Happy Thursday my friends! I hope you are having a wonderful week. Today I’m doing something a little different on the blog. It’s time to get personal. Today’s post is about my journey in becoming a registered dietitian. So pull up a seat, grab some popcorn and get ready for story time.
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away- no, I’m kidding. Fairytales are for little girls and this story is far from a fairy tale. This story is about hard work and getting past disappointment and failure. Do I have you intrigued? Lets jump right in.
For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a dentist. It was kind of weird that from young age I envisioned myself cleaning people’s teeth and getting up-in- their personal space. What can I say? I was an odd child. The desire to become a dentist only grew stronger with age. When it was time to graduate high school, I chose a small, private college in order to get the best education possible. So, I packed up my bags and went to Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. The first year I excelled in my academics and by my sophomore year I was accepted into a competitive dental summer program in Louisville, Kentucky. In this program I became even more passionate about dentistry. I left the program feeling empowered and eager to continue my journey in becoming a dentist.
Feeling Like a Failure
Well, God had other plans for me. My junior year of college my science courses became increasingly difficult, and I started having a really hard time keeping up. I would study for hours for some classes and couldn’t seem to get anything better than a C. I remember countless nights crying because I didn’t understand how someone could work SO hard and still manage to do poorly on exams. That year I also realized I suffered from severe testing anxiety. It was so bad that my nose would bleed during exams! Little did I know, this would be a struggle I would face for the rest of my academic career.
I graduated college with a good GPA and needed to take one more class before taking the much dreaded- Dental Admissions Test (DAT). I finished everything out and took the exam. I did okay on it- right smack average. But, I didn’t let it get me down and I applied anyway.
Rejection. Rejection. Rejection. There is nothing quite like it. I was heartbroken and incredibly disappointed. I was also confused and didn’t understand why God would open so many doors just to let them close in my face. But, this is a huge lesson I learned the hard way- no matter how hard you work, no matter how much time and money you pour into something- if it’s not God’s plan for you, it will.not.happen.
So, with a broken heart, I moved in with my Mom and got a nanny position. Although the families I met in this chapter of my life are now “family” to me, it just wasn’t what I was destined to do. So, as the stubborn person that I am, I studied harder than ever to take the DAT one last time. I improved by only TWO points. I took that as my sign, threw my hands in the air and yelled – OK I GET IT! I humbled myself and asked God- What do you want me to do with my life??
A New Game Plan: Registered Dietitian
You will probably think I’m lying to you when I tell you this next part- but one morning I woke up and ZING! The idea of becoming a nutritionist popped into my head. Until this point in my life, I had never EVER heard the term nutritionist or registered dietitian. It’s only logical to acknowledge that God put this idea in my heart. I remember calling my Dad right away and asking him what he thought about this newfound knowledge. My Dad, who is a physician, loved the idea and told me about the a huge demand for dietitians. I did some research and signed up for a Nutrition 101 class.
During all this I was going through a break up with my college boyfriend of five years. On top of everything else, can you imagine? I couldn’t catch a break! I decided I needed to get out of town and start a new life somewhere. That’s when I decided that I would move to one of my favorite cities, Atlanta.
Everything happened really fast and in a matter of 2 weeks I was packing up Henry and Heidi and starting a new adventure. I didn’t know a single person in Atlanta, but found a wonderful roommate on Craigslist and a job as a receptionist at a pediatric office.
In the meantime I finished my online nutrition course and absolutely fell in love with it. So I decided I should get my Master’s in nutrition and prayed that everything else would just work out. I applied to various programs and waited patiently to hear back.
We Meet Again Rejection
Rejection. Rejection. Rejection. This time it was a lot more difficult to stay positive. How could every school reject me? This was a tough one to swallow but I stepped back and reevaluated the situation.
I’ll save the story of how I met my husband for another time- but during my time in Atlanta I met my precious Andrew. He was incredibly supportive from the start and kept me motivated. During our first year of dating I decided I needed to take a huge risk and move back to Florida to re-take a few of the science courses I didn’t do so well in during college. This is another example of God’s plan coming to play- everything just happened to work out for this to happen. My roommates found another roommate to fill my spot, my work was supportive and I was accepted into the school in Florida. I put all my belongings (except Henry and Heidi) into storage and headed back home. Keep in mind, this was not a guaranteed deal. I was doing this to better myself but it didn’t necessarily mean I would get into graduate school. I remember reading this quote by Martin Luther King Jr. during this time
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
I took it as a sign and took the scary step of putting my future in Gods hands. Andrew and I did long distance and saw each other when we could. I poured myself into my studies and finished with a 4.0 and re-applied to graduate school.
Hard Work Pays Off
FINALLY, no rejection. I was accepted into Georgia State University’s Clinical Nutrition program, which is one of the best in the nation. From there everything just fell into place. I still had some obstacles, like I didn’t get into their coordinated program – a highly competitive program where you get your Masters and internship done at the same time. I also didn’t get my first choice for my internship. But nevertheless, I embraced these obstacles and kept my head up.
God’s plan for me was not to become a dentist, but rather to help others through food. I am very excited to announce that I am finally a registered dietitian. To God be all the glory my friends!
If you are going through a hard time right now and feel confused to what to do with your life- hang in there my friend! The best advice I can give you is to pray about it, do some research on some possible alternative careers and most importantly, surround yourself with people that believe in you. And NEVER ever consider yourself a failure. Failure does not mean you didn’t achieve your dreams. Picking yourself up and trying something new is the opposite of failure. Hard work never goes unrewarded. It’s okay to cry and get angry but when you’re done with that- pick yourself up, clean up the mascara, and keep moving forward.
Ps- A huge thanks to my sweet and supportive friend Kelly Fox for editing this blog post! Thank you for always being my cheerleader!