My path through nutrition.

by Ashley on April 18, 2012

Hi there! Happy Wednesday! I hope the middle of the week finds you doing well! We have had a wonderful week thus far; a lot of positive thinking going on down here. It must be the weather. ūüėČ What is it about the sunshine that just makes everyone happier?

With just a few weeks left in my second degree, many people have been asking about my road and journey in deciding to return to school to pursue a career as a registered dietitian (RD).  Today I want to share with all of you a little about why I choose to return to school, what my path has looked like since returning and my thoughts and feelings about it all.

PAST:

As most of you know, I graduated in 2009 with a degree in Multimedia Communication with plans to be the next Erin Andrews. I wanted to pursue a career in sideline/sports reporting.  Growing up in and around sports, I thought this would be the perfect job for me.

As I began my news¬†internship at WFTV, Channel 9 in Orlando, I quickly saw the long road ahead if I really wanted to pursue¬†my sports reporting plan.¬†If this is what I truly wanted to do, I was going to have to put in a lot of time in other areas, such as news, to prove myself and work my way to the position everyone wanted. I would have to move to whatever city had an opening for a salary that was hardly survivable. ¬†But at that same time, I knew I didn’t want to work in news. I didn’t want to be the girl telling you our world’s troubles and negativity¬†day in and day out. In our house, we turn off the news. How could I do something for a living that I don’t even support? I couldn’t.

I had always loved nutrition, so the summer before my senior year of college I called my dad on day and told him that I was going to change my major to Nutrition.

“Not so fast, Ashley,” was his response.

“You’ll be done with school in one semester and graduating in two. Why don’t you just go ahead and finish your degree and get out of there.”

He was right; it was too late. ¬†I was so close to being finished and changing my major at that point would have added years to my college experience. On top of that, I wouldn’t have been able to move to Orlando with Dustin right after our wedding. ¬†My dad¬†probably also saw my HOPE scholarship running out soon! ūüėČ

In the middle of my news¬†internship, a light bulb went off and I figured out exactly what I wanted to do. I decided I wanted to be a health reporter. I could combine my Communication¬†degree with my passion for nutrition and easily do this or so I thought. ¬†I went into the station the next day and started asking several questions and my ideas and dreams were quickly shot. One of the stations veterans told me, “they are always medical doctors (MDs) or registered dietitians (RDs),” referring to health reporters.

Well, great. I am neither. Back to square one I went.

Dustin and I had been¬†married less than one year before beginning my news¬†internship and after realizing that news reporting was going to be a path that I would¬†have¬†to take if I wanted to work in this field, I decided it wasn’t worth it. ¬†Dustin had a job that demanded him to be in a certain (assigned) location. Reporting is a job that would demand me to be in a certain (assigned) location. If I wanted to be with my husband, one of us was going to have to pick. At the time, his baseball career was more excelled and promising than my plans to be a¬†sports reporter.

I decided, at least at that time, I would have to pursue something else.

During this time in Orlando while Dustin rehabbed his shoulder, all I did was read, read, read about nutrition.  Though I was always interested in nutrition, it was during this time that I truly fell in love with the field.

Dustin was forced to retire from baseball (due to the shoulder injury) in 2010 and still had a year and a half left in school to complete his degree since he was drafted after only his junior year. I knew that was my opportunity to return to school as well.

If I wanted to be a health reporter or pursue a career in a field I am so passionate about, I decided that I would work toward obtaining a Nutrition and Food Science degree during this time so I could one day become a registered dietitian (RD).

PRESENT:

I will go ahead and say this… my journey toward becoming an RD has not been easy (but nothing worth having is :-)). This degree is SO different from that of any journalism/communication degree. With my first degree, showing up to class, turning in my homework, and studying the night before tests worked. That would never fly for this degree. I spend weeks studying for tests, hours working on projects, and even more hours working on research/community service/volunteering to build my resume in order to have THANKFULLY obtained an internship (to get my registration). Oh yeah, and on top of that, I needed to work a job too. Hello, yoga teacher.

Since there are only internship spots for 50% of the dietetic students, you could imagine, landing one is extremely competitive. Three of my friends (all which gave up their lives for this degree for the past two years, all with GPAs of 3.6 or higher, and more community involvement and research than imaginable), unfortunately didn’t get matched with an internship. We are all still wondering, “WHY?” Sometimes I find myself saying had I known it was this competitive, I might not have even gone back, but yes I would have. ¬†I can’t imagine myself anywhere else.

Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure. — George E Woodberry

FUTURE:
This whole process has been so educational, not only through textbooks but life experiences as well. I have learned so much these past two years than ever imaginable; I am so thankful that I am actually going to be able to “do” what I love for a living. I cannot even fathom the amount that I am about to learn from the Mayo Clinic while completing my internship and look forward to a future of doing exactly what I love.
As Dustin always says,
“If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life.”
That’s my plan for sure!
I have had an incredible support system to help me through this entire process and am eternally grateful for the strength they have given me.
Anyways, that’s my story in a nutshell! I hope you all have a wonderful day pursuing exactly what it is that you love doing.
Good health!


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