Attend a workshop, talk or training in an area you want to learn more about.
Sometimes we get so focused on our particular area of interest that we forget there's a whole field of psychology out there. Try attending an event about a topic that you don't know much about just for fun. You can learn something brand new while connecting with people you wouldn't ordinarily cross paths with. You never know what new perspectives or collaborations could come about by expanding your horizons and connecting to new ideas and people.
Attend a conference you weren't planning to attend.
If you've never attended a conference before, now is the time to start. Find something small, so you don't feel overwhelmed and can get a sense of what goes on at a conference. Or, if you simply can't bear to push aside your leisure plans to attend a conference, make it a trip for both work and pleasure. Normally, we travel to a particular location to attend a conference of interest. This time, do the opposite. Pick the location first and see what upcoming conferences will be in that area. If you are short on cash, try asking the conference organizers if they are accepting volunteers in exchange for free conference admission. Most people understand that students might be struggling financially and are usually more than willing to help out.
Apply for an award.
This is a great curriculum vitae (CV) builder, and it gets your name out there for others to see. Part of being a leader means that others recognize you for your hard work and dedication. Winning an award demonstrates to others that not only are you great at what you do, but you're so great that people want to give you special recognition for it. Plus, it just makes us feel good about ourselves to win something.
Nominate someone you know for an award.
While you won't be reaping the benefits as an award winner, nominating a peer or mentor for an award lets them know that you appreciate what they do and you are happy to work alongside them. The person you nominate will be grateful and will likely never forget it. In the future, they might even return the favor by nominating you for an award.
Join a committee.
The great thing about being on a committee is that you make the decisions. The committee collectively decides on projects, how much work everyone is willing to put in, what each person's responsibilities are, and makes its own deadlines. If you have an idea that you're dying to work on, it's a great place to get support in developing and implementing the idea. Many organizations have student committees, and if they don't, try reaching out to ask about starting one. This is also a great CV builder and demonstrates leadership skills.
Join an email list.
I know what you're thinking- I get bombarded with emails already! Why would I want more emails flooding my inbox? I can't say that I read every email sent on email lists I've joined, but I can tell you that I do get valuable information from them. This includes anything from newly released articles to job positions to upcoming workshops to connecting with professionals I otherwise would have never spoken to. It's worth it to join email lists in areas you're interested in, even if you don't end up reading every email.
Interview professionals for Div. 18 Members in Action.
Div. 18 asks volunteers to interview professionals in the field to learn about leadership skills and career paths. These interviews get published on the Div. 18 website. If you are interested, contact Anne Klee and she would be happy to connect you with someone to interview. Browse the completed interviews.
We spend a significant amount of time reading for classes, research or clinical work. Put those books and articles down this summer and read something just for fun. Try reading a self-help book, an autobiography of someone with a mental illness or even some mental health articles that you wouldn't otherwise read. When we constantly read only when we have to, we associate reading with stress, deadlines and work. Reset your mind to remember that reading is pleasurable, too!
Revamp your social media page(s).
Take some time to update your LinkedIn page, like pages on Facebook related to psychology topics that you're interested in, follow your favorite psychology organizations on Twitter and actively search for professionals and other students to connect with online. We are so lucky to have social media these days, so take advantage of it to enhance your professional network and increase the chances of others finding you.
Reward yourself, and have fun.
Don't forget to give yourself a pat on the back. If you are reading this newsletter, you're already actively doing something to be involved and enhance your professionalism. Congratulations to you!