Going through grad school, especially for a doctorate-level degree, is very challenging. As I've discussed in a previous post, doctoral students need to serve many different roles and find a way to balance them all. But that's not the full picture; after all, what does it mean to actually do well in a grad program, and what does it take to fill all those roles? Now that I'm recently graduated from my program, I wanted to take some time to reflect on what it was that helped me to get through the program, and what I wish I had done differently. I'm going to do my best to summarize my general tips throughout the post, and I may update it over time if I think of additional tips. With that in mind, this post may be similar to my internship application and interview tips post, in that you may want to bookmark it and return to it later. It will build upon some of the ideas I presented for taking graduate classes and will focus more broadly on grad school in general. It won't cover everything, as that would make an already long post too long, but I want to cover things that maybe you haven't thought about if you're in a graduate program, or that you've thought of but need an extra nudge to actually follow-through on.
Well, it's been long over-due, but I'm excited to be writing this post. As I mentioned in another blog post giving an update on my personal life progress (spoiler: done with grad school!), I'm getting ready to transition to post-doc and early career work. During that transition, I'm trying to get a lot of things refreshed and better focused so I can hopefully continue to make more consistent progress with a lot of public-facing things. And one of those things is definitely my first app, the Emotion and Coping Game.
As many of you may have noticed, it has been a really long time since I have posted any content (including blog posts and podcast episodes; and I only recently started tweeting again), which is due to the fact that I really needed to prioritize my focus on grad school (specifically finishing my dissertation) and internship. But now both have been completed, and I'm excited to announce that I am officially Dr. Draycen DeCator! (a.k.a., Dr. Dray)
Ok, more than two months since my last update post, and I've been pretty quiet since that time. Between having to find an apartment, wrap things up in terms of my clinical and research work, and make the actual move, it's been a busy two months! Content creation has had to take a back seat for the time being, but it should hopefully pick up again soon. (Hopefully).
Of the ideas within psychology that are widely known, introversion/extroversion probably ranks near the top. Many people describe themselves and others as either an introvert or an extrovert. But despite growing awareness of introversion, there is still a lot of confusion about how it's different from other things. Many others have talked about how introversion is different from being shy, but what about how it's different from social anxiety? This distinction can be harder to make, but it can be important for deciding if your child is a good candidate for therapy. Here, I want to help explain the difference between the two.
As various scientific fields move forward, we are beginning to notice a trend: openness. Research used to be conducted in private (to an extent), and research articles have historically been difficult to obtain. In many ways, both of these points are still true today. But the norm has been changing, and you can now find more research that's discussed openly, more articles available to the public, and so on. Overall, I have been strongly in favor of this trend, though I do think there are some things that need to be figured out in regards to privacy. In this post I want to take some time to discuss the benefits of conducting research in the open, and what some of my specific concerns are.
At various milestones in your professional training/career, you'll need letters of recommendation. But at least for those of us in grad school or undergrad, there is often little guidance as to how you should request these letters. Many supervisors generally expect to write letters, but there are things you (as a student) can do to help make the process easier for them. And while doing so, you can also help to make sure their letters are strong and represent you at your best. Here's how.
After about two months without any personal life update posts, it seemed like one was overdue. Especially since my last one was before internship match results were out! (Whoops). There has been a lot going on since then, most of it very exciting. So let's go through a summary of the updates.
It took some time, and a few tries, but I finally got my first "real" YouTube video up! In the video, I discuss how you can use "gingerbread feelings drawings" to help kids learn about emotion identification. It's a simple task that can be adapted in a variety of ways to be age appropriate and to fit the style of arts/crafts your child enjoys most.
Mindfulness has become a very popular topic over the past few years. It has some origin in meditation and alternative therapies, but many therapists are also starting to incorporate it into psychotherapy. There is some research to support mindfulness, especially when dealing with anxious thoughts. But many people have a wrong impression of mindfulness. This can lead to attempting meditation and other methods of mindfulness, not having success, and then giving up on the idea. So here, I want to discuss how you can think about mindfulness in a way that may make it seem more approachable and realistic.
When many people think about "worst case scenario" when it comes to childhood illness, cancer tends to be at the front of their minds. Maybe it's because cancer gets so much attention in terms of fundraisers, races for the cure, and so on. But really, a diagnosis of cancer doesn't have to be the "worst case scenario." While it's certainly a major illness, and one that can be fatal, many kids are able to overcome cancer. What's important is to do your best to keep things in perspective so you can work through the diagnosis, the treatments, and so on in an effective way. If you can pull that off, the process goes much more smoothly and with much less stress. Thankfully, there is a lot of support out there for kids/families with cancer.
In life, there are a lot of different sources of temptation that we encounter. Food is a common one, as are some more illicit and dangerous things. But there are other sources of temptation as well, including temptations to buy things. Whatever the temptation, there are three steps you can take to help prevent yourself from giving in to that temptation. They're straightforward, but do require some self-discipline to make sure you actually follow through with them.
When talking about children with medical conditions, many of us specifically discuss children with "chronic" medical conditions. But what is chronic, versus what is acute, can be tricky to actually define. There have been a number of different suggestions in the past to help classify someone as having a chronic medical condition, but that may be missing the point. Instead, I suggest it's better to think about the symptoms a child has, rather than whether or not the condition is "chronic."
When a child is diagnosed with a chronic medical condition, it can cause a lot of stress not only for the child but their family as well. Diabetes is an example of a condition that often involves all family members. As a result, it can be very easy for the family system to revolve around diabetes, when really it doesn't need to. If stress levels increase, family members may argue and there may be avoidance of diabetes care. To help ensure good diabetes management, there are some things that families can do.
No matter how close we may or may not be to our family members, the fact remains that we are all part of a family or families. And families have a strong influence on us in many ways, including our understanding of relationships, our perceived roles, how we identify, and so on. But while many people are likely aware that families can be complicated, most do not realize some of the complexity behind how family members relate to one another. Families are more than just a collection of individuals; they're a system. But what exactly does that mean? Here, I'll describe what it means for a family to be a system, and what some implications are that come with that.