For those of you not in the field of nutrition, you may be wondering why I starting 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 was 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 was necessary to obtain the coveted “RD” (Registered Dietitian) credentials behind my name. It’s sort of a graduate program that you pay for, but you don’t earn graduate credit. Basically, it was “career limbo.”
My dietetic internship had a ton of different rotations and sites that I will be blogging about. For example, my group of interns will be working at a local hospital for the clinical rotation, Riderwood Village and UMD Dining Services for the foodservice rotations, Food Supplement Nutrition Education Program and School Lunch for the community rotations, and IFIC (International Food Information Center) and FNIC (Food and Nutrition Information Center) for the information technology rotations. However, since I previously worked at FNIC, I substituted that time to experience CNPP (Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion- commonly known for MyPyramid/MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines!). My internship director explained this process as “A 10.5 month job interview.” All the rotations really helped me pinpoint which direction I wanted to go with my career.
Getting there 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!) **Side note: apparently now it’s all electronic? You lucky future interns, you.
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 even GOT an internship 2) which one we were matched to. 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, which I completed in June 2011! I loved the variety of rotations within the program and its focus on nutrition communications and information technology. I was so excited to start my career by doing a crash course in the various areas of dietetic professionals!
The early entries in Mission: Dietitian were all about my various internship experiences, I encourage you to browse through my older entries to get a feel for what it was like to be a dietetic intern!
Thanks for reading!