When Did I Decide I Wanted To Be A Dietitian?
I am a little embarrassed to say this, but I didn’t know what a dietitian was until my freshman year of college. I had honestly never heard of one. When applying to college, I was torn between majoring in Biology or Nutrition. I knew that I could become a teacher or do research with biology, but had no idea what career I could have with a nutrition degree. However, when it came time to chose where I wanted to go to college, I knew that nutrition was the major I wanted to stick with. I began attending Texas A&M as an undergraduate nutrition major!
During my freshman year, I went to this nutrition change of option meeting where I learned about dietetics. This changed everything. I had no idea that nutrition could be your career or that there was a whole profession dedicated to it. With this new-found knowledge, I changed my track within my major to dietetics and becoming a registered dietitian became my end goal. I finished my BS in Nutritional Sciences at Texas A&M and applied for a dietetic internship.
What is the Process of becoming an RDN?
To become a registered dietitian, you have to receive your BS in Nutrition and successfully complete a Didactic Program in Dietetics track, which is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. You then have to apply to a dietetic internship, a 1200 internship in which you complete different dietetic rotations, such as medical nutrition therapy, community, and nutrition education. During these rotations, you complete different competencies that ensure you are ready to becoming a practicing health professional. After this, you have to pass the Registered Dietitians Exam! When this is completed, you are a dietitian! Woohoo!
It’s a long process, but well worth it. Many programs, like mine, have combined programs where you can get your MS in Nutritional Sciences and complete your dietetic internship. I chose this one because I knew that I wanted to get my MS anyways so why not choose a program where I could do both.
What was my Dietetic Internship Selection Process Like?
My process of choosing an internship was a little strange, but perfect. Originally, I wanted to go to this program in the Northeast that was a combined program. My sister lives in Philadelphia so I went to go visit her and decided to visit the program as well. After meeting the internship director and touring the hospital, I decided the program was not for me. It was a great program and I would have been happy to go there, I just decided that there were other programs that were more suited to me. I am also so glad that I went in January because I realized the cold was not for me. I wore my sister’s parka that whole time and was still miserable.
This was my #1 program so when I returned to Texas I started at square one. I talked to my Mom because I was having a hard time finding a program that truly fit me and she pointed me in the direction of Southern California. I had never been to SoCal before and hadn’t really considered it an option. However, I was up for anything, so I applied to some programs over there. After coming back from visiting a place I know longer wanted to go, I don’t know what possessed me to apply to places that I had not been to.
How Do We Find Out?
The dietetic internship application is a matching process, meaning that you only get into one place. You don’t receive admittance to a bunch of places and then decide, you receive admittance to one and either decided to accept or decline. Because of this, during the application process, you have to rank the programs that you applied to. There is then a match day where you find out if you’ve been matched and if so, where to. It’s a very nerve-wracking process!
I ranked my programs and waited to see if I got any interviews. Thankfully, I interviewed at every school I applied to that offered interviews. While scheduling my interviews, I scheduled one that was in SoCal at 9am and one in Texas at 12pm. I thought it was perfect, I had three hours between each interview. However, I forgot that California and Texas are in different time zones and that 9am SoCal time was 11am Texas time. I only had 1 HOUR between interviews! I have been in interviews that took well over and hour before so I was very frightened by my mess-up.
For these interviews, I rented a room in the library, got there an hour early, spread all of my notes out onto the table, and patiently waited for the first one to begin. During the first interview, my phone called dropped! I thought, “seriously? This is really happening right now?!”. I was so upset. Even though I had rented a room, I then had to finish the interview in the hallway, the only place I could get signal. Thankfully, the interview didn’t take long and I had enough time between it and my last one.
During my next interview, guess what happened? The phone call dropped AGAIN. I was having a great day. I rushed to a different floor and finished my interview standing in the hallway with the phone in one ear and my finger in the other. However, it was all OKAY. After I finished those interviews and one other, I impatiently awaited match day.
April 2nd, decision day, came and I was a nervous wreck. I invited my friends over to keep me occupied all day because the decisions didn’t come out until 6pm. At around 5:50 I barricaded myself in my room, sat on my bed, and kept refreshing my computer in hopes they had released them a minute or two early. When 6pm hit I received the news that I had been matched to a program in Souther California and that’s where this all began….