On Career Change Part 2: I Am Back in School

Gooood morning!

First of all, thank you to everyone who commented and/or reached out to me yesterday. I really appreciate it– I was nervous to post something so personal and detailed, so thank you.

And now for Part Two. If you missed Part One of my Career Change, you can find it here.

Sooo…. I have decided to go back to school for Nutrition! This has been something I have thought about for years, as I have always had a huge interest in nutrition, even as a kid. Putting the pieces together to make it happen over the last several months was daunting at first, but little by little, I was able to get it together.

If all goes as planned, I am going to become a Registered Dietitian and also get my Masters in Nutrition. I have decided to pursue both degrees because there is so much overlap between the two degrees, and getting my Masters is only about an additional semester. Plus, I figured if I am going to go back to school, I want to be sure to get a Masters Degree.

The process of becoming a Registered Dietitian (R.D.) is a very complicated one. They really do not make it easy, so it took me a lot of time and conversations with people to understand what I had to do and when it all had to be done by. I can write a post with more details on the steps I took to understand the degrees, the field in general, and what I needed to do to make it happen, but here are the basics:

  • I had to take the GRE.  I went ahead and got this out of the way back in April, just about at the time when my thoughts to pursue this started to get serious. Your GRE scores last for up to five years, so I figured I might as well get it done. I took an accelerated Princeton Review class and attended classes one night per week and on the weekends for 5 weeks. I studied a lot, thankfully did well, and was able to put it behind me.
  • I spoke to a lot of people. I set up meetings/calls/emails with people who I knew in the field to understand the various degrees and what was needed for certain jobs after school
  • I researched programs. Without going into a ton of detail, I basically looked for “coordinated” programs where I could get both my RD and Masters degree at the same time. With these two criteria in place, my search was very limited. Only about 15 schools in the whole US fit the bill. I then looked into each one and figured out how they differed, their various requirements, etc. I narrowed down my list and now have 3 or 4 schools that I am interested in applying to for a Fall 2013 start.
  • I figured out which pre-requisite courses I needed to take this year. I was a Finance major in college, so I didn’t take many of the science courses needed to go into Nutrition. Since I am looking at various schools, I need to take about 8 pre-reqs to satisfy all requirements at all possible schools. That means this semester (Fall) and next semester (Spring).
  • I signed up for pre-reqs and started taking them. After a lot of stressful weeks, I was able to get into the pre-reqs that I needed, but because I am a non-matriculated student at these schools, I got last pick. It was a scramble trying to get these classes and I ended up taking 4 classes this fall at 4 different schools (including one online)! I am literally all over the place.

My current classes are:

  1. Anatomy and Physiology with Lab @ Pace University
  2. Intro to Psychology @ NYU
  3. Intro to Nutrition: Facts, Fallacies and Trends @ Columbia University
  4. Organic Chemistry @ Berkeley Online

So that is where I am at! Trekking around the city to three different schools in three different areas, plus teaching myself Organic Chemistry online. I will be applying in December to the various programs and will hopefully hear by March if I got in. Then, I will start the actual program next Fall (2013).

All of this has been a HUGE lifestyle change, and basically a big change in every way, but I am so happy. I’m learning about some really cool stuff (my favorite class so far is definitely Intro to Nutrition… I could sit there and listen all day!), and taking it all in.

People keep asking me what I am going to do with the degrees and truthfully, I don’t know. I have a lot of ideas and could see myself doing a lot of different things. When this is all said and done, it will be over three years from now, and I’m sure that something will come up that I never even thought of. So I am just in it for the ride and trying to follow my heart and figure it out along the way.

I will say that one of my goals in the mean time is to keep developing this little blog. It’s been almost 9 months now that I have been writing. Sometimes weekly, sometimes daily. During the time that I was still working full time, the blog offered me a creative outlet and a way to express myself and connect to others in a world so different from where I was working. Now that my career is aligned with my blog, it may lead to a different direction or focus, but again, I’m not really sure.

And that’s that! I feel incredibly thankful that I have the opportunity to go back to school and be in the position I’m in. I’m trying to enjoy every minute of it and will hopefully make a difference to someone out there someday!

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions at all concerning going back to school for Nutrition or anything that I mentioned. I’d be happy to help!

Thanks again for reading and for all of your support 🙂

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10 thoughts on “On Career Change Part 2: I Am Back in School

  1. I recently found your blog through Twitter. For the last year, I have been considering going back to school for either an MPH in Nutrition or getting the MS in Nutrition with the RD. I’ve been having a hard time deciding since I’m not sure what I actually want to do in the field! I hope you continue to post about your experiences!

    • Hi Brittany! One of my goals is to post a good amount about my experiences going through school because I found it difficult to find good resources while I was trying to figure it all out. Based on the schools I am looking at, some of the Masters degrees are an MPH (alongside RD) while others are Masters in Nutrition or Nutrition Education (also alongside RD). I am leaning toward not an MPH because I wanted more of a focus on specifically nutrition. Feel free to email me at any time to discuss further. Studioeats@gmail.com. Thanks for reading and let me know if I can be of any more help to you!

  2. Good for you Jamie! Funny, I wrote a similar post today that touched upon my own experience a few years back w/ the exact same thing… Completely changing careers and going back to school 🙂 You will make an amazing RD. Best of luck and I look forward to reading more about your experiences!

  3. Jamie, I just saw all your big news today and couldn’t be happier for you! While you were an amazing consultant and I’m sure an even better consulting manager, this was obviously your dream so It is great to see you are pursuing it! Good luck in this next phase of life.

  4. Jamie,
    I have to say I am so proud of you! This takes real strength and courage something many people put off until mid-life,if ever. I applaud you for following your heart, trusting in you and all of the amazing possibilities that await. There will be plenty. As for orgo, you can commiserate with Brian at GW this term…be in touch, he’s taking it in person. Loving what you are doing and your blog…keep us posted! Xo

    • Carol– Thank you so much! This means a lot to me. Ahh.. Brian is doing it now too? I hope he is making it through. I actually took it my freshman year of college since I was pre-med, but one of the schools I’m applying to wants me to take a “refresher”. Ugh! I’m interested to see what Brian thinks of it! Xo.

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