Mark Your Calendar - Upcoming Event!!!

The UN Advising Office is offering Walk-ins in the afternoon: Monday - Friday from 1 PM - 3 PM, in room 100 PSY Building.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Survival skills to help you survive and thrive

The Holiday season is already upon us.  The semester is about to end and a new year will soon begin.  For many of us this time of year brings laughter, joy, trepidation and also stress.

While in school and also dealing with life’s stressors: work, anxiety, depression, abuse, addiction, financial problems, family discord, etc…  The list can be long for some, but it all equates to how do you function and maintain balance and sanity. 

How do you deal with life's stressors while trying to maintain a good academic record?  Some are able to deal with just 4-5 hours of sleep, piles of homework, and also work a part-time job.  If you are not superman or wonder-woman, (which most of us fall short of) then you may struggle with this load.  Consider the following:
1.      Seek professional help.  It is okay to do so.  Many in our society consider this type of help unnecessary.  However, they are not in your shoes and do not know your reality.  Our institution offers help for students and current employees, use it.  The MSU counseling center offers a range of services and referrals.  Also if you are covered through a guardian/parent health care (MSU HR), you may have access to mental health coverage.  Knowing when to seek help and support is important.
2.      Have an outlet where you can escape: physical exercise: yoga, running, boxing, go to a movie, knit, etc...
3.      Have a support/network system that can stand by you when needed.  It may be a religious experience, retreat, or organization. 

Whatever it may be for you, it is something that you should establish before the struggle begins.  It is a "human" process and, what really matters, is the ability to cope and come out on top.

Have a safe and happy Holiday Season!!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Midterms are Here!!

It has been so busy, that time seems to have flown by.  The middle of the semester is upon us and we are barreling headlong for the holiday season.  I hate to put the breaks on, but some of us may need more time and are not quite ready for a thanksgiving feast or the holiday shopping frenzy.  Reality is here, right in front of us, staring right back at us: midterms!

This term evokes a variety of different emotions.  According to the dictionary, it has several meanings: a) the middle or halfway point in a school or office term. b) an examination or series of examinations at the middle of a term.

If we are talking about Capitol Hill - Ugh!, Then we think of gridlock, furlough, nastiness, un-compromising, and just plain stuck!!  It is a good thing college midterms do not conjure the same emotions. (If they do, the Counseling Center is a good place to visit. No Kidding, Seriously!!)

With school midterms, come the pressure of wanting to do well and establishing yourself for the semester. Some steps to help you along the way are: study time & study skills.
Study Time:
Make every effort to spend quality time in your studies.  Not just 1 hour, but 3-4 hours of in-depth review and  close examination of the subject matter.  It does pay off.  If you are a full time student with a minimum of 12 credits per semester, you should spend approximately 24 hours per week of study outside of the classroom.  Honestly, not too many students devote this generous amount to their studies.
Study Skills:
Another problem that may arise is difficulty in time management, or how to best study (approach the materials) for the Intro to chemistry, Intro to writing, etc...  Most of these courses would suggest and recommend different approaches to learn this information. Our institution has several resources that can help you before the exams.  Take the time to visit and utilize them: The learning resource center, The math help room, The writing center, and also let's not forget professor's office hours (check course syllabus for time and location).  Be well prepared, and give it your best.

If you don't do as well as you hoped, analyze what may have gone wrong.  You can change the outcome for the future: get additional help from your classmates and professors, contact the learning resource center specialists, and start studying and planning earlier. The responsibility is on you.  Good luck, hang in there!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Undergraduate Competencies

There has been lots of talk in the national news recently about choosing a major.  Some of these discussions range from: career paths taken by students, satisfaction in their career, cost of major vs. salary after graduation, popular majors, (Of course, we all know the answer: PSYCHOLOGY!!), male vs. female dominated fields, etc…  (I digress, back to our scheduled topic)  What are some competencies that all students need regardless of your major?

