I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time, but each time I sat down to share the updates on my graduate school applications, I froze. I try to keep this space positive, mostly because we all face our own personal struggles every day and no one wants to read about someone else’s complaints. But each time I sat down to write, all I could focus on is how tired I am. How anxious I am. How disappointed I am that things aren’t going exactly the way I had hoped.
And then I felt silly for feeling sorry for myself. In the grand scheme of things, most of my problems aren’t really problems at all.
So here I am, ready to share my latest update with you. Despite not feeling entirely comfortable revealing a side of myself that I normally prefer to keep private: vulnerable Lauren, I’m reminding myself that my main purpose for blogging (other than using it as a creative outlet) is to create a resource that other soon-to-be-RD’s can reference as they transition into a new career. Everyone deals with adversity in some form, and I think it’s important to share small successes as we face our challenges.
In January, I found out that I was accepted in the MPH Nutrition program at the University of Minnesota and wait listed for the RD portion of the program. The University of Minnesota lets you know where you rank on their waitlist and I was #8. When I received the email, I cried.
For the next two days, I spiraled down a path of negativity. I let one email convince me that ‘I’m not smart enough’ to get into a top-tier program. I let one email make me feel like I was never going to reach my end goal.
And then I turned a corner. I pulled myself out of that negative hole and reminded myself that every person’s story is different. There isn’t just one path to becoming a Registered Dietitian. Just because my path isn’t as simple or straightforward as other RD’s, doesn’t mean that I won’t reach my end goal.
So, I started researching alternative paths – and found a few different options. I feel confident that whatever admissions decisions I hear in the next few weeks that I will be going to graduate school this fall. And that’s pretty freaking awesome.
So, here’s where I stand with the programs I applied to:
- University of Minnesota: Accepted into the MPH Nutrition program, wait listed for the RD portion
- University of Washington: Accepted into the MPH Nutrition program, wait listed for the RD portion
- Johns Hopkins University: No feedback, but assuming I did not get in
- UNC – Chapel Hill: Admission decisions will be released in the next 1-2 weeks
- Colorado State University: Submitting my application this weekend
Alternatives I’ve found:
- University of Minnesota offers a DPD program that I may be able to enroll in in conjunction with their MPH Nutrition program. I sent my transcripts off to their admissions office today to have them evaluated. Essentially, this means I would graduate with an MPH in Nutrition, and also receive a Verification Statement that would allow me to apply for Dietetic Internships (←1200 required hours of supervised practice in order to sit for the RD exam.) The application process for Dietetic Internships is extremely competitive, which is why I prefer a Coordinated Program, such as the programs at UNC and UW.
- Dietitian Tech Programs ← Because I have an undergraduate degree already, I can enroll in a Dietitian Tech program for a year that would give me experience and the chance to show that I would do well with a course load of difficult, science-based nutrition classes.
- University of Washington’s MPH program is ranked #6 in the country, so I am still considering going even if I am not offered a spot in the RD program. I reached out to the MPH/RD program coordinator and she told me that some students have transferred into the RD program after starting the MPH Nutrition program. The only downside is that it will add some time on to the process (which, in the grand scheme of things is inconsequential.)
I should have another update to share in the next 2-3 weeks, hopefully with my final decision! I’m taking each day as it comes and trying to remind myself that things typically work out the way they are supposed to.
If you’ve made it through this post – thank you! I share my story so that I will one day become a resource for others trying to follow a similar path. Here’s to hoping that when I reread this post in the future, I do so with a little smirk that says, ‘see, I told you everything would work out.’ 🙂