Top 3 Tips for Linked In

Our Organizational and Leadership Psychology Department recently hosted a “Breaking In” workshop for current students and alumni.  These 3 top tips on Linked In were provided by MSPP Organizational Psychology Alumna, Leto Papadopoulos.

  1. Keyword your LinkedIn profile with all relevant terms related to the types of positions you’re looking for within OD. This can be done within the summary, job descriptions or skills & endorsements sections. It doesn’t matter where on your profile those terms are located, you will still appear in search results and terms will be highlighted.
  2. Create a strong career summary for your profile. This is a big picture overview – if your background isn’t in OD, find transferable skills/accomplishments to highlight.
  3. Use LinkedIn to create networking opportunities. It’s an extension of your in-person activities. Do your research on companies and people to meet with, and then use it to get introductions to set those meetings.
Posted in Change of Career, Online Education, Organizational Psychology & Leadership

Top 3 Tips for Resume Writing

Our Organizational and Leadership Psychology Department recently hosted a “Breaking In” workshop for current students and alumni.  These 3 top tips on Resume Writing were provided by MSPP Organizational Psychology Alumna, Kelly Armstrong.

  1. Write a powerful opening/objective statement or summary. A solid, clear opening/objective statement will help you carry a focused message throughout the resume. This will summarize your skills and emphasize your strengths and this should typically be in a block paragraph format and run about 3 to 5 sentences long.
  2. Tailor your resume and cover letter for EACH position. Many applicants create a generic resume and send it out for every job of interest. Most often this is just a waste of time. You should take the time to review in detail the job advertisement and the required qualifications. Tailor your resume and work experience to support what the employer is looking for. Address each point in enough detail that the employer can easily find the information on your resume and cover letter and understand your depth of experience. One resume does not fill all.
  3. Be organized, logical and concise. In addition to reviewing your experience, employers also use the resume to sense whether you are organized, logical or concise. Make sure your resume is balanced, neat, visually appealing and flows consistently. Clearly separate sections and emphasize section titles. Leave sufficient blank space between sections for easy reading.
Posted in Change of Career, Online Education, Organizational Psychology & Leadership

Preemptive Nostalgia

As has been previously mentioned, I am a graduate of Wesleyan University. That’s Wesleyan. Not Wellesley. Don’t ask me why, but every time I told someone where I was going, they said “Oh, the all-girls school?” I believe there was even a shirt printed joking to that effect sometime in my sophomore year. Our desire for clarification had nothing to do with the caliber of either school, but rather was related to our fierce pride in all the things Wes had to offer, in the way we believed we were pushing boundaries and being someone new. Last night, How I Met Your Mother had a scene depicting a flash forward to two of the characters dropping their son off at their alma mater, Wes, and then heading to the local watering hole (Eli Cannon’s!). As the writers are Wes Alums, these types of scenes happen occasionally and always make me smile with happy memory.
Bear with me. I am going somewhere with this. I am graduating from the MA/CAGS program in June (yay!) and am positively SHOCKED that three years have gone by. And while the glories of grad school are far different than the memories of college, there are the same moments of self reflection and growing edges that I will look back and reflect upon with misty smiles. I expect we all feel proud of MSPP, of the education we have had here, the field expectations, and its new building that finally reflects the quality within. I sometimes still get the blank, confused stare when I say I attend MSPP, but then, I am used to that. It is happening less and less often as reputations of the quality professionals take root in the area, and I look forward to the day when conference presenters make reference to “1208” and The Great Debate About Free Printing” and I can chuckle at the memories along with the crowd.

Posted in School Psychology

Greetings from Fatimah

As a first year student in the Master in Counseling and Global Mental Health Program, I am honored to be a part of the MSPP community.  Prior to matriculating into this program, I spent the last 11 years in Philadelphia in various service environments.  I have spent 10 years working as a diversity trainer and facilitator within the context of non-profit and higher educational institutions.  I have also provided technical assistance to immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs – providing wrap-around services in low and modest wealth communities.  I am a Senior Fellow and the human rights organization, Humanity in Action and have engaged in social change work in Europe, Africa, and Asia.

I love the Global Mental Health Program at MSPP for many reasons.  Firstly the program provides a space for me to synthesize my work as a global advocate with the practical skills of psychotherapy and healing.  I have gained a tremendous understanding of the role mental health professionals play in providing support to refugees in the United States as well as their role abroad in disaster relief or following the devastation of mass violence.  As challenging and intractable as these major problems sound, I have found courage and hope in the trauma informed treatment framework based on decades of experience among MSPP faculty.

