Monthly Archives: August 2010

Not Your Average Internship

Match for Internship

The Greatest Relief EVER!

For those of you not in the field of nutrition, you may be wondering why I am blogging about a silly little internship.  So I can share stories of getting coffee for the boss? Doing menial tasks to assist the real workers? Silently suffering at the bottom of the ladder in the hope of one day being hired?

While I’m sure that would be a thrilling blog to read, this is NOT that kind of internship.  Instead, I like to think of it as nursing school, but for dietitians.  A college degree is required, and completion of an internship is necessary to obtain the coveted “RD” (Registered Dietitian) credentials behind my name so I can get a job.  It’s sort of a graduate program that you pay for, but you don’t earn graduate credit.  Basically, I am in career limbo.

My dietetic internship has a ton of different rotations and sites that I will be blogging about.  For example, I’ll be working at a local hospital for my clinical rotation, Riderwood Village and UMD Dining Services for my foodservice rotations, Food & Friends and School Lunch for my community rotations, and IFIC (International Food Information Center) and CNPP (Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion) for my information technology rotations.  My internship director explained this process as “A 10.5 month job interview.” All the rotations will definitely help me pinpoint where I would like to go in my career, and who knows, maybe a job will come out of it as well!

Getting here wasn’t necessarily simple.  For each internship I applied to, I had to write a slightly different essay, fill out lengthy forms, and solicit three letters of recommendation from my work supervisors and professors.  The various internships I applied to had different requirements and different due dates; this caused me many afternoons of stressing out at the post office, triple-checking to make sure I had everything in order for an overnight, traceable delivery (I couldn’t risk my applications getting lost in the mail!)

After that, there was a long period of waiting: first for an invitation for an interview, and eventually for match day.  Match day was the day that we found out 1) If we got an internship 2) which one we got.  No, we weren’t offered admission from different programs and then got to choose; instead, we had to rank the internships, they ranked us, and we were matched by a computer system.  Sound stressful? It was.  Of course, the <50% acceptance rate to dietetic internships didn’t help with the anxiety.

Fortunately, on that fateful day, I was matched to the UMD internship, and here I am!  I loved the variety of rotations within the program and its focus on nutrition communications and information technology.  I could not be more excited to get started!  First up: clinical rotations!

And So it Begins…

First Day

Another intern and I on our first day.

Today marked the completion of my first week as a dietetic intern!  After four years of grueling coursework, a lengthy application process, and a very anxious match day, I was ecstatic to be matched with the University of Maryland College Park Dietetic Internship.  Throughout the summer I had been working on assignments to prepare for this 10.5 month program with an emphasis in information technology and communication, and I’m excited to begin!

The first few days were comprised mainly of orientation and entry procedures.  The 10 of us got to know each other pretty quickly as we learned about what we would be doing at our various rotations.  In the first few days, we traveled to Baltimore’s Harbor Hospital, the University of Maryland campus, Riderwood Village in Silver Spring, and the National Agriculture Library (NAL).

The Registered Dietitians that work at NAL taught us about using websites and social media to share nutrition information with the public.  They covered topics such as maintaining a positive presence on the internet, using twitter, and creating Web sites.  As interns, we are even responsible for submitting tweets and blog entries for the program!  Because of my strong interest in using communication via the internet in my future as a dietitian, I found these lessons to be especially useful.  I am eager to begin building my own electronic portfolio that will showcase my work during the internship.

One week down, and so far so good! TGIF!