I have more interests than is probably healthy for any one person. When I was a kindergartner, I wanted to be a doctor. I also wanted to be an astronaut. And because I enjoyed learning my ABCs, I wanted to be a writer. In fourth grade, I would have settled to be a professional “tag” player. By seventh grade I wanted to be a break dancer, and by ninth grade I wanted to be a radio personality. By the end of high school, I was a radio personality, and spent the first couple years of college enjoying that gig. Deciding on a major to pursue in college was decidedly challenging. My first instinct was architecture. Then that shifted to civil engineering. Then math. Then anthropology. Then history, with the thought of pursuing a law degree later on. If we’re keeping score here, that means I considered five different majors, all in the course of my freshman year.
When it came to actually selecting a major, however, I opted for none of those options, and instead jumped head first into the Speech and Hearing Sciences program. Why? Simple: a family friend mentioned she worked with many children with autism, and I remembered bonding with a number of kids with autism when I was attending a summer camp in elementary school. It seemed as logical as anything else, so I figured “Why not?”.
Of course, I also needed a minor for my degree, which served as a similarly robust challenge. Again I considered anthropology. I also considered math, since I had taken a year of calculus already. I toyed with linguistics. But I was most interested in a degree in a second language, as I had opted to study American Sign Language as my second language requirement. Alas, no minor was available for ASL, so I did the only logical thing I could think of: I decided to get a double major in Sign Language Interpreting.
By the end of my undergrad, I had done observations in a variety of settings: private practice, K-12, preschool, and rehab hospital. Following my graduation, I took a year off so I could get my bearings. I started my coursework slowly, and got an apprentice position working in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing programs at the public schools. I also started my interpreting career by working at the university as well as in the community.
My dream graduate school was California State University, Northridge (CSUN), not only because of the attractive program for Speech-Language Pathology, but also because it promised an opportunity for professional growth as an interpreter. CSUN is known for being a pioneer of the interpreting profession, and attracts Deaf students from all over the world. I was very fortunate to get accepted there, and graduated with my MS in May 2010.
Clinical opportunities in graduate school ranged from private practice to school to medical settings, and the whole time I had no idea where I would ultimately want to be. During my last semester of school, I had an externship at skilled nursing facility, and found a passion I never knew existed. It was the patients themselves who made me realized where I wanted to be. Not only did I enjoy the therapy, I found that I absolutely loved the people I worked with. Every day, I looked forward to seeing them, and every day, they found new ways to make me smile.
After graduating, I was very fortunate to secure a Clinical Fellowship position in an acute care hospital, with an additional per diem slot at a neighboring SNF. I completed my CF at the end of May this year, and am both scared and thrilled by the open road ahead. I have learned so much, and yet with everything I learn, I realize there is so much more I want to know. This is what drives me, and why I decided to start this website. During my CF, I strived to incorporate my love of technology into my work as a medical SLP. This site will help me focus that energy and document the journey. Perhaps others, in turn, will find inspiration along the way.