Many PSY students start out with the premise that they are studying to become a clinical psychologist.  With this assumption, the next logical path is attending graduate school.  However, research has shown us that only 4-6% of graduating psychology students continue and enter a graduate program in psychology.  Of course, many choose to pursue other graduate degrees: MA, MSW, MBA, JD, etc…  However, these numbers still remain somewhat small.  These facts are not to discourage, but rather to inform you of the reality of your chosen academic path. 

The question then becomes what happened to the majority of these graduating psychology students.  (I am so glad you asked.)    Many graduating seniors don’t have much of a choice.  With the reality of the final cost of an undergraduate degree (bill statement in black & white), most students will need to be gainfully employed and start paying off these student loans.  Others may be unsure about where their interests lie, want to take some time off, or are not interested in a post-graduate education.  Whatever the reasons may be, looking for a job is the next step. 

There are certain competencies that are essential whether you are applying for a graduate program or a job.  These are some ideas for consideration:

What you can do in psychology is determined not just by completing a PSY degree but also by the following:
KSAO – knowledge, skills, abilities, & other characteristics.  Many companies are looking for students to have gained some major competencies while completing their undergraduate degree.
  • Academic skills – you can show academic excellence through your major courses as well as other areas.  You have excelled academically in all types of courses.  Varied academic background in courses such as; logic & reasoning, language, physiology, culture, etc….
  • Technical skills – the ability to use all Microsoft Office programs installed on your computer. (If you can not name them, then you have a problem.)   Proficient with using various technological and social media tools (professional not just personal usage) to get the work done: email, presentation, data-excel, etc…
  • Communication – effectively communicate verbally and in written formats.  Know and understand how to write in full sentences.  Learn and express yourself using the proper grammar and the correct syntax.
  • Problem solving skills – Demonstrate the ability to learn new tasks and to expand on knowledge given and received.  Working independently to research and solve problems that consistently arise. 

Who you know – networking
Networking is essential in making connections to different people and opportunities.  Networking is found to be the #1 source of finding a good job.  It is also the top source for job leads.  A person’s network can include but is not limited to friends, family, co-workers, professors, internship supervisors, etc…

What you are passionate about
Research and have a deeper understanding of what and why you want to pursue a particular field of study, or career.  Most employers are not looking for an emotional response on: “how or what you feel”.  This verbalization should be very factual and informative.

Professionalism – Show that you can function in a “work” setting.  What does this mean?  Punctuality - be on time, dependability, flexibility, self management, attention to detail, etc….  Your attitude and behavior indicate your aptitude to work in a diverse environment and group.  Body language can say much about what we do not say aloud….  As a soon to be graduate, think of the organizations that you are involved in.  Leadership roles are excellent ways to exhibit many of the above competencies.  Also do not forget to join professional associations and attend local or regional conferences.  These opportunities allow you to interact with experts in the field.
Stay tuned, maybe next time we will tackle, what you should know and do when opportunities come your way.


KSAOs as well as most of the above subject areas are covered in many HR books such as:
Your Career: How to Make it Happen. Lauri Harwood
Staffing Organizations, 7th edition.  Heneman, H. G. III, Judge, T.A., & Kammeyer-Mueller, J.D. (2012). 
Graduate Statistics from: American Psychological Association website.

Graduate School Preparation

We have 2 excellent events coming up.  Hope many will attend.  Don't miss out on these 2 opportunities.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fall 2013 Seminars & Events

We have scheduled some events that we have found very beneficial.  Please take a look and attend as many as you can.

Monday, September 9, 2013

On your mark, get set, GO….

Yes, summer seems to have flown by and a new academic year has begun.  Where did the time go? That is the way of college life: fast and furious (oops, that is also the title of a summer blockbuster with Van Diesel & Tyrese). Unfortunately there will be no high flying cars and actions in your class, but I can’t guarantee zero drama!!  So, let’s begin this semester on some good, solid academic footing. Setting goals are necessary for success.  One must set goals, priorities, and accountability.  While setting goals, it is important they are achievable, realistic, clear and specific.  

