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.
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!