To say the dietetic internship application and matching process is intimidating is without a doubt an understatement. While in it, it was difficult not to analyze every little piece of the process, imagining (and believing), how one small mistake might remove me from contention.
Does my personal statement tell my story in a way that demonstrates not only my strengths, but also reveal those elements that separate me from other applicants?
Does my resume showcase my varied experiences and skillset without appearing like an uninteresting timeline of dates and places?
Do my choices of references represent me in the way intended? Do they believe in my potential?
It can all feel emotionally overwhelming.
Then, if all goes accordingly… a match. And, in that moment a celebration is deserved because although it’s just the beginning, it is an accomplishment. Pause, breathe, and fully commit to the program that lies ahead. Chances are a Plan B and Plan C existed (or should exist) in the occurrence that a match didn’t happen. But now, it’s time to let those other plans go.
Now is the time for personal logistics to be addressed to ensure successful completion of each rotation. You may want to ask yourself the following:
Do I own closed toe, non-slip, professional style shoes?
Do I own a sufficient variety of professional attire (suitable for diverse rotations)?
Do I have access to dependable transportation?
Do I have access to a reliable laptop? How can I best organize the incoming files and projects for each rotation?
Do I have a calculator? Am I familiar enough with its functions to work through common equations expected on a Nutrition Care Form?
Do I have access to a physical or electronic Academic School Year Planner that provides monthly, daily, and weekly views to help me organize my responsibilities?
Do I have a notepad/notebook, binder, folder and/or USB memory stick to keep it all together?
Most likely, a to-do list from your program will follow your acceptance letter. Vaccinations, paperwork, and background checks will quickly be a new normal before the internship start date. If matching was not during the last semester of classes, this is a good time to review coursework materials, especially if study guides and case studies have been assigned. This is the time to prepare in a way that enables comfortable entry into any program, and any rotation within a program. And, this is probably the time to remind yourself to:
Be prepared for a frequently changing schedule.
Be ready to meet new people and be “on” most of the time.
Be open to unfamiliar (and potentially uncomfortable) situations and settings.
Be yourself and try to enjoy the experience.
Danielle Anderson M.Ed., NDTR
2020 - 2021 Internship Cohort
Maricopa County Department of Public Health