"Hi! My name is Andy Floyd. I have a master's in Speech-Language Pathology. I decided to write about:

Starting to Date
Leaving Home to go to college
Deciding on a college major.

Starting to Date - I'm not sure if I should be the one writing about this but I'll give it a shot anyway. I did not start dating until my senior year of high school. The big reason why I waited so long had to do with self confidence. Until my junior year of high school I was very overweight, had thick glasses and I had a severe internal stutter. That means I had a lot of silent blocks and substituted easier words for harder ones. Anyway, the summer before my junior year of high school I lost 40 pounds, got contacts to replace the glasses and my speech improved slightly. Most importantly though, my self-confidence took a big boost. I asked out the first attractive girl I saw once I got back from a summer trip to the west (I'm originally from New Jersey). She said yes and then she asked me to call her. I must have picked up that phone 20 or so times before I actually called her but everything worked out OK. My new theory on dating is just to go for it. If you see someone who you want to get to know better, just ask him/her out. If you have confidence in yourself, your stuttering will not seem like the huge monster it usually does.

Leaving Home to go to College: Because my family has enough money, I was fortunate enough to pick a college that was out of state. My mom, of course, wanted me to choose a school that was as close to New Jersey as possible. A big factor as to why I picked the Univ. of Colorado was because of it's enrollment of 25,000 people. I thought that with class sizes nearing 100, that I would never have to say anything in class or be called upon or have to introduce myself. That plan worked for the first semester. My Intro to Psychology class had over 250 people in it. But I quickly found out that some courses do have small enrollments and that I would have to do all those things I feared. So, the lesson here is - don't do what I did. Luckily, it all worked out for me and Boulder, Colorado is an incredible place to be. One other thing that I saw as a positive and a negative when going off to college was that I knew absolutely nobody in Colorado. That meant (negative at the time) that I'd have to introduce myself to everybody I met. That is a lot of people in a dorm of at least 500 people. Because I could pull it off though (positive at the time) I could fake being fluent. Nobody in Colorado knew I stuttered! If I didn't stutter outwardly I could pull it off. I know now that I would have had a much happier and more social time my freshman year if I had been myself, stuttered, and been fine with it. Constant worrying, plus college work is not a good combination.

Deciding on a college major: When I first left to go to college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. So I concentrated on what I did know. I knew that I had little to no talent for math or science. I knew that I loved history but at that time mistakenly felt the only thing I could do with a history degree, basically, was teach history and I didn't feel like teaching was an option to me since I stuttered. So, I chose psychology as my first major. Psychology was great! It's the largest major at the University and all I'd have to do as a psychologist (I thought) was nod my head every now and then. Plus, psychology was interesting enough to me that I could get through the coursework.

At the end of my sophomore year, however, a professor of mine discriminated against me because of my stutter. To fight against this professor I looked for help and found out about the Speech-Language and Hearing Sciences department here. I had always thought that I would never major in that because I am the kind of person that speech pathologists treat, not the other way around. With the help of Dr. Peter Ramig at the SLHS department, I became very excited about speech pathology and about stuttering in general. I became involved in the National Stuttering Project and I started speech therapy with Dr. Ramig. I still have a mild to sometimes moderate stutter but I now see my stuttering as a bonus for me instead of a hinderance. Who better to understand stuttering than someone who stutters? Only some rare people who don't stutter can grasp the full emotional and psychological impact stuttering has on someones life. I believe that it is also important for me to improve my stuttering to better help others. I have been successful thus far and I will continue to work on my speech until I don't worry about it anymore. My plans for the future include getting a masters degree in speech pathology and then going on to get my Ph. D specializing in stuttering. I want to be involved in the neurophysiological research being done on people who stutter as well as be a clinician and a professor. Those are very high goals but one of the things I never thought possible has already happened for me: last year, I married a very beautiful woman who loves me and who tries her best to understand my stuttering. Since I brought up marriage, I have to talk about the one thing about the wedding, which scared me a lot. The vows! I wasn't like most people and nervous at all about getting married and the whole forever commitment thing. I was extremely nervous about the vows and the exchanging the rings speech. Our wedding was in front of 150 people on top of a mountain - so we had microphones which made me really nervous. We informed the minister about my stuttering, but he was not very understanding. For example, I blocked on my wife's name during the ceremony and the minister actually whispered her name to me like I had forgotten it! I wanted to kill him - but everything went on with no problems. Since we videotaped our wedding, I've gone back and counted that I stuttered about seven times during the ceremony. Did it ruin my wedding? Nothing can be further from the truth. The whole time I was looking into the eyes of the one person who really mattered and who understands and loves me - my wife. I'm writing this because when I was a teenager, I thought that stuttering during my wedding was a huge deal and I would do anything to speak fluently. Now, I realize that the words in the vows and ring ceremony are what's important. Not how you say them.

If anyone has any questions about anything or just wants someone to chat with, please write! Andy Floyd
added February 5, 1996
edited November 2, 1999
updated January 29, 2007