pitbull mix

Welcome to Friday! How’s it going? I’m back with another chit chat post. This week I started a new job and I figured I should probably fill you guys in on what has been happening. So, here we go…

    • I started working for Henkels & McCoy (yes, Ryan works for them too!) as an office clerk. Right now I’ve been helping with new hires, making lots of copies, and sorting forms. I have to work 6 days a week (yes, I work Saturdays) and I’m at the office for over 12 hours/day (mostly just waiting for Ryan to be able to leave) but it has honestly been kind of fun! I’m sure in a few weeks I’ll be wanting to just curl up in a ball and sleep forever but I really like everyone I’m working with and I don’t have to dress up and I get to make binders so like, what more could I ask for?
    • The #KaylaBlogsAnnualPlannerPost is ALMOST HERE! Stay tuned. There have been some awesome developments over the last two weeks and I’m so excited about the brands I’ll be working with. I’m bringing back some brands from last year but I’m making sure there are a lot of new brands for you to check out as well!
    • Ryan and I moved out of his house! Still working on filming a video with him about what’s actually happening in our lives but we have moved everything in his house to 1 room and then we’ll be moving all of that stuff to our NEW APARTMENT in 2 weeks. I’m so hype. I can’t wait to show you guys.
    • We moved out of his house and to an area near Scranton, PA. Last night we got to catch a baseball game and we hit up the gym once this week and went to dinner! There aren’t many places around here to hang out but we’re going to make due with what we got.
    • I sent out the first Kayla Blogs newsletter in a WHILE. I’m excited to get back into writing newsletters and letting you all in on some secrets. Be sure you’re signed up here!
    • I’m struggling with coming up with Instagram content. I’m stuck in a trailer in the middle of a construction yard for 12 hours/day and the apartment we’re staying in is definitely not IG worthy. We’re in a basement which equals pretty much 0 natural light. If you have any tips on what to do when your surroundings are less than ideal for Instagram, pleasepleaseplease let me know. I need help.
    • Which brings me to my next thing… I’m officially using Liketoknow.it! This means you’ll be able to shop some of my Instagram posts and blog posts a little bit easier. I know I’m not a fashion blogger and I’m not intending to start that (hello awkwardness in front of the camera) BUT I’m excited about hopefully being able to link you guys to more products that I’m loving and purchasing.
    • I’ve been doing a lot of online shopping (but not actually buying) and I’ve seriously put over $400 worth of clothes and accessories from American Eagle into my cart. Not joking. I linked some of my favs below!

Three things I learned this week:

  • There is SO much lingo in pipeline. Everyone has a special trade or title and it sometimes makes my head spin. I’m finally getting it down though!
  • I need more hard hat stickers. I had to do some training when I got hired and they give out stickers at the end for the workers to put on their hard hats. I didn’t have one (nor do I really need one) but I wanted one so I could put my stickers on. I ended up going home with a hard hat, some safety glasses, and a safety vest by the end of my second day #winning.
  •  How to make copies using a big fancy copier. I’m getting better.

What have you been up to this week? Answer these three questions in the comments below:

1. Favorite nail polish color?

2. Hats or headbands?

3. What song are you jamming to a lot lately?

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Letters of Recommendation

For the next installment of my “How to Apply to SLP Graduate School” series, I’ve decided to talk about letters of recommendation (LOR). Obtaining the required number of LORs is a pretty stressful process. Each school requires a different number of letters and sometimes the person writing them must have a specific relationship to you (professor, supervisor, licensed SLP with CCC’s) which can make things a bit complicated. This post is filled with tips for you to ensure you have a smooth experience asking for LORs!

Start early.

My biggest piece of advice is to START EARLY. Be proactive! At Temple there are GPA and grade requirements you must meet in order to ask for LORs. We had to have a minimum GPA of 3.00, a B or better in the course(s) taught by the faculty members who are being asked to write the letters, and have no more than one grade of C in any course in the undergraduate major. Think about the professors you want to ask for letters as early as the start of your sophomore year. In your second year, you’ll begin taking more classes related to your major. Be sure to make a good impression on your professors when you can.

Some good tips I have for this are: get good grades (obviously), sit in the front of class, go to office hours (even if it’s just once or twice to ask a question… this is HUGE), ask a lot of questions and speak up in class, turn your assignments in on time.

Always ask and do it face-to-face.

Even if you think they’re going to say yes, it’s always always good to ask them as if you weren’t sure. NEVER assume a professor is writing you a letter. Another important factor is to do it face-to-face. Email the professor to set up a meeting or to be sure they’re around during their office hours and then stop in. Chances are, they know it’s application season and they know why you’re coming in. Don’t sweat it. When you get there, talk to them about how they were an integral part of your undergraduate process and you loved their class, working in their lab, etc. and you were wondering if they could write you a letter of recommendation for graduate school.

