Getting personal with your major

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Annabelle Gray
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Committing to your college major can be so personal and gut-wrenching. You spend so much time trying to decide what you want to do with your life, how it will affect you and those around you, if it is something you will always love, etc. It truly is terrifying to make such a seemingly permanent decision for your future profession.

The earliest memory I have of what I thought I may want to be when I grew up was when I was 5 years old and wanted to be a veterinarian. I loved animals, but also what little girl doesn’t want to be a veterinarian at some point in her life? Knowing that you will probably change what you want to do with your life is important to remember because you don’t have to have it all figured out by your tenth birthday. As time progressed, I considered being a divorce attorney, then a forensic scientist. At this point in my life, I have decided on Speech-Language Pathology (SLP). Currently, I am studying Psychology for my undergraduate degree and then plan to apply to a graduate program which specializes in hearing sciences and disorders.

Speech-Language Pathology speaks to me in a way that nothing else does (no pun intended). A speech-language pathologist treats, assesses, and can even diagnose communication and swallowing disorders, as well as help to prevent them in the future. An easier way to explain their role would be speech therapy. Many children are enrolled in speech therapy during pre-K through the early years of elementary school, however, they may be in the program as long or as little as necessary. Adult speech therapy patients are usually stroke patients, but anyone who may have been involved in a traumatic event that causes a pause in speech can be in therapy. I plan to work mostly with children and stroke patients, but I am open to all areas of the field.

I became connected with this profession in a very personal way. Not many people are able to have this kind of connection so early, but I am so glad that I do. My mother had a daughter between my oldest sister and me, who unfortunately passed away before I was born. During my senior year of high school, my mom told me everything about my sister, Victoria, and just how incredible she was. She was such a fighter! She had Jacobsen Syndrome, a condition where specific genes on chromosome 11 are deleted. It affected a great deal of the things we often take for granted, including her hearing. My favorite story to hear about my sister is when she received hearing aids. My mom said that she just lit up in a way she had never seen before. When my mom told me that, I knew that I wanted to do something along the lines of hearing sciences. Not much longer after that, my nephew was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, which stunted his speech. At that point, I knew that SLP was where I wanted and needed to be. Two important people in my life heavily relied on this profession, which made it so incredibly valuable to me. There is nothing else I would rather do than be an SLP. The road is long and winding, and certainly very challenging, but it is everything to me.

Being this connected to your major is extremely heart-warming. Of course, just like any major, it is sometimes frustrating and makes you want to scream. But I think it is all worth it. The struggles that you face in the present will be rewarding in the future. If you are like me and are going to be in school for quite some time, I just want to let you know that it’s okay. It’s okay to be in college longer than most people, it’s okay to be attached to your major, it’s okay to question yourself. Just do your thing and keep going. If it is what you want, it will be so worth it.


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