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!
Dear fellow students,
As many of you already know, President Trump issued an executive order on January 23rd to freeze the hiring of Federal civilian employees across the executive branch with the exception of military personnel. The President’s memorandum can be found here. At present, this freeze includes all hiring at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BoP), and the Indian Health Service (IHS). Taken together, these three Federal departments are host to more than 700 APA-accredited internship slots, the vast majority of which are accredited through the VA.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), established in 1938, is a federal law that regulates overtime pay, minimum wage, child labor, and recordkeeping. This past Spring, the U.S. Department of Labor approved a proposal to increase the salary threshold to qualify for FLSA standards, meaning anyone working full-time and making less than $47,476 will qualify for FLSA benefits. The new salary threshold was expected to go into effect December 1, 2016; however, it was recently blocked by a Texas judge. Although this ruling has been halted, we want to keep APAGS members informed as to how its roll-out will affect them should this injunction be dismissed. Below we answer some of the biggest questions about the proposed FLSA changes to help you stay informed.
For many students training to be Health Service Providers (HSP), the internship application process tends to be one of the most stressful periods of their graduate school training. Preparing applications by looking through training brochures of multiple internship sites, writing cover letters, completing essays, logging hours… the list goes on. It is difficult to really practice self-care during this intensive process, and sometimes we find ourselves struggling to complete an application in the eleventh hour. A number of sites have early deadlines, some before November, while others go straight through to the end of November/early December. Students can choose different ways of submitting their applications, some opting to submit in batches, based on deadlines, while others may opt to submit all applications at one time.
If you’ve finished submitting your application at this point, CONGRATULATIONS! This is the perfect time to take a break!
Some students may be thinking, “Now is the time to prepare for my interviews, plan travel, etc.” As someone who has been through this same process last year and also taking part in it again this year, my advice is this: DON’T DO IT.
First, the GOOD NEWS! The 2016 APPIC Match statistics continue to demonstrate improvement in the Match rate for internship applicants. Logically, the improved numbers would abate much of the nervousness about tackling the internship process.
However, for graduate students like me who fit the mold of the perfectionistic-overachieving-anxious student, logic can do little to diffuse internship worry. The wake of the 2012 Match rate still haunts many of our programs and, thus, pushes us to be ever more competitive for the internship process.
As a recent survivor of the Match, the fears still resonate. However, I am able to recognize that my success in matching (along with nearly 90% of all internship applicants) was not a fluke. [In my mind, the fluke is that the Match rate is not flirting with 100%, but we are inching closer!] Moreover, internship applicants have several resources to help them prepare for this arduous process, particularly at APA Convention.
For 2017 applicants (or the Type-A 2018, 2019, or 2020 applicants), APAGS provides an Internship Track at Convention, which consists of three key sessions to help you understand the internship application process and talk with the key players in the game. As a veteran of these sessions, I would highly recommend them. As a self-proclaimed perfectionistic-overachieving-anxious graduate student, I found significant value in attending these sessions in both Washington DC (2014) and Toronto (2015).
The Internship Workshop is a two-hour session geared towards working through the Internships in Psychology workbook. You will receive expert advice and suggestions on how to sell yourself in your application documents, and some mysteries of the ranking and Match process will be unfolded. You can also expect to learn more about the vague and elusive concept of fit. What is fit? How do I find fit? Can you help me find fit? Do I really need fit?
(As a personal testimony to fit, I noticed that the internship sites that did not offer an interview had two key similarities. Either a) I was only semi-excited about their program, or b) I had added them to my final list to simply boost my number of applications! They could tell that the fit was missing. I was not truly excited about their sites. They were my safety nets.)
The Internship Track also offers sessions that serve as informal spaces to talk with Internship Training Directors and the APPIC Chair. At the Internship Meet and Greet, you have the opportunity to meet with Training Directors from myriad sites to learn about their sites, ask questions about the process, or just sit back and listen! During the Conversation Hour with the APPIC Chair, you can learn more about the big picture of the internship process and ask questions about APPIC accreditation, APA accreditation, rankings, and the Match (and hopefully through the process experience some diminished anxiety and increased calm about this phase in your training).
As you prepare for Convention 2016 and your upcoming application process, I wish all 2017 internship applicants an application process filled with self-confidence, support, and self-care. I hope to see you all in Denver!