First-Year Speech-Language Pathology Student: Makenzie Tobin
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First-Year Speech-Language Pathology Student: Makenzie Tobin

Tobin standing in front of the Speech-Language InstituteMy name is Makenzie Tobin. I am currently a first-year Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) student living at home in Northeast Philadelphia. I completed my Bachelor of Science degree at Penn State University. My major was communication sciences and disorders and I completed two minors, special education and human development and family studies. My grandmother suffered a traumatic brain aneurysm and stroke causing her to receive speech therapy services which is why I chose my major! 

As an undergraduate, I was heavily involved with Penn State's 46-hour dance marathon THON (I even stood for 46 hours last year during the pandemic)! I was also the president of Penn State Sign Language Organization, I was a homecoming captain, and I was involved in Penn State's NSSHLA chapter. I was also the teacher assistant for American Sign Language Levels 1 and 2.

Salus was the only program I felt would be the best fit for me because it was so hands-on. Being hands-on and diving right into clinical was just what I needed — applying my classes to real life! 

I love being a healthcare student because I have a drive and passion to help others. I am always striving to be the best speech pathologist I can be! I am so excited to have the ability to work in a variety of settings (our profession isn't limited to just one) and to work with a variety of clients, whether it be children with phonological disorders, adults with traumatic brain injury, or a middle-aged individual having swallowing trouble.

We have a block scheduling of classes. So, on top of following the seven classes we have I am also in clinical! I have a total of 12 hours of clinical a week. On Monday, I drive out to a traumatic brain injury unit to work with clients and on Thursday's I am on campus in the Speech-Language Institute (SLI). It already feels like home there.

When researching graduate institutions, Salus again stood out because of the hands-on approach they take. A lot of programs are heavily research-based and less hands-on, in an environment where I knew I would not thrive. After going to virtual open houses and interviews, I felt very drawn to Salus because of the community and staff. They want us to succeed. It was amazing to hear that even during the height of the pandemic SLP students here still received 100 percent on the Praxis exam and had 100 percent graduation rate! 

I already feel like a practicing SLP here, which is what I love about being a student at Salus. We are treated like professionals and have been given endless support. I knew I wanted to become a leader and be a part of the Salus community, so I joined a few things! I am a Salus ambassador and I am also serving as the historian for our NSSHLA chapter here on campus.

 Makenzie Tobin holding white coat over her shoulderMy busiest days are Thursday:

6:15 a.m.: I wake up and pick out my nicest outfit for clinical. Luckily it's fall, so I can wear sweaters and nice fall colors!

6:40 a.m.: I eat breakfast and head out the door by 7 a.m. (the latest I leave is 7:05 a.m.). Because of traffic, it takes me about 30 minutes to get to school.

8 a.m.: Once I arrive at school, I have my first class at 8 a.m., counseling foundations!

10 a.m.: My next class follows at 10 a.m., which is articulation and phonological disorders ending at 12:30 p.m.

12:30 p.m.: Just in time for lunch, I have a good break until 2 p.m. I eat lunch with my fellow SLP friends until about 1:15 p.m. and right after I head to clinic before my clinic block starts at 2 p.m. This is nice because I can get situated for my clinic day.

1:15 p.m.: I go to the clinic! I study in my clinic room until 2 p.m., do schoolwork and and start prepping materials for my 4 p.m. client.

4 p.m.: I have my first client session of the day lasting until 5 p.m.

5 p.m.: Eat a quick dinner in the clinic if I have time, then go right into my next session.

6 p.m.: My next client!

7:15 p.m.: After both rounds of clients, I debrief with my clinical educators and a fellow student. We are together for two sessions. For the first session, I am the primary clinician, she is the secondary. Then vice versa for our second client.

7:30 p.m.: We go over old SOAP notes and upload them to NextGen so they are in the system - we quickly take notes and start jotting down new ideas for our new SOAP note!

7:50 p.m.: I clean my whole clinic room down because we are done the clinic block at 8 p.m.

Makenzie Tobin with fellow SLP students in their white coats

8:30 p.m.: I get home and take time to relax, catching up with my family for a little.

9:15 p.m.: I start studying and looking over my planner, as well as add anything to my notes about the session. I am lucky that on Friday I get to sleep in after a super long week (Even though I still plan to get up early do some schoolwork and planning before our EBP class at 1 p.m., which is virtual).

10:30 p.m.: Get ready for bed and get excited that it's basically the weekend!

Learn More About the Salus Speech-Language Pathology Program

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