Interning? Keep an Open Mind and Positive Outlook

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Starting a dietetic internship is an exciting step toward becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist. Internships provide students a chance to explore the variety of roles RDNs can play in spreading awareness about health and nutrition. Starting my dietetic internship, I had no idea what to expect. I was fairly confident I knew what path I wanted to take, but decided to keep an open mind about all of the opportunities I would face in the coming year.

During orientation, our internship class was encouraged to treat each rotation as a new job interview. Showing excitement, curiosity and initiative was important at each and every place we went. Even if the rotation was not the type of facility I wanted to end up working at, keeping an open mind and approaching the opportunity with the same amount of enthusiasm was crucial. It would have been easy to dismiss a one-week rotation with the mindset that I just needed to “get through it.” Instead I focused on what I could learn from that setting to better prepare me to be a well-rounded RDN — a much more beneficial approach.

Attitude is everything, and having a positive outlook on each new experience was much more enjoyable than just “going through the motions.” I was able to create a positive experience at each rotation because I made the conscious effort to do so. Trying new things, taking on unique challenges and choosing to say “yes” to every opportunity made my internship what it was.

In the end, I chose an entirely different area of dietetics to begin my career than where I thought I would be. I found a passion for dietetics in an area I had originally sworn off, but by keeping an open mind I was able to find my way to where I needed to be. 

Jess Erbst
Jess Erbst is a current dietetic intern at Missouri State University. Excited to begin her dietetics career in the clinical setting, other professional interests include nutritional counseling, intuitive eating and public policy.