"What do I want to be when I grow up?" We often ask ourselves this question as we grow up. There is a lot of career choices that makes this decision confusing. It doesn't take few hours to find your passion. Knowing what and who you really want to be will take time. I want to share how and what made me decide to be a speech language pathologist.
When I Was Young
Growing up as a little girl, I always considered myself a teacher. Well, at least to my stuffed animals and anyone who would sit long enough to listen to my lesson for the day. As I grew older, I still could envision myself as an elementary teacher, teaching other children skills that would set the foundation for them as future leaders. Wow, what an amazing gift to give back when, throughout the years, I have always had such amazing teachers and mentors along my journey.
Reality Began to Set In
College deadlines approached quickly and I found myself excited yet hesitant because for me, I had always been an average student. Concerned about the schools I would apply to and ready for the next step, I began to question if being an elementary school teacher was really what I wanted to pursue. All of the personality tests, career tests and the years of working with children all pointed to Elementary Education. I loved computers, but Math was never my strong point, so Graphic Design or Computer related majors might not have been the best option for me. While thoughts overflowed my head, I decided to just go for it! I was accepted to college and majored in Elementary Education at least until my sophomore year when I switched to speech language pathology.
It Helps to Have Mentors
My aunt, a former Speech Language Pathologist, told me about the field and it sounded like a really interesting one. Before I switched majors, I shadowed many different speech language pathologists in various settings so that I could get a better understanding of the field. I researched for hours online and finally I decided it was time to make a decision. Once again hesitant because it seemed like a technical field, more school was involved, there were different courses that I had to take for the speech language pathology program that I did not take in the Elementary Education major, and I had to bring my GPA up. Wow, it sounded like a lot of work and it really was a lot of work, but all of it was worth it!
If You Want Something Bad Enough, It is Worth It
After I switched majors, the work no longer seemed like work because I enjoyed the research, finding new information. I was excited about the endless opportunities of having so many different settings to choose from and the choice to work with birth through geriatric populations. I went from being an average student to graduating with honors in a major that I had grown to love.
It Takes Time
Speech Language Pathology may not be for you, but find a career that you love and you would work for free. It takes time to research, shadow others in professions of interest, and be open to change, follow your instincts and ask questions.
The Four Questions that Made a Difference in My Career Choice
- Can I use my talents effectively in this choice of career in therapy?
Think about all of the amazing talents that you possess and take into consideration the talents that others tell you you have. Write them down. Do they match up with the characteristics and talents needed to pursue this career choice successfully?
- Are there multiple avenues that I can take in this career that can allow me other business opportunities in the future?
This is taking into consideration long term, if you want to venture out and start your own business or have other options available.
- When I am shadowing each individual in this profession, can I envision myself doing this job?
Really take the time to visualize yourself doing this profession.
- Why do I want to pursue this career?
This sounds like a silly question, but take the time to think about all of the reasons why you want to pursue this career. As they come to you, write them down. Do not over think this one.
“We are all ships in a massively powerful, but invisible ocean. Just because the wind and water may take us on paths where there are a lot of other ships, it doesn't mean we're going in the right direction. I believe that for individuals to achieve true success they need to raise their own sails and chart their own course.”
- Michael Simmons, Author of "The Student Success Manifesto"
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