Changing it up

I was going to write about my crazy exam blood sugars, but I've done that before. I think now I might blog a response to a frequently asked question that isn't even remotely diabetes related!

"How do you know exactly what you want to do with your life? Why do you want to be a speech pathologist?"

Back in Year 12 when everyone felt swamped in the pressure of choosing a degree, I was one of the relatively few that didn't experience a crisis. Sure, I had about a week of reconsidering, maybe going into teaching, or psychology, or sociology etc. But once again I was drawn back to speech. I found out about speech in a Job Guide book, well to be more accurate my mum found it. I was focused on psychology at the time, so glazed over the speech entry, but it turned out to be everything I wanted and more.

My main goal is to help people. I wanted something medical without being a doctor, teaching without being a teacher and psychological without being a psychologist. Plus, I have a few connections to speech.

Without going into details my grandmother required speech pathology after a stroke, in order to swallow and speak again. She has pretty much no memory of who I, or anyone else, is, but she can eat, and talk and carry on a conversation. Her language is limited in some areas, but it gives her a voice.

And THAT is what I'm passionate about. I have a mild lisp myself, and remember in primary school kids sometimes asking me to say words with s in them, just to listen to the sound. This had the effect of feeling like people weren't listening to what I had to say, rather how I said it. Whilst this was very minor and not too bothersome, it made me think about those with severe impediments, like my grandmother would've had after her stroke if she didn't receive therapy.

Imagine being virtually trapped in your own head, where you can't communicate the same way everyone else does. Perhaps you stutter and people lose patience with you so you consider it may be better not to say anything at all. Your sentences are finished by other people, so they're no longer YOURS. In our world, speaking is the only way we can be heard and valued. Grammar is also one of the key separations between humans and other species.
So what if you can't talk or sign?

Its my belief that these people have opinions and thoughts that are just as valid as everyone's. Being a speech pathologist bridges the gap, it gives people the power to make themselves heard and to be an equal part of society. When addressing swallowing, speech path gives people the ability to safely eat and drink, a basic need. It gives people self-determination, rather than having to solely rely on others.

I haven't got it all worked out yet- not by a long shot. I thought I wanted to specialise in adult care, but after only 1 semester at uni I want to treat everyone! I've got 3 and a half years to work that out, for now I can just enjoy the ride.

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