After studying and working hard for years, graduating and becoming an SLP was one of the most exciting moments of my life! It was also really scary once I landed my first job and actually set foot in my new workplace, not to mention when I saw my first solo client.
I thought I wasn’t going to be good enough and constantly worried that I didn’t know the right things. I even questioned how I ever made it through graduation. But I pushed through the doubt and I want to help you do the same.
Whether your focus is on speech-language pathology, like me, or audiology, don’t believe these 4 lies you tell yourself as a grad student…
I’ll Know Everything When I Graduate
You learn a lot in school… and are introduced to even more that you don’t quite fully absorb at the time. Once you’re out in the field (especially in the beginning!) it’s absolutely ok to not understand everything. As a clinician, there’s always new research, new therapy tools, and new trainings to keep up with. Not to mention all of the possible settings you could work in and the intricacies associated with each. Instead of trying to know everything, make sure you have a few resources—like peers and colleagues, research publications, and continuing education websites—to help you answer questions and learn new skills as you need them.
I Shouldn’t Ask for Help
Not true! It’s always ok to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weaker clinician. It shows you’re open to learning and willing reach out for support when needed. Asking for help from a fellow clinician, or even someone in a related field, can help you grow into a more well-rounded professional. It’ll also reduce some stress when you first start out!
I Have to Plan for Each Session
Having a plan for each of your sessions is great, but not always necessary. There will be times when a client comes in and they’re having a bad day or want to talk about something different than the goals you’ve set. If they aren’t ready for the activity you had planned, you aren’t likely to get much out of the session.
Instead of pushing to do your planned activity, it’s better to have a few back-up ideas you can pull from. Be flexible to their needs on that day. As you get more comfortable with session, look for more real-life scenarios and tools to use.
My Clients Will Improve If I’m a Good SLP/Audiologist
This is perhaps the biggest misconception students (and clinicians!) have. We’re taught about different syndromes, disorders, and diseases; what to expect as a clinician; and how to treat clients. As new professionals, we’re often shocked when we do what we’re taught, and our clients don’t improve the way we’d intended. It makes you feel like you’re doing something wrong or aren’t good enough. But that’s just not the case!
Some clients, no matter what you do, will not improve or reach their end goal. They’re human and are all on different timelines to heal and progress—some never reach 100%. It is not a reflection of you as a professional, but your job is to help them thrive as best they can.
So, the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thought of being an SLP or audiologist, take a deep breath! Remember, there are others out there ready to support you and cheer you on. You can do it!