I’m still having a hard time convincing myself that I just graduated. Do any other graduates, recent or not, remember how unreal it feels? It’s been a week now and I still think that I’m on break, despite having the cap and gown [+ hood] sitting in my closet and the diploma cover on my shelf.
Despite it not feeling real, the experiences and opportunities I’ve been reflecting on over the past few weeks definitely are (were?). Attending BGSU – for undergraduate AND graduate school – has been quite the journey and I’m so grateful I had so many wonderful people and times on the ride.
Funny story? Graduate school was my back-up plan for a long time. I’ve been interested in health and wellness for as long as I can remember. I found nutrition and the field of dietetics as a young teen and loved the idea of learning how food can impact our health, so that’s what I pursued in college. In order to become eligible to be a registered dietitian, you have to complete a dietetic internship after undergrad. I knew the dietetic internship program was competitive, so I did what my professors told me to do to increase my chances. I studied hard, had good relationships with professors, worked as a student, got involved in several organizations, volunteered a TON, shadowed dietitians, and spent hours upon hours working on my applications. I knew it was competitive, but senior year rolled around and I felt I had done all I could do. I submitted my application for several highly competitive programs and began the long, anxious wait to find out if I got accepted. I had a back-up plan of going to grad school for public health, a field I loved as well, but went for the internship.
Well, if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you have probably figured out that I wasn’t in a dietetic internship the last two years. If you’re just joining, now you know 🙂 I wasn’t accepted in an internship program. In undergrad I was always the girl with a plan, I tried to have it all together. Until this point. I confidently told my classmates that I was okay (which was true) and that I would figure it out (which I did), but struggled. I didn’t know what to do. Going to grad school was a back-up plan. Now I had a choice. Do I wait it out and reapply for internships? Or do I apply to grad school? Or do I just enter the workforce, not really knowing where?
After talking to two of the women who were my role models in undergrad and talking to them about how I was feeling based on my experiences in health and wellness, I decided to pursue a Master of Public Health program with a specialization in Health Promotion and Education. That’s where I ended up, and I am so incredibly grateful I did.
Following my passion, I now know that this is where I’m supposed to be. RIght? Does this mean I’m any less passionate about nutrition and dietetics? I honestly don’t know, but I don’t think so. I love BOTH areas and they are so connected. I think at the core, what I am passionate about is helping people live their healthiest, happiest life. What I learned from this was:
Just keep moving. Life happens. Curveballs happen. What’s important is how you handle them. I’m stronger because I have failed. I’m stronger because I’ve learned from my mistakes.
I’ve crafted my personal mission and vision for my life, and am working hard to make it happen.
Whatever I’m doing, I want to LOVE to do it.
Ultimately though, this is what I want for my life. Whatever I want to do, I want to DO GOOD.
I’m thankful for everyone who helped me along the way to making this happen – my family, my fiance, my close friends, my mentors, and everyone who touched me along the way. I wouldn’t be where I am without their support.
What’s the lesson in this? Why am I sharing this with you?
I wasn’t the only one to not get an internship, nor were my friends the only people to not get the dream job they interviewed for, or get into the graduate program they studied so hard to apply for.
JUST DON’T GIVE UP. YOU HAVE A PURPOSE.
You may not agree, but I think everything happens for a reason. The reason I didn’t get an internship is because I wasn’t supposed to…right now, anyway. I was supposed to grow in a completely unexpected, and totally amazing, way. And regardless of whether or not I reapply for an internship in the future, I believe this education and these experiences will make me a better and stronger contributor to the health field – whether it’s public health, dietetics, or something else.
Just think – all of the experiences I’ve had the last two years may not have happened if I gave up.