Ask a Speech and Language Therapy Student - A Week in the LifeWatch
Skye Lewis – First Year Speech and Language Therapy (MSci 4 year integrated masters) – University of Reading
How do you explain what typical week looks like when no two weeks look the same?! Well, you can’t really – but that’s the beauty of studying Speech and Language Therapy! What my week looks like now, is very different to what it looked like last week, and last term, but that’s what I love most about my course.
Nevertheless, here’s how I might describe a ‘regular’ week!
This year, whilst all of our lectures have been online, Monday has been a pretty busy day for content with Medicine, Speech Language and Communication Disorders and Psychology modules all having lecture content released.
I start off by tackling Medicine lectures – as that’s the module I find most difficult and usually has the most content to get through. This keeps me busy for most of the day, with a break here and there to stretch my legs and grab some snacks. I usually go for a half hour walk at lunch around the lake or Harris Gardens on campus to refresh before sitting back down again to finish Medicine. Both are extremely beautiful parts of campus that always make me feel more relaxed; Harris Gardens is blossomed with flowers and the lake is picturesque with cute little geese!
Typically, I’d then take a short break to go for a run or head to the gym which has been a great addition to my uni timetable before calling family at home over dinner. The SportsPark gym is right at the main entrance of campus and has some excellent facilities to use from the gym equipment to courts to hire, as well as a range of exercise classes and everyone there is so helpful (which is great when I try to pretend I know what I’m doing on machines in the gym… as I definitely don’t!). I love the classes as there’s always something different to try and the atmosphere is great – in particular, I like ‘Body Conditioning’ and ‘Step’ as they really make me work hard! This really sets me up for the rest of the week!
Tuesday starts with a nice and early Linguistics seminar. Seminars are more interactive than lectures and focus mainly on discussion-based work, in smaller groups which are great to really cement your knowledge and work with your course mates!
Then at 11am I have Clinical Studies seminar before heading home for lunch. I really love seminars so far, as these are the times when we can meet in person which is lovely as it’s a break from screens and a chance to see some faces in real life!
I usually go for a short work after lunch before going through my Phonetics lectures and preparing for Friday’s seminar. I usually prep for a seminar by reading through the briefing given to us beforehand and doing any tasks set. These will revolve around what we focus on in the seminar so to equip us with the information we need to aid us in the work. There could be reading, activities, and documents to prepare that we need to bring.
In the evening, I like to go for another walk around the lake and head to the gym as I find exercise really helps me destress! Then I’d settle down for the evening with my flatmates over dinner and play some games which is great fun. I’ve been really lucky with my flatmates in Halls; despite lockdown restrictions, we’ve managed to have plenty of fun by organising different themed nights and it’s actually been a really good opportunity to get to know each other. I live in Bridges Hall, so there are 10 of us altogether: 5 boys and 5 girls, so a good split and never a dull moment!
I always seem to feel tired on Wednesdays, so I try to start the day with a walk! The fresh air and getting out of the flat seems to really help!
Work is set for my Clinical Studies module today, so I go through the lectures and prepare for the next seminar. Recently, we started running a ‘Conversation Café’ in this module too, and so from 2pm I would be part of this group, chatting to people online who have suffered with aphasia. It’s an opportunity for those struggling with communication since having a stroke to talk to others in the same situation about general things like food, holidays, hobbies, etc. which allows them to practice communicating as well as just being able to feel ‘normal’ by having the time and space to talk without judgement. I love this project; it’s so rewarding and always leaves me in a great mood!
The ‘Conversation Café’ usually ends with a reflection for another hour or so after the participants have left, so this usually took up most of my afternoon. I found staring at a screen for so long quite intense, so I was definitely tired by this point in the day! So, that leads to another walk or a gym session before dinner, and a chilled evening to unwind!
Thursday is a fun one!
It starts with a 10am visit with the family I’m working with for my Child Development Assignment which is always a joy! There’s lots of chatting, activities and observing with the child and parents – it really gets the day off to a good start! I then spend another hour or so with my peers talking about the session and collating notes.
After lunch I might do some Psychology reading for Friday’s seminar, before my Speech Language and Communication Disorders seminar. After that, I call it a day for work!
After cooking myself some dinner (usually something like vegetable curry or chilli, which I like to batch cook for convenience and would definitely recommend!), I’d head to CU central which is the main meeting of the week for the Christian Union society, which is always great fun, and catch up with friends for the evening. The CU has been brilliant since I’ve come to university; they put on socials as much as possible like BBQ’s and dinner nights – yes, it usually involves food which is always a bonus! For me, it’s been a great way to meet friends in all year groups which is lovely as there’s no divide between ages or degrees! There’s usually lots of music, talking and some sort of crazy game to get involved in which always leaves us feeling good as everyone’s constantly laughing. It’s such a great way to break up the week and forget about work.
Almost the weekend!
I’m usually pretty tired by Friday and find the week catches up with me by this point, so I have to admit, the morning usually starts off pretty slow moving! I try to get through my Psychology lectures and any extra reading I’ve not yet done before a 3:15pm Psychology seminar, where there’s always thought-provoking questions asked – so I definitely need my brain in gear – leading onto a 4:30pm Phonetics and Phonology seminar.
From 5:30pm onwards, I can confidently say I usually steer away from work for the rest of the evening and try to chill out as I’ve usually not got much brain power left by this point! I typically go for a stroll around campus to switch off and try to meet up with some friends for dinner (restrictions-allowing!) or watch a movie to go into the weekend.
I try to get as much done throughout the week as I can so I can recharge on the weekend where possible. For me, this means gym, food shopping (essential!), lots of walking and exploring, meeting up with friends, Church on a Sunday morning and just generally relaxing a bit more!
Having said that, if I get the chance then I do try to catch up on anything I’d not done throughout the week, and also I like to make a to-do list for things I know I need to get done over the upcoming week. This helps me to have a settled Sunday evening to do some reading, or some self-care to help prepare me for the week ahead!
If you have any questions, please do ask - I'd be so happy to chat to you about what it's like to study Speech and Language Therapy at the University of Reading!
1st Year Speech and Language Therapy Student & Student Ambassador
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