Planes, Trains, and Hotels – Oh My!

Posted in Advice, APA, Graduate School

Getting to APA Convention in Denver, CO & Where to Stay Once You’ve Arrived

Airplane

So you’ve decided to attend the 2016 APA Convention in Denver, Colorado – that’s great! The next steps in your journey are deciding how to get to Convention and where to stay once you arrive.

How do I get there?

  • Fly – For those traveling from farther away, flying may be your best option. Denver International Airport (DIA) is the major airport serving Denver. From here you can take a taxi or shuttle, take local transit, or rent a car to get to your accommodations. Use travel search engines, such as flighthub.com or kayak.com, to compare flight options.
  • Ride a BusGreyhound and other private bus lines travel to Denver and arrive at the Bus Terminal (1055 19th St), which is close to the RTD’s Market Street Station (local transit).
  • Take a Train – Trains will arrive at Denver’s Union Station, where you can get transit schedules, passes and maps. Amtrak has routes that travel to Denver from many locations across the US, but depending on where you’re coming from, these routes can take a significant amount of time – so plan accordingly!
  • Drive – If you opt to drive to Convention, APA members and affiliates have discounted rates with the rental car agencies Alamo, Budget, Avis and Hertz. Plus, carpooling is a great way to save money if you’re traveling in a group. If you do plan to drive, don’t forget to factor in the cost of parking for the duration of your stay.

Where should I stay?

For those of you wishing to stay where the action is – the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center Hotel and the Sheraton Denver are both convention facilities and will be hosting a variety of APA, APAGS and Division events. Keep in mind that these options may be more expensive, so you may wish to find a roommate or two to make the convenience more affordable!

There are many other accommodations within minutes of the Convention Center in downtown Denver. These can be searched using Google Maps. Some of the closest options are:

If you’re looking for lower cost alternatives, you might consider renting a condo with friends instead of staying at a hotel. Some options are AirBnB, Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO), and Vacation Rentals. Again, Google Maps is a good way to figure out if an accommodation is within walking distance (or transiting) distance to the Convention Center.

Check out our post earlier this month A Comprehensive List of Student Travel Awards to Attend APA’s 2016 Convention for more info about potential ways to offset the cost.

Lastly, remember to check the APA website closer to April 15th for more detailed information regarding travel and accommodations.

Living at the Intersection: Reflections on the Graduate Student Experience

Posted in Graduate School, Training Issues

Charity LaneGuest columnist: Charity R. Lane, Regent University, Class of 2016

My identity as a Christian woman not only holds deep meaning for my life but also directs its course, which has been the reason for this adventure called “graduate school.” The challenge I’ve faced consistently is the decision of priority – what is most important to me? As I navigate my journey it’s extremely easy to get caught up in the current of what those around me do. After all, “going with the flow” does not take too much effort or even conscious decision. However, I realized quickly that the demands of grad school could sweep me up in a way that would rush me by the people and needs of the world around me.

Yet, at the same time, those people and needs can be so overwhelming that I lose the ability to faithfully keep in the “stream” of this journey. It’s at the point of this tension that I’m reminded of the question so persistently knocking in my subconscious – “who are you trying to please?” Not just knowing my identity, but resting in it, allows my life to naturally be aligned with who I know myself to be. From this central anchor for my life, I’m able to face the challenges of priority without shame or guilt and without losing focus – even when those priorities look different from those around me. For example, in the midst of my graduate journey, I made the decision to take an extra year in completing my program in order to focus on areas of my life that held particular meaning for myself as a Christian and a woman. I’ve begun to realize that my life as a Christian woman who is also a psychologist will be different from others. Identifying as a Christian pulls me from the current and sets me down in the present while identifying as a woman keeps me focused on the relationships in my life that are of utmost importance. It is from this secure resting place of knowing my identity that I find the most joy and fulfillment.

