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TIP-TOPics for Students 

Kim Hoffman
Tom King
University of South Florida

Well friends, this is our last segment of TIP-TOPics. Unfortunately, our time has expired and we have to relinquish this honorable post to one (or more) of our brethren. But of course, we have no regrets; writing this column and interacting with the folks at SIOP and the TIP editorial board (particularly Allan Church, outgoing TIP Editor, who has done a fabulous job) has been a great pleasure for us and one which will make us nostalgic for the good ole days, down the road. The most appealing aspect of this endeavor has been communicating with each of you (even if only through written words) and having the opportunity to meet and interact with many of you via e-mail or at the conferences. We do look forward, however, to the next (set of) columnist(s), who will be announced at the SIOP Conference in San Diego.

For our grand finale we spared no effort in bringing you more insightful reflections, rantings, and musings. Meeting of the Minds: Scientist and Practitioner focuses on the joy of teaching and how the skills you develop in leading the classroom carryover to academic and applied career paths. In Making the Right Connections, we make the observation that grad students sometimes do not develop all of the possible connectionsnamely other graduate students, in I-O or even in OB, HR, marketing, and so forth. Why not try to expand your network with your peers, who are going through the same trials and tribulations that you are, at this very moment. It may seem as though the opportunity just isnt therebut waitwe have a solution. Attend the annual IO-OB Graduate Student Conference, which is planned (and hosted) for students by students! And since the 2002 IO-OB Conference will be right here in tropical Tampa, Florida (University of South Florida), we want to personally invite all of you to come visit us. In TIPs for Balancing Life and Graduate School, we have provided some practical information about every grad students worst fearfinances and managing your loans, that you may not have thought about yet or even known. This is followed by our greatest TIPsa compilation of all the tips in this segment that have come before.

This is Kim and Tom signing off. Thanks for the memoriesand dont forget to find us at the Conference! 

Meeting of the Minds: Scientist and Practitioner
The Joy of Teaching 

At some point during our graduate school experience, most of us are asked to stand up in front of a wide-eyed, eager-to-learn undergraduate audience, capture their attention, challenge their intellect, and teach them something. What? you ask, How am I supposed to teach somebody something when I know so little myself? Don't worry (though we all do)teaching can be one of, if not the most, rewarding experiences you have in graduate school, regardless of your career path! This segment will give you some tips in helping you to prepare or hone your teaching style, as well as provide some pragmatic reasons for taking the opportunity to teach as often as you can.

Okay, so youve just received word that youll be teaching a/another class or lab. At first, you are nervous on many different levels, and rightly sothe job of teaching someone else is, after all, a huge responsibility. Your first reaction may be that youre not qualified; you know hardly anything of the subject matter, so how can you be expected to teach it? Again, dont worry; your job is not to be an expert and to then get your students to be (that is the goal of graduate school), it is to get them to thinkto open their minds to alternate ways of viewing their world. Indeed, if you remember and adhere to this following quote from Einstein, we will guarantee that you will already be well on your way to becoming an effective teacher.

A reporter once asked Einstein what the speed of sound was. Einstein replied, I dont know. I dont carry information in my mind that is readily available in books a person does not need to go to college to learn facts. He can learn them from books. The value of a liberal arts college education is that it trains the mind to thinkimagination is more important than knowledge. Einsteins genius extended well beyond science and mathematics.

With this principle in mind, you must first, before even considering the subject matter, sit down and think of the type of teacher you want to be. Believe it or not, you are an expertyou have been a student now for what seems like decades, so who knows better than you as to what works in the classroom. Sit and think of your best and worst teachers, then incorporate elements from the best, and be sure to steer clear of the habits and styles of the worst. It will be the experience, much more than the content, which your students will take away from your class. So be the teacher you always wanted others to be. You'll be amazed at the response (and gratitude) from your students.

You now know that your job is to teach your students to think and not to simply regurgitate information to them from a textbook. Ready to tackle the content, right? Not so fast, there is one key step before considering the what you are going to teach question. You must first, before going any further, find your passion. Do whatever you need to do to get itbuy it from a store, look for it in the stacks, or download it from the Internetjust get itas passion is the one thing that all great teachers have. Even if you are not passionate about the material, you can be passionate about the teaching experience. This is an opportunity to make a real difference in someones education! Yes, you can be the one that students talk about to their friends, or even the one that they talk about in retrospect; I remember taking such-and-such with so-and-so back in collegethat was the best teacher I ever hadhe/she really changed my life. Think back on all of your teachers; there are probably one or two that really stand out and got you excited about learning. So find your passion, so that you can be that special teacher to someone else.

