Introduction: Say a Little about Yourself! {by 9/2}

Yes, it’s this again!  For most of you this is your second semester of graduate classes and it’s in class (at least for now)!  Let’s continue to get to know each other.  Please answer the following about yourself (some same, some different): (1) Name?  (2) What college/university did you graduate from?  (3) How has your life changed the most since COVID-19 pandemic?  (4) What was your biggest take-away from your first semester of graduate classes? (5) What are your initial thoughts (or experience) about cognitive-behavioral therapy?!?

 

Your original post should be posted by 9/2.  Post your two replies no later than 9/4.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

 

*Strong suggestion: Write all your blogs on a separate document.  Then, copy and paste it.  This will make your life easier and less stressful in case something “wacky” happens with technology.

 

*Your first post may not immediately appear on my website.  I have strong spam filters.  So, I may have to approve your first post before it is visible.  I should only have to do this once unless you post in a different name and/or email address.

32 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jennifer Vear
    Aug 31, 2021 @ 09:37:33

    Hello everyone!

    My name is Jennifer Vear. It is so great to be back and actually see all of you in person after last semester on Zoom.
    Last December, I graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor of Arts.
    Since the COVID-19 pandemic, I have learned a lot about myself. Last summer I began exercising more, and since I started weight-lifting, I have found a new passion that has really helped my mental health. This experience has also allowed me to appreciate more things in life and to really spend my time in the present. If I worry too much about the future and about the unknown, I will spend less time focusing on what really matters at this moment.
    This leads to when I started this graduate program. Since this is my third semester in this program, I have grown to truly realize that this is the field that I want to work in. I am so excited to start helping people with their mental health. In my undergrad, I was lost for a while on what I wanted to do. Since I was 9 years old, my goal was to become a Veterinarian. However, once I got into my undergrad, I realized that that was not the field for me. It was a tough transition and such a confusing time. I ended up majoring in English because I enjoyed writing, but did not have any real direction of what I wanted to do. However, I decided to take a few Psychology courses and ended up minoring in Psychology and loving every bit of it. With my own experience in therapy, I realized that this was the field I wanted to go into. So far, this program has only deepened my interest and solidified my goal of becoming a licensed mental health counselor.
    As for my experience with CBT, I used to watch videos on YouTube learning about various CBT techniques, and watching therapy sessions. I also found it interesting that I am able to point out when my therapist uses them with me.

    I look forward to finally seeing you all in class!
    Good luck with your semester!

    Best,
    Jenn Vear

    Reply

    • Lisa Andrianopoulos
      Aug 31, 2021 @ 13:03:26

      Wow, Jennifer! You and I have had similar experiences in choosing psychology as a major. When I entered college I had no idea what I wanted to do. Intro to psychology was a required course. I liked it so much I took another psych course as an elective. By junior year I realized that psychology should be my major. I wound up graduating with at B.S. in psychology. Like you, having completed a semester has deepened my interest in CBT and I am looking forward to learning more.
      Lisa

      Reply

    • Kaitlyn Tonkin
      Sep 02, 2021 @ 08:20:54

      Hi Jenn!

      I find it so cool that you are now getting a master’s in psychology when you didn’t originally plan on that! For as long as I can remember, I have known I wanted to go into psych, so I always love hearing stories about those who found their passions later in life! Despite that, I feel like we have a lot in common because I minored in creative writing, so our paths were similar, but flipped if that makes sense!

