The First Semester: A Reflection from a DDM Lab alum about her time in grad school

By Michelle Lobermeier

My first semester of graduate school was filled with countless hours of studying the DSM, many lab meetings, various introductory clinical experiences, and plenty of wonderful memories made with my new classmates and friends. Myself and the eight other members of my cohort became close friends very quickly, and I’m so grateful to have a wonderful support system in place as we all figure out graduate school together. A full course load kept me very busy, and a lot of my days were spent catching up on readings for class and completing assigned papers. In addition, I spent time learning everything possible about the projects going on in my research lab. I have been helping out with two main projects, including creating and implementing a processing stream for working with EEG data and developing and validating a tool to track child development. The older students on these projects have taught me so much, and with their guidance I was able to begin working more independently on each of these projects throughout the semester. I also began conceptualizing and working on my master’s thesis, which is going to explore the effects of cumulative risk on social-emotional development in children, and the possible moderating effects of the child’s sleep. Clinically, I spent time conducting phone intake interviews at our campus’s community clinic, during which I gained information about the daily operation of the clinic and skills to use when interacting with clients. My cohort is preparing to see our first clients beginning in the summer, and we are very excited to implement the clinical skills we are learning in our classes. Though learning to balance all these responsibilities has been a challenge, I am truly enjoying my experience so far in graduate school. I look forward to continuing to grow my skills both as a clinician and researcher as my cohort and I navigate our second semester.