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Side Jobs in Undergrad

18 March 2014

Numerous undergrads on the forums and FaceBook groups always seem to be worried about having enough experience for grad school applications. To go one step further, they all want to find experiences that are speech-language pathology related, which chimes to the ring of ' children, camps, babysitting, and school' to many of these students.... Don't get me wrong, when I first found out about this major and realized the difficulty of being accepted I was like this as well! (Occasionally, I still am.) But I'm here to debunk a myth that has circled around many student groups: It doesn't have to be 100% speech-language pathology related. Sure, if you manage to snag a volunteer position at a speech clinic, that's great! Realistically, though, these are few and far between. Also, some students know they don't want to work with children... so why force yourself to volunteer at a camp or work in a daycare if that's not your thing?

Luckily, communication is part of everything, so you can tie almost any job into speech-language pathology even if it isn't the "golden" daycare job or Best Buddies membership. Actually, I think some graduate programs might look at you as a more well-rounded person. After all, we all love speech-language pathology but that doesn't mean 100% of our time has to be devoted to it... Many clinicians spend their free time elsewhere, whether it be hiking, making crafts, name it!

One example: I haven't done this, but it was once a potential job: patient care technician. These people work under the supervision of a nurse and do all duties that don't require a nursing degree. It mostly requires the dirty work of taking care of a patient and sometimes assisting in taking vitals and such. This job would demonstrate the ability to aid different patients, working under supervision, working in a fast-paced and medical environment and taking care of others... all of which are necessary for speech-language pathology as well.

Another example: I work at the school cafeteria. How is that relatable to speech-language pathology? I communicate for 5 hours straight making sure every order is perfect, no matter how odd the order is. I have to listen to each customer, adjust to any limitations, understand their culture may require different practices (like changing gloves that have touched meat), and work under a time constraint. This job requires me to be on my toes and sometimes ask for repetitions, all while either working with a teammate or filling 15 orders by myself if the teammate has to do another task. This has prepared me for graduate education and working as a clinician since there is a multicultural client base as well as different work settings that require varying levels of independence.