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minti13

Ask Away: 1st Year Grad Student

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Hi everyone!

I am currently a 1st year (second semester) graduate student. I know I had SO many questions when I was applying for graduate school, so I want to offer myself as a resource. Here are some topics I had questions about before I started my program:

Paperwork, classes, supervision, activities, internships, placements...

Feel free to ask away and I will try to answer what I know!

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12 hours ago, minti13 said:

Hi everyone!

I am currently a 1st year (second semester) graduate student. I know I had SO many questions when I was applying for graduate school, so I want to offer myself as a resource. Here are some topics I had questions about before I started my program:

Paperwork, classes, supervision, activities, internships, placements...

Feel free to ask away and I will try to answer what I know!

Hello! Thanks for offering your experience! I know this may depend on the program, but about how many hours are spent on coursework a week? Also, do you think having a part time job is possible while studying? 

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9 hours ago, Hoosier27 said:

What does a typical day look like? 

I have class Monday/Wednesday and then clinic Tuesday/Thursday. We have one class on Friday. You can technically have clinic assignments any day of the week around classes, but they'll usually be on your dedicated clinic days/maybe Friday. My whole campus basically has 12-1 off for lunch so there is that dedicated hour but most people still work during it. If you aren't in class or doing therapy, you're in the preproom working on clinic stuff or studying or in a meeting with a clinic supervisor. Every day is going to be slightly different during the week.

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11 hours ago, Hoosier27 said:

What does a typical day look like? 

I'll go though a typical week for you!

Monday: Class from 9:00-9:50, class from 11:00-12:30, eat lunch, prep for therapy session, therapy session from 4:00-5:00, write soap note from 5:00-5:30, study from 6:00-8:00.

Tuesday: Observe at hospital 8:00-11:00, class from 12:30-1:50, turn in SOAP note by 4:00, work on homework/study/begin to formulate MAP for next week until 5:00.

Wednesday: Class from 9:00-9:50, class from 11:00-12:30, eat lunch, prep for therapy session, supervisor meeting from 2:00-3:00, therapy session from 4:00-5:00, night class from 5:00-8:00.

Thursday: (seminars every few weeks from 9:00-10:00).Class from 12:30-1:50, turn in SOAP note and MAP by 4:00, Do homework, group meetings until 5:00.

Friday: Catch up on any paperwork/homework, informational sessions every few weeks from 1:00-3:00.

I typically stay at the clinic from 9:00am to 6:00pm Monday though Thursday unless I have my night class or a late group meeting. Weekends are usually free besides studying! 

Edited by minti13

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4 hours ago, Felice said:

Hello! Thanks for offering your experience! I know this may depend on the program, but about how many hours are spent on coursework a week? Also, do you think having a part time job is possible while studying? 

I think having a part time job is 100% doable! During my first semester, I was working around 25 hours a week since most of my classes and clinic sessions were during the morning. This semester, since I have a more spread out schedule, I'm only working about 10 hours a week. The majority of the girls in my program have jobs (part time, babysitting, GA, bartending) but it does depend on your program and schedule. I think the courseload is very similar to undergrad coursework. The material is similar to what you have been studying (if you are a cdis/speech path undergrad) but it does go into more detail. One of the main differences is that, on top of your courses, you also have clinic (depending on your program) which can take up a lot of your time (I.e. prepping, documenting, soaps, MAPs). I typically spend about an hour each day dedicated to studying unless I have a test that week (then I spend about 3-4 hours studying). Hope that helps! 

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35 minutes ago, futureSLPhopefullylol said:

How is your social life?!

Nonexistent...lol just kidding! Anything during the week can be rough, but weekends are typically free! I always make sure I get all of my work done before or on Friday so I have time to relax and hang out with my friends on the weekend.  

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How prepared did you feel before starting in the clinic? I think my biggest fear is that they will throw you in with clients and expect you to know exactly what to do immediately! How long did you have classes before you began treating?

