Internship: Thoughts from the Thick of It

Posted in Advice, Graduate School

Internship: Thoughts from the Thick of It

by Christine Jehu, MS

I have read many accounts from students about the internship application process and what life is like after internship, but I have not seen much written from interns who are in the thick of it. I want to share some of what I have learned over the last nine months that I hope will help those who are preparing to go on internship. To provide a bit of context, between October and January I lost my father, uncle, and grandfather, which offered considerable ups and downs during the last five months of my internship experience. Some key experiences and relationships stand out that helped me through this year, which I try to capture for you in the list below. My hope is that regardless of the circumstances you face while on internship, the takeaways below will help you in some way during our internship year.

In no particular order, here are my 7 takeaways from the thick of internship:

  1.  Your internship cohort is critical. The truth is we aren’t all going to be pals or best friends simply from matching together. Intentionality is critical when building a foundation within your cohort. Take some time to consider what you want and what you need from your cohort, and clearly communicate that early in your time together. – Our cohort decided personal and professional support was important to us. Each week we take a group selfie, go to lunch together, celebrate holidays, and explore the city together. We say that we hit the “intern jackpot” and it feels completely true! Our collective intentionality has fostered an amazing year and friendship between us.
  2. Find an ally on staff. Make a point to cultivate relationships with people on staff. Find someone who you feel safe with and you feel you can turn to. This could be, but does not have to be your direct supervisor or training director. Be clear as you establish each relationship and share your hopes for the relationship as they become clearer to you. – Having a trusted member on staff has been a saving grace for me on many days when I needed to cry and had the space for it, or needed to have an honest and supportive reality check from someone who has witnessed multiple cohorts of trainees. These relationships can be life changing, personally and professionally.
  3. Imposter syndrome is real folks, be ready for it. You’ve probably heard it before, possibly when you entered your program or maybe on your way out. For me it hit full force smack in the middle of internship. Everyone kept asking, “so what’s next?” or “are you doing a post doc?” I would smile and simply respond with, “I’m not sure yet.” When inside I was thinking, “oh my gosh, can I really be a psychologist? Who let me get this far?!” For about a month I wrestled with imposter syndrome, and man was it rough. Remember that trusted ally in #2 – key player during that month!  I can tell you all day long to be ready for it, but the reality is everyone’s experience of imposter syndrome is different and it strikes at different times (likely when you least expect it). What I can tell you, is YES you are supposed to be right where you are. YES you are meant to be a psychologist. NO you did not get where you are now on a fluke. Reach out for support, remember your why you started this crazy intense rewarding journey, have your freak out, and keep moving! You’ve got this!
  4. Maintain your connections. Many of us have to relocate for internship. It is really easy to pack up your home, get in the car, and never look back or keep in touch, because the immediacy of these relationships significantly decreases. Friends, please work to maintain your connections with people in your program cohort, your faculty, friends you made in the city where you went to school, and your family. People in your program and faculty know you and who you are as a developing psychologist. They are the people you want in your corner when the imposter syndrome strikes or when you are applying for post-docs or jobs and cannot for the life of you articulate strengths or growth areas. Just as in #1, intentionality is key. Write it in your planner or put reminders in your phone to call, text, or email these people once every two months or so to touch base. – I’ll be honest. I have not been awesome at this. When my dad died, I lost touch with many people. I am slowly rebuilding those connections, and the past few months have been tremendously different.
  5. Find YOUR balance. I trust you’ve heard this time and time again, and probably find yourself telling your clients this very thing. How many of us truly take our own advice? You know yourself. You know what it takes for you to thrive under pressure – you’ve been doing it for at least the last 3-5 years (thank you graduate school). You don’t lose that when you change cities and become an intern. Stay true to you and do what you need to stay healthy, focused, and balanced. It’s okay to set boundaries, to say no to invitations, and to have fun. Do what works for you.
  6. Be clear about what you want and don’t try to do it all. When you start internship you will write out a set of training goals, identify areas you want to improve in, and then you will be offered a shiny beautiful list of everything that is possible to get involved with on internship. I felt like a kid walking into a candy shop! Everything sounded awesome. Three months from the end of internship I can assure you that you will not have time for it all and you will be okay. Stay true to yourself. Remember your goals for the year and the goals for the few years following. Use those to help you make decisions, and when in doubt talk with your training director about what makes sense for you.
  7.  My final suggestion, and you may have picked up on it throughout, is to be true to who you are! You’re entering a new situation. You will be offered many unique opportunities. If your cohort is geeking out about something but it’s not your jam, that’s okay! If you are the person who likes to go to the gym on a Friday night rather than happy hour, go to the gym! Be you, 100% you.

