Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dear College Male...

Dear College Male,

It's me. Jenna. A twenty-something speech-language pathologist.  Say what? That means I work in a school, clinic, nursing facility, or hospital.  I work on speech, language, cognition or swallowing.  So you're in college.  Let's be honest. You don't want to be an accountant. You really want to be the 1324th male in the Sports Management program at your university. But, let's get serious, you need a major that might actually keep you from moving back to your parents' basement until your 35. Don't worry, I've got you covered. Two Words: Ladies and Legos.

You have to take some general ed. courses to get your degree anyway. Go look up the communication disorders 101 class on campus.  You can read the course information but I'm going to tell you what you REALLY need to know about being an SLP (keep up:  that means Speech-Language Pathologist). 

1. In the words of Motley Crue: Girls, Girls, Girls {because women, women, women just doesn't sound as good}. Wouldn't you love to work in a profession where females make up 96.2% of the professionals. In 2012 there were 136,000 ASHA licensed SLPs, meaning 1 man to every 32 women. You can spend that $30/month you would've spent on buying sticks (to beat the crowds of women off.) 
2. You'll learn words like epiglottis, diadochokinetic rate, glottal fry, velopharyngeal, fricative, schwaa, malocclusion, bolus, prosopagnosia and frenulum. Your friends won't know if you're cursing, talking dirty, or if you've been to med school. If you can't pronounce those words yet just remember that we always do it with frequency, intensity, and duration.
3. Playing legos, race cars and angry birds on the ipad is a daily requirement at my job. Even if your girlfriend is nagging you to 'grow up', your clients never will. 
4.  /ju wl bi eɪbl tə rid fənetɪks/ and use sign language. Bond, James Bond. It's all about secret codes. 
5. This economy sucks. The Jetsons' maybe have used Rosie as their maid, but healthcare jobs will always be required. While there are changes within our field, we don't need to fear the Jetson's era, when robots do our jobs.  

All kidding aside, you'll never forget the first time a 3 year old with Autism says her first word. For me it happened on mini trampoline. You'll never forget the look of thanks when a stroke patient gets to eat real food again. Mashed potatoes never seemed so important. And you'll never feel more compassion than when you make memory books for dementia patients. Remembering family members is the most important thing to them. Our profession was recently rated one of the 25 Most Meaningful Jobs that Pay Well.  We desperately need more males in our profession. The incidence of communication disorders is higher in boys than girls. Adult role models for our clients are rare. So go check out that Communication Disorders 101 class and let me know if you need 10 more reasons to join me!



Thanks for laughing with me today :)