fears; I can no longer just search for an adultier/real adult when things come up. I have to deal with them in the moment (and it turns out I’m a little bit better at this than I thought which is kind of encouraging!) and make decisions about care and treatment of my clients.
Basically I can’t believe this is all real, and somehow I believe that it will be easier to do this all when I’m not in school at the same time because I’ll have more resources and availability for self care to keep up with. Still struggling to find my place in the world—or rather to make a place for myself in midst of it all and to figure out what I want that to look like.
When I was in high school I was so sure; I see the same certainty in many of my clients. I knew who I was and what I wanted and where I wanted to go and what my life would look like. But only some of that has come true, and the more I learn about the world the less certain things become… which I think is okay because it’ll allow me to grow more and learn more (I hope anyways). That being said I miss the certainty and stability that time in my life brought. I’m not so used to navigating life this way, but I guess that’s part of growing up.
Sorry this post kind of rambles; I didn’t have a specific reason for writing in mind. But there you have it: an update on the young grad student!
I’ve finished half my caseloads intakes, and will be finishing up the rest within the next week or so.
I’m out there in the real world doing the thing and it feels so. Damn. Good.
I can’t tell you guys how absolutely terrified I was before. This is something that I’ve been working towards since I was 14. That’s 7 whole years just trying to prepare myself and get the experience/education required to even start. All that anticipation built up into a crazy pressure and I was worried that I was gonna completely fail and have to come up with a last ditch effort at some other career.
It seems silly that I was doubting such a clear vocational calling for God, but again I got that 7 years ago and sometimes the memory feels less clear than when it happened.
But I’m here. I’m doing it. I love it so far. I know that I won’t be perfect. I know the mistakes and moments of falling flat on my ass are to come. But that’s okay, I’m really here to do what God’s called me to do, so even throughout it all it just feels so right to be where God wants me to be.
I’ve been so blessed by the supervisors and examples I have at my internship. I can already tell that the lessons I learn from clients will be astronomical. It’s my prayer that I can positively impact them all one fraction as much as I know they’ll impact me.
I will say also now that I’ve started my motivation for academia has taken a backseat. Not sure how that’ll work when I get my doctorate, but fingers crossed it’ll all work itself out.
Hope everybody’s fall is off to a great start, and you have things in life to excite you like I’ve found!
Guys. GUYS. You won’t guess what happened today!
Last week I watched my supervisor do an intake with one of my clients. And today I DID MY OWN INTAKE!! My supervisor was there too watching, and he said I did a great job!
Soooooooo from now on I’ll be taking clients from their classes and doing this all on my own now and basically diving into being a counselor. ITS REAL NOW! ITS OFFICIAL!! I AM A COUNSELOR!!!!
I still can’t believe how blessed I am to be here at this site, to be working with these people, to have the opportunity to get this education at all. I feel so blessed. It’s incredible how amazing it feels to actually begin doing what I’ve been working towards since I was 14 years old. Seven years of hard work, education, and experience are all finally starting to pay off.
I’m honestly still in awe that I’m where I am today and beginning to do this whole counseling thing. I’m so pumped to see where the rest of this journey takes me!
THIS IS GETTING REAL PEOPLE! 😳😳😳
Annnnndddd I figured out how to use the copier at my internship today and put client folders together so CLEARLY I’m just adulting left and right as of now! 😬
He’s hilarious and badass. Let me give you some snapshots of our evening with him:
- He referred to himself as a big bald beautiful/cute Greek god/black man countless times
- We’re not entirely sure how old he is, but he’s been practicing for like over 23 years or something and refers to when he went to college as “100 years ago”
- He once had a client’s abusive ex spouse bring a gun into the office after hours and talked him down
- He keeps reminding us we don’t know shit about statistics
- He once had a new client pour gasoline around his house because she was in love with him
- He keeps pointing out that street knowledge is what’ll make you a better therapist, not a high GPA
- He told us he used to help with admissions at a prestigious university for doctorate programs and they’d almost immediately reject people with GPA’s higher than 3.75 because “those people don’t know anything about life, just books”
- He walked into the hallway of our conservative Christian university and yelled “PEOPLE HAVE SEX”
Just to name a few things. Basically tonight was very eventful and I could listen to him tell stories all day!
Fall Semester officially started last night, I can’t believe that I’m in my second year of grad school already!
Truthfully I don’t think this year will be as bad as it’s been hyped up to be by other students. The only thing would be that my internship I think will be a test of emotional capacity and the effectiveness of my current self care routines.
I also can’t believe that I’ve been at my internship for so long already—two weeks in (sans trainings in the earlier part of August—the featured photo is from our staff retreat!). I have my own office, it’s my dream position aka working with high schoolers, the staff is so kind, and my supervisor has been incredible so far! I know it’ll be hard this year; even looking at some student files some kids have been through some incredibly hard stuff. But I think it’ll be worth it! I truly believe that God’s called me to this work and this population and this place, so I’m excited to see what He does this school year! Here’s a selfie from my first day:
I’ll try and remember to take a picture of my office soon to share!
Basically I’m terrified of the year to come because this is what I’ve been working towards since I was a sophomore in high school. I’m finally moving past the intellectual part and into the actual application. THIS IS REAL FOLKS!! I can’t believe I made it here and that this is all actually happening. It’s surreal; it still hasn’t hit me fully yet.
Oh, yeah, I’m also starting to apply to doctorate programs. So there’s that. Also terrifying but in a very different way.
Seriously though, pray for me, I’m stressing hardcore and I want to do all of this well!
I’ve been desperately trying to figure out what made this last year of school memorable (in both good and bad ways), and what my first year of grad school has taught me, over the course of these past few weeks. And this is how I’ve felt:
I know I grew, stretched, changed as a person. Yet I’m struggling to pinpoint those areas of my life. Frankly when I think about this last year really all I feel like is this:
I don’t feel like extraordinary things have been accomplished or like I’ve changed that much (although I’m sure I have) but rather I just feel like the “training wheels” of college are gone and I’m just doing it live (for lack of a better phrase).
I’d like to say I’m proud of my work, that I feel accomplished, that I’m satisfied, but that’s not where I’m at right now. Instead I feel anxious, overqualified educationally yet ill equipped practically, and stagnant.
And when I think back on this year, purely from an academic standpoint, it was easier than I thought it’d be. Instead my struggles came from my personal life: loneliness and isolation, financials, moving back home, close mentors moving thousands of miles away. I haven’t been able to be the same quality of friend as I used to be and that frustrates me and makes me feel like a failure (because even though I’ve been single at least I’ve had strong, good quality friendships) as I can’t invest in the same ways during this period of my life.
Truthfully it just feels like I’m holding a lot of the pieces of my life and putting them on hold for now—which I have to admit I sort of expected but didn’t know how exactly that would look. This month of summer has been restless for me though as I contemplate and try to cope with everything. I’m excited to keep growing. I’m excited to be continuing. I know God has good things in store for me. I’m just hoping to keep the anxiety/existential dread at bay for the time being, and hopefully next year I’ll have better lessons to share when I make my reflection post.
Featured image is not mine but focuses on a lyric from the song King of My Heart which has been inspiring to me as of late in my faith walk and the rest of my life.
- How to prioritize (this applies to school work, relationships, self care, etc.)
- How to spend quality time with loved ones, not relying on the quantity of time spent together to sustain the relationship
- How to make and stick to a schedule
- How to organize (think about it: you have six classes and all the assignments and tests that go with it, you have to know what’s due when)
- How to do group work (no, unfortunately this doesn’t ever go away)
- How to skim read (because lets be honest there’s no way you’ll have time to read everything assigned to you word for word)
- How to take notes during lectures (this helps especially when combined with skim reading)
- Where you study best (library, coffee shop, in a group/alone, music/silence, food/drink, etc.)
- How to motivate & self-discipline yourself
- Why you’re doing this (if you’re not 100% sure, don’t waste your time or money on a degree that you won’t use. Make every hour and dollar spent worth it)
When making posters for class presentations, design it on a PowerPoint slide and order a print online but uploading your slide to Office Depot or office max or whatever your preferred site!
