Thursday, January 15, 2015

Speech path life

The first week of my last semester is finished. I know I've said this a lot, but boy, time flies!! I was thinking today about how I came to declare my major--speech pathology. It's been a crazy ride, but I wouldn't changed a second of it. Care to join me on a walk down memory lane? 

When I was a freshman, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. My major was literally undecided. There were too many things I enjoyed and too many subjects I loved learning. In high school, I did well in all my classes; there wasn't really one subject I liked more than the rest. Learning in general came easily to me. My first semester of freshman year I went to career counseling to try and get some guidance of how my personality and my interests could possibly turn into a career path. I got many different possible options, but for some reason, speech pathology stood out to me. I had no idea what a speech pathologist actually did, but I started googling it that night. I found out that speech pathologists help others communicate better and improve the quality of life of a variety of clients. I saw that there are many different types of speech patholgoists with a variety of potential workplaces. I found that speech pathologists are in great demand across the country. I read testimonies of both practicing speech pathologists as well as clients who had been helped by speech pathologists. Slowly but surely, I became more intrigued with the idea of becoming this mysterious thing called a speech pathologist. 

So, I decided to take the intro class my second semester. Throughout the course of the class, I came to the realization that I had found my career. Every time I went to class, I got so excited to learn about something new. I read my introductory textbook for fun, desiring to devour as much knowledge as possible. I could begin to picture myself doing therapy or writing reports or giving diagnostic tests. I absolutely loved the idea of becoming a speech pathologist! Now, I'm a senior, almost finished with my undergrad and about to start graduate school so I can learn practically how to do be a great speech pathologist. In undergrad, I've learned plenty of theoretical ideas and generalized steps. I know the International Phonetic Alphabet, different disorders and their speech and language ramifications, how to articulate sounds correctly, how a normally developing child develops language, technological terms for anatomical structures as well as specific therapy techniques, and all about the hearing organ. In grad school, I get to put that knowledge to good use and practice. I am thrilled to take that leap, and I cannot wait to be the best speech pathologist I can be. 

One of the things I loved almost immediately about speech pathology was that it's a field centered around helping people. Because of my cystic fibrosis, I have had plenty of medical professionals over the year focus on trying to improve my quality of life. Some have done it well; others, not so much. I knew all along that I wanted to use my life to help others the way great doctors and nurses and dietitians and respiratory therapists have helped me, but I had no idea how. All medical professions were out because of the many potential germs and negative consequences on my health. But when I found speech pathology, I knew I had found a field where I could use my desire to help people without putting my own health in danger. Communication is vital to life, and without the ability to communicate ideas and thoughts well, life gets pretty difficult. I love the fact that I can help someone else's life improve, even just a little bit. 

I also love that with speech pathology, I can work with a variety of clients. I can work with kids with articulation errors, children with language impairments and disorders, adults who have had a stroke, teenagers with traumatic brain injury, and babies in the NICU. I'm not confined to one group of clients. Life is never boring as a speech pathologist.

 Thank you, God, for bringing me to speech pathology! I'm beyond excited to continue in my education  and to see where the Lord leads me as I continue to walk through the journey of life.

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