The dietetic internship doldrums

It’s about that time.

That time when the novelty has worn off to the point you forget it was ever there.

rain cloud

This internship has been going on for half a year now, in its own unique haphazard way.  I can say with confidence: I’m over it.  Our rotations are short, so not only do we not get a great sense of what it would really be like to work that job (understanding job responsibilities is one thing, understanding the realities of the job is another), we don’t have the opportunity to build strong relationships with our preceptors, and as such our preceptors do not often give us meaningful responsibilities.  I am a person who finds pleasure in two things: 1) accomplishment of significant and difficult tasks 2) close personal relationships.  Needless to say, I am feeling a bit lost right now.

The past few weeks, I’ve been haunted by this lack of direction.  What am I supposed to focus my energy on?  What do I point to to say “Hey, this is what I’ve been spending my time doing!  Isn’t it awesome?”  One thing that makes this harder is when I was in Amherst feeling this way, I always had a few people I could turn to to get a hug and some reassurance from.  Here, with my ornery independence, I haven’t made that connection.  You see, it can’t be just anyone giving me a hug and telling me it’s going to be okay.  It has to be a two way street: I offer my advice, they offer theirs.  There is a sincerity that comes with the two-sided conversation that isn’t present when someone is just trying to pat you on the back. 

So what do I do?  What does any intern do?  What does anyone do who feels no sense of accomplishment?  Here are some things that I’ve been trying to turn to in order to feel a sense of purpose:

Running pick a race and train for it.  Working towards an athletic goal takes up time and mental space, leaving less room for self doubt.

Cleaning there are few things that you can do where a solid hour’s effort gives an obvious result.  Cleaning is one of these things.  Additionally, there is a sense of calm that comes with a tidy house.  I recently heard a tip that making your bed every morning is a great way to reduce stress.  I kind of agree.

Cooking pick out a recipe that you have never tried before.  Preferably something with a new vegetable, spice, or cooking method that will be delicious and nourishing.  Now go to the store and buy everything you need.  Prepare it with care.

Reading learning something is always worth your time.  I am currently reading Eat and Run by Scott Jurek, which a friend lent to me.  Jurek is a an ultramarathoner and vegan, and very cerebral kind of guy, who reads a lot himself about anything of interest including a LOT of philosophy.  I think that is probably a requirement when you’re spending more than three hours out on the roads regularly, and you can tell he has put a lot of thinking into his views on life and the world.  It’s always interesting to me to get the nutrition views of educated people who are not traditionally educated in nutrition (I get a lot of nutrition views from uneducated people).  I’ve been enjoying the read and it has helped me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile.

WHAT NOT TO DO

Mope staying home and feeling sorry for yourself under the guise of “just needing some time” will never help.  When given the choice to either stay or go, always go.

Indulge you had a hard day.  You do not need to get wasted.  You do not need to eat a bag of Zapp’s or a giant bowl of ice cream.  I have tried it, and it doesn’t work.

I know I will be fine.  I know that with all my heart.  But sometimes getting to the end of something like this internship feels like running a 10k in a giant puddle of molasses with flippers on.  Soon, I will be done.  Soon, I will have taken the test.  Soon, I will have a job.  Soon, I won’t have to worry so much about money.  Soon’s just not right now, and I have to be okay with that.

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3 Responses to The dietetic internship doldrums

  1. Emily says:

    I love this post! Honestly, I think I’ve been “over it” since before my internship even started. It’s just another hurdle to overcome in becoming a dietitian! Sure we get a handful of good experiences but I just want that day to come where I can put RD after my name, that’s what we all want in the end!

  2. I have 2 weeks left of my rotations and I can’t wait. I’m ready to start getting paid $20-25/hr instead of $0 an hour for my time. I don’t have a problem with finding a sense of accomplishment, though, because I’m getting my master’s at the same time, so schoolwork keeps me pretty busy and I keep having to write papers and research.

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