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A bit of encouragement for those unsure at the beginning of grad school


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I knew I wanted to go into this field or I would not have applied/accepted admission to graduate school. Pretty simple, right? But once I got there and had a full week of orientations, reading clinic handbooks, and having to write treatment plans for my clients, I started to feel unsure. At the time, I read a lot of other forum posts, mainly SLP reddit, to see if I was the only one who felt this way. I was not, which helped a little bit, but not too much. The feeling I had was referred to as the  "Imposter Syndrome."

I know many programs are operated differently, but in my program, you are given multiple clients as soon as the clinic opens (the beginning of the semester). So here I was, a brand new graduate student, providing therapy to clients within the first two weeks of school. Trying to write the perfect plans without bombarding my clinical supervisor was tough. The whole process leading up to meeting a client for the first time was tough. I am not going to sugarcoat it, it was hard. But the second I finished my first session with my first client, all the unsure feelings I had disappeared. I never experienced something more rewarding. Fast forward a month and a half later and every week I look forward to seeing my 4 clients. Although it means more paper work, I am looking forward to picking up more clients through this semester and in the spring. The paper work is still stressful and tedious, but I'm getting used to it and it is getting easier.

Before you get into the swing of things, you will most likely think it is impossible to balance clients, classes, classwork, clinic work, and your mental health. Completely understandable, but the point I am trying to get across is that it is possible. You will succeed, and often times, you may even exceed your own expectations. Don't give up within the first couple weeks. Grad school is most likely going to be the hardest part of the process of becoming a successful SLP. 

I hope I was able to help or relate to at least one person. 
Have a great day :)

 

 

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  • 6 months later...

Thank you for posting this!! I was just accepted into grad school (after starting to think it just wasn't in my cards)... Now comes the fun stress of starting grad school!!

This post was super helpful and comforting. I know it will be hard, but it always at least helps a little knowing someone else is in the same boat, and everyone else is probably stressed and nervous too! So, thank you!!

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This is so true! When I was given a position as an undergraduate clinician this year I was terrified and felt like I wasn't prepared, but after the first meeting with my supervisor and my first session I felt so much better! Another thing to remember is that nobody expects you to be perfect. You are still learning and your supervisors know that! They are there to help you and teach you, not judge you for making a mistake :) 

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I've been feeling imposter syndrome ever since I got accepted at my top choice. I keep feeling like I don't belong at such a great program and institution, and that when I start I won't know what to do!! But this was really reassuring, Thank you so much for this!!

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16 hours ago, CaliK8 said:

I've been feeling imposter syndrome ever since I got accepted at my top choice. I keep feeling like I don't belong at such a great program and institution, and that when I start I won't know what to do!! But this was really reassuring, Thank you so much for this!!

I feel the exact same way! I also feel terrified that I'm going to mess it up for my clients - and the Imposter Syndrome is the most real thing.

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Yessss!!! I needed this postttt!! Thank you!! I am a notorious negative self talker and have continued to try to stop being that. But every now and again, that negativity rears it's ugly friggin head. And before it was me thinking I may never get into grad school, now it's that I'm scared about how I'll manage. I just got my schedule today, and thankfully I took the very last spot for the cohort that starts coursework in the first semester, rather than starting in the clinic first. But your post was so helpful; I'm not the only one with momentary doubt and negativity. We can do this!!! ?✊

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I just wanted to add that I've been a SLPA for almost two years and the self-confidence builds up very slowly. Don't be discouraged and remember that even experienced SLPs have bad therapy sessions and self-doubt. Learn from your mistakes...you actually learn a lot from reflecting back on what you could have done better...but know that it's completely normal to feel like a "failure".

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