I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was eleven years old. At that age I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. The first years of living with diabetes I was in denial. I neglected testing my glucose and I ate whatever I wanted. When I would visit my dietitian and diabetes educator I would lie about my eating habits. I wished I didn’t have diabetes and would often live like I didn’t. After a doctor visit in which I found my A1c was elevated and I had microalbumin in my urine, I started to realize I was only hurting myself when I was neglecting my diabetes. I began to tell the truth at my dietitian appointments and at that point I fell in love with the career. I saw how big of a difference my dietitian made in my life and decided that is what I would like to spend my life doing for others.
After graduating high school I embarked on my journey to becoming a Registered Dietitian. In order to receive the RD certification you must first complete a Master’s degree in Nutritional Science. The requirement used to be a Bachelor’s Degree, but it has now changed to a Master’s Degree. Next you have to complete a dietetic internship through Diatetic Internship Centralized Application Service (DICAS), which is usually about one year long. There are various schools that provide internship opportunities with varying tuition fees and requirements. You must complete the applications and interviews before the deadline. I found that volunteering, being a part of CDN, and having a high GPA helped me match with an internship program. During the internship I was able to follow preceptors in clinical, outpatient, and food service settings to gain experience. Many internship programs require you to complete tests, quizzes, and projects. After completing all of my rotations I was eligible to take the Registered Dietitian Exam through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I used the Inman Review and Visual Veggies to study for the exam. I studied for three months, six hours per day prior to the exam. Most people study for one to four months for the exam. The RD Exam is pass or fail and the results are given to you right after you finish the exam. If you fail you can take the exam again, but you must wait forty-five days before you can take the exam again. I passed on my first try thanks to all that studying! I was able to land my first job at one of the hospitals I was an intern at, so it is very important to always be on time and professional during your internship you never know where it may take you.
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