It’s over. I am now a Registered Dietitian! Leaving the testing center (I had to drive to Lansing…what’s up with that? I was really surprised Ann Arbor didn’t have a testing center), I had such incredible feelings of happiness and relief. The last three years have been a blur; it felt like I was always prioritizing, then re-prioritizing, whatever was most urgent. The past year, especially, feels like a compressed memory. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s excited to be done; I was unfortunately absent or distracted during a lot of gatherings. Was it worth it? Definitely. Would I do it all over again? That is questionable.
I should asterisk all this by saying that I am, first of all, immensely grateful that I was even able to pursue my M.P.H. And R.D. while doing my Ph.D. Deciding to do the R.D. was something I had thought about, but wasn’t sure how I would have been able to work it into my trajectory. My advisor has been amazing; understanding and supportive, she even sent me a ‘good luck’ email prior to my exam. I think it’s a great reflection on my department that they encourage and support their students to pursue interests that engage other aspects of their research interests and develop them as an individual. In public health, we are not locked into one specific area or expertise and being able to expand our skills and knowledge (such as becoming an RD and gaining insight into the translational aspect of research) only enhances our capabilities.
About the R.D. exam itself, I was probably way more nervous or prepared than I needed to be. It doesn’t help that your dietetic internship program has a 100% pass rate on the first try. All of us were really stressed going into the exam because none of us wanted to be the one person to screw up the percentage.
It’s hard to believe that it’s all over; all those classes, the time spent on the dietetic internship (and biking to Domino’s Farms…I’m glad that’s over), the studying, all of it. It’s a bit of a shock and I’m glad I had the long weekend to kind of wind down and digest it. Now, it’s back to work except, now, I’ll be “just” a Ph.D. student and will be able to concentrate on my research!