I used to think that you have time for what you make time for. And I thought that if something was a priority you’d be able to fit it into your life. And, in many ways I still believe that. But I didn’t realize you could ever have so much homework/school related things to do that you couldn’t get your homework done. Even when all you do is homework.
To put it very simply- I’ve been busy. So busy in fact that all I ever talk about is how busy I am and what I have to do next. The last 3 weeks have been a well-scheduled series of events as I tackled 2 classes (now 3 b/c I started a new one before the old ones finished), my placement, and all it’s related homework. And this week was the last full week of Summer A term and I had to ask for an extension on a 5 page paper because I (literally) didn’t have time to do it. Unless I omitted something like eating or sleeping or bathing- but that seemed a little extreme. So I asked for an extension and now it’s not due till Tuesday. Which means I can start it tomorrow even though it was due today.
On a side note- it turns out grad school is actually a lot of work- even though it has a tendency to cycle- with periods of high intensity and low intensity insanity.
So. The pay off for being busy? Is learning. And this summer I have learned a lot. So much in fact I’ll make a list:
1. I took a “doctoral seminar” on Neuropathology of Speech Disorders in Children. For this class I read a lot of research articles and learned about a. research (which I never want to do) b. dysarthria (which is muscle weakness- like you see in people with Parkinson’s Disease) and c. apraxia (which is a disorder of motor planning. meaning that you know what you want to say but your muscles can’t organize the sequence of articulation to make a sound. For example- to make a /b/ sound you need to close your lips and open them at a certain time and turn your voice on at a certain time. If you mess up any of those steps you can make an entirely different sound. cool- I know.) My favorite assignment for this class was an ‘experience’ assignment where I chose to watch 2 hours of youtube videos about apraxia and then tell the class about what I learned. That was pretty fun.
2. I also took a class called Reading Comprehension and Study Strategies. I needed an elective that wasn’t from my department and thought an education class about teaching kids how to read would be a good skill to learn for my job. However, today was my last day of that class and I didn’t learn any specific tools about teaching reading. But, I did learn some other interesting things. I also liked the class because it was interesting to hear how people in the field of education think about the world. It is very different than speech therapy. For example. On the first day the professor apologetically used the word “orthography” (which is just the actual writing/spelling system of a language). I would have thought that teachers of English would know that word is all. And he also apologized and over-explained when he presented research and brain information. Which is a little disconcerting- that he doesn’t expect educators to know how to read research- because it makes me feel like maybe teaching isn’t as evidence based as we all would like to think.
3. Last week I started a 4 week class on Cleft Palate. Which has been very interesting. Partially because the class is taught by two hilarious people who have some great stories to tell, partially because my professors speak Spanish and use a lot of Spanish examples in class, and partially because it’s not something I knew very much about and I’m enjoying learning it.
4. My client. This week was also my last week working with my client in the clinic on campus. I have been working with her since February so it’s kind of sad to be done. But the fact that I don’t have to prepare any session plans for it for a while is kind of nice.
5. My placement. Is at a preschool. I give 8 sessions of therapy twice a week to a total of 15 kids. Of these 8 sessions 6ish of them are in Spanish. Which was pretty scary the first day because I had to figure out what the kids were saying – and some of them have some pretty good speech problems. But, I’m getting better at it and am enjoying a. the growing experience b. the kiddos. But I do spend a lot of time making games and flashcards to use in my sessions. So glad I got that laminator and paper cutter for Christmas. 🙂
6. Life. You know. There is the surface of it where you live and work and fly around like crazy and then there is the deeperness of it. The part where, when you have time, you think. And over this summer semester it has become very clear to me that I am nothing special. (Hear me out here.) But a visitor on campus asked me the other day if I had any advise on how to ‘get in’ to Teachers College. And I realized that I don’t really know. I mean you work hard and do your best. Be involved. Maybe do some research with a professor. Volunteer? Write a really good personal statement? I don’t know. These all seem like exteriors. And I realized that I’m not THAT smart. Sometimes I like to think that I am. I mean, if nothing else, at least I’m educated. But I realized that I only know what I’ve been taught. And I’m only at Columbia because I did my homework. Because I’m not one of those people who push the limits of intellectualism, questioning research and common opinions. Instead I just sit there thinking, “ok. Interesting.” And maybe this isn’t something you can connect to. Maybe your identity isn’t wrapped up in education. Or maybe you are really smart. But me. I’m just me. Whatever that means. But then I heard 2 things recently.
1. “All this was on purpose. Everything you are. Your whole goulash of experiences and gifts…. it’s on purpose. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are exactly what I want you to be.” (Propaganda- paraphrasing God)
2. “You are the sum of God’s love for you.” All the things I do right. All the things I do wrong. All they add up to is zero. But who I am is a direct result of God loving me. (Mike Donehey from Tenth Avenue North)
So yeah. Sometimes it’s good to get some perspective.
7. (I hope these numbers aren’t getting too confusing). My church. Had a camp out in the Poconos Mountains 2 weeks ago. And I went. And sat in my cabin on Saturday reading a text book. But I also had several good talks with many good people. And I liked it. And I decided I like my church. I don’t have that many people here my age or sharing the same life experiences as me right now. But I do have people who are willing to accept me as I am and challenge me to be more as we listen and talk and laugh and pray. And really, that’s what church is for.
8. Just a little photo montage to keep your attention.
9. So. All in all that is what I’ve been up to.
10. And this is how I’m ending my post. Because sometimes this is very true too.