LEL alumni: Georgia Welch

Posted on February 9, 2021 by

Georgia Welch graduated from LEL in 2017 with a degree in English Language. She is now in her second year of an MMedSci in Speech and Language Therapy at the University of Sheffield.

Can you tell us what you’ve been doing since graduation?

When I was approaching graduation from Manchester I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to do. I’d always had my sights on journalism, I loved writing, I used to write for the The Mancunion. But I gradually came to the realisation that it wasn’t the right career path for me, because I it’s quite a cut throat industry and I couldn’t see myself realistically doing that job.

I worked in a marketing role for a couple of years, but I quickly realised that it wasn’t right for me either. I started thinking about how I can combine my love of linguistics – I really enjoyed my degree with a career that’s more rewarding and fulfilling for me and that helps other people. I started thinking about speech and language therapy. I spent a good six months to a year looking into it, figuring out if I can afford it, and in the meantime, I also started getting relevant work experience in that area. I found that it was a perfect fit straight away. I loved it, I really got a buzz from interacting with clients, and from working with other speech therapist.

This killed two birds with one stone really, because I found out what I wanted to do, and it also helped me get onto the Masters course. They do expect a fair bit of work experience, which can be difficult to come by with a lot of it being in the NHS, but I was quite lucky and I did get quite a few opportunities.

How did you go about finding the work experience that you needed in order to fulfil the entrance criteria for the course?

There was a lot of me emailing and phoning local organisations and hospitals, places where I knew they had a speech therapy team, and just asking if there was any possibility of shadowing. A lot of the time I didn’t hear anything back. I also asked people I knew who had contacts in hospitals and schools. Remember that SLT is not just working in a hospital or in the NHS. You can work in a school, or in the community. I ended up doing some work experience in a school for autistic children, and I also did some work in a mental health unit. I also got quite a lot of experience that wasn’t directly speech therapy related, but it involved working with the right client groups. For example, I did some experience at a support group for stroke survivors

How did you find the conversion from an undergraduate Linguistics degree to postgraduate studies in SLT?

I think it’s definitely possible to go onto this course without background in linguistics, but I found certain modules easier thanks to my background, e.g. grammar and syntax. Another thing that gave me an advantage was knowing the phonetic alphabet. On the other hand, I needed to put in more work on the biomedical science side of things.  In the first year, you learn about the anatomy of the larynx, pharynx and lots of neuroanatomy, so that was definitely a steep learning curve, but I managed to pass all my exams.

You have tried a few things before settling on a career choice. Do you have any advice for undergraduate students who are uncertain on how to pick a direction?

The time right after graduation can be very confusing, because you’re only 21, you don’t necessarily know where you’re going to live, and what you want out of a job. I think there is a lot of value in just having a go at something, and not putting too much pressure on yourself for it to be the dream job. You just have to try to know if it’s the right fit, and you shouldn’t be afraid to switch if it isn’t.

Looking back at your undergraduate degree, is there anything you would have done differently to prepare for the job market and like after graduation?

I’m quite a shy person, and I think that held me back from taking on opportunities sometimes. My main advice for any current undergraduates would be try not to let your shyness or self-doubt get in the way of grabbing opportunities like study abroad for instance. With confidence it’s a case of faking it until you make it. The more opportunities you take on, the more you get over the fear, and you realise it’s not actually as difficult, and you are capable of doing these things. I’ve learned that now through doing University a second time after I’ve taken on a lot more, such as volunteer work.

Is there anything you miss about your time as an undergraduate at Manchester?

The campus atmosphere –  I really miss it sometimes, cause Manchester is such an amazing campus, and the University atmosphere is quite unique. It’s the first time in your life when you’re exposed to so many different people from so many different walks of life. You get to experience lots of different viewpoints and opinions. If you’re a Linguistics or English Language student, that also gives you a unique perspective, because of what you know about language and communication.

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