Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Little Push

It was a little over a year ago that all of us hopeful nutrition students handed in our application packages in hopes of earning that prestigious position for a dietetic internship with the university. As the fates would allow, I was denied a position which left me rethinking everything I thought I wanted to do with my life. My confidence, self-esteem and ego took a major blow during that time and I was grateful to accept a job out in BC for the summer which allowed me to make some good money for the following school year. I needed to get away from PEI and away from the constant reminder that I had failed so miserably at something that was so incredibly important to me. But I still had an important decision to make as to where to go from here. Try for another internship or find a new life path?

To become a dietitian, all students need to obtain a bachelor's degree in nutrition and they must do a 10 month(ish) internship. I did not get the internship provided through the university so my other option is to go for a graduate internship in which I apply through the Dietitians of Canada. The thing with graduate internships is that they are harder to get. There are many many places in Canada that have programs for students, but they only take a select few. For example, the one in Calgary takes one, ONE! student. Whereas there are ones in Ontario which take up to 16 your chances of getting in are a little better if you apply to those one. Another glitch is that some places only want certain kinds of students in their program. For example, the one up in the Yukon prefers Aboriginal students and the one in Newfoundland prefers Newfoundland students. ANOTHER glitch in the system is that each student can to apply to 3, and only 3, programs in the entire country. Plus there is that only 50% of those who apply get a placement. Overall, not great odds.

I was on the fence for a long time trying to decide whether or not to put myself through this rigorous system again. Another disappointment would be very hard to take...but what other options do I have? I suppose I could build a time machine and go back in time to last January and not screw up so badly in the first place. That would be convenient. Realistic? Not so much. But, after some heart felt emails to some choice friends and family from back home, I decided to put myself out there again and see if anyone wants me this time around.

So I've been spending the past two months organizing my time and paper work in hopes of having all of my affairs in order to get the application packages out in time. Trying to coordinate good references, transcripts and exceptional personal letters and resumes is not how I wanted to spend my time, but looking at the big picture is the whole idea here. I'm waiting on one reference to finish her paperwork for me, then I'm all done and can send them away. I'm finding myself emotionally pulling away from the whole process because I don't want to set myself up for disappointment again and I'm getting nervous that this reference won't finish in time! Either way, it's hard to be optimistic all of the time when success rate for all of this blood, sweat and tears is only 50%.

But today was a good day. It didn't start out very well at all, but the end result made it good. I had a rough day at school doing grueling research that nearly made me tear my hair out (which would be ok because I really need a haircut). And I had to pay for tuition which always sucks because your bank account dips so low with the mere click of a button. Plus I had to do some last minute running around which took far longer than expected. Then when I went to buy some pretty paper, envelopes and things for resumes and other important documents, I ended up having to spend WAY more money on the materials than I expected. By the time I got home, I was done. Just mentally done.

Then I checked my UPEI email and saw a letter from a professor. The subject line merely said, "left field question" which I found intriguing. I opened it and read a short and simple email asking if I was applying for a graduate internship. She also said that she hoped that I was because I would make a phenomenal dietitian (her words, not mine) and hoped that last years student internship results didn't stop me from doing it. My eyes started to well up after I read this because not only is this woman the smartest professor I have probably ever met, but she's someone I think very highly of and these words gave me a much needed push of confidence and hope for myself.

If we could only sometimes see ourselves as others see us, maybe we'd think better of ourselves from time to time.

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