Category Archives: Advice

4 Tips to Help you Become a Better Editor

“Write like you’re in love. Edit like you’re in charge.” – James Scott Bell

EditingHere on the APAGS blog we’ve previously offered some tips on how to become a better scientific writer, addressing ways to make it easier to put words onto paper (and finish your thesis/dissertation/manuscript!). But good writing mostly happens in between drafts one and two … or 19 and 20, as editing your own work effectively is consequential to getting your point across. So to pay homage to the skill that is fine-tuning, below I’ve assembled some tips to help you become a better editor. Hopefully they will help you transform your original ideas into digestible content.

Edit as if you were another person

You will always be your best editor when you can look at your writing from the vantage point of your audience. First, this helps remove the emotional baggage from reviewing your own piece, whether this involves feeling as if you are not good enough or – just as dangerous – as if you are Nobel Prize worthy. While we always want to feel invested in our work, and proud of the pieces we put forth, much about writing effectively has less to do about you, and everything to do about your reader. So try forgetting for a moment that you wrote what’s in front of you and ask yourself: what is the author trying to convey here? Answering this question time and again will help you identify areas that are either not clear enough or need reframing.

Print out your draft

I’m not usually an advocate for printing many things on paper these days, but when editing your writing you may consider making an exception. Seeing words on paper simply has a different effect on a reader versus seeing them on a screen. Plenty has been written about this topic, enough to ensure me that I’m not the only one that feels this way. So if your stuck in your writing and unsure how to move it forward, print out what you have thus far and read it away from your computer. Annotate edits in the margins (for old time’s sake). Another tip is that if you have multiple pages already complete, start with printing just page one and go from there. Often you’ll notice that there is something to attend to early on and you’ll need to change it right away before moving forward. So save your paper (and toner) and go one page at a time.

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Why You Should Attend Convention 2017 (Washington, DC)

SquareProfessional conventions are an integral part of the graduate school experience. APA Convention is one of the largest and brings together a diverse group of psychology students, academics, professionals, community organizations, and clinicians from across the US (and the world!).

If you’re on the fence about attending the APA Annual Convention, here are just a few (of the many) reasons why it’s worth the trip:

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Dear Me, Future Psychologist. Yours truly, Dr. Y. Barry Chung

It’s time for the next installment of Dear me, future psychologist, a gradPSYCH Blog exclusive in which a prominent psychologist writes a letter to his/her 16-year-old self. We hope you enjoy these letters and glean some invaluable wisdom and guidance as you decide whether to enter graduate school in psychology, as you navigate the challenges of graduate school, and as you make decisions about your career and life.

Y. B. ChungThis letter is from Dr. Y. Barry Chung. Dr. Chung received his PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1996. He was a faculty member at Georgia State University and Department Chair at Northeastern University, before joining the faculty at Indiana University Bloomington where he is currently Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. Dr. Chung is a past President of the National Career Development Association and Society of Counseling Psychology, and is President-Elect of the Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs. He is known for his scholarly work on career development, multicultural counseling, and sexual orientation and gender identity issues. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Divisions 17, 44, and 45), Asian American Psychological Association, and National Career Development Association.

DEAR-ME

FROM THE DESK OF Y. Barry Chung:

April 2017

Dear Me at 16,

This letter is from you when you are 53. I hope the letter reaches you alright via the time travel machine.  I know you are still in high school in Hong Kong, and have no idea what your future may hold.  But if you don’t mind knowing ahead of time, there will be lots of major changes in your life.  You will live in a different country (USA), speak English daily (I know, trust me, you can!), and you will be a psychology professor, university administrator, and leader of several national associations.  I know these may be too much to take in right now, when you are still struggling to grow up, living in poverty.  But trust me, they will all happen.  Well, I am writing today to give you some advice.  You may not need it (evidently you have become me), but as your older self I would like to help.

First, I know you are struggling with that “odd” feeling that you are attracted to men. Don’t be afraid.  It is only natural, and life gets better.  You will come out as a gay man in your 20s, and ultimately find a loving life partner when you are 39 (yeah it takes time and be patient with all the heartbreaks).  You will devote most of your career to researching on and advocating for LGBT issues.  In fact, you are probably most known by your professional peers for your LGBT work, and eventually you decide to leave a bequest donation to support LGBT research when you leave this world.  For now, just trust your feelings and don’t allow others and society to make you become someone else.  Your experience with heterosexism will be a powerful motivation to pursue the kind of work that will benefit people like yourself.

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Top 10 Reasons to Complete Your Dissertation Before Internship

I, like many other interns, started my internship year without having completed my dissertation. I knew it wasn’t ideal to be a full-time intern and work on my dissertation, but I figured since I made it through 5 years of graduate school simultaneously juggling other responsibilities and survived, I would be “okay” managing both of these tasks. Upon reflection, I wish I would have considered just how different and more demanding the internship year really is. As such, here are my top 10 reasons to complete your dissertation before internship (in no particular order). Please feel free to share your reasons in the comment section below!

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My Path to Working at an Association

If you had told me 20 years ago that I would one day work at the American Psychological Association, I would have laughed and said, “No way!” I was committed to one day working in a hospital as a pediatric psychologist. But after 8 years as Associate Executive Director of APAGS, I can say that this is a job that I have relished. Who knew?

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Developing the APAGS Strategic Plan with the APAGS Committee, Washington, DC, 2012.

How did I get to APA as a staff member? Primarily, it was because I got involved. I served 4 years on the APAGS Committee as Member at Large and Chair of the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns. I also was the student representative on the Ethics Code Task Force, revising the APA Ethics Code. After 4 years as a student leader, I took some time off from APA while I started my dream job in a department of pediatrics at a county hospital. I returned to APA leadership a few years later as a founding member of the Committee on Early Career Psychologists, followed by a term on the Board of Professional Affairs. It was halfway through my term on BPA that the AED position opened up at APAGS. My leadership experience at APA and other organizations (primarily Ohio Psychological Association and the Society of Pediatric Psychology) opened up the doors.

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