“Hello friends. Are you tired, run-down, listless? Do you poop out at parties? Why don’t you join the thousands of happy peppy people…” at the 2012 ASHA Convention. If this famous I Love Lucy script makes you think your convention experience thus far, then you are not alone. Between walking from the Exhibit Hall to visit the vendors to checking out the NSSLHA Lounge and Poster Presentations, just navigating the convention can wear a person out.
Despite the many weary feet, the excitement from day 1 has been tangible. Waiting in line for coffee, finding the room number for sessions, or collecting your third Super Duper bag, you can always find someone to share a conversation with. How often do you know everyone around you is an SLP or AUD, and feel comfortable discussing a therapy technique or a new iPad application while waiting in line? The convention provides professionals from across the country opportunities to reconnect with colleagues and friends, refine intervention strategies and techniques, and renew the excitement and zeal for being “rainbows in the clouds” of our clients.
As a student, not only is attending sessions part of the allure of attending the convention, but meeting and networking with professionals who have knowledge and experience to share has been invaluable. Everyone I have met and shared a conversation with has been more than willing to relay tips for my SLP-CF job search or strategies for interviewing and negotiating a contract. I still get nervous before speaking with SLPs or AUDs, but I hope those I speak with remember what it felt like to be a student: Excited, nervous, stressed, overwhelmed, and just itching to finish our clinical internships. The convention is a chance for everyone to “nerd out” with other SLP students, professionals, professors, and researchers from across the world; it is like Christmas morning for me.
What was my favorite part of the 2012 ASHA Convention?
One of the highlights for me was meeting the SLPs, AUDs, and other student SLPs that I have met through Twitter over the past year. Many people are still apprehensive or unaware of the professional learning opportunities that wait by using Twitter with the #SLPeeps. Heidi Kay over at Pediastaff recruited some of the best SLPs who use social media as professional tools to create a Free Guidebook to help people get started. If you want to see how to use these tools, please check out the easy to follow electronic book and start growing professionally with the #SLPeeps.
Another one of the highlights from the convention was hearing Dr. Maya Angelou speak at the opening session. Her powerful storytelling inspired me professionally and personally. She compared SLPs and AUDs to rainbows in the clouds. A rainbow speaks of promise and hope; I would like to think I can be that for my clients. Her personal tale of selective mutism after a childhood trauma empowered me to always consider the perspective of my clients before jumping to conclusions. She always had a story to tell; as Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists, accepting and establishing trust can impact how much of their story a client decides to share.
(Katie is one of the official ASHA Convention bloggers. These three bloggers were selected to blog about the ASHA Convention in exchange for complimentary registration. Stay tuned for more insights from her and the other bloggers before, during and after convention.)
Katie Millican, B.S. Ed., is a second year graduate student in Speech-Language Pathology program at the University of West Georgia (UWG). Katie is the current UWG local NSSLHA chapter President. She is active with the #slpeeps and #slp2b on Twitter (@SLP_Echo) and on Pinterest, and she writes her own blog SLP_Echo: Just another SLP in the Making. Katie has a passion for using technology and sharing evidence-based ideas.