This week is the week before students go back to school. Maryland’s governor has pushed back the start date of school for students in order for the State to enjoy another week of summer break (read: Labor Day shmoney.) For a school-based SLP, this is the week before the craziness begins. There’s a chance to set-up speech rooms/offices/shared space/closets, acclimate oneself with the school schedule, culture, administrative staff, and teachers. There’s also the chance to look at the caseload, print IEP’s and get the organizational systems under way. I like the fresh slate of the beginning.
There’s the exciting part of the newness and then the prayers that your students won’t give you a run for your money. Or that the special education team is not a mess. In spite of all the unknowns, I’m thankful for a career where I’m needed and I’m glad to have a job!
This year, I’ll be getting a big lesson on time management as I work on my passion project part time. With a part time job starting my company and part time in the schools, I’m looking forward to where I’ll be 6 months from now. As for now, I’m enjoying the end of my last day of vacation.
It’s the 8th month of the year! Wow… That means we are that much closer to the fall, then Thanksgiving…then we’ll be bidding farewell to 2017. This has been an unusual summer for me. It’s been actual uninterrupted time off, but no travel (sad face- #adultingforreal.) Instead, we put all our extra money towards the move. We’ve been in our condo for one month now, and we are pretty settled in. I love our space, and especially that it’s not my apartment or his, but it’s OURS.
My summer has been pretty low-key, and I am taking the time to get some depth projects up and going. The down side to having all this time is discipline. I try to put some intentions out for the week, so that I can have a list to check off at the end of each day. I am also a big fan of sleeping in, but waking up late (after 11am) makes me feel like I’m wasting the day. Pretty soon, I’ll have to start setting my alarm to get back into the groove of early mornings.
Here’s what else has been rockin’ my world:
Binge-a-thon: After over a year of not watching, I’ve returned to Breaking Bad (up to Season 4 now.) I’ve also indulged in other shows like: Transparent (Amazon), The Keepers (Netflix crime-mystery drama,) and ratchet TV (Love and Hip-Hop Hollywood is back on.) I also finished Married at First Sight (and the Second Chances show) but I’m done watching that show for good, don’t know why it keeps getting renewed.
I am moving forward with the private practice on a part-time basis. Step by step and hoping to start seeing clients as early as September/October. #careergoals
On apps like “Let Go” daily, trying to finish decorating our apartment with things people don’t want anymore.
Cooking whenever I feel like and no apology when I don’t.
Looking for another part time job. If I go back to the schools, it will be on a part time basis only. It’s so freeing to have no ties, and scary at the same time.
Reading whenever I feel enthused. Finished one book so far this summer. Book review here.
I’m really thankful for having this time I know there may not be another summer like this, and for that reason alone I’m allowing myself to just be. #withoutjudgment
I still want to pierce my nose. Haven’t done it yet.
Last night, I stumbled upon a great article on Tactus Therapy about transitioning settings as a speech language pathologist (from schools to medical.) It’s very scary to think about making drastic changes, but I’m learning the older I get that without risk, there’s no reward. I think the most stifling feeling when it comes to work is the thought of being “stuck” or that you don’t have any options. Every speech language pathologist I’ve come in contact with, has chartered their own path. I love listening to “how I got here” stories. I’ve met veterans in school systems, private practice owners, doctoral students, clinicians who aspire to effect change on the state and local level by being active in State organizations, and I’ve read about SLP’s who have landed dream jobs abroad. Many hats, same passion.
I am also a Reddit lurker, because sometimes one can stumble upon the most provoking threads. In our field, sometimes it’s hard to find the answers you’re looking for by searching a simple Google question. I remember a big question that my graduating class had was realistic salary expectations coming out of school. I know there are many factors to consider (setting, hours, productivity, etc.), but I think having that information is empowering (especially in a female-dominated field where the N word is difficult.) Salary is not something you go up to a professor and discuss casually, and we (as a class) got the feeling that it was neither “proper” or “professional” to expect a direct answer or number. But it sure would have been helpful. In my experience in reading Reddit threads, people are more willing to share numbers to strangers across the interwebs. The transparency is just one aspect that we may lose in the spirit of “decorum.”
I’m writing this because I’m recognizing very early that the school setting is not a long-term reality for me. I’ve learned a lot in the 3 years (one year CF, and 2 “on my own”) from 2 different school districts. I have a lot of respect for everyone involved with keeping schools running, however, it is not for everyone. It is a tiresome, thankless job that no one does for money. But you’ve probably already heard that tune. I think the most exciting question to answer is… so what’s next?
The aforementioned article closes with the the thought that one should “travel toward what excites them, not away from what scares them.” In other words, it’s all about perspective. Recognizing what’s NOT for you is just as important as what is. The journey is the fun part, and the plan is what drives the goal. This year, I am embracing the plan and not becoming overwhelmed by big tasks. I’m striving to take a step every day towards not settling, committed to staying fulfilled, motivated and present.
How do you stay motivated when finding the right work setting?
This semester has been pretty heavy on me, to say the least. In spite of the fact that my favorite season is officially here (SPRINGGG!!), we’ve had a pretty tough winter (by D.C. standards) which has caused 11 snow days in these here public schools. Now, who wouldn’t love a snow day to cuddle, drink hot chocolate and culminate in a 4-day work week?
