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I didn’t grow up with this innate desire to be a SLP {speech-language pathologist}, nor did I look too hard to find something I wanted to do. Basically, after a month of Chemistry 109 in freshman year I realized I hated labs and better find something else to do. Somehow I landed into speech pathology with a beautifully laid 5 year plan to study abroad, minor in Spanish, and complete a master program for speech.

It’s hard to believe that all those decisions happened nearly 6 years ago. It’s even harder to believer that all those beautifully laid plans came to life. I can’t tell you it was always easy, but it was most definitely worthwhile.

I never had a senior year of college per se, rather it was my first year of graduate school. Graduate school was by far the most challenging two years of life so far. I wouldn’t say any of the coursework was “hard”, but getting everything done on time and remembering to eat, sleep and shower was less than easy.

I learned SOOOO much in grad school, but there are many things that I have learned in the real world since then. If you are planning on going into speech/healthcare/education/anything pretty much {or are doing any of the above currently}.

– As important as your clinical skills are, your ability to do paperwork is equally important. The more efficient you are at paperwork, the easier your life will be.

– Resources may or may not be handed to you. Either way, if there is something you need to do your job better, ask. All they can say is no.

– Actually, you should just ask lots of questions. Technical {where is the extra copy paper}, clinical, social, questions. It builds rapport and gives you the information you need.

– There are all sorts of formal assessments. They give you some information, but sometimes the most important stuff is found in functional assessments. What’s happening in the classroom that’s impacting learning? What’s happening at the dinner table that’s impacting swallowing? Is the student/patient upset about it? Are others noticing?

– Counseling and education is a HUGE part of the job. Very few people know the SLP scope of practice. Even fewer understand the rationale behind what we do. It is beyond important to be able to explain and counsel in layman’s terms.

– You know a lot more than you think you know. Sometimes I wonder, why the heck are you asking me? Then, I usually figure out that I do know the answer.

– Trust your gut feeling. That clinical intuition that all your professors tell you that you will develop someday? Yea, it’s a real thing. And it’s pretty cool too.

– In the real world they pay you to go to work. That means that you don’t have to work from home 24/7. This is so different from grad school. And so nice. Take advantage of it. Relax.

What did you learn in the real world you wish they taught you in school??