I would be happy to answer any questions one may have about the program.

Posted in Global Mental Health

An Afghan Adventure

So, I spent the past 10 months at a Marine Corps base in Afghanistan.

Over the Hindu Kush Mountains of Southern Afghanistan

Over the Hindu Kush Mountains of Southern Afghanistan

I’m not a Marine, not an active duty service member, nor a contractor.  I’m a legitimate Government Service (GS) “civil servant” who voluntarily applied to deploy to Helmand Province from my cozy life in Colorado Springs.

“Why would somebody to this?”, you ask.

Well, several reasons.

1.  Enriching Work – We as Americans have sent hundreds of thousands of troops to Afghanistan.  It’s treacherous, particularly when many service members are on their second, third, forth or even fifth deployment.  My job was to direct Morale, Welfare and Recreation programming for the personnel working at the base.  What could be more

Hosting WWE wrestlers to include the 7ft, 400lb "Big Show".

Hosting WWE wrestlers to include the 7ft, 400lb “Big Show”.

rewarding in a war zone than ensuring that these individuals received world-class fitness programming, Wi-Fi in their living quarters (albeit spotty for many challenging reasons), special events offerings, and celebrity USO meet-and-greets? I got to help ensure that decompression activities were readily available and of a high-quality, so that everyone could do their jobs as effectively as possible.  I am so grateful for that opportunity.

2.  Sense of Adventure – I have been working for the US Army for the past 9 years at various bases throughout the US and Europe.  I kinda just wanted to see what’s going on in a deployed environment.  After all, everyone’s doing it.

Short, but wild Osprey flight "down South".

Short, but wild Osprey flight “down South”.

Okay, maybe not everyone, but when you work on a military base, you’re surrounded by people who have experienced the deployed lifestyle…be it actively deploying, or keeping the embers burning back on the home front.  I mean, don’t you think it sounds just a little bit interesting to “see what it’s really like” over there?  After all, plenty of your hard-earned tax dollars are being sent over there by the billions; why not see it at work?

And see it first-hand, I did!  Pretty mind-blowing to witness even the logistical processes of getting personnel to where they need to be in Afghanistan, getting the supplies and equipment necessary to keep them afloat, and then managing the resulting waste.

Musician/Producer Tim Rushlow hanging out with Camp Dwyer Marines

Musician/Producer Tim Rushlow hanging out with Camp Dwyer Marines

 “Icing”-type goods, services and activities blew me away as well — like fancy meal nights at the dining facilities for major holidays, “near beer” provisions (since consuming alcohol is strictly prohibited), small shops with common amenities we don’t view as “luxury” here in the US, and well-attended Zumba fitness classes.

3.  Money for School – Part way through paying graduate studies straight out of pocket with no scholarships and no loans, it dawned on me that “this $h!t’s expensive!”.  Ha.  So, I explored and weighed options for supplementing my income to support my dirty, little academic habit.  Without taking loans, a deployment through the US military was the most feasible option.

R&R in Dubai at the tallest building in the world.

R&R in Dubai at the tallest building in the world.

This worked out just fine.  I got to take some pretty wicked “Rest & Recuperation (R&R) trips, and still come back with plenty of money to cover the rest of my Master’s while keeping a little change in my pocket.  “Epic winning.”

4.  Time for Studies and Physical Fitness –  Let’s face it: I’m a seasoned procrastinator.  Like…I’m really exceptional at what I do.  I can find 50 things around the house that need to be completed before I can bring myself to crack open my text book for the week’s assignments.

By deploying to Afghanistan, however, I didn’t have a house to take care of, a dog to walk and nurture and clean-up after, grocery shopping to do, cooking to clean up…and so on.  I figured in theater, I’d work a regular schedule and then have a bunch of time on my hands for working out and studying.  Sweet!  I’d be forced into focusing on my academic growth and physical development.

Ha!  THAT didn’t happen.  When the reality of my 12-hour day, 7-days per week schedule set in, I immediately realized that I had no choice but to reign-in my studies from full-time to part-time.  MSPP was fully supportive of this request, by the way, considering my situation, which was a huge relief.  But I still felt like I was drowning, given the extreme technological challenges one inherently faces in a third-world country (I forgot this consideration when I applied for 2013 coursework).  However, with the support of the MSPP faculty and my cohort classmates, I was able to work through what I’d signed up for while I was gone.