Editor’s note: Christine Jehu, MS, is a doctoral candidate at the University of Memphis and is currently the Chair-Elect of APAGS.


Living at the Intersection: Reflections on the Graduate Student Experience

Posted in Graduate School

Welcome to APAGS‘s new blog column on intersecting identities! Each of us has a complex combination of personal identities, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability status, and other life statuses like parenthood. We hope through this series to give voice to those complexities. Each month a student author will share reflections on their experiences at the intersection of their many identities. Join us each month to hear new stories and insights from students across the country!

Two Chairs, One Life

Vanessa Martinez-Morales_ASU Counseling PsychologyGuest columnist: Vanessa Martinez-Morales, Arizona State University

I invite you to join me in my counseling room where I have invited myself to engage in a two-chair exercise for two of my identities; one is for the proud Mexican-Cuban first generation American and another is for the burgeoning bisexual woman. Both these women share a parallel process: my denial and acceptance throughout the years. I brought these women here today to discuss their most recent endeavor in graduate school. I sought to explore their challenges and experiences in navigating this new environment. The two are in unchartered territory; they are both strangers and family; self and others; in synchronicity and in isolation. Today they focus on one conversation and one understanding.

Mexican/Cuban: Starting graduate school I felt pressure to perform and to prove that I, and others like me, deserve these kinds of opportunities. I wondered if I was accepted for my abilities or for the marketability of a program that accepts “students of color.” I felt a weight on my shoulders to be the best “Latina psychologist” I could be. I struggled with the absence of one image of what that would look like. And I began to search for that image.

Bisexual:  I was fearful that others would find me out and cast me off as “unprofessional, confused, unstable, attention seeking, and dishonorable.” I had no worries that my presence gained me admittance into the program, but rather fear of exclusion. I thought I could easily separate myself from the graduate school experience and let you take over. After all, I believed you were who was best equipped for this sort of thing, at least out of the two of us.

Mexican/Cuban:  I felt you “shy away” and I wanted to include you but I didn’t know how. I could barely find a “Latina psychologist” to model myself after and I admit I didn’t want to complicate my search any further. So I let you have your own friends and enjoy yourself socially, and I stayed in class, attended the faculty parties with my male partner, and worked hard to establish our academic identity. I resented your freedom.

Bisexual: You thought I was free! How do you think it felt to bite my tongue anytime sexuality was discussed in class? To only share my questions with myself? To seek only this underground railroad of friendships where I could be assured safety? To feel your doubt and questioning anytime I showed even a glimpse of myself? At times I felt I needed to be free of you and your worry that we wouldn’t be seen as a “real Latina” if I joined the conversation.

Mexican/Cuban: I am sorry. My heart races when you speak but I want you to join me. We will create our own image; our reflection.

It has taken three years for the two of you to begin this conversation. I only ask for the courage to continue and the maturity to understand that reflection on our disintegration will lead to our integration.

This column 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,

APA Convention Toronto- Cultural Considerations

Posted in Advice, APA

Toronto3So you’re traveling to Canada? The Great White North? The True North Strong and Free? As you venture across the 49th parallel into this foreign land, what will you learn about its people? Well, we’ll give you a little primer on Canadian culture to help you in your foreign travels.

First things first, Canada has been an independent nation now for almost 150 years (since July 1, 1867) and has developed alongside the United States as its top trading partner. In turn, there are a lot of overlaps between American and Canadian culture!

What comes to mind when you think of Canada?

Is it the iconic Mounties (i.e., the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) that bear the famous red uniform of Rocky and Bullwinkle’s Dudley Do-Right?

