People often ask you "how did you get into [insert your profession here]?" Answers can vary from it being something that person fell into, something an advisor led them towards, family profession, or a certain special individual who led them towards that path.
For me, my path has been shaped by so many wonderful people in my life; however, two people in particular are to "thank" for leading me to the profession of speech pathology.
The first will be one that makes any student that had a certain AP Government class smile! Mr. Chad Coffey was single-handedly one of the funniest, most captivating teachers I have had (and I have been blessed to have MANY wonderful teachers in my life). For someone to make GOVERNMENT interesting, in itself, is a feat alone...not to mention the man easily wrangled the attention of a classroom with his tangential personal stories, then brought it back to the learning points. For those of you wondering how a government teacher could lead me to speech path, Mr. Coffey occasionally stuttered along with other speech "differences". But it really didn't matter to anyone in the class-- he captivated the classroom with his kindness, knowledge, sense of humor and smile. One day, he mentioned how he felt so lucky to be able to stand up and speak for living (implying that he was able to get past his speech challenges) and I remembered thinking, "what a profound impact...I must look into that." Needless to say, here I am today- less than one month away from graduating and fulfilling that desire a total of almost 6 years later.
The second person is technically a bit cliche, but none the less, demands to be mentioned- my sweet Mom. For those of you who were unable to meet her, I can guarantee you that you would have L-O-V-E-D her. She had the purest of hearts and was selfless, kind, caring, loving, and a darn good mom (especially considering with everything that she was personally dealing with). My Mom was a nurse before she became a stay-at-home mom and while I didn't know her during her "E.R. days", I can only imagine what a great nurse she was. She encompassed all the best qualities of a good healthcare professional -- cool under pressure, full of compassion, hardworking and smart (and every other good adjective you could think to use).
Lord knows my weak stomach and gag reflex wouldn't have made it in nursing (God bless you nurses!), but I was able to find my niche in the healthcare field where I could hopefully make an impact and bring comfort to people's lives in the same way that my Mom did.
As each milestone in my life passes, I always think of my Mom, but this one will bring a new wave of emotion. I feel a little bit more connected to her and know that if she was still around, I would be able to giggle with her over funny patient stories, talk to her with my newly acquired "medical terms" and hear her crazy stories that are similar to my own- it somehow bridges this insurmountable gap that exists.
I truly can't wait to get out there, do what I love, and think of my inspirations that started it all.