Top 10 Dietetic Intern Experiences No One Tells You About

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10 Things Every Dietetic Intern Will Experience


This post is all about honest truth. Today I am offering all of you dietetic students, professionals, and prospective interns a glimpse into the world of a dietetic intern. For all of you fellow dietetic interns out there, I bet you can relate to more than one on this list and have your own to add. For those of who who have yet to embark on the journey that is a dietetic internship, this is what your life might be like in the year to come! And you’ll love every minute of it.

This post is for those of you out there about to hit submit on your DICAS application. Your palms are sweaty, your heart is racing, and you’re panicking last minute that your auto-correct misspelled dietitian as “dietician” in your personal statement (seriously though, double check). Life feels like it could end abruptly on Match Day.

1. You have never been so paranoid to be late in your life.

Being late for the doctor, a wedding, or a holiday gathering has nothing on this. I mean, there is someone GRADING your every move. Your future depends on this. Most mornings, you wish the clock would lend you five minutes. Drive faster, sprint up the stairs, and pray to a higher being that you don’t get a flat tire on the highway. Or if you do get a flat tire on the way in at 7:00am, you hope it happens on your first day of rotation and that your preceptor is kind. True story.

2. You no longer chuckle or cringe when people hear you are almost an RD and tell you about their digestive issues (even the gross ones).

Literally. Not even joking. You’ll probably be at your paying job (not the internship, sigh)  slingin’ food when a question arises from one of your most loved regular customers. You smile, hand over the lunch, and answer with expertise. Not even a smirk! Helping to solve poop problems is now your career.

3. You notice your friends don’t eat around you much anymore and you aren’t sure why.

You want to yell at them, “I can eat cake and cookies and chocolate too!” OR maybe it’s that piece of kale stuck in your teeth that offended them. Whoops!

4. You begin to secretly diagnose your family and inadvertently provide nutrition interventions.

Or on the flip side, your family begins to do exactly the same thing as mentioned in #2.

5. The best part of your day on rotation is lunch time.

Let food be thy medicine. And you get to Instagram your super healthy lunch, #rd2be. Hey, an intern’s gotta give the brain a break!

6. You’re called a “dietary intern” at least ten times a day.

And no one knows what you do or what a dietitian does for that matter (except for your preceptor, of course!). So what do you do? You spit out your 30 second elevator speech and hit ’em with the facts!

7. You shop for kitchen supplies more often than you do clothing, toothpaste, or kitty litter.

Need I say more?

8. You spend at least one, if not more, Friday nights or Sunday afternoons crying over a case study.

Your boyfriend even tries to offer his help (the absolute sweetest!) because you have soiled your homework papers with stress tears. You don’t bother to tell him that “emesis” is not the same thing as “nemesis”.

9. You send your Mom a selfie in your lab coat on your first day of clinical.

I mean, you had to! She would be so proud!

10. You religiously cross off the days in your planner.

One day absolutely makes all the difference when you’re counting down how many days are left until you graduate, take the exam, and wear your RD credentials proudly. YOU ARE SO CLOSE. And getting closer.

UPDATE (2015): Now that I’m a dietitian, I can honestly say you will survive! I did. It was hard and one of the most trying years of my life. But also one of the best. Embrace it, do the work, and ask questions.
For those of you potential dietetic interns, as you ponder clicking “submit” on your application, just know that in the end it will all be worth it. Even if it takes a few years to get matched. Trust your journey, it’ll happen.

Your preceptors, professors, and peers all want you to succeed and will help you do just that. Reach out for help, don’t assume you know it all because you certainly don’t. Learn to embody the soul of a sponge; soak in everything. Pay attention to detail and keep a journal of notes. Take 10 minutes of personal reflection everyday to catalog something new you learned and to appreciate yourself for all you are doing. Most of all if you have passion, you will succeed.

I hope you found this post both humorous and helpful. What else would you like me to share about being a dietetic intern? I would love to connect with other future dietitians and fellow interns, so share your experiences, suggestions, and questions in the comments below!

xx Dianna

12 thoughts on “Top 10 Dietetic Intern Experiences No One Tells You About

  1. Caitlin

    I love your blog and YES, you are correct with ALL of these. SO funny. I graduated from my internship about 2 years ago (or is it 3?) and I can remember ALL of this. You’re awesome.

    1. Dianna Sinni

      Thanks, Caitlin! It good to hear that you’ve had a similar experience. Although a dietetic internship is stressful most of the time, it’s good to look at the experience with a little bit of lightness. 🙂

  2. Lisa M

    So funny and so true! Great that you have a good sense of humor about all of this. Congrats on being half-way done!!! Send me the lab coat pic so I can have my “proud mama” moment, too! Love ya!

  3. Erica H

    Oh my gosh as a fellow dietetic intern I really appreciated reading this!! I’m forwarding your link to my undergraduate Professors as I type =D Way to go!
    Erica H


    First time reading your blog…love it so far! Such creative recipes! I’ll be doing more stalking soon 🙂 Love #9 on here…as a Sonographer I remember all the long (unpaid!) clinical hours and my mother’s excitement in buying me new scrubs. Still not sure she entirely knows what I do though…looking forward to reading more!

  5. Emily @ Zen & Spice

    Haha just came upon this post from your sidebar– so funny!! I remember feeling all of these things when I was going through my internship. It really is the craziest year of your life. But totally worth it!

  6. Bari

    found this on pinterest… I’m TWO WEEKS away from completing my internship and this made me crack up. so relatable!

  7. Monica Salafia

    Haha! Great stuff, especially because we went through the same internship: Sage Graduate School DI/MS. Well, at least the same graduate course work and case studies!
    And number 9 could not be more spot on!


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