By Dianna Sinni, RD, LD
I’ll be honest – I’m a Registered Dietitian who didn’t get matched. I logged into DICAS like every dietetic intern out there, anxiously awaiting to see my match. I felt confident, I had progressed in two phone interviews for two programs, and my personal statement was really well written. I remember my boyfriend was seated next to me on our couch, but he kept getting bored with the waiting game – DICAS was temporarily down due to the high volume of log-ins, no doubt attributed to Match Day.
A few hours later, it happened – I logged in successfully…but only to see the horrible regrets memo.
There were tears. A lot of them. But as much as I wanted to crawl into my bed and sob, what good would it really do me? Wallowing in self-pity and sorrow wouldn’t get me into an internship – only I could. And it was too important to me to waste any time.
You might be wondering: how exactly did she get an internship and become a RD if there was no match?
Within an hour or two after realizing I hadn’t matched, I IMMEDIATELY (immediacy, of high importance here!) emailed my undergraduate professors (the two who had written my DI recommendations as well) from Keene State College. I was already a few years out from undergrad, but had always kept in contact with my advisor and another professor during those two years post-graduation. This would prove to be the biggest asset to my dietetic internship journey.
They were both shocked that I hadn’t matched (definitely a confidence booster after the initial sting of not matching) and immediately sent email after email of open intern spots for various programs across the country. There’s was hope!
As a prospective dietetic intern, I had no idea that DI program directors connect with each other surrounding match day – something that turned out to be in my favor. I received at least 5 emails from my undergraduate professors of DI and ISSP programs that didn’t match to full capacity and were looking for well recommended interns.
You might be wondering: so, why didn’t you wait until 2nd rounds?
Sure, I could have waited a month or so until DICAS reopened and new matches were made with remaining applicants…but why would I want to wait? I took matters into my own hands – I cold-emailed at least 5 DI Program Directors with intern spots available. They sent over their program information and I had two phone interviews for two programs I was strongly considering; all within the 24-48 hours after Match Day.
In less than 72 hours after not being matched, I was a fully enrolled Dietetic Intern at Sage College’s distance dietetic program. There were some formalities to complete, but I was in! While it wasn’t Plan A, it was the BEST Plan B I could have ever had. My experience was amazing and I am forever grateful for the support of my undergraduate professors. They believed in me because I believed in myself. They knew I was motivated and driven, and in turn were willing to put themselves out there to help me achieve my dream.
SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
It’s never too late to start fostering relationships with your undergraduate professor and advisors. They aren’t just your teacher for a few semesters or the ones who write a DI recommendation letter – they’re the RD’s who can actively help make your dreams of becoming a RD reality and will continue to think of you throughout your career. Here’s a few tips to get started:
- Take advantage of office time (but don’t be annoying). Stop in to say hello and show serious interest in their classes. They have an immense wealth of knowledge and experience that you can tap into and learn from.
- Over summer break or after graduation, stay in touch via email or phone quarterly. Let them know what you’ve been up to in the dietetic world or new things you’ve been hearing about in the field.
While I can’t guarantee you’ll get a DI just by cultivating a great relationship with your professors, I can – with confidence and through experience – say it is such an invaluable asset to your career path.