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Arthritis Diet and Exercises

Dietetic Internship Application – Personal Statement Part 3

Hi everyone we’re moving on to part three of talking about the personal
statement as a part of your Dietetic internship application in case you
haven’t listened to parts 1 & 2 my name is Arlene Grant Holcomb I’m a recently
retired DPD director from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis
Obispo and I have very strong feelings about the importance of good advising
and diverse advising through the process of the application and so that’s why I’m
recording these short videos to add to any advising that you’re getting from
your DPD director and others that may be helping you along this path so the next
question that the application typically asks is discuss experiences that have
helped prepare you for your career so I put in parenthesis or in quotation marks
there helped prepare if you think about that that can mean a lot of different
things it can mean something like insight
It can actually teach you a transferable or academic skill the academic skills
typically come from things you learn in the classroom and in your labs
transferable skills are things you might learn in a part-time job working in a
retail setting where you’re learning about customer service or about
flexibility or even about management and then the third bullet I put is that it
may help you to develop an appreciation or a sensitivity for something that is
an important part of your preparation to become a Dietetic intern and eventually
a dietitian so I included this picture of these vertical hydroponic gardens
that were actually seen on a foodservice field trip that I took my students on
recently in a local middle school where they have a central kitchen that
prepares food for the district but they also have a cafeteria and though these
Gardens reside in the food production area they are visible from the cafeteria
and so the director gave a really lovely explanation of how having these gardens
and using even though the amounts of fruit or vegetables that come from these
gardens are very small it may become a very important part of the nutrition
education program that she offers to the students in the middle school and so it
was a very unique opportunity for my students to develop an appreciation for
the importance of nutrition education that occurs in schools and how
influencing children in a school is a wonderful way to reach an entire
community so something like that might fit into that category of developing an
appreciation for or a sensitivity for something and I’ll elaborate more on
those as we go along your experiences can be personal experiences they can be
academic experiences they definitely can come from jobs that you’ve had that you
get paid for might have been or might be part-time jobs that you’ve had while a
college student they might also be from full-time experiences or per-diem
experiences that you’ve had as a diet tech a degreed nutritionist or really
anything that you would do after college if you’re taking a year or two to save
money and prepare for a Dietetic internship as you make up your mind
about your future plans and goals experiences to help prepare you also can
come from volunteer opportunities that you’ve had so I’m going to talk a little
bit about each of those as we go along personal experiences again I’ve listed
those that have come to mind and that I’ve had personal experience with with
applicants but there could be obviously more from your own experience you
personally may have an illness a disability or may have had a death
related to an illness or a disease in someone close to you and that brings you
very close to the medical community to larger healthcare systems and those
things prepare you for the challenges that you face when you’re working with
people who are sick if you’ve never worked with people who are sick then
sometimes facing serious illness facing death the possibility of death is very
stressful and very challenging and so having walked through that with someone
close to you is actually a part of your preparation and can be a benefit to you
you might have had your own personal medical challenges and again I mentioned
that in the earlier video when we said those personal medical challenges may
have inspired you to become a dietitian may be a part of your motivation but
they also can teach you things about the healthcare system and about medical
treatment that are also a part of your preparation so keep in mind there can be
two different parts to the same experience
you may have also had experiences with through athletics as a part we can look
at this two different ways also earlier I talked about the influence that a
coach or a team leader or an instructor may have had on you related to their
specific nutrition advice or fitness advice that they’ve given but also as an
athlete you learned a lot about teamwork and about the importance and the
willingness to accept coaching and so you could think about your athletic
experience in that way that also very specifically helps prepare you for the
next level the fact that you’re willing to be coached and that you can work as a
part of a team with everyone contributing their unique strengths so
that’s another possibility the other thing that’s very personal is the idea
of time and or maturity some delay their education you perhaps couldn’t afford to
go to college when you first graduated from high school so you took a job to
work and save money you may have delayed it because you got married and started a
family that will cause a delay in your education sometimes people change
careers they earn a degree or get training in one particular area and then
along the way they discover nutrition and they go back to school to earn those
DPD courses and get ready for Dietetic internship that adds time to the time
that is what we might consider a typical undergrad the student who starts college
at 18 graduates when they’re 22 or 23 and moves on into their professional
next step professionally a military service there is a student in this
picture who served in the military before they came to college that also
adds a very unique type of maturity and time to their journey
but military service also adds a tremendous number of transferable skills
in terms of problem solving critical thinking leadership teamwork and so
again those are definite aspects of preparation that are worth noting and
then of course if you paid your own way going through your education that adds
it takes usually a little longer if you’re paying your own way and meaning
that your parents didn’t have the financial ability to pay your tuition or
pay your living expenses while you were in college and so usually the applicant
who has paid their own way has had to work more and so that also adds a
significant level of time management and financial management to your effort and
definitely worth mentioning and thinking about plus the appreciation that you
have for your education and where you’re going and how you value that is a step
above the student or the applicant who has had mom and dad mom or dad pay their