Not a girl trying to rack up her clinical hours. I work in an elementary school, my hours are dictated by face to face contact. NO school, no contact, no hours.
The fact that I’m still a little ways away from my 400 hour requirement has been weighing on me all semester. And considering we have about 5 weeks left of school, I’m sort of freaking out although everyone around me (i.e: classmates) is basically chilling because they’ve either reached their hours or don’t know what it feels like to be in my predicament. Well, I’m holding on to faith. I know I will make it, but sometimes it’s hard to see past the number I’m at now.
Besides that, my supervisor is a tough cookie. I mentioned in my last VLOG that she is an older woman, who hasn’t taken an intern in 10 years (red flag). I’ve come to the conclusion that she is one of those people who is never satisfied by other people’s work. Granted, there are areas I need to work on, that’s why I’m still in school! And I know think she wants me to be a good clinician. She’s got that tough exterior, or some may call it tough love. I don’t know if I would call it tough love, because I’m still scratching my head wondering, where is the love?
Maybe I’ve been a little spoiled with positive verbal reinforcement for most of my graduate school clinical placements. Most of the time, I look to be treated the way we are taught to report information to our students’ parents: SAY SOMETHING NICE FIRST! I don’t care if it’s…that’s a nice shirt she’s wearing, you live in ______? That’s awesome! or he is such a well-behaved boy! You don’t flat out start talking about all the negative before saying something positive. Sometimes, I feel like I’m in a battlefield at my site, where every question is an exam and the help offered to me is limited. It has strengthened my belief that everyone is not meant to be a supervisor. I still do not regret the decision, because the bilingual case load I have is valuable and has taught me a lot so far.
Hey lovelies! How was your Halloween? I’m all doped up on caffeine now since I decided to indulge in a Caramel Frappe around 6pm. I did not celebrate Halloween this weekend, and in the wake of #Sandy, there didn’t seem to be that same holiday spirit in the air. I hope that all my readers from NYC, NJ and the surrounding areas are doing well and trying to get back to some kind of normal. I saw this picture today on Facebook:
There are a lot of things I can do without in life. Among them are deaths, standardized exams, washing dishes, Pap smears and interviews. Interviews for jobs are unavoidable for most of us. Interviews for graduate school are not done by all schools, but in the Speech Language Pathology programs it tends to be an important piece to the puzzle. Since appearance (how you present yourself), articulation (how clearly you produce words), language (how you express yourself) and professionalism is very important in this field, most schools want a chance to see the whole person. This spring I’ve gotten the chance to attend an Interview Day with one school, and a phone interview with another (which can be accommodated in cases where you can’t visit the school because of a conflict.) As nerve wrecking as it is, I’d rather interview live with someone because it’s another opportunity to sell yourself! If the school is in your Top 3, I would suggest making every effort to visit if invited to interview. The phone interview might put you at a disadvantage, being that you don’t get to make a first impression in the physical sense but if it’s the only other alternative then definitely take it. Below are a few Pro’s and Con’s to each interview.
Phone Interview Pro’s
You don’t have to dress up, or even leave the house for that matter.
You get to make a whole bunch of little cheat-sheets to keep in front of you.
It’s convenient, and may be less stressful.
Depending on the interviewers, it might be more like a conversation then drilled questions thrown at you.
You can’t read the interviewers body language and judge how the interview went based on that.
You can’t judge if the interviewer really liked you, or was just being polite over the phone.
Talking over the phone increases the possibility of communication breakdown (since the visual stimuli is not in the equation.)
If you are great at interviews then you might feel at a disadvantage because you can’t present yourself in person.
If you still haven’t visited the school, you’ve missed another opportunity to see what the school’s department has to offer.
It’s a little hard to be memorable over the phone, might be easier in person.
If you haven’t visited the school, it’s the perfect opportunity to go and ask all the questions you want without feeling like you’re being a pain.
If you don’t necessarily look good on paper, it’s an opportunity to sell yourself and speak from the heart about why you’re a great candidate.
You get to see what your competition looks like.
You might be able to chat with current grad students.
You get to meet professors and see the clinic (if the school has one).
You get to make a first impression!
You get an impression about the school, and might be able to decide if it’s a good fit for you after all.
If interviews make you visibly anxious, they interviewer might hold this against you. But then again, they might also understand.
You might start comparing yourself with the competition.
Keeping in mind that some schools just make decisions based on the one-dimensional paper-based applicant, I think interviews are great for people like me who need that extra selling point. In this competitive field, you need every opportunity you can to stand out from the crowd. You first impression in person might be the difference between you and that applicant who are neck-to-neck in terms of grades and experience. Make sure you don’t disregard this step, or take it lightly!
Here’s a recent article I read about answering the dreaded open-question Tell Me About Yourself in Graduate Admission Interviews.
If you are a #SLPeep or grad school hopeful and would like to know more details about what the actual interview day consisted of, please send me a request on Twitter. (@TracitaLinda) I can’t speak for what all schools do, but any information is better than no information and I love connecting with other people in the field!