Is it the beautiful artwork of Canada’s First Nation communities (i.e., the Canadian term for Native American)?

Is it the Loonie or Toonie (i.e., Canada’s one and two dollar coins)?

If you look at some of the artwork sent out on the 2015 APA Convention materials, both hockey players and moose come to mind!

Canada has a rich history and culture. It’s a diverse nation and the second largest in the world. As our next door neighbor, Canadians and Americans have a lot of similarities, but in preparing for your trip to the APA Convention in Toronto, you should be aware of some cultural considerations of traveling to this vibrant city in a different country. The information provided below is a general overview of Canadian/Toronto culture, but does not necessarily generalize to every individual Canadian, as is the case in summarizing any culture.

Canadian culture

  • Overall, Canadians are more conservative and reserved than Americans; however, much of their interpersonal style is similar to that of Americans. In conversations, they do not touch the other person, maintain a certain amount of personal space, and value eye contact.
  • Canadians are known for their politeness, and are typically helpful should you need aid in directions or other cultural questions.
  • Canadians say “Sorry” a lot, so much that people have actually researched its use.
  • It is customary to tip around 15% gratuity before tax for restaurants, but is unnecessary for counter-service.
  • Canadian coins are magnetic, thus U.S. coin currency will not work in Canadian machines. It is also important to note that $1 and $2 are in coins, not paper money.
  • Canadians use Celsius to measure temperature, so just as a reference, 0 degrees Celsius is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, 10 degrees Celsius is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and 20 degrees Celsius is about 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Canada is actually a bilingual country and many Canadians speak both English and French. Quebec (a.k.a. French Canada) is a province bordering Ontario and you could run into a Francophone Canadian that only speaks French, although many Quebecers are bilingual and fluent in English.
  • Smoking in public places is generally frowned upon in Canada. If you do smoke, be aware of any city restrictions.

Toronto culture

  • The people of Toronto typically speak English, but due to its diversity, it hosts over 140 languages and dialects.
  • Toronto is heralded as one of the most diverse cities in the world! Neighborhoods, including Greektown, Chinatown, and Little India, are great ways to experience the diversity of the city.
  • The culture and arts scene is prominent in Toronto. Many well-known films, such as Good Will Hunting, Chicago, and X-Men were all filmed in this city.
  • The city is known as very safe and has great public transportation systems.
  • Jay walking is illegal in Ontario, and individuals can be fined for ignoring traffic signals. It is also important to note that pedestrians do not have “the right of way” in Ontario, so be cautious when crossing a busy street.


  • This year the Parapan American games are hosted in Toronto August 7-15th! These games typically bring in 10,000 athletes and officials from around the world.
  • Krinos Taste of the Danforth is a festival in Greektown with live music and authentic cuisine from local restaurants.
  • The Roger’s Cup in Toronto is a professional women’s tennis tournament hosted this year from August 8th- 16th.

Editors Note: This post written by Kelly Lee, APAGS incoming Convention Committee Chair and Justin Karr, APAGS Member-at-Large, Membership Recruitment and Retention Focus

Easy Cheap-y Grad School Recipes

Posted in Graduate School

chopping-vegetables1-600x420I love to cook. During graduate school it was one of my primary self-care strategies. But, let’s be honest, when you’re pulling together your pennies in line at the grocery store and trying to find time to brush your teeth, gourmet meals aren’t exactly high on the list of priorities.

Here are a few of my favorite go-to, quick, cheap meal ideas for those of you on a budget—with your time and money.

1. Cafe Rio Chicken – This crock pot delight is so easy and versatile. You can put this chicken in a salad, a soup base, tacos, burritos, a rice/veggie dish, or you can just eat it straight out of the crock pot!

2. Person-Pleasing Chicken – The author calls this Man-Pleasing Chicken. I just call it seriously delicious. Chicken thighs are a great way to save money when compared to chicken breasts. You can skip the rosemary to save extra cash, but I always keep it.

3. Baked Ravioli – How much easier and delicious can you get?

4. 5 Ingredient Black Bean Soup – This is one of my favorite quick and delicious soups. There are other 5 ingredient options on the site too.