      All the best,
      Kaitlyn

      Reply

  2. Lisa Andrianopoulos
    Aug 31, 2021 @ 12:57:50

    Hi All!
    This is Lisa Andrianopoulos. I believe I have met most, if not all of you last semester. I am definitely looking forward to seeing you in person : ). I completed my undergraduate degree in psychology at Brooklyn College in Brooklyn, NY. I earned my doctorate degree at Teachers College Columbia University in NYC. I am a native of Brooklyn, and later Queens. I moved to Worcester about 16 years ago. I would see the biggest changes for me since covid are 1) making a commitment to further my career by joining this program and 2) really appreciating the simpler things in life. My biggest takeaway after my first semester is that I gained confidence in my choice to pursue this aspect of my career. I believe I made the right decision and am enjoying the time spent so far : ). My initial thoughts about cognitive behavioral therapy? Well first, there is lots and lots to learn! Second, I’m learning that it is not an all or none approach, meaning that despite it’s central tenets, it is not rigid and truly involves going with where the client is at. A technique or approach you may use with one client may be very different from one you choose for another client. It all depends on the person in front of you.

    Reply

    • Jennifer Vear
      Sep 01, 2021 @ 10:01:30

      Hi Lisa!
      It is so good to see you continuing this program! I have a few family members who decided to go back to school. My aunt just finished her MSW degree only a couple of years ago and she has two younger children and a full-time job. That was a huge decision for her to make but she is so much happier! I hope that that experience will be the same for you and you end up doing whatever makes you happiest!
      Also, it’s funny that you mentioned that we have similar undergrad experiences! I remember being so confused with what I wanted to do and having all my friends with a clear path in front of them. It made me so frustrated, but I came to realize that a lot of people go through what we went through!

      – Jenn

      Reply

    • Katie O'Brien
      Sep 02, 2021 @ 09:32:56

      Hi Lisa!
      The changes Covid-19 brought for you are the same ones I feel I experienced as well. I had been going back and forth between graduate programs and felt a bit stuck in making my decision. The pandemic pushed me towards clinical / counseling. After the first semester, I’m so so happy that I chose this path! Also following the pandemic, I find myself being much more appreciative of the small things in life, as well. It’s helpful in staying grounded when there are a lot of big, scary things going on!
      Best,
      Katie

      Reply

  3. Francesca Bellizzi
    Aug 31, 2021 @ 16:16:08

    Hi everyone!

    I’m Francesca Bellizzi, and some of you may remember me from the summer semester. I’m so glad we have some time to actually have classes in person this time around, and lets cross our fingers it stays that way. I received my bachelor’s degree in psychology in May 2020 from Elon University.

    Since the beginning of the pandemic, my life has changed a lot – believe it or not in positive ways. I was able to find my own place to live and got my first job right out of graduating undergrad; however, I soon found a better opportunity at UMass in the psychiatric department. While things life my social life and overall lifestyles have certainly changed (and maybe not for the best) I’d say I don’t have too much to complain about. I started classes at Assumption in Fall 2020, and I would have to say my biggest take away is that school is a lot more frustrating when it’s done online. Deadlines? A must to keep up with, because before you know it you will be drowning in things that you need to catch up on. I have actually utilized CBT in my own treatment experiences, and I really do enjoy it. There are also a lot of individuals in my life who are seeking treatment for a variety of reasons and they always come back saying the same thing as me. Certainly, there is a lot to learn about CBT and I am very excited to get started!

    All the best (:

    Reply

    • Valerie Graveline
      Aug 31, 2021 @ 18:09:21

      Hi Francesca,

      I initially had no idea where Elon University was so I did a quick search! Are you originally from North Carolina? That’s very exciting that you were able to get a position in the psychiatric department at UMass, that must be a great learning experience! I completely agree with you about staying on top of deadlines, if I ever find myself falling behind even a little bit I find myself way too overwhelmed! Staying to a strict schedule is definitely a must!

      Valerie

      Reply

    • Lisa Andrianopoulos
      Sep 01, 2021 @ 10:24:07

      Hi Francesca,

      I would love to hear more about your experiences at UMASS psychiatric. I once did an externship on a psychiatric inpatient unit at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn. It was fascinating. I’d be curious to know what your experience has been and in what capacity you work there. I know what you mean about deadlines and feeling like your drowning, lol. I think we’ve all had that experience, especially in the summer when time is crunched to begin with. I’m looking forward to going through the program with you and definitely supporting each other!

