Would I do it Again?

May 7, 2024 by

Would I do it Again?

May 7, 2024 #2

I have frequently asked myself if I had to do things over again would I become a Speech Language Pathologist.  The answer is I really don’t know.  

First you have to understand that when I graduated from high school in 1979 women in general still didn’t have (or knew about) as many options as they do today.  At my all girls high school we were put basically on 3 tracks, medical/science (which meant nursing, although one of my besties from HS became a doctor), educational or secretarial.  I knew I did not want to be a nurse and had no idea how important secretarial skills would become so that left education.  Growing up in the neighborhood I did we really didn’t know about the larger universe or the intricacies of certain fields.  In my neighborhood the Dads were building cars not designing them.  I had no idea there was even a field called engineering.  The only engineer I knew drove a train.  I only knew about speech therapy because I had a younger brother who had severe dyspraxia, so my mom (a nurse) knew a little about that field.  

When I applied to college the major was still called “speech therapy” and Eastern Michigan University offered one of the first 5-year masters degree programs in the country.  While I was in college the title changed to “Speech Language Pathologist” and masters was required.  By this time I was excited about the new things I was learning.  However, looking back I probably would have been excited about learning things in any field.  I remember one class that did interest me more than others and that was Acoustics of Sound.  I thought briefly about becoming a sound engineer but did not feel I had the math abilities to do it.  Perhaps if I had known more about the field of sound engineering I maybe would have considered it a little more seriously.  

One other piece about college that kept me from veering off the SLP tract was time and money.  If you took another class of interest that meant that it would cost more and you could feasibly have to be in school another semester.  I don’t know how it is now but back then courses/student teaching and internships were so packed/planned you really couldn’t go off track.  With the high cost of education I imagine that the pressure to stay on track is even more today.  Speech Language Pathology course credits don’t really carryover to too many other fields.

So was I stuck?  Yes, I was but at least there were a lot of different things you could do in the field.  The hours were not bad.  You could get a job anywhere.  

What really made me rethink things was after being in a few years I realized that I really wasn’t valued in the school setting.  We are still seen as a requirement not an asset.  I also realized that if I worked hard it was only going to give me intrinsic gratification.  I do love helping others so that was wonderful.  Then I realized I wasn’t ever going to make enough money to really support myself unless I worked a million hours.  Keep in mind this was long before most people were thinking outside the box and being creative.  I would never in my career get a bonus.  Advancement without going back to school was never going to happen no matter how hard I worked.  Not to mention in schools there’s nowhere for an SLP to go.  It would mean a job change to advance in schools.

My own work ethic made me put in too many hours, spend too much of my money on materials/supplies and never saying no (I will have a post on this one) and caused some significant stress when dealing with administration or contentious IEP situations (mostly caused by schools not servicing kids properly).

My Advice:  I think I would do this again probably because I wouldn’t have known any better at the time.  I love working with kids and families.  I love being at the top of my field and very knowledgeable.  I wouldn’t recommend going into the field of education at this time for various reasons.  The hours did work out well for me, especially when I was raising my kids.  I was lucky I had a husband with a great income and access to much better benefits.  However, if I understood the economy better back then the low pay and so little chance for advancement, would have made me think twice.  If you are already an SLP, open that private practice sooner or find some other way to supplement your income using your vast knowledge.  

Related Posts

Share This

468 ad

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.