way through school so don’t forget to give yourself credit for that if that’s
applicable in your particular situation so here’s an example from academics some
of these are very obvious obviously you learn things in the classroom that
prepare you in fact hopefully everything in your DPD courses prepares you you do
case studies you listen to lectures you complete assignments and you may also
see specific examples from the instructors own personal experience that
give you knowledge tools and abilities to help prepare you in addition to
classroom work you may go on field trips I mentioned a field trip at the very
beginning those things can offer certain types of preparation and then there’s
experiential learning at Cal Poly where I taught we call that learn by doing
that’s the model of Education in some schools and in some programs they’ll
call it practicum learning meaning that it’s not something you do in the
classroom while listening to a lecture is something that you get up and out to
do you may go out to deliver a lesson in an education course to a group of senior
citizens or to a group of school children you in my food service courses
we had lots of learn by doing experience when it came to standardizing
recipes and preparing food for large numbers of people
and so those are good examples of again experiences that have helped prepare you
for your career so I’m going to explain the picture because it’s related and yet
not directly related to anything I just mentioned in one of my foodservice
courses the quantity food production course we prepare in the spring a large
lunch for incoming students and their parents we feed about 1,500 students and
their parents through my the work that my students do in class and this
particular year we wanted to make a locally sourced fruit salad and so we
were picking blueberries we had on our campus a blueberry patch and the program
director that was conducting the research on the blueberries said you can
have all you want but you have to pick them yourself and we thought that was a
pretty good deal so I asked for volunteers for students who would like
to come out and get lab credit for picking blueberries so these five ladies
all volunteered and we spent a couple of hours out in the blueberry patch picking
blueberries and they showed us how to pick them and which ones were ripe and
which ones weren’t and it was actually a lot of fun but as we’ve finished and we
were combining all of our blueberries one of the students shared very honestly
that that was the first time that she had ever picked anything it was
first time she had ever picked a piece of fruit off of a tree or a bush
she had never picked a tomato off the vine she had never picked a lemon or an
orange or an apple off of a tree she had never picked anything and in our area of
California it’s pretty common for people to have a backyard garden or to go to
you pick farms and pick strawberries or berries and so that to me was a very
useful and meaningful experience on two sides one the fact that she got a chance
to get in the field and see where her food was coming from but secondly for
the other students it showed them that though they had all picked things before
but that was not an assumption that they could make that everyone they might
encounter new food knew where it came from and so that was an example that one
of those students was able to use much later as they were writing their
personal statement and so it shows again an insight into some of the experiences
that clients and patients students have had when it comes to interacting with
their food paid work experience of course is also a great place to have
experiences that help prepare you for your career and I would imagine all of
you have been advised to have paid work experience either part-time during the
months while you’re in class or maybe more hours during the summer months if
you get a break so paid work experience very useful you could it could be
nutrition or food service related it could be a DTR
after graduation that would actually be considered professional experience but
either way whether you’re working in a hospital a senior nutrition program a
school anything like that as long if there are
dietitians in place that gives you an opportunity to directly observe elements
of Dietetics practice and so that observation also gives you very
practical insight and experience interfacing with registered dietitians
even if you there is not a dietitian in sight even if you work at a Starbucks or
the Gap or a McDonald’s or an in-n-out burger all of those things are customer
service related so customer service is critically important in our profession
you can learn good customer service skills in any retail setting in any
restaurant as a server definitely if you ever have worked as a bartender and
that’s a popular job among our students and some of our students that go on to
internship because it’s a job you can usually work Friday and Saturday nights
and not have to work the rest of the week and usually make enough money on
tips to help keep your books balanced obviously you have to be the appropriate
age in the state where you live and interestingly as a bartender the
students who have done that have been able to speak directly to the legal and
life safety responsibilities that come with that type of the job which again is
a level of responsibility that is above many of the other people that might be
applying and it shows that again demonstrates that level of
responsibility in that applicant the other thing that you learn when you have
paid work experience and you’re a student is you do learn time management
you learn about that balance between work and school responsibilities and
life staying in touch with your family and having time for your friends it also
helps you to learn budgeting and debt management and each and every one of
those things are experiences that actually have professional application
moving forward and so those again you won’t have time to mention all of them
but what you’ll want to do is consider and see which one might have the most
impact as you write your personal statement one or two might have the most
impact in the picture is one of our grads who was working summer at a
diabetes camp here in California and she was doing a I happened to visit the
camp while she was there and popped in while she was doing a lesson and you can
see she’s talking about the plate and what composes the plate of someone with
type 1 diabetes and this was a class for children and she learned a lot about
modifying the level of teaching depending on the age of the child in
every camp session had a different age group and so that was definitely
something she was able to talk about additionally as a volunteer this would
be truly volunteering out of the goodness of your heart not something
that’s required by a class although you may have heard about it through a class
you can definitely learn and have experiences that help prepare you so the
picture here I’m not sure if you can tell from what it is but they are small
divided portion controlled plates that are used in our local senior nutrition
