Finally Settling In

Posted on March 06,2013 by hmonkmspp

The transition to graduate school and a new city is a difficult one. However, I was slightly cocky and full of "I-just-graduated-college" pride, and didn't think it was such a big deal. I was ready to tackle the world after my commencement ceremonies on May 27th, and moved my stuff from CT to Boston the very next day. I was ready to start my life as a graduate student in Boston.

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Tagged Clinical PsyD, Personal Growth, Around Boston

I Like School Work in June. How about You?

Posted on March 05,2013 by sdmosaligantimspp

Today was the first day of registration for summer classes. I signed up for Clinical Practice of Psychodynamic Theory and Positive Psychology for summer session I, official confirmation that I won't be able go with my college friends on their ridiculous Europe vacation. :( But whatever. I get a kick out of summer classes; although the material is more dense due to the time constraints, the atmosphere on-campus feels lighter and more carefree, and you sorta develop these "summer" bonds among fellow classmates.

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Tagged Clinical PsyD, Around Boston

Putting the "Ew" in "Lit ReviEW"

Posted on March 03,2013 by sdmosaligantimspp

Actually, I kinda enjoy writing this lit review (it's for my Clinical Seminar class); I got a late start on it, however, and it's due on Wednesday, so.... "ugh," "ew," "boo," hiss, and whatnot. I have set up shop at a cafe with my friend who keeps distracting me with stories about this guy she likes who sounds like a sonofagun. (Love ya, girl)

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Tagged Clinical PsyD, Personal Growth, Around Boston

"Let yourself be puzzled by the obvious." - Noam Chomsky

Posted on February 16,2013 by sdmosaligantimspp

Noam Chomsky, the dot on the left, answering questions after the screening of the documentary.

My first introduction to linguist/cognitive scientist/political critic Noam Chomsky was through Ali G's prankster interview where he was asked such monumental questions as, "Why don't you create a new language?... you could make a lot of money." Chomsky responded with, "You can do it if you like, and nobody would pay the slightest attention to you because it's a waste of time." (I'd post a link to the interview except Ali G asks some questions that might not be so school-blog-friendly)

Luckily, my latest exposure to Chomsky fostered a more intellectual and - how do you say - IN-PERSON feel. :) Given that Boston is a "college town," the universities often host events, many of which are free, featuring high-profile professors and researchers presenting their thoughts and ideas. On Tuesday, MIT hosted a free screening of the animated documentary Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?, a film based on an interview with Chomsky, followed by a Q&A with the man himself. After practicum, Kishore and I booked it to MIT, stood in line for about 45 minutes, met some MIT student who we really vibed with (I knew she was my kinda people when she dropped the f-bomb like a thousand times), and then finally got seated and had our minds blown.

The interview focused mostly on Chomsky's linguistic work, which is based on a computational-cognitive approach to understanding language. He has a fondness for being skeptical about taken-for-granted knowledge, particularly in regards to language - how is this unbelievably complex verbal code, our primary means for communicating our inner world to others, acquired? How is it that infants and toddlers are able to grasp the structures and rules of language despite such relatively minimal exposure to it? Are we all innately wired with some cognitive blueprint for syntax and linguistic structure? Chomsky's open-mindedness, flexibility of thought, and overall "let's start from scratch" approach inspires me to be okay with looking at psychology with a sense of healthy skepticism.

After having provided such richly complex, abstract responses, Chomsky was then asked, "What makes you happy?" He stumbled for a moment - "uh, uh." As we sat in anticipation of some wow-inducing response that would give us the answer to happiness, he said, "My kids, my grandkids, and my friends." No verbs, prepositions, adjectives. No skepticism about his answer or about the definition of "happiness." Just a cut-to-the-chase certainty: kids, grandkids, friends. After all this intellectual talk, it felt sort of bland (I mean, if that's all he's gonna say, could he at least drop an f-bomb or something to spice it up?).

Once the event was over, Kishore and I walked to Central Square for a bite. On the walk, we talked about the film - debated about language and such - and then grabbed a wrap and smoothie and listened to a live bluegrass show without speaking much. Suddenly I realized that Chomsky had gotten it right - I knew exactly what he meant: we can sit and intellectually search for answers, but, in the end, the only truth of which I am certain is how happy I am spending time, even if just in silence, with a best friend. :)

(Link to the event/movie trailer:

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Tagged Personal Growth, Social Responsibility, Around Boston

Where My Ladies at

Posted on January 22,2013 by sdmosaligantimspp


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Tagged Clinical PsyD, Personal Growth, Social Responsibility, Around Boston

Holiday Fun: Procrastination? Or Self-Care?

Posted on December 17,2012 by hmonkmspp

I know you haven't heard much from me the past couple weeks, but you shouldn't take it personally. It is finals time, so there is school stress. It is application time to new sites, so there is practicum stress. It is holidays and everyone wants to take vacations so there is work stress. And of course, because nothing is ever easy, someone in my house has decided to move out at the last minute, so there is life stress. Are we sensing a common theme here?

