Former resident of Topanga, California, a hippie canyon community in LA, now current Northwestern graduate student Rebecca talks to us about studying languages and escaping Evanston – in fact, she is counting the days until her lease is up so she can move into the city. Outside of the Northwestern bubble, she frequently enjoys going to the farmer’s market, avoiding Barleycorn’s, and finding the best taqueria in Chicago. You’ll probably find her taking the Red line down into the city every weekend, annoyed by the turtle-like pace of the train, but at the same time appreciative of the city as it passes.
F: What are you taking up at Northwestern?
R: The treatment of speech, language, and swallowing disorders! Most people think of my type as the speech therapists in schools working on kids with a lisp. Although this is a big part of the field, we work on a whole variety of disorders in a bunch of different settings. I’m still figuring out where I want to end up, but I don’t think I will be working on lisps in schools.
F: Why the interest in speech pathology?
R: I’ve always liked languages but never knew what I could do with it. Although I loved studying linguistics as an undergrad, the PhD/academia route just didn’t seem for me. I worked in tech companies for a couple years, just long enough to know that I didn’t want to sit in front of a computer for 8 hours a day for the rest of my life. All of a sudden it clicked: I wanted to study language and work with people. Speech language pathology just made sense.
F: Does Ali G have a speech disorder?
R: No, I classify him as having his own speech and language unlike any other person in this world.
R: When I was a kid, I wanted to be a lawyer, but now I will thank God that I didn’t follow through with that idea.
R: My favorite language is Hungarian, and the word that excites me the most is szeretlek because you can say something as heavy as “I love you” in just one word
R: The language I dislike the most is Dutch because it sounds like all its speakers are coughing up hairballs
R: I think robo-phone-operators are surprisingly intelligent and they will one day run our country
R: After I finish my studies in 2010, I will move back to California while secretly wanting to move to Europe and say goodbye to Chicago.
Uncovering secrets about Chicago and Evanston
R: In Evanston, I like eating at Ruby of Siam. When I am studying for a mid-term the next day, I drink 3 cans of Coke Zero and go to Cosi, which has the nicest employees I’ve met of any chain restaurant
R: Evanston is like a bubble because it’s a suburb despite the fact that everyone says it’s not like the real suburbs, when I need some reprieve, I crash at my friend’s apartment in Lincoln Park
R: My favorite secret about Northwestern is it is the lost city of Atlantis. Actually, my department doesn’t interact with the rest of the University and I know absolutely nothing about it
R: Favorite stops on the Red-line are: Berwyn and Belmont because they both start with a B, and also because those neighborhoods seem like the perfect combination of active city life and quiet residential blocks