Today we have a special edition of My First Year Out. If you have been following along for a while, you’ll remember we checked in with your 2016 classmate Kristen Smith back in December.
Describe your first year out of UVM.
My first year out of UVM has been busy, busy, busy! The week after I graduated and moved back home, I went on vacation with my family to Jackson Hole, WY and Yellowstone National Park. That was an incredible trip and I feel so blessed to have experienced such natural beauty.
It was so different moving back home for good this time, instead of just for a few months during college. I do miss my friends, my rugby team, and the beauty of Vermont.
Shortly after that trip, I started working. I had one job lined up before I moved back working at a local hospital as a Nutrition Services Aide and I also started working as a waitress in early June. I worked those two jobs simultaneously for about two months, working about 50-60 hours a week.
The hospital job wasn’t what I expected it to be and it didn’t relate to my Dietetics, Nutrition, and Food Science Degree, so I resigned in August. However, in July I received an opportunity to work at a brand new local winery that would open in August owned by a former internship supervisor and her husband. My role at the winery is to give tastings, but I’ve also been able to help with the production process of several of the wines, getting Food Science experience.
My life got even more busy in October when I was offered a position at Lehigh University as a Nutrition Assistant to the Registered Dietitian on campus. Carrie, my boss also happens to be the winery owner and my former internship supervisor… oh how networking is important!
So now I am currently working three part time jobs, still at 50-60 hours a week, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge would be juggling three work schedules and having very little free time for much of anything. Sunday is my only day off, so I try to either recover from the work week, or finally get time to spend with my family, boyfriend and friends.
My second biggest challenge was going through heartbreak last April when I wasn’t “matched” for a dietetic internship–the next step I need to complete before I can become a real person in the nutrition field, a Registered Dietitian. Part of the reason I’m working so hard and so much since graduation is to get more experience in the nutrition field.
I recently went through the internship application process for a second time, and had three interviews in March. This coming Sunday, April 2 is when I find out if I get a “match” this year. I felt a lot more confident in myself this time around than last year, so I’m optimistic!
What did you learn from this experience?
What I learned from this experience is that hard work and dedication can make yourself that much better than you ever thought you could be. I may be exhausted most of the week, but I’ve gained so much experience in the work world that I know I’ll be able to base my real life career off of.
The skills and quality of nutrition knowledge I’ve learned at Lehigh are exactly what I needed to be a better candidate for the internship I will hopefully be completing this coming school year.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to yourself as you prepared to graduate from UVM?
I would have told myself to enjoy it as much as I can (even though I think I did), and take advantage of everything wonderful there is to do in Burlington and the surrounding area.
There were a lot of restaurants I never tried, as well as local beers, and outdoor activities. I wish I skied more last year, PA winters and mountains are nothing in comparison to VT. I barely went hiking, which is something that I wanted to do so badly, but rarely had the time.
I would have wanted to get more involved in the other clubs and get more nutrition experience and/or research done while in school, as well as networked more with some of my professors.
Another thing I would have told myself would have been to expect the unexpected. Things you plan won’t always go that way, which is hard for me to accept, since I’m a perfectionist.
When I was rejected by the internships I applied to, my “life plan” for the next year was shattered. I made a new plan to work as much as I could and get nutrition experience, and look where I am now.
Becoming an adult has certainly been a learning experience, but you’ve got to start small in order to get big!
What are you doing now and what are you looking to do next?
The most important thing I am looking forward to next is to get matched to an internship, hopefully my top choice at Cedar Crest College, and start that in late July until April. After completion, I’ll be able to sit for the registration exam, and upon passing, become a Registered Dietitian!
I’m also hoping to start Grad School either this year or next to get my Master’s in Nutrition. Until then, I’ll still be working my three jobs, but maybe cut back on some hours to give myself some more time to breathe and relax in the summer.