A significant learning moment for me came when I was just beginning to think about pursuing my doctorate. My dad, a primary point of support as I’ve navigated intersecting identities, encouraged me to never allow my studies to take away from the genuine desire I have to connect with the hearts of those around me. It was quickly apparent to me that I could grow such an academic perspective on the world that I would lose the purity of relationship with a human on a heart level. Henry David Thoreau stated, “It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes,” which humorously reminds me that “under the degree” I’m still an embodied soul that desires connection. That is why a secure foundation in my identity as a Christian and a woman will allow me to be consistent wherever I am – inside or outside of academia.

This column is part of a monthly series highlighting the experiences of students and professionals with diverse intersecting identities and is sponsored by the APAGS Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity and the Committee for the Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Diversity. Are you interested in sharing about your own navigation of intersecting identities in graduate school? We would be happy to hear from you! To learn more, please contact the chair of APAGS-CSOGD (Julia Benjamin) or CARED (James Garcia).

Did you get my text? Processing biases over iMessage

Posted in Graduate School, Training Issues

The following dialogue occurred subsequent to last fall’s gradPSYCH blog post, “The Gift of They where an emerging psychologist embraced referring to his client using the plural pronoun of “they.”  

Leighna Harrison is the current Member-at-Large, Diversity Focus. James Garcia is the Chair for the APAGS Committee for the Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Diversity (CARED).  Here is Leighna’s iMessage screenshot:

jamesleighna

Following this conversation, Leighna and James asked APAGS to post their conversation and these reflections:

From Leighna:  James and I text pretty regularly, day and night, across time zones, about anything and everything – school, work, APAGS, current events, reality TV, family, friends, romance, the list goes on. Our relationship is honest, respectful and very open. He is a colleague and a friend. When I first read The Gift of They, I knew that I was missing the point, but I didn’t know what it was. As a woman of color, who thinks a lot about questions of power and privilege, I thought whatever I was missing probably had to do with blind spots I have owing to my privilege as a cisgender individual. I decided to message James for a ‘reality check’ so to speak, in order to figure out what I was missing…

From James: My relationship with Leighna is one where we both feel respected as people with intersecting identities. We are regularly “there” for each other whenever we want to process experiences and situations where we have questions or witness inequities related to different social identities (e.g., race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status, gender diversity among others). Our relationship has evolved into a mutual and solid base, where we feel comfortable to explore issues we may not be familiar with.

Now, back to you, dear reader:

  • What are your thoughts on having honest reflections like these?
  • Do you have a peer or trusted supervisor or mentor with whom you can reflect with?
  • Have you attempted to have these conversations with peers in your graduate program? If so, what was the outcome?

If you find you don’t have peers to have these discussions with, there are student groups you can join. One organization, Grad Students Talk, organizes periodic conference calls to discuss difficult topics in a safe space. If you know of other such student groups, please leave their info in the comments section.

It’s Time to Tell Congress We Need Fairer Graduate Student Loans

Posted in Advocacy, APA

Once the thrill of being accepted into a graduate program wears off, the reality of how to finance graduate school sets in. Right now we have an opportunity to make our voices heard and cut unnecessary costs quite a bit.

postgrad-image

What’s the issue? For nearly 50 years, both undergraduate and graduate students were eligible for the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan Program with the goal of making all levels of post-secondary education accessible to students with financial need. In 2012, however, changes in the Budget Control Act eliminated eligibility for graduate students. In other words, graduate student borrowers could no longer get subsidized loans, like Stafford loans. As a student taking out these loans, your interest is now accruing from day 1.

This change has increased the cost of borrowing significantly and may be putting graduate study out of reach for many students with financial need, especially underrepresented groups. We’ve reported elsewhere on our latest data about psychology graduate student debt. As a result of increased costs, 75% of graduates delay saving for the future, 67% delay saving for retirement, and 57% delay purchasing a home (Stamm et al, 2015). Similarly, graduates may delay starting small businesses like independent practices as a result of their debt burdens. (Additional background is here.)