Make sure you double check the preview before you submit and do not fit the slide to the page (otherwise some things might get cut off or something accidentally).
It’s only like $12, it can be shipped to you directly and comes with a box to store it in until your presentation, and it takes less time because you don’t have to go out, buy all the materials, and glue everything together.
You’re welcome. 😉
Yes (fml) but my last class is in less than 24 hours PRAISE THE LORD ON HIGH! Grad School: Year One is about to be over and done! This semester particularly has been thought provoking for me, it’s stretched me and grown me in ways I didn’t expect.
In all honesty, lately I’ve been struggling. I feel like I’m being pulled in a lot of different directions. I still remain entirely myself, but learning about how I apply myself in new situations and certain circumstances is tricky for me. I guess you could say that I’m having a difficult time trying to identify all of the different hats that I have (get?) to wear in life.
I want to know where I’m going. I want to know God’s plans (something I’ve struggled with my entire life). I don’t like sitting and taking things one day at a time. I want to know without a shadow of a doubt that I’m going to actually be somebody, like all the people around me somehow “know” I’m going to be. And I want to know what it means to be somebody, for me. How will I achieve that?
I must admit (though this should not come as a surprise to anybody) I’m highly motivated and goal oriented. I like achievements and conquering challenges. It makes me feel useful and I typically get enjoyment out of it. This is great for meeting, exceeding, and setting new worldly standards. It does, however, get in the way of my relationship with Christ. I mean, it’s not really possible to set increasingly larger, incremental, measurable goals with faith. Goals are accomplished, but faith grows. And while we can see signs of growth, exactly how anything looks as it continues to grow is unpredictable (think like plants–leaves are good, moving upwards is good, but you don’t know which way the branches will sprout, how tall or wide it will be, etc). And so I worry about getting stuck in my own achievement mindset; achievements made while ignoring God’s will are done in vain. And I want to live a life of purpose.
So if I had to sum up what I learned about myself this semester, that would be it: I want to live a life of purpose. Always.
I’ll write up some big thing about the whole school year soon, hopefully! ✌🏼
Anyways that’s almost exactly why I made this blog in the first place—an outlet for all my thoughts and feelings about grad school that I wasn’t comfortable expressing to my classmates or that my friends/family wouldn’t really understand.
Writing is a powerful tool for sure!
The difference between somebody my age using a dating app and me.
A typical person my age uses dating apps for fun–maybe you meet somebody long term but more likely you’ll meet that person at class or through a friend.
I use dating apps because I’m surrounded by middle aged woman and have no exposure to eligible men that are available.
But still, nifty little inventions apps are, probably for the best that we have them!
Literally could not be happier.
I’m looking forward to my internship more and more each day; I have a list of tools to build to have in my office that my students can use! 🙂
While many of my peers feel like they’re overwhelmed and dying (somebody posted a poem remarking their despair this morning in my cohort’s Facebook group) I feel really good about where I’m standing and I think I know why.
Semesters are typically 15 weeks whereas quarters are typically 10 weeks. Now throughout the year, coming from a quarter school background, I have actually felt like I’ve been dying sitting through an extra five weeks every semester. BUT when I push all the work I can into the first ten weeks like I have this semester, I feel a lot less stressed and less grumpy about going to classes.
So that’s my new plan from here on out: get all my shit together and basically done within the first 10-12 weeks and just chill and ride out the waves of due dates and tests for the remainder of the semester.
Might sound a little crazy, but at least I’m not banging my head on the desk so much anymore.
And it’s allowed me to do some things to actually enjoy my summer without feeling guilty, like picking strawberries, floating the snoqualmie river, and celebrating several birthdays with friends!
Okay well I’m gonna go dream about my future office, build a therapeutic jenga set, and figure out what schools I want to apply to for my doctorate. Best of luck to all you other summer-schoolers out there!:)
What are your favorite mental health/mindfulness apps?
I really like Stop, Breathe, and Think as well as Simple Habit.
I want to create a list of suggestions for future reference for clients, so I want to know what people like and to try them out before I start seeing people and possibly suggesting them.
Also I have internship trainings and start in AUGUST! Can’t believe this is already happening! That whole imposter syndrome is definitely starting to set in… I’m also going to need to get serious about applying to doctorate programs soon here; prayers would be greatly appreciated for both things!
I think I was so excited to become an adult because I figured that it would end all the high school drama and bs.
I’d like to point out that I was wrong.
As in high school, there are still people who are involved in the high school like drama, and there are those who don’t.
Trying to find a way to accept that this will always be true, no matter how old I get or where I go, and trying to find ways to be with the people who strive for less drama and are more authentic.
Wish me luck with that.
Did not expect to end up here.
If one thing has been true about my program so far it’s the classes I think I’m going to hate that I end up loving. Seriously could not tell you why.
Anyways, the whole notion of qualitative research was new to me this quarter—I’d always been taught about quantitative research. Basically it’s submerging yourself into a specific culture/group and learning all you can by talking to people from that group and kinda living alongside them, then reporting back their experiences and yours. It’s cool because it allows for the researcher to be a person and expects that we influence the results because we too are people with our unique cultures and upbringings.
So for class we have to come up with a research proposal (in small groups) and my group’s research question is: what are the pressures that women face on Christian college campuses?
It’s been super interesting so far, and I’ve been able to interview my peers from undergrad as part of the project. Each interview as sort of naturally ended up being around 30 minutes, and after I transcribe them I code them and look for themes. So far I’ve done three interviews, with my fourth and final interview scheduled for next Wednesday.
Obviously this topic has personal relevance and importance to me, but I’m excited to see what my group members bring from their interviews as well (we each are required to do at least one). I hope that it will be eye opening and a good starting place for potential future studies—or at least eye opening for my classmates who have kids that may eventually attend a Christian college one day and make them think about the ways we impart “Christian” values to youth that may or may not be totally biblically backed. Similarly I think this could be useful for Christian colleges to help their students in the future.
Who knows, maybe I could even return to this subject for my dissertation one day? Only time will tell!
If I remember I’ll try to post a short summary about what we found after the project is done!
I’ve been getting a lot of well meaning comments this last year, and these last few months especially. It’s from people who, without meaning to, invalidate what I feel or fail to take the time to understand what I’m saying or who I am. It’s obvious they mean well and want to help, they just don’t always succeed. Maybe because I’m a words of affirmation person this carries more weight to me, or maybe it’s just been recent circumstances, but let’s talk about how we encourage others.
For me I’ve seen this happen in primarily two areas of my life: (1) my appearance and (2) my identity/plans for the future. Let’s verbally process this, shall we?
(1) my appearance. Oh what a society we live in; what a world that places so much value on appearance. As a student and a person who values comfort (and wishes they could be perpetually wrapped in a fleece blanket-burrito) I definitely dress more for comfort than style. I’d rather wear leggings and a crewneck + flannel in Birks over a skirt, blouse, tights and heels. Obviously both have a time and place, and truly absolutely nothing is wrong with either of these options. I just tend to lean towards the first one. So when people tell me “they sometimes don’t recognize me because my profile picture is so pretty” or that “if I tried I would be gorgeous” or suggest that I “lose the hats and put on some makeup” I feel as though they’ve missed who I am entirely. I don’t put a lot of value in my appearance so long as my body feels good and healthy, and that I am comfortable and confident in my own skin. While it’s nice to know that people think I’m pretty, I feel as though all my accomplishments are diminished when these sort of comments are made. What can you say instead: I love how confident you are and support you in your healthy living choices.
(2) when I talk about my plans for the future, when I get frustrated with myself and have internal conflict, I need to verbally process. That’s who I am; it’s why I have three blogs, am all over social media, prefer meaningful discussions with my friends, and literally have too many journals to count. There’s a lot going through my head and until I can articulate it clearly (/organize it?) I don’t feel as though I can make any decisions. A lot of people tell me I worry too much (which, hello yes I am anxious, welcome to the party?) and that I need to stop stressing, let the details work themselves out, and (my favorite) need to believe better about myself and essentially have higher self esteem. Oh man it pisses me off. It’s like, I know I’m not perfect and need to be striving towards improvement. That’s why I plan and research and think so much, I’m constantly trying to learn and discern what God has to teach me and where to go next. It’s not because I need to succeed in order to feel loved or that I think working my ass off will magically make my life better. I know that’s not how it works. Instead, lets encourage people to adopt a growth mindset and ask them what they value, their goals, and their needs from their support system.
