Today is National Registered Dietitian Day. And it's also my inaugural year. I've shared the career path becoming a dietitian with you. It's tooth and nail competitive since only an average of 50% of graduates are matched to internships and it's how this blog began. Regardless of how many times I flipped my shi* over thinking I might not be matched, over studying for my credentials or being frustrated that people still see dietitians as 'food police... I love what I do. I'm often told my passion for my nutrition really shows in the way I write, when I do interviews on the phone (seriously someone said this yesterday)...the way I roll my eyes when people mention Dr. Oz's latest supplement....I ooze nutrition love. And kale. Being a dietitian today means so many more career options than there used to be. The old school RDs were often thought of as 'lunch ladies' and they only worked in hospitals. Now we are everywhere. From universities to restaurants, magazines to the Today show: we teach, write, do interviews, see patients, develop recipes, market products and every day we do more.
When I became a dietitian I struggled for a few months deciding exactly where I wanted to be with my career. About 3/4ths of me thought I 'should' (a dangerous word) go work in a hospital or be behind a desk. Because that's what most dietitians did because that's what they've been told to do. Especially 20 something dietitians. But my heart was never in it and so I delayed my dream of what I actually wanted to do. Something I regret very much in retrospect, but am so lucky to have realized early on with the help of my mentors.
So after finally getting myself to understand I didn't need to be behind desk or in a lab coat, I started getting things done. What I do is multidimensional. I excel when I'm challenged and have many balls in the air at once. In the course of a week here are some of the things I do as dietitian:
- see private nutrition clients (from brides to general wellness) in person or over the phone
- go to college campuses and boarding schools for 1:1 counseling, informational displays and food committee meetings
- recipe & cocktail development and testing
- corporate wellness
- social media optimization and management for trade associations/publications
- work as an editorial assistant for a food photography website
- volunteer on a Head Start policy council
- volunteer as our state dietetic association's PR and Media chair
Every day my schedule is different. I meet so many people and get to have amazing experiences because of the path I ended up taking. Honestly sometimes I have to pinch myself. Like when I was sent Prosecco in the mail. But it's not an easy path. There are days that are difficult. There are days when I work from 7 in the morning until 10pm. When I am out of my comfort zone and pushing myself to learn something I've never done before. And still, I love it.
In a few years I would love to be writing this post on Dietitian day and recounting meeting some of my big goals. I would like to take interns and give back to the dietetics community. To continue to serve on a professional organization board. Be a spokesperson for a company. The big one? Writing a book.
Do you have regrets about your career path? Are you happy where you are? Where do you want to be?