Student Blog

Here's How-To By: Miranda Schrock

I remember the feelings of sheer adrenaline and fear as I hit ‘submit’ on DICAS, on February 15, 2017.  I sank into my chair and released a long, deep breath that I had subconsciously been holding in, while a wave of serenity washed over me.  I congratulated myself, since no one else was around that was older than the age of 4.  I had strategically planned that night to where I could snuggle sweet babies once my application was submitted. A little baby therapy never hurt anyone right?

To put it simply, I had no idea what the next couple months, and even years, were to look like after I had submitted that application.  I was totally and completely at the mercy of God, and every internship director and selection committee of the schools I had applied too.  Finally, on April 2 of 2017, I was given the answers to the questions that had been consuming my every waking thoughts for months and months. I could finally start making concrete decisions and also give the people who were constantly badgering me to know my ‘post-graduation plans’ something more satisfactory than, ‘I’m still not sure yet!” Needless to say, April 2, 2017 was a massive turning point in my life, as it was the day that my first big ‘life question’ was finally answered and my desire to advance in my vocation was fulfilled.  When I read “Congratulations! You have been matched with the University of Central Arkansas!” my life was infinitely changed, for the better.

There are several things I wish I had known however, through the application process and even through the first several months of beginning the internship.  Firstly, request your transcripts as soon as possible, and get those bad boys sent to your internships of choice! It takes longer than you would expect, trust me.  Secondly, do your research on the schools you are applying to. If you are primarily interested in clinical nutrition, I wouldn’t suggest applying to schools that are centralized around say, foodservice.  However, I would suggest keeping an open mind as you apply, because you may actually change your mind as you go throughout each rotation! Thirdly, as you are accepted into an internship, embrace the journey.  Embrace the challenges and the triumphs that will inevitably come.  This is a monumental time in your life, and it should be enjoyed, but not without a little bit of blood, sweat and tears (literally-you will learn to draw blood, you’ll sweat as you turn in your first menu project, and well, tears go hand in hand with graduate school).  I don’t mean to frighten you, but as one of the top most-educated professionals in the healthcare field, you can and should expect rigorous academic work. However, the rewards for your tireless efforts and hard work are very well worth it. Lastly, develop some sort of organizational method that suits you, and then actually use it.  Organization coupled with time management can either make you or break you in an internship.  As a dietetic intern, you will have a million different things running through your mind, because you will have a lot required of you! That being said, I would recommend finding a planner, or other alternative task organizer, because I promise you, you will need something of the sort.  You have been in school for years and years now, so you know how to do this; if you don’t there are plenty of books and videos on the web that can teach you how to get organized!

Posted by Alicia Landry at Sunday, December 3, 2017 | 0 comments

The End is Near

Hi Everyone!

I hope your Thanksgiving was great! Hopefully, you ate a lot a great food and spent time with your family. For many of us, finals are just around the corner. While I can’t tell you what questions will be on the exam, I can tell you how I have survived finals week throughout my college career. Sleep and nutrition are very important, especially when we need to perform at our best. I have yet to pull an all-nighter in college, and I have eluded that by starting early. So, if you want to be your best during finals week, start now!

If you are a senior, you have probably started working on DICAS or will start working on it soon. What I am hoping to do is tackle a task every week. For instance, last week I worked on my resume. This week, I am going to work on personal statements and visit the Quality Writing Center on the University of Arkansas Campus to make sure my resume is the best it can be. If you aren’t sure if your school has a writing center, ask your advisor for help. Find a system that works for you, stay organized, and discipline yourself to stay on task and get the job done! Remember to stay positive and have fun too! Just don’t forget that February 15th will be here faster than you think!

I am also promoting an amazing opportunity for y’all. This is a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. If you are a student member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, you have probably received a student newsletter. If you read the email, you would have noticed that the Academy is looking for student liaisons. If you aren’t a member, now is a good time to become one! Being a student liaison looks great on a resume and is a lot of fun. I am currently the Arkansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Student Liaison and the Northwest Arkansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Student Liaison. It may seem like a lot of work, but the rewards are huge.

Lauren Ince

Posted by Alicia Landry at Wednesday, November 29, 2017 | 0 comments

RD or Bust - Guest Blog

Hi everyone! I am currently a dietetic intern at UAMS. Hazing at its finest, lemme tell ya. Just kidding, but really, I’m busier than a mosquito at a nudist camp.