Something that maybe makes all of this more sensitive to me is that a lot of these comments typically come from people who are older than me (initially wrote “adults” there then realized, I am an adult now. Wild). Maybe this is why teens prefer to go to their friends than adults, there can be so many more opportunities for communication errors when the age gap is bigger.
Here’s a list of other helpful things to say
- What are your goals?
- Are you looking for advice, or would you prefer to just verbally process?
- It’s great that you are so passionate that you want to look at this from multiple angles.
- How can I support you in your next steps?
- Damn girl, you’re killing it in those [insert clothing item here]!
- I appreciate how you pull off _____ look, it really makes you seem confident!
- What have you done to make sure you’re taking care of your body recently?
*side note, featured image is not mine, I found it on tumblr with no source. If it’s yours I’d love to give you credit!
No, not slim shady, just me because spring semester is over and summer semester started this week!
Okay seriously last semester seriously wrecked all of us. While I did manage to get straight A’s again (PTL), it was really stressful. I mean academically last semester is (according to the cohort before us) the hardest, but there was also a lot of person shit for me too (being sick for two months, volunteer work drama, traveling out of the country, the daycare I worked at closing, turning 21…). Basically my cohort and I were just exhausted af after last semester and could’ve used much more than a week’s worth of spring break.
But nevertheless we persist and continue to move forward with our program! We started summer semester out with a full week—both weekdays and a weekend class. While the syllabi made me freaked out, so far things haven’t been quite as difficult as they appeared to be so that’s great!
I’m really hoping to bunker down this semester and get the whole “where to apply to doctorate programs” situation figured out. But honestly I’ve been slightly struggling with some existential dread and had my fear of loneliness creep into my life as of late (also like ???? Idk where the fuck these things came from but let’s just say I’m not super stoaked about them) so that might be a pushed more towards July.
Things with my cohort seem to follow a pattern that I’m beginning to recognize:
- The first phase is a feeling of neutrality. These people are chill but I don’t really know them super well and am unsure how to ~befriend~ them when I hardly have time to see my family and friends.
- “Oh hey, this is cool I like these people and feel like I have a few people really coming close to being like actual friends with! Yay progress!”
- “Ah. That’s right I am the heathen youth [a phrase I lovingly and sarcastically use towards youth often] of the class.” As I realize that I am disagreeing with people and struggling to understand their thoughts, behaviors, and/or lack of understanding.
- Somebody makes comment about me being young.
Now it’s not to say that these things are bad (for example, on Tuesday my core group generally agreed that they don’t like Snapchat, but my core leader and I do. The group said “that’s because you both work with teens” and my group leader [jokingly] said “no that’s because she was a teen 3 years ago” or the fact that I walked into class this morning exhausted AF having awoken from deep sleep and people noticing [which, knowing how I’m not a morning person I totally believe that I looked like a zombie and it was probably hilarious to watch]) but it does make me feel a bit more like an imposter and like I will never truly have a place that feels like a perfect fit for me in the group.
So the struggle remains real, and I’m hoping to totally kick ass this semester. Wish me luck!!
Omg also like half my class thought I was good at stats and math and volunteered me to do stuff in class (turned out to be easy) but like I have no fucking clue how they got that idea because like??? That’s definitely my worst subject??? The only math I can do is on SPSS because the program does the actual math for you & I know how to use the program but like that doesn’t count??? It’s nice to know they think I’m smart though!:)
So in my program we don’t have finals week. We have finals month. Yes, you read that correctly, it was not a typo. And I’ve already finished one class, will be finishing another tomorrow, but am still going until mid-April. So in honor of me turning 21 a few weeks ago (and might I add, PTL!!!) here are 21 thoughts I’ve had during finals month.
- Okay this isn’t too bad, I’m sure I’ll be done before I know it!
- I’m sorry you just assigned three projects and less then a month to do them all on top of all the rest of my crap?
- Eh I could always ditch the degree and marry rich and be a housewife or something
- Or I could move somewhere sunny and be a beach bum for the rest of my life
- Holy sh*t how the hell did it become almost April already?!
- Oh man I have too much to do I did not plan this well
- Whoops, good thing I checked my planner, that 10 page paper is due TOMORROW not in two weeks!
- There is not enough wine in the world to make me forget about my troubles rn. Seriously I’ll just end up doing drunk homework, and nobody wants that.
- Ain’t nobody got time for this!
- Idk how this prof is planning to teach [insert complex computer program here] in two hours but LORD KNOWS I am not teaching these people (some of whom I had to teach how to use google docs a few weeks ago) how to use it.
- Seriously y’all better start working on that collaborative study guide I made or so help me God
- Why do homework when I can spend five hours researching doctoral programs?
- Do people even actually study for tests before the day of? What a life that must be
- Thank God I’m good at taking tests
- I hope when I present I speak faster and not slower so I don’t go over time…
- What do you mean that’s due today?!
- *looks at the camera like I’m in the office*
- Are there any possible forms of productive procrastination left for me to do? Seriously, any at all?
- Uhhhh where was that in the syllabus?! …oh no I see it now
- I can do anything for a few weeks.
To all of you on spring break, enjoy it while it lasts! To those of you struggling like me, I feel your pain. So much. Just think: as soon as this is all over we get a week of freedom before jumping back on the grind again!
- I am postponing transferring to a doctorate program. That way I’ll have more options and will have the experience of an internship next year. Plus, I can keep doing counseling to get hours and stuff and hopefully become licensed WHILE getting my doctorate which’ll be awesome because experience and a job in the field!
- I got an internship! It’s an an alternative high school that mandates counseling for its students and I am PUMPED! Plus I think there’s a good chance that I’ll be able to stay on at this internship site for another year to get hours/supervision 🙂
I’m so thankful to have all of this behind me. Now onto the unexpected 3 projects (all due in a month and assigned on Thursday) on top of all of my other issues.
I also got my summer semester schedule (April-July) and my professors decided that they’re basically only available on the weekends. I’m so excited 🙄
School work never ends. Longing for a quarter system… maybe I can put that on my list for a doctorate program 😉
Here’s a list of my options if anybody would like to provide some input, I’m open to suggestions.
- I apply for the PsyD program and don’t accept any internships in the hopes that I get in from the waitlist (if I get on the waitlist).
- I apply for the PsyD AND accept the internship and if I get in I drop the internship.
- I apply for the PsyD AND accept the internship and if I don’t get off the waitlist I have a backup plan for staying in the MACP program.
- I don’t apply for the PsyD for this fall and instead apply for NEXT fall, accept the internship, but end up spending a lot more money if I get in for not much gain from added transferred classes.
- I just finish my MACP and don’t bother applying for a doctorate until I’m old like I originally planned.
I am not cut out for making big decisions like this. 🙄
Okay. So. I have accidentally created a ~dilemma~ for myself. It’s unfortunate really. I thought to myself last week: “you know what? I should just transfer and get my doctorate.” And I got a ton of support from friends, family, and peers. So I set up a meeting and found out all the things I need to do in the hopes of getting on the waitlist.
Then I interviewed for my top choice site for next year and fell in love and then got offered the position today.
Both great things, right? Right.
But now I feel trapped. Like no matter what I choose I’m saying no to something I really want. And that just bullshit I feel like. Like why can’t both work together?
I feel like I’ve caused some trouble for people at the idea of me trying to transfer, but like at the same time this internship is a great opportunity and it will give me some great experience (of which I have basically none in the field of counseling).
I’m tired. I’m anxious. I have no clue what I’m doing. I’m too young to be this stressed and have to make these kinds of decisions, aren’t I? Boo adulthood.
Okay there’s been a lot going on. Like a lot. I’ve been thinking about academia as a whole, my individual situation, self-care, and basically had like five individual existential crises.
