We all have a clear recollection of why we wanted to get into the nutrition field and become Registered Dietitians. We keep some of those reasons near and dear to our hearts and some of those reasons are very simple. We love nutrition! When on the journey to become a Registered Dietitian, there are plenty of bumps along the road and sometimes it’s easy to forget why we are doing what we are doing. “Why did I decide to volunteer again this week when I have a test tomorrow?” Why am I taking 6 classes this semester?” How is summer almost over when all I did was volunteer and work?”
Common questions that I’ve asked and have heard through out my years as a student. Since becoming an RD (yay!) in July 2016 I often thought about what I wish I knew along the way to make things a little easier for me. Honestly, the best advice that I could give would only begin and end with two words, Networking and Volunteering. So important. Not only do these things look amazing on your resume, they will help you navigate your way through dietetics with a little ease. Networking can lead to you shadowing multiple RDs in different fields, learning about nutrition from a different point of view, and making your name known in the dietetics field early. Volunteering will make your resume and your DICAS application look amazing. I asked a couple of my friends that I went through this process with for some thoughts on what they would have liked to have known before becoming RDs and this is what they had to say.
…”Network as much as possible, take on as many volunteer opportunities as you can, big or small. If you’re struggling in academics then definitely seek out a tutor, your professor, or other resources that your University provides for extra help. When trying to get into an internship and you meet with the director whether it’s one on one or in a group setting, come prepared with questions. Don’t forget to continually update your resume and LinkedIn as you go”. – Jess Mirkin, Dietetic Intern at the University of Saint Joseph, West Hartford, CT.
“Becoming a dietitian is a long road but it will all be worth it in the end, keep going! The dietetics community is very small and close knit, never burn bridges, you never know who knows your potential internship director or future boss. Volunteer as much as you can, its the best and sometimes the only way to get experience in nutrition as a student. Be persistent, dietitians are super busy and may not respond to questions right away but typically respond well to those who show they are ready to work, to learn, and show that they have something to offer. Being a dietitian can sometimes feel like a thankless job, remember why you started in the first place and how important what you’re doing is”. – Hailey Beiner, RDN, C-DN.
So the consensus seems to be the same. Networking, persistence, volunteering, never feel like you can’t ask for help, and always remember why you started this journey. Never give up and remember that it’s worth it!