Life as a graduate student in communicative disorders
I will never forget the day that I received my acceptance letter to the graduate program in the School of Communicative Disorders at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. I cried out of joy for, what felt like, a week straight. This major is extremely competitive with only 150 out of 1,500 applicants applying throughout the state of Wisconsin in 2012. I could not believe that I was going to be a future speech-language pathologist. My dreams were coming true.
I became interested in the major my freshman year of college at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. My roommate was taking the intro class for the major and I thought I would join her and check it out. I immediately fell in love. From then on I took all the classes necessary to receive my undergraduate degree in communicative disorders.
This past fall I made my move up the north-central part of the state to continue my education in communicative disorders. Our graduate class consists of 30 people (29 females and 1 male). From the first day of classes we all became a family. We are a very close-knit group that bends over backwards for each other and I couldn’t ask for anything better. We have built relationships that will last a lifetime.
Within the fall semester we had five classes including Voice Disorders, Fluency, Aphasia/Neurology, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, and Counseling. Along with these courses, we also had a client with a co-clinician. At times it felt very stressful, not knowing if you were going to get everything done that needed to for the next week, let alone, the next day. In the end, it all turned out okay and was very manageable for our first semester as graduate students.
Next semester will bring future challenges. Some of us will be off campus at various locations and sites, some will be on a diagnostic team, and some will have four to five clients. In addition, we will all have four classes that will include Research, Instrumentation, Cleft Palate, and Dysphagia. This next semester will only make the 30 of us stronger, and closer than before.
Can’t wait to start the next chapter of our life, our second semester of graduate school! (Only three more to go after spring 2013 is complete).
Alyssa Staehler, B.S.E., from Menomonee Falls, Wis., is a first-year graduate student in the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point School of Communicative Disorders.