Sunday, August 26, 2007

Back to School (again)

After a minuscule break between our August classes and fall semester, I am ready to go back to school tomorrow. I don't really know if I'm ready for the *work* necessarily, but I am beyond excited about my new program. This summer, I had bouts of uncertainty where I wasn't really sure if this is what I wanted to do, and where I worried that I just decided to go into this field on a whim and because of a few convenient factors (great job market, similar schedules with Peter and I working in the schools, and a single day of observation). I mean, why exactly was I going back for another two years? (For those just tuning in, I'm finishing my Linguistics master's and going into Speech Pathology to get a seconds master's).

But now that I've had some introductory classes and met some of the people in the department, I am just over the moon. Even now I have butterflies in my stomach for what lies ahead (in a good way). My path isn't going to be the most typical of the department, to say the least, but I know what I want and it is possible to do it. For one thing, I am the only (I think) person in the deaf and hard of hearing track. For another, I want to do a thesis, which very few MA students opt for. Most just take comps and do more internships for practical experience. I'm so grateful that I did my Ling MA because not only do I have a really good foundation in language and a much broader knowledge of the possibilities of language than most SLPs (speech-language pathologists), but I also have a much better idea of what I'm interested in and where I do and do not want to go.

At this point, I'm pretty sure I want to work for several years in the field, then go back and get my PhD to teach and do research. My interest areas are deafness, American Sign Language (ASL), child language and phonology/phonetics. Phew! I am so much more defined that when I started my ling program and felt so vague compared to all the veteran students who knew exactly what they wanted to study. Amazing what two years of exposure and experience will do!

Even better, there are several faculty members in the speech path department who work in these areas, and my adviser told me that I was lucky (or chose wisely) to be at CU because there was a great deal of support for deaf studies. Apparently, not all speech path programs recognize this as an area of need or importance (what!?!?). And the best part is that they are not oralists (no sign), so I don't have to suffer through competing ideology.

OK, enough excitement for now. I'll let you know mid-semester just how excited I am then :-)

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