It was the summer after my college freshman year. I welcomed my first opportunity to live independently for a month. I happily initiated a diet full of fast food, which I craved the most. At first, I thought my life was perfect. However, this seemingly comfortable diet made me feel thirsty and drowsy all the time. As soon as I switched back to a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, I felt fresh and energetic again. This experience taught me a great lesson about the important role that food can play in one’s health. From there, I became interested in diet and nutrition.
As a nutrition student, I learned that the field of nutrition and dietetics is not just about making a healthy meal. Instead, it touches from the clinical front line, to the isolated food deserts, as well as the competitive legislation ground. I was amazed by the power and potential that dietitians possess when it comes to changing people’s lives. Encouraged by good examples from role models, I aced through my college courses, and later organized my own dietetic internship in San Diego, California. Through various rotations, I realized that counseling at bedside is not the full solution to relieving nutrition-related diseases. Clinical care, public health prevention, and policy changes must come together to bring out the best result. From here, I felt motivated to build my professional skills in a variety of areas to stay compatible with this diverse and exciting field.
In the past year, I worked as a clinical dietitian in Amarillo, Texas. Although I mainly practiced in the acute care setting for adult patients, I wanted to become a well-rounded professional and therefore took