Saturday, September 21, 2013

Anxious in East Michigan...

So my semester has been off and running for almost 3 weeks now and I am feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and have had a lot of self-doubt creep in. The self-doubt has been there for a while, but has been only a small little voice whispering in my ear... now it's in full shout mode. Part of it has to do with the amount of time I have to commit to my grad assistant position and being able to manage my time effectively. The other part has to do with being in clinic this semester. Clinic is all consuming and I sometimes forget that I have 2 other classes that need my attention too.

I started off this semester feeling excited with only a slight case of nerves... and then I had my first diagnostic session with my (adorable!!) client this past week and it was a slightly chaotic blur where I attempted to take
data (kinda failed at that) on the various informal and formal assessments I administered. By the end of it, I felt more incompetent and anxious, and not as excited... and don't get me started on the paperwork I had to whip out that was due an hour after my session ended. I know I didn't turn in quality work, not even close and I'm supposed to meet with my clinical supervisor about it preferably before Tuesday... but because of work, I can't. So yeah, feeling a bit down on myself this weekend.

BUT I have to remember that I am not alone. I'm not the only SLP grad student to have ever felt this way about clinic or even grad school in general. I have only had one session and I think it took me by complete surprise how crazy fast and hard this all just hit me... I need to chill the heck out and remember I'm still learning!! It was my first session! It was my first time turning in a real SOAP note and the fact that I turned in anything at all within an hour is amazing in itself!

So, I did a search and came up with some great quotes from SLP students who have experienced the same self-doubt (slp livejournal):

“I really sat down and thought about why I have been so anxious, and I came to realize it really boiled down to I don't like the feeling of being incompetent. It's at these moments that I need to remind myself to re-focus. I CAN tell you that these moments of self-doubt get less and less frequent over time.”

“You're not supposed to be a great therapist right now. You WILL be one, someday. Give yourself time.”

“It's not uncommon to feel overwhelmed, anxious, or ready to give up. I know that it's hard, but you CAN do it!”

“Don't sweat the small stuff. Find your niche, find out why you're feeling incompetent in clinic. Why do you "suck?" Also, SOAP notes are hard for a lot more clinicians than you think. Report writing is even harder.”

And of course this great blog post by Speechy Musings: You know you are in SLP graduate school when... 

Just breathe... 


  1. Love this post, Christie. I can relate, and I didn't even do my real assessment yet on my client! (To readers, Christie and I are in the same program at EMU together.) I was practicing today with a friend (Cat) and I felt the SAME WAY.. everything you described. I was forgetting steps in my session outline. I wasn't able to handle Cat's fake speech impaired behaviors (and they were fake! - but good). I had a hard time collecting data too and just keeping my composure. I felt like a hot mess and totally not the confident Christine that I know I am. So, THAT, totally threw me through a loop - kinda like... I was questioning my ability or competency (like you said) in carrying out tasks that I will have to do every day for the rest of my life. And it's only one little 30 min. with a client. It's just crazy that I'm spending so much time thinking about, preparing for and analyzing every detail for one session which will fly by on Monday.

    So I liked what you said about just, "chilling the heck out." haha. :) It's soo true.
    I know my strengths. I know it's the beginning. But we can't ignore the fact that this stuff makes us anxious - we can't ignore those feelings. But, what we do with the feelings is where the gold is. And I like how you were able to see the positives of the situation. That's really awesome.
    And thanks for the other slp quotes! Loved them!
    We got this... we got this.

    See you tomorrow, lady.

  2. Thanks for your comment Christine... you are right, we got this. :)

  3. Thank you for this post. Love the positivity.