Yesterday was my first day of classes! I can't believe grad school is officially underway. My first day was awesome. This semester I'm taking: Acquired Brain Injury, AAC (augmentative and alternative communication), Differential Diagnosis in Speech and Language Disorders, and Support Systems for Individuals and Families, which kind of deals with the counseling that goes along with being an SLP. I thought most of my classes last year were pretty interesting, but oh my goodness! I think I'm going to love these so much! They are all so specific and completely applicable to what I'm doing right now in clinicals.
Speaking of clinicals, I am so excited about those as well! I have a pretty heavy load for clinicals this semester. Our supervisor told us some semesters we might have as few as 30-40 clinic hours, and other semesters we might have 70-80. I added it all up today, and this semester I'm actually going to have well over 80 hours as long as I don't get tons of cancellations! We need 400 hours by the time we finish the program, so getting a good head start on it makes me feel a little less stressed in the long run. It also means I'll probably have a lighter load next semester.
I think I have the coolest placements for clinicals too! (I would probably be saying that no matter where I had been placed, but bear with me. Like I said: I'm excited!) My first placement is in a school. I am nervous to even mention this on my blog for confidentiality sake, so I'm not going to give any details about where it's located or what district I'm in. But anyway, I am glad to sort of ease into the whole clinical experience thing in an environment that I'm so familiar with! (For those of you who might be new to the blog, I worked in a school for 4 years, and got my undergrad degree in early childhood education, so I'm very comfortable in a school setting). I will be spending 5 hours a week in this school and working with 11 students! 11 is a lot, since a lot of my classmates are working in the clinic on campus and only have about 3 clients. I'll be going two mornings a week with one other lady from my class. Since there are 2 of us and just 1 supervisor to go between the 2, we're actually going to be doing therapy a lot on our own already! I guess we're just getting thrown right into it. I'm excited though, and I think it will really get me ready for my student teaching that I'll have to do my second year. Today I had an orientation at the school and met a lot of the staff, and they seem great. The principal was very welcoming, and said he would consider us as part of his staff for the next 4 months. The only drawback is that this placement goes past the end of the semester, and I'll be going there until the district goes on Christmas break. But I can deal with that, because I think I'm going to love this!
I haven't heard as much information about my second placement, because our orientation isn't until next week. But I know I'll be working in the new telepractice lab at the university's speech clinic. I believe that means that I'll be doing therapy through Skype, or something like Skype. This is a new, up and coming area of speech pathology, and I'm excited to learn more about it.
Can you tell I'm excited? I guess I may have mentioned that a few dozen times already. I didn't realize I was going to be able to take part in such unique and different experiences for my clinical placements. My understanding was that they'd all just be at the speech clinic on campus. It's a little scary to be thrown out and working with clients in the second week of class, but I think the best way to learn something is to go out there and do it!
Ask me in about 6 weeks, and I may be totally overwhelmed and stressed out! But right now I cannot wait to see what this semester has in store!
All I have to say is that God is awesome, and I'm so glad He has given me this opportunity. I would have missed out on so many blessings if things had gone the way I wanted them to.
I have one more day of class tomorrow, and then I'll be off for a glorious 4-day weekend. I can't wait to sleep in past 6! Anyway, I'm going to sign off for now, because I've gone way over my exclamation point limit for one post.