ABCs 4 SLPs: G is for Guest Posts - Let's Talk Speech Therapy Presents How to Survive SLP Graduate School
Here is the second post in my G is for Guest posts portion of my ABCs 4 SLPs series. Today I have Rachel Jones from Let's Talk Speech Therapy!
Rachel Jones is currently a second-year graduate student in Communication Disorders. She describes herself as having "a real heart for pediatric therapy and developmental disorders. [She] love[s] toys, books, apps, crafty things, Disney, and anything colorful in therapy". You can follow her blog, Let's Talk Speech Therapy, on Facebook and view her products on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Continue reading to hear her tips for surviving graduate school! I definitely wish I had a few of these when I started!
I am a graduate SLP student, about 9 months away from completing my degree (yahoo!). I decided to share with you all some of the ways that I survived grad school, as I know many of you are thinking about grad school, beginning your first year, or are in the thick of it all. Whatever your position, take heart! You will make it! (It’s ok, I didn’t believe it until I took my last final, either!)
1. Find a way to get organized and stick to it.
I am an organizer by nature, but grad school brought out the SUPER organizer in me! Find a way to organize almost everything that you do- from note taking to clinic work to assignments and tests. Take the time to find a planner/calendar that works for you. Just because it isn’t the same system that works for your classmates, you need to figure out your way of doing things! When it planning my days, I have a great planner that I keep with me at all times, and I use the post-it note feature on my desktop, since I’m on my computer at least once a day. Clinic troubles? I color coordinated everything I have for my clients, which is easy to do since I had a small caseload when I was in clinic. One client was green, the other yellow, and that color was the same for everything I did for them-folders, notecards, you name it. Note taking? If your university allows computers in class (some don’t), I love to use the Microsoft program OneNote to keep me organized and having all my notes in one place, as opposed to various notebooks and scraps of paper.
2.Get to know your faculty
I’ve heard that some people are afraid to get to know their faculty on more than a professor/student level, which shocked me a little! Your faculty, especially at the graduate level, have a lot experience in what they’re telling you, and most of them have done some really great things! Take advantage of that! They can give you more knowledge on a particular topic than a typical textbook could. Also, the more they know you-from who you are as a student and clinician, to what is going on in your outside life, the stronger letter of recommendation they can write you when you are ready to apply for jobs! Also, this just makes for a more memorable and meaningful experience overall. My last semester, I had the awesome opportunity to present research at ASHA, and our department chair went with us. We all got to know her, most of which was on levels that we never had before!
3. Build your resources now!
From big to small-get ready for being a speech therapist now! Save any and all handouts that are given to you in classes, even if it’s info that you know, it may be a useful down the road, or as a handout for a client later on. While your schedule may be planned to the last minute, take the time to make good therapy materials (maybe laminate them?!), so when you go out to the “real world” you’ll have a few semesters of materials targeting various topics already in your possession. Check out second-hand stores and garage sales for therapy “staples”- Mr. Potato Head, puzzles, boardgames, etc. It’s easy to do on a grad school budget and again, you’ll have a small (or large, in my case) collection of things to get you started during externships.
My therapy stash (which has grown, and continues to grow!)
4. Stay sane
Grad school is busy, and sometimes stressful. But the most important thing I can tell you is to stay sane! Get to know the girls (and guys) in your program. Celebrate each other’s birthdays, go out to dinner, talk about things that don’t relate to school. You’ll be glad you did! This is a crazy two years, but it’s also two years of your life-the girls next to you are going through the same things you are, who better to relate to?! Also, find an outlet-exercise, DIY crafting, shopping, cooking, whatever it is, find something to do that takes your mind off of all things SLP, even if for just a bit. While it’s good to be dedicated to what you do, it’s also good to keep the “rest of your life” alive to.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, and for some of you, experience is the best teacher! Whatever the case, you will make it through, and before you know it, YOU will be the one giving the advice!
Thanks again to Rachel Jones for a great guest post! What are some of your tips for surviving SLP graduate school?