As I may have mentioned before, I have not started to do actual therapy yet in the course of my education. I begin to have clients this fall, and am closely observed by a qualified SLP as well as videotaped during my sessions. When I talked to other students who had not had clients yet, they said they were terrified. I then feel like kind of a jerk for saying, "I can't wait!" I know that having clients is going to be difficult. When you are a student clinician you have to write out lesson plans for every therapy you do in a specific format, and then write up how the session went in a specific format. It's a lot of extra paperwork. We have to get 375 hours of therapy in, but the preparation and follow-up do not count as therapy hours because we are not actually with a client. Also, many children are unpredictable and inattentive by nature. I heard about a client last summer who would not listen to the student clinician at all. Her supervisor, who has two children and thus has developed a "Mom Voice," had to sit at the door of the therapy room to keep the child from running away.
Despite all of the extra stress and work that comes with clients, I find myself eagerly anticipating them. Why? Because they are the reason I am doing this. They are the reason that I am sitting through classes and making flashcards and reading never-ending chapters in textbooks and memorizing and forgetting the cranial nerves on a regular basis (don't judge, those buggers are slippery...ask any med student). You cannot learn to be an SLP sitting in a classroom, and sometimes when I'm sitting in a classroom I forget this fact and think that the book-learning is the most important part. Then I get depressed and overwhelmed. I cannot wait to be thrown into the fray, to make mistakes and learn from them, to watch children learn and grow. And it is good to remind myself of this when an afternoon of Morphology and Syntax homework and Traumatic Brain Injury studying stretches before me. Thus, I go to shower, and hopefully to conquer! :)