Setting Goals:
Goals do not consist of a laundry list of “ALL” the things that you would like to get done, just a few key desired outcomes.  These are accomplishments that you want to achieve in a 3-6 month time period.  In most cases, it is establishing 4-5 goals per semester.  As you set the goals, you need to understand what and why?
Some recommendations would be:
      Build relationships with faculty
Develop and improve skills such as communication, presentation, active listening
Take ownership of your education
Achieve/maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA for the semester
Plan and attend 2-3 activities such as: fairs, workshops, seminars, study groups, etc...
Get involved with one campus or community group
Gain experience through volunteering, research, or a job, internships

The Proverbs say: without a vision, the people perish. Write down your goal/vision for the semester. Once you have set these goals, then steps can be established to accomplish them.  Planning steps wisely and establishing a time-frame will help keep you focused and on track.  Create a list of activities that will support the achievement for each goal.  Again, start small.   Since many of these goals are written down, it will be easier to keep track of them.  They become more attainable, and you grow as you achieve these set goals.  Also, you can plan accordingly on how to reach these written goals.

Setting Priorities:
In my life, sometimes it feels like everything is important and should be done “right now”.  (Again, our fast, quick and in a hurry mentality in our society.) In fact, it is not necessarily so.  Take a step back and prioritize.  In prioritizing goals, you are setting up an order of importance.  What is the most pressing activity that will yield the most benefit?  In classifying your goals, you can establish specific activities that will help you reach these goals.  Once that is established, then you can move forward and act accordingly. 
For example, if one goal is to: “achieve & maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA”, then these are some activities you may engage in:
Check your schedule & make sure you are in the right classes
Do a complete review of all your course syllabi 
Become familiar and write in your planner important due dates for exams and projects. 
Set up "regular" study time throughout the week.  Make it a daily occurrence.
Attend office hours/ speak with class instructor once a month for each enrolled class.

Many of us have a fear of accountability when it comes to our own self. According to the dictionary, it means simply to be responsible to yourself for your own actions.  Yes, we can set goals and prioritize, but we lack accountability.  What does that mean personally?  It is to track and monitor your own progress.  It is making sure that you hold your own self responsible for what you have set out to do.  Are you completing the tasks/activities that you have set to achieve a positive outcome?  These are your academics and your education.  As a college student, you are in the driver’s seat and will determine the outcome of your education.

Why go through all of these gyrations? As you work toward a goal it can provide you with challenges and motivation to do better.  Ultimately it will impact your attitude, behavior and performance.

There are tons of theories on goal setting and the impact on the individual and organization.  One of the most popular is SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, result-focus/relevant, and time-bound.  You should check the many websites to learn about SMART.  Believe it or not, there are tons of research, Youtube videos, and an APP for that too.  Get SMART!!

References & links:
Weblinks to goal setting theory:

Setting Personal Goals:

Goal setting & goal orientation:

Youtube videos
Goal setting:

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Welcome Back!!!

Summer is over and a new academic year is upon us.  It is time to dust off the notebooks, textbooks thrown in the corner of the desk, as well as the cobwebs that have covered and fogged our minds since early May.  Time to put on the thinking caps, and get back into the swing of school.  Before you do so, keep these things in mind:

Just a few notes on the Psychology major at Michigan State University.  We are the biggest major at MSU, with close to 1700 students.  Our students are diverse in their field of study, career path, and experience.  No two students are the same.  The onus is on the student to actively engage in their learning.  You can do so in a variety of ways that can prove very beneficial at the end of the semester and your academic career:

