Succeeding in Graduate School: The Career Guide for Psychology Students

By Steven Walfish; Allen K. Hess | Go to book overview

4
Choosing the PhD
Arthur N. Wiens
Carolen A. Hope

This chapter was written on the eve of a new millennium, and it is almost inescapable that we would want to look back at least to the last 50 or 100 of the past thousand years and anticipate what lies ahead. The first author has been “in psychology” for the past 50 years; the second is starting her professional career in psychology in the year 2000. Our perspectives on time and psychology are different. Looking back 50 years, it is clear that the clinical psychology of 2000 is not the same as the clinical psychology of 1950: “All life is change. ” Personally, we are reminded that the passage of time is inexorable and that the changes that come with such passage cannot be turned back. Professionally, we note that the activities of psychologists have changed markedly over the past 50 years. Change may be accelerating with technological advances and the globalization of psychology and all of society. Although students nowapplying for graduate study in psychology may find it hard to realize, the field of psychology will change during their graduate study and will continue to change during their careers as psychologists.

We believe that every psychologist has a fascinating story to tell about how his or her career in psychology evolved over time. Educators in our psychology graduate programs should let students know that career shifts are the norm for psychologists across a professional lifetime, and should help them develop basic knowledge and generic skills that will help them make such shifts. For a student to think after graduation about the first job is too short a time perspective. Examination of the curricula vitae of most career psychologists provide ample evidence of multiple shifts in career focus. The following vignette is written in the first person because it is a personal history of the first author's own career evolution.

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