After months of researching programs and endless cycles of writing and editing your personal statement, scrambling to send transcripts — plus all of the other stress-inducing preliminary requirements needed for a dietetic internship — match-day finally arrives.
You log on to check your results at the exact moment it becomes available. Stressed could not be more of an understatement. But then you see it — your match. And just about every positive emotion possible goes through your body as you and thousands of other students across the country let out a collective sigh of relief.
For a second, it seemed as if matching was the final step to become a registered dietitian nutritionist. But then reality sets in and you realize you still have at least 1,200 hours of rigorous supervised practice (plus an exam) still standing between you and your dream career.
If you’re anything like me, no matter how good of a student you are, the anxiety begins to creep in:
- “Am I prepared enough for this?”
- “Did I learn enough in my program?”
- “Where’s my MNT book?”
As someone who is currently wrapping up his own internship experience, I’d like to share some thoughts to help ease your pre-internship jitters:
- Your preceptors are there to help you grow into a competent dietitian, not to bring you down or call you out for what you don’t know. You’ll make mistakes, but that’s OK. Even the most knowledgeable and veteran dietitians were once in your shoes and still forget things from time to time.
- You were likely chosen for your internship because you are teachable, not because you already know everything.
- Every day is a learning experience. I was initially terrified of clinical rotations because I felt I did not know enough, but every day I learn and grow my skill set.
- You likely know more than you think. Maybe you can’t recite parenteral nutrition calculations off the top of your head, or say how many ounces a #16 scoop holds, but before your rotation you will have time to review and discuss.
Take a deep breath — you got this! It’s a learning experience for a reason. Congratulations on the match and best of luck, RD-2-Be!