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3 hours ago, SLPhopefullyy said:

What are some things you wish you knew before starting graduate school? What would you go back and tell yourself? Any tips? Best way to prepare? I start graduate school this fall :) Thanks so much! 

the most important thing for me: it's okay that you don't know everything. in fact, it's okay if it feels like forever since you've looked at your phonetics work or your memory of anatomy and physiology is a bit spotty. first of all, you will get plenty of review in all that stuff in grad school. second of all, if you're feeling like you must be the only one who doesn't know things, always remember that you're not! everyone is in the same boat at the beginning. and, as the semester continues, if you're in clinic or in classes and feeling a little bit (or a lot bit) lost and overwhelmed, it's still okay that you don't know everything. in fact, it's normal to not know most things. plus, if you see friends who look like they know what they're doing a more than you feel you do, remember that everyone learns differently and it's okay if it's taking you a little longer to grasp how to write clinical objectives or SOAP notes or whatever else you're struggling with- you will get there. also, what may come relatively easily for you may be harder for those you're seeing. two words of advice via my clinical supervisors, because they are words that i know live by. 1) from my first clinical supervisor: "it's often more important for you to know what information you don't know than knowing what you do know-- that's how you learn." 2) from my second, when I admitted to her that I didn't know how help my client with one language element which he was struggling with about a six weeks into the semester: "Well, how could you know how to treat all the specifics of that?! You've only been focusing on it for the past six weeks! You think anyone has a full grasp on anything after six weeks? Look at what you have learned during that time; that's pretty incredible." 

I will probably have imposter syndrome for the rest of my life (it's pretty much the SLP curse, let's be real) but i will always have those words to come back to. because you will struggle. there will be things that are hard for you. but it's okay if you don't know all the information or you feel like you're muddling through your intervention sessions for a bit. that's normal. it's okay. and you will get there.  

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This is definitely hard to do in grad school, but try to maintain as much work-life balance as possible. Go to school every weekday (if you're in an on-campus program) and get as much work done as possible at school so that you have some time to decompress at home. It took me until my last semester to realize that when I don't do my work at home, it's easier to treat school like a job and work hard all day instead of procrastinating and taking lengthy breaks like I did. Of course, sometimes this isn't always possible (especially in a pandemic when we're all stuck at home) but it helps!

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This isn't academic exactly, but I'm glad someone gave me this advise anyway. 

If you're at all interested in counseling services, do it. Call the student health center over the summer and ask when their mental health services department will begin making their schedule for fall. Ask to be put on a waitlist if needed. Just get in EARLY. My biggest issue this past year hasn't been class, but dealing with all the personal stuff that made class and clinic that much harder. I don't have any diagnoses (depression, sdhd, anxiett, etc), but found individual therapy and support groups really helpful. Sometimes you just need to let out all your stress to someone who will listen, respond productively, and help you move past whatever is making life tough for you. No matter how big or small the problem seems to you!

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