Dear Recent Grad,
Congratulations, you made it! Getting to this point means you have the grit, passion and tenacity to complete your coursework in audiology or speech-language pathology. I remember this clearly. I remember feeling nervous about starting my first day of my clinical fellowship (CF). I remember feeling pressured to remember everything I learned in grad school in order to be an effective clinician. I also wanted acceptance from my new colleagues.
My one piece of advice for new grads as they embark into this amazing profession is to realize this is the beginning of another beginning. Look for a strong and encouraging CF supervisor to provide the support you’ll want and need. Think about working with or for someone who will mentor you. Although money is important, look for a placement you find rewarding—and a setting where you think you’ll feel happy and supported.
You should expect every challenge you encounter to help you perfect your craft for years to come. The more challenges and questions—the more you can apply all the theories you learned in grad school to practice! Here are my best tips for you as you embark on your post-school journey:
Keep those textbooks for a while. You may need them to reference questions about treating a specific disorder or a certain type of client. Also, they serve as a visual reminder of all you endured to get to where you are today.
Keep a journal. When you get a compliment from a patient or family member, or you experience a particularly successful session, go ahead and write it down. You can also staple a nice note of appreciation from a client to a page. The journal lets you reflect on positive aspects of your job and ways you make a difference. Your journal can also get you through moments of self-doubt or frustration. Read previous entries for inspiration and let them remind you of the reasons you went into this line of work.
Be open to the seasoned therapists. Those of us who have practiced for a while know some proven life hacks to save you energy and heartache. Being open to advice or ideas can make your job easier. Write these ideas down—perhaps in your journal—when someone offers tips that may apply to your situation.
Always remember the support others gave. Don’t forget to also share this type of support and connection to someone else who may need it one day!
—Jasna Cowan (Fellow SLP)