Flashback to fall 2012: It was my senior year at Metropolitan State University of Denver and I was packing in all of my classes to try and graduate with my second degree in Human Nutrition-Dietetics in five semesters.
I knew about the dietetic internship from Day 1 and, yet, I felt stressed and unprepared for the application process.
Like many that decide to get second degrees a little later in life, I always felt I was trying maintain balance and sanity on a day-to-day basis.
Let’s face it, for me, full-time school, working three different jobs, volunteering in nutrition related realms, training to try and qualify for Olympic trials in the woman’s marathon, and having a social life was a hard balance in itself. Add in the dietetic internship process and I was faced with stress overload.
I am a firm believer in striking balance in life, and making sure that it is enjoyed on a day-to-day basis. As a result, I decided to hold off on the internship.
It was a hard pill to swallow because it seemed like all of my classmates were applying, but eventually I gained an acceptance and focused on finishing out strong in my last semester.
I graduated in May 2013 and decided shortly after that I was burned out with the stress of the last year-and-a-half and wanted to simplify my life.
I have always found peace and happiness playing in the mountains and in June my boyfriend and I packed our bags and headed to Crested Butte.
Nestled in the Elk Mountains, with a population of only 1,500, Crested Butte is the epitome of small town life and from the moment we arrived, I knew life would be different.
In Crested Butte, every day is a world of adventure in nature just outside the front door, which often leaves you with feelings of peace and elation.
But soon after the move, I began to worry about not being able to do things dietetics related, therefore hindering me in the future when applying to dietetic internships.
The town is so small there are barely any doctors, let alone dietitians, and even the closest full-size grocery store is 30 minutes away. Had I made a big mistake?
I decided to do the only thing I could do. I began to be proactive. I emailed the only registered dietitian located within a one hundred mile radius, only to be met with no response.
I checked the closest hospital and found no dietetics related openings. Just as I was losing hope, I found a sustainable farming organization and began to volunteer a bit in their community gardens with some of their farm to school efforts.
I also partnered with a friend and began writing a monthly post in her nutrition blog. I was most worried about gaining clinical experience and settled for what I could get, being a medical assistant in an office at the base of the ski mountain.
As I started my applications for the spring 2014 match, I feel something that I hadn’t felt last year at this time -- confidence.
I have confidence in what I want to do in dietetics and where I want to apply, confidence that I am a strong applicant and confidence that I can at least try to get one of those coveted spots that are fought for each match season.
Am I still nervous and a little stressed? Of course. Aren’t we all?
But you see, the move to Crested Butte has not only allowed me time to figure out about where I want to go in the dietetics world and given me a variety of nutrition related experiences, but it has taught me a thing or two about life that I may not have learned otherwise.
Most importantly, the move here has allowed me to become refreshed, refocused, and excited about the future.
I encourage everyone to do what is best for you in the world of nutrition and dietetics. Take your time and follow your passions.
If a year or two allows you to figure out your passions, then take that year or two and figure it out.
If you don’t want to do the internship, don’t do it, and use your degree in other ways.
And if you do apply and don’t get matched, don’t become too discouraged. Make your own path and have the confidence that it is the one best for you. In the end, all of your experiences will lead you to right where you were meant to be.