Dear SLP grad students (and anyone else who just wants to laugh and relive those golden years you spent in a master’s program):
You already know I like top 10 lists. Did you also know I like top 3 lists? Well..secret revealed! For whatever reason, this spring quarter is proving to be the work/effort equivalent of the last 2 quarters…combined and on steroids. Not only am I eternally stressed out, but I am surrounded by a cohort of basket cases (albeit hilarious, brilliant basket cases) 5 days a week (and sometimes even more if we decide to convene on the weekend and toast to surviving another week). Today though, I had some funny conversations that inspired the next round of You Know You’re a SLP Grad Student When…
3. You Feel a Sense of Accomplishment When You Only Have 20 Unanswered Emails in Your Inbox:
It’s not that you don’t want to talk to people and catch them up on all the fascinating, amazing, glorious things you’ve been doing with your copious hours of free time… It’s just that you have a new email-organization system now. It’s called: “mark as unread.” This is, quite possibly, the button that gets clicked most frequently in my inbox on a daily basis. Since we deal with PHI in our UW emails, we have to keep that inbox separate from whatever our personal, non-school email is. What does that mean? 2 separate email accounts to stay on top of! My typical email interaction goes a little something like this: (1) open new email (2) read it and make a mental note that I reaaaallly want to respond to the sender (3) realize I don’t have time to respond to said email in the given moment (4) realize there’s not a chance on God’s green earth that I’ll actually remember to respond (5) click the glorious, “mark as unread” button, henceforth turning that email into a brand-new eye-catching message just waiting for my undivided attention. Problem? When you return every email into an unread one, you just have an inbox filled with read-re-unread-ified emails. Welcome to my world.
2. You Self-Diagnose on the Basis of Your Lecture Notes:
Let me paint the scene: you wake up to another morning of classes and clinic. On a scale of “1 to sleep,” you have been falling somewhere around a 3 for the past week…and things aren’t looking up anytime soon. You haven’t even made it out of bed and you already have a headache. The nightstand light is your new nemesis and all hopes of “looking cute for clinic” go straight out the window. Guess your poor little artic client will just have to see you in that black cardigan…again. Upon standing (insert applause here for making it all the way out of bed), you feel a little dizzy and your arm is sort of asleep from laying on it the wrong way. BUT, as you automatically start mentally reviewing your slides for the neurogenic disorders quiz you’re bound to have in an hour, you start analyzing…and overanalyzing…your morning cornucopia of symptoms. Headache, sensitivity to light, numbness in one arm…HOLY MADRE DE DIOS, you’re having a freaking stroke. You panic for a moment or two before regaining a glimmer of sanity: “Come on Hanna, a stroke? At 24? That is soooooo irrational. It’s waaaaaay more likely a brain tumor. Or maybe upper motor neuron impairment…I was feeling a bit spastic and rigid just now. Wait, I know…I have, um, you know…HOLY CRAP…anomia! I’m gonna webMD this ish right now!”
This, my friends, is the double-edged sword of knowledge. The more you know the better you are at your future job, and yet the more you know the more you start to convince yourself that you (or your roommate/boyfriend/cat) actually have every disorder that’s brought up in class. Yup, even Moebius Syndrome. Perhaps not all the time, but come on…I know you’ve at least considered most of them at some point in time. Let’s get one thing straight though. You probably don’t have a brain tumor. Or Parkinson’s. Or even a specific language impairment. You’re more likely stressed out and overtired. Welcome to the club (sorry, no welcome baskets in this club…we are on the “grad student budget” you know).
1. You Genuinely Begin to Consider How to Effectively Pull Off an ASD tantrum in the middle of a test:
It was a rough session for one of the clients at the UW clinic today…to say the least. Autism with ODD, and he made it evident that he was donezo with therapy after 30 minutes in his clinic room. I was in the computer lab with about 15 other classmates when all of a sudden, the halls were filled with the sweet, ear-splitting sound of a major meltdown. Considering how exhausted we all have been, I was only 70% certain that the screams of temper-tantruming anguish were coming from the 5 year old. A solid 28% of me seriously questioned whether they might actually be coming from the student clinician working with him-it had, after all, been an epically long day already. Then there was that nagging 2% that it might be all in my head. Had my lack of sleep this week really caused me to go that bonkers? In the end, he screamed and cried all the way down the hall. As I thought about the effectiveness of this meltdown as a potential exam-escape-tactic, a small part of me reeeeaaaallly wanted to go out there, high five him, and say: “Well played my friend, well played.”
Not to worry, there will undoubtedly be more You Know You’re a SLP Grad Student When… posts in the future. In the meantime, good luck in your classes and clinical sessions tomorrow…may the odds be ever in your favor!