You’ll be the new kid on the block again. You’ve been with the same people and professors for years but now you’re in a clinic/school/hospital setting and probably do not know a soul! It can be terrifying but knowing that everybody has been the new kid can be soothing. Do your best to get to know your co-workers and let them get to know you. Having good working relationships makes every job easier and being an SLP is no different. I have rarely met an individual that expects a newcomer to understand how to do everything on the first day. So relax and ease into it.
People/Parents/Patients may doubt your knowledge and abilities… don’t buy into it. Some people, in my experience, have a difficult time trusting young adults with important tasks. Your task is important. You’ll be helping children learn to communicate, feeding patients, recommending diets, and so much more. The more confident you feel, the more confident your clients and coworkers will feel. Have you ever heard the term “Fake it ’til you make it”? Well, this is true to some extent during your CFY. Show confidence until you are confident. Display knowledge until you are more knowledgeable. You have the skills and they will get better every time you practice them.
You have fresh and new ideas and information… use it! You’ve just spent 6 years learning all the newest techniques and research outcomes relating to speech-language pathology. And you know where to find the information. So, feel confident expressing your opinions when speaking with others and when deciding on goals and techniques to use in therapy. Also, don’t be afraid to share some of these great tips and ideas with others that may have been in the field for a while. They will appreciate your effort and that can be the start of a great working relationship.
You will love it. I mean, who wouldn’t? You get to make a difference in the lives of others every day. Each day is different and rewarding and challenging in new ways. I found that after my hardest weeks, when the dust settled and I looked back, I could see how amazing my job really is. I could see the progress with my students. I could see them meeting the goals we set. I’m not saying every day will be a breeze. And you won’t love every day. But you’ve worked hard to get here and now you get to just “do”. Enjoy it!
One of the hardest parts about starting your first job is the paperwork aspect. So, I created a little goody to help you out. (Or, for those who are going into the schools for the first time.) This is a free set of paperwork templates to give you ideas or an easy starter. You may use them as you like. It’s yours!
Enjoy your CFY year! I can’t wait to hear about all of your adventures!