October 29, 2015

Once Upon a CF...

This is a tale of an overconfident SLP Intern who quickly learned she did not know as much as she thought she did...

Yes.  Yes, it's true.  When I completed my SLP graduate program (a mere 2 months ago), I thought I was ready to be on my own.  During my two years of grad school, I gained so much experience working both as an SLP Assistant and as a graduate student clinician.  I clocked well over the required practicum hours and planned all of my therapy sessions.  I had great supervisors who prepared me well.  I was great with time management and even had time to start my very own Teachers Pay Teachers store.  I was feeling confident and ready for my very own caseload.  Who needs a CFY...I was ready for that CCC!

Fast forward 2 months and here we are [...]
News flash: I don't know as much as I thought I knew.  We are only 2 1/2 months into the school year and I am exhausted.  Being a CF is hard work!  I'm really not doing anything new, but I am feeling the pressure of being responsible for deadlines, paperwork, and decision making without having the safety net of a supervisor right beside me every day.  It's a bit more stressful.

Don't get me wrong...I still have a supervisor/mentor and she's great.  She's the best I could ask for, but I have had to call/email her way more than I would have predicted.  Sorry, Sharon!  Just when I think I have things down, some unique situation pops up and I'm emailing/calling again.  Overall, things are going well and I don't think I've messed anything up too bad, but I have felt overwhelmed at times and a bit stressed out.

Reflecting over the past 2 1/2 months has led me to write this post.  I've done some self-reflection and came up with a list of things I think are important to remember as I move through the reminder of my CFY and into my career as an SLP.

1. The learning doesn't end with graduation.  Every situation, every child, every challenge, every failure and success will bring opportunities for learning and growth.  I plan to embrace all of my experiences and use them to help me become a better SLP and a better person.

2. You have a supervisor for a reason...don't be ashamed to seek their help/advice.  There is a reason we are not sent out to be SLPs on our own right away.  The CFY is a great way for us to jump right into the pool, but with a lifeguard standing by to help us if needed.  I'm so thankful I have a great supervisor who is approachable and helpful.

3. There is an endless supply of resources available and waiting to be used.   I am so thankful for all of the great resources available to me as an SLP Intern.  Of course, I have my text books and class notes, but there is so much more out there, too.  I have discovered a great support system through SLP Facebook groups, bloggers, and long distance SLP friends.  And don't forget about all the online webinars and professional development opportunities.  There's just so much available to us!

4. It will get easier.  I know there will always be challenges, but I also know I will find my groove.  I am looking forward to discovering my niche.  As I get more comfortable being on my own, I know it will get easier to manage all of the day-to-day "stuff" that comes with the job and I will grow into being a fabulous SLP.

5. You are not alone. Every year, every graduating class brings a new batch of SLP Interns who are in the same boat.  Every CF experience is different, but it's something we all must go through.  In my moments of panic and stress I try to remind myself that others have survived the CFY and I will, too.  I look forward to sharing my experiences with others and hearing their experiences, too.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.  Are you also completing your CF?  How's it going?  Are you an SLP supervisor?  What advice do you have for us newbies?

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