First of all, I want to say to any of you undergrads who might be reading this – if you are currently applying to internships or preparing yourself for that process, props to you. It’s a lot of work and I know you have worked really hard to get to this point. Best of luck with it! Something I wish someone would have told me before I applied is to make sure you have someone proofread EVERYTHING you send out to schools or include in your application. Trust me. 

As for me, right now, my fellow interns and I are currently in week 14 of 40 of our internship! So were making through! In the UAMS internship, our 40 weeks are split into a 20-week clinical semester and a 20-week administrative semester. I am currently enduring the clinical semester. So far, my most interesting rotation has been the pediatric rotation at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. I learned SO much and everyday was something completely different. We spent each morning and afternoon with a different specialty of dietetics and each one comes with its own challenges and rewards. I loved working with all the kids!  

I can say, without a doubt, my preceptors have all been splendid. The RDs in Arkansas are sincere and kind and so willing to help interns succeed in this field. The other girls in the internship are also the greatest. We have all bonded so well, whether it’s hiking Pinnacle Mountain, grabbing Mexican food, or celebrating birthdays during our Monday class time with all the food – we have become really good friends. It is really important to lean on each other because we need all the help we can get sometimes!

Being in a dietetic internship is like a crazy mystery adventure where you meet like ten new people every day and then stay up late staring at the Quizlet you made, trying to absorb as much as you can so you are prepared for the rotation the next day.  But it’s all so worth it. I am so happy I have the opportunity to further my education here in Arkansas and I keep telling myself that one day I WILL BE AN RD! It’ll be here sooner than I think!

--Haley Ruffin

Posted by Alicia Landry at Thursday, November 16, 2017 | 0 comments

Hang In There!!

Hi everyone! I hope everything is going well. The semester is almost over, and Christmas will be here before we know it. So, hang in there!

I got the opportunity to go to FNCE this year, and I had a blast. The expo floor was full of samples and it was amazing. I went to a few sessions, and they were so interesting. One session I went to was the U.S. Army and the initiatives they are doing to improve the health of service members. Even if you are not interested in the military, the techniques they are doing are very applicable to the dietetics career. For instance, the presenters made the comment that one-fourth of the individuals in the military are discharged because they do not meet the weight requirements and cannot pass their physical fitness exam. Therefore, obesity is not just a national health issue, it is also a national security issue.

Another session I went to was to help students apply for a dietetic internship and how to make their application meet the standards for the internship programs. For those of you who were not able to attend this session or FNCE, some of the comments the presenters stood out to me and will help me when I start applying for internships in February. If you are still trying to figure out where to apply to, no worries, I took notes! First, you need to clarify our goals, specifically where do you see yourself in two years and five years. Then, determine which programs will help you get there based on the program’s emphasis. Think about where you want to live once you have become a RDN, and also think about the cost. You don’t want to get matched to a location that you can’t afford and then have to decline the internship position. Once you have found some places you want to apply to, look at their websites. If you still have questions that are not answered on the website, email the DI director, and be specific. Then, if you can, attend the program’s Open House. Once you have attended the Open House, don’t forget to send a thank you!

Another session was discussing Malnutrition in individuals with Eating Disorders. It was very interesting, and probably my favorite session of FNCE. A physician presented three different case studies and explained the interventions for the patients. A dietitian later discussed how to present information to patients who have eating disorders. For instance, instead of saying “calories”, say “energy”, or instead of saying “food” say “fuel”. We know we should do this, yes, but just having that conversation gave me confidence as I pursue to become a Registered Dietitian. It is also important to not stop the nutrition counseling too soon due to the risks of reinjury of the patient. When working with these patients, it is important to realize that they will be displaying stomach pains, and it will hurt. If we can explain to the patient that this is their body’s way of giving them a hug and saying “I love you”, then hopefully this will be received by the patient in a more positive way. The speaker also used a really neat analogy to use with patients. She took two sponges, one was extremely dry and wouldn’t absorb anything, and the other was a typical sponge. The typical sponge was able to absorb more water, and it weighed more but it doesn’t expand. This analogy can be used to help patients with eating disorders.

Our Northwest Arkansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics had their fall seminar this month too. There were eight presentations including the Infant Nutrition Lab at Washington Regional Hospital, GMO Labeling Laws, Alpha Gal Syndrome, Alternative Proteins, Advanced Diabetes, Using a Health Focused Approach in Nutrition Counseling, School Lunches can be Healthy and Delicious, and Perky Pantry. Many of the presentations were very interesting, and I learned so much.

