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!