5. Absence of Ties – I’m not married and I don’t have children just yet.  So, accomplishing

I missed this little thing!

I missed this little thing!

goals 1-4 above were doable.  Had I been tied to a husband or children, there is little to no chance that I’d have every considered deploying for nearly a year.  I do have a sweet, sweet poodle-mutt of a dog named Chloe.  She was my primary concern and apprehension about leaving.  Fortunately my folks, who she loves, agreed to look after her and love her in my absence.

It all worked out.  Even found a couple potential soul-mate while I was there.  We’ll see where that goes.  Wouldn’t that be the ultimate Afghanistan souvenir?  Ha.  It’d make the whole experience even more worth it.

Now I can get back to procrastinating on my terms.  I’m working toward having enough time to really focus on knocking out the rest of my MSPP program at the level that I want.

Cheers. 

Posted in Change of Career, Experiential Education, Global Mental Health, Online Education, Personal Growth | Tagged , , , , ,

Marshall Ganz on narrative & social movements

Hi,

Please take the time to check out my conversation with Dr. Marshall Ganz at the Kennedy School of Government. Marshall Ganz is a senior lecturer in public policy at HKS, and a  leading expert in narrative, social movements and leadership. Dr. Ganz was a civil rights activist in the 60, and worked with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers in California. He is also credited with devising and orchestrating the successful grassroots organizing model in Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Thanks!

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It’s all a balancing act.

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Has anyone ever told you that graduate school is crazy? If not, let me be the first, because do I have a reality check for you. I’m sorry, but there’s really no other way to accurately describe graduate school.

There’s always a never-ending pile of books and articles you have to read, and you may continuously feel like you are behind. All your professors may assign assignments with due dates all on one day, and just when you think you have a grip on your practicum/internship, something will happen to make you think otherwise.

Graduate school is a balancing act. As you are juggling a million things, life may start tossing its own bowling pins at you. I do not know what it is about students, but I firmly believe that no one gets through graduate school without life throwing you a few curveballs. Graduate students are a magnet, attractive to any and every possible situation.

I just got hit with more than a couple unforeseen surprises. The past few months have been intense, to say the least. When one thing ended, another started, and I was not sure if there was an end in sight. Gradually, I have been able to put out a few fires, while managing to get a hold on some of my bowling pins. There are still a few extra being thrown at me, but I found a rhythm.

Finding a method to balancing it all is ultimately what gets you through graduate school. You need to figure out the best way for you to juggle, and it is important to realize that what works for someone does not necessarily work for you.

The first step to discovering your own system is breathing. When things get hectic, people forget to take a deep, long breath. Taking a moment out of your day to just breathe can be altering; it can relax your body and mind and help un-fog all the craziness around you. Oftentimes, when you find yourself in situation where you’re juggling a million things, you may be running on adrenaline; breathing will reset your body, so you do not hit empty.

Once you feel calm again, write a list. Prioritize what needs to be done and work on crossing off items, one thing at a time. You can work on the tiny things first, or you can complete the time-consuming tasks. Either way, I can promise that you will feel amazing when you begin to see lines across your list, signifying that you are almost done with it all.

Set a schedule. You may already have a routine set, but by scheduling what needs to be done, you are more motivated and determined, thus kicking procrastination to the curb. The most important thing you need to make time for is yourself. The same way you took a few moments to breathe, take some time for self-care. Relax. Do some yoga. Watch Sherlock or House of Cards. Whatever you do to unwind, make sure you do it every day. If you have a chance, do it at night, before you go to sleep, so you can go to bed easily, without your worries sitting over your shoulders.

Don’t forget to reward yourself also. When you cross off a certain amount of items, or get through the most daunting tasks, take a moment to recognize what you have just accomplish. Taking pleasure in the simple things really does change your mindset and your approach.  You are also more likely and more motivated to get through the rest of the list when you have something exciting waiting for you. A celebration truly does serve as the light at the end of the tunnel.

These few, simple steps have really helped me get a grasp on life. Although graduate school is just as crazy (if not more than last semester), I feel ready and eager to barge on through the many obstacles. I keep reminding myself that at the end of this semester, I will be a ½ of a therapist, and that is pretty darn amazing.

