Let’s face it. Having a passion for nutrition in a world of deep-fried butter and snack cakes, makes you quite the target of scrutiny. As a dietetics student, you experience this scrutiny non-stop from friends and family, so I thought it would be fun to put together a list of “10 Things Every Dietetics Student Hears.” Enjoy, my fellow foodies.
1. “What do you even do with a degree in dietetics/nutrition?”
A better question would be: what can you not do with a degree in dietetics/nutrition? Dietetics is a field of opportunity not only in clinical environments, but in the community (WIC, SNAP, TEFAP, School Nutrition, etc.), food systems & sustainability, food management, and numerous other areas. Actually, contrary to what most believe, you don’t have to have the goal of becoming a registered dietitian to major in nutrition. The heavy emphasis on science and health in the major makes it applicable for medical school and pharmacy. In addition, if the traditional role of a dietitian isn’t your cup of tea (but you still love food), the major is equipped to prepare you for a career in food science (which can include becoming a Flavor Guru at Ben & Jerry’s – no really, check this out).
2. “So you want to become a nutritionist?”
I’ll just leave these definitions here:
nutritionist: not a regulated term – ANYONE can call themselves a nutritionist, including someone who took one 3 credit Introduction to Nutrition course in college. (In other words, it’s a little bit of an insult to someone who has spent the last several years slaving over the citric acid cycle).
registered dietitian: an individual who has achieved at least a bachelor’s degree, completed an intensive 1200 hour internship, passed the national registration examination, and maintains credentials with continuing education (or, in other words, what nutrition majors actually want to become).
Note: Yes, the credential registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) is becoming more popular (and means the same as a registered dietitian, but has added “nutritionist” to the end to help the public eliminate confusion). At the same time, let’s be real…we aren’t spending hours with our biochemistry books to not be properly recognized for our hard work and passion.
3. “What more could you need to know besides eat your vegetables?”
Oh, if only it were that simple…we’d probably be out of jobs.
Tell that one to the hoards of biology and chemistry classes we have to take on top of our nutritional sciences courses. Nutrition is much more than just “eat your vegetables”. Although, we do recommend 3 servings a day! 🙂
4. “Hide the *insert unhealthy food item here*! The food police is here!”
Ah, yes. The immediate alienation upon entering a social event. Believe it or not, we are capable of socializing normally despite a passion for nutrition and health. With that said… pass the cheese dip, please!
5. “Wow, you’re actually going to eat that *insert unhealthy food item here*? I thought you were so health-conscious though?”
Strange as it may be, nutrition majors give in to the same temptations that you do. Moderation is key! Trust me, if you took these classes, you’d need a bit more than kale and spinach to comfort your long nights of biochemistry, too.
6. “You get to take food labs, that’s so awesome.”
Actually, yes. It is super awesome, and we love every second of it. Shout out to Cross-Cultural Cuisines!
7. “*Insert your favorite vegetable here* is not that good.”
Cue me, trying to keep my composure/on the verge of tears, trying to defend kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
8. “Why are you so worried about getting an internship?”
DON’T. EVER. SAY. THIS. TO. A. DIETETICS. STUDENT. Sobbing in the fetal position is likely to result. Let us enjoy one night’s sleep without waking up in fear of completing the application process for programs with a 50% or less acceptance rate.
9. “Do you get paid for your internship?”
Now, drum-roll for the final question…
10. “Can you make me a diet plan?!?”
Let’s make this short and sweet. No.
Did I miss anything? Or is there something you hear often?
Despite all the trials and tribulations of being a dietetics student, it’s so worth it.