Interview with Southern Illinois University Grad Student: Lauren Thompson

  • Interviews with Therapists
  • By Lauren Thompson
  • Published on September 20

Hi, I am Lauren! I graduated with a B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Illinois State University, and I am a first-year speech-language pathology graduate student at Southern Illinois University. 

Where are you at in your journey to be a therapist?

I am still in school. Just started my first year of grad school and plan to graduate in spring of 2025. LOL, but you can say I am a therapist for all of my friends!!

Where are you currently enrolled and what year are you?

I am a first-year graduate student at Southern Illinois University.

What are your goals post-graduation?

I would love to work with all populations, but the setting I want to work in is a hospital, I want to provide therapy in the areas of  feeding, swallowing, and cognition.

What would you share with someone who wanted to find a position like yours or build a company/brand such as yours?

Applying to graduate school was one of the most stressful things I have ever done. I made sure that during undergrad I was active in my community. One way that I kept active was that I was an adult ESL tutor. I was also involved in clubs such as Operation Smile and NSSLHA. I also maintained a job as a surgical assistant at an oral-facial office. This is where I found my passion for helping others.

What would you share with someone who is starting their journey to be a therapist?

Don’t be so hard on yourself. This is something that I am still learning today. I constantly would compare myself academically to other students and feel like I am not good enough. Talking with classmates and my professors, made me realize that everyone has felt this at some point in their life. It is a natural thing. Building confidence is learned through experience, and making mistakes is part of that process.

Anything else you’d like to share about yourself and your journey to where you are right now?

Along the way, I have found new passions that don’t involve school or speech pathology. It’s important to find joy in your life that takes you away from all of your stresses. 

Brag about yourself! What are you doing right now that’s super cool?

I started a small business to help me through grad school on Etsy called Champagne&Pearls. I make handmade jewelry, this is something that I like to do in my free time. Making people happy makes me happy.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Everything works out even if you do not understand why things are happening the way they are.

What’s something you want to share with our readers?

I was born 2 months early and have faced many challenges throughout my academic career. I have a learning disability and was taken out by an SLP when I was in elementary school. She taught me that it is okay that I learn differently. The people I’ve surrounded myself with have motivated me to keep going and to chase my dreams no matter how big or small. Surround yourself with people that make you happy and enjoy the little things in life.

Tell us about a time of uncertainty in your life and your reflections after that event.

I kept getting denied to grad schools, it made me doubt my abilities. Being denied from something that you have worked so hard for, can destroy your motivation to keep going forward. This made me realize that I am more than just a grad student, I am someone who likes to bake, paint, make people laugh, and experience the life that God gave me. This time of uncertainty made me realize that I am more than just my grades and my academic successes.

What are you most proud of in your journey to where you are today?

I am most proud of my journey to where I am today. I have never been as happy as I am now, even though life is a little bit harder and I am away from my family. I made it to grad school, something I have been dreaming about. I have an amazing family and friends.  What I am most proud of is seeing what others have accomplished alongside me. My boyfriend got his dream job of being a nurse. He worked so hard and I am so proud of him. He is humble and hard-working. He is who I aspire to be, he motivates me to be better. My best friend graduated college and got her dream job. My brothers graduated high school and college, my cousin got married, and my parents are traveling the world. I am beyond blessed to see everyone living their dreams. 

What are ways our readers can connect with you and follow what you are up to?

Follow me on Instagram and my Etsy shop is

Thanks for join us, Lauren, on Jobs For Therapists!