Okay, you now understand your mission; you have found your passion and inspiration to teach, now it is time to get into content. First step, go to those who have taught the class before, and get all the helpful hints that you can (e.g., topics that students found particularly interesting). These faculty or fellow student teachers can be an invaluable resource; however, you must remember that this is going to be your class, not someone elses, so avoid taking other instructors materials (textbooks, overheads, etc.) and using them as your own. Doing so will surely make for a forgetful experience for both you and your students. Once you have talked to other instructors, do your own research. Find whats interesting to you about the subject matter, and focus on that. Also, find a book (It need not be a textbook, how many of your undergraduate textbooks did you actually read?) that is both a good read and cutting edge in some respect. With enough hunting, you should be able to find one (often much cheaper than textbooks, which your students will thank you for) that not only contains solid content, but will also capture your students attention and challenge their intellect. Believe us, the extra time spent in finding an alternative to the standard dry textbook will be well worth the effort, and it will help ensure that your class is a success.

Now its time to prepare to teach. You may be a little nervous, though not nearly as nervous as you would have been had you not been fully prepared. In fact, you will find yourself excited and chomping at the bit to start the semester. This will be, after all, just as great an experience for you as it will be for your students! Design your class in such a way that it reflects your passion about teaching. There may be lecturing involved, but try to incorporate different activities into the class session. Shake things up a bit! Many instructors avoid group activities because they think students dont like itwrong! Students enjoy group work when they enjoy the class and when there is an atmosphere that is conducive to learning. Also, dont be afraid to stray from the topic at hand, some of the best discussions are tangential ones. Simply put, take some chances in your teaching; some of your ideas may not pan out, but your students will appreciate the effort.

For those of you going the academic route, developing your teaching skills and style is a must-do. Though we personally feel that most schools undervalue the importance of teaching ability in assessing faculty performance (its publish or perish, not teach well or perish), your future students will appreciate your teaching, even if your boss doesnt. One other practical matter for future academics: Start to prepare your teaching portfolio as soon as you are able. This will save you the headache of having to hastily throw one together as you start the job hunt (most schools offer training on building teaching portfolios).

For applied folks, you may think that youre off the hook, but youre not. Aside from the inherent rewards that come from doing something well, by teaching you will also gain invaluable experience in honing your presentation skills. Sure, we all have class presentations, but how well does that simulate the presenting well be doing once out in the real world? Teaching is dynamic. It forces you to think on your feet, and more importantly, it teaches you how to teach, in that you learn to explain things in such a way that is understandable to nonpsychologists. What better skill is there than that, in this segment preparing ourselves to enter corporate America?

So, whether future academic or practitioner, get up and teach! Take the responsibility of teaching passionately and seriously, but also make sure you have fun with it. Doing so will go a long way in the classroom and will undoubtedly make for a great experience for both you and your students. If you are still hesitant, try it anywayyou may never again get such an opportunity, and better yet, you may just find your new passion! 

Making the Right Connections 

In the past 2 years, we have made a concerted effort to persuade you that networking is a valuable skill to put in your professional tool kit. The skill of meeting and interacting with others who have similar interests is inherently useful and beneficial both as a means to end and a vehicle for advancing individual and group values and interests. While for some, networking has a less than desirable connotation, we argue that its not only an effective way to create opportunities for yourself and your organization, but it helps establish and maintain a professional community. Most professional organizations or societies, such as SIOP, AOM, APA, and APS, embrace this idea and encourage members to network with each other at annual conferences. Of course, there are other reasons to hold conferencesfor example, education, information dissemination, exchange and discussion of ideasbut at the heart of it, the main purpose is to network with other professionals or colleagues in the field, which allows these other activities to take place.

To understand our argument, lets examine what it is to network. The word network is a noun that means, according to Websters, a group of interconnected or cooperating individuals. The action of networking, then, is to build this group of individuals who cooperate with one another and are interconnected in some way. Nothing inherently negative or underhanded there, right? Perhaps a negative connotation is attached to the word as a result of the way in which some people may use networks for their own gain. Or because others may feel slighted when friends, colleagues, or co-workers have opportunities that they do not, as a consequence of who they know. A closer look at the definition though, reveals that a network involves and requires cooperation among individuals, precluding the idea that individuals can continue to exploit them to advance their own agendas to the detriment of all others. While we are not arguing that some less than scrupulous individuals dont abuse their connections and power at times, we feel strongly that networking results in much more positive outcomes than many may realize.

Networks facilitate the dissemination of information, opportunities, and education, because oftentimes information travels faster through informal networks than formal communication channels. Also, we reap the benefits of strength in numbers through a network of people who will fight for the same cause. And staying interconnected with others allows us to expand our capabilities, as individuals, and as a profession. SIOP itself is a formalized network of professionals who interact in order to achieve a shared goal, which cannot be accomplished individually.