Thanks again for offering your help :)

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7 hours ago, lmcslp said:

How prepared did you feel before starting in the clinic? I think my biggest fear is that they will throw you in with clients and expect you to know exactly what to do immediately! How long did you have classes before you began treating?

Thanks again for offering your help :)

Hello!

So with my program, we started clinic two weeks into the first semester...it was very intimidating and challenging, but my supervisors were there every step of the way. I did not feel prepared AT ALL to begin taking baseline data and start treating a client, but I had multiple meetings with my supervisors to make sure I had the knowledge needed to feel more prepared. I think the main thing to remember is that everyone(our supervisors and the clients) knows we are student clinicians! We are not expected to do things perfect the first time because we are learning.

(also, side note..take the time (summer) before you start your program to RELAX! It will most likely be the last free time you have in a while! :lol:)

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Hi, I'm also a first year graduate student if any one has any questions/ advice. 

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On 2/24/2018 at 3:34 AM, HooHooHooHoosiers said:

What does a typical day look like? 

I’m a first year student too, this is what my typical week looks like. I figure a week is a better way to see the bigger picture rather than one day.

monday: class 5:30-8:20

tuesday: clinic 9-11, class 12:30-3 the clinic again 3:30-5

wednesday: clinic 9:30-11:30 class 12:30-3:30 then I do planning for next weeks clinic

thursday: meetings in the morning then class 5:30-8:20

friday: twice a month I go to a public school to do assessments.

Also keep in mind that there will also be various assignments scattered through the week. I also see virtual clients and have other assignments for my clinic class. We also have to complete 5 hours of hearing screenings before we graduate. And even though yummy Monday and Thursdays are pretty free until class, I still spend the day doing work

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On 2/27/2018 at 11:33 AM, lmcslp said:

How prepared did you feel before starting in the clinic? I think my biggest fear is that they will throw you in with clients and expect you to know exactly what to do immediately! How long did you have classes before you began treating?

Thanks again for offering your help :)

In my program we started clinic a month into the program. I felt very unprepared just because everything was so new and I’m in a very unique setting. Just remember your supervisor knows you are new and have never done this before. They are here to guide you, especially in the first few weeks they will make sure you have everything ready. I think it is important to remember that this is a time for growth. If you already knew how to do this, you wouldn’t be in school. Even your supervisors and professors were in your shoes so they know how it feels. Good luck!

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On 2/24/2018 at 2:51 PM, futureSLPhopefullylol said:

How is your social life?!

It’s actually pretty easy to find time for your social life! Even if you have to schedule it haha. There are some times that it is harder to do non school stuff, like midterms. But generally speaking you’ll figure out what works best for you in terms of school-life balance 

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On 2/24/2018 at 3:34 AM, HooHooHooHoosiers said:

What does a typical day look like? 

Tuesday: Class from 11:40 to 12:55, then from 1:15 to 2:30. I meet with my clinic supervisor at 3:30 and see my client from 4:30 to 5:30

Wednesday: Class from 8:30 (ugh!) to 11:15, then from 11:45 to 2:30. I do my SOAP/weekly treatment plan in the evening

Thursday: Class from 11:40 to 12:55, then from 1:15 to 2:30.

Friday: Mostly free. We had three all-day stuttering classes from 8 to 4 in August/September. Fridays are also reserved for diagnostics and any miscellaneous meetings (group advising meeting next week)

Friday-Monday: Work, work, work, and more work!

The workload is pretty intense, which makes me so glad I don't have clinic on Monday like some people in my cohort.

However, next semester I think we have a couple afternoon/evening classes, and fall of the second year it's one evening class each Monday-Thursday.

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Also a first year grad student! I will give my experience so far, as everyone's experiences and programs seem to really differ. 

