An Open Letter To RD2Bes For Match Day 2015

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Dear RD2Be,

Tomorrow is Match Day – the day where you log in to a website and discover if you have been matched to an internship program. A nerve-wracking day. An exciting day. A day that seems to have your whole future depending on it.

One year ago, I was in your situation… Anxious, stressed, and panicked. What was going to happen? It was a lack of control that I never experienced before. But what I learned over the past year has shown me that no matter what happens tomorrow, IT IS GOING TO BE OKAY.

You probably have heard that before. It seems like whenever we are down or when things aren’t working out the way we planned, someone always says that it’s going to be okay. And that usually is the thing we don’t want to hear.

But trust me, it will be okay.

 

If you get matched:

Congratulations – you are about to embark a year of learning, discovery, and change.

The one thing I learned this year is that internship is hard. Very, very hard.

I equate internship to working full-time as well as being a full-time student at night. You spend your days in a whirlwind of clinical rotations, community presentations, and interacting with a variety of healthcare professionals, patients, and concerned family members. You spend your nights reviewing current literature on different medical conditions and their nutritional needs, writing papers and case studies, and studying the various diets, recommended nutrient levels, and lab values.

Most days is it exhilarating – you are actually creating care plans and implementing nutrition regimes that help people. You are making a difference in someone’s life.

But there are those days that are not as wonderful. There are the days where you are running behind. Days where it seems no matter what you suggest, it isn’t exactly what someone wanted. There will be days that you will cry, days you will become unbelievably frustrated, and days that you’ll want to quit.

But keep going – don’t let a few bad days ruin an experience that allows you to learn, practice, and hone your skills so that you will emerge one year later as a registered dietitian.

 

If you don’t get matched:

Congratulations – you are about to embark a year of learning, discovery, and change.

First off, it is going to be okay.

You have a year to continue to explore and hone your skills in the field of nutrition and dietetics. Don’t see this as a sign that you aren’t meant to be a RD… see this as the opposite. You have been given the opportunity to delve into the field, to work and to foster skills that many dietetic interns do not even possess.

Take the DTR exam and become a registered dietetic technician. Become a diet tech, dietary assistant, or nutrition assistant at a local hospital and get actual work experience in a clinical environment, interacting with the food service and dietetics staff. Continue to explore the literature on current diet recommendations and new nutrition guidelines – become knowledgeable of evidenced-based nutrition practice.

Most days is it will exhilarating – you are working in a field that you love. You are interacting with a variety of people, absorbing knowledge that you can only receive through hands-on experience.

But there are those days that are not as wonderful. There are the days where you are running behind. Days where it seems that you are no where closer to achieving your dreams. There will be days that you will cry, days you will become unbelievably frustrated, and days that you’ll want to quit.

But keep going – don’t let a few bad days ruin an experience that allows you to learn, practice, and hone your skills so that you will ultimately emerge as a registered dietitian.

Learn and experience as much as you can. If you choose to undergo match next year, your skills will be the strong foundation for the internship to build upon. You will understand what it’s like to work in a clinical setting. You will understand how the food service/dietetics culture works. You will be strong in your knowledge of evidence-based nutrition practice. You will have worked so hard and it will show.

 

Ultimately, no matter what tomorrow brings, you will be you… a wonderful, compassionate, hard-working RD2Be. Be proud of where this journey has taken you, but be open to the opportunities that are going to begin to unfold in front of you. And remember, it is going to be okay.

Wishing you all the best of luck tomorrow!

Your fellow RD2Be (and your biggest supporter!),

C

 

The End of The Food Service Rotation

Today is my last day of my food service systems rotation. For four weeks, it has been a combination of writing, researching, helping conduct sanitation audits, scouring Cooking Light for healthy (and inventive) recipes, inputting said recipes into nutrient analysis software, briskly walking around the hospital handing out surveys, and creating the most amazing theme day lunch for the hospital employee cafeteria.

This lunch menu was the culminating project of our rotation a combination of food production, patient services, retail services, and management. It was a big project and took a lot of work but it turned out beautifully!

We decided to do a New Year, New You theme, focusing on delicious (and healthy) food that had all the flavor and less calories and fat. It was a challenge to come up with new and creative ideas, but I think we came up with something that would appeal to everyone (or at least I think we did!).

From the cucumber and mint-infused water…

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To the five main menu items and two sides that we served, there was truly a menu item for everyone.

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And since it was our theme day, we were allowed to try one of everything.

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So we did. I noshed on some roasted pork tenderloin with apples and onions (good), tasted some salmon with a fig balsamic vinegar glaze (divine!), tried the Tuscan ravioli with porcini mushrooms (pretty good, especially the mushrooms), dove into the mountain of sautéed kale (a favorite), and devoured the lemongrass tofu banh mi (tried something new!). It was a feast not only for the eyes, but the taste buds as well.

