First year Speech and Language Therapy student and dance fanatic, Holly Mellett, has well and truly dispelled the myth that first year students do nothing. From Jazz and Ballet class on a Monday evening to dissection sessions on a Thursday, it’s fair to say that the life of an SLT student doesn’t have to be all about brains. Below, Holly talks us through in more detail a typical week in her life at the University of Manchester.
My week starts off with a Linguistics, Phonetics and Language Development lecture. This module covers all three areas, but each week usually focuses on one section. After a lunch break, which I spend with my course mates, I have a tutorial to help understand and apply what was covered in the lecture.
When I get home I spend some time either going over anything I didn’t fully understand from the lecture or starting to prepare for the rest of the week.
In the evening I go to a Jazz and a Ballet class at the South Manchester Dance School. I have danced for most of my life and was really glad to find such a brilliant school with so many friendly people when I moved to Manchester for University.
On Tuesday mornings I have a lecture on Applied Psychology and Sociology. This is really good for understanding different problems, such as attention and memory, that can impact those who receive speech and language therapy.
After lunch we usually have a Clinical Research lecture together with the second year SLT and Audiology students. Today, however, we have tutorials in smaller groups to practice applying the knowledge we gained over the past few weeks.
As the tutorial is shorter than a lecture would have been and it’s a nice day, I decide to spend some time in town and get a coffee near Piccadilly Gardens. Tuesday evening is one of the few evenings that I don’t have any plans, so I like to catch up on reading or start preparing for other lectures. Today I get some of the Linguistics assignment done and have a relaxing evening.
Normally on a Wednesday, I attend a voluntary PASS (Peer Assisted Study Session), but sadly it has been cancelled today. PASS is organised by SLT students of higher years and is an informal session with activities to help us learn Biomedical Sciences. This is a subject that some students struggle with, as it is quite scientific. Having the morning off however, I sleep for a bit longer and then spend the rest of the free time reading for the Biomedicine lecture on Thursday. We are always told what the topic is in advance and I find it helps to gain some insight before going to the lecture.
In the afternoon I help one of my dance teachers run an afternoon ballet club at a local school. I love working with the children and am glad to be able to gain experience in it. We go directly from there to the dance school, where I take part in my own ballet class.
My Thursday morning is nice and relaxed, as lectures don’t start until 2pm. This means I can have a lie in and finish off Biomedicine reading, if I didn’t complete it on Wednesday. Today I need to set off a little earlier though, as I have an Academic Advisor meeting scheduled. The Academic Advisor is a member of staff, who is there for us and any questions or problems we may have. Today’s meeting is just a catch up to see how I am getting on.
In Biomedical Science we study the parts of the body that are relevant to SLT, so mainly, but not exclusively, the head and neck region. In the lecture we learn the theory before we go on to a tutorial in either the physiology labs or dissecting room. This may sound a bit frightening, and I am also quite a squeamish person, but I really enjoy these sessions. It is a big help in understanding and learning the parts of the body and their functions.
After a long afternoon of Biomedicine, I usually feel a bit of an overload of information. That’s why I’m glad I can take my mind off things with an evening at the dance school and tackle the revision some other time.
Some weeks we have a lecture in Clinical and Professional Practice on a Friday, like last week where we learned about Bilingualism. Luckily this week we don’t, so I can get some more work done on the assignments we have been set.
In the afternoon I am back at the local school helping teach dance to the young children. Then sometimes I meet up with a friend and we watch a film or cook together, but she is busy this week, so I make a nice meal and get some sleep ready for my Saturday.
Saturday and Sunday
A typical student probably spends their weekend with lots of friends in clubs or at parties, but my ideal Saturday is spent at the dance school. I help out with teaching the younger pupils in the morning and take part in various classes myself in the afternoon and evening.
On Sunday morning I go to King’s Church, where I recharge and spend time connecting with God after a long week. The sense of community there is like no other and I enjoy coming. This week is even better, as it is my turn to serve on the voluntary team of crèche kids-workers. This means I get to spend time with the children up to three years of age and, although I haven’t mentioned this to the parents, I like to keep an eye out for anything I have learned in the lectures on language development!
The rest of my Sunday is reserved for putting my feet up and preparing for another full and fun week.