This is not the final essay but this is a draft of the essay I'll be submitting (fingers crossed!) to State University of New York (SUNY) New Paltz's Foundations in Communication Disorders post-bac program. Not sure how it'll go but if you decide to read it you'll learn a bit about me and hopefully enjoy yourself. Feedback is appreciated :)
I never wanted to study any type of science. The idea of working in a school or in the medical field or with people in general was never my goal. I was going to go to college to kill time for 4 years before going to a top law school, graduating in the top half of my class and get an entry level position as a corporate attorney and bring home six figures. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, life doesn’t always go to plan and typically one life change leads to others.
With age comes a certain level of maturity and an inevitable revaluation of goals. Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to help things and people. I was the kid who would go around picking up worms after it rained and putting them back into the ground so they wouldn’t shrivel up in the sun. But somewhere along the lines I lost sight of that and decided that I would enter corporate America, make a lot of money and thereby be successful. Throughout and after college I completed 6 internships in a variety of fields including public affairs, non-profit international relations, food, tourism and restaurant public relations, pediatric therapies, law and corporate public relations. The latter of my experiences was what I ultimately thought would become my career. Upon graduating from college I moved to Dallas, TX for an internship with Fleishman Hillard International Communications. If you aren’t familiar, Fleishman Hillard is one of the top PR firms in the country, if not the world and has had big name clients such as Procter & Gamble, Dell and AT&T. I was in downtown Dallas, on the 34th floor of a near sky-rise building and wearing high heels to work every day…and I was miserable. Nothing I did on a day to day basis seemed to impact any single person or the world and all of sudden I realized that I cared about that! It was like instantly a flashing billboard appeared reading, “Rennay! You don’t want to do this with your life!” The end of the internship sent me back home to Louisville, KY to reevaluate.
The most enjoyable position I’d ever had was as an intern in the marketing department at The Kids Center for Pediatric Therapies. In order to familiarize myself with the organization I spent time with a therapist from the Occupational, Physical and Speech therapy departments. I guess since my degree is in communication it was only natural that my interest in speech therapy far outweighed that of the other two disciplines but it was a totally different type of interest. Even observing was fun, exciting, frustrating, challenging, intriguing but most of all, rewarding. I was working with kids on communicating which snack they wanted through pictures, on using adjectives to communicate which item they wanted when faced with options and on just basic communication and interaction skills that we easily forget not everyone is born with.
Throughout my first year out of college I shadowed one of the speech therapists at the center on another occasion with another client and was even more excited. Not only do I feel like I can have an impact on clients but I also feel like I can relate to them. I was so painfully shy growing up that I was tested more than once for disabilities because I was simply too afraid to speak. I went to a 99% Caucasian high school and as one of the young African American girls I was “weird” and didn’t fit in and really began to hate myself. After dealing with clinical severe depression for however long, I was finally diagnosed in college and while trying to work through it was thought to be stupid because my grades dropped and I couldn’t perform like I should. These people are looked at as “stupid” and “weird” and countless other ways and even though I’m not like them entirely, I can relate to that. Everyone helps in different ways. I’m hoping that becoming a speech pathologist will be mine.