My windy road to becoming a dietitian

When I was in the Air Force, I knew I wanted to go to college after my 4 years of service, but I had no idea what I wanted to do.  I started taking entry level classes in business, Accounting 101 etc while I was still in, but soon found out business was not what I wanted to do at all.

(Check out this adorable Air Force jacket we got for Amelia in Seattle)

Despite our 3 day a week morning workouts with our squadron, I had some weight gain start creeping in.  These were also the days where I never touched a diet soda and normal Dr Pepper was all I drank.  I blame it being on the state drink of Texas!

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I wanted to start working out more, eating healthier + a new love interest (Greg! ha), so I started reading up a lot about healthy eating and exercise.  This is when I knew this is the field I wanted to be in and that once I was out of the Air Force, I wanted to get my Bachelor’s to be a Nutritionist.

Fast forward to the end of 2011 and I had a degree and was a nutritionist! Unfortunately at the end of our degree we were just sort of pushed out into the real world with no guidance on what the next steps were or how to find a job or anything.

After a few years of trying I realized jobs as a nutritionist were few and far between and if I wanted to get anywhere in the field I needed to be a dietitian, which has a protected title so personal trainers etc couldn’t just called themselves a dietitian.  My options were another 3 year degree or 1.5-2 years post grad or masters.

Since it was impossible to find anything nutrition related I started working as an admin assistant with the National Health Service.  I was able to make contacts with people and got opportunities to volunteer and started getting nutrition related experience.  I got to help out with a healthy day at a work stand and talk to people, and I was also asked to give a healthy eating talk to members of a group that had brain injuries.

I then started applying for jobs as a dietetic assistant to get experience that would help with my application for the post grad/masters.  After many interviews and no jobs most of the time due to my lack of experience, I finally got my first job as a part time dietetic assistant.

I loved my job, I had my own caseload of patients that I spent most of the working day visiting. Since it was mainly elderly patients, I loved talking to them and hearing about their life stories.  It was the first job that I’ve had that I felt so happy and loved what I was doing.   It definitely confirmed that being a dietitian was exactly what I wanted to do.

My experience as a dietetic assistant enabled me to get another part time job as a dietetic assistant at a different hospital so I could finally quit the admin job I had been stuck in.  Unfortunately these jobs weren’t permanent = no job benefits, and I applied for my current full time, permanent job that I got!

I applied for the post grad/masters course for the second time last year and didn’t get a place again, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise since my due date was when class would have started.

I had to start thinking about other options of what I could possibly do if this didn’t work out, it was the last year I could apply at one of the schools since you can’t apply more than twice, and it was also the last year that it would be funded by the government.  There wasn’t anything else I was remotely interested in and I didn’t want to think it wasn’t going to be an option anymore.

Fast forward another year and grueling interview processes, I finally got a spot starting on Amelia’s first birthday unfortunately!

It’s taken me 6 long years to get here, and I’ve still got a hard year and a half ahead of me! But if there’s something you’ve got your heart set on, don’t let anything stop you till you get there.  I’ve had more downs than ups in this process, but they’ve all paid off and will be worth it when I can finally say that I’m a dietitian.

Thinking about all the work and studying I’ll have to be doing with an infant is very scary since I’m exhausted and feel like I have zero free time as it is so I definitely still have an uphill battle ahead of me, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and I’m so excited to start this journey.

JC

 

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