Unfortunately, there are no classes in how to establish or build a network of colleagues, and graduate students often are so preoccupied with reading, research, internships, comps, and possibly a personal life, that we may not realize the importance of networking. No doubt, some of you have mastered the connections with your advisor or faculty members, perhaps even with the other graduate students in your program. And, of course, many of us take the opportunity (when fiscally and temporally possible) to try our hand at networking at the SIOP conferences each year. Granted, schmoozing with the names at SIOP (you know, the ones who wrote all those articles you read for your research and classes) is a golden opportunity that you shouldnt miss but that leaves much fertile ground unsowed.

Look around you. Opportunities are throwing themselves at you; you just have to learn to recognize them. We are talking about the people in your program and colleagues at your internships (even those not in I-O) and peers at other programs in I-O, OD, MBA, HR, OB, and other related fields throughout the country. These are the people who will be shaping the field and influencing you (and vice versa) for the next 30 to 50 years. And these are the folks who, for the most part, have the same goals that you do in advancing our profession so that we can improve the organizations and work lives of millions of people. Why not make an effort to get to know them right now too, even though none of us have namesYET!

Of course, this is one of the main reasons that we have advocated a student network in SIOP (see January TIP issue for the response to our proposal), but we want to emphasize another, already established, means to network with your peers the IO-OB Graduate Student Conference.

IO-OB Graduate Student Conference. A brief historythe conference was the brainchild of Milt Hakel, who was a faculty member at The Ohio State University. In 1980, the psychology and business departments cooperated to sponsor a conference for graduate students by graduate students. Ever since, it has been considered a privilege to host the conference, and each year a host is chosen through a proposal submitted to previous hosts. Kudos to Penn State, who just hosted the 2001 IO-OB Conference in March and to all of the previous hosts for all of your efforts to build a community of graduate students. Typically, graduate students are invited to make presentations to peers (only students are allowed to observe student presentations), so they can develop presentation skills and gather constructive criticism on their work, in a less intimidating atmosphere than may be found at SIOP or AOM. Often, speakers who are already established in the field, (i.e., Wally Borman, Frank Landy, Wayne Cascio, Bruce Avolio, Anne Marie Ryan, and a variety of others) are invited to give keynote addresses and lead workshops.

Ready? Heres the opportunity! Each year, graduate students put on their best garb and head to SIOP to rub elbows with those who have left a mark on our field. Great idea, but we are often so busy attending workshops, presenting posters, interviewing, or positioning ourselves for the chance to talk to the big names, that we can miss many opportunities to talk to each other. The solution: schmooze (and be schmoozed as, and by,) tomorrows stars at the IO-OB conference. What a phenomenal opportunity to relax a little and talk to your peers who may be interested in the same topics as you or can give you an inside scoop on the best internship opportunity. You can have fun exchanging stories and commiserating or getting some advice on how to improve your research. Hey, its easier to make friends and connections nowthen you can say I knew him/her when and gather bribe material for the next 25 years (ha, ha). And dont overlook the merit of finding a colleague who becomes a valued business partner or collaborator or even a treasured friend. We already have the opportunity, at least, to meet the established names, at SIOP; why not take advantage of the opportunity to meet each other, now, instead of waiting 10 to 15 years before we are established?

Do you know what else is advantageous about attending an IO-OB Conference? The conference is designed, developed, and hosted FOR students BY students. SIOP provides many opportunities for graduate students, but it is not centered on the issues, concerns, and ideas of graduate studentsthe SIOP Conference serves a much broader population. But IO-OB focuses exclusively on the needs, desires, ideas, and input of graduate students because those planning it are grad students. Offerings may include workshops and panel discussions on internship opportunities and management, business etiquette, transition from student to professional life, time and stress management, as well as exploration of research topics, trends in the workplace, and student presentations of research. And speakers have addressed a range of topics including HR management, performance appraisal, effects of technology in the workplace, and the challenges facing I-O/OB in the next decade. Of course, IO-OB conferences typically offer social opportunities and entertainmentso you have the chance to relax, let your hair down and remember what FUN is; all work and no play made the grad student a less-than-well-rounded person. You dont want that, do you?

2002 IO-OB Graduate Student Conference. Where and when is the next conference, you ask? It just so happens that the University of South Florida has the honor of hosting the 2002 IO-OB Graduate Student Conference in sunny Tampa, Florida, March 1--3, 2002 (just in time for spring break for many of you). Youll be missing the graduate student event of the year if you dont comeand think of all those connections that will be lost and all the stories youll be left out of! We want to make this YOUR conference, which means we want to know what it will take to get you to Tampa for the weekend OR maybe youll decide to take your vacation at the beach for a few days before, warm up, and work on your tan! Who says you cant combine business and pleasure!

Well be soliciting ideas from you via e-mail, e-mail lists, and any other way we can find you so mark your calendars. If you want more information, please contact Kim Hoffman or Tom King at (ioob2002@yahoo.com). Looking forward to meeting you! 

