Written by Jessica Lewandoski MS, CCC-SLP, for GradSchools.com, March 2014
So, there I was, a senior in high school and faced with an important decision. What did I want to study in college? What did I want to do with the rest of my life? Pretty intense decisions I had to make stood in front of me. I had experiences babysitting that taught me that I genuinely enjoyed helping others. I had experience working in a daycare center and enjoyed it, but didn’t know if teaching in a classroom was for me. A high school psychology class intrigued me, but I still wasn’t sure that that was the profession for me.
What did I do? I went to the Internet and searched for professions related to teaching and psychology. I knew what I enjoyed doing and tried to find professions that would satisfy both of my interests. The field of speech-language pathology came up in a few of my searches so I started to research what I could do as a speech-language pathologist. I spoke with my mom and she reminded me that my brother went to a speech-language pathologist when he was younger because he would say /f/ instead of /th/. Well, my brother has no difficulty producing /th/ at all now and it excited me to think that I could help others speak and communicate.
The next step was to meet with various departments at the University I was set to attend. A friendly faculty willing to answer all of my questions greeted me. They explained that I could work with infants, children, or adults. This intrigued me and I felt that many choices were available if I chose to go into this field. I left that day feeling like this was something for me.
My next decision sealed the deal for me. Enrolling in an introduction class to speech-language pathology was the best move I made in choosing this career. My teacher was extremely engaging and I was able to dip my feet in all of the various components of speech and language. I learned about working with speech sounds, stuttering, voice, language, and swallowing. I left this class wanting to know more.
The rest as they say, is history. I started taking classes that went into specific detail about speech and language. I learned about anatomy, acquired disorders, and research. Each class opened a new thought process for me, and in taking my classes and enrolling in my internships I decided to work in a school. I was able to combine my experience working with children and my interest in helping others into a rewarding profession. Becoming a speech-language pathologist has been both a challenging and rewarding career. Each day provides me with something different. Each child I work with has different difficulties and I am able to provide the best services by looking at the child as a whole. It feels good to know that I am able to provide assistance in helping others communicate and function in their everyday lives.
About the Author: Jessica Lewandowski,MS, CCC-SLP is a certified speech pathologist living in New York State.