Whether you are in graduate school currently or you graduated 20 years ago, we all remember the peers we attended school with! In some ways being apart of the SLP graduate program was much like a sorority/fraternity experience. You had the same set of students along side you for 2-4 years! I don’t know about you all, but when you spend time with people for long chuncks of time you begin to see parts of their personality exposed….think of this post as like the yearbook awards for SLP’s….in each set of graduate students, there certain people that embody special traits that make them unforgettable. For those out in the field, let’s take a walk down memory lane….for those that are still IN graduate school, this just may be a validation that what you have been thinking about select peers in your class do exist!
The moocher– You are the student that manages to NEVER take notes or read the chapters for homework, but always manages to get A’s on the test because you finagled a way to get the notes from others. You never reciprocate and almost bank on the fact that SOMEONE will hook you up with what you need to study for on the test. Guess what!? People notice your behavior and we always want to help, but please…make sure you pay it forward. No one’s gonna write your IEP’s for you, so you better start taking responsibility!
The Front Seat Lurker– This is the student who is ALWAYS in the front seat for EVERY. SINGLE. CLASS. Do you think you will take better notes if you are in the front row? My advice, try sitting in the 2nd or 3rd row every other class. It’s healthy to blend in every once in a while.
The Know-It-All– We get it! You were out in the field working as an aide at a school and now know all those fancy terms that we will soon learn and master! You just have 6 months on us! This could also be the student that was the smartest kid in his/her class (probably in GATE, gifted and talented education), who later went on to attend 8 years of college at a prestigious college. After becoming having a very promising career as lawyer, they decide to go BACK to school to find a new work path. So, here they are, spending another 4 years in school to pursue a degree in speech pathology all the while torturing us in class by randomly sharing out facts and tidbits from the chapter that they read the night before.
Miss 20 questions- (this is never a guy… even if there is a guy in your program, he is completely preoccupied with trying to multitask…that is actively listening to the lecture WHILE taking notes)…GIRL, we all have things we are confused about and eager to ponder, but we just want to get finished with class on time. There are PLENTY of questions to ask your admin once you are out in the schools because you will NEVER get the same answer twice. You know that curriculum Social Thinking? Well, when you ask MORE than 5 questions during a class lecture, 80% or more of your peers are thinking “annoying” thoughts about you. Just sayin’…….
The Triple Threat– You all know her well. No, she isn’t the front seat lurker, know it all and miss 20 questions wrapped into one! That is a WHOLE different kind of triple threat. She is the amazing therapist that all the professors use as examples in their lectures, has straight A’s and writes flawless reports. She has all her homework done a week ahead of time and all the professors love her! You can’t even hate her because she is the most genuine person that truly has a heart for serving people.
The Mother Hen-This is the student who decided to go back to school after being a homemaker for her children or was working in a different field. These are the students that know all the developmental milestones and can relate to clients because they learned how to interact with kids after raising their own. You always wondered how they have time to study because they had a family and/or job when you barely had time to turn in your latest assignment.
The Procrastinator– You are the one that is frantically typing out your S.O.A.P. notes 15 minutes before your client arrives. You cram for every test with all nighters, finish reports hours before they are due and get whatever is left in the “clinic” therapy materials room because all the “triple threats” reserved all the good toys a week a head of time.
Material Girl– This is the chick that has a closet FULL of games and fun materials that she just “collected” along the way during undergraduate classes, so she was prepared. She’s the one that asked her family for a cricut, binder maker, laminator and God knows what else for Christmas and birthdays, so she has enough supplies when is “out in the field”. Did you know that schools have supplies on site like dicuts, laminators, paper cutters, photo copiers and MUCH more. Currently, she is your friend with a TPT store and/or the one with the MOST TPT products ever!
The Brown Noser– if you want to make the professor brownies on her birthday and visit all the professors during their office hours to try to find out what will be on the tests, and make them like you more, be my guest! I ain’t got time for dat!
The Token Male– We are all questioning if he got in the program because of skills and grades or because he is the ONLY male in the program and the college needs to show that there is diversity in the work place. We either think he is a slacker or want to be in his clique because he brings a sense of calm when surrounded by so much estrogen……..Hmmmmm?
The Back Seat Driver– The backseat drivers are the SLP’s who choose not to engage in all the drama and sit in the back of class. They have a tendency to think outside of the box and achieve in ways not measured in class. These are the students that have tremendous talent, but may get overlooked in the program. Don’t worry you kick butt out in the field!
The worry wart– I know lots of SLP’s that get anxious and worry…I think it is a natural thing because we want to do a good job in grad school! The worry wart is the student who is stressing about EVERYTHING. She spends the week fretting about if she got a 92% verses a 95% on latest exam. While festering about her grades, she is computing all the points she has to get to get an A rather than an A- because an A- would ruin her GPA.
The Data Queen– This student probably was an ABA consultant before she decided to become an SLP or have serious type-A tendencies. She/He has data forms and charts for just about everything. This student can tell you how long the child’s attention span is, how well the child did when given a verbal and visual prompt and if they faded or added more prompts. They have 9 different objectives per therapy session and data for all of them. Have you ever heard of something called clinical judgement? Try keeping that practice up when you have caseload of 60. I wish you great success!
All in all, here’s the deal….I was having a little fun “labeling” you all, but let me tell you this! Without all those unique personalities, I would never have discovered WHO I was as a clinician. Miss 20 questions made me more comfortable with asking questions when I didn’t know the answer, the moocher reminded me that it is okay to ask for help, the front seat lurker always kept me on my toes, the triple threat inspired me to be a better clinician, the brown noser taught me to advocate for myself, and the token male helped me remember to just BE me. The mother hen taught me to look at the whole person when working with clients and the data queen instilled the importance of good data to help measure progress. The know-it-all taught me all the important facts and best practices for our field. If you embraced their smarts, they can be the best friends!
If you are still in graduate school, let me encourage you by sharing this…..once you graduate, the stress of being THE BEST SLP in your class dissipates. All your peers are on the same playing field. You are colleagues! You will begin to realize how you miss them and wish for some of those times back. So, instead of being jealous, annoyed, weirded out or whatever, embrace the future clinicians in your group! Some of my best friends came from my graduate program and they are people I don’t know if I would have had as close friends otherwise.
Which personality are you? Better yet, can you guess which personality I was in graduate school?