Thursday, June 21, 2012

I took the road less traveled by.....

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
(Frost, R. "The Road Not Taken.")

Today, I thought I would share a little bit about my experience of entering into the SLP profession. It's important for students and individuals looking for a different career to understand that there is no single path to anything in life. Sure, it's great to get an undergraduate degree in the field and enter into it without ever having any doubts. It's not; however, a realistic way of thinking as there are many people who have no clue what they want to do in college. People also change their minds after experiencing the workforce and realizing that they job they thought they loved might not be so great after all.

Also, be forewarned that this is the short version of the story and is in bullet format.

Before starting my undergraduate career, I dreamed of being a librarian working in a quiet little public library in the middle of nowhere.

Undergraduate College

-I went to a small liberal arts college for women. It was definitely the road less traveled, but it was also one of the best experiences in my life.
----Double-majored in English and History

-Family member was in a major car accident my sophomore year. One of the repercussions of the accident (or of pulling the intubation tube out multiple times) was a voice disorder. We were told that it would take an operation to correct. However, it was put off to focus on recovering from other major emergency surgeries (knee, hip...etc) and did speech therapy instead. Voice came back through therapy alone. Sparked my interest (which was at that point torn between physical therapy, library, teacher......basically I had NO CLUE what I wanted to do.)
-Junior year: My school requires at least 1 internship-- contacted local hospital to see if I could shadow an SLP for a month. They agreed to let me observe and I was hooked.
-Senior year: honors independent study (history of medicine) with a shadowing component. Observed SLP in school setting. Again, loved the experience and the setting.

Application Process (Please note that this gets harder every year as more people learn about the field).
- I decided to apply without a background in SLP and no pre-reqs (there are plenty of places that offer them though.)
-Took GRE in August before starting senior year (reduced amount of stress)
-I researched programs that were more accepting of "out of fielders" and decided to try to stay in my home state.
-Asked for letters of recommendation from English & History professor as well as one of the SLPs I shadowed. Sent them a copy of my letter of intent.
-Completed and submitted applications to 3 schools. One with a well-developed program for "out of fielders" and two without.
-Got accepted 2/3 programs with a high GPA (3.7, lower GRE scores,
-Decided to go to school with the set program for "out of fielders"

In my time as graduate student, I never felt like my undergraduate background hurt my ability to understand the field. I was already trained to be a versatile writer, critical thinker, and leader. It didn't make learning anatomy easier, but you can't ask for everything.

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