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Tagged Clinical PsyD, Around Boston

"Americans don't have hairdos" and Other Cultural Insights

Posted on November 19,2012 by sdmosaligantimspp

My absurd roommates! Melissa #1, a non-profit employee from OH; Guillermo, a photography student from Spain; Melissa #2, an interior-design student from PA; my partner Kishore, a biology post-doc from India; Laura, a biochem grad student from Colombia; and me, a psych grad student from DC!

I asked a friend of mine from Croatia, an Advertising grad student at BU, to share his biggest "criticism" of American culture, and he vehemently responded with, "Americans don't have hairdos." While I am very open about critiquing American culture, I was slightly shook up by this "complaint" (probably because I was sitting there with wet hair). But then I smiled and thought to myself, "How did I, a Psychology student from Washington, DC, ever end up in Boston talking with an Advertising student from Croatia about the 'hairdo status' of Americans?"

Boston, given its unique "academic" culture, represents a hotbed of robust learning and intellectual activity, thereby attracting a diverse population of students and workers - whether you're among roommates or at a bar, cafe, library, or school, chances are that you're surrounded by people representing a variety of professional, academic, ethnic, racial, geographic, and overall cultural backgrounds who foster and nurture a range of interests and insight (for instance, if you're interested in meeting a Croatian Advertising student who is fond of flamboyantly coifed hair, I know just the person for you).

Therefore, MSPP is a school that exists within the broader "campus" of Boston - this city provides you with, not just an opportunity to learn about your specific field at your specific educational institution, but to learn from the diverse network of people living around you. So if you're in or just moving to Boston, I recommend putting yourself out there, whether by participating in Boston cultural activities or searching for roommates on Craigslist or going to pubs or cafes or bookstores. By reaching out to and engaging with a variety of people, you can develop a richer understanding of other lenses through which to view and interpret the world around us. Such exposure not only informs my psych work, but also facilitates a more well-rounded, open-minded, creative, and enriched "self"... and maybe a better hairdo?

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Tagged Personal Growth, Social Responsibility, Around Boston

The Must List (MSPP Style)

Posted on November 11,2012 by mintakaori

Hello faithful readers! On this lazy Sunday evening, I'm lazing on the couch, a steaming cup of tea by my side and Predators on the TV. I've been sitting here wondering, what can I share with my current and future MSPPers tonight? Then it dawned on me: As the holiday season begins to rev up, many of you may not know some of the ideal places to spend the season. So here is my Must List, or things you must do in and around Boston!

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Tagged Around Boston

Voting, Registering, Presenting, oh my!

Posted on November 06,2012 by mintakaori

Happy Tuesday! And what an exciting day it has been. Between registering for classes and voting (you all voted, right?), today could not get more hectic. Unless you have a presentation for Internship Seminar, like I do. Then you're day just got a little crazier than the rest.

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Tagged Around Boston, Counseling Psychology

Holla' BARCC, Young'n (Hooo Hooo!)... The Annual Boston Area Rape Crisis Center Gala!

Posted on November 01,2012 by sdmosaligantimspp

The amazing Medical Advocacy team at last night's annual BARCC gala!

One good thing about Boston is its availability of volunteer opportunities. Given my interest in social-justice-oriented issues, I chose to get involved with Boston Area Rape Crisis Center in an effort to play a role in challenging the gender-based power dynamics in our culture that cause and perpetuate sexual violence. As mentioned previously, I've been working as a Peer Supervisor for BARCC's Medical Advocacy program for about five months, having volunteered as a Medical Advocate for three years prior to that. Our work is tough, involving late-night trips to emergency rooms to support rape survivors and two-to-three monthly meetings during which we discuss our cases and are provided with further training and support.

Despite the often somber nature of our work, the annual gala, which took place last night, provides us with an opportunity to just deck out and mingle with fellow BARCC supporters, as well as listen to powerful guest speakers over a fancy-shmancy dinner. I, unfortunately, missed this year's featured talk as, given that I was on shift as supervisor, I had to step out in order to field a case. Despite this unfortunate burst of reality amidst clinking wine glasses and swanky jazz music, it was nice to return from my supervisory duties to a banquet hall full of people committed to ending sexual violence and supporting sexual-assault survivors, just like the one I had been serving minutes prior.

Luckily, not only was I surrounded by fellow Medical Advocacy team members, as well as accompanied by my partner of five years, I also got to experience some MSPP pride at the gala - BARCC represents one of MSPP's amazing second-year practicum sites, and my good friend Nadia serves as its current practicum intern. Given that my BARCC work involves serving sexual-assault survivors in a hospital/medical context immediately after the trauma has occurred, I have gained, through my conversations with Nadia, a richer perspective concerning the long-term psychotherapy-based "recovery" process. It was awesome to unite with Nadia - in our sexy dresses, toting our fine wine - to celebrate our and others' active commitment to this significant cause.

Overall, I'm so glad to have found this amazing organization - for all those new to or planning on relocating to Boston, I recommend exploring and establishing a niche for yourself within the volunteer community of Boston! If you're particularly interested in getting involved with BARCC's services, proceed to for further info.

(P.S. If you didn't get my throwback hip-hop reference in the title of this blog, as many of my twenty-something-year-old friends sadly did not, then you were not cool in 2001. Either that or you were very cool...)

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Tagged Clinical PsyD, Personal Growth, Social Responsibility, Around Boston