"Communication is something many of us take for granted, but I was well aware of the psycho-social effects that it can have on a person. Having a good ability to relate to people is vital when working with someone on communication."
Exercise Science Major
I actually sort of fell into my major after coming in thinking I would pursue Biology, I found that after taking General Chemistry I & II, I no longer was interested in Biology as a major. I found that because I had completed General Biology I & II and General Chemistry I & II, that I actually had been prepared for several of my prerequisites for an Exercise Science major. Following the integrative physiology track, I was able to still focus on a broad variety of sciences while developing my understanding in motor learning, which is a significant topic in speech-language pathology.
Multiple tests in a week are difficult for many students, but I always found that my friends in my classes were often my best resource for studying and support. Whenever I needed extra help, the faculty was always willing to give their time however they could. Additionally, upper-classmen were often a great resource to utilize when I did not understand a concept since often, at least one senior would be conducting research on that topic. Switching majors can be a difficult and scary task, but the faculty members in the Exercise Science department are extremely friendly and truly care about the students so they helped me find my way comfortably into the major.
Choices and Challenges
Growing up I had a challenging misplacement of my /s/’s and transformed the sound into a /th/. Communication is something many of us take for granted, but I was well aware of the psycho-social effects that it can have on a person. Often I found myself avoiding conversation or hesitant to give a speech because I was afraid to be the target of laughter from other students in my high school. I became class-president of my graduating class and one of the requirements was to give a graduation speech. I knew that in order to avoid being the target of large-scale humiliation or pity I needed to fix my problem. I began attending speech therapy with a private practice clinician named Jason in Longview, WA. After only two short sessions with him I was able to accurately produce my /s/. I ended up giving a graduation speech to a crowd of over 800 students, friends, and family members and never misplaced my /s/’s during the speech. Afterwards a friend told me how proud of me she was that I overcame my speech problem and accomplished this. I cannot thank Jason enough for his work and how much influence he has had on my life and it is because of him that I choose to be a speech-language pathologist.
Finding a Pathway
Having a good ability to relate to people is vital when working with someone on communication. I believe I make people feel welcomed by offering a friendly and positive attitude which is absolutely necessary. Additionally, having a liberal-arts education really provides me with a broad understanding of a variety of topics, all of which allows me to talk to my patients about something they are interested in. Additionally, I understand what it means to be the patient, and at least somewhat understand the frustrations they may be experiencing; because of this I am able to relate to patients and help avoid those frustrations. Finally, I truly enjoy working in a team. Speech-language pathologists are known to work closely in a medical team with physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, audiologists, and even nurses and physicians. In this field the ability to work as a team to bring a patient back to full health is absolutely vital, and my many experiences leading clubs and organization, volunteer experience as a baseball coach, and work experience in Orientation has helped to develop this necessary skill.
Success and Highlights
Being an Exercise Science major is something I truly value and that will really help me in my career. As a graduate student, my, background in Exercise Science will provide me with a unique perspective both in the classroom and as a researcher. My experience with motor learning will set me ahead in working with patients in rehabilitation, as well as habilitation of newborns who may have a variety of diseases affecting speech and swallowing. Additionally, I have taken many of the basic pre-requisite classes that many physical therapists and occupational therapists will have taken, so this helps me relate better to the medical team that I will work most with.
I would encourage students to truly get an education outside of the classroom. So many of my most valuable experiences did not happen with a professor lecturing behind a podium, but rather when I was volunteering or working. As a coach I have learned how to work with children regardless of their mood, and as an Orientation Coordinator I have learned the value of teamwork. From my many clubs and leadership positions I have learned to be an advocate for the change that I want to see, and with legislation often changing for the profession it is vital to be an advocate for the change you want to see. My advice? Volunteer, get involved, ask questions, be an advocate for the change that you want to see, and from all of these experiences you will become an amazing professional not only in SLP, but as someone who truly makes a difference in the lives of patients and fellow practitioners.
Posted by Career Development Center (firstname.lastname@example.org) on Mar 18, 2013 at 2:28 PM