I ended up doing extremely well on that test I mentioned. In fact I only missed one question (that was asking about the name of a dog… totally irrelevant to the subject). I realized that it’s unfair to students with different educational backgrounds to be throwing them into classes that rely heavily on context, like this research method class relies on social sciences specific statistics contextually. It’s also not fair to students who have to pay for the courses and can’t test out of them.
I also realized that right now I’m sitting in a lot of good situations. My friends and family are amazing and so supportive. I’m doing well in school and am still generally enjoying my program. The situations that aren’t good are pretty stressful, but I know that I have an incredible support system to back me up no matter what I’m facing.
But just having a good support isn’t enough, I need to be intentional about taking care of myself. I’ve realized that I’m really good at emergency self care and maintenance self care, but I’m pretty awful at preventative self care. So that’s going to be one of the things that I try to work on for myself this year.
It’s been a crazy month. Basically January was mostly bad and last week was a rollercoaster at best. I’ve been getting through conversations, moments, and days with the resounding question: “what am I even doing here” echoing through my mind. The incredibly gorgeous and magically perfect snow has also upped my pensiveness the last day or so.
So what am I even doing here?
It’s such a big question that the idea of finding as answer always overwhelms me. But somehow God always provides one. Something that I don’t think ever clicked for me when I signed up for grad school was how much I’d be giving up besides financials. I lack free time, I rarely get to see my family and close friends, I’m missing out on all the normal 20-year-old things, I can’t make as much money as I’d like to, I’m always exhausted and stressed (shoutout to my friends and family for loving and hanging out with a grumpy me anyways), I have a hard time fitting in with my cohort because of age differences and my natural shyness… many people my age tell me that it’s incredible that I already “know what I’m doing” when in fact I have no clue at all. I’ve simply selected a career path that I believe God called me too. But that calling was so long ago sometimes I forget it or wonder if I’m capable and doing the right thing. I feel that way about the youth group I volunteer at all the time. And yet every time I have doubts or want to quit because it would be so much easier, God always provides. He always gives me peace, reminders that He and I are in this together and that I’m trying the best I can. He tells me that if I wasn’t doing what He wanted, He would tell me and make it clear.
And that’s really all I can do. Walk with God, listen for His voice, and try my best. I still don’t always know what I’m doing in general or with my life, but I have faith that God will make everything clear to me in time. He’s in control, and until then I’ll keep on keeping on in my daily life until He tells me my next steps.
So I had class Thursday, Friday (tonight), and Saturday (tomorrow) this week.
A couple comments on Thursday and Friday’s classes:
- I thought I was going to hate the class that I have tonight because of reasons and it might actually be my favorite because the prof is awesome and the material is actually really relevant
- This prof looks kinda like a hipster-santa and I approve
- This prof integrates faith into the course in a seemless and relevant manner (I attend a Christian school so this is allowed)
- I got extra credit today because I did all the readings AND was the only one who completed the inventory that a whole chapter of reading was focused on it’s scoring/understanding it. (Not sure how I ended up being the only one who did this, but here we are)
- Last night’s class made my last post really relevant. I’ll need to check the time stamp but I think I wrote that post after that class? Anyways the prof for that class was all over the place and I think I did really well on the test we had and was able to nail a question he asked in class
- I think my cohort is either (a) just beginning to recognize my intelligence and knowledge of the field or (b) thinks I all the sudden became a major nerd. Here’s hoping to the first one!
I’m sure some of you can relate to this.
I was fortunate enough to go to a college with an exceptional undergraduate psychology program. I learned so much and felt incredibly prepared for grad school when I graduated last June.
Not all people were fortunate enough to get that quality of education, and many people in graduate school majored in a different area and have to start from scratch.
What does all of this add up to? A combination of educational backgrounds and needs that needs to be leveled out.
What does that look like in my program? Well several other students and I are frustrated and unmotivated because we have to retake courses we already completed and sit through hours of course material and assignments that we already know and have completed in our past work. And on the other end of the spectrum, some students are frustrated because they are lacking context and other relevant information that makes some of the classes we’re taking important and worthwhile.
It’s frustrating—I don’t really know a way to solve the problem (testing out is not an option at any program that I’ve heard of) and I’m really struggling to get motivated and get my work done this semester. All this sunshine and warmer temperatures we’ve been having here in Washington isn’t helping either. 😉
Has anybody else experienced this? How do you motivate yourself to repeat assignments, readings, and classes? How do you cope with missing information your program assumes you know?
So we had an internship fair a couple of weeks ago and wow I am so excited to start that process! There were SO. MANY. great options for working with teens that I hadn’t heard of and I’m just beyond pumped to get to start doing what I want to do.
That moment when you try to turn in an assignment late and the website won’t let you but the prof doesn’t have any formal late poilicy>>>
Like seriously I checked the syllabus and everything, nothing.
Um hello life got crazy and I thought I submitted the assignment when I accidentally just saved it to my computer instead… throw a dog a bone here 🙄😭
I’m so mad at myself this has literally never happened to me before like UGH WTF ELIZABETH GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME!😡😡😡😡😡😡
What’s even worse is that it’s for a class that I’ve already taken before in undergrad with a lot of the same assignments. Somebody remind me why I’m paying all this money to retake the same courses over?
I’m boring. But I’m wearing crocks!
First night back in class tonight. I gotta admit I missed these goons and am glad to be back!
I’m still not even sure how I got here? Seriously I’m kind of baffled by the reality of what my life is right now.
Anyways, the syllabi for this semester imply that it’s 100% going to suck butt like 1000x more than last semester. Between ridiculous attendance policies, disproportionate workload to credit ratios, to the extra stuff on top of that and everything in between.
Granted, some of this is my fault; my cultural immersion project doesn’t happen until February, I didn’t start acruing therapy hours for myself last semester, and I somehow have to begin to find an internship for next year.
But still, some of it is just teachers being ridiculously uptight. Like hello missing a class is not worth taking off an entire grade? Slightly insane. It also makes me worry that the classes are more boring because if they weren’t boring (or dare I venture taught mediocrely?) then I don’t understand why it would be so necessary to have such strict attendance policies. But I guess we’ll just have to wait and see for that, my first classes are Friday and Saturday of this week.
Similarly, I’ve already spent six hours doing homework for the first weekend of class. Six hours. Not even done yet. For this weekend. It feels like I’m living in an alternate universe, that rarely ever happens to me. But I guess it’s time to buckle down, get into routines, and get shit done. I think I’ll be living at the Starbucks up the street from me for now on. Time to become a regular! 😏
… now if only I were better at building habits and sticking to routines… 😬
I have been neglecting to write on this because I have been trying to recover from the exhaustion of it all and process. See that’s the thing with semester graduate programs: finals lasts from the beginning of November until nearly halfway through December. Somehow it’s simultaneously the most drawn out and never ending thing and the quickest thing ever because classes are finishing left and right. To be totally honest it sucks, and I have a newfound appreciation for my desire to go to a quarter school for undergrad.
But anyways, I feel like this semester has tested me and stretched me beyond my typical comfort zone. In other areas I kinda feel like I have stopped making progress or ever regressed a little. Life’s weird that way: if you aren’t constantly working on something almost always you immediately start to slip back. I’d like to say that after almost a week of processing that I’m able to articulate those areas of growth eloquently, but I’m afraid that I simply can’t right now and so a rough snapshot will have to do.
Here’s what I think I’m doing well:
- I feel like I have grown in my confidence of my knowledge. This is something that I worked a lot on last year and have been continuing to work on. I’m tired of trying to be polite and let people save face when they are factually incorrect, and I am tired of downplaying my own intelligence for fear of people thinking me an insufferable know it all (I hope you caught the Harry Potter reference there). In addition, I feel that grad school as been the best Match for me academically in a very long time. It’s the perfect amount of stimulating and challenging without making me want to slam my head against the desk. And my grades so far have reflected this; I am expecting mostly A’s with a few B’s for my final grades.
- In regards to public speaking I’ve done better and worse, and when I’ve done worse it hasn’t been as difficult to cope with as I feared. Still not a major fan of public speaking, but I’m getting better at it and at facing my mistakes with grace and dignity. Literally never thought that I would be writing this, by the way.