      Lisa

      Reply

  4. Kaitlyn Tonkin
    Aug 31, 2021 @ 17:54:10

    Hi all!

    My name is Kaitlyn Tonkin and this is my second semester at Assumption. It is awesome getting to see everyone in person and actually have classes offline! I graduated from Clark University, here in Worcester, this past spring/summer (thanks to COVID my graduation wasn’t until the middle of June). I majored in psychology and I am really excited to continue my education in psych at Assumption in the coming years!

    Since my life was pretty busy as an undergrad, I didn’t have much time for all the other exciting things of life, so when the pandemic hit, there wasn’t much that changed for me, other than having classes online and not going out much, other than to go to work. This is my first semester in a year and a half that I have had in-person classes, so I guess that was the biggest change for me. Adapting to online classes was definitely not easy. I am much more productive in a classroom setting, so I am excited to have that back this semester.

    CBT has always fascinated me and I am so excited to be in a program that focuses on it. I have had experience with CBT in my own therapy and through learning about it in a variety of classes.

    Reply

    • Jennifer Vear
      Sep 01, 2021 @ 09:54:02

      Hi Kaitlyn!
      I remember you talking last semester about how difficult it was to be just starting this graduate program while also trying to finish your undergrad! I can only imagine the stress that you were under!
      I agree with you that I am also more productive in the classroom setting than in an online setting. It was definitely an adjustment, but I am so excited to be back in the classroom!

      – Jenn

      Reply

    • Giana Faia
      Sep 01, 2021 @ 10:12:46

      Hi Kaitlyn!

      This is also my first time not having online classes in a year and a half. The shift from in person class to zoom was so fast and definitely a difficult adjustment for many. I also work better in the classroom, but now it’s another adjustment going from zoom back to in person. Despite the adjustment, it is so much better being able to see everyone in person.

      – Giana

      Reply

    • Morgan Rafferty
      Sep 01, 2021 @ 17:26:37

      Hi Kaitlyn! I was so in awe of you when we began summer classes. To be still completing your college semester while simultaneously beginning this Masters program was inspiring. Congrats on graduating! It will be nice now to not be balancing to educational journeys.
      Here’s to Fall semester! Best of luck!

      Reply

  5. Valerie Graveline
    Aug 31, 2021 @ 17:59:28

    Hi again, everyone! My name is Valerie and I graduated from Bridgewater State University in May of 2021 with a BS in Psychology and a minor in History. My life has changed most since the COVID-19 pandemic with regard to my hobbies, as I have become an avid reader and bike rider, which are hobbies I did not previously entertain. I mainly enjoy reading non-fiction, but have recently gotten into a lot of different fiction books which I did not expect to enjoy. During our 1-month summer break, I was able to read 9 books since I had the time off from school-related readings 🙂
    The biggest take-away I gathered from my first semester of graduate classes is that I should abide by a clear schedule for when I complete my assignments by so that I can allow myself time to decompress from schoolwork, otherwise I can find myself getting overwhelmed. With regard to CBT, I have experienced CBT techniques in my own therapeutic experiences as a client and have found the techniques very helpful with my own anxiety. Currently I work in an administrative role at a private practice, and what I have heard about CBT in that position is that insurance companies like covering CBT-based treatment as it aligns well with a managed-care setting.

    Reply

    • Giana Faia
      Sep 01, 2021 @ 10:09:08

      Hi Valerie!

      First, 9 books in 1 month is quite the accomplishment and I bet very relaxing for you. I also enjoy reading, but only got through 2 books. I also can agree that leaving time to decompress from schoolwork is important, especially after all the work we had last semester. It was nice to learn from the first semester to see what works for us and what doesn’t.

      – Giana

      Reply

    • Kaitlyn Tonkin
      Sep 02, 2021 @ 08:27:46

      Hi Valerie!

