Don’t lose your mind
There will be plenty of times during the dietetic internship that will bring your stress level to a brain hemorrhaging 10/10. Transitioning from learning the theoretical concepts of medical nutrition therapy in a classroom to using this knowledge in a real world setting can bring about self-doubt and apprehension. I remember days where I would aimlessly stare at my rotation schedule wondering how I was going to get through them. Thoughts such as, “what if these patients know more about nutrition than I do and what if I fail this rotation because I remember so little from MNT” crept its way into my mind. In these moments of stress, it’s important to not overreact. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you were chosen to be in this internship for a reason. Just complete each task at hand out to the best of your ability, learn from your preceptors, and don’t let stress take away from your dietetic internship experience.
Manage your money
Most dietetic internships will required to work at least 32-40 hours a week for THE FREE. On top of that, you still will have to pay for housing, food, transportation, school supplies, uniforms, etc. So you’ll definitely be financially strapped the entirety of the internship. In some cases, it may be possible for you to pick up a part-time job to incur some income. For example, when I was a dietetic intern, I worked part-time on the weekends in the electronics department at Walmart. Even though didn’t have anything to do with nutrition and it didn’t pay much, it allowed me to have some spending money.
Do not burn bridges with your preceptors.
There wouldn’t be dietetic internships without preceptors. Preceptors volunteer their time to provide mentorship and training to guide you into becoming a competent dietitian. The majority of your preceptors will be extremely helpful, but just like people who you interact with one a daily basis, there’s going some bad ones who may come off as overly demanding or seem like that they don’t want you around. If you run across a bad preceptor, just remember that rotations aren’t that long. Just do what they say, complete all your assignments, and wear a fake smile on your face. Sometime you have to fake it to make it lol. But most preceptors are understanding and will assist you in any way that you need.
Make time for yourself
As stated early, the internship can feel overwhelming at times. It is important to take time away from nutrition so can focus on other things that you enjoy. Too much of one thing is never good, even if it’s something you’re passionate about. Other things besides nutrition you can do include exercising, reading, drawing, writing, playing videos games, or watching a movie. You may only have time to do these things in the mornings, the evenings or on the weekends, but whatever time you can find use it to relax and unwind.
You’ve come a long way to make it to this point. It’s important to be grateful and soak in every experience you have in the internship. Remember that there are a lot of people who didn’t get the opportunity to get this opportunity and wish they were in your position. Just remember that this is only a temporary stepping stone to your path to becoming a dietitian and it will be over in a heartbeat.