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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Murray State chapter.

I know everyone thinks their major is by far the best, but hear me out, because mine is pretty awesome! These skills that I’m learning as a dietetics major cover a huge variety of disciplines from food science to medical nutrition therapy. Plus, I’m gaining skills that I use everyday and that are much needed in our society. With nutrition being so prevalent in social media, having scientific knowledge allows me to filter through the nonsense and listen to the facts. Oh yeah, and I’m basically in culinary school, okay…maybe not that cool, but my classes sure do feel like it!

Cooking Classes

Since we have to recommend meals for people, we have to know a fair bit about cooking. In one class, we pick a recipe and have to come up with a healthy substitution, test the recipe, then present it to a panel in a blind taste test. In another class, we practice being a food manager by planning an entire meal (which is way easier said than done!) I have nicknamed this class “play restaurant” because basically I’m living my childhood dream of being a waitress and chef! In another class, you get to see how different cooking processes or ingredient additions affect foods. This class is fun when you get to try 10 different kinds of muffins, but not so fun when you have to taste and describe 10 kinds of weirdly cooked fish or cabbage! Nonetheless, I’ll take it over advanced calculus.

Image courtesy of Katie Smith

Skills I Use Daily

We all eat, right? The skills that I learn in class can be so easily applied to my everyday activities and meals. I have gotten pretty good at calorie estimation which has been a really fun and useful skill to learn. I also like to try and guess or memorize the nutrition facts or ingredients in foods that I frequently eat because I look at the nutrition label on pretty much everything. It is also fun for me to answer common questions from my friends like, “Is this healthy” or “I just started this diet. What do you know about it?” Since nutrition is so prevalent in the media today, I enjoy explaining nutrition myths and backing up misconceptions with straight up facts. Plus, this has made me more aware of food safety knowledge as well as baking which is perfect for someone that loves watching Food Network as much as I do.

Clinical Knowledge

One thing that I did not realize when coming into this major is the amount of medical terminology and medical procedures that I would become familiar with. Obviously, we do not get as much training as pre-med majors, but it is still ample enough to spark my interest. This has been incredibly interesting and compelling to learn about. I love talking with friends or family and actually understanding the science behind whatever procedure someone is having and how their nutrition status may have played a role in that. People in America are just starting to realize the direct effects that diet has on long term health, and I think it is very beneficial to be aware of this relationship.

Interactive Classes

Like I described in my cooking classes, we aren’t just at a desk learning about food science and the way food reacts to certain cooking methods, but we get to actually see, smell and taste it. We also are putting our clinical skills directly into practice by doing nutrition-focused physical exams on one another. This is a process that uses physical characteristics to alert the physician of potential nutrient deficiencies. We had mock patients come in, and we got to perform this test on them. Another fun interactive class is called Community Nutrition. We get to go out into the community, volunteer at a food pantry, and visit the community garden in our small town. These activities further affirm my love for this major and keep me awake rather than my other classes where I’m just sitting at a desk.

Image courtesy of Monstruo Estudio

So basically, my college curriculum is a mash-up of Chopped, Grey’s Anatomy and Restaurant Impossible. The diversity keeps the coursework interesting and keeps me on my toes. Plus, the free lunch isn’t too bad either, unless it’s cabbage with baking soda…then I think I’ll pass.

Sarah is a senior Dietetics major. She loves to be involved and keep busy, so you will probably see her drinking an iced coffee. She also enjoys binging HGTv and Food Network.