BEWARE: sometimes professors will say yes but will actually write a negative letter and send it. Yes, this has happened to people. Be sure to say, “will you be able to write me a positive letter of recommendation”. This kind of forces the professor to be up front about it!

At Temple, we had these “packets” that needed to be given to the professor before they could write the LOR. I’ll be honest, I asked four professors/supervisors for LORs and I only made ONE physical packet. Most of my professors wanted you to email them the requirements. Every school is different, I’m sure, but here’s what Temple’s department required:

  • Student resume
  • Personal statement
  • Complete transcript with all course grades and overall GPA
  • Stamped and addressed envelopes (with return address of faculty member) for printed recommendations
  • List of all schools to get recommendations from the faculty member(s) and their due dates

Everything is interconnected.

I know this sounds very deep and philosophical but it’s SO true when it comes to the grad school application process. The people writing your LORs are going to basically need a finished application from you. They wanted my personal statement and my resume. They want a list of schools you’ll be applying to. Some of this information was not finalized until November. DO NOT WAIT THAT LONG TO ASK FOR LETTERS. Get on that professor’s list ASAP. Even if you don’t have your personal statement or resume finished, still ask. Get to them as soon as it’s done. Most of my professors didn’t care if the personal statement was final, they just wanted a draft to see the gist of what I was writing about. But it is important to remember that when you’re applying everything is interdependent on each other. It’s all one big application after all!

Q: How do you ask for a LOR when you aren’t really close to any of your professors? I’ve never had a professor more than once!

I only had one professor twice. And I also was a preceptor (TA) for her. She was definitely writing one of my letters. As for the others, I had only had them once and I was EXTREMELY nervous to ask. The one professor I asked I had only had her that same semester. I was doing really well in her class and I was super interested in the material so I went to her office hours and asked her. Bottom line: it never ever hurts to ask. For those professors that don’t know you well or haven’t had you in class for a few semesters, they’ll probably bring up your grades. Be prepared for that. Back up your reasoning for asking them. I’m asking you for a letter because ______. Why are they a good fit to write you a letter? What do they know about you that maybe one of your other professors doesn’t know? Think of those things before you ask so you’re prepared!

Q: How far in advance did you ask for recommendation letters?

I sent out emails requesting to meet with professors in September of my senior year. I had friends who asked before leaving for the summer their junior year and then followed up with the professor as soon as the semester started. This is a good method if you really know who you want to write you a letter!

Q: Do your letters of rec have to be from professors?

NO. However, pay attention to each school’s requirements. Some schools might want each letter to be from someone who has had you in class so be prepared for that! My letters were from professors and an old supervisor/boss I had while working for Jumpstart.

Q: How did you determine who to ask?

I looked at professors who knew me outside of class, could speak about my work ethic and passion for the profession and my organizational skills. My supervisor could talk about how I interacted with children and their families in a classroom setting. I think all of those things are important factors about me and things I would want a program to know.

Q: I plan on having four letters of rec, if a particular school only needs 3, how do I choose which ones I want them to read?

There’s really no right answer for this. You could look at it like if a program has a strong focus on children, you’d send letters from a professor who had you in a language development class or, in my case, a supervisor from a program like Jumpstart. Or you could just pick the letters from the three people you feel know you best. Ultimately, it’s your call!

Check out more posts in the SLP grad school series:

GRE Tips, Frequently Asked Questions, and Resources

GRE Study Essentials

The Basics of Applying to Grad School

(all the components you’ll need to complete the process!)

Deciding Where to Apply to Grad School

If you ever have questions or want to see me write about a specific topic, leave a comment below!

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GRE faq and tips

It’s that time of year! If you’ll be applying to grad school in the fall/winter that means you’re already thinking of the GRE and (hopefully) you’ve begun studying. When it came to the GRE I was mostly just in denial that it was even happening for a long time until probably about a month before. 0/10 do not recommend. You need TIME to study and do the best you can. I have a few common questions about the GRE listed here along with my answers. Some Q’s were submitted by you guys too so thank you for that!

Also just wanted to let you know that this post is the first one in a series of “Let’s Apply to SLP Grad School” posts! If you’re a future SLP grad student and you’d like to see a specific post please leave a comment down below with your questions!

How do I not fail?

Good question @Gabby ~ hopefully this post will teach you how to not fail

When should we take it? What’s the general timeline for applying to grad school?

