Dear young school SLP,
Congratulations on your graduation-you made it! I know it wasn’t easy. But you did it. You are the proud owner of a masters degree in speech language pathology.
Make sure you get a beautiful frame for your diploma-show it the respect it deserves. Celebrate and take a little time to relax. No more tests, finals or studying for the Praxis. No more research papers, at least not for a while.
You are starting an amazing journey. I’m sure you’ve had a taste of it through clinics and internships. Clinical fellowship is next. A time to jump in with both feet with a mentor who will have your back.
This job will delight you and at times exhaust you, but should never bore you.
You are now life changer.
You will connect with parents during times of doubt and vulnerability. You will teach them ways they can help their child. You will laugh with them and most probably you will cry with them.
You’ll have some great triumphs. Like the first time a previously nonverbal child speaks. You’ll have some epic disappointments. Because you care, you’ll feel the highs and the lows and all the emotions in between. And you wouldn’t have it any other way.
You will try all kinds of therapy methods and you’ll keep trying until you find something that works.
You’ll get hugs and high-fives every day. You may be the one person that is a constant source of love for a neglected child. Your heart will be broken. I’m sorry but it will. Maybe by a story a child tells you about his home life or by having your favorite child move without saying goodbye. Or even worse, by having a student die. But you will keep coming back.
You’ll work with so many amazing teachers who inspire you and a few negative teachers who will draw you into their disappointment if you let them. Protect yourself from The Negative Ones.
You will have scheduling challenges and conflicts. At times you’ll be overwhelmed with progress reports and IEP’s. But you’ll figure it out.
Even though you learned so much in grad school, you’ll wonder about all the practical things they didn’t teach you. Remember, you don’t have to do it alone; you’ll find other SLP’s to support you and who’ll share their ideas.
As the years go by, you will shape lives. Yes, you. You are helping children to communicate. You are giving them a voice for their thoughts. And sometimes you are giving them the building blocks to create new thoughts.
You are helping them have rich conversations with friends and giving them strategies that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
It is with honor, laughter, knowledge and kindness that you will guide your students to experience success. You will love it.
Welcome. The world needs you my friend, wishing you all the success you deserve.
P.S. Have you heard? We are having a huge SLP2Bgradgift giveaway and there’s still time to enter. Click here to find out all the amazing details. The prize is worth over $500. Hurry! Giveaway ends on Friday, April 22.