I took my last exam on Tuesday, so I officially made it through a year of grad school! I say I’m halfway done because technically, we have two years of course work. It’s not quite that simple, but we will go with it for now 🙂
I have a week off-hallejuah! Today (Thursday) we’re doing some fun wedding planning things, then tomorrow I’m off to Wilmington for a wedding. It’s for one of my very best friends and I couldn’t be more excited. When we got engaged, she and her fiancé drove all the way down from Philly for the night! They’re the best, and I can’t wait to celebrate them all weekend.
Next Wednesday our Maymester course begins. It lasts about 3 weeks, and we have it 9-4 pretty much every weekday. Normally I wouldn’t complain too much, but I am anxious about leaving Livi so much after her seizure! However, I know she will be fine and I can’t be a helicopter parent 24/7. If I wasn’t in school and had a normal job, I would already be leaving her that often!
The Maymester ends June 5th, I move home June 6th, and my summer internship begins June 8th! It’s going to be quite the whirlwind. I will be working 40 hours a week as an intern until August 2nd. Then we get a nice break until classes start again August 20 something.
Then we get to do it all over again- a year of classes, a summer internship, and a final fall internship! It’s a lot to think about, so I try not to get ahead of myself. I can’t believe I’ve already finished a year of grad school, and I know the rest will fly by!
This year was hard, but more specifically, this semester was hard. The first one wasn’t easy, and we had a lot of assignments, but we weren’t in biochem yet. This semester, we had biochem and medical nutrition therapy, which were hard in their own ways. Many weeks I felt like I was just struggling to get to the weekend, then on the weekend I was catching up on studying. However, I’m obviously thrilled to be where I am and wouldn’t trade it for anything! I feel like I’ve learned so much and come so far in my nutrition knowledge in just a year. My program is wonderful and so are the people in it, as well as our teachers! I’m really excited to be a year closer to being a dietitian. I suppose I’ll have to come up with a new blog name at that point. Suggestions welcome!
I’m also really grateful that I immersed myself in the non-diet/Health at Every Size/intuitive eating world this year. I already wasn’t a fan of diets, but I came across some podcasts in the fall that showed me there is a way to incorporate my values in my approach to health. I’m in this program because I love nutrition and want to help people along their health journey, but I wouldn’t feel right doing it through restriction and rigid rules. (I am discussing clients in general, not those who have a medical condition diagnosed by a doctor that requires a specific plan. And obviously body shame is never warranted.) I’ve enjoyed learning more and surrounding myself online with other people who practice the way I hope to. I read Intuitive Eating this year and it was like a lightbulb went off; it made so much sense to me.
I started grad school thinking I would become a nutrition expert who imparts knowledge to my clients. I would help them lose weight the healthy way, through lifestyle changes. (Rolling my eyes at former me.) Now I have a much different idea of what my role and work will look like. Of course, Registered Dietitians are nutrition experts, but our clients are the experts of their bodies and lives. It’s not my job to tell them what to do or what their goals should be. I won’t be promoting weight loss. I believe that we can approach health in a kinder, gentler way-without focusing on the scale. As people incorporate healthy changes in their life, they may lose weight, gain weight, or stay the same. Why would I celebrate one of these outcomes over the other? Weight does not = health.
I’m now very interested in working in the eating disorder/disordered eating population, which I would have never guessed for myself. Currently my dream job is working one on one with clients to improve their relationship with food and their bodies. Food is nourishment, for sure, but it is also meant to be enjoyed. I feel like in our current culture we have lost track of that and we are either fearful of eating food (or certain types) or using it to manipulate our bodies. (You can find more about my food philosophy in my intuitive eating posts, or read about why I ditched the scale.)
So yeah, my approach is a bit different from the mainstream in my profession and I do feel like the tide is slowly shifting toward a non-diet approach. I know there is a place for me in this line of work and I’m so inspired by the many RDs I follow online doing it already. It does make me a little nervous about my first job after graduation-what if I have to accept a job that involves me putting people on diets? Or focusing on weight loss? All I can do now is focus on what’s in front of me and keep exploring what I want to do in the future, and do my best to make connections there and make it happen.
Oh, yeah! And this year I started this blog! Thank you so much for reading here. I’ve really enjoyed spilling my thoughts in this space and I’m excited to keep sharing my life and my views on health-related topics. If you have any topic suggestions or requests, I’m all ears!