If it sounds like this past month has been jam packed with nutrition it is because it has and I have enjoyed every bit of it. I am going to be honest though, I am ready for a break. Thanksgiving can’t come any faster, and I can’t wait to try out this new recipe my mom shared with me. Both her and my dad said it was very delicious, and I could say it is a healthier cake. It is a Pumpkin Praline Cake, so it has a lot of Vitamin A. Below is the recipe y’all! I hope you try it!

Posted by Alicia Landry at Tuesday, November 7, 2017 | 0 comments

Happy Fall Y'all

Hey y’all! Fall happens to be my favorite season. There is nothing better than cool, crisp air, beautiful leaves, hot tea, scarves, boots, and fuzzy socks. I also enjoy apples with caramel. It is a delicious snack that is semi-healthy. I’ve actually provided one of my favorite caramel apple dips that you can use for any Halloween party or get together this fall.

Speaking of fall, I hope school is going well for you! The first round of exams should be over by now and midterms are coming up. If you are struggling in some of your classes, it’s okay! You got this! You will figure out how you study best for your classes; I’ve always found that I know the information better when I write out my notes after each class. I guess the muscle memory helps me understand the information.

Since a lot of us are going to school to become Registered Dietitians, there is an amazing opportunity for dietetic students to help us further our education. This opportunity is the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE). I am so excited to be attending FNCE this year! If you don’t know what FNCE is, it is where dietitians across the US and from other countries attend a conference to learn about new nutrition information that can be used in the dietetic field. While it may be too late to start planning now to attend this year, you can start planning for next year if you are interested in attending. If you are a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, you will get a discount in comparison if you are not a member. There is a student internship fair where dietetic internship programs provide information, so you can find the program you are interested in and visit the program’s table to get more information. Next year, FNCE will be held in Washington D.C.

Enjoy this recipe while you are studying!

Posted by Alicia Landry at Monday, October 9, 2017 | 0 comments

ArAND Student Liaison

Dietetics is not an easy major. Along with maintaining a high-grade point average, gaining work experience and being involved in volunteer opportunities, we as students have to learn time management and organizational skills just to stay afloat. I am sure that we can all relate to the academic stress and the stress of preparing for our futures, but I am here to tell you that you are not alone.

This year, I am a senior Nutrition and Dietetic student at the University of Arkansas from Nashville, Arkansas. When I am not studying, I am spending my spare time working as a Principles of Foods Lab Teaching Assistant, president of the Student Dietetic Association, Student Liaison of the Northwest Arkansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Student Liaison of the Arkansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I also enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am still wondering how I am successfully surviving college, but I am pretty sure coffee is the answer.

Throughout my college career, I have been asked why I decided to major in dietetics. I grew up in 4-H where my main project was Foods and Nutrition since I was five years old. I was involved in many community projects that related to my main project like helping build the bathroom facility at our Farmer’s Market. I did not figure out that I wanted to major in dietetics until I presented an illustrated talk about eggs. I enjoyed learning about the different nutrients found in eggs and I thought it was neat how research changes over time. When I figured out there was a career where I could help people and work with food, I knew I was in the right spot.

 I, like most dietetic seniors, am preparing for my dietetic internship. To be honest, I am making a Pros and Cons lists for each school that I am interested in pursuing a dietetic internship with. I am studying to take the GRE and trying to organize my resume. I am also taking Advanced Nutrition and Medical Nutrition Therapy, and those are my favorite classes this semester. While they will be difficult, I am up for the challenge.

I mentioned that I am the Student Liaison for the Arkansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I am really excited for this opportunity. A board member, Jessica Bradley, visited our Community Nutrition class to share with us the importance of public policy in the dietetic field. Throughout college, dietetic students are learning about working in a clinical setting. But behind most nutrition policies, there is a politician, and somebody has to convince them of what will be best for our field. I knew I wanted to get involved with dietetics on the state level, and ArAND is great opportunity for that. While I will not be charging Capitol Hill, I will be working with my fellow dietetic students in Arkansas. We are the future of our profession. I encourage you, if you have not already, to become a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. You get access to journal articles and a nutrition magazine. You also get weekly newsletters about recent nutrition information. We are a bunch of food nerds and we should be jumping all over this. These resources, in turn, will help prepare you to become the dietitian you want to be.

~~Lauren

Posted by Alicia Landry at Friday, September 8, 2017 | 0 comments