Hell on Earth.
Hell on Earth.
Orientation is right around the corner!
The summer has come and gone and fall is knocking at the door.
I am wrapping up my last week as a nanny, both bitter and sweet. I’ve been a nanny for the last two years and I’ve also held a few short term babysitting positions along side and it gets easier to say goodbye each time. It has been an enriching experience that has taught me a lot, both about myself and about children. There really isn’t a guide you can read, its hands on, and you learn more about yourself in the process. It does harbor copious amounts of patience but it is also very rewarding.
It’s been easier to say goodbye to the family I’ve worked with the last year because I’ve been ready to enter graduate school for some time. All the stars have aligned and I find myself in a very serene place. Maybe the calm before the storm?
I was awarded an hourly position with my schools speech and hearing clinic which has been a god sent! It’s allowed me to have sense of security with all the unknowns. I’ve been there this summer and have seen the patient population, the second years and met most of the faculty- which is amazing. I’ve also learned our EMR system and the gist of how the department runs.
My program offers a cultural diversity option which I’ve applied to. I attended a seminar beforehand to learn more about it and see if it was a good fit and if I wanted to dedicate the time to it. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before but a cornerstone of my application was based on increasing the diversity within the SLP field- insert quote on stats of minoroties- make up the SLP field?
UMD is actively trying to change that, which makes me feel so happy about my choice to be there.
Our class is also small, which historically seems to always be the case, no wonder they rank the highest in the DMV area. Small class, large faculty to student ratio, diversity, LEAP and now the cultural diversity track. One thing that attracted me to UMD before wanting to go there was that it’s a state institution, and that they constantly review their curriculum to make sure that they are up to date with requirements. They recently added a neuro course and aural rehab to their list of pre-reqs, annoying but necessary and a reflection that they care about what their students learn.
After probing the second year that works with me, she gave me some good tips on supplies to buy for the year.
-a white board and markers- she says that they are a great tool you can use with all students
– a voice recorder, we don’t need the external mic, she suggested I buy one I can directly plug into my computer.
– grocery or fabric bags, she made a great suggestion to keep materials for different clients in each bag so I could just grab and go! I bought some at madewell for 5.00! Great buy , I had been searching on Amazon and they were a bit more expensive. Also Whole Foods has some smaller lunch looking grocery bags for .50. I stacked up on those to take my lunch.
Orientation is next week!
I am also almost done with my summer reading list! I’ll update it later!
Besides currently working three jobs I also had to take some pre-reqs before entering graduate school in the fall, both-HESP 417: Principles and Methods in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and HESP 313, 422, or equivalent: Neurobiology for Speech and Hearing.
Being out-of-state has been painful and taking these two classes at UMD would put me out a total of about 4 grand….shriek..that is what nightmares are made of.
So, I decided to get on the grad cafe forum to search for some online equivalents I could take. It would be less expensive and it would offer some flexibility which given my most recent circumstances would really help with life.
I ended up finding out about and enrolling in Longwood University Online Program which offered both PCSD 489: Introduction to Clinical Practice and PCSD 455: Neurology for Human Communication which were both approved as equivalents. WOOO HOOOOO!!
Here the website if youre intersted in checking it out:
The cost also would be about 2k instead of 4…that is called a win when you’re paying out-of-pocket for your own classes hence why I work three jobs.
It was through Longwoods Clinical Practice class that I found out about the website Master Clinician. Most of my previous observation hours were done in a hospital setting. I was a bit uneasy and worried that I had not been exposed to the entire scope of an SLPs practice, especially since I mostly observed adults and not children. Master Clinician allows you to watch pre recorded therapy session online and its been amazing. It has been a great experience and there are a variety of videos. You can search specific types of sessions-AAC, children, adults, TBI etc. whatever your heart desires. The cost was 35.00 for the year if you’re a student and thus far it has been a great experience. The best part is that you can watch from any device at your own convenience. I’ve even watched some sessions while working out on the elliptical.
If you’re looking for somewhere to get some more hours of observation or just want to gain some more experience with other types of therapy sessions and techniques Master Clinician is a great resource. There are a lot of comments you can read from other students and many of the therapists tell you there objectives and give you a history of the client they are working with in their summary or during the videos.
The classes at Longwood have also been great and they are flexible enough to study on my own time.
Besides that the summer in DC is getting HOT and I started working at the school speech and hearing clinic which is in itself has become a learning experience. As the summer creeps by I continue my summer reading list-I’ve added about four other books to my list and they have all been insightful , informative and overall great reads. I recently bought a shirt from politics and prose-my favorite bookstore- that reads ” so many books so little time”, that sums up my summer reading, I’ve devoured four books and bought another five 🙂
After being accepted to Graduate School this year,
-I can imagine like everyone-
I went to the forum boards to find out what I could do to prepare.