- I have shown myself that I can work and go to school at the same time. I feel very much like an adult in this and it has been a good motivator and reminder that I am a capable human being who can manage life decently.
Now for what I need to work on. Note I’m including this for several reasons: (1) to give a realistic picture of my experience so far, (2) self motivation by naming areas of improvement, and (3) hopefully some sense of accountability for actually getting better in these areas.
- Physical care. Major oops on this one (and I thought this was going to be the easiest). My anxiety has been worse than it was before school. I struggle to exercise regularly. My eating habits are all over the place. And sleep? That’s just a myth non-students talk about.
- My social life. I think this has declined largely in response to my poor self care habits. I always have so much homework to do, and when I finally have free time all I want to do is sleep. It’s kinda pathetic and I miss all my friends. I think that this is something that I can build into my self care routine/habits.
- Spending time with God (namely sermons and prayer). Due to the stress caused by my sense of “having no time” my self care and time with God have really gone down. Truthfully this is the aspect of self care that makes the most difference so it’s kinda huge to have been slacking here. Once again, going to have to build it into my self care habits/routine.
How do I plan to combat this? As much as it pains me to say, I genuinely think that I need to build routines and habits that I stick to. It’ll be hard but hopefully worth it if I can follow through. So basically everything that I’m struggling with can be summed up by two words: self care. It’s funny how the thing I thought would be the easiest has been where I’ve struggled the most. Like I said, if you’re not moving forwards you’re moving backwards. Note: I have been spending a lot of time in the woods this week, and that seems to help. I might keep on trying to do this.
Truthfully I’m terrified at the idea of making a self care routine. I don’t like the idea of every day of my life being the same thing–monotony scares me. But I think it’s genuinely what I need for this season. Especially with the semester that’s coming up. This semester felt more like practice, I was looking through my syllabi today and damn. Next semester looks difficult as hell. Seriously guys, please pray for me. I’m definitely going to work ahead so that I have a fighting chance come January. Hmmm… speaking of which, I think I just came up with the idea for my next post. Stay tuned!
I’m receiving good grades on the papers I’ve turned in and tests I’ve gotten back and I feel really good about the test that I took today. Just one more class to complete now!
And now it’s snowing like crazy all over greater area which makes me so excited. I love the snow. I’m convinced that God gave it magical properties. It’s cold, and bright, and soft, and beautiful, and quiet. It makes me want to wander aimlessly for hours (and believe me I did for about 40 minutes even though it was 11:00pm) and it makes me wish that time could just stop for a little while so I could explore and enjoy the beauty and the cold and the silence.
Can it be Christmas break yet?
Soooooooo I don’t really care anymore lol 😬
In my entire educational “career” not once has a teacher asked me what I was doing during class.
And yet today I went to ask about a grade and the prof quickly just answered “one hundred. May I ask what you were doing during the presentation?” “Taking notes, then drawing towards the end to help me listen…”
Like I have nothing to be embarrassed about but I am? Like wtf? Everybody on their damn laptops spend the entire time on Facebook or doing other homework and I literally never do that? And if I take notes on paper I draw even more so??? AND I GET GOOD GRADES, AM NOT DISRUPTIVE, AND JUST GENERALLY A GOOD STUDENT?? Like way to ruin any excitement about a fantastic grade on a crazy presentation??? 😡🙄
Idk if it’s because I’m young or because I’m wearing a beanie or what but I’m pissed that was really rude. Like just don’t allow fucking electronics in class if it bugs you that much.
Please keep in mind that he’s a generally kind and enjoyable professor, so this is sort of out of the blue and that almost makes it worse??
I am thankful for friends and family and my dog who love me unconditionally and always welcome me with open arms.
I am thankful for all of the professors and teachers that I have ever had and will have that have influenced me. Especially the ones who influenced me and inspired me for the better.
I am thankful for the financial ability and to go to the college of my dreams and to go to graduate school immediately afterwards.
I am thankful for running start in helping to make all of that possible as well.
I am thankful for my school for allowing me to pursue an MACP there with my cohort.
I am thankful for all of the friends and family who helped me and continue to help me along the way as I continue my education.
I am thankful for the God of the universe for creating me and designing this world and all the plans for my life.
I hope I never forget all of these things and the millions of other reasons why I am thankful and blessed my God.
Here’s an update on things since my last post:
- Trump has become the president-elect and it is a very hot topic amongst my cohort members
- My car was broken into and my backpack was stolen. Now I have to redo a bunch of stuff, had to replace my iPad, and have no planner. So there’s that.
- I’ve gotten several really good grades recently in several class and I’m excited about that!
- I do not like semesters–they are way too long and I’m just wishing that it was finals already so I could be done with everything.
- Seriously my motivation for assignments is at like, 2%.
- I GOT MY SPRING SCHEDULE!!
- Because I have no class according to my new schedule it looks like I’m going to Mexico on a short term mission trip in February! I’m hoping to visit a friend or some family while I’m in California too.
- That short term mission trip is 99% going to count towards my cultural immersion project for school which will make my life way easier if it all works out.
- I have no school for the next week because of thanksgiving. #thankful #blessed
- I’m really glad that I’m doing this program and did not jump 100% straight into the professional world after I graduated last June.
By some miracle I managed to get 100% on my final yesterday. It was on APA style/formatting.
Similarly my friend sent me a snapchat that was totally unrelated to politics and was just him listening to classical music. Somehow it perfectly summed up that life goes on, progress will continue to be made, and we’ll all be happy again (eventually).
I’m proud of my generation for voting and the way that we all voted (I encourage you all to look at a map showing how 18-25 year olds voted, it was kinda mind blowing to me and very comforting). It’s also comforting to know that Clinton had the popular vote, not Trump.
So that’s that. Trying to stay positive over here.
The featured image is a picture of a hopeful me last week sending in my ballot. This was my first time voting in a presidential election.
Yesterday Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. This entails a whole slew of issues for me and especially minority friends and people I care about. I’m disappointed, sad, and worried about the future.
Also last night I took my first final of grad school. To celebrate my cohort had champagne after the test. I couldn’t join them because I’m 20 and we were in public. Usually I wouldn’t really care, but given the religious views of the school, and not wanting my cohort to get in trouble I elected to tell the truth and opt out. Just as well, some of them already knew my age anyways so it’s not like lying would’ve worked anyways…
So basically I’m young and I’m disappointed. I don’t feel heard or connected. I’m worried about what’s next and how to continue to push and fight for equality from here on out. Also I’m bummed that I didn’t get the chance to hang out with my cohort last night because of age. Things are just stupid sometimes, aren’t they?
As fall is drawing to a close (okay, in December, but close enough) and the holidays are approaching, I am reaching the time each year that I like to re-evaluate my life, mark progress on my goals, and set new goals for the months and years ahead. I usually spend a lot of time reflecting on these things, and for me that means it’s imparative that I go through and evaluate some of the different areas of my life.
Am I content?
Is this where God wants me?
Am I meeting my goals?
How’s my financial situation? Etc.
To help me get started on this process I made myself some evaluation “forms” that I’ve decided to share with you guys! (Fully disclosure I got the watercolor background from Google, it’s in no way shape or form my art). I made these as a way to help evaluate what’s important to me, so it may not all be perfect for you guys, and it’s still open to edits and suggestions. I hope you find them helpful as you enter this season of celebration and reflection.
***Please note that items 1-3 on “Is It Worth My Time” and item 2 on “How Does This Impact You Financially” should be reverse-scored.
We are well into Fall now, one of my favorite seasons. Soon it will be daylight savings, Thanksgiving, and before we know it Christmas. It’s getting noticeably darker, colder, and wetter outside. And for me that means it’s difficult to get things done.
I long for the crisp October mornings where the sun is shining and the leaves make the trees look like they’re on fire. All I want to do is wear sweaters and boots and leggings and scarves while reading a book and having coffee with a friend or two in a coffee shop. I struggle getting back into the routines of school and work and I am always seeming to bite off more than I can chew. This leaves me struggling to find a ways to balance my life making me exhausted–especially when there is so much school work to do.
