Today makes 39 more days until graduation. 39. For some this number may be exciting or even too big, but for me it only puts the pressure on the very little time I have left to secure a job. Thus far, my job applications and networking attempts have not shown much progress. If I don’t have a job in 39 days, I will be okay. I won’t fall off the face of the earth or be completely lost and homeless. However, a job would make all the work and time I am putting into these applications worth it. I guess this is why they call it the “waiting game”.
In the meantime, I have been continuing with my senior research project and papers, dancing my life away for the spring concert of Kinetic Expressions, working (a lot), completing all the usual class work, and just overall staying on top things. As well, there are a lot of loose ends to tie up! I have been visiting with friends who I haven’t seen or spoken to in a while, trying to transition some of my leadership and job roles onto successors, writing letters to explain why I or someone else should get an award, and figuring out everything I need to do to walk across that stage in May! It has been a busy time in my life, but thankfully, a couple weeks back I had a breather with Spring Break… which leads into my reflection for this post about my trip to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to see their Masters of Public Health, Registered Dietetics (MPH-RD) program.
For some reason it took me a few weeks to let that experience settle enough for me to write about it. I think it is for good reason though. Since I traveled to Chapel Hill I have been able to talk to friends, family, and my mentors about the trip and my experience visiting the graduate school. It has been good to have to talk to others about my feelings and to let those feelings settle before writing.
While many of my friends were spending Spring Break on the beaches of Florida or elsewhere, I was spending my time writing on one of my senior research papers, practicing acroyoga, and driving to and fro North Carolina. I went all by myself! This was an 8 to 9 hour drive each way. Thankfully I had a GPS to guide me and a radio to keep myself entertained.
I arrived in Chapel Hill to the warmest weather I had felt in months! I was able to walk outside to get supper in only a sweatshirt (bye bye winter coat!). I stayed at the Chapel Hill University Inn, which was quite high-scale for an inn, especially considering the fair price I received. Before I knew it though, it was the morning of my meeting at Chapel Hill.
Now mind you, this was not (unfortunately) an interview to get into the MPH-Registered Dietetics program at UNC-CH. I have yet to acquire the prerequisite courses (chemistries, sociology, microbiology…). Instead, I was offered to sit in on a Medical Nutrition Therapy class and to meet with the RD program coordinator, Mrs. Amanda Holliday.
So, I went to the Medical Nutrition Therapy class that morning, which was taught by Mrs. Holliday. It was awesome. My whole experience with dietetics this semester has solidified that dietetics is what I want to do and they have also opened me up to clinical dietetics. I was definitely soaking up the information from the course lecture and was very happy to see how engaged the students were. They were all very attentive in class, taking notes and asking questions. They were also very smart, answering Mrs. Holliday’s questions quickly and their questions for her were quite intelligent.
So, after this great impression I was able to meet with Mrs. Holliday one-on-one. Mostly, I received a low-down on their program. I asked her why their program was special, and she gave me very good reasons: they accept individuals from many different academic backgrounds (not just nutrition); they have an awesome grading scale; they separate the internship into three parts that focus on public health, clinical dietetics, and the student’s choice area; and they seem very involved with their students and helping them succeed. Of course, with this information I was ready to pack my bags, move to NC, establish residency, and (hopefully) get accepted for Fall 2016.
However, the brakes have been put on since this trip and reminded me to slow down. Although I am still very seriously considering the MPH-RD program at Chapel Hill, I also need to explore other graduate school options, find a job that I will enjoy for at least the next year, and graduate! I could definitely spend all my time researching jobs and graduate schools, however unless this is my future career, I need to spend my last few weeks at Berea focusing on school.
If I don’t get a job, I will still be going to school and figuring out life elsewhere. If I don’t get accepted to the MPH-RD at UNC I will probably get accepted elsewhere and still enjoy my program and learn a lot. In the end, everything will work out. I have faith it will.
Patience is not a strength of mine, though. I definitely lack patience sometimes, especially when I feel like I am not in control of a situation yet should be. I believe this is because I feel responsible: for my future, for my career, for so many things outside of my scope of understanding. It causes me anxiety when I cannot physically take hold of the situation (and every time I get on Facebook and see a friend was accepted into school or given a job…). This is the waiting game. And although I am not the strongest player at it, it is a game I must play and build my skill at. In the end, I know I will be victorious.
In a few days I plan to reflect on my experience shadowing another RD, Alyson Layne, from this past week. I am really exciting to share with you all more about my Guide for Aspiring Registered Dietitians as well! It is coming along.
I hope you all have a fantastic week!
A google search acquired picture of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill campus. Definitely a gorgeous spring photo of a classic structure, the Old Well, on UNC-CH’s campus.