      I can’t believe you read 9 books in a month! That is really impressive and must have been a nice way to decompress after the summer semester! I wish I had time to read more, it used to be such a big part of my life prior to college. I would love to hear some of the books you read! I think it is really cool that you are able to see the more procedural parts of CBT with your current job. Insurance is a tricky thing to maneuver and when I think about becoming a practitioner and dealing with insurance, it is very scary. Like I said though, it is really cool that you can see different parts of how therapy and CBT work between classes and your job!

      All the best,
      Kaitlyn

      Reply

  6. Giana Faia
    Sep 01, 2021 @ 10:03:57

    Hi everyone!
    My name is Giana Faia. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you in person finally. I graduated from Assumption University in May with a major in psychology and minors in applied behavior analysis and education.
    Since the pandemic, I’ve moved out of my house and into an apartment with my two friends. It’s been an adjustment learning to live on my own and not always being with my family. During quarantine, we were together 24/7 so I jumped at the opportunity of moving out. I also starting reading more and working out more since the pandemic but now with school, it’s a different kind of balance. The pandemic also changed my experience of college, rather than going out senior year, me and my roommates would stay in watching movies.
    My biggest take-away from my first semester of graduate classes was that I can no longer procrastinate like I used to. I would find myself procrastinating then getting so stressed and anxious about deadlines. This is something I can very well prevent too. Planning and staying organized is another take-away because there was constantly a long list of to-do’s that never seemed to get shorter so procrastinating didn’t help.
    My initial thoughts/ experience about CBT involve the focus on changing thoughts. I’m currently experiencing CBT in my own therapy sessions so it’s interesting to be on the receiving end while also learning about it too.

    Reply

    • Valerie Graveline
      Sep 01, 2021 @ 17:13:59

      Hi Giana,

      It must be so nice to be back on campus, especially since you graduated from undergrad there! That’s also super exciting that you moved into an apartment with your friends and have been enjoying a good work-life balance. It’s awesome to see that you’ve experienced CBT in your own therapy sessions! I’ve recently had the same experience with CBT techniques in my therapy sessions too, and have found them to be really helpful. I agree that it’ll be interesting to learn about it all while experiencing it in sessions.

      Valerie

      Reply

    • Morgan Rafferty
      Sep 01, 2021 @ 17:30:09

      Hi Giana! So nice that you had that time with your family during quarantine and now are experiencing living on your own. There are certainly pros and cons to each of those living arrangements. I hope things are going smoothly with your roommates. I am sure your family is missing you being around all the time. Hopefully you visit them when you can! 🙂
      Here’s to a Fall 2021! See you in class! Good luck.

      Reply

    • Katie O'Brien
      Sep 02, 2021 @ 09:45:20

      Hi Giana!
      It must feel so nice to be back on campus! During undergrad, I was also a bit of a procrastinator and it usually only stressed me out more. With the workload in graduate school, I also felt the pressure to get more on top of things and stay organized! The readings certainly add up if you don’t. Even when I’d rather be procrastinating, I always felt relieved getting things done ahead of time. Definitely an adjustment for me!

      Reply

    • Frayah Wilkey
      Sep 02, 2021 @ 10:50:37

      Giana,
      So happy we’re in class together again! I imagine that moving out during the pandemic was really stressful but it’s nice to have your own place. The independence after undergrad is hard to give up. I also struggle with procrastinating so hopefully being in person will lessen that for us. It can be hard to motivate yourself when all of the classes are online. I hope this semester is great for you!

      Reply

    • Sergio Rodriguez Pineda
      Sep 07, 2021 @ 00:08:46

      Hi Giana,

      Planning ahead and organizing is the best to help out to not procrastinate, belive me, I know how it feels. It’s so funny you talk about procrastinating. I recently watched a TED talk, that I recommend you watch: https://www.ted.com/talks/tim_urban_inside_the_mind_of_a_master_procrastinator?language=en
      It’s so interesting, funny, and accurate. I wish you the best this semester.

