Let’s talk about what’s ahead.
- April 23- Comps. AKA my masters comprehensive exam, in which I have to answer hella detailed questions about public health, medical nutrition therapy, epidemiology, and biochemistry. If I don’t pass every question, I don’t get my MPH (okay well fine there are make up opportunities but as you’ll see in the following things ahead, I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THAT). I’ve been studying with a group for comps every Friday at 8 am for three hours (which is obviously so, so fun) but I’m scared. There is a LOT of material! And that is FOUR WEEKS FROM TODAY!
- April 29th through May 2nd- Finals. Yes, one week after taking the One Exam To Rule Them All, I then have to take a bunch more exams. Also, May 1st is (Greek) Easter so I’ll basically take two exams on (Greek) Good Friday, hustle home and go to a bunch of church with my family, then after Easter frantically finish my last exam from home (which I’ll submit online May 2nd).
- May 6th- proctoring the exam for the class for which I am a TA. After my time at home, my very very very brief break from school, I have to hustle back to NC and proctor an exam and then work on grading. Actually, I might have to come back even earlier than the 6th to lead a review session for the kiddos, ugh.
- May 7th- THE NEXT DAY- move across the state! To live at the beach! In student housing (which will likely involve sharing a bedroom with someone, dorm style)! Because…
- May 9th- start clinical internship! Yes, after a whopping not even one week to collect my thoughts after comps and finals, I’m starting my full time hospital-based internship, which will be for 12 weeks (through July 29th).
Apparently hospital internships are legit- you’re essentially a full time dietitian without the formal RD yet. I’ll be doing rotations in a variety of departments. There are mandatory rotations that every dietetics student has to complete: liver and gall bladder disease, acid base balance, pulmonary disease, surgery/GI, neurology/rehab, nutrition support/critical care (like prescribing tube feedings and IV feedings), and oncology and HIV/AIDS. The hospital may also include other rotations depending on their specialties (I’m hoping to get a peek into nutrition for pregnant mamas and babies). I’m apprehensive about summer for many reasons- it’s hard work, being on your feet all day and treating people with lots of comorbidities (my classwork until now has been like “Let’s say a patient had diabetes” whereas in the real world it’s more like “Let’s say a patient has diabetes, hyperlipidemia, chronic kidney disease, hypertension, and arthritis”).
My medical nutrition therapy classes (essentially “How to Take Care of People Using Nutrition”, the bread and butter of being a dietitian) seem very long ago. And we also had open book and open note tests, and while the real world is certainly open book and open note, I also don’t want to arrive at the hospital looking like an idiot who doesn’t know anything. So I’m trying to cram some stuff in and build myself a pocket guide of dietitian-y terms, disease states, lab tests, meds, etc.
- June 5th (mid-internship)- Myra and Alex’s wedding. It will be awesomesauce, but it’ll also be a logistical challenge. It’s in Asheville, in the mountains, on the opposite side of the state from which I’ll be living, and on a Sunday. So I’ll have to take a day off. And uh I have no idea how that works with clinicals. Perhaps I’ll offer to work on the 4th of July? Or on a Saturday?
Their wedding will be great. I keep telling myself. It’ll be great. Truthfully I’m apprehensive because my ex will be there and I haven’t seen him over the year and our last (email) interaction was quite unpleasant. And he’ll be there with his new girlf, because he uh… is never single. And right now my tentative date is my friend Colton, my “work wife” who I TA with. A friend date. (He has a boyfriend of his own, hahahaha). So it’ll be fun but it’ll be weird.
Also, Myra and Alex are freaking out about their wedding and seem to spend a ton of time thinking about it. I want to be there as a helpful person (Myra asked if I could be the day-of contact person for the staff at the venue where they’re getting married- apparently this role is traditionally played by a wedding planner or wedding coordinator, but Myra and Alex are skipping that and I’m supposed to do it. Eesh!) But I’m also a little curious to see how it turns out, since people in Wedding Mode are so different than how they are the rest of the time. For example, they sent all the wedding guests a color scheme with a palette in which we are requested to dress x_x Of course, I had no clothing in those color families. But I think I found something today… anyway.
Once I’m done with that I’ll make the trek from the mountains to the beach and dive back into clinicals!
- July 29th- last day of clinicals
- Immediately after July 29th- move! Yeah so Alli and I have hated our apartment’s management company for a long time. I think I have made fairly frequent references to this hatred on the ol’ blog. This year, we decided to bite the bullet and put up with the stress of moving. But our lease is up at the end of July. So we gotta figure something else out! I wonder if we can pull off just car moving since we’ll be staying in the same general vicinity… I know I can fit my desk, dining room chairs, my (disassembled) couch, and my beanbag in my trusty Camry with the huge backseat. I could probably wire the mattress and boxspring to the top. However, the kitchen table would likely present a problem… although I could probably take that apart too… anyway, we’ll see.
- August 13th- Lydia’s wedding. My high school bestie is getting married and I am the maid of honor, huzzah! But she is getting married in Chicago, so I have to hustle out there and figure out accommodations and such. Also, since this is going to be my first break in QUITE some time, as you can see, I am toying with the idea of doing some cool Independent Woman Travel Adventure type thing. Perhaps a road trip. But what is worth seeing between North Carolina and Chicago? Frankly, it doesn’t seem like much.
- August 23rd. – begin my advanced internship… somewhere! Slash also write my master’s paper about… something! I have until December… somethingth… to do these activities! They have yet to announce our graduation date, so I’m not sure exactly what day in December!
