Today I thought I'd do a little update on how things are going with my classes. This is a really unique stage of my life, and I want to keep a record, I guess. I never thought I would go back to school full time again, but our plans are not always God's plans!
As far as my classes go, I have four this semester: Anatomy & Physiology + a lab for that, Principles of Audiology, Language science and Acquistion, and Phonetics.
My least favorite classes are Audiology and Language Science and Acquisition. Audiology is very interesting, but I'm going the speech-language pathology route after this year and not audiology. Some of what we're learning feels a little irrelevant. And Lang. Science and Acquisition is an online class and all of it is simply a repeat of what I learned in my education classes when I was getting my undergrad. degree. (Piaget, Vigotsky, blah blah blah. I'm sure you teachers probably say those names in your sleep. And while it's important, I've already learned it!) So it's pretty boring and repetitive, and is also my easiest class by a long shot (not because of the content, but because of the professor).
That means that my two favorite classes are Phonetics and Anatomy & Physiology. In phonetics our main task is to learn to use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) to transcribe. This is something that will be used a lot as an SLP. Basically, there is a different symbol for every sound in any language (luckily we just have to learn the English ones!) Some of the symbols are the same as letters in the alphabet, but some are totally different. Here's just a little taste of the transcription we did last night
Just to give you an idea, #10's words would be "Sues" and "shoes." Pretty cool, right?
I am a total nerd, and completely love transcription! It's a good thing, because we do it for about an hour or an hour-and-a-half during every class! And then some more for homework.
Like I said, my other favorite class is A&P. It's also by far my hardest class. I'm so glad I'm good at memorizing things quickly! Making it harder is the fact that I took the online class, so I kind of have to teach some things to myself. Luckily our professor puts the lectures online so that helps a lot. Anyway, I absolutely love it. It's so fascinating to me! I can't believe how complex our bodies are, and I only have to focus on the systems of speech and hearing! (Props to all the doctors and nurses out there. I don't know how you do it!) Anyway, the lab that goes with that class is not online, so once a week I get to go and do fun things like color 8,000 parts of the skull (exaggerating slightly :-P) or dissect gross yet awesome things.
(this is 2 pages out of 10 in that packet. Yikes)
Cool things I've done this semester:
Since I'm a post-bac student (meaning I already have a bachelor's degree but I just need to pick up a few extra classes before I begin the graduate program) I was kind of thrown right the middle of the SLP/audiology world at The University of Akron. Kind of like just jumping into the middle of a freezing swimming pool instead of taking it one step at a time :-P Anyway, because of that, I've gotten to do some pretty cool things right off the bat! Like...
- Dissecting a pig's larynx. It was pretty cool. However I'm not looking forward to the sheep's brain dissection that's coming up in a couple weeks!
- Conducting an oral mechanism exam. I got to perform this on my lab partner. Basically I just had to look at the different parts of her mouth, count her teeth, and make sure everything was normal and functioning correctly. This is something I will have to do a lot as an SLP.
- Conducting an air- and bone-conduction hearing test on someone else from class. this was fun, even though I'm not going to be an audiologist. Basically I got to sit in the testing room and run the machine that does the testing, all while plotting the results. It was the basic "raise your hand when you hear the beep" test, but it was much more complicated than I would have imagined! You have to test certain frequencies in a certain order, and it's different for air-conduction verses bone conduction. Then you have to test at certain decibels for each frequency to find the hearing threshold. and then you have to do it for the opposite ear with air-conduction. And then you plot it on an audiogram like this:
What I love about The University of Akron
- I love that Akron is big and there is a diverse group of students there.
- I love that attending a college right in the middle of downtown Akron has made me get out of my comfort zone as far as finding my way around, and I've become more competent in some ways.
- I LOVE that there's a Starbucks right, smack, dab in the middle of the building where all of my classes are. This is not a luxury I'm used to, since the closest Starbucks to my home is about 45 minutes away. It was actually pretty warm yesterday, so an ice-cold Frappuccino was perfect. Seriously? It kind of made my day :-)
- Speaking of Starbucks, I kind of love the whole lounge area in my building. I have sat there hours upon hours doing homework, blog reading, Pinterest-ing (thanks to my new laptop!) and people-watching. There are some very interesting people that hang out in the lounge! (and some creepy ones, but we won't talk about that).
- I love that it is so close to where my sister lives and where my aunt works. All three of us went out to lunch last month. And I've spent a lot of afternoons on Julie's couch in her cozy apartment watching shows/movies or talking. Last night she texted me wanting to hang out a week from Thursday for my birthday!! Yay! I'm a little excited :-)
Things I don't love about Akron:
- As much as I like the diverse group of people there, if Malone University (the little Christian school where I got my first degree) had an SLP program, and if cost wasn't a factor, I would totally choose Malone again. I just loved the small school feel with the Christian atmosphere. I liked that the professors were allowed to talk about faith, and incorporate it into our education. And I even loved going to chapel twice a week! Also, I loved that Malone was like a separate entity. The University of Akron is just kind of incorporated into the city, if that makes sense. So I love Akron, but I love the atmosphere of Malone just a little bit more.
Next for me is applying to the SLP graduate program. I'm actually in the middle of getting things together for that right now, because the deadline is in January. I take the GRE on Friday, so pray for me! Haha...I am soooo nervous, and not even expecting to do that great. I'm hoping my grades, resume, and past experience will pull me through to get into grad. school. This graduate program is highly competitive (to get into, anyway) at nearly every school. So I'm just trusting God that He is in control, and I will get in if it's His will.
Also next for me is another semester full of classes. From what I've been told, though, it will be a lot easier than this semester. So I'm happy about that! I'll be taking:
- Hearing and speech science
- articulation and phonological disorders (this is the one I'm most looking forward to because I think it will be fascinating)
- language disorders (also looking forward to this one)
- Observations and clinical techniques. I'll be required to do hours of observation in this class (I think 30 hours?? Not sure). I'll be able to do them in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, etc. I can't wait to get out there and see actual SLPs in the field!
Wow, that was a long update. I'm sure no one cares except for me. haha...but like I said, this is an interesting stage of life for me, and I want to remember it :-)