Some of you who know me and follow me on social media know by now I’ve had a change of heart. I am no longer pursuing a career path as a registered dietitian. It was a combination of factors that culminated in that decision. It is quite apropos that I am posting this today on January 6th, as it is the Epiphany. With this change, I am not sure what direction this blog should take, or if I should just deactivate it.
After graduating from community college, I was still excited about becoming a dietitian. On the strength of my grades, I was accepted into a highly regarded dietetics program at University of Tennessee. As a transfer student, I needed to take at least 60 credit hours at UT as a requirement for graduation. I had planned ahead for that and decided I would minor in Business Administration, preparing myself for either advancement into a management role or for opening my own private practice.
This was an exciting time. I was finally taking the courses that mattered for my major. My excitement was supplanted by ennui during my junior year. At the same time, my business coursework was exciting and interesting. I had seriously contemplated changing majors, but ultimately decided to stick with it. This set me up for a spring semester where I turned in my worst academic performance of this second go-around in college.
The reality of becoming a dietitian finally set in. I would have to apply for and be accepted into a dietetic internship. Before starting school, a 1200 hour unpaid internship doesn’t sound so bad. With the looming requirement for a Masters level degree to become an RD, I would need to go to grad school to even be competitive in the job market. The future looked like three miserable years and thousands of dollars in debt.
The other factor that led to my change of heart was the issue of plant-based diets. I think I subconsciously chose nutrition to validate my choices. It didn’t take a monumental effort to find out that vegetarian, including vegan diets, are nutritionally adequate, and even optimal in some cases. Even if I wasn’t already vegan, the evidence is too compelling to ignore. It was like being awed by a magician’s tricks and subsequently finding out how the trick was performed. All the magic was lost.
By the time I confirmed my feelings, it was too late to change majors. There is strong support in the “it’s never too late” camp, but in my individual circumstance, it truly is too late. Surprise, I applied skills I learned in my business courses to come to that conclusion.
Finishing the last year of the nutrition degree would be more cost-effective than changing majors. Changing majors would mean a bachelors in business would require similar money and time as finishing the last year of nutrition and earning an MBA. With my previous work experience and my business coursework, I anticipate a salary comparable to that of an entry level dietitian, but without having to go through the unpaid internship, licensing exam and possibly grad school. I would also have three years of work experience and earned salary in that time.
I plan to enter the job market upon graduation. Summer courses left me no time to study for the GMAT, and there is always the possibility that a future employer would help me pay for my MBA. My combination of education, skills, and experience should be attractive to many potential employers this spring.