My Ever-Changing Aspirations


By: Nikki Nies

As I mentally cross off the days until my dietetic internship starts, I’m already thinking about what I want to do after it ends.  I just got to IL, yet I want to know what I’m doing afterwards.

That mentality has a double edge sword, however, I’m trying to make the best of the situation and use it as a strength.  I find that writing holds me more accountable for my actions, so I’m attempting to use this blog as a platform for my career goals.

I’ve heard many a times that you learn everything you need to know as a RD in the internship.  I should know more than most that one can’t predict the future, yet, that doesn’t stop me.  As a type A personality, planning comes naturally and is necessary!

So, what do I want to do with my RD? Let me just back track. Where do I originally start?  I’ve always been close to my roots.  As a Chinese American, I see the need for RD in the Asian community.  However, with the barrier of my lack of fluency in the Chinese language deters such aspirations.  One of my lifelong goals is to be fluent in Chinese, but I can’t go back to school and put my nutrition on the back burner.  Nutrition is ever evolving and I don’t think I could juggle both responsibilities.

Next, I was interested in eating disorders.  I’m intrigued with the concept of mind games and the negative impact one’s mentality can have on overall health.  However, I’ve never actually worked with someone with eating disorders.  My goal with this internship is to first figure out if I could handle it as well as see if I want to handle it.

And anyone that knows me knows that I don’t just eat for the necessary nutrients, but I honestly love the act of eating.  Like some find driving calming, I get excited to eat.  A lot of days’ events revolve around my next meal, but don’t worry, I’ve gotten better.  One of the highlights is dining out.  Since, I know many, including myself, do not dine out with healthy eating options at the forefront of one’s mind, I want to help ease one’s worries.  There are some healthier dining options, but I want to make it easier for the more health conscious individuals to depict the choices.

I think to have a better grasp on what foods compliment one another and what flavors work well, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go to culinary school.  I know there’s a lot of self taught books, but the structure and immediate feedback from other professionals is irreplaceable.  It recently came to my attention the program that the Natural Gourmet Institute offers.   Helping those that are vegan or vegetarian is a growing need and interest.  Knowing how to cater to vegan and vegeterian needs better could only benefit my ability as a RD and broaden my exposure to nutritional needs.

Is salad always the better choice when dining out? No. I wouldn’t mind going to culinary school to refine my cooking skills and learning what flavors really work together.

It’s funny how my interests have evolved in the last 2 years and I haven’t even gotten into the nitty gritty of the internship.  I wanted to share my goals to hold myself more accountable and to be able to look back and see where my head was right before one of the biggest turning points in my dietetic career.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?  Career wise and personally?  What are you doing today to get to where you want to be?  Constant reevaluation is a key part of what I do.

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