A&P’s: what they are and how to plan for them

At the end of every year comes a special meeting at MSPP called the “Assessment and Planning Conference” or you’re A&P. As this is the end of my first year, I have never actually been to one; however, being the person that I am, I have been asking around about A&P’s since I began planning mine in March.

The A&P is a time for each clinical psychology doctoral student to receive a comprehensive evaluation of their performance and growth over the past year. In order to receive the most complete evaluation, the following people attend you’re A&P: yourself, your MSPP advisor, your supervisor at your site for this year, you supervisor for next year’s site, one MSPP faculty member, and one MSPP peer. I don’t know about you, but this sounds pretty intimidating to me! So, I asked some of the older students for their ideas on A&Ps, and the general consensus is that they are a “love-fest”. During A&P’s everyone present is extremely supportive and nice to you. I liked the sound of this, and so I eagerly began planning mine…

This is where I hit a snag… Somehow, I had never considered how difficult it would be to get a group of six psychologists together on the same day, at the same time, in the same place. Believe me, this was a daunting task! I had to propose at least three different days and times before I found a match for the core participants in my A&P (me, my advisor, and my supervisors). Once I found a day and time that worked for the four of us, it was a matter of finding a faculty member and peer who could fit my A&P into their schedule, which was much easier. Overall, the planning process took about two weeks, which I was shocked at. Looking back, I know I benefitted from starting the planning process early, it allowed me time to find a faculty member, before everyone else had already asked. Moreover, it helped me avoid planning my A&P during the end of the semester, something that a couple of my friends are currently doing.

Now that my A&P is a couple of weeks away, I am anxiously anticipating the meeting, and hoping that it lives up to my expectations… Given the atmosphere at MSPP, I am sure I have nothing to worry about!

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