For speech, all of my applications had to be in by February 1st. My first deadline was December 15th I believe. I took the GRE in mid-October. If I wanted to retake it I would need to wait 21 days. You can only take the test five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period (365 days). This applies even if you canceled your scores on a test taken previously. Most students I know took the GRE a maximum of two times. It is a very draining process so you’ll probably want to only take it once and be done with it forever (that’s how I was!)

Because I took it in October, I could take it again in early November and still have my scores before the first deadline. A cool thing about the GRE is that you get your scores right away for verbal and quantitative. The writing scores take about a week and they’ll show up on your GRE portal where you registered so this time frame worked for me. If I wanted to take it a third time, however, I’d be in a pickle because there wouldn’t be enough time.

IF I WERE TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN (which thank goodness I don’t have to) I would take the test over the summer so it was totally done and out of the way before the fall semester starts. So do that if you can.

How long do you recommend studying for the GRE?

At least 3 months I would say. Studying in small increments at regular intervals seems to be the best way. However, that’s not speaking from experience because tbh I crammed for the GRE. Again, do not recommend.

What was your favorite study material/practice resource?

I loved using the online practice tests. Since the GRE itself is on a computer, doing this was a good way for me to get used to the format and the questions. I took about 3 practice tests and I think they helped prepare me more than anything else. I’m also a person who learns by DOING not reading. I’d rather be doing 50 practice problems not reading about how to complete problems. If you’re not like that you might not like the practice tests as much as I did but I found them extremely helpful for my learning/study style

How important do you think your GRE scores were when combined with your application?

My scores were definitely a huge factor in getting accepted/rejected/waitlisted at schools. Speech pathology is super competitive and everyone is super smart so GRE scores are looked at pretty heavily. Of course, it does depend on the school but there weren’t any schools that I saw that didn’t require the GRE. I think I probably could have retaken the GRE and done better (like I said before, I sorta crammed) but it was so long and emotionally draining that I didn’t want to put myself through it again to MAYBE do better. My scores were pretty average, my writing and verbal scores were much better than my quant.

Did you take a GRE prep course (e.g. Kaplan, or any other one)? Was it worth it in terms of earning a better score?

No, I didn’t so I can’t speak about this. My roommate Jess did take a prep course and based on her scores it seemed like it was helpful for her (but she’s also a genius so…)

When did you take the GRE and how many times?

Sort of answered this already but I took it in October of 2016 and I took it once!

What types of free practice tests are helpful?

Alright, here’s the motherload of free resources and websites to help you prepare! Good luck!

Prep Tips from the people who make the test: https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/

Free GRE Resources: https://magoosh.com/gre/2012/top-5-free-online-gre-resources/

Free Practice Tests: https://crunchprep.com/gre/2014/free-gre-practice-tests

GRE Fast Facts: https://www.kaptest.com/gre

Structure of the GREhttps://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/about/content/computer/

“33 Free GRE Practice Tests That You Should Definitely Take”: https://crunchprep.com/gre/2014/free-gre-practice-tests

Princeton Review does a free in-person on-campus practice test that gives you a good idea of the real thing. This is also the only free practice test I’ve found that will grade your essays: https://www.princetonreview.com/grad/gre-practice-test#!practice

Writing

Issue Essay

Go through each of the tabs here to familiarize yourself with what they’re looking for: https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/analytical_writing/issue

ALL the possible Issue Essay prompts. Spend 30-45 seconds on each brainstorming points for each side of the argument and maybe what side you’d argue: https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/analytical_writing/issue/pool

Magoosh nicely breaks up the Issue prompts into categories. This helps a lot with practice: http://magoosh.com/gre/2016/gre-essay-topics/

Kaplan gives a pretty nice structure with a useful video at the bottom: http://www.kaptest.com/study/gre/how-to-structure-the-gre-issue-essay/

Argument Essay

Go through each of the tabs here to familiarize yourself with what they’re looking for: https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/analytical_writing/argument

ALL the possible Argument Essay prompts: https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/analytical_writing/argument/pool

Kaplan gives a pretty nice structure (no video): http://www.kaptest.com/study/gre/how-to-structure-the-gre-argument-essay/

 

Verbal: 2 30-minute sections

Kaplan’s 500 “most common GRE” words: https://quizlet.com/300134/kaplan-gre-flash-cards/

Magoosh’s GRE words. 1000 words broken into 50-word sets. Automatically recirculates words you don’t know:

https://gre.magoosh.com/flashcards/vocabulary/decks

Also try downloading the Magoosh GRE vocabulary flashcards app! It sends you notifications reminding you to study. Just replace your Candy Crush time with vocabulary flashcards for the months leading up to the test!