program they are stored in a freezer and they’re used for the home delivered
meals portion of our senior nutrition program we go to this site on a field
trip and many of the students learn about it and the thing they like about
our senior nutrition program for volunteering is that the kitchen manager
says you don’t have to schedule a time to volunteer just show up and we will
put you to work and they students like that flexibility they know they can go
in they know when they start in the morning when they finish in the
afternoon and on a morning or an afternoon when they have time they know
to wear shoes that they’ll be given a hairnet and an apron and all they have
to do is show up and they’ll be put to work and they get some very meaningful
volunteer experiences whether it’s how they use USDA commodity foods to stretch
dollars how they accommodate senior citizens that might be living alone or
might be fed in congregate feeding sites
it’s a again a wonderful way to actually have experiences that are good
preparation volunteer experiences really can fit in any category as well if
they’re directly nutrition related that’s great
you can make clear connections but don’t minimize the importance of the volunteer
you want work you might be doing for a club on your campus or outside of campus
you might be involved in your church with different kinds of volunteer
service that again is contributing to many of the things we’ve already talked
about customer service sensitivity for the needs of different
groups time management communication skills all of those are things that
carry directly into your Dietetic internship and then there are also other
nonprofits that are not directly nutrition related like the Red Cross and
I’m sure there are many in your community so think too about those
opportunities and think about all kinds of experiences and then start adding
those to your list then narrow down to one or two be sure to include something
academic and then maybe one or two other experiences that have helped prepare you
for your career I’ve written an example I will read it out loud to you and
obviously you’ll have this so you can look at it in more detail if you want
the information that’s here if it’s useful but I call this a theory to
practice example it incorporates something that the applicant learned in the
classroom and then somehow where they saw this applied or relevant in an
outside example so this was an example of a group of our students who went to
Malawi which is a landlocked country in Africa where one of our professors was
extensively involved in a research project and she the instructor sent this
photograph back of mealtime at the hospital where they were working and I’m
just gonna read what I’ve written as a possible example again this is not
applicable to everyone but this is what I mean by theory to practice
participating in the project peanut butter research in Malawi taught me so
much about nutrition and food service in classes I learned about my plate and
planning varied and balanced menus prepared and served using safe food
handling principles in Malawi at the Queen’s Hospital the largest hospital in
the country the patients and sometimes their families were served a porridge made from a corn soy blend and only patients on high-protein diets
received meat and only if there was enough the same food was served every
day and there was no heat maintenance equipment or temperature taking I
learned how important it is to be resourceful and prioritized cleanliness
and the use of available foods that’s again my words the actual student
who had this experience probably would have written about it differently but I
was trying to give you an example of how to incorporate a theory which is the
idea of my plate varied menus safe food handling practices those are all
theories with something very practical that she saw and what it meant in that
setting now I’m moving on to the next question and I’m only gonna say a little
bit about this one what are your short and long-term goals this will probably
be the shortest section of your personal statement when you think short-term
think about the time immediately or soon after completing the internship keep in
mind everyone’s short-term goal is to get
into the internship so you don’t necessarily that doesn’t really add
anything significant to your personal statement think about the time
immediately after completion and it might be something like entry-level
practice or begin entry-level practice in an acute care hospital or enter
practice in a community nutrition setting like WIC or something to that
effect long term think five years or more out
into the future if you don’t already have a master’s or you are not applying
to a combined program I urge you to include in your long term goals an mph
or an MS in the topic of your choice some other examples might be that I’ve
seen from applicants in the past a long-term goal is to complete a
pediatric residency and practice in a pediatric oncology center another goal
might be to become an international board certified lactation consultant or
IBCLC and open a private practice another example might be to become a
certified diabetes educator you might also have things like become
fluent in Spanish or become fluent in another language that would be important
in the region where you hope to practice and so I think that’s about as much as I
can say about short and long term goals it does not need to be very long and
keep in mind this this is not a contract so if your plans change after you
graduate they’re not going to chase you down and
say wait you said you were gonna get an mph and now you’re getting an MS don’t
worry about that you still want to be truthful have it be an honest realistic
goal but if after you complete your internship your goals change and
oftentimes they do that’s okay this is really the internship director is trying
to see what your thinking is like so continue to reflect on the things
I’ve just shared with you at this point still don’t worry about the word count
keep brainstorming if you like more structures start drafting an outline
otherwise it can just be bullet points and phrases you’ll be able to trim
refine and edit later and most importantly just get started in the next
video I’ll cover the last two questions and I’ll repeat again a little bit more
about this idea of theory to practice there’s nowhere in the application that
this is requested but I’ve learned over the years as DPD director and from
talking to program directors that when an applicant is able to make a practical
application related to something that they’ve learned in class program
directors like that they’d like to see that you’re not just good in the
classroom and taking exams and completing assignments but that you can
actually make those transfers of knowledge do that critical thinking
where you take a knowledge or a skill that you’ve learned in class and you
actually can use it when you’re faced with a new situation out in the field so
keep that in mind and thank you so much and I’ll get back to you with the last
video on this section very soon

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