TIPs for Balancing Life and Graduate School
From Rags to Riches 

We know the storywe live it, remember? Grad students (according to us anyway) are the poorest lot of them all, scraping by from paycheck to paycheck on our paltry stipends, often not knowing where well sleep that night or where the next meal is coming from. Oh, the humanity! Ok, so we got a little carried away, but the issue of money (or lack thereof) is a very real concern for most students and can add undue stress on our already stress-laden lives.

Live within your means. Most full-time students live below poverty level. What is interesting about our situation, however, is that most of us will instantaneously jump a couple tax brackets when taking a job upon completion of our degrees. (Ever wonder why those post-masters folks on internships never return to complete the PhD?) Our time in graduate school then becomes a great opportunity to live within our means (Hows that for spin?). Be careful not to get yourself into too much credit card or high interest debt (student loans are generally considered good debt) as this will leave you unwittingly fretting over bills rather than your schoolwork.

Start to save. Save? Save what? you ask incredulously. As ridiculous as it sounds, it is possible for you to save, at least something, every month. It is not the amount that matters, it is the practice of saving itself. We are psychologists (remember?), so we know that engaging in repeated behavior over time causes it to become routine. So start saving a small amount every month. Youll be amazed at how good it makes you feel (some mutual fund companies allow regular monthly contributions of as little as $50, such as T. Rowe Price, Strong, and Invesco).

Tax tips. We are amazed at how few students are aware of some of the tax advantages available to them. For instance, most of us are eligible for the lifetime learning credit, which is a pro-rated credit of up to $1,000 dollars that directly reduces our tax bill. Also, another little-known factall interest paid on student loans for the first 5 years you are paying them back is tax deductibleso make plans to pay them off accordingly!

Most students that are forced to leave graduate school early do so because of money. Dont let this be you! Take the time now to learn about money and personal finance. This will not only create a better and happier situation for you now but will also prepare you for the near future when you will be making the big bucks. And even if there are moths flying out of your purse, dont let it affect your personal/school life. Its just money, right? Be appreciative for the nontangibles in your life, as those are the things that will best help you strike the balance we are all looking for. If that fails, consider this: Think of all those who havent even the possibility of being in the position were in. We are luckier than we often recognize. 

Tying It All TogetherA Trip Down Balancing Lane 

In writing this piece, we have learned that balance is enormously difficult to achieve, especially consistently. Instead, it is an elusive goal that most of us will constantly be striving to attain. And of course, it is a challenge that is worthy of our efforts in all aspects of our lives. Balance is not an end-state but rather a mindset or attitude that will help you maintain perspective. With this goal-driven audience its easy to get lost in the minutiae and forget to appreciate the big picture. Maintaining perspective is the major theme that has emerged in all of our segments concerning balance. And just so we leave you with a balanced perspective, here are some of the ways you can gain perspective, which will in turn allow you to achieve some balance. With no further adieu, our greatest TIPs are:

All work and no play Yeah, you get the idea, so go ahead and take a break. Actually, go further than that. Set aside time to allow yourself to have fun and forbid your mind and mouth from spewing any jargon or empirical data. A road trip, perhaps, to who knows where, might do the trick. Set your sights on doing something spontaneous and experience a new city, state, sights, smells, or adventures. Better still, take along friends who are not psychology types and who stare blankly when you say SIOP or test validation. Or if a road trip is out of the question, just spend some time shopping, watching sports or TV, drinking coffee, or going to the movies with those nonpsychology friends of yours. They will keep you grounded and show you that I-O is just one part of your life. And hey, you cant study all the time. In fact, we just learned that even experts could only maintain deliberate, concentrated practice in their area for a maximum of 4 hours a day; hows that for empirical data supporting break time! Besides, we all know that distributed practice is more effective than massed for retention. Put your books down during your hours-long reading sessions from time to time, and give your brain an opportunity to process and absorb what youve inputted. And finally, in maintaining your perspective, remember one of the major tenets of psychologyindividual differences. Every grad students has his or her own unique circumstances, intentions, motivations, and goals. So dont even try to keep up with the Joneses; grad school is not one-size-fits-all (i.e., no standard measurement unit). Forget what the Joneses are doing and customize your own path. Only you know what your limitations and priorities are. Let those drive your choices and dont feel guilty about it!

Those are all of our TIPs for balancing life and graduate school. We hope they have helped some of you. And dont worry if you havent mastered the balancing thing yet; none of us really have, but well all keep on trying. To contact the TIP-TOPics columnists: Kim Hoffman (khoffma2@luna.cas.usf.edu) or Tom King (TkingV@cs.com), or by fax: (813) 974-4617. Mail: 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Department of Psychology, BEH 339, Tampa, FL 33620-8200.


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