 

Quantitative: 2 35-minutes sections

Some practice problems to try: http://www.majortests.com/gre/quantitative_comparisons.php

I found this GRE prep book useful for both verbal and quantitative and it has good explanations!

What should I bring with me to take the test?

Bring a snack to eat afterwards and a water bottle should you get thirsty. You can only leave the testing room during breaks or you can opt to skip the break and get out of there quicker. I skipped every break so I could get it over with. You do you. I’d also bring/wear a sweatshirt in case it’s chilly in the testing room. Don’t forget your ID and your confirmation email as well. Lastly, bring a positive attitude and don’t forget to take deep breaths. It’s only a test!

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Hopefully you guys are liking these because I’m back with yet another life update post! I have really been loving chatting with y’all about what has been happening around these parts (please read that in a strong southern accent). Here’s what’s new since the last time we chatted:

  • I’ve been uploading weekly on YouTube! I have so many fun ideas for future videos this summer so make sure you’re subscribed.
  • I graduated college! I still can’t believe it honestly but I’m so happy and relieved to be finished at Temple University.

speech pathology grad cap

Temple university graduation

  • My brother graduated high school! This was a pretty big deal because we weren’t sure if he could do it (jk). He’s officially one step closer to starting school at the University of Virginia in just a few short weeks. Since he’ll be a student-athlete they want them to take a summer course so he’ll be moved in and ready to go at the beginning of July! Lord help us all.

brendan graduation

  • I start work next week. Ryan is already up in the Scranton area for work but I’ll be joining him next week to begin working on the project with him. I’ll just be an office “clerk” for the summer but I’m very excited to make some good money before starting grad school!
  • Packing stinks. Ryan and I have been packing and moving things around non-stop since I graduated. We’ll be sharing a video on my YouTube channel very soon outlining all the details because it’s pretty complicated right now! The short of it is that we’re moving!
  • I’m up to 11 read books this year (out of my goal of 25)! I’ve read 3 books since the last chit chat post so that makes me pretty happy! I finished reading SINCE WE FELL by Dennis Lehane, THE MAGNOLIA STOY by Chip and Joanna Gaines, and WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR by Paul Kalanithi (audiobook).
  • I actually really enjoyed the audiobook experience I had while listening to WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR. Ryan and I listened to MODERN ROMANCE by Aziz Ansari when we were roadtripping in the winter and that was my first audiobook ever! I’m hoping to get some more good recs for when I start commuting to grad school. Hit me up with any suggestions you may have!
  • I’m revamping my newsletter. I hope you’re subscribed because there’s some good stuff coming soon!

What’s new with you? Let’s chat! Here are some questions for you to answer in the comments:

1. Favorite summer snack?

2. Most recent read?

3. Thing you’re looking forward to most this summer

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Setting Up day designer for a New Year

As you probably know, I am 100% obsessed with my Day Designer (affiliate link). It took me years to find a planner that could handle my copious amounts of writing and list making and although the Day Designer is a little bit bulkier than most planners, it works wonders for me.

I spent a bit of my afternoon getting things set up and writing some dates in it. I haven’t received my grad school schedule yet but I did get my dates for orientation! My first day of orientation is August 22nd and it goes until August 28th. My first day of classes is August 29th! I’m really excited for what grad school has in store for me but I’m also super nervous about what it’ll be like. Here’s what I typically do when I’m setting up my planner:

day designer

Add important dates.

First thing’s first, I added my orientation dates and the move-in date for our new apartment. Since orientation is a scheduled event I put washi on each day and wrote the times and location down. I also put some washi in to signify the first day of classes.

day designer

IMG_6379

day designer

Monthly checklist.

Since I’m starting grad school at a whole new university, I have a few major things on my checklist for this summer. I recently got a packet in the mail outlining everything I need to do before orientation begins. I put those things in my planner’s monthly view in the month that they are due so I remember to make sure they get completed in time!

day designer

Word of the year.

Something new with the Day Designers this year is that there’s space on the title page for a “Word of the Year”. I’ve never done this before so I thought maybe this year would be a good time to start. I thought long and hard about what my word would be. I ended up settling on BELIEVE. This year, so many changes are happening. I’ll be starting grad school, moving in with Ryan to a new apartment in a new town, and sort of finding myself in the “real world”. I need to BELIEVE that I am right where I am supposed to be and trust that everything will work itself out.

day designer

Once I get my schedule and start really using my Day Designer for grad school I will for sure give you all an update. In the meantime, you can check out last week’s video which is a walkthrough of my old planner from start to finish! You can see how my setup changed from the beginning of the year to the end when I really found my groove. If you like seeing videos like this be sure to SUBSCRIBE to my channel and give this vid a thumbs up, you know the drill!

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