  1. Make a concerted effort to learn and know the names of all your professors.  Visit office hours to discuss class assignments, projects and just get some insights on a particular career.
  2. Getinvolved through research, volunteering, internships, student groups, etc…
  3. Spend time outside of class reading and studying for your class.  Keep in mind that with a 12 credit load, you must spend 36 hours in preparation and studies (no kidding). Otherwise, you are a full time student but only applying yourself part time.
  4. Meet with your academic advisor: With the first week of class starting, the Undergraduate Psychology Advising Office is swamped.  We have lots of students coming through the office during walk-in hours to check on fall schedules, graduation, getting forms signed, etc… It is important that you keep this meeting brief.  We would like to see as many students as possible. Check the appointment system to schedule an appointment soon for more detailed advising.
  5. Read University and Department communications.  Students miss out on important information about events, scholarships, and upcoming meetings because they do not check their University emails. Your MSU email is the official communication mechanism and must be utilized. We use this system to send out the PSY monthly newsletter, appointment updates, etc…  Check your email!!!
Our websites also have tons of valuable information about upcoming events, degree requirements, faculty, etc…  Take time to visit the Undergraduate webpage and learn more about your major and department.

We are trying to stay current with new technology.  So, check our weekly blog on the ins and outs of psychology. If you are interested in submitting a piece to be posted, contact me.  I would love to expand what we do.

On that note, I will leave you ‘til next week….

Monday, April 8, 2013

Alumni Panel

We hope many of you will join us!!

The Department of Psychology Presents…
Psychology Alumni Panel
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
4:30 – 5:45 PM
118 Psychology Building

See the attached flyer for Speakers Bio....

Monday, March 4, 2013

Spring Break Anyone...

Many college and university campuses are or will soon experience this phenomenon called “Spring Break”.  We ask ourselves what is this all about and what is it?  Spring break comes every year during the month of March or April.  It is a one week period during the semester (about 8 weeks after the semester begins) that students are given time to engage in fun, revelry, service, contemplation, work, etc…  During this period of spring break, I am contemplating several things: weather, purpose, & summer.

Let’s begin with the weather.  In the Midwest and Northeast, spring does not arrive early! So, spring break evokes sunny and long beautiful days, flowers blooming and a peek at warmer weather.  In Michigan, as I sit to write this blog, the weather is about 25 degrees F, overcast and dreary.  The weatherman did not forecast any temperature above 30 degrees in the upcoming week in Michigan.  My spring break will consist of warming the car in the morning, checking for ice on the road, and wearing my coat!  However, a new industry has evolved where some students, staff and faculty will enjoy themselves on the sunny beaches of Florida, Mexico or even the Caribbean.  For those of us still in the tundra, we will enjoy a balmy 35 degrees (maybe).

This brings me to my next thought: why have a spring break?  I know, I will have lots of haters and interlopers but what is the purpose of this week?  Many students see this break as a time to get together with like minded peers to enjoy a week free of assignments and responsibilities.  It is a sort of escapism. This week has become so commercialized and costly: flights, hotels, party, tanning, drinking…  Remember, in the age of technology: “what goes on in Vegas, Does NOT stay in Vegas”.   If you are one of the many that will travel outside of the US, the U.S. Department of State has established and maintained communication for traveling outside of the USA:
Some will take this time to engage in service to their communities for a good cause.  To have an opportunity to give fully of yourself to an experience can be difficult but very rewarding.  The result is intense, exhausting, and life changing.  At times your contribution is apparent before departure.  You can see engaged students and sites at:

All of these “good” deeds should make one think and reflect on life goals, and next steps.  Many are also engaged at this time in self-assessment and self-improvement.  I can concur at this age, self assessment and thinking about “next steps” can be problematic and downright ugly; but must be done.  Thinking about the “big picture” and this thing called “life” is invigorating and can renew a drive to reach set goals.  (Keep in mind: that in order to reach a goal, you must first write it down… That’s another story).

Some are just working to make ends meet.  If that is the case, self evaluation and assessment is needed.  Is work an obstruction or hindering your progress?  How will you overcome this challenge?  Deep thinking and unfettered resolve through it all.  True spring is around the corner.

