So you want to be a nutrition student?

Today I’m about to get up close and personal with you. I’m going to tell you future nutrition students some things you might not want to hear. Some of the things I say may make you question yourself. But let me make myself 100% clear: despite everything I say today, I couldn’t be happier with my choice to become an RD. So yes, even when I lay out all my frustrations with this field, know that I am content with my choice because it feels 110% right.

Regardless, if you’re thinking about majoring in nutrition in college, considering becoming an RD, or if you’re already in nutrition and debating switching majors, this list might be something for you to take a peek at.

Ten Things You Should Know Before Becoming a Nutrition Student:

  1. Everybody else thinks you’re “just studying food so how hard can that be?”
  2. If you think you’ll “just be studying food” you might want to reconsider.
  3. Justifying that nutrition is science is a daily occurrence.
  4. It’s expensive. And I don’t mean just tuition expensive, I mean be prepared to dole out a lot of money between memberships to professional organizations, your internship, and random things your professors want you to have.
  5. Oh yeah, that internship. 1200+ hours working for free and slowly dying for 10 months? Sounds fun.
  6. Ooh did I mention how competitive this field is? The internship only matches about 50% of its applicants. Good luck! (<– Not sarcasm, I know a lot of you have submitted DICAS recently and I know you’re waiting on pins and needles, so really, good luck!)
  7. If you’re becoming an RD (which you should if you want to do anything nutrition-related) get ready to sit for a tough credentialing exam after your internship.
  8. All your friends will suddenly stop wanting to eat around you (possibly). Or, they will constantly be looking at your plate and dissecting what you’re eating. You’re a nutrition student and you’re having a cookie? *gasp*
  9. This field is so vast it’s so hard to pick what direction you want to go in (which isn’t totally bad).
  10. You will doubt yourself and your desire to follow this path. Stay strong because it will be worth it in the end, I promise.

I’m making nutrition sound like a pile of poo, but I promise it’s not. And maybe these don’t apply to every nutrition student out there, and maybe they won’t apply to you, but throughout my time these are some of the things I’ve encountered. Nutrition is a fascinating subject and it opens the doors to being able to help so many people. I don’t regret my choice for a second, but I do wish that I came into it more prepared than I was. Hopefully armed with this short list of sarcastic quips you feel a little bit more prepared for the journey you’re about to embark upon.

Have a wonderful week ya’ll.

Evaluating Your Weight Loss Plan

Hello all! I hope you’re having a productive start to the week. As of today I’m gearing up to head back to school tomorrow (or technically Wednesday since I don’t have classes Tuesday). Come May I’ll officially be done with my DPD coursework (party time!) – and after spending six years in school at that point I’m so ready for the internship and a transition to online learning. It definitely won’t be easier, but being in a classroom has become tiring after all this time.

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Happy Birthday ForksandNature!

Guess what everyone? Forksandnature is officially 1 year old [insert sound-maker noises and confetti which I won’t have to clean up here]! I just wanted to celebrate this milestone a little bit, and tell you that despite my hiccup over the last two months, the blog has garnered some attention over the past year. While it still remains small, I’m forever grateful for all of you who have read posts, commented, liked, and enjoyed forksandnature over the past year 🙂 So thank you!

 

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Over the course of 2016 I’d like to make the blog even better, and I can’t do it without your help! This blog, aside from being enjoyable to me, is something for you too. If there are any topics you’d like covered in the new year, or anything you’d like me to branch out and try, feel free to make suggestions. I’m beginning to plan 2016, and one of my goals is to ensure that I post regularly throughout my next semester even as things get a little crazy.

In other exciting news, I’d like to share with you all that I was officially accepted into a dietetic internship program! My school offers early admission to students currently in their program who have a high GPA and display excellence in many other categories, and I’m so happy and relieved to say that I will definitely be a dietetic intern next year. And, bonus, it also means I don’t have to go through DICAS and Match Day (but don’t worry everyone, I’ll be cheering you all on come April)!

Once again, thank you all for your support this year, I can’t tell you how much it means to me. Now, just to clarify, I’m not going to be able to post daily, but expect them weekly again. I’m looking forward to another year with you all 🙂

15 Feelings That Make Me Happy (In the Nutrition World)

Hello everybody! I hope you’re having a smashing start to the week! So this post is inspired by Hank Green’s and EssieButton’s YouTube videos where they share 15 of their favorite feelings. I thought instead of covering a particular nutrition topic this week, I’d share a few personal bits. Instead of doing this in video form, of course (though YouTube is an option in my future!), I’ll be doing it in written form.

But, there’s another little twist. These 15 of my favorite feelings will have something to do in some way with nutrition, fitness, or wellness. So it’s not a total departure from my run-of-the-mill nutrition topics anyways 🙂

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What do Dietitians Do?

It’s a lot more than just working in a hospital.

