Meet Lauren Reed, a second-year graduate student in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.
Why did you choose UMD?
I chose UMD mainly to be in the city of Duluth. I have very fond memories of coming up to Duluth as a kid and spending time on the shores of Lake Superior and watching ships come into the canal. I thought UMD was a great choice for me because it has a large variety of programs for undergraduate students, which was important to me because I entered my freshman year undecided. After I completed my undergraduate degree, I liked UMD so much that I decided to stay for my master’s degree!
What do you like most about your programs?
I have always been fascinated by communication sciences and disorders. My mom is a speech-language pathologist, and I spent a lot of time observing her and watching her make positive changes in children's lives with communication needs. The power of communication is amazing and it is incredibly rewarding to have the ability to give individuals the tools that they need to be successful communicators.
I am also very grateful for the faculty in the CSD department. Everyone is kind, compassionate, approachable and extremely knowledgeable. The information they have taught me and the advice I have received will benefit me greatly as I enter the clinical field.
What has been your most meaningful experience at UMD so far?
During my first year of graduate school, I provided speech and language services to clients for the first time. I was incredibly nervous and worried that I wasn’t ready. The clients that I saw during that first year changed my perception of myself as a student and a future professional. All of the coursework that I had previously completed was put into perspective, and I began to work even harder at my classes. I was so eager to learn more information, as what I was learning was being applied to the work that I was doing clinically.
Before I started my clinical experience, I was afraid that I wasn’t ready and didn’t have the skills to be successful. I quickly learned that I was much more prepared than I thought I was—and that it is okay to not know all of the answers. At the end of my clinical experience, with the help of feedback and guidance from my clinical instructors, I had so much more confidence in myself as a student clinician.
What advice do you have for incoming students?
My biggest piece of advice that I would give to incoming students is to make sure that you are taking time for yourself and taking care of yourself. When you are putting everything into school it can be really easy to fall into routines that don’t allow you to reach your full potential. Make sure you take the time to cook yourself a meal, go on a walk, sit by the lake, read a book, go to the gym, have a cup of tea—whatever makes you feel at peace. :)
Another piece of advice that I would recommend to incoming students is to never pass up an opportunity to volunteer or job shadow. I spent a lot of time shadowing and volunteering at hospitals and schools throughout undergrad. Not only did this look good on my graduate applications, but it provided me with great experience to reference as I enter the field.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I love to hike, go on walks, and sit by the lake. I also enjoy directing my creative energy toward designing and creating jewelry. My dad is a self-taught silversmith and he taught me everything that he knew when I was in high school. It is a great way to release stress and explore my creative side. I mostly make rings, but I have spent time making bracelets, necklaces and earrings. My dad and I now offer jewelry classes when we have free time on weekends, and teach others to cut and shape stones to make their very own personalized ring. I really enjoy sharing this passion with others, and allowing them to explore their creativity as well!