Yes, You Can Juggle Grad Work With Student Leadership Two graduate students and NSSLHA leaders share tips for managing coursework, clinic, volunteer roles and other responsibilities. Student's Say
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Student's Say  |   January 01, 2017
Yes, You Can Juggle Grad Work With Student Leadership
Author Notes
  • Melanie Riland, NSSLHA vice president for programming in speech-language pathology, is a graduate student in speech-language pathology at West Chester University, outside Philadelphia. nsslhaslp@gmail.com
    Melanie Riland, NSSLHA vice president for programming in speech-language pathology, is a graduate student in speech-language pathology at West Chester University, outside Philadelphia. nsslhaslp@gmail.com×
  • Erica Gardner, NSSLHA vice president for programming in audiology, is a doctoral student in audiology at the University of Arkansas. nsslhaaud@gmail.com
    Erica Gardner, NSSLHA vice president for programming in audiology, is a doctoral student in audiology at the University of Arkansas. nsslhaaud@gmail.com×
Article Information
ASHA News & Member Stories / Student's Say
Student's Say   |   January 01, 2017
Yes, You Can Juggle Grad Work With Student Leadership
The ASHA Leader, January 2017, Vol. 22, 40-41. doi:10.1044/leader.SSAY.22012017.40
The ASHA Leader, January 2017, Vol. 22, 40-41. doi:10.1044/leader.SSAY.22012017.40
When we accepted leadership roles with the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (vice presidents for programming—Riland in speech-language pathology and Gardner in audiology), we were concerned about meeting all the expectations of our academic programs, our national service responsibilities, and our commitments with work and family. As graduate students, we all wear many hats: student, clinician, volunteer, friend … the list goes on.
It can be stressful managing all of those hats (see our stories in the box below). And although it has proven to be a bit hectic at times, serving on the Executive Council is extremely rewarding. We have met people who will likely be friends and colleagues throughout our professional careers. It’s exciting and motivating to be around such a high-energy group of students working toward common goals.
Our service has really just begun, but we want to share a few tips that we believe will help as you juggle your own responsibilities and even consider becoming involved in NSSLHA.

The universe somehow knows when you procrastinate and inevitably makes sure your computer crashes, your roommate needs a ride to the airport, and you get strep throat hours before you need to turn your work in.

Plan, plan, plan. Keep a calendar and block out time for studying, exercise and unwinding with friends. It will seem much more manageable once you’ve mapped it out.
I get by with a little help from my friends. Let others help you occasionally. If your roommate or someone in your family offers to pick up dinner or take the dog for a walk, let them help! You can return the favor when you have downtime or after you graduate.
Just do it. Don’t procrastinate. This hint seems obvious, but it’s really easy to watch that next episode of “Friends” when you know the assignment isn’t due for another two days. Unfortunately, that extra time never goes how you expect it to. The universe somehow knows when you procrastinate and inevitably makes sure your computer crashes, your roommate needs a ride to the airport, and you get strep throat hours before you need to turn your work in. Delaying tasks that seem daunting will weigh you down and likely make the task that much harder when the deadline gets close.
Bit by bit. Break large projects into smaller steps. Scheduling an hour or two to work on the introduction to a paper seems much more manageable than tackling the entire paper in one sitting. Keeping up with reading and assignments also makes studying for that final exam a lot more manageable.
Healthy is happy. Get enough sleep and eat healthy meals. It may seem that you don’t have time to go for a run when you have papers to write and emails to send, but exercise helps with overall mental health and may make those papers easier to write in the long run.
Pamper yourself. Be nice to yourself because you need to be in the best shape possible to handle all the responsibilities and enjoy the ride. Take some time to take part in an activity you enjoy to support your mental and physical health.
Taking the extra step and getting involved in an organization—even one with a national scope—doesn’t have to mean additional stress on top of your already demanding academic work. These small steps have made us more productive and helped us manage our packed schedules. And what we are learning—budgets, event planning, public relations, strategic planning and more—will be invaluable in the future. The reward for working collaboratively toward a common goal with speech-language and hearing peers is well worth the effort.
Our Own Hats

Melanie Riland: I am a graduate student in speech-language pathology at West Chester University near Philadelphia—and for me, as I’m sure you know as well, there is never a dull day. This semester I am a clinician in the university clinic, providing diagnostic evaluation for speech-language and for hearing, and speech-language intervention for adults and children. I also have two classes with challenging coursework, and I am a graduate assistant in a new university program that provides social support for full-time college students with autism spectrum disorder.

As a member of the NSSLHA Executive Council, my responsibilities include planning (with Erica Gardner) the NSSLHA activities at this year’s ASHA Convention. I enjoy volunteering, and do so when I can in my local community as well. And, no matter how busy I am, I make sure to make time for friends, family and my fiancé. It can be difficult, but I know I need to take care of myself to fulfill all my responsibilities.

Erica Gardner: I am an audiology doctoral student at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. When I’m not studying for classes, I spend my time balancing the NSSLHA Executive Council, research projects, a graduate internship at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and an auditory-based intervention certificate program. I also always make time for myself and loved ones. Every night before I start studying, I walk my dog around the neighborhood or at a park. Not only do I get in some exercise, but being outside boosts my energy and mood. After my walk, I try to meet my family for dinner or meet up with friend at a coffee shop to study. Taking care of my personal needs first makes me more productive when I’m completing assignments later.

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FROM THIS ISSUE
January 2017
Volume 22, Issue 1