      Sergio R.

      Reply

  7. Morgan Rafferty
    Sep 01, 2021 @ 17:22:27

    What a treat to hear from the summer crew! How nice to be reunited. My name is Morgan Rafferty. I enjoyed my undergraduate experience at Holy Cross. As for how life has changed for me post-COVID, I am sad to say that I am suffering from what might be post-COVID effects at the moment, It’s been an extremely trying time for me pretty much right after our summer courses ended. My family was hit with COVID; despite my husband and I being vaccinated, we tested +. I only had mild symptoms but now am experiencing other symptoms.
    I was hesitant to share this but figure, hey – it will help explain why I might seem a bit shaky in class.
    I made the decision only today that it’d be best to not teach the three courses I was scheduled to teach at QCC this semester. I am feeling hopeful that the two courses I will be taking at Assumption will be enough on my plate for now. Say a little prayer that all resolves on my end if you could! Thank you!
    The biggest takeaways from first semester are: what a fun thing to be learning again and with such an awesome group of people and wonderful professors.
    My initial thought of cognitive behavior therapy is that it involves leading an individual to become more aware of their cognitions and to explore how rational or irrational those cognitions might be. Also, CBT involves working with a person in terms of altering their cognitions if need be and working toward creating more healthy cognitions.

    Reply

    • Frayah Wilkey
      Sep 02, 2021 @ 10:47:20

      Morgan,
      So happy to see your name and I look forward to being with you in class! I’m so sorry to hear about your household’s health struggles. I can imagine it’s nerve wracking to be back in a classroom after dealing with all of that. It seems like you have so much on your plate, but you always seem so upbeat during class! I hope your teaching schedule isn’t too stressful for you and that this semester flies by. Good luck!!

      Reply

      • Morgan Rafferty
        Sep 07, 2021 @ 22:50:59

        Thank you so much Frayah. It was SO great to see you last week in class. I hope you are feeling better!!! Excited to be with you again as we begin this Fall semester. Everyone is so nice in this group. I am so happy with the mix of students. The group dynamic is fabulous.

        Reply

  8. Katie O'Brien
    Sep 02, 2021 @ 09:27:20

    Hi everyone! I’m excited to be on campus with everyone this semester. My name is Katie O’Brien and this is my second semester in the program. I graduated from Holy Cross here in Worcester in 2019 with a Psychology major on a pre-medicine track. Senior year I began questioning what I wanted to do next and I took a position working in an elementary school before deciding what graduate program I wanted to pursue. Covid-19 actually helped push me towards this program! That would be the biggest change for me. I think the pandemic has done a pretty decent job of highlighting the importance of mental health and wellness. Working at the school also gave me experience working hands-on with kiddos, which I hadn’t had previously, and has led me to consider doing therapy with children. My biggest take-away from last semester is to find a good school-life balance, including time to relax. I really enjoyed my classes and was able to enjoy them more if I wasn’t feeling overstressed. Taking time for myself was important to make sure I didn’t reach that level. I’m drawn to CBT because I like the idea of teaching the client to be their own therapists and not rely on endless therapy sessions to find relief for their struggles. I also appreciate how effective these techniques seem to be in a relatively shorter timeframe than other approaches. I’m excited to get more into it in this course this semester!
    Thanks!

    Reply

  9. Frayah Wilkey
    Sep 02, 2021 @ 10:41:06

    Hi everyone, my name is Frayah Wilkey. This is my third semester at Assumption after graduating from ECSU in 2019. At the start of the pandemic, I was living in California and most of the work opportunities were things I didn’t want to be doing, such as ABA. The pandemic really isolated me and I was getting anxious and bored so I decided to apply to the program because my husband and I were thinking of moving to New England anyway. My friend was enrolled in the school counseling program and really enjoyed it, so she also pushed me into applying. I got in and they allowed me to begin early because the classes were all online due to the pandemic, so I was lucky in that regard. Overall though, the last year was really hard because I lost a few loved ones but I am still thankful for the opportunities presented.