Classes: 

Monday/Wednesday: 8-9:15 & 9:30-10:45

Tuesday/Thursday:9:30-10:45 & 11-12:15 

Fridays are free. Sometimes we have conferences and meetings and other things scheduled for that day but very rarely. All first year grad students are offered a graduate assistantship. If you choose to accept it, you create your own work schedule with your cohort. We are required to work 202.5 hours/semester (13.5hrs/week). We get paid $7.50/hr and get 3/4 tuition reduction. I personally do not have a second job, but many in my cohort do. They seem to be handling it well for now. We do not start clinic rotations until second semester. Their philosophy is that we should know the basic fundamentals for the broad areas first. Clinic is in the afternoons/evenings Monday-Thursday. Occasionally we will get special clients that will be different depending on the supervisor as our on-campus clinic does not bill for services. There is one special case where a client is coming in on Friday mornings for voice therapy for instance.  

Second semester we will have classes in the late mornings/early afternoons and then see our clients in the evening as well as work our GA positions so things are going to get more hectic. Right now, I feel like I have a lot of free time. I know that is not the case for a lot of programs, but it is actually pretty nice. I think it has helped me ease into grad school. We will be starting to do hearing screenings and speech/language screenings here in late October. We will also be attending meetings with the second year grad students to discuss their clients and their therapy techniques. Then we will be shadowing and working with a second-year to ease into seeing clients. At the end of the semester we will be attending "clinic bootcamp" to get us ready for clinic next semester. 

Some additional things to think about: My program pays the fee for all of us to get all of our clearances and our CPR certification. This is an expense that would otherwise come out of our pockets if we didn't already have these clearances. They also pay for our subscriptions to SimuCase and Praat and other databases that will be using. Which would be another expense we would have to pay for out of pocket. 

Our clinical rotations are as such: On-campus clinic second semester, external placement over the summer, on campus clinic 2nd fall, and 2 external placements in the 2nd spring semester. You get to pick your location and put down a preference as to where you might want to be. Then the program director pretty much finds you a place so you don't have to worry about it. That whole process is pretty stress free. That is something I like about my program. They worry about everything for you, and will let you know if there is ever a time you actually need to worry. 

As for social life: I would say in my program at least, the weekends are always free to go out and socialize. We always make sure we have everything we need to get done, done by Friday afternoon. Then a lot of us get together Sunday evenings at the clinic and finish up anything that hasn't been completed. Its been almost 2 months and I would say every weekend my cohort is together (or at least most of us). 

This is all subject to change. Things are bound to get more difficult and hectic when clinic starts. But I would honestly say, it is not as stressful as you may think. I went in thinking I would have no free time, no social life, and spend most of my time with my nose in a book. This is not the case for my program at least. We are slowly being eased into the life of grad school and I can honestly say things are pretty good so far! 

Please message me if you have any questions! Best of luck to all of those applying! 

Edited by Jordyn_M463

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I'm jealous! We kinda got shoved into the deep end of the pool to see if we swim (although it's not really that bad, none of our professors/supervisors want us to fail and understand that we're human!).

One thing I thought might be helpful for people is an idea of what the assignments are like, since I was trying to find that out when I was applying. Again, this may vary from program to program so I can only speak to my experience.

I was expecting some crazy long papers, but actually all our essays are only about 4 pages and the professors emphasize conciseness. Topics have included the usefulness of MLU vs. the IPSyn, differentiating types of reading disabilities, and why non-speech oral-motor exercises are mostly worthless (my words, but my professor's pretty adamant about it). We also have some practical assignments like dx plans for sample clients. I just finished a sample dx with a partner, and next week we're doing a simulation where we talk to the "parents" (actors) of the child to ask questions and share results. One assignment was simply writing a long term goal and two short term objectives for our projected treatment plan, which we would have had to do anyways.

What makes the work tricky is there are so many moving pieces. Multiple assignments with multiple components, and lots of reading to keep track of. And then there's clinic paperwork. Each weekly plan/SOAP is 2-3 pages (single-spaced), and my projected treatment plan was about 6.5 pages. Making materials can also take a while--try not to go overboard if you can avoid it! 