Keep going, you can do it :) 

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Posted in Personal Growth | Tagged , , , , ,

Hallmark Hurrah

This can be a tough time of the year for some people. Here in the Boston area, the luster of freshly fallen snow has worn out (don’t worry – we’re due for more soon!), and some of us might be getting sick of scraping the ice off of our windshields in the wee hours of the morning. In addition to an increased frequency of the expression “wintry mix,” this time of year marks Hallmark’s dominance. From here through Father’s Day (that’s in June, folks; you’re prematurely welcome), there’s a Hallmark holiday to keep you going. While I have my own thoughts regarding the corporate drive behind many of these holidays, I must say that there is something about receiving a card – or letter for that matter – in the mail. But what is it that makes snail mail so special? Well, since you asked …

 1. It takes thought. These days, with the availability and wit of someecards, taking the time to select the perfect card for someone is meaningful. Then, if you’re lucky, you get a card with a note inside, too. On the flip side, sometimes there is a card you pass that screams out to you and seems destined for a specific someone in your life. 

 2. Personalization. In addition to the card being shockingly perfect for that special someone, the message inside is personal. It’s a flashback to my youth when I ran to check the daily mail and was overjoyed when a tattered envelope with my name was nestled in the box. When writing cards or letters, you may want to consider clearing your mind before you put pen to paper.

 3. Scarcity. Emails and texts have taken the place of old fashioned mail. This means that most of my postal inbox is full of subscription spam announcing that I’m “qualified” for yet another credit card. Ha, the joke’s on them. But due to the scarcity of good ole’ fashioned snail mail, I’m so pleasantly surprised when there’s a handwritten envelope with my name on it waiting for me at the end of a long day.

As you consider ways to show someone you care about them, or if you’re looking to bring some warmth to a friend or family member during these cold winter days, consider sending a letter or card. It doesn’t have to be long or poetic; the authenticity of your message is the most meaningful, even if it’s just a simple, “Hi, been thinking about you.” After all, reconnecting, like a Forever stamp, doesn’t have an expiration date.    

Greetings from a Global Mental Health Student

Greetings all!

My name is Terna (say Tay-na). I am a first year Masters student in the Global Mental Health program. I have lived in 6 countries and several cities in the US. I am half Nigerian and half Liberian.The place I’ve lived the longest is New York City. I have a Bachelor’s degree from University of Chicago and also hold graduate degrees in International Conflict Analysis and Teaching. MSPP brought me back to Massachusetts, the place of my birth.

MSPP is a wonderful community of professionals and students in the field of psychology. I have particularly taken by the school’s commitment to social justice and multicultural perspectives. Also, the faculty and staff are incredibly supportive, knowledgeable and keen to help each student grow, in the classroom and even in unexpected encounters in the hallway. MSPP’s Global Mental Health Program is unique. When I learned of the program I jumped for the opportunity to study here. The program is very much interested in what mental health support looks like in an international context where Western constructs and understandings may not apply or make sense in the cultural context of a place. With that in mind, how do mental health workers with a Western education meaningfully support folks across a variety of contexts? How do we work with refugees and other who have experienced trauma? What is our role and what are our responsibilities? I am excited to be in a program committed to exploring these questions, and providing meaningful experiences in doing so.

I look forward to sharing some of what we are learning over the next few months!

Be well.

Pearls of Wisdom… no, really!

Among the myriad of Facebook posts (Side note: Facebook is 10?? Really? It makes me feel old to remember a time [high school!] before Facebook existed) there was the all too familiar link to a quasi-deep post that makes my eyes roll before I even finish reading. Then, however, I noticed who had posted it. Not a typical person to go in for the Oprah-like messages of transcendent learning. So I checked it out. And, I have to say, you should too.
One the reflections offered was the following:
Do not carry broken people who are not in the process of rebuilding themselves.
There have been a lot of professors who have said this in a lot of different ways. One metaphor that has stuck in my mind was shared by a man who taught us counseling: “As school psychologists we are flashlights. We can shine a light on a person’s growing edges, show them the way to bettering themselves, but it is up to them to change, to want to change.”
I truly believe this. You can lead a horse to water, and all that. But in some places, such as schools and courts, our clients are not seeking us out for change. They are assigned to us, or mandated. The real task, then, lies in guiding the person to desire change as if it were their own idea. I have been struggling with this for almost 3 months with one of my students, until today when she finally said “I wonder why I don’t have as many friends as Sarah.” Bingo, a way in! Wish me luck!

Posted in Counseling Psychology, Personal Growth, School Psychology