5. 8 Can Taco Soup – Taco in a soup. Done.

6. Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers – So, this one takes a little more skill. But, you can do it! You can save extra cash here by omitting the cheese and using rice instead of quinoa.


Meet Your APAGS Leaders!

Posted in Advice, Advocacy, Graduate School

Getting involved in APAGS governance is a great way to hone your leadership skills, network with other leaders in the field, and learn about and advocate for important issues affecting the field of psychology. Staff here at gradPSYCH Blog want all members to meet their appointed and elected leaders in our new series—Meet Your APAGS Leaders!

Our first introduction is Emily Voelkel, the current Chair of APAGS.

Tell us about yourself. committee-bio-voelkel_tcm7-158532

I grew up in a small town near Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m the oldest of three girls, and family has always been very important to me. Growing up, I always felt a strong desire to see the world. So, when I graduated high school I went to Chicago to attend Loyola University. Chicago is a wonderful, vibrant place, and I just loved my time there. I was especially appreciative of the opportunity to study abroad in Rome and travel some of Europe! I can’t wait to go back again. After college I actually joined Teach For America and spent two years teaching 6th grade in Houston before deciding to go to graduate school. It was a life-changing experience that changed my view of our education system and my role in social justice in our country. Currently, I am near the end (finally!) of my training and completing a clinical PTSD fellowship at the Boston VA. I’m married to theHadley Texan I met in Houston, Kolby, and we have an adorable 3 year old pup named Hadley. In my free time (yes, you do get some free time later in training) I love to walk with Hadley, cook, garden, and binge watch TV shows. I love food and traveling and am greatly looking forward to the days Kolby and I can experience more of the world together.

How did you get involved with APAGS?

I first got involved with APAGS very early in my doctoral career. I was at the 2011 National Multicultural Conference and Summit in Seattle when I saw the APAGS booth. I stopped by and talked to the person working there. I realized my program did not have a Campus Representative (CR) for advocacy, and I really wanted to bring that role to the University of Houston (UH). So, I sent in the materials and became the first UH Counseling Psychology department CR! I really loved being a part of the APAGS Advocacy Coordinating Team (ACT) and was thrilled to be discussing key psychology advocacy issues with my peers. During my year as CR, I was promoted to Texas State Advocacy Coordinator (SAC). I was honored to be asked to attend the APA State Leadership Conference in D.C. during that time and attend the APAGS-ACT business meeting. From that point on I was definitely hooked on APAGS! I wanted to be involved with this inspiring group of leaders and work toward solving important student issues as much as possible. Eventually, I ran for Chair-Elect, won, and here I am today!

What has been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?

Awesome question! I’m sure many people will have poignant or funny responses to this. I can’t wait to read them. But, honestly, I am not that into pop culture, fame, or celebrities. The things that stand out to me the most over even the last few years are how many talented people have lost their lives…Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Robin Williams, Heath Ledger, only to name a few. Mental health concerns have, in my opinion, influenced the loss of many of these lives that were iconic in pop culture and the arts.

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

My most recent Facebook post was in response to the heartbreaking events in Baltimore recently. I recommended a good piece on White Fragility by

“One of the experiences I am most grateful for from my doctoral education was having courses that allowed me to explore my Whiteness. Discuss what it means to be White in our society and the ways in which I have benefitted from a societal system that continues to perpetuate and thrive on racism in many ways. What is happening in Baltimore is only one of many examples of the consequences of continuing to be unwilling to discuss and take responsibility for this system and make efforts toward change. My heart goes out to everyone involved. For those interested in a great article that explains why it is so difficult for many White people to talk about racism, I recommend this piece.”

If your life was a book, what would the title be?

Finding Peace Amidst the Chaos

What advice do you have for future leaders in the field of psychology?

I think the best advice I can give to psychology’s future leaders is to be innovative and forward-thinking. Psychology as our advisors knew it and as we know it is changing. If we are going to be true leaders in psychology, we need to start to look forward to what psychology could be and how it will fit into the changing healthcare, research, university, and other systems. If we continue to define psychology by current parameters, I worry we will spend much more time defending “our turf” and less time defining what a new psychology can and should be.