Was that a messy couple of sentences? That’s because everything about this time period is SUPER UP IN THE AIR! Let me explain.
In the fall semester, I am supposed to spend 10 weeks (total) doing an advanced internship. The advanced internship can literally be anything in the field of nutrition and public health, as long as my preceptor is a registered dietitian. I am floating around some ideas (and working with one of my professors) to narrow down what I’m doing and where. My current goals are twofold: 1. To build my professional network in North Carolina (since I love it here- aside from the psycho state level politics, on which I’ll comment at some point in time- and want to remain living here), and 2. To build my skills working with mamas and babies, because those are the populations I get really excited about helping.
So ten weeks is obviously not a whole semester. What most people do is start their internship when everyone else in the school starts their first day of class, then finish around Halloween. However, should I need or desire to, I can start my internship earlier (as early as the beginning of August), start it later (as late as 10 weeks before graduation, I guess), or break it up into multiple chunks that total ten weeks.
But if I follow the usual schedule, I’d finish my internship at the end of October and then spend November writing my master’s paper. Which can also be about anything, basically. More freedom, but more uncertainty! Some students have created business plans, some have written grant applications, some have done case studies of patients or patient populations, some have done meta-analysis research papers, some have written cookbooks, etc. etc. While I have some vague ideas about my advanced internship, I have NO IDEA about my master’s paper!
- September 2nd- my cousin’s baby is due! This is the one thing on the list about which I am 100% unreservedly excited and unafraid (well of course I am unafraid, I don’t have to push a human being out of anything).
- December- graduate!
- January- take the RD exam! Get a job! BE A SUCCESSFUL ADULT!
I think sometimes I paint a really rosy picture of my life on this blog. Here’s the truth about where I am in my life right now: freaked out!
This week in particular has been kind of a parade of mood swings. As I write this Saturday night, I’m in a pretty good place mentally. I just fed a cute fat cat whose human is out of town. I’ve been invited to my friend’s house to eat cake and watch the West Wing (uh, DUH I WANT TO DO THAT). My soul sister, Andrea, who’s now off singing opera in New York City, came down for a visit and we had an epic Power Woman Summit at a coffee shop. Talking about our professional goals, how we’re building ourselves up and expanding our emotional intelligence and learning about ourselves and trying to do big important things in the world. I’m like a plant that’s been watered.
But earlier this week, man? I was walking through the halls of campus feeling perpetually on the verge of an anxiety attack. Grinding my teeth. Studying at coffee shops fantasizing about going up and punching the people chatting loudly around their tables because DON’T THEY KNOW COFFEE SHOPS ARE FOR QUIET ACADEMIC WORK?!
And I will confess that while the academic pressures above are (clearly) no laughing matter, I would add that there had been a rosy glow to the earlier part of the semester because I had a crush and I was excited about it… and then earlier this week I was thinking that things with that person were tanking. And the rosy glow I’d been feeling crashed and burned. If you had asked me at the beginning of this week whether things were going to work out with the dude with whom I’ve been hanging out recently, I’d say 97% no. Now I’d say it’s 50-50 even odds (he, uh, was the person whose cute fat cat I was minding).
But I was APPALLED with myself for quite how UPSET I was over my perceived romantic failure. Really really depressed! I recall being much more functional when I split up with my boyfriend of four years! But some of my best lady friends talked me down with wise words. Alli pointed out that this was the first person I’d really gotten excited about since my dramatic breakup, and that meant that my feelings about him represent a lot to me, even though the relationship itself wasn’t serious. Andrea noted that when a long term relationship ends in a tough way (as things did for me and the ex), in many ways you find yourself realizing that you’d been mourning for the relationship’s death while it was still happening, and once it’s officially ended there’s some relief. Whereas when something ends and you’ve been in the fun, exciting early part you’re not relieved! You don’t have a long list of things that annoy you about that person to turn to! You haven’t discovered them yet!
Anyway, I don’t know where it’s going and don’t really want to jinx things on the Internet. While if I were being my most strong Beyonce-like self I would’ve gone “Ugh, screw this! I don’t want to deal with a guy who turns down opportunities to hang out with me! Dudes should be begging me to date them!” I’ve decided that part of beating perfectionism is giving yourself some grace in your interpersonal relationships.
I now have realistic expectations about how things are going with this dude. What I can get (intellectually satisfying conversation, amusing stream of consciousness text messages, the company of his cat) and what I can’t get (he is super antisocial and I likely will not see him terribly frequently, we will not have feelings talks). It’s refreshing for me to be with someone who has his own friends and inner life and isn’t reliant on a female partner for happiness and fulfillment. It’s also nice to be with someone who’s not interested in me doing my thing of psychoanalyzing/trying to be the therapist of the dudes in my life. Also, frankly, for the moment I’m not meeting anyone else and not really on a hunt for a soul mate, so why not spend some time with someone instead of no time with no one? (I know that last bit is a double negative but you know what I mean) (Also, I realize this paragraph has made this sound like a sketchy hookup situation, and it’s not. Chiefly because we are not hooking up!)
I seem to have written more than 2000 words of largely word vomit. The points I was attempting to make with this post are:
- Grad school is no joke.
- My mood has been sort of dramatic lately and I’m thankful for the support I have gotten from female friends.
- Argh, boyyyyyyyyys. Amirite?