DICAS

Weeks 29 – 36: The FINAL 8 in School Nutrition Management

Well, it’s been a long road, but I can finally say with pride rivaled only by exhaustion that I have COMPLETED my dietetic internship!

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School nutrition management was my final rotation, and it was an experience unlike most of the others. Something I enjoyed was getting to work with a team of managers who worked in non-nutrition disciplines. For most of my 8 weeks, I spent time with our Food Service Director, a Manager in Training, our Associate Director, and worked closely with our head chef and catering manager as well. My rotation took place at San Francisco State University.  As I may have explained in previous posts, my internship was completed (love putting that in the PAST TENSE!) through Morrison Chartwells, a subset of Compass Group. Compass Group has a multitude of sectors, which provide food and nutrition services to establishments from hospitals, to schools, to business and industry settings. Morrison is the sector of Compass that serves healthcare establishments, which is where I did my clinical rotations. Chartwells is the sector that serves schools (and Chartwells Higher Ed, to further categorize, serves college campuses). My experience was unique in that I was working with Chartwells Higher Education, which works on college campuses – most other interns in my program were rotating in K-12 Chartwells accounts.

 

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Now that that’s out of the way….

 

My school nutrition rotation taught me a lot about management, and working with a team in which you are often the sole nutrition representative. I did have the opportunity to work with the Regional RD, Laura, who oversees Chartwells Higher Ed accounts. However, this was a long distance relationship, and  Laura did not have a scheduled trip out to SFSU during my time there. She was always available by phone and email, and was a large part of my learning experience in this rotation. Not having an RD present at the site on a daily basis taught me many times over to be proactive and independent.

Chartwells at SFSU incorporates a concept called Balanced Kitchen, which I was so excited to be a part of. Balanced Kitchen focuses on wellness on college campuses. At one point, I conducted an audit to ensure the dining center was meeting the wellness criteria for this concept – and our SF State champs did very well! I remember being a freshman in college, and staying well with healthy foods was such a challenge. It is great to see higher education moving in a direction that promotes the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

 

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Some of the criteria for Balanced Kitchen (aka Balanced U), and what the dining center strives to promote.

 

This was a project-centered rotation. In these 8 weeks, I think I completed upwards of 10 projects – and all of them took some serious time commitment! Some highlights:

 National Nutrition Month Activities:

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Me, beaming in the presence of my food models. Typical.

 

Nutrition Educations:

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Weird shadow on my face… But here I am giving a lesson on eating local and seasonally. My favorite educational tool right now is my local foods wheel. Ask me where you can find one!

 

Participation in Sustainability and Real Food Events:

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IMG_7790 A real local food-focused event!

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Put on a Farmer’s Market

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Enjoyed soo much delicious local produce.

 

Stress Reduction Fair:

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Focused on how to use good nutrition to keep stress in check! So much fun talking to students – and I met someone I’ve communicated with in the blog world! Amazing.

 

and Staff Trainings, and Food Service & Sanitation Audits (not pictured, because not that exciting – bein’ honest, folks).

 

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By the end of my rotation, I had made some strong connections with Compass employees at SF State, and I feel this rotation was the best opportunity to get to know some of the higher-ups who work for corporate! Getting to know some of the big wigs who manage entire regions was not only inspiring, but also allowed me to make an impression, shake some hands, and learn more about Compass as a whole.

 

As this blog is about honesty, I don’t want to leave out how much I struggled to get through this last rotation. With 8 weeks standing between me and RD eligibility, the to do list seemed forever impending. It’s not that the rotation was extremely challenging – I have been SO grateful to be done with clinical, and the stress level was NOT THE SAME here. But I did feel often paralyzed when I looked down at the list of projects to complete, and it even took me a few weeks to get started on some. But as of posting this, my assignments are COMPLETE, and I am awaiting the OK to sign up for my RD board exam (eeek!). This is a good reminder for me that it will all get done if I work toward it, but I have to remember to stay calm, get focused and organized, and just keep moving forward.

 

Well, folks, that wraps it up! Thank you to everyone who continued reading through my experience! I hope I was able to shed some light on the experience of dietetic internships for those of you embarking on this path. If you have questions, or just want to let me know how I’m doing (or how YOU are doing), please drop me a line below, or shoot an email over to thenourishedsoulblog@gmail.com.

 

This may be the end of my 1240+ supervised practice hours, but don’t you worry – there is still plenty of living, studying, and trying not to have panic attacks that I’ll be continuing to write about. Stay tuned, beautiful people! The best is yet to come over here.<3

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REPOST – CALLING ALL DI APPLICANTS: It WILL All Be OK.

And here we are again. One full year + 1 week after the post below, wishing we could just sleep through the next 24 hours, and wake up to the match awaiting us in D&D at 6pm Central time tomorrow. I feel the need to re-post this from last year’s match-weekend, as it STILL APPLIES. Last year, I did not match. And while I used my time wisely this year, the possibility of a repeat experience is there. So here is a reminder for me, for you, for anyone out there who joins me in this wait:

 

**I’d love to hear how all you fellow applicants are taking care of yourselves today and tomorrow to keep from going batty. Please share your tactics in the comments!**

From April 1, 2012 @ 6:27pm:

Anxiously awaiting mid-day tomorrow to learn the results of the dietetic internship match, we applicants are likely in agony. Each of us has been anticipating this day since we clicked “submit” for our final application on February 15. Or, if you are like me, you have been waiting for this day for the last three or so years.

Now is the time for us to truly take in the fact that the results of tomorrow’s match in no way reflect our competencies as future dietitians. We are all qualified, and well-rounded. To have put in the work to apply to DIs shows our dedication and our drive. Of course we are all viable competitors; if we were not, this process would not be nearly as grueling as the past 4+ months have been. The nature of this process is COMPETITIVE. With a 50% acceptance rate (when we’re lucky), we must not forget that sometimes, this path is not ours just yet. The competitive nature of the process itself should make us feel proud to be contenders.

As I have been telling my loved ones who have inquired about the rate at which my nerves are doing cartwheels in my belly/shoulders/brain/duodenum, I know I will become an RD. It is simply a matter of when. Maybe this process will take off like a speeding bullet tomorrow. Or maybe tomorrow will be the start of a longer, but equally fulfilling (perhaps more so) path.

No matter what happens tomorrow when we read our crassly delivered results off of D&D Digital, I think one thing is so important to remember: Match, or no match, we will ALL BE FINE. Some will be matched, many will not, but one thing is certain: WE, as people, are OK, and will continue to be GREAT. Moping, crying, and racing, unpleasant thoughts may occur—allow yourself these thoughts. Accept what becomes your reality, and move on. Don’t give up hope, just know that right now, for whatever reason gives you comfort, you are just meant to be somewhere else.

What will happen will happen, and we will ALL BE FINE. Que sera, sera.