The only thing missing from our small buffet lunch was the Tuscan Winter Vegetable Quinoa Salad (yes, my recipe was put into the menu… I have to confess that I freaked out when I saw it on the food line!). I was a little bummed that I couldn’t try it – I wanted to see how the chefs interpreted my recipe.

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But as you can see, my partner (A) and I enjoyed our mega-lunch of our theme day offerings despite not having any quinoa salad.

 

It was such a joy to see an idea that we had on Day One turn into a themed lunch that so many of the employees enjoyed. It was the perfect end to one of the craziest, most hectic, and one of the most enjoyable rotations yet!

I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Love,

Your RD2Be Foodie Friend

(AKA… C)

FNCE 2014

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Hey, everyone! How’s it been going?

Sorry to be so MIA but I went to my first national nutrition conference this past weekend, which has made me a little out of touch… whoops! But now that we are now reunited with the wonder that is WiFi, I can share with you my visit to Atlanta, GA.

I was fortunate to attend the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE), which is kind of big deal. People from all over the world flock to FNCE to network, educate, learn, and share their products with the nutrition and dietetics community. Super cool and super fun.

And it was in Atlanta, a city I have never been to before.

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The home of Coca-Cola.

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And the College Football Hall of Fame.

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And CNN… who knew?

As much as I loved touring around and looking at these amazing buildings housing places I know so well, being at FNCE was really exciting.

They brought in some amazing speakers to talk with us.

Hey there, First Lady Michelle Obama!

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Confession: she started speaking and I squealed. Yes, squealed. She’s not only doing wonders with her Let’s Move campaign but she is also my style icon… it was awesome to see her speak.

We also had Jane Andrews, RD of Wegman’s, come speak to us as well.

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I decided that I would like to be her when I grow up – smart, successful, and gets to work at the best place on Earth (Wegman’s, I miss you!).

The two events that made me laugh the most were given by Pamela Jett and Adam Kreek.

Pamela came to FNCE to teach us about how to communicate effectively and ethically in the workplace – two things that are ESSENTIAL when working with patients. She was hilarious, gave great advice, and had an interesting presentation.

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Wait, what does a goat have to do with anything?!

Adam Kreek is a gold-medalist in the Summer 2008 Olympics in men’s rowing. He came to talk to us about leadership and determination and actually PASSED AROUND HIS GOLD MEDAL. I wonder if he got it back…

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He was the funniest of all the speakers, which really livened up the closing session where everyone was passing out from exhaustion and sugar-high crashes (check back tomorrow for all about FNCE food!.

He told us that we needed to stretch because sitting is the new smoking when it comes to harmful health habits…

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So he told us to shake out our arms.

And then put our hands in the air like we just don’t care!

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It was a perfect stretch break… lighthearted and much-needed. And it totally fit into his casual, yet effective, presentation.

 

FNCE was a perfect combination of reconnecting with friends, exploring a new city, and learning about topics I do not normally learn about. I had a great time and I can’t wait for FNCE Nashville 2015!

So, kiddos, how was your past weekend? Did you go to FNCE? What did you think? Let me know!

Your empowered RD2Be,

C

What’s Been Happening – 8/24

A lot’s been happening these past few weeks.

 

  1. Tomorrow I start my Dietetic Internship.

Whelp.

These past two days have been a flurry of printing, organizing, buying external hard drives, getting directions to where I actually need to be, and confirming start times.

And panicking about what to wear, what tote bag to bring, what to pack for lunch… HELP!

 

  1. It is not only my first day at a new place…

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This kid started a new job a couple of weeks ago (albeit, not dressed as Minnie Mouse).

My sister (E) now lives in another state, in her own apartment, with her own car, health insurance, and new life as an employed citizen of the world. And while I am so, so, so proud of her, I’m slightly sad that I won’t be able to share dinner with her every Sunday.

 

2A. The best redeeming quality of E’s new home is that there is a great donut shop nearby.

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Sunday breakfast of champions!

 

  1. E decided to pop back to the home nest this weekend… the same weekend my mother saw this amazing chocolate-peanut butter cake in a magazine.

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E loves chocolate, peanut butter, and cake. So we made it for her.

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I didn’t have any. *burp*

 

  1. Everyone is moving around – jobs, internships, graduate school – so my friends and I have been meeting up and eating a lot of food, drinking wonderful drinks, and getting in a good last visit before our lives drag us in a million different directions.

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My friend E and I met up at our local Mexican haunt and really couldn’t make up our minds on what to order…

 

  1. But throughout all this craziness – E’s move, saying a “see you later” to my friends, organizing for internship, and making cake – I was still able to carve out some me-time.

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With my three best friends… strawberries, chocolate-hazelnut spread, and a good TV show.

 

How have you all been? Are you dreading the end of summer? Or excited for the weather to cool down? Let me know!

Your friend in the slightly perpetual food coma,

C