    My first two semesters were online, which I personally enjoyed because it fit my schedule better. It was a bit anxiety-inducing coming back to a classroom after being gone for so long but it’s still exciting. My two biggest take-aways from previous semesters were that this is definitely the field I want to be in and that I’m capable of putting in the work. It’s been a long year so far and there’s been a lot of stress between moving, school, and work but I do feel that I can complete the program within my desired timeframe as long as I put in the time. I’ll also be filling a research assistance position this semester, so I’ll be getting more hands-on time which will complement the CBT focus of the program. My undergrad program was focused on CBT as well, so I’m fairly familiar with the school of thought. I appreciate that it’s evidence based and effective for many, so I look forward to learning more about it during these next few semesters.

    Reply

    • Francesca Bellizzi
      Sep 03, 2021 @ 08:43:45

      Hey Frayah,

      So glad to hear from you! I think the pandemic has created a lot of anxiety for many of us, and know you’re not alone in having increased anxiety coming back to campus. I think for my first class I got there 2.5 hours earlier because I did not know was to expect. I’m also sorry to hear about your losses, and I hope things begin to get better for you!

      All the best,
      Francesca

      Reply

  10. Sergio Rodriguez
    Sep 02, 2021 @ 13:41:07

    Hi Everyone again! as most of you know, my name is Sergio Rodriguez! I graduated from El Bosque University in Bogota, Colombia. I came almost 3 years ago to the United States. Since then, The pandemic got me working here most of the time in person because I was working in a group home with kids and teenagers. One of the most relevant things that I started working out at home, and now I love it. (Very useful for Winter times too. The sad part is that I haven’t been able to visit my Mom and sister in Spain. (Hopefully soon). My biggest take-away is definitely having classes over Zoom. It has pros and cons, one of the pros I appreciated was that I could plan and have a flexible schedule just having internet access. On Monday, I just discovered the disadvantage when I had the chance to have an in-person class and felt completely different about being in person with a professor and having “real” classmates.
    I consider cognitive-behavioral therapy the first approach I had to the experience-based psychology method. Before that, it was easy for me to follow any method or “therapy” that could show quick results or was interesting. Now, I learn how substantial is the evidence on the therapy and the investigation related to it. In addition, this therapy unifies the Cognitive and Behavioral components. From the therapist’s perspective, the human being is seen from a more holistic view, which leads to better understanding and treatments for the mental health problems.

    Reply

    • Francesca Bellizzi
      Sep 03, 2021 @ 08:47:51

      Hey Sergio,
      I had to work during the pandemic at a residential facility with adolescents too. I would love to pick your brain about that aspect of the field, and see what you think about working with that particular population. And I agree, in person class “hits different”. I hope you get the chance to see your family soon, and that you can utilize your breaks to take a trip over!

      All the best,
      Francesca

      Reply

  11. Lindsay O'Meara
    Sep 02, 2021 @ 15:45:28

    (1) Lindsay O’Meara
    (2) Worcester State University
    (3) My social life has probably changed the most since the pandemic. I’ve also spent more time creating than I have in a long time.
    (4) My biggest take away from my first semester of grad classes was to break things up into smaller parts.
    (5) I have experienced some CBT in therapy. My main takeaway is that it revolves around how cognitions affect behavior.

    Reply

    • Sergio Rodriguez
      Sep 07, 2021 @ 00:00:09

      Hi Lindsay,

      I think learning how to break things up into smaller pieces is huge. I genuinely believe that is a great skill because when we have multiple things in life and also doing a Master program, it is pretty common that some of the class assignments seem so too long or hard, but once you break it up into smaller tasks, is really helpful to make things easier and when I do that I feel way more effective. Wish you the best this semester!

      Sergio R.

      Reply

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