Spring break makes me think of summer.  I understand that it is several months away, but planning starts now.  In an academic setting, we are always operating a semester/season ahead.  My mind is geared toward summer classes, Orientation, and possibly a “true” break.   So, spring break is evaluation, revision and planning time.

So, where does that leave us: student, staff and faculty still on campus?  Well, I’ll tell you: research, degree certification, emails, class preparation, end of the year programming, and so on….  It is just another week with little (I hope) interruptions and no meetings. J

No matter which you choose/have to do; be safe, have fun and have lots of stories to tell. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Clinical PSY Panel Event

The Department of Psychology
You want to be a Clinical Psychologist?

Date:         Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Time:         4:30 PM—6:00 PM
Location: Room 118 Psychology Building

Speakers Bio:
Natalie Moser, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist who received her doctorate degree in clinical psychology from the University of Delaware. Currently, she provides psychological services to children and adolescents in a private-practice setting and also holds a fixed term appointment as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at MSU. In this capacity, she teaches undergraduate courses and supervises clinical psychology graduate students. 

Jessica Suisman, MA, is a 5th year graduate student in the clinical psychology program at MSU.  Before attending graduate school, she received her bachelor's degree in psychology from MSU. Jessica's research examines genetic and environmental influences on psychopathology using twin study designs.  She also has experience working directly with clients and teaching undergraduate courses.

Caitlin Listro, B.A., is a 2nd year graduate student in the clinical psychology program at MSU.  Before attending graduate school, she received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Notre Dame.  Her research investigates genetic and environmental influences on the development of aggression.  She is in her first year of working with clients.  

Kelly Klump, Ph.D. is a professor in the clinical psychology department at MSU.  Her research specialty is the genetic and neurobiological risk factors for eating disorders. Her clinical expertise is cognitive behavioral treatment of a range of disorders including eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders.

Topics for Discussion:
· What is Clinical Psychology?
· Differences between Counseling & Clinical Psychology
· Degrees: PhD or PsyD
· Research, Teaching and Therapy
· Graduate School Preparation
· Graduate School Process
· Advice to Students
· Career Paths
· And MORE….

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Research shows that students who are actively engaged are generally more successful academically.  Whomp, whomp, whomp,....
I know you probably tuned out, after the 1st sentence.  But let's assume the above premise, in fact is accurate. What does it mean for you? Get involved in your community: religious organization, fraternity/sorority, service and honor organizations, anything that you can do.  Get off your rusty duff and experience what is out there.  Stop complaining about what can't be done, and instead focus on what you can contribute.
Find your passion and start from there.  Not everyone is able and should work with kids or... (Add your comment).  Take the road less traveled and find where you fit in.  For example, a research lab to experience testing and running subjects.  Or enjoy work with kids to test your patience, sense of humor and your immune system.
With the PSY service & intern fair around the corner, take this time to explore something new, something different.  The Fair is this Thursday, February 7, 2013 from 1:00 – 4:00 PM, first floor Psychology building.  Hope to see as many of you there!!

List of Organizations attending the fair:

  • Adolescent Diversion Project

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters

  • Capital City Area Job Bank

  • College of Social Science Internship

  • College of Social Science Careers

  • Department of Human Services

  • Eve, Inc.

  • Gateway Services

  • Hannah's House

  • Ingham Academy

  • Ingham County Circuit Court

  • Insight Recovery Center

  • Lansing Area Aids Network

  • LAP Respite Center

  • MSU College Advising Corps

  • MSU Safe Place

  • MSU Study Away Program

  • Northside

  • Peace Corps at MSU

  • Project R

  • St. Vincent, H.R.

