Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I'm sitting in my office right now waiting for an undergraduate research subject to show up. She is 25 minutes late, and I no longer think she is coming. This is the second consecutive no show I've had, which got me thinking about undergrads. Why do I dislike them so much? If I hate them so, why did I pick a research area that is dependent on them?

The "why I hate" question is very easy to answer. They are lazy and irresponsible. They are loud and annoying on the train. They are always on their damn smart phones. They are entitled. They drink too much and stay up too late. But most of all, I hate them because they are still living in the halcyon days of no responsibility. Those are times that I will never see again (unless I win Powerball- I've gotta pin my hopes and dreams on something!), and I am jealous as hell because of it.

So why did I choose to work with college students for my research? Maybe it's because I want some connection to those bygone days of carefree youth. Maybe I want to research interventions that will improve their quality of life. Or maybe they're just the easiest sample to recruit...

Robust Effect: Origins of a Name

You might be asking yourself how I came to decide on "Robust Effect" as the title for my blog. Well, for anyone in the field of clinical psychology (or science in general), the phrase should be quite familiar. When researchers are sharing their findings with others, they love to use catchy words to add zing to their otherwise boring lectures/papers. Referring to strong results as a "robust effect" is one such device.

Well, I hate it. Every time I hear someone use it, I cringe. It is a stupid catchphrase used to make research sound more important or interesting than it really is. Maybe it's just a reflection of the fact that all research psychologists are egocentric and primarily concerned with sounding important. I don't know when this phrase became popular, but I would love to know so that I have someone to blame for it.

Acronyms are also worthy of scorn, but that topic will have to wait for it's own post.

The Journey

Thank you for making your way to my webpage. Hopefully you found your way here because you are like me: a graduate student trying to make my bones in the world. This blog is a collection of my experiences and thoughts about the process.

About me:

I am a 30-year-old student in my 4th year of graduate school attempting to earn my Ph.D. in clinical psychology. The places and the names don't really matter; I think the things I will be talking about are universal to all graduate programs.

I have a wife of two years and two cats. Together, we live in a two bedroom apartment in the student section of Boston.

That's probably enough context to get you started, as more details will come out in my posts. This isn't meant to be a "how to" guide or a chronological retelling of my time in school. Rather, it is whatever seems relevant to me today. Hopefully you enjoy your time here and come back to visit.