It's that time of year when new SLP grad students have begun their graduate careers. I remember being extremely nervous at the same time as being excited. Here are some of my best pieces of advice for those new SLP grad students, in no particular order.
1. Take really good notes. I have referred back to my notes multiple times, especially for tricky cases.
2. Start a notebook or Google Doc of activities that you do, a classmate does, or a professor suggests. This will be an awesome resource for those times when you need a new idea or need a place to start!
3. Don't be afraid to request a specific setting if you know you want that experience. I knew I wanted to be placed in a children's hospital or a pediatric medical setting. I started requesting my first semester and did end up getting placed there, even though they claimed it was unlikely.
4. Remember that you don't have to have the "A" grade. We just needed a 3.0 to graduate. I still tried my best, but I learned that I had to be ok with a "B" if it meant having a good "work"-life balance (See #10).
5. Ask questions. This is your time to ask as many questions as you want. You are learning and have full permission to ask questions!
6. Go to conferences. Whether it is your state conference or ASHA, students usually get a significant discount. It is a great opportunity to learn and meet a lot of professionals.
7. Don't stress out about the Praxis. Yes, it's important, but you know the information. If you passed your classes, you know the information. I promise. Study some, but don't lose too much sleep over it.
8. Don't focus on just one area. You might think you know what you want to focus on or specialize in, but it will probably change. It did for me!
9. Become friends with the girls and guys in your program. They will become your project and clinic partners while in grad school. They will also serve as a professional resource later. I still text my former classmates for advice!
10. And last but definitely not least, maintain a healthy balance of school and life. Go out and have fun. Take time for yourself. Grad school is hard work. It's ok to give yourself a break every now and then.
What is some of your advice? What do you wish someone had said to you when you were starting SLP grad school?