Sunday, April 3, 2011

Back at it

I decided to rekindle this blog since,even though I will be finally starting grad school in 2011, I do feel the journey began in 2010 when I first got the crazy idea in my head to do a 180 degree change of my career goals.

I should probably do a short recap, since I have not posted since my rejection last year.

My first foray in college was a meandering journey through pre-med, theater, sociology, pre-law and finally Business Management. I ended up with a "safe" degree, one that could get me a job. I was fairly successful in my career, even if it was mainly carved out of independent learning and on-the-job skill development more than my business degree. My special needs son and his inability to tolerate any and all daycare arrangements (and trust me, we tried many) led me to eventually stay home to care for him and our additional 2 children who came along later. My husband's career blossomed since we were no longer trying to juggle two jobs and a sick kid, closed daycares and school holidays. But I never felt like I would be one of *those* Stay At Home Moms who was screwed if something happened to her husband (illness, job loss, him going crazy and deciding to trade me in for a younger model) because I had that degree and that job experience under my belt.

But alas, a couple years ago, I tried to re-enter the workforce and lo and behold...I was completely unemployable. My 4 yrs out of the workforce apparently made me a pariah. Good references, a great resume and only slightly outdated database skills aside...I did not get one call. Not one nibble. Nothing.

Bla bla, long story short, I considered a lot of possible future careers and settled on becoming a Speech Language Pathologist. After last year's Grad School rejection, I pursued an online 2nd bachelors degree in Communication Disorders at Utah State University. I found I love the online format. While it has some challenges (like being on my own to seek out and coordinate observations, since I dont have a school-affiliated clinic right there), it has its advantages for a busy mom of 3 with a husband who travels every week.

So I am have now been accepted into Western Kentucky University's Distance Education Master of Science in Communication Disorders program. I have 3 pre-requistites to take this summer at Utah State:

Diagnostic Proceedures
Articulation Disorders
Language Disorders

All three of which are considered three of the most intensive workloads in the USU lineup. Eep. All three kids will be home for 9 of the 12 weeks of the summer semester and my husband is only home 8 days per month. Eep. I'm nervous, but the silver lining is that I should be able to allow myself to get B's since I am already accepted into Grad School.

Once I get through the craziness of summer semester, I will post more about the adventures of balancing grad school with parenthood while still maintaining just a bit of my sanity. Should be fun!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Down but not out

As I ponder my rejection, I find I agree more and more with their decision. I did call the Dept head about taking some pre-reqs at GSU and she left me a message, also telling me to get out and observe SLPs in a variety of settings. I can see now that while I focused on the academics and the nuts and bolts of the application, I definitely didnt focus enough on the career of an SLP as a whole. I know I want to work in a school setting, I know I want to work with kids and I do have a variety of experiences with SLPs in that setting due to my own children's needs. But I dont have first hand knowledge of what SLPs do with adults, in hospitals, with newborns, etc.

That said, I am totally stoked about the online second bachelors I am embarking on. I will be taking the first 2 classes this summer as a non-degree seeking student - basically an intro to SLP class and an anatomy class. In the fall, I will hopefully get into the degree program and will take 4 classes. One of which is specifically designed to help with the grad school application, as it requires you to (weekly?) observe a SLPs in a variety of clinical settings and write summery reports. I really think that, plus the committment exhibited by the pursuing the 2nd bachelors will make my application look great next year!

Plus the idea of easing back into academia gradually and online is very appealing to my otherwise chaotic life.

Down, but not out!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Not this year

Online status was still showing "No decision at this time" so I finally called again. Had to call several depts and nag a bit just to get my own rejection from the receptionist. How anti-climactic. They couldnt even waste a sheet of letterhead on me. [/pity party]

I'm ok. I had my funk and fleeting feelings of worthlessness. But as I analyze and prepare my plan B, I am more pragmatic.

My interview wasnt great. I had a lack of current up to date knowledge of the field. For all they knew, despite my good GRE and GPA, I was just a bored SAHM who decided on a whim that speech therapy would be fun! Whee!

So the plan B that is formulating in my head is an online 2nd bachelors in SLP through Utah State that I can complete in 3 semesters (if I kick butt) and reapply next year. I will not have to take the pre-reqs so I will enter as a 2yr student (as opposed to 3) so I will not have lost any time. Doing it online cuts down on the daycare costs. Geting the 2nd degree will give me recent academic references and experience and will also show that I am committed and not just trying grad school on a whim.

I think it will help. Even if I will only have fall 2010 under my belt by the time I apply. And if I dont get in next year? With the 2nd bachelors, I can work as an SLP asst and get even more current experience and make my app look even better.

So I am down, but not out. I may keep up with this blog still since going back to school as a FT online student will have its own ups and downs, I imagine.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I called

According to GSU's site, they will update the online status first then mail you a letter. So I guess as long as mine doesnt say "declined" then there is still hope, right?

Just for good measure, I called the admissions office. She said they are still processing them and will be updating them individually as decisions are reached.

So at least I know which medium to stalk. I no longer have to jump every time a number I dont recognize comes up on my phone and I dont have to assault the mail carrier every afternoon. I just have to limber up my itchy refresh finger.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Still waiting

OK, its officially late march. Let's get on this already. Yes or no. Yes or no. Just pick one!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

But on the plus side

As I sit here and try to assuage my anxiety....

I am technically not competing against those recent grads. They apparently admit X number of 2 yr programs (those with an SLP undergrad) and X number of 3 yr programs (those like me with a different backgroun). So I am competing against the current teachers or others with undergrads outside of the SLP programs. Maybe my chances are more like 5 of 12, if the other 63 are all going for the 2 yr program.

As one grad student said, dont stress the interview too much. Your overall app is still considered and I do have strong transcripts, a good GRE and (I think) strong LORs.

If I dont get in, I will see if I can take some of the SLP pre-reqs as a post-baccalaureate and maybe get to where I can apply as a 2yr app next year. Which could mean I wont loose any time?

But I just want an answer so I can move on and decide which way I am heading this fall!

Interview for GSU

I think my GSU interview was so traumatizing, I decided not to even blog about it. (It was on 2/26) I went, I saw, I sooo did not conquer. I felt unprepared for the essay, I felt like I stumbled through my answers and felt very inadequate compared to my competition - all the young, current, recent SLP grads. My analogy is that I was the old broad on Survivor - you know, the one with the great work ethic and the one everyone loves, but she gets voted out first.

The numbers are this: 130ish applicants, 75 were called for interviews, approximately 20 will be accepted.

Faced with those sobering stats, we went to meet the current grad students. I was told great news - anyone in this program who wants a graduate assistanceship can get one. So now that I feel like I totally blew the interview, I just figured out how to pay for grad school. Wonderful!

Now we wait. Mid to late March they said. Once March 15th passed, I find myself stressing every time the phone rings. Its worse than being on call for a doula client. Heck, I am on call for a doula client right now, but this is stressing me more.

And the last thing to note, I kept waiting to hear from West GA and struggling to get back into their online app status system. I finally called today and found they didnt have my transcripts or 2 letters of rec. Grrr on the letters, I certainly nagged my letter writers enough. But the transcripts? Sure they were in my maiden name, but I also included a copy of my app with both names on it. It should not have been hard to match them up. So that option is out. All my eggs are now in the GSU basket. I wasnt thrilled about the distance to West GA anyway, but I did like having 2 chances.