Thursday, August 23, 2012


"It begins today."

Yesterday was day one of orientation for my Master's in Speech Language Pathology program. I have so much still to learn about the culture down here! Our email said to dress casually, so I did! 

Seattle must be the casual capital of the world! When I read casual my first thought was yoga pants, but it is too hot here for that. So I opted for running shirts and a conservative tank top. Oh well, at least I'll be memorable, right? I mean, imagine my hand shooting in the air and then me bounding over chairs and people in that outfit. Cause that is exactly what happened when I had the opportunity to win a door prize. To be fair, a free shirt and pen were on the line, important stuff people! Several different questions were asked and if you answered you could choose a prize. Finally someone asked "Raise your hand if you think you came the farthest for the program." My hand shot straight up. When she asked where I came from I said Seattle and she said "Ok, yeah, that is the farthest, you win." Haha it was no contest. So many people in the program are from Florida. Which is fine, but I feel a bit crazy for coming all the way down here! Megan told me a professor told her that they only accepted about 10 people for whom Speech was not their undergraduate major. He told her that the people who got in with post-bacc's or pre-requisites without the full major had to be really impressive to beat out the competition. Wow. I knew it was competitive but I didn't realize it was that impressive to get in! Neither of us did speech for our undergrad so go us! 

With my new shirt, pen, pencil, lollipops and smarties!
Too excited to look good for the picture! 

While most of the day was generic and not terribly useful, one speaker was particularly captivating. I have never been so amused or motivated during a lecture on registration practices. Dr. Ruth Bahr is already my favorite professor! Her passion for the field and our education was evident, and I just plain loved listening to her talk. She is going to be teaching Advanced Phonology, which I am excited and terrified for. It is going to be something else to take Phonology from a woman with a Southern accent -- but I am up for the challenge. Phonology is the study of the sounds of language, and we learn how to use the International Phonetic Alphabet to transcribe what we hear into sound segments (as opposed to the orthographic way this blog is written). The goal in transcribing is to be able to read back exactly how the person sounded. Learning transcription and phonetics is hard enough when the person teaching you speaks in your same dialect, but being in Florida there are so many dialects, it is going to be a challenge! 

Everyone kept reiterating that our path towards being a certified Speech Language Pathologist "begins today." We had a mini project that began with watching this video:

At the end we were asked to write "our sentence" on a notecard. Talk about intimidating. I was really nervous we were going to be asked to share and as such was worried about creating a "worthy" sentence. Since I don't know yet exactly where I want to go with Speech Language Pathology and I don't have a job, I'm not sure exactly how I define myself right now. I've spent the last few months really focused on training my body, but I didn't want my sentence to be about that. Here's what I came up with: 

Last year at Portland State was a hard, challenging and often frustrating year. At times what got me through was remembering that the hard work I put in now is going to pay off big time in the future when I am able to offer awesome therapy and enable someone to reach their communication goals and needs. I remember when I was working back in Seattle at a local elementary school, the teacher was trying to teach the 2nd graders in our class about the importance of not giving up. She explained that to become a teacher you have to take a very hard, special test to get into school (she was talking about the GRE, the test I was studying for at the time!). The first time she took it her grade wasn't quite good enough, but she knew she wanted to be a teacher and so she studied more and took the test again. As she was telling this story one girl was entranced, leaning forward almost falling out of her seat loving the story. I could see her brain working this over and realizing that her teacher's actions 30 years before had an affect on her now. Very quietly, the girl said "Thank you." I was in awe. It was the sweetest compliment I had ever heard. I think about that compliment whenever this adventure I am on seems impossible. Everything I do, everything I learn, every challenge I accept is going to affect who I am able to serve in the future. Ultimately that is the goal, to become a kicka** clinician, not only because it is interesting to me, or because it pays well, but because I want to be able to educate and enable people to attain their goals. I am excited to help change lives and that starts today! 

Orientation ended quickly, just a speech and hearing test and then I was done at 2. Plenty of time to try on and order scrubs, pick up my bike in Carollwood, chat with the guys about events coming up, head to Ikea to get the lightbulbs I forgot last time, drop my bike off at home and then head out to another Running for Brews event. Wednesday night starts in Channelside, crosses over to Harbor Island and winds around back to Pour House in Channelside. It was a crazy confusing route, and I fell back from the front pack a bit at one point. I kept looking over my shoulder and the girls behind me would wave me in the direction I was supposed to go. Finally I gave up, let them pass me and followed the rest of the way back. Which gave me the opportunity to snap this picture of the set-up going on for the Republican National Convention.

We basically ran a circle around the site of the convention. There were already so many banners, signs and people out wearing press/convention badges. I will not be heading in this direction next week, so it was interesting to be able to see a bit of what is going on before the chaos ensues. There has been a lot of hype about how dangerous and congested Tampa is going to be next week. I have no idea what to expect. Especially now that we have Hurricane Isaac threatening to barrel down on us who knows what is going to happen next week. When I'm not in class I plan on staying locked up in Tampa Palms - memorizing professor's names, reading course syllabi, checking the mail for my scrubs and working out at the gym. 

Well it's time to run to my BLS-CPR course and to meet my clinic supervisor! Hopefully she will be able to give us a bit of an idea of what our clinic hours will look like. It is time for this chica to find herself a part time job! 

What is your sentence? Is there something you are doing right now because you are excited about how it will change your future? On a side note, any tips for getting through a hurricane?!

xoxo Sweat&Sparkle 

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