At the same time, the United States faces numerous health shortages and research voids, and so our choice is often to meet these national needs is to attend graduate school, despite the costs.

What’s our opportunity to act?  In December 2015, Representative Judy Chu, Democrat from the 27th District of California, introduced legislation that would restore the eligibility of graduate students for the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan Program.

Representative Chu’s legislation would amend the Higher Education Act to restore the eligibility of graduate students to the Subsidized Loan Program, and lessen the significant debt burden that many students incur while pursuing advanced degrees.

APA is calling upon graduate students, educators, psychologists, and supporters to take immediate action.

What can I do? 

  1. Click here to tell Congress to support graduate students by asking your representative to cosponsor H.R. 4223.
  2. Fill out your contact information and our system will generate an email to your Representative today, asking them to cosponsor H.R. 4223, “the Protecting Our Students by Terminating Graduate Rates that Add to Debt Act,” (POST GRAD Act).
  3. Add a personal note or story to the letter. If you need to overcome writer’s block, read this veteran’s story about his advocacy for bringing back the subsidy.
  4. When you’re done, post about your advocacy efforts on social media and share the link to this blog post with at least five people.

This legislation is an important step toward ensuring students have access to graduate level study, so take action now! Send a message to your Representative and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 4223.  

Editor’s note: APAGS is extremely grateful to the Education Advocacy Team at APA for their efforts in getting this bill on Congress’s radar, drafting our support language, and mobilizing people in person and electronically.  Now it’s your turn!

State Leadership Conference–Connecting With a Common Goal

Posted in Advocacy, Graduate School
U.S. Capitol 1793-1863 Washington, DC, USA

U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC, USA

This past month, I experienced the thrill of “hitting the hill” and advocating for psychologists, graduate students, patients, and community members around the country amidst the hustle and bustle of our nation’s capitol. It was legislative advocacy day, the finale to end my time attending the American Psychological Association State Leadership Conference (SLC) in Washington DC. I had just spent the last four days engaging in training with leaders in diversity, early career issues, social reform, legislation reform, and much more as I participated in passionate conversations with psychologists and graduate students from throughout the nation who shared a single vision—advocacy.

As I stood with clinical psychologists from across Oregon, I felt a sense of power, ownership, and support as we walked to meet several local legislators who wanted to hear about the state of mental health in our nation. While speaking to representatives and their staff, it was an amazing—and nerve racking—experience to share the stories of my patients who are struggling to access quality mental health care. So many times as a student, I have found myself becoming frustrated and discouraged when I met with patients who were experiencing a mental health crisis but who were forced to wait for care in emergency departments, friend’s homes, or on the streets. When I was standing amidst other students and psychologists who cared about people who were suffering and who were advocating for them, it filled me with a sense of hope.

This sense of optimism stemmed from so many individual experiences I had with other people attending the State Leadership Conference. One specific experience took place the night I landed in Washington DC. I was meeting several APAGS Advocacy Coordinating Team members (all happened to be women) for the first time at a local restaurant for dinner. As we sat together learning each other’s stories, I was struck by the amazing work that each woman was doing in her community. Additionally, I found myself genuinely interested in not only the professional accomplishments of each individual at the table, but also in her personal reasons for getting involved in advocacy and leadership with APAGS. It was comforting and encouraging seeing the faces of women representing various regions from across the country who cared about the same issues that I did.

I am incredibly grateful for the experience I had at SLC this year—for the connection, the support, and the engagement. From meeting with lawmakers who were honestly interested in hearing about the mental health crisis in our country, to engaging with fellow graduate students who had the tenacity to take on national issues, I have been energized by these interactions. I hope to take this same energy with me as I continue graduate school and grow as a future clinician; I hope one day to come back to SLC as a psychologist who is involved in meaningful change.

With hope,
~Roseann

[Editor’s Note: Roseann Fish Getchell is a clinical psychology student at George Fox University and a Northwest Regional Advocacy Coordinator for APAGS-ACT.]