If you’re a dietetics student, there’s no better time to take advantage of this rich opportunity to learn and explore beyond the classroom. Whether you’re enrolled in a traditional or distance-learning program, chances are you’ll have access to people and resources you may not otherwise. Here are some tips to enhance your student experience in the field of nutrition and dietetics.
Identify Mentors you Respect
Although researchers and professors are busy, many find time to mentor students in their goals and interests. Office hours are an invaluable opportunity to ask questions one-on-one and gain a deeper understanding of the topics you’re interested in. If you’re keen on learning more about a subfield of nutrition or beyond, identify an expert that you respect and reach out to them professionally. You may be surprised at how many people are willing to spend time helping a student.
Seek Guidance and Ask Questions
When you’re a student, people and organizations may be more likely to offer guidance or support. Whether you are working on a project that requires qualitative data or have specific questions, don’t be afraid to reach out to individuals outside academia for informational interviews. This also applies to organizations you may be interested in working for down the road. Always remember to introduce yourself professionally and have clear questions in mind!
Focus on Your Career Development
It’s never too early to strategize your career goals! Most universities house career development offices that exist exclusively to facilitate your transition into the professional world. Services can range from workshops on how to prepare for an interview to how to draft a resume and write a quality cover letter. Keep an eye out for emails about job fairs or professional panels.
Seek Opportunities to Learn Outside the Classroom
Many schools offer seminars and workshops that are free or discounted to students. Whether it be a private writing clinic or a seminar about diversity and inclusion, you’re sure to gain valuable knowledge to add to your toolbox. Check your school’s events calendar to see what’s happening on campus. During my student life, I often attended events hosted by student organizations that deepened my understanding of entrepreneurship, design thinking and social sensitivity.
Consider Interdisciplinary Opportunities
Whatever your interests are, there’s no better time to explore them through elective coursework. During graduate school, I had access to a multitude of classes in and outside my department that enhanced and diversified my learning. For example, an exercise physiology class in the school of kinesiology supplemented my nutrition coursework, while a yoga class in the dance department facilitated tactile learning. I even had the opportunity to take a nutrition communications class that allowed me to plan and execute a podcast.
As you navigate your path as a student, I encourage you to use these tips to enhance self-guided learning and exploration. You may just find your new passion!