Tag Archives: Networking

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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Learning the Ropes: Attending Convention for the First Time as a Graduate Student

APA Convention can be overwhelming with tens of thousands of psychologists and graduate students descending on a new city with the purpose of staying current with our work and networking! These tips will help you to plan for convention, survive (and thrive!) while attending, and debrief afterwards.

Before Convention:

  • Now is the time to register!
  • Find some other grad students to room with to save a few bucks!
  • Also, keep an eye out for any airfare specials if you will be flying to Denver.
  • Once the conference program is out, start to plan your days at Convention.
    • Start with APAGS program; it’s specifically geared towards the needs of graduate students
    • Use keywords to search the electronic program and find sessions that you’re interested in attending.
    • Plan to attend talks on your research interests, but also step outside of your comfort zone and go to a talk on a topic that you may not be exposed to in your own program.

During Convention:

  • Network! Find other psychologists and graduate students who are doing work that you are interested in. Bring business cards so that you can exchange them and keep in touch after the conference.
  • Attend APAGS events to specifically network with other graduate students.
    • The APAGS Social is always a hit! Don’t miss out!
    • APAGS also provides free food at the Food for Thought Breakfasts each morning. What a great reason to wake up early, right? This is also a great time to hear talks by amazing psychologists. Be sure to check the program for the line up!
  • Attend talks that align with your research or clinical interests, but also attend something that is new to you.
  • Get out and see Denver! As a graduate student, how often do you really get to travel? Take advantage of the opportunity to explore this cool city a bit.

After Convention:

  • Relax! You might need to take a day or two to recharge. Convention can be both exhilarating and exhausting.
  • Follow up via email or maybe even social media with the people that you met at convention.
  • Start thinking about Convention 2017! Do you want to present your work? Do you want to be an APAGS Ambassador or maybe even apply to be a member of the APAGS Convention Subcommittee?

Excelling at Extroversion

Extroverts may seemingly enter the networking oasis of APA with an advantage to our introverted counterparts.  Networking can seem effortless when you love to meet new people and thrive in high-energy environments. Presentations and social hours may also cause little to no anxiety.  However, I give a word caution to my fellow extroverts.  Our presumed advantage could betray us if we are not careful to avoid some potential extrovert pitfalls.

  • Yak Yak Yak: We have a lot to say, and we love to say it! As an extrovert, try to be aware of how much space you are taking up in Q & A sessions as well as informal conversation.  Take a break if you realize you’ve been talking a while – also avoid interrupting!  Monopolizing conversation can leave a bad impression on others, particularly introverts!
  • Talk first, think later: In all the excitement to engage in social interaction, extroverts can fall victim to talking first and figuring out why we are talking second…. As a woman accustomed to rambling (as pointed out by my partner, my mother, my advisor, my brothers, to name a few) speaking without a purpose can leave us looking unpolished and scatter-brained. So pull your thoughts together and speak with intention and clarity.
  • YOU’RE GREAT! YOUR RESEARCH IS GREAT! EVERYTHING’S GREAT! Does anyone else regularly find themselves at the highest level of excitement?! Remember that in a professional setting, you may need to reign in overly-raucous laughter and fan-girl displays of excitement better suited for DisneyWorld or Comic-Con.
  • Loud Talker: Related to heightened demonstrations of excitement is the propensity to speak with excessive volume. Apparently, I never internalized my “inside voice” from elementary school and occasionally shout at people in normal conversation.  (True story: My parents thought I had a hearing problem as a child because I spoke so loud.) I recommend asking for feedback from others to see if you may also be afflicted as a loud talker.
  • Extrovert v. Extrovert Challenge: Do not get baited into trying to be life of the party (particularly at social events). Remember, all attention is not good attention, and your inner stand-up comedian may need to take a break while you are engaging in professional networking.

Reasons to Attend Convention 2016 (Denver, CO)

Going to APA Convention is an important graduate school experience (and not just to add another line or two to your CV!).  We all know the drill with presenting our research and beefing up our CVs, but Convention has much more to offer! Here are some of my top reasons to attend Convention.

  1. Permission to Dabble!

Graduate school is an odd combination of being indoctrinated by your advisor and learning to critically evaluate everything you think you know (or are told).  Sometimes our focus becomes pretty limited by our long-days and late-nights working on our own research – for me White racial identity development among academicians in psychology.  Convention provides opportunities to branch out and see what the rest of psychology is up to!  My Convention guilty-pleasures (i.e., not related to my own research) are sessions on mental health disparities, feminist roundtables, and racial injustice advocacy.  I encourage you to find your own guilty-pleasures and indulge!

  1. Networking

An APAGS Member met Dr. Philip Zimbardo at an APAGS Food for Thought Breakfast.

Really, networking could be reasons 1- 5.  Regardless of where you are in your program, networking is crucial. As a second-year doctoral student, I met my future internship training director at Convention. I’m not saying that I matched solely because of this happenstance meeting, but I’m pretty sure I left a favorable impression! Now as I am transitioning to my first job-search as a psychologist, having THOUSANDS of potentials psychologists in one place feels like a dream! I am also always on the lookout for a celebrity psychologist sighting, so that I can have a fan-girl moment…

  1. Any Excuse to Get Out of [INSERT COLLEGE TOWN HERE]

Graduate students who have the luxury of going to school in New York City, Southern California, or Miami may not feel my pain, but I can always use an excuse to get out of Lexington, KY.  While the Horse Capital of the World boasts a cheap cost of living and mild winters, I find myself needing a break from the college town milieu.   Convention is a great way to double dip – professional development and mini-vacation!  Denver has a lot to offer budget-minded graduate students, such as several microbreweries, Colorado Rockies games, and several day-hikes right outside of the city.  Don’t forget to take some time for self-care and enjoy Denver!

  1. Sessions for Students, by Students

Faculty always say that they vividly remember the plight of graduate school… right before they give you a 48-hour deadline of reworking a manuscript and then go home for the evening at 5pm… However, faculty can forget all too soon that graduate students have unique struggles and concerns.  The APAGS Convention Committee provides student-focused programming in response to student feedback and needs.  In Denver, APAGS has prepared programs for stats-phobic students (Stats Phobia: Learn How to Learn Stats [and Work past Beginners Anxiety]), students who moonlight as parents (or maybe the other way around; Two P’s in a Pod: Balancing Parenthood with Psychology Training and Careers), and students from a variety of diverse identities and backgrounds (Connecting with our queerness: Four contemporary takes on being an LGBTQ(A) psychologist & Conducting Research on Marginalized Identities: When Research is “Me-Search”).  For the full APAGS Convention schedule, be on the lookout for the APAGS Convention Booklet that will be released closer to Convention or visit the APAGS Convention website!