Let me paint a picture: Speech-Language Pathology graduate school is hard. It requires pieces of your mind, heart, soul, and life that you have to be willing to sacrifice for the sake of passion, profession, and income. My father told me today, “Right now, you are getting the education you need that will set the stage for the rest of your life;” I completely agree with him. But I have set things aside in lieu of education, advancement, and academia for the opportunity to succeed.
“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” -H. Jackson Browne
Friends are settling into new jobs, getting married, having babies, creating new memories while I press on towards those CCC’s: Certificate of Clinical Competence. I thought I was otherwise competent, but I need a certificate from ASHA before anyone should believe it. Anyway, those “roads” Browne speaks of, I happen to be excited about my journey and thankful to say I haven’t broken down or wandered off too often along the way. Yet there have been difficult challenges along the way which I have learned from; let me take this new year to share…
- Admitting you have no idea what you are doing those first days, weeks, months, and year of SLP graduate school is really, really difficult. A professor once told me that a feeling of inadequacy shows that you have the proper perspective and appreciate the magnitude of the undertaking. Consider me inadequate and under perspective taking construction until further notice.
- Communicating your strengths and weaknesses to your clinical supervisor seems unimportant; yet, after a while, I realized my weaknesses are what will determine my success as a future SLP. About 6 months ago I realized I was very poor at writing goals, but I never told my supervisor. I hid it well by asking for help and manipulating previous goals. WRONG way to become an SLP. I fixed this by telling my next supervisor and she gave me all the practice I could handle. Thank you.
- Professors and supervisors can tell who the slackers are, so don’t think just because you got the same grade results in the same reward. There will come a day when two students who received the same grade will need a recommendation. If you happen to be the student that fails to come to class, is uninterested in an area or client assignment, and complains at every turn, then prepare for a less than stellar recommendation or out-right denial.
- When the courses get tough, you shouldn’t complain to the clinical director. Listen, unless there is a severe complaint (use your best judgment), why should you create drama over delayed grades, unfair (in your opinion) clinic placements, or too many tests in one week? Remember my post on the chances of getting into SLP graduate school? 25.9%. Suck it up ladies and gentleman. Be thankful. Move on.
- I forgot to make time for me. I let my clients, homework, and research become more important than my physical health over the past year and a half. I have gained weight, lost weight, and gained it back. I forgot to eat a meal and I forgot to call friends. I didn’t make time for birthdays and celebrations. Mind your life and mind your health, because both will be a part of your new career. Don’t let your best friend or sibling pay the price when you weigh the difference between an A and a B.
2013 brings a close to some journeys and will be the beginning of others. One that I am quite excited about is the #ASHAFit13 that Tanya over at Lexical Linguist has conjured up to join together SLPs from across the country to get fit and stay accountable. Want to know more? Check out her “Are you up for a challenge?” post and sign up today.
Does the road you are on make you happy? Think about it as you journey through 2013. Happy New Year.