You made it in to speech pathology grad school! Woohoo! (Or you’re thinking about applying, or maybe you are waiting For.Ev.Er. to see if you made it in or not). My first semester at grad school was a learning experience to be sure! In that time, I relocated across the country, made new friends, started graduate school, and somehow managed a long-distance relationship thrown in there. Here’s some of what I’ve learned:
1) Different parts of the country can be really different. Before this big move, I had only ever moved within a 2 hour radius of my hometown. While I have traveled, I’ve never experienced a different culture within my own country. People now say I’m the one with a dialect! Things are certainly different, but I’ve found them to be okay. Different, but okay.
2) Learning can be fun! It almost hurts me to type that, because I honestly didn’t really enjoy my undergraduate classes at all, but graduate school is totally different. I enjoy (most of) my classes and find my homework and clinical paperwork to be useful and functional. I am constantly learning. Once I feel comfortable, I am aware of even more facets of language I never paid attention to before.
3) Graduate school isn’t as scary as I once thought. Honestly, before I moved here, I was dreading it. I cried often thinking about moving away from my friends, boyfriend, and family. I had panic attacks just thinking about all of the school work and having no free time! Which leads me to my next thing…
4) Stay organized. I cannot say this enough. Have a place for each type of paper. Take data on organized forms, like my free data collection sheet. Line them up. Keep everything! Make things you can use again, or use my FREE organization kit!
5) There will be someone. And more importantly, when there’s not, you’ll still be okay. I was terrified about being alone, not making friends, and feeling isolated. While I can’t say I’ve never felt that way, the majority of the time, someone has been there for me. And when somebody hasn’t, I’ve been okay. I’ve spent more time alone this semester than ever before, and learned more about myself than ever before as well. Coincidence? I think not!
6) I’m good at things. This may sound like a silly one, but it’s not. I’ve learned so much about things that I’m good at. I’ve also learned about things I’m not so good at, but it keeps me striving and improving.
7) Distance doesn’t have to spoil friendship. This one is self explanatory… True friends will be there when you come back.
8) Sometimes, people spend more time stressing about doing things than actually doing things. Don’t be one of those people.
9) I can advocate for myself. Enough said.
10) I need to learn to accept compliments! I used to always blow off compliments. “Oh no! I’m not great! I just got it easy”. “This outfit?! It’s nothing!”. NO! Take it, smile, say thanks. Don’t put yourself down! I’ve learned when a supervisor says I’m doing a good job, that I’m probably doing a good job. Just take the compliment.
Overall, that first semester of speech pathology grad school has been the best I could have ever imagined. I had three amazing clients, and professors and supervisors who truly cared about my experience and my learning! So lucky to go to my school!
Seasoned speech pathology grad school students or clinicians – any other words of advice for our future colleagues? And if you’re preparing to go to grad school, good luck!