My first article that I wrote for the Her Campus chapter at UW-Stout talked about the benefits of moving away for college and why I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Now looking back on my time here I have found so much to be thankful for. One of the many reasons that UW-Stout has proven to be a good home for me is the dietetics program.
To all of you incoming freshman and new students, and the students currently in the dietetics program at UW-Stout, know that all the hard work you put in is totally worth it! As a dietetics major there are many rigorous courses that we must go through, such as organic chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, advanced nutrition, food science and many more.
Below are some tips on how I have found success in passing even the hardest of classes as well as all the other aspects that I needed to complete to graduate:
- ASK FOR HELP! I’ll admit, I’m never good at this but when you need help with an assignment or whatever it is, the only way to get to the other side is to ask for the help you need. I frequented the organic chemistry tutor labs and office hours of many professors like for advanced nutrition or medical nutritional therapy (MNT).
- Make friends. My pool of dietetics friends has grown immensely over the past four years to practically the whole student body of dietetics students. You will have each other’s backs, form study groups to work on assignments (like case studies in MNT or creating your menu for menu planning class), or simply to complain to each other.
- If you are interested in a minor, start it as soon as you can in your undergraduate career. I decided to minor in Spanish a little late (my junior year) and it has proven a little more difficult to get all the requirements completed. Look into your placement scores early on if you are interested in minoring in a language too. Find help in the foreign language center in the bottom of Harvey hall where the language lab is and travel abroad!
- Start your field experience early, and if at first you don’t succeed in contacting a willing location to complete your hours at, try and try again until you do.
- Don’t feel like you’ve failed if you’ve passed a really hard class with a C but gave it your all. Since, after all, you didn’t actually fail, you got a C.
- Be willing to take constructive criticism well. This can really be the difference in a positive job reference or the outcome of a field experience project.
- In relation to the previous tip, treat every opportunity and field experience preceptor with respect and have interest in everything you do since they will likely be someone you contact later for a reference and they will be so useful in networking.
- Find a healthy balance between a social and academic life. This means don’t go out and drink every night and get wasted since you probably have three case studies and two tests due that week, but also don’t lock yourself in your room (like I did my freshman year) and plan to be two weeks ahead of the schedule since you’ll go insane. Have a few nights that you plan to relax or go out, a few nights of hard work on homework, and take time to care for yourself mentally and physically (including a balanced diet, adequate sleep and exercise).
- Have a job and a hobby! I have been told countless times, once by a field experience preceptor, that having a job really showcases that you have time management skills and if it is a dietary aide or food service position then it can contribute to your experience or education. It’s also important to get involved on campus, once again more experience and time management. There are a plethora of student organizations on campus like Her Campus for interested writers from any major, Stout Student Dietetic Association (SSDA), Academic Honor Society, Slow Foods regarding more natural and earth-friendly foods, and also intramurals, club sports, collegiate team sports on campus, and many more opportunities. I am currently a part of the tennis team, SSDA, Her Campus, and have been on many intermural teams over the years.
- Lastly, have confidence that you are better, smarter, and more capable of contributing to the dietetics society than you think. I even still struggle with this, and it’s natural.