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Don't Be Afraid To Put Yourself Out There

By Jessicavenoy @lovelyjesscuh
Putting yourself out there can be intimidating, can't it? It can be uncomfortable. Make you feel uneasy. Cause you to question what you're doing.
But being uncomfortable for a little while is SO worth the opportunities that come about because of it.
Don't Be Afraid To Put Yourself Out ThereMost of you know that I'm in school pursuing speech-language pathology. What you might not know is how dang competitive it is to get into SLP graduate programs (I certainly didn't know what I was getting into, lol). Schools that I applied to are receiving upwards of 600 applications. And usually between 40 and 70 students get admitted into each program. UM EXCUSE ME, WHAT? 
Instead of looking at those stats and feeling defeated, I shifted my mentality and asked myself, "How can I set myself apart?" BY PUTTING MYSELF OUT THERE. While I still don't know what my grad school fate is (admissions decisions haven't been released quite yet), I've cultivated such rich relationships and gathered so much "real world" knowledge just from taking a few leaps of faith and putting myself out there.
I didn't really have any "connections" going into the SLP field. I knew one clinician and she moved to Colorado so I was determined to put myself out there and seek out mentors. I sent a few emails. Met up with a few SLPs. I racked up observation hours. Got some hands on experience. BUT one specific email that I sent has really opened a lot of doors for me.
I was driving home from my phonetics class last spring and was brainstorming how I could incorporate my love for dogs into speech-language pathology. What do you do when you have an idea but aren't sure how to execute it? GOOGLE IT, of course. I raced home and Googled "speech-language pathology and dogs in Tampa" - I'm not kidding. My search didn't retrieve many results, but one caught my eye. I saw that an SLP about 45 minutes away from where I lived practiced animal assisted therapy. I scrolled through her website and wondered how many students/people she gets emails from DAILY asking about what she does (especially since it's so unique). I clicked off the page and figured I wouldn't bother emailing her, because my email would probably just get lost in the shuffle. 
5 minutes went by and I went back to her "contact" page and I decided it couldn't hurt to at least attempt to make contact. I emailed her, telling her my story, and she emailed me back within two days. Since that email exchange last year, I've observed this SLP and I'm lucky enough to have her as mentor now. She has graciously taken me under her wing and poured so much knowledge into me. She is such a gem and this dear relationship came to fruition because I wasn't afraid to put myself out there. I have doors opening, because I wasn't afraid to put myself out there. I'm taking charge of how my life turns out, because I wasn't afraid to put myself out there.
Are you sensing a pattern? Don't be afraid to put yourself out there, friends! You don't know what could come of it. It could be nothing major or something life changing. But you won't know if you don't have the courage to try. BE BRAVE.
xo, Jess
P.S. That cute little scrabble art is from said mentor. I'm telling y'all, SHE IS AWESOME! (and in case you're dying to know - it's from Target)

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