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That’s A Wrap 2021: What Happened And What’s Next?

Posted Dec 8, 2021 - 11:48am

By Hannah Foley, PRC-Saltillo Ambassador

We are nearing the end of the year and as I reflect on the year’s happenings, I am amazed at how quick the past twelve months have gone by. Time goes slowly when you are experiencing life and its adventures (and challenges), but when you take a moment to look back, it seems as though time has flown by…or at least that’s how I feel.

If you are an avid AAC Language Lab blog reader, you may recall that I graduated from undergrad last December (was that really one year ago already?!) and I started an AT certification post-graduate program in January. Those who know me well know that I am a bit of an overachiever when it comes to academics (and my professional endeavors). If I am going to do something, I am going to do it right and thoroughly, no matter how long it takes me. As a person with a physical disability that impacts my fine motor skills, imagine how long it would take to do grad school level homework, papers, and projects if you could only use one finger on one hand to type everything. Forget about having other people to type for you because they have no idea what you are telling them to type because they don’t have any background knowledge on the topic that you are learning and writing about. Don’t think that I don’t like a challenge nor that I can’t manage my time well enough to be proactive (I am a master at time management), but when you have been doing school and homework for nearly eighty percent of your life, you are ready to put what you have learned (especially in college and post-graduate studies) into practice and make an impact on the world.

If I have learned one thing about myself in 2021, it is that I am meant to be a professional in the AAC field. Although it is not the most entertaining thing to read textbooks, watch lectures, and take exams, in the back of my mind I know that it is building the knowledge and skills that will empower me to achieve my professional goals and growing opportunities … and nothing is more motivating than something that you have dreamed of for years being so close to becoming a reality. 2021 was the year that challenged me in many different ways while the foundation of knowledge and experience to propel me forward into my professional career.

When you simply take a look at a person, you only see the surface of that version and who they have become until that day. What you can’t see are the people and experiences that have taught and shaped them. I would not have been able to do what I have done nor become the person and (upcoming) professional who I am today without the experiences (including the challenging ones) and the people who have impacted and shaped me in many ways, including my colleagues in the AAC field. They not only guide me, but they also challenge me…because they know I am capable of handling the challenge and want me to learn and grow. They continuously challenge me to go beyond my comfort zone so that I can learn for myself instead of having my hand held through every challenge and think and problem-solve for myself. With such experiences and post-graduate education, I am enthusiastic to see what the next chapter holds.

The end of the Spring semester (this coming May) will mark my completion of the post-graduate AT certification program. Although I am uncertain what my next chapter will bring, I am certain that it will occur within the field that I love, the AAC field. While it may not take place in the educational setting, I am eager to continue “learning by doing” as I embark on my professional journey.

Time is a funny thing. It comes and goes slowly, yet so quickly and subtly. Life is too short not to do something that you love deeply, whether you learn about it or practice it or do both. With every challenge comes an incredible experience and opportunity. Embrace the challenge and time will present the greatest opportunities.

From all of us at PRC-Saltillo, we wish you and yours a happy holiday season!

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Communicators In Action   -    aac, 2021, reflection, language, communication, disability, life