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finding a niche and doing some good…

May 12, 2011

An Interdisciplinary Approach to Successful Aging – Science Careers.

Point One:

This morning we had the Senior Psychology Brunch –  a chance to drink some coffee, eat some snacks, and chat with the graduating psychology students. It is an exciting time for the students as they embark on the next phase of their lives. It is also exciting for those of us who have played some role in their development the past four years. A recurring topic during the event was – “What next?”. Some of the students had very specific plans for graduate school or a job, others were less sure. Regardless, I emphasized that the critical thing to do was to “stay alert” to both opportunities and interests that develop over the course of the coming years. We tend to applaud those who have it “figured out”, who are ready to tell us exactly how their lives will play out in the future. However, from my own experience and seeing examples like the one reported in this article, I have come to believe that this hypothetical state of “having it figured out” is an illusion. Our lives and the world around us is constantly changing, so the best thing to do is ready yourself for this state of flux and make the most of the challenges and opportunities that arise. This article made me think about this because “the psychology of aging” was a very small domain thirty years ago when Dr. Steverink began her journey. Her academic studies and the research career she has pursued emerged along with the field. Now, there seems to be a much greater awareness of and interest in adult development and aging. The work being done in this area is interesting (see below) and important, and if she had sat down thirty years ago and “figured it all out” she may not have had the chance to be doing the interesting and important work she is currently engaged in.

Point Two:

The work being done on the psychology of aging is fascinating stuff. I have always been captivated by developmental studies that examined the cognitive and social growth of children – becoming a parent early in my graduate studies had something to do with this. I am more and more appreciating the other end of the developmental spectrum. I don’t have much to say specifically about the work being done by Dr. Steverink on aging and well-being (although it seems to be helping people which is always a positive), but I do like the inter-disciplinary nature of much of the work being done on aging. I think I’ll have to find some more specific work to comment on at a later date, but if you are interested in the psychology of aging, below are a few links to explore:

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