  • St. Vincent - HR

  • School Human Resources & Labor Relations

  • SIREN/Eaton Shelter

  • South Lansing Community Development

  • Starr Commonwealth

  • Teach for America

  • Wellness Center - Substance Abuse

Dressing for the Fair:
It is important that you dress appropriately.  Every detail counts.
Business Casual –Snappy -  NOT sloppy!
Men: Coordinated separates/no tie is required
Women: Coordinated separates
Shoes are important
No tennis shoes
No open-toe shoes
Be well groomed.  Subtle accessories/ make-up.  No cologne or perfume.
Brush teeth
Clean under nails
No chipped or loud polish
Hair should compliment not distract
Just some tips to make a good impression.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Upcoming PSY Service & Intern Fair

It is not too early to start planning for summer!!  The Psychology Undergraduate Office has organized and will host the annual Service and Intern Fair next week.

What:  Service & Intern Fair
When:  Thursday, February 7, 2013
Time:  1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Where: 1st Floor Psychology Building

The agencies will have their tables located on the 1st floor.  Completed list of committed organizations will be sent next week.  Come and browse anytime...

And More ….

Don't miss this once a year event!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Year, (k) new you?

It's already week two of classes and you are getting the hang of it. I hope!  Isn’t there a saying that “time flies when you are having fun”.  Let’s hope it is the case for many of you.

This new semester brings along a new routine in classes, work, volunteering, and fun times to adjust to.  Let us not forget a new set of faculty, expectations, and the different styles of teaching.  Most importantly, an introduction to new or more in depth course materials: some interesting and some just plain difficult to get through the 1st paragraph.   You would think that you are in a beginner's Latin class, but your schedule and textbook says PSY 101 - Introduction to Psychology. 

These changes give you an opportunity to evaluate and better understand your strengths and weaknesses.  We all have some.  Some of us are great writers, researchers, public speakers, shmoozers, etc…  Although we only want to highlight our strengths, acknowledging and working on our areas of weakness is also key. 

MSU offers tons of resources to help in these two areas.   Just in case you don't know, check out the following university resources: (Or the one nearest you!!)

  •              Learning Resources Center: Coordinates tutoring for most introductory as well as upper level courses.  Help with time management, note and test taking, etc, etc…
  •       Writing Center: Most of us need help looking better on paper.  Always have difficulty generating interesting topics? Not sure why and how to use punctuation? Run on thoughts and ideas: One sentence does not make a paragraph.  Help is available.
  •             Math Learning Center: Most will wait until the last minute to tackle the least favorite subject: Don’t. 
  •       Professor’s office hours: Know who they are: Dr. XXX and where you can reach them.  Don’t just go and complain after the test.  Go regularly to discuss a lecture, clarify assignments and create a good impression.  If you are looking for a Psychology professor, we have a list available in room 100 Psychology Building
Utilizing these resources can be beneficial and make the difference between good and great.

While you are looking into University resources, also check our website with information on:
Psychology Monthly Newsletter: January edition
Service & Intern flyer

If all else fails, one additional piece of information to keep in mind is this: dropping with full refund is February 1.
Stay tuned for our next tidbits....

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Commitment not resolution!!

Whenever the New Year begins, I have a tendency to imagine these grandiose plans that I will get accomplished by year end.  Only to have it edited, adjusted, updated and ultimately changed to something totally different or better yet, just put it on a shelf and not accomplishing it at all. 

We are well on our way into 2013 (week 2), a new “New Year”.  With that New Year comes newly improved plans of outlandish activities and miles of “to accomplish” lists.  So, I suggest scaling it down to just two or three goals that are feasible and attainable.

We have tons of advice that we would like to share with our students. The most important one is to start NOW.  Today is the day to start planning your academic as well as future career.  Think about what you will get involved in this semester that will propel you forward on this journey.  So, here are a few of the activities that you should consider attending:

These are only a few experiences that will enrich your time at MSU.  So, look at the list of upcoming activities and events, choose one or two, mark it on your calendar and start the journey!!

Keep us posted on what you have done.  Don’t forget pictures are worth a thousand words….

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hello World

This is our first foray into the blogosphere! I welcome you.. Follow us and you will have a great time.

Meantime visit the MSU Psychology Department.