It’s still a bit surreal, the thought that I’m done with school and won’t see my classmates in the same room for a while. After 2 years of having classes together, it’s a routine that was as natural as taking a shower. We all came from different parts of the country, and some people are going home, while others have decided to stay in the DMV (District, Maryland and Virginia) area.
Now what? Real adult life begins with job hunting.
The graduation festivities included hosting family from New York, Florida, Costa Rica and Los Angeles. It was lots of work, and I realized how my apartment was not really equipped for large numbers of people. For one, we don’t really have a “common area.” No table or chairs to sit and eat which meant that everyone kind of just found a chair and a piece of kitchen counter space and had their dinner. The common area thing was never an issue for me since I had most of my meals in my bedroom. And my roommate and I hardly see each other, let alone have time to eat together (I have offered her some food when we are cooking in the kitchen together). Besides that, to cut on costs and to prevent people from saying they couldn’t make graduation, I rented out the apartment across the hall so that people would have somewhere to stay without paying exorbitant hotel prices. That was an interesting set up, with air mattresses and temporary set ups for the couple of days people were in town. All in all, hosting is fun, and even better when you can accommodate folk in a good space with amenities.
It’s a bit sad to be at the end of the road. A week ago, I had 2 apartments full of people and now… I’m sitting in my room thinking about what kind of shenanigans I will get into this summer. And how I will afford them. The dust from celebrations has definitely settled. The bills are real.
I’m not too worried, though.
Below are just some pics from the graduation and the weekend. Enjoy!
Last week, I completed another milestone in my #SLP life. I passed my national licensing exam in Speech Language Pathology! I am not a great test-taker so this was a topic of much anxiety for me…I studied for about 3 weeks (watching Review videos compiled by my Department, taking practice tests provided by ETS and reviewing my areas of weakness, using a Praxis review book, and searching personal blogs for bits of inspiration and test prep tips). I found some inner confidence to face an exam that in all reality was fair and related to real life situations we find in our field.
I originally scheduled my exam for February 14th. After hearing success story after story of my classmates passing the exam, I decided to push my date up by a week. Testing sites usually offer times beginning at 8am. I scheduled my exam for 12pm on a campus I had never previously visited. I also rented a car to get there. Below are some things I learned from the experience.
Smart things to do:
If you schedule your exam at a site that you are not familiar with, take some time to go and visit the location, and find out what parking is like, etc. I didn’t own a car at the time, so I didn’t have the option of doing this ahead of time.
Know yourself well enough to schedule your exam at a time where your brain is at its most productive state. I scheduled my exam for 12pm because I didn’t want to oversleep and I wanted to have a decent breakfast. The morning of I woke up at 7am and could not go back to sleep. Needless to say, I spent a lot of hours twirling my fingers at home that morning.
Approach the exam with confidence. For me, I kept writing affirmations like “I’m grateful that I will pass the Praxis” and taping them on my walls, used positive self-talk, and envisioned what I would do the moment I saw my passing score. This is another perk of the computerized exam– your exam is graded right away!
Anxiety is good, if you can learn to manage it. Anxiety can help us, whether it be that kick in the behind to stay on our study schedule, to turn down social events, stay focused at the task at hand during the exam and to stay motivated about the end result.
Don’t second guess yourself! Your first answer is usually the correct one.
For me, the most helpful piece of advice was to stay confident because, if you’ve made it this far in your graduate school journey, you know more than you give yourself credit for!I spent a considerable amount of time studying how to take this particular exam, because it is not merely an exam of recall– it involves analyzing, synthesizing and critical thinking. I took 3 practice tests, under real live testing conditions (put my phone on airplane mode and out of arm’s reach) and gave myself 2 hours. It also helped that my school offered a Praxis preparation course, where helpful tips are given and practice exams are also administered.
I wish every #SLP2B, no matter where you are on the journey, positive wishes to stay the course…the pay off is surely worth it!
Any SLPeeps who have passed the PRAXIS have any tips they care to share?
I have officially begun my diving expedition into the world of ERRYTHANG speech-language pathology as I’ve scheduled my national licensing examination (brought to you by the makers of the GRE and AP Exams, my exam is the subject-specific PRAXIS). I won’t disclose dates but I will say that unlike the dreaded GRE, the PRAXIS is more practical and makes sense to me. It’s about synthesizing course work and application, not merely about regurgitation. My motto this semester is Keep Calm and Graduate because anxiety and worrying have proven to do me no good. They don’t motivate me to work harder, they actually just breed self-pity and negative self-talk. Although I have some great gigantic goals this semester, I am reminded that my fear reveals where I don’t trust God. And so, I must trust.
Worry…fear..is just a misuse of the creative imagination that has been placed in each of us. Because we are smart and creative, we imagine all the things that could happen, that might happen, that will happen if this or that happens. -The Noticer by Andy Andrews
Hello lovelies! I am back from the service trip to Nassau, Bahamas. Four graduate students traveled from December 14th to December 21st to provide speech and language evaluations and hearing screenings to families on the island.
What I learned:
Although both are islands in the Caribbean, Haiti and the Bahamas are distinct in many ways. By many standards, the Bahamas is wealthier. They are economically driven by tourism and there is access to services. Whenever there is a shortage of those specialized services, parents have the option of flying to Florida to receive the care that they need. In Haiti, they are still struggling to rebuild their economy after the disastrous earthquake of 2010. Not only are the services scarce, but people don’t have access or the opportunity to seek the care their children need as it relates to speech and language services.
When I took into account the fact that “service” is relative to where you are traveling, I had a clearer perspective. In the Bahamas, there is a shortage of speech and language therapists. Families wait on long waiting lists to receive evaluations and diagnosis, early intervention efforts or laws to protect children with disabilities do not exist.
I grew so much as a clinician as I was afforded many firsts: family intake interviews, learning how to use iPad apps for evaluations, early intervention (0-3 years old) evaluations and an in-service workshop for families in which we talked about what a communication disorders are and how they affect special populations of children (for example; children with Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorders and strokes).
How I grew as person:
Patience. Working in a group and learning when to speak up and when to fall back. My whole graduate school career has revolved around group projects, and although I understand their importance, I also can’t wait for the independence that will come when I’m a certified clinician!
Learning to take constructive criticism on the spot and applying it.
Learning that I shouldn’t be so eager to speak for others. Allowing people to learn how to speak for themselves.
Understanding the type of traveler that I am, and the type of people I feel most comfortable traveling with.
Choosing my words wisely, and maintaining something I learned while working in hospitality called “charitable assumption”– the idea that I will think the best of someone, and not the worst, when a situation arises and their motives are not known or clear.
Overall, I am thankful for the experience. I grew professionally and personally. I have one more semester left in graduate school, can you believe it? I started here, and now graduation is in sight. These two years have not been easy, and I still have some hurdles in front of me, but nothing I can’t handle without my great team of support, God, and hard work.
Thanks to all my faithful readers on the journey! I appreciate all your words of encouragement, your silent prayers, and your belief in me!
Hello lovely people! I have been blessed to attend another service trip, this time to Nassau, Bahamas in exactly one week! Most costs are covered, but nightly dinners are not included. Please consider donating to a worthy cause. I, along with 3 other graduate students in speech-language pathology will be offering services to needy families that include: hearing screening and speech and language screenings. Some of these families desperately need help, and have been waiting months for services!
Read here, for more about the work that’s being done.
I am so thankful for you thoughts and well-wishes. If you cannot give, I understand. But please know that every little bit helps!