Speaking of work, I'm actively procrastinating writing a paper right now that I really should start on. Whoops.

Edited by bibliophile222

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30 minutes ago, bibliophile222 said:

I'm jealous! We kinda got shoved into the deep end of the pool to see if we swim (although it's not really that bad, none of our professors/supervisors want us to fail and understand that we're human!).

One thing I thought might be helpful for people is an idea of what the assignments are like, since I was trying to find that out when I was applying. Again, this may vary from program to program so I can only speak to my experience.

I was expecting some crazy long papers, but actually all our essays are only about 4 pages and the professors emphasize conciseness. Topics have included the usefulness of MLU vs. the IPSyn, differentiating types of reading disabilities, and why non-speech oral-motor exercises are mostly worthless (my words, but my professor's pretty adamant about it). We also have some practical assignments like dx plans for sample clients. I just finished a sample dx with a partner, and next week we're doing a simulation where we talk to the "parents" (actors) of the child to ask questions and share results. One assignment was simply writing a long term goal and two short term objectives for our projected treatment plan, which we would have had to do anyways.

What makes the work tricky is there are so many moving pieces. Multiple assignments with multiple components, and lots of reading to keep track of. And then there's clinic paperwork. Each weekly plan/SOAP is 2-3 pages (single-spaced), and my projected treatment plan was about 6.5 pages. Making materials can also take a while--try not to go overboard if you can avoid it! 

Speaking of work, I'm actively procrastinating writing a paper right now that I really should start on. Whoops.

It is interesting to hear what kind of work your program has! 

So far, I have written 0 papers haha. We had to do a 2 page info/fact sheet on different special populations (Fragile X, Down Syndrome, ASD, cochlear implants, etc). Then we are going to take the entire cohorts populations and put them into binders so that we can have them to refer to when we are practicing clinicians. I found this specific project to be pretty helpful. 

My very first exam was an oral exam. We had to create a 3D model of the larynx and prove that we knew all the cartilages, bones, muscles, nerves and how they functioned by labeling, drawing and discussing in a one on one session with my professor. I stressed super hard over this but it was surprising how smooth it went and how thankful I was when it was over to know the fundamentals of the larynx, considering it is such a huge component of our practice. 

I have a few other pending projects and assignments, but I think because my school is not research oriented at all, we aren't really given many research papers. It is more practicum based. Get in there and play with assessment tools and therapy equipment, which I actually enjoy. I am absolutely terrible at anything research haha. 

I know that other programs have 30 page papers due in every class they take. So I think it really depends on the program. If this is something you are concerned about, I would maybe find some students who go there, or look to see if the school is research or practicum based. I would say a lot of larger schools with more money have the funds and people to do research but that is not always true. 

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For those of you that moved away for school, out of state or to a completely new area how is that going for you? I was pretty set on staying in my town but am considering moving now.

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I moved 3.5 hours away, so not crazy far, but it still required some logistics, like figuring out moving, etc. Finding an apartment was tricky: I took a week off of work in June and kept my schedule open. I used Craigslist and a local paper's classified section and went up twice that week. 

If you are moving, plan on it being more expensive than you expect and budget accordingly!

As far as adjusting to a new place, it's been pretty easy. I'm in a cool college town that has a lot in common with the cool college town I was living in. I also moved a bunch as a kid, so I'm used to being uprooted. I really really really miss a couple restaurants, though.

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3 hours ago, smarieSLP2b said:

For those of you that moved away for school, out of state or to a completely new area how is that going for you? I was pretty set on staying in my town but am considering moving now.

I moved all the way across the country to my grad school (East coast to the southwest). For one, out of state tuition sucks! It is hard being away from my family, but phone calls and FaceTime help a lot. Definitely get to know your cohort and take the initiative to hang out outside of class, this will make the transition into grad school MUCH easier. But it's a fun adventure :) 

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