I think most, for the most part, are over achievers and will do anything and everything to have a leg up on our course work.
The ambiguity and suspense of it all serves as the driving force.
What should we be doing?
Should we be reading?
Should we be working more?
Should we be learning something? AHHHHHHHHH
Well after hours of scurrying , going through grad cafe forums and talking to current and former students they all seemed to have one big message.
Well, that was uneventful.
That’s really hard to do if you’ve been working your butt off like I have to get into graduate school.
It’s really hard to do.
I did find that there were a lot of book suggestions to read before starting and books that were assigned in graduate courses.
Finally an activity that fills my need to do something and simultaneously serves to RELAX me.
I begin my journey to relaxation and compiled a list, so far Its been great and definitely insightful. I am actually learning things too, even if it’s how to better relate to future clients.
So drum roll please!
Here is the list of books I am reading this summer in no particular order.
Schuyler’s Monster: A Father’s Journey with His Wordless Daughter by St. Martin’s Griffin
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death by Jean Dominique Bauby
Where is the Mango Princess? A Journey Back from Brain Injury by Cathy Crimmins
Look me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robinson
So far I’ve finished ” Where is the Mango Princess?” and started “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”.
I’ll be posting follow-up blogs on each novel with some tad bits and reviews.
So far, “Where is the Mango princess?” has served as an insight into a patient’s and his families perspective and journey with TBI!
Well not nothing-yes thats a double negative which would mean I did something but what I really mean is nothing, or anything or whatever. Just really nothing exciting, waiting for GA’s stink.
Ive been trying to apply, I got a new job , well I should say jobs….lol yes Jobs. One at a local coffee shop-The little red fox. ITS AMAZING. The other walking dogs through Wag, this an addition to my regular sort of part time job as a Nanny.
All which I’ve learned so much at , the other two jobs-coffee shop and dog walking- are just to save some money this summer for some pre-reqs I’ve yet to complete-neuroanatomy and HESP 417-kill me now.
They both have been such fun and really good for my spirit. Ive practically exhausted, sometimes Ill walk for three hours with these dogs, its a good workout and I am on my feet working at the coffee shop. Running after a three year old and four year old also add to that, no wonder I am tired. lol. I just realized how physically exhausting these jobs are.
I want to write about this book that I’ve read, it was a suggestion I found surfing the web on what to do before going to grad school-I told you I had no idea what I should be doing besides nothing.
It seems like you work so hard to get in, and you work and work and then BAM. There is nothing to do after and you feel like you should be doing something, but there is nothing to do but wait and it becomes unbearable so you fill you time with other useless tasks.
I think that is also why I haven’t been writing-the avoidance of this nothingness.
So while I wait Ive 1. Gotten some side jobs and 2. INTENSELY googled what I should be doing besides nothing.
I started a new Instagram for all the beautiful dogs I walk-its nice to catalogue them into my memory somehow, as lame as it sounds I do remember them all. I have a big soft spot for furry friends. I really love WAG , and I KNOW I SHOULD SAY THAT-along with my discount code if you want 20.00 free in credits ROSY5278- but seriously, its been great. It gives me the flexibility to work when I want, I get to exercise and I get to spend time with these love bugs who GET SO excited to see me. Its really great.
The coffee shop has also been amazing, its great to work for a place that stands for everything you believe in. Great food thats locally sourced and organic, great coffee that is viewed as the holy grail and great people with a sense of community. Its down the street from where I currently live and I see my neighbors in there and say HEY I saw you down the street or HEY my kids play with your kids. The responses have been great and its good to know that we have amazing products that everyone believes in and that this is what your selling. I think I can say for me and everyone that we are all very passionate about LRF-Little Red Fox and I love working there and the sense of commodity that we have.
I also want to write about funding in general for school-its been something that I’ve had to google a lot and find out about. I have a meeting with my mentor soon and I am going to pick her brain to see what I can find out. Getting funded is really difficult as is. I am applying for Graduate assistantships through our school website so hopefully something will come to fruition.
Currently living on cloud-9
When I decided three years ago to change my career I felt lost. Deciding not to pursue medical school was hard, especially since my family had really pushed me to do so for so long. I felt I was disappointing them but after working in the ED, being a medical assistant and a scribe for so long, it lost its appeal and glamour. Being a doctor is anything but glamorous and although romanticized, its hard work. Unless you’re very passionate about medicine it a lot of long hours with little reward all while working against a system that seems to over work you.
