Life as a Miracle: ASHA Licensing Exam

I let my California speech-language pathology license lapse. I am a practicing SLP no more. I retain my lifetime credential to work in the public schools. Any state. I am ASHA-certified, a coveted process that proclaimed to be prohibitively difficult, but a cinch for me.

American Speech-Language Association certification came easily for me. Perhaps because I attended a rigorous college and achieved a studious, summa cum laude diploma. Perhaps because my career selection was wise from the start, based as it was upon seeing siblings’ needs unmet.

Perhaps because I took the national licensing exam while on vacation in CA, far-removed from Indiana’s weather blights. Perpetual sunshine bolsters a clear mind. Perhaps because I sat for the several hour exam in a Stanford auditorium, intelligence infused by the atmosphere within.

Larry dropped me off at the building and went off to afternoon with a Hoosier friend who lived nearby. I boldly walked in, seated myself the requisite two seats from anyone, and dropped my head to the exam, No. 2 pencil in hand.

I hadn’t even opened the recommended prep text while we’d traveled across country from Indiana, visiting with friends in Colorado and Montana. Casual, unconcerned, unmoved by the never-never fate: certification upon which a license to practice speech-language pathology was based. My intended career the stakes.

Down the row from me, a blond gent sweated and swore, broke the lead in the pencil he’d borrowed from me and held up his hand to request more. He postured like The Thinker – or someone about to pee his pants. His cuss words weren’t my preferred Muzak for exam-taking, but none of the proctors silenced him.

The guy sustained this fretful test-taking behavior throughout. An afternoon seared in memory. Lore.

The exam bore the onus of right-minus-wrong scoring. That is, if you guessed wrongly, the penalty was doubled by subtracting from your score. Stakes upon stakes. I clearly recall that I left seven questions blank.

Imagine my glee when I opened the results envelope, back home in Indiana. Shock and awe! My score was near perfect, as perfect as seven unanswered questions would allow.

Several years later, I spied that blond gent at a California Speech-Language Convention. He achieved his license, but I didn’t run up to him to suggest that we practice together, as is common in our aligned fields. Somehow I knew he’d always be unreliable and unprepared. He’d neither work nor vacation as well as me 😉

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