Doctoral Journey Reflection W10 & 12

Hello again! If you’re just joining, for my Doctoral Seminar course, I am writing weekly (or bi-weekly reflections) on various topics related to my doctoral journey. If you are browsing this space... enjoy! I will try to keep them real and authentic (one of my core values), and I hope you learn a little more about me. This week's reflection is about higher education expectations. Let's see what my brain has to say.


Reflect on where you see yourself after successfully completing your degree.


Reflect on strategies to select a publication outlet and posit two journals that might be appropriate to submit your dissertation research


Academia vs Industry


It’s a tad ironic that when I discovered the field of sport psychology during my undergraduate studies, I told my advisor that I would never see myself getting into teaching or research. Now, I’m fully immersed in a Ph.D. of Education within a Movement Sciences department studying Sport and Exercise Psychology to become… a professor. haha!


During my master’s program, I was still thinking about staying in the applied sport psychology world. I was dreaming of working with high-level athletes to optimize their performance and ultimately ended up starting my own business for mental performance consulting, Transition Performance. I was traveling freeways for hours to give 30-minute workshops to high school kids, US masters swim clubs, and more. I was spending weekends at coaching summits to get my name out there while presenting to high-level coaches on the mental game. I was engulfed in the “grind” of being an applied consultant.

There are many employers in the world of sport psychology that hire CMPCs without a terminal degree (fancy word for Ph.D.). A draw to these careers is to work in a field that you are passionate about, and you get paid well for it. The U.S. military hires consultants under a few different government-funded programs, with the most popular being the Master Resilience Trainer – Performance Expert (MRT-PE) position with the U.S. Army. This position teaches mental skills, resilience, and performance enhancement techniques to military soldiers, families, and DA civilians. Another similar position, that requires more years of experience, is a Cognitive Performance Specialist under many different special operation units. These positions address speed, recall, problem-solving, and critical thinking for elite soldiers (e.g., current and future Air Force pilots) through the development of stress management, mindfulness, and awareness training. Other positions include mental coach positions through Major League Baseball where you work within a team of mental coaches for the whole organization.


Now these sounds pretty sweet, right? Yeah! I would love to work with these populations. They would challenge me to grow in my consulting skills and would be a lot of fun. However, the locations for these jobs are spread far and wide across the states, and many require heavy travel schedules. Right now, my priorities are a little different that wouldn’t allow me to hold those positions.


At Cal State Fullerton, my advisers there are some of my greatest mentors and I always imagined myself getting into a role similar to what they do. They are literally my favorite people and seem to have the most awesome job and life. They taught, served in their department and professional organization (AASP), did a *little* bit of research compared to R1 institutions, and ran an applied sport psychology graduate program. In addition to this, they did applied consulting on the side to fill their cup.


After I finish here at U of I, I wish to become a professor at a University within a sport and exercise psychology-related role similar to my mentors at CSUF. It’s crazy to think after all these years, this is where I am and telling people I want to be a professor.


I’m not opposed to having the option to apply for an industry job if things don’t work out. And I believe my credentials and experience will make me a competitive applicant for those jobs. But right now, I’m on the academia track. This does require more research publications in scholarly journal articles to be more competitive, so I need to develop a pipeline of research and learn about best practices for publishing in various journals. This is currently on my to-do list (hopefully I can get to it over the summer!).


The field of sport psychology has many journal articles that would be great to publish my research in: The Sport Psychologist, Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, and the Journal for Applied Sport Psychology are all popular choices for professionals in the field. However, there are also other outlets such as the Journal of Sport Psychology in Action and the Journal for Advancing Sport Psychology in Research (which is a student and early professional-focused journal). It also isn’t unheard of to submit manuscripts to other general psychology or kinesiology/sport science journals.


My research journey is starting and I’m actually having fun and enjoying it! Here’s to developing this skill which will hopefully make my future career choice as a professor a little bit easier to accomplish!


-SR

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