We’re finishing out 2016 with one final “Letter to My Younger Self”. This one from our West Coast team member, Raquel Martinez, SLP-CCC M.A. is all about treating everything as a learning experience, and that not everything can be learned from a book. Each point of advice she tells her CF-self has a new perspective, which is a great way to approach obstacles in a new career.
“Dear self-assured CF Raquel,
You’re about to embark on your most important professional learning years. Your Ed. vitae looks great and you’re confident in your knowledge. You’re ready to apply it. At this point in your life, it’s all you’ve got! (You recently lost mom; your career is your lifeline.) Go get ‘em!
Screeeeech, stop! It didn’t take us (me, myself and I) long to know that textbook knowledge is just a small portion of the “Speech” world. That the application of the theory you learned was and continues to be somewhat completely different from what you learned. Why? Because the bilingual children that you are serving, while a CF, are not textbook material. It’s okay!
Keep these points in mind:
- There will ALWAYS be work! So slow down. Monthly deadlines will become weekly deadlines. Basically take one day at a time. It will improve your quality of life. Work does not equal life, but it can impact it. So go for that run after work!
- Be gentle with yourself. You’re not perfect and don’t expect to be. There will always be a learning curve. You’ll learn this after being compared to other clinicians and after working in all sectors of the field. The important thing is to be open to constructive criticism – it’ll make you a better clinician!
- Serve the whole person, whether child or adult. You’ll learn that what you say and how you say things will impact therapy results. You will remember this when you serve that dementia patient – the one that thought she’d never leave the nursing home.
- Talk to your clients and their families (equally), yes–go into the classrooms, go and observe that preschooler in their preschool, find a seasoned educator (who is not a special education teacher) that is willing to share their classroom knowledge, suggest co-treatments and if nothing else, be an active listener. You will learn that this is all vital in regard to developmental history, age-expected tasks and therapy prognosis.
- Educate others and yourself. There is always room for “teachable moments.” Teachers, parents, and colleagues will be relieved when you listen to them, answer their questions, respect their opinions, and assure them that you are there to help. Oh, AND be very picky with your CEUs.
- Ask questions – hard, uncomfortable questions. Investigate! You already do this; keep doing it!
- Don’t be afraid to be creative. The way you learned ‘to do’ therapy WILL NOT be the way you will continue to do therapy, regardless of what you’ve been told.
- Know that working with other adults will be one of the hardest things for you. Focus on YOUR job! Be a positive mentor and lead by example. Your work will speak for itself. People will notice (I promise you)!
Sobre todo, “Al mal tiempo, buena cara!”
Suerte. You’ve done me proud!
Raquel Martinez Suh”
Fun Fact – Raquel was one of our Symposium Scholarship Recipients when she was a graduate student! Here she is at our 2008 Symposium in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Every new career comes with a learning process. Some things aren’t as easy as you thought they would be, but overcoming these obstacles makes you a stronger, more resilient therapist. If you want to keep growing in your career, check out our newest school-based opportunities here!