I married one-a doctor, and he actually loves what he does which is why he is able to endure the 87 hour-long weeks. He is passionate about helping others, loves neurology and went into medicine for all the right reasons. Some other physicians I’ve met are miserable, went into it for the wrong reasons and hate their lives. This is what I realized three years ago when I finally decided to close the door on pursuing medicine. I kept putting off applying, either because I felt I wasn’t ready or that I needed to retake my MCAT, it was always something and I instead hid myself by working and telling myself that I was getting experience and that when I was ready I would apply. The reality was that I wasn’t happy with the work I was doing in the medical field and I was watching first hand the truth of being a physician, I spend most of my day trailing behind the doctor while we saw patients all day. I decided to soul search and really look for something I was passionate about and for the first time in my life I had someone who supported me and encouraged such growth without boundaries or refrain, my husband. He was really the first person that told me I should follow my heart and that if I didn’t want to go to medical school it was okay, that it didn’t mean I was a failure. For so long I had been scared of what others would think, why didn’t she just apply, why didn’t she want to be a doctor, doesn’t everyone want to be a physician? Are you a doctor? lol it seems like being a doctor makes you some kind of protegé, society really romanticized a job that is very tough, demanding and doesn’t reward those who dedicate their lives to helping others.
Then one day while you know, searching the internet for jobs, I stumbled upon speech language pathology. It had never even crossed my mind but it included all the things I was passionate about, neurology, research, clinical work, language..I could go on. I decided that I would apply to a post bacc program and get my pre-reqs. We moved to baltimore-where my husband matched to residency and while working full-time attended night school.I worked my ass off, made all A’s and if you’ve read my previous blog, was straight up rejected the first time I applied.
For about eight years now I’ve felt like I’ve been in this black hole, with this cloud hovering over me that was constantly telling me, get your shit together. I am going to be thirty this year, and I know that it’s not supposed to be a big deal and it doesn’t feel like it but its hard when I look at my peers and they all seem to be excelling in their careers. When I learned that I was accepted at one of the top 10% SLP programs in the country, I felt this great sense of relief. I’ve been on cloud nine since then. All my insecurities and feelings of not being good enough have melted away but I also realize that it just didn’t happen for me, I worked hard and I’ve made a lot of sacrifices, including not having children, these sort of things, moving away from home, sacrificing having a full time job-I am a part-time nanny. It was hard-working forty hours and doing night school, it was hard working part time and doing research and its been hard to keep myself motivated while being rejected to my face. It’s really a testament to endurance and setting goals. But most importantly to the thought that we should follow our hearts, I knew while doing pre-med in undergrad that it didn’t seem like it was the right thing for me, but I let others influence me and made it feel like it was my choice. I also let the burden of disappointing others get in the way of my own happiness. I can’t change anything but if I could tell my younger self something it would be like, ” its okay to make mistakes and be afraid but you just have to try” or ” step out of your comfort zone and speak up for yourself, you’ll be okay .
I am not nervous about starting grad school because I feel like this is what I love and this is what I want and who I am supposed to be. I haven’t felt to certain and motivated about something ever, well something that wasn’t food at least.
I’ve made it and now I will have more relevant things to talk about, which puts me over the moon. I can change my name from aspiring graduate student to actual grad student. *Jaw drop.
*shrieks and that goal I’ve been writing in my journal for the past three years that read -get into grad school can finally be crossed off. I’ve moved onto a new goals-getting a graduate assistantship, presenting at ASHA and getting into the cultural and linguistic diversity program. Cheers to the next three years.
For those who stumble across my blog to find my stats for being admitted to UMD: GPA: 3.8 Post Bacc from Loyola Maryland, GRE: 157V, 152 Q, 4.5 W, have eight years of clinical experience, 3 years of research experience including the last year doing research with Dr. Gordon-Salant at UMD, Bilingual with an emphasis on diversity within the field.
Speech Language Pathology Open Houses
Open houses are an opportunity for students to get to know faculty and an institution better, they are usually open anywhere from Dec-March and you can sign up for them on the schools website. I strongly encourage anyone to attend if they are interested in a program, it really helps to solidify or even change your mind on a certain program.
If you were like me you wonder, what should I wear? How should I look? What should I do and what should I prep for?
I was really lost when it came to knowing the protocol or what to really expect from an open house. I did however know that it was a good way to meet faculty, ask questions, learn about the program and to “see if it was a good fit for me” the default answer I was always given when asked about open houses.
I only applied to two schools this round of applications due to my constraints on moving, GWU and UMD. My husband is a neurology resident and this had made it almost impossible to move.
GWU-George Washington University located in Foggy bottom ranks #39 according to U.S News and World Report which ranks a variety of things including school. A lot of the appeal of GWU is the reputation that follows the name. The school itself is prestigious and you can rest assured that most people have heard of GWU or at least have some idea that it’s in Washington, D.C.
