Hope everyone had a great long weekend! I started my Monday with 7.5 easy miles around Central Park, where I had plenty of time to think about one of my projects for the day: writing about why I want to be a registered dietitian.
One of the components of my dietetic internship application is the “personal statement.” Why do I want to be in the dietetics program? What do I want to do when I’m an RD? What are my strengths, weaknesses, blah, blah blah.
It seems easy enough to write, but I am having a hell of a time gathering my thoughts into 1,000 words that not only make sense, but scream “PICK ME!” to program directors. I’ve been through drafts and drafts that I’m just not happy with, that just seem like a muddle of words and ideas that aren’t really inspired.
Then I came across this article in the New York Times (I was reading the Sunday paper on a Monday – don’t judge), about the executive chef and kitchen staff at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center who go out of their way to create special meals for pediatric cancer patients with specific dietary needs. Nutrition is so important for cancer patients to help keep their strength through the treatment process, and it’s especially hard for them to get the nutrients they need when their specific dietary restrictions (low microbial diets, low sodium, low sugar, etc.) result in unappetizing foods. Kids are a whole different ballgame – not only are they going through tough treatments, but they can be very picky about what they eat.
What gets me about this story is that the executive chef, kitchen staff and registered dietitian in charge of pediatrics take so much time to meet with each patient and their families, learn about the foods they like, and tailor their meals to not only fit the specific dietary criteria necessary, but into foods they will actually eat.
Because food is more than just food – it evokes emotions, makes people happy, brings people together and should be celebrated.
What they do makes all the difference – both in the daily quality of life for their tiny patients and in their long-term recovery. Now, I realize that most hospitals and cancer centers probably don’t have the funds to do what Memorial Sloan Kettering is doing (although the reduced food waste makes up for increased food cost, according to the article), but maybe all they need is one dietitian or chef to think differently.
And that’s why I want to be a dietitian – not to help Upper East Side housewives lose five non-existant pounds or become the next Joy Bauer – but to bring new ideas, explore nutritional research/benefits and actually help people that need it through something I love – food!
With dietetics, we hold in our hands the tools to heal, greatly improve lifestyle and overall well being, prevent disease and enhance physical strength. And that’s pretty freakin’ awesome, if you ask me. And I can’t wait to get started (so PICK ME, program directors!!).
Good thing pizza-making is NOT part of the selection criteria, because that I’ve failed miserably at this weekend.
Although I partially blame faulty Whole Foods pizza crust.
It looked delicious going into the oven and coming out (I even used fresh mozzarella!)…
See? Melty and delicious
But stuck to the tinfoil. Wrestling ensued…
Ah well. You win some, you lose some. (It was still quite tasty!)
Question: Have you written a “personal statement” recently? Why do you do what you’re doing (or what you want to be doing)?