This week we decided to take a break from research with a fun but important activity; creating vision boards! As an undergraduate it's easy to lose sight of your direction, especially when you're still deciding on what it is you want to do. As such, vision boards are intended to get our members thinking about their short and long-term career and academic goals. In creating their boards, we encourage our members to make specific plans with tentative dates. We feel that this is an effective self-accountability measure; a gentle reminder of what members are working toward when motivation is scarce. Having a back-up plan is something we also encourage as there will be times when goals are not met, after all; setbacks are a part of life. It's important to understand that as developing academics, it's more than likely that your goals will change, and that is ok! For this reason, we have our members draft their goals onto stick notes, to be altered as needed. Vision boards not only serve as self motivators, but markers to look back on, showing how much respective members have grown and changed. We wrapped this meeting with members sharing their boards, and encouraged our members to post them on their walls. It's great to see the variety in our member paths, and this activity sets-up members up nicely for our careers in psych meeting that follows.
Today's meeting centered around research again, specifically; summer research programs. Research experience for undergraduates (REUs) are a great way to get a taste of what conducting psychological research as a professional is all about. We began by briefly introducing REUs; touching on their general requirements, the process of applying to each, and the benefits associated with completing a summer research program. We view REU programs as intrinsically valuable; as the knowledge gained and opportunity itself are conducive to academic growth. However, REUs are a great way to make valuable connections, add onto the curricular vitae, and often come with a stipend making them even more enticing, even for those who are undecided about pursuing a career in research. For those interested in applying to graduate school, applying to Reus serves as great practice! After showcasing common REU opportunity portals such as NSF, and SROP; we ended the meeting with a panel featuring alumni sharing their individual experiences with REUs. Overall this meeting was a great way to inform our members about extracurricular research opportunities available to them. We'd like to give a big thanks to Steven Lopez, Karli Cheng, Genesis Flores, and our president Kelly Nguyen for taking time out of their busy schedules to share their experiences! It's always great to be able to get the inside scoop on what these programs are all about, and it makes the application process that much less daunting.
Virtual learning as the new norm brings a different and possibly more challenging experience for many. Extensive time in front of the computer screen becomes disorienting as the lines between school and home life begin to blur. Our goal for this meeting was to assist our members by sharing tips on setting themselves up for success for the forthcoming mid-term season. We began our meeting sharing the results of a poll taken via Psi Chi's Instagram; The question centering around how various members deal with stress. We felt this would be the best way to get as many tips out to members, while keeping in mind that there isn't exactly a one size fits all approach to stress management, considering members respective living situations are different. We wrapped this portion of the meeting up with additional, traditional stress management strategies such as; practicing healthy sleep habits, connecting with loved ones, and mindfulness meditation. The second half of the meeting proceeded in a similar fashion, now focusing on healthy study habits. We began by stressing the importance of active and engaged reading, followed by frequent breaks as a means of bolstering information processing. Techniques such as pomodoro were outlined, and we emphasized the importance of avoiding cramming and attending office hours. The possibility of a Psi Chi study session was introduced as we understand the benefits behind transactive memory. At the meeting's end, we shared some tools and resources to help with the study process as well as on campus counseling and wellness centers, followed by time for questions. As we dive deeper into the semester we want our members to know that we are here with them, and these tools are intended to make their lives easier. After all, we want our members to succeed in wherever their respective paths takes them.
The notion that psychological methods are brought forth as a result of empirical research is commonplace, though knowing where, when, and how to get started is something that weighs on the minds of all budding psychologists. We began this week's meeting with some background information on the importance of psychological research and its methodology, followed by links to on campus programs that serve to bolster the research foundation of those interested. We consistently encourage our members to get their feet wet as soon as possible, as conducting research is an ongoing learning process; As such, our executive board shared their experiences in becoming involved with faculty research. It's important to understand that while inquiries on research should be done in a respectful manner, everyone's start in research is not identical. We felt that sharing example emails between faculty and our executive board student researchers would be an effective way to model the inquiry process, while highlighting the respective nuance. Keeping in mind that not everyone is interested in conducting research, our treasurer Nicole Ibarra spoke on her trajectory and made it clear that; the research route is by no means the sole route to success within psychology. Lastly, vice president Daniela Navarro finished the meeting by going over some dos and don'ts when emailing faculty and requesting letters of recommendation. Making the decision to commit to undergraduate research can be daunting going in alone. We hoped to make the process as clear as possible in presenting the various research opportunities at Cal Poly Pomona, while stressing the process as an option as opposed to an imperative. We maintain that research is essential for the continuation of psychological practice, but it's not for everyone and that is ok!