The day itinerary consisted of sitting in for half of the first years class lecture that morning followed by a Q & A with the admissions board and then a tour of their clinic and a private session where you could ask more questions. It was great to see the first year class and to actual see how diverse their program is. The professor was great and the students seemed very engaged and happy, sometimes that always strikes you as positive.
So if you’re like me, you have a list of things you need to know in order to feel somewhat prepared and less anxious about the whole thing, in no particular order:
1. OMG What should I wear?
The story of my life, google?
The answer is really simple, keep it business casual. After having visited several different open houses I can say you should dress to impress. Maybe its my own judgements but I always seem to notice the other students who look well put together. I would suggest not wearing uncomfortable shoes, last year when touring Howard they took us on a long walk and I can imagine that wouldn’t have been comfortable. Also please restrain yourself from wearing perfume, you usually end up in a small room and I can see how that would be obnoxious, especially for someone like myself who is allergic to perfume.
I wore a button up dress shirt, slacks and some wedges, kept it light with the jewelry and makeup and wore my hair down.
2. Who will be there?
Faculty and other interested students and if you’re lucky the admissions board or at least someone who sits on the admission board. The other students always seem as nervous and unsure about the entire thing, I’ve met a few cool people at open houses and it’s always nice to strike up a conversation with someone while you wait around. Usually before the whole thing starts , wouldn’t suggest this during the open house, that would be rude.
What always surprises me is all the students who travel from far away to come to a school. Very cool.
3. Should I practice an introduction?
Yes. GWU and most open houses I’ve gone to either start or end or ask somewhere in the middle about you, your name, what interested you in speech and what interested you about their particular program.
So yes, practice, the first time I was caught off guard and felt kinda silly for mumbling on about something, now I have some sort of idea about what I want to say so I am less nervous.
GWU in particular was more intimidating than a lot of the open houses I attended, I noticed that they give you name tags and glance at them a lot during the process. When they take you to the smaller rooms in the clinic, for the second part of the questions, they all had a packet and it seemed that when you asked questions or made conversation they would write something down by your name. I think it’s also a way for them to get to know their applicants. It a great way for them to get to know you and for you to make an impression.
4. What questions should I ask?
I would suggest bringing a small notebook or paper and pen and noting down some things during their presentation. Every school usually goes through sections, talks about their program and anything unique about their school.
GWU open house, the three times I’ve gone, usually hands out a copy of their courses and goes through sections about funding, the length of their program, their clinics etc and ask if anyone ha any questions in between these.
I did learn that they expanded their program this year and that they will be taking double the amount of students that they did last year.They are hiring all new faculty and have adjusted their funding which is super exciting.
It’s important to have a general list of questions that you want to know from all programs like:
Asking questions is a great way to distinguish yourself and to seem really interested and knowledgeable about what you’re talking about. Most of the information for any program is really available online so its good to take a look and make sure you know about their program.
5. What information should I know?
You should do research before attending any open house. GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND. Find out who their faculty is , what they do , what do they do research in, where are they from?
More than likely these faculty members will come by and either talk or say hi or sit in on your questions sessions. It would also be important to identify with someone who does research in something you’re interested in. A lot of schools welcome you to come talk to faculty after the open house, get to know them or pull them aside to ask a few questions.
What interested me the most in GWU was that they actually have 8 clinics that students rotate in. Apparently its one of few or the only clinic in the country that offers this. It’s a unique experience for students because they get to see and experience a lot of different cases and scenarios they might not experience at another school. Also because GWU is in DC you get exposed a variety of cultures and people. The diversity of the population really make it a selling point and a great program to be a part of.
6.Who should I talk to?
Everyone that you have an opportunity to talk to. It may seem like you don’t want to be a brown noser but its your only chance to really get to talk to someone from the school. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask someone if you can email them later if you have any other questions. The faculty at GWU was amazing, they were so open to questions about anything really, even including living in the area, the city and the people and favorite places for lunch.
GWU had two different session for questions, one with everyone and then they split us up into people who were interested in the post-bacc and those who were interested in becoming first year students. This was more intimate and really was all about asking questions.
7.How do I make my interest in the school known?
Pull them aside or wait until the open house is done to tell them or if you’re like me send them a thank you email and tell them how that school is your first choice.
After my open house last season I found myself at the door of one of the faculty at UMD and asked about opportunities to do research as a volunteer. Most faculty will ask you to email them or if they don’t have an opportunity might know about another faculty member, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Most faculty seem receptive to an introduction, questions and follow-up emails. They can also help steer you in the right direction if you have any other questions.
My Tips for GWU open house: