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I am very excited to start grad school in the fall. I often feel as though I’m “missing” something. There’s so much information out there on SLP that I haven’t seen. So I wanted to ask those who have already started their career as an SLP, what are some things you wish you had known before you graduated? Is there anything that would’ve made you reach your goals more efficiently or made the process easier? For example, my ultimate goal is to move to Boston and work in a children’s hospital, do you have any advice? Do you have any externship advice?
 

Thanks!

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I'm a second year so I haven't already started but I do have some advice! I was so so set on being a medical SLP and grinding my way through hospitals to get a competitive medical CF - then COVID happened. My advice is just to open and know that this a field you can jump around within for your entire career. So my advice is more about doing this during COVID.

Think of everything you do and every supervisor you interact with as a chance to figure out what you like and don't like and what type of SLP you want to be. I was annoyed the semester I had a full peds caseload but found that I was just as excited working on social skills with neurodivergent kiddos as I was when seeing post-stroke adults but I had to adjust my thinking to accept that. I felt like if I ended up with a CF in a school I was a failure but after mourning the reality of COVID, the fact that our externships are limited and our resumes will look different than expected, I've been able to just keep running lists of what I like about every population I encounter. You might still have a shot at medical externships depending on how the virus goes! Unfortunately, we've been told that hospitals are off the table for Fall and Spring (our only remaining options). We've ALSO been told that hospitals are actively thinking about how to combat this loss of experience and planning to add structured training to CF positions. The whole field is figuring it out!  

Oh unrelated: keep a positive feedback file on your computer! Anytime my supervisors give me something really positive or new I keep it in there so I can refer back when I start letting constructive feedback feel too personal. You got this!!! 

TLDR; Be open! Don't limit yourself! Get as much variety as you can and don't get stuck in your thinking. 

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@nwslp thank you so much for sharing your experience! I especially like your last bit of advice. I’ve read some other posts that sad it’s hard to get a medical CF or job there after your CF. I honestly don’t really know if I’ll enjoy working in a hospital so I’m excited to see if I will if I’m able to while in school. I’ve always been stuck on working in a hospital in some capacity and I love children so I figured working in a children’s hospital would hit all the marks. 

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Be prepared to print ALOT, velcro and laminators will be come your best friend if we are back in person come fall! I'm a second year as well and investing in a quality printer and laminator made the first year so much easier because I was able to work some at home and not spend my life in the clinic 

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  • 4 months later...

My best piece of advice is to just get through your CF. I always tried to think of the CF as an extension of graduate school rather than a real "first job". You may not get the CF you are wanting, especially if you are interested in the medical field, BUT once you have your CCCs, many opportunities open up. If you are moving to Boston, make sure to research the lack of CF provisional licensure. It is one of the few states that does not grant provisional licenses, which means you are very very unlikely to get a medical CF. Stay outside of Massachusetts if you can for your CF. 

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