When I was a senior in high school, I did a big research project, called “Isearch”. I was to research something about myself. I decided to decide what occupation I should pursue in college. I always knew that I wanted to do something in the healthcare industry, since I loved helping people and making a difference in people’s lives. I narrowed down to some sort of therapy-Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy. By the end of the project, my heart was set on Speech Therapy. It was not an easy feat to be accepted into the undergraduate and graduate programs at East Carolina University and for that, I am very appreciative of my education and career and value it’s importance.
I have worked in various settings over the years: hospitals, skilled nursing rehabilitation centers, long term care, private clinic, preschools and public schools. I always had a dream of owning my own private Speech Therapy business, but it was always just that…..a dream.
After my husband and I had 3 children, it became apparent that working full time in the schools was very difficult. With tons of IEP meetings before and after school, mounds of state and federally mandated guidelines, endless amounts of paperwork, feeling unappreciated, and oh yeah…..I also had to fit in therapy with the students (which is the most important to me), my husband and I re-evaluated my career. No one other than SLP’s and SPED educators can truly understand and appreciate exactly what I’m talking about. This is when my “dream” was actually becoming a “reality”.
Since my older 2 children attended the school where I worked, (which is not our neighborhood school), we had to give careful thought and consideration about them. I was very worried about how our children would acclimate without me in the school building daily. So, as my husband can attest, I would get excited about opening my business, moving full speed ahead, and then take 2 steps back after I would overthink it all. Finally, after a couple of months, I decided to take a leap of faith, which is unlike me to take a risk. Our children took the news well and were excited about our new venture.
It’s been a lot of hard work, from deciding on a name and logo to the legal side of owning a business. I am so excited that my family and I made this decision. Do I wish I had done this sooner? No, probably not. I have no regrets about any of my prior work experiences. They have helped me connect with students, teachers and parents who have been so supportive.
Before I left the schools, I sat down with tears streaming down my face and wrote my students a letter. At the end of the letter I said, “Always follow your dreams in life and have no regrets. Make me proud.” If there is one thing I have taught the students and my own children, I hope it’s that.