So here are my favorite ways to boost my productivity for that typical midterms slump:
- For the love of God get some sleep. Some people need more sleep than others, and that’s okay! Personally I need a solid eight hours, which I rarely get in a night. So for me that means taking one or two three-hour naps throughout the week. My quality of work is way better when I’ve had enough sleep, and naps are great ways to start over a rough day.
- Do what works for you, even if it seems weird to others. Like many students, I am very fond of studying in coffee shops. In fact I probably get two to three times as much done in a coffee shop than I do anywhere else (especially compared to most libraries-I need background noise or I go insane). But some coffee shops work better for me than others. Lucky for me I have several favorite spots to go to to get work done… unfortunately they’re all the way in Seattle. Many people think it’s crazy for me to drive 30-40 minutes to a study location, but it works for me. And that’s what matters! Similarly, I’m one of those lucky people that can do certain homework assignments successfully while watching Netflix. Again, not prime for everybody, but it works for me and that’s what matters.
- Take appropriate study breaks. There are some types of study breaks that I can’t take because I know that they will last way too long and I’ll really be dragging to get started again (like showering or going to the store/running errands does not work well for me). But there are other things that do work well for me: checking my phone, making tea/coffee, saying a quick hello to my roommates/neighbors/whoever is around. Unfortunately those things are about it. Everything else is too distracting, so what I usually do is pick an assignment or two and work until they are completely finished and only then do I take a break longer than a minute or two. Like I said, find what works for you!
- When you do have to bunker down at home, know how to set up your space for optimal studying. For me that means very specific kinds of music (classical, jazz, soft acoustic/hipster stuff, Hamilton, and occasionally I’ll put a song on one-repeat for a while because lets face it I’m stressed and anxious and sometimes just need a little consistency in my life). It also means almost always having some sort of drink in my hand. Literally drinking something ups my productivity probably by 50%, I have no clue why but it’s helpful. For some reason eating does not have the same effect for me, but if it motivates you well then go for it! It also means throwing my hair up and wearing sweatpants or leggings and slippers/fuzzy socks with a giant fleece blanket wrapped around me as I sit at my desk. Whenever I do something new that helps me focus I take note of it so I can do it again next time.
- Set a variety of goals. I love goal setting. I like to set big goals and break them down into bite-sized goals. I like to document my progress towards my goals and to celebrate achieving them accordingly. A small goal might be finishing a paper with the reward of a nap or a candy bar afterwards. A big goal for me was getting into grad school, which my friends, family, roommates and I celebrated with lots of food and yelling and jumping around and watching movies together. It was great. I have daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, yearly goals, and occasionally goals that have a longer timeline than a year. But they’re great to have and help me to celebrate my hard work, know where I need to improve, and reevaluate my life to make sure it’s what I want it to be.
Sometimes you’re just not feeling it, and that’s okay. Rearrange your assignments/to do list and start with all of the small ones first or the ones with the most instant gratification. Sometimes that’s all you can do in a day and that’s awesome, use the rest of the day to reconnect with loved ones and do self care. Tomorrow is a new day, and you can start over then. We’re not robots meant to get insane amounts of work done in a day, we’re people who need rest, love, and the ability to slow down and enjoy life every once and a while.
(Not my image)
What things do (or don’t) help boost your productivity? Leave your ideas in the comments!
My test score went up to a 90.
My presentation went well, except my partner, who gave me one page of speaking notes before, ended up speaking for FOUR PAGES WORTH. So instead of being under time (which we were the only group allowed to do since it was just the two of us) we were over time and I had to cut a bunch of my stuff short because she wouldn’t stop talking.
So I’m a little annoyed about that, but I don’t think it will negatively impact my grade…
I got an 85% and I have my 45 minute presentation later this afternoon. Prayers for peace would be appreciated-I really hate public speaking. 😬
Okay. So being the freshest of my cohort out of college, I am very familiar with tests. Essays, short answer, blue books, true/false, multiple choice, scantrons, the works. And I’ve had my share of good and bad tests, believe me. Fortunately, I tend to be a good test taker, especially with multiple choice, and I am very aware of what methods of studying work for me. (Don’t worry, this isn’t another post about how I study. Besides I think my methods are atypical and would not be too useful to most when it comes to test taking).
So, being comfortable with the notion of tests and aware of my preferred studying methods, I feel as though I have a reasonable idea of what my grade is going to be heading into a test. I used to be a perfectionist about grades; B’s were hardly acceptable and God forbid I got a C. But I’ve changed since then, I’m a lot more reasonable and realistic with myself. It’s okay if I don’t do well on a test or assignment, as long as I have it a good effort.
Please notice that I said “good effort” instead of “my best effort”. Because frankly my “best effort” would probably have me at a near 4.0 student, but it would come at a heavy cost to either my mental health or my social life or both. You can’t give 100% of yourself to one area of your life and expect the others to remain at an acceptable level. You are one person, you need to decide what’s important to you and make sure that stuff gets done first. For me, my relationships and my health need to be priority. They are crucial to my wellbeing, and if I’m not at my best then everything else in my life suffers. I’ve seen it happen just this past month or so working 30 hours a week and going to school, so I cut my hours to 20 a week. It feels a lot better, but I’m prepared to cut down even more if necessary. I was so exhausted and stressed, I felt like I was about to crumble into pieces.
In a similar manner, I do not allow myself to put 100% of my energy into school alone; my identity should not be founded on that alone. My identity should be founded on Christ, not my grades or if I have a boyfriend or how much money I make. That’s what’s important. That’s what makes my life worth living and joyful.
So to my fellow cohort members: I know that school is hard. I understand that it is important to do well and to learn the material. I recognize that it’s difficult having to rediscover what methods of studying works for you and how insane it can feel trying to balance work, school, and personal lives. I promise you I understand and I feel your pain. I know you’re worried about midterms, and I know that we do have a lot on our plates right now. But please, take care of yourselves first. Don’t place your self worth on the grades you get this month. Going [back to] grad school is a huge adjustment for all of us. We won’t be perfect, and it’s okay that our grades reflect that. Have patience with yourself as you figure this out. Have grace when you make mistakes. Try hard, but not at the expense of the rest of your life. Good grades or mediocre grades, you will get through this and carry on in school and in life. If this is where God wants you to be then trust that He will see you through it and make sure you get by okay. After all, a year from now the tests that we’re taking won’t even matter to any of us.
Let’s face it: grad school is selfish. It’s all consuming. It is a giant monster that bursts into your life and suddenly begins to eat up everything you love as you panic trying to beat it back with only a laptop and a couple of textbooks to use as weapons. And as your life gets devoured by this crazy, hellish thing you realize that you’re the one who invited it into your home and that you have to protect yourself.
Before I started school I had a lot of people tell me that grad school is a time to be selfish. No, it is the time to be selfish, and it’s only now that I’m understanding why. I spent all of last week in an incredibly anxious and unmotivated state. I couldn’t get myself to do much of anything besides watch Friends and old movies like A Cinderella Story and The Princess Bride. I tried and I tried and I tried to get work done but my brain couldn’t handle the stress and the pressure so I had to basically check out the entire week. I even skipped a night of class.
Much to my dismay, I’m truly understanding now why people said being in grad school means I have to be selfish. I had to skip one of my best friend’s concerts tonight to do homework. My friends are like family to me, so please believe me when I say that weighs incredibly heavily on me. My heart wanted to be out at the venue supporting him and his incredible music. But where was I? Sitting at my computer, organizing my planner, working on projects, and writing papers and other assignments. And here’s the thing: I’m not even remotely close to having everything done. It sucks! In the past month I’ve only had time to hang out with two of my friends, and one of them is my workout and homework buddy. I’d like to say I’ve spent a lot of quality time with my family, but frankly that’s not true either (with the exception of the wedding last weekend). It seems like all I’ve really had time for is school and work.
