Why I became a Speech Language Pathologist. I got into this profession because of my junior class prom date. He was and still is a person who stutters. My closest friend during my teenage years, I observed his daily challenges. Ordering at a restaurant was similar to Russian Roulette—it did not matter what he wanted to eat. Rather, his dinner options were limited to what words came of his mouth. Classroom presentations were often rehearsed, rehearsed and rehearsed again to (hopefully) limit the number of stuttering moments. Every utterance, every statement was purposeful and arduous. As a witness to the adversities, I entered a profession that advocated, supported and empowered individuals. This is how I found the field of speech-language pathology, and I have not looked back since my days as a freshman at The University of Texas.
Why I became a Speech Language Pathologist
With summer coming to close and the start of a new school year, I want us to start thinking about why we chose our profession. Professional development days and summer trainings address the how and the what (what strategies yield the best results and how do I do it?). However, the how and what does not necessarily validate our reasons to be in this field. The how and the what does not validate our long and tiring days. All of our job duties require energy and effort, and I whole-heartedly understand the life. I believe, however, that our hardest days may still be better than most. Some days are hard and all surely take heart. And, as our heads hit the pillow each evening, we still made a difference.
We impact lives. My gut tells me that this is why you chose to be a speech-language pathologist. You wanted to help others communicate and advocate for their wants and needs. You wanted to make a difference on a person’s daily needs. Your brain loves the sciences, and you get to use this skillset to help others. Remember your why. Remember why you chose this profession, and the importance of that initial, foundational moment. Your why will support you through the tough and the gritty. It will bring you back to good—the good and the great that exists within our students and our clients. Have a great school year, and we are looking forward to hearing your stories and successes.
To hear more information about the importance of Why, please watch Simon Senek’s TED Talk.