Happy hump day friends! I am officially more than half way through my second week of my second year of grad school. So far to be honest we haven’t learned much of anything major in class but I’ve already learned so much. I know it sounds weird but bear with me here. A lot of graduate school is really just figuring out what you think and finding your voice. Yes, you gain LOTS of tools to bring with you to your rotations or to the RD exam but I think more than anything you get you decide what area of nutrition really moves you.
(My incredibly talented friend Rebecca took some photos of me last week and I am in awe of them! )
I think you guys can tell already that my passion lies in helping people get back to having a healthy relationship with food. I also have a huge passion for teaching basic nutrition and preventative nutrition as well and I see myself in both of these nutrition places at the same time which is cool.
This Monday I walked into one of my classes that rubbed me in all the wrong ways. I wouldn’t even say it rubbed, I would say it almost punched me in the gut. Since unfollowing a majority of the instagram influencers who promote restrictive food practices, #cleaneating, cleanses, detoxes, pseudo dieting or a weight centered life I have been enveloped in this sort of intuitive eating and HAES (health at every size) bubble. This summer I attended 3 online seminars on mindful eating, intuitive eating, and body image to continue my education on the subjects too. If I was an RD I would have gotten contenting education credits but I’m just doing it to get out there and learn what RDs are doing and what research is saying! Monday thought? Yeah, that bubble was popped VERY quickly. I didn’t even realize how happy I was to be in the happy social media place I was in until I wasn’t in that place anymore.
(My little Dani came back to LA for a week and I got to have dinner, drinks, ice cream, AND coffee with her. We crammed a lot into a few hours and I loved every second. Dani is one of those friend blessings that reminds me what a good friend looks like. She is encouraging, humble, faith-filled, and shares my love for pretty restaurants and GOOD coffee. Refreshing to be with her for sure!)
The examples used to describe behavior change in class just so happened to all be centered around weight loss, something I never want to focus on in my future practice. Many of the behavior change examples featured restriction, full elimination of “bad” foods from the diet, and the notion of willpower to reach meaningful change in health. I listened to this knowing full well that health can be improved and achieved through a non-diet, non weight-shaming approach.
I almost broke out in tears in class, I’m not going to lie to you. Laugh or judge me all you want but those were my emotions and I labeled them as anger, frustration, and worthlessness. I felt angry that my (very smart and awesome) professor was using examples that I hated. I felt frustrated that when I tried to speak up about IE and HAES research on behavior change that my words weren’t being internalized and were rather almost laughed at because I was a student. I felt worthless because there I sat, a little student with such passion but no way of getting it out with words nice enough to “wow” the professor or to change her examples.
I had to take a few hours to cool off to realize that this could be one of the biggest learning experiences of my grad school career.
Here’s what I came up with:
I have to respect that there indeed are other ways than my way. I have to respect that being a teacher means that you don’t have to please the people you have to teach the people. Being a teacher means teaching information in the way you know how. I should know this as a teacher myself but I wasn’t thinking that at the time. I have to learn that I can use the things I decide to keep from lectures and discard the rest. My eduction is up to me.
Simply put, I have to be okay with not being the only voice in the room. That last sentence makes me sound conceded but I don’t mean it in that way. I am proud to speak up and contribute to class discussions and I’m one of the few students that participate often, so I was just taken aback when my contributions weren’t “correct” so to speak.
I got fired up for a reason and I respect that in myself but I also need to not let my emotions cloud my learning process. This stuff is going to be on the RD exam for crying out loud- FOCUS CONNIE.
I’m proud to have passion. I don’t see passion that often (or if its there people are realllly good at hiding it) even with other students at school and sometimes I feel a little weird for feeling things with intensity and expressing them but I think that just comes with the territory of being a highly emotional person. In the long run I know I’ll be able to help my clients label and work through their emotions and I’m excited to do that.
For the rest of the life of Connie right now its honestly just all a big confusing mess. I’m still unsure of what classes I’m going to (I only know the times and have to ask my friends the name of the class like 5 times a day), I have commitments around every corner, and I’m sort of just living the happiest I can right now! I have felt an overwhelming sense of happiness since coming home from vacation and I’m loving it. I’m going to try and keep that up as long as I can!
I hope that little rant/update got you up to speed with what I’m learning and how grad school looks through my eyes!