A Decade of Destruction: The Journey to an RD

Ending January by getting back into blogging! This time It’s about my journey to become a dietitian.

Okay, impromptu sabbatical over and now it’s time to get back into blogging. It’s been a long journey since I decided that I wanted to be a registered dietitian. It first started while I was in high school, and ended recently when I passed the registration exam. Be assured, I’m not going anywhere. In honor of the conclusion of my ten-year long journey, I am going to recount some of my experiences in education; the good, the bad, and the strange.

Being a freshman in high school is daunting. You are the lowest on the totem pole. This was also a stressful time for me, having to face issues related to depression (see my post where I talked about it here). This was also the start of me finding a direction in life. I was always fascinated with medicine and health, while also enjoying food and cooking. There was an assignment we had to do in one of my classes that involved us looking at different careers we might be interested in. Lo and behold, dietetics was one of them.

In some ways, this was a blessing because I was able to take classes that were relevant to my field. Instead of taking sciences like physical chemistry, or physics, I instead took things like biology and chemistry. Elective-wise, I took several cooking classes, which let me learn about some basics when cooking foods. On the other hand, it lead to severe apathy in some classes. I would often ask “what’s the point?” in several classes, like calculus. Ultimately, I graduated from high school and was accepted into college.

College was a culture shock for me. The first couple of years felt very disconnected from the rest of my education. I spent the first year mainly working on prerequisites for several classes I would take later. These classes were mainly a pain in the ass. Some of them helped a little bit in my journey to being an RD, but most seemed to be there to fill my schedule. For my bacc core classes, I tried to take topics that were more relevant to me than others. For example, for some of my humanities courses, I took a food history class and a politics of motherhood class. Food history showed how some cultures identify what is and isn’t palatable, and some of the ramifications food production had on the global climate. Politics in motherhood was relevant because maternal health influences infant health, so improving things for mom improves things for baby.

My latter half of college felt like a whole new ballgame. All my classes felt relevant to what I was doing, despite the intense amount of stress it caused. Along the way, I ran into scheduling issues, which forced my hand. I could chose to take two partial years, where I would be taking anywhere from zero to ten credits per term, or I could pick up a minor to remain a full time student. I took up writing, with the intention to write in a variety of disciplines. However, some of my writing never met it’s mark (my magazine writing was described as “boring,” while my technical writing wasn’t detailed enough). Fortunately, I found a niche for fiction writing. Professors said that when reading my work, they could see the influence of punk rock and heavy metal music based on my cadence, word choice, and topics.

By the end of college, I was intensely burned out on the field. I just wanted to get out. I debated with myself about me walking with the class, or just getting my degree and leaving, taking a gap year between my graduation and internship, and various other options that were less feasible. I decided the best option was to do the best I could, and walk. In the end, I’m glad I did. I had a lot of fun. I also decided that it was better to go on the internship sooner than later.

By far, this was the hardest thing I did. I decided to go out of state for my credential, for a change of scenery and pace. I was placed in the middle of Twin Falls, Idaho, somewhere I had never been. Leaving Oregon was hard, knowing that I was going to be separated from my friends and family for the longest time.

On top of the stress of the internship, I was overburdened with stress from roommates. To say I didn’t get along with them was an understatement. I had to take a part-time job as a dishwasher to barely be able to pay rent and eat. About half of my internship was high-octane stress and sleep deprivation.

Despite these hardships there were some silver linings. I met some good people in Idaho, and even had an opportunity to get an article published in Southern Idaho Kids. One of the guys I met introduced me to an underground death metal scene in Idaho, which was an awesome way to spend a weekend (plus, this was admittedly my first concert I’ve been to, and they DID NOT disappoint).

By the end of the internship, I was even more burned out than I was before, and my wallet was incredibly slim. But, by the time early May came around, I was able to return to Oregon. I was home at last. I needed to take time off to recover.

In the days following me being back in Oregon, I felt the best about myself than I ever had in my whole life. I was achieving my long term goals. However, there was a couple of hurdles keeping me from ultimately finishing everything I set out to do. I needed to take the certification test, pay my fees, and get a job. I took on a part-time job to make ends meet and pay my loans, while studying and taking the test.

The days leading up were also stressful. Having to remember everything over the last several years of my life put me back into overdrive, with the additional fatigue from working a labor-intense job. However, I was able to pass the exam, pay my fees, and get licensed in both Oregon and federally as a dietitian. The last thing left to do is find a job as a dietitian somewhere. But in the meantime, I am satisfied with where I am in life. I set my goals, and achieved them. It took a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, tears, and many other sacrifices, but I did it.

Where does this leave the blog? My intentions are to get back into blogging, posting at least once a month. Meanwhile I am going to keep searching for a dietitian job so I can begin my career. Where one journey ends, another begins…

By The Nutrition Punk

I am a dietitian living in Portland, Oregon. I write about a variety of nutrition and heath topics, with the goal of improving people's understanding of food and nutrition so they may be empowered against all the misinformation that is out there.

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