It’s hard for me because this is not how I want to be spending my time. I feel bad that I haven’t been able to be there for my friends and family to support them and encourage them and just relax and laugh with them. That’s where my heart wants to be. Unfortunately that’s no longer the reality that I live in. I can’t care for those around me the way that I want to right now, because if I try to do that on top of school and work (I also just cut my hours by a third) I won’t finish grad school. I’ll spend my entire time in the program like I did last week: stressed and anxious and not functioning well.
So I have to reorganize my life with the knowledge that I have a lot more needs than I used to. I have to be selfish with my time and resources in order to get through this time in my life. Unfortunately I think that this will take me a lot longer to perfect than I am used to. After all, before school I had my own needs pretty well figured out (I’m quite introspective) and had measured in place to make sure they were being met. But now my usual needs are greater and I’ve acquired some new needs that are of equal importance. So I have to relearn what it means to take care of myself during this chapter of my life. And that means that I don’t have as much to give to the ones I love around me. It’s a sad, hard, and totally necessary reality. Being in grad school means I have to be selfish. And if I have to be so damn selfish, you can bet that I’m going to make my friends and family proud by completely kicking this program’s ass.
So keep on keeping on, fellow students. Know your needs and make sure they’re met first. Like how you need to secure your own oxygen mask on a plane before helping others. Make sure that you’re keeping yourself afloat before others take you down with them. You’ve got this.
I was excited and crying tears of joy for my brother and sister in law. I had one of the best times of my recent life celebrating them with friends and family. I even got to do two of my favorite things: stargaze and watch the sunset on the beach with some amazing humans.
Now, I am back to the real world, full of work and school stresses. But today I also had a “practice therapy session” to practice counseling skills in a safe and appropriate way (not professional or any “real” counseling). And it reminded me that while school is chaotic and overwhelming and I didn’t do as good as I had hoped on my test Thursday, all that matters is that I pass my class to get the degree, not my GPA. It also reminded me that no matter what work is like (stresses and coping with the feelings that come from doing a job that is not a part of my long term career plan) counseling is what I’m meant to do. Every time I meet with my practice client it is so life giving; I can’t wait to be doing similar things for a living one day. So today I am thankful for that volunteer client and the reassurance that I’m going into the right field.
Sometimes it’s more important to take care of yourself and to be more productive by missing class than going to it, stressing out, and feeling so stressed you think you might die.
So here’s hoping that everybody else isn’t in the state that I am. Don’t forget to take care of yourselves!
Let’s start out with my victory for the week:
- I survived my first weekend classes and actually enjoyed it!
- A person in two of my group projects whom I was really hoping to be good friends with just told me she’s leaving the program. This creates a shitshow for various reasons (including a three-four person 60 minute presentation that’s due next class [in a month] that’s going to have to be done by two people now and the fact that I’m back to not having any “people” and having to adjust my other workload for the other project) and frankly I’m kinda freaking out (and a little sad)
- One of my profs gave me a different answer about a project in class than she sent out the class over email. The way she emailed (which I’m going with because it was sent to the whole class) makes the project a LOT more difficult and time consuming for me individually.
- My illness has caused me to be behind in my workload
- My brother gets married next Saturday (!!!!!!!!) and I still haven’t officially gotten Friday off (though I did get verbal confirmation).
- Basically what I’m saying is that I’m panicking and I feel like my life is falling apart.
Prayers would be appreciated. 😭💔😖😣
Here are my tips from my application process!
- Know which programs you want to apply to and what kind of degree you want. In my case I had to decide between a master’s in counseling psychology/mental health counseling, in marriage and family therapy, and social work. After researching I decided to focus primarily on counseling psychology because (1) I do not particularly want to work with couples (2) I do not want to do social work and (3) masters degrees in counseling psychology and marriage family therapy can hold the same positions post graduation. Look at your options and find what fits best for you!
- Check your school’s application requirements. Some programs require taking the GRE or some other standardized test. Others don’t. If you don’t need to take it for any of your programs, don’t waste your time and money. But if you do need to take it I used Magoosh and studied for only the week before my test and still got a 303 combined score and a 5/6 on the writing. Definitely would recommend. Similarly, know that some schools may have ways to reduce or even waive completely your application fees. Do your research.
- Spend time tailoring your resume, cover letters, and intentionally choosing your letters of reference. Make it fit what they’re looking for; include the most relevant experience and references. This is your opportunity to sell yourself!
- Be honest and consistent. The admissions folk have a lot of applications to go through. While you’re selling yourself and showcasing what makes you unique and an asset to the program, make sure what you’re saying is true and something you can repeat. There’s a good chance that admissions will be referencing your application in your interview, and they’ll know if your bs-ing them from a mile away.
- A lot of your applications will require the same materials; try starting all of your apps around the same time so you can copy and paste the boring/personal information stuff.
- Compare the programs you’re applying to in depth. Should you get into more than one you need to be aware of which one offers the program that best fits your personal interests and professional needs. Mark the pros and cons of each program. Other things to consider include: types of classes offered/subjects, number of classes you’ll be taking, how long the program is, pricing, accreditation, etc.
- Make a rankings of programs in terms of how interested you are in them. It’s okay if some school tie! Your personal/group interviews will help you decide which school is right for you too!
- Speaking of interviews, it doesn’t help to practice interview skills, lay out your outfit before hand, and to get to the school early. Arriving late, looking unprofessional, and generally being unprepared will not look good. I also recommend coming into the interview with questions written down beforehand to ask (some of mine included: “how does your program work to include training for working in culturally diverse settings” and “what are three or so things that most students wish they had known before starting the program”) and practicing talking about your weaknesses in a manner that makes them seem like strengths.
- Don’t fret if you don’t get into a program. Not everything is a good fit for everybody, and in the end this is one less decision to make later on in this process!
- Submit your applications early. Some programs get back to you at different rates and have different deadlines. If you submit your applications earlier in the year (I did all of mine in the fall) then you will hear back from them sooner and will hopefully have deadlines and things close enough together. There’s nothing worse than getting invited to interview after you’ve already accepted an offer from another school because the deadline’s past.
So, to all of you thinking about grad school and beginning the application process, good luck! I know this is an overwhelming process, but it is worth it and you can do it. There is nothing better than the feeling of opening up an acceptance letter. That’s when it starts to get real. I hope you find a lot of time to organize, edit, and reflect during this application period!
I am a part of one of the few graduate programs that has cohorts. And all I ever hear from people who have been through the program before me is how great the whole cohort experience is.
But as week two comes to a close (and may I say: holy sh*t!) I still am unsure of my place. The two people closest to my age already are friends, so it’s difficult to try and join that pair (yes I’ve tried sitting next to them; they both use there bags to take up a lot of space…) although they’re always kind and polite to me. There are also several women who I’ve had good conversations with, but I struggle feeling like they are my peers due to the age gap (my own insecurities surrounding that are more-so the issue here). We do have a small group that meets for two of our classes, and I am really looking forward to making connections with those women. Particularly the alumni/professional mentor (who I might add I have a lot in common with).
I guess what I’m trying to say is that my age insecurities and my natural shyness and tendency to use class time to its fullest, productivity wise that is, has been working against me in terms of finding “my people”. I’m sure that I’ll find them eventually, but I must say it is hard feeling so out of place all the time. In a lot of ways it feels like I am still in undergrad and have special permission to sit in on these classes. And let me be the first to say that I fully know that I deserve to be in the program; intellectually and maturity wise I can handle it. But I’m still having difficulty letting go of the age thing. Either I embrace it and feel like a child sneaking into a PG 13 movie, or I avoid talking about it and feel like a pseudo-adult waiting for my age to come up in conversation and eventually having to admit the “truth”.
I know it’s silly. I know I’m supposed to be in this program; I know God put me here. But the challenges that are being presented are appearing to be ones more of identity than intellectual or capability challenges.
So to all of my fellow students out there worried about being “too young” (or even “too old” for that matter!) for the education you’re receiving, and who are having difficulty with that, I feel you and I’m with you in this process. I hope that this verse brings you some encouragement (it’s one of my favorites; 1 and 2 Timothy are awesome books):
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. … Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. -1 Timothy 4:12 & 4:13 (NIV)
I’m such a happy Seattle sports fan right now! Both teams had crazy wins today, and I’m so excited to be a fan of such great teams. 💚💙🎉
On a side note: shout out to my fellow students who can get work done while having tv on in the background. It’s always a nice bonus to be able to do the two at the same time! 😎😁
I just had my first day of class yesterday! I gotta say I’m pretty excited for these next two years! I’ve already done through and updated my planner with syllabi information and organized everything. Similarly, I really enjoy the people in my small group that I’m with for my practicum class! I feel really thankful to be a part of such a diverse cohort; I didn’t feel like age was really a factor/noticed.
Anyways, I was super nervous for the first day because of the unexpected and the unknown. So for those of you who have yet to start school and are worried, I hope that you can find comfort in knowing that my experience was just like any first day of college, and that once I got there it went really smoothly. To those of you returning to school after a break, I hope feeling natural in a classroom setting comes back to you as soon as you sit down and open your notebook.
Here’s my first day of school picture commemorating what I think will be an amazing two years!
Also I hope that you all have the opportunity to do something meaningful as a way to end your summer. Something for me that is always renewing is going in natural bodies of water (the ocean, rivers/creeks, a lake, etc.). I ended my summer by hiking to Franklin Falls (see featured photo) with one of my best friends. Part of this trail has natural water slides, and while it was way too cold to enjoy those, my friend and I were able to get ourselves to “dive” into the water once. It felt super good and like a fresh start for me afterwards. Call me crazy, but I think it helped me feel good about summer being over and the fall/school year beginning because even if I didn’t feel ready or felt nervous or whatever, it was a new start. And new beginnings always have great adventures to follow.
Another key element of being a good student is how you use class time. For as long as I can remember, class has always been time for me to learn the material and work ahead on homework.
Of course we all know that you get more out of class when you read ahead, and that it’s better to do homework the day it’s assigned instead of the night before it’s due. Similarly, we all have different methods for studying for tests that work for us. Personally I’m a huge fan of creating study environments as close to test conditions as possible, memory maps (and sometimes gestures), flash cards (depending on the subject/context), and rereading class notes.
Ah in-class notes. These can either be your worst nightmare or your best friend. My requirements for in-class notes are as follows:
- have a consistent manner of taking notes
- Write down what the slides say, but more importantly write down what the teacher says.
- Keep things organized so you can easily find the information you’re looking for later (subject/topic, date, underlining/high lighting, etc.)
Don’t just listen to the lecture, don’t talk to your friends and text. Write down this information be that electronically or by hand. The act of putting down the information (especially by hand) will seriously help you begin to commit it to memory. This isn’t something to be lazy about!
If you’re looking for a specific method of taking notes, here’s what works for me (I do electronic and hard copy notes depending on the day/class):
I always have a title at the top of the over arching subject. This is either underlined (paper) or set a part by Evernote (my note taking app).
Next in bold (or underlined) I have the sub-topic
- Then I have bulletted information. This is usually what’s on the board/slide.
- Then I indent under each bullet point. This is what the teacher said about that point.
- New words or important people are underlined. When I go back through my paper notes later I tend to highlight these terms.
In addition to how I take notes, I always make sure that each subject has its own pocket folder. That way I don’t have to hole-punch things myself, and it collects all the papers passed out in class, assignments, etc.
What are your favorite organization tips? Share them in the comments!
As I last stated, there are a lot of posts out there that have a lot of the same suggestions. So, since school doesn’t start for another two weeks, I will begin a series of posts showing my take on Successful Student 101. Okay so to start, this might sound excessive, but I typically have three planners/calendars.
First, I religiously use my Erin Condren planner to write down everything. And I mean everything. It’s basically a massive to do list. I color-code my classes when needed (different highlighter colors); when/where they aren’t, when a class is canceled, important test dates and due dates, and finally every reading and assignment I need to do (written on the day I need to do it).
But I don’t just keep school stuff in here; birthdays, when bills are due, appointments, hang outs with friends and family, my work schedule, and all of the chores that need to get done are all put on their corresponding day with time and place when applicable. Things that need to get done but not on a specific day I write in the space on the side of the week to complete as I have free time.
Side note: when I have a really crazy day I will take about twenty minutes in the morning or the night before and literally plan out my entire day by the minute. I often use the reminders on my phone for this because they have alarms that will go off telling me to move to the next thing.
Second, I also keep a monthly planner. On this planner I write down major events and my three most important items from my to-do list for each day. This helps me to prioritize and keep track of the big picture, while my other planner helps me get all of the details accounted for and done. I carry this planner around in the back pocket of my other planner so that I always have it with me.
Side note: I love giving myself check marks when I finish items on both my planners; it’s a good rewards system.
Third, I also keep one large monthly calendar. This calendar is for major events and birthdays/holidays/vacations only. This is the calendar that I have on my wall for everybody to see. It gives a general idea of what’s happening in my life and my availability to those who love me. It also helps me see important events and birthdays in advance so that I know to prepare for them.
So that’s generally how I keep myself organized. I try to cover all of the bases from super detailed to general/big picture and in between. I know a lot of people like to use their phones or tablets for calendars and to do lists and props to people who that works for, but I personally tend to get distracted when I do that, so I prefer the old-fashioned paper route. I hope you find my routine helpful and are able to find a variation that works best for you! What are your suggestions for staying organized for school?
Something that I discovered the beauty of through my own time in counseling in high school is self care. Self care is so so so important. And everybody already does it to some extent (although they may not call it that).
Those lazy things you like to do to relax and unwind? Self care. Those routines you have in place to maintain healthy exercise and eating habits? Self care. That time you spend creating art or music or writing or whatever? Self care. Anything you do that tends to your physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual wellbeing can be considered self care.
The key is to set up a routine that works best for you. I’ve found it most helpful to have a huge list to pull on, just in case you aren’t in the mood for what you planned for. That being said it’s always good to have routines too. For example, some of my self care items I can do whenever I have free time or scheduled self care time. Others have set times every week and accountability in place to make sure that they get done.
Here are some of my self care habits if you need some inspiration:
- Meditations to help me fall asleep (the app Stop, Breathe, & Think is AMAZING)
- Draw in my sketch book
- Make crafts or new foods from scratch
- Worry journal
- Netflix and take out nights with friends (or my mom)
- Spend time with my dog
- Yoga (I love the app Down Dog)
- Going for a walk/drive
- Sharing prayer requests with close friends weekly
- Working out with my exercise buddy every Monday
- Vacations/trips when possible (camping, Disneyland, drives to Canada)
- Taking a nap
- baths (bubbles, epsome salts, essential oils, lavender candles, the whole nine yards)
- Reading a non-school related book
- Coffee/food with a friend, family member, or mentor
- Going to church on Sunday evenings
Feeling really stressed, down, or like your life is falling apart? Take your list of self care items and pick a day on your calendar to have a self care day. Plan it out from start to finish; be intentional, don’t rush, and take care of yourself so you can be at your best. After all, when we are our best selves we do our best work and can best help others.
So what are your self care habits? What are some things you’ve been meaning to include but haven’t gotten around to incorporating into your daily routine yet? Let me know in the comments!
My name is Elizabeth, I am 20 years old, I just graduated from college, and I am about to start grad school to pursue a Masters in Counseling Psychology (MACP). Ideally I’ll get this degree while keeping my job, community ties, and social life to some extent (although my hopes are not too high). My goal is to become a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) and to work with teenagers.
I graduated with a B.A. in psychology, and was able to graduate in two years due to an accelerated course of student my state offers that allowed me to earn dual college and high school credit my junior and senior years of high school.
I started this blog because as I was looking for tips and suggestions on how to prepare for graduate school and what to expect, I kept seeing the same six tips that were along the lines of:
- Get a planner and use it
- Schedule free time
- Make to do lists
- Get enough sleep
- Be social/[insert something about making sure you have a life here]
Quite frankly none of those suggestions were particularly helpful to me because, well, I already do those things and have been since high school. So hopefully through my experience these next two years I will be able to provide some more insight and specific tips beyond general “back to school”/”how to be a good student” stuff.
I hope you enjoy my posts; I really look forward to writing here!