Hello again! I hope everyone’s Monday is going great. It’s already the last week of February – can you believe it?! I know I can’t, but I’m happy to see it go. One less month of winter! Those in the northeast US know what I’m talking about.

Anyways, in today’s post I wanted to branch into the dietetics profession because some of you may be curious as to what RD’s or RDN’s do for jobs. Even today I’m still finding new avenues I could potentially walk as my career blooms. So let’s talk a little bit about what working in the profession is like.

When someone thinks of a dietitian they often picture somebody in a white coat walking through a hospital, creating diet plans for patients, and generally being responsible for overseeing anything to do with the hospital’s food. Yes, you can go this route, and yes you will find plenty of dietitians filling these clinical shoes. A rather large chunk of your dietetic intern hours will be spent in clinical as well. It’s a fantastic jumping off point for a plethora of other opportunities that are available in the field, but most importantly going into clinical is not something you have to do.

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Feeling the Pressure

When I say the word “dietitian” what kind of person do you imagine?

What happens when you go into a dietitian’s office and they don’t “look the part”? You know what I’m talking about. Fit, healthy, slender, etc. What if they’re overweight? As a client looking to lose weight, what would you think?

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Changing Your Mind More than Halfway through the Game

It will be alright, trust me.

Hello there! As promised, today’s post is dedicated to how you can enter the field of dietetics at any stage of life, no matter what you’re area of expertise may be. It’s not an easy path, and it will be costly, but in the end if it’s truly what you want to do – well, then go for it!

If there’s one thing this transition has taught me, it’s that things do work out eventually. Even if it takes a little bit longer than expected. As long as you’re confident about the choices you’ve made, and are determined to do what you want to do, you’ll make it.

Don’t mind me over here. Sometimes I have to give myself pep talks.

In my running theme of honesty, being a grad student has been one of the scariest, most insecure times of my life. That’s your twenties for ya (am I right fellow twenty-somethings?). So when I came to the end of my time as a student in biology and realized that nothing in the field really interested me, I panicked. Briefly. It was half way through my senior year when I determined I really wanted to go into nutrition. After years of bouncing through different career options, this was when I finally found a path that I felt I would fall in love with.

That’s when I realized just how much work you had to do to even become a dietitian. How the heck was I supposed to do this?

Great question.

Because I already had a bachelor’s degree I was not particularly keen on going back to school for a second bachelor’s. After a bit of hard researching I was able to find a program that would allow me to achieve a master’s of science in nutrition, as well as the dietitian certification. My program allows me to complete the track I mentioned in last week’s post (here) in three years (four in my case since I want a master’s). Two years will be spent completing the DPD program (only a year and a half left at the moment!), after which I will apply to an internship (and hopefully get in!), complete my internship in another year, and take my test (becoming a certified dietitian!). After that, I will complete my master’s in nutrition in another year because this program is set up where the internship and master’s flow together, and only an additional year is needed.

It was not the easiest feat to find a program, but I do promise they are out there! Google became my best friend for awhile (who am I kidding, Google is always my best friend). Another really great resource was the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. They have a master list of all the accredited programs in the nation. A particularly helpful bonus was the ability to narrow down the list based on location, type of degree granted, and type of program (online or on-campus). Some have a coordinated master’s and DPD approach – which does take less time – and I applied to those schools as well, but the one I chose worked out better for me in the end.

The most interesting part about it is that I’m not really a traditional student anymore. And all of us “post-baccs” are in such unique and different situations that it’s been really fantastic meeting everyone and learning from their different life experiences. In a way I’m glad that I didn’t decide to go into nutrition five or six years ago (I still can’t believe it’s been that long). Despite the extra cost and stress, I think in the end I’ll get more from my experience now than I would have if I was a traditional student. It’s a richer learning environment, which I’m starting to appreciate as I get older.

So if you’re working your way through a bachelor’s in any field and you’ve found that nutrition is actually the path you wish to take, don’t fret! I’m finding now that having a bachelor’s in biology has been exceptionally helpful. Not only do you have to take several science-based courses throughout any nutrition program, but the support courses are all science (biology, anatomy, biochemistry, etc.). With all the science background I have, I’m feeling confident in plenty of my courses. Here are some helpful tips from my own experiences:

  • Start looking at accredited nutrition programs and find out what classes you would be required to take, especially the supporting science courses, stats, etc.
  • Take these courses, if you can, at your undergraduate college.
  • Finding programs that have some sort of combination really helps minimize the extra time you’ll have to be in school to achieve that RD credential.
  • To really determine if nutrition is right for you, think about doing some volunteer work in a variety of settings – I’ll talk more about this later, but it really does help.

I hope this helps those of you who may be facing a similar struggle to mine. In the end it works out, so just remember that as long as you’re determined you will achieve it!

And now for a little added humor…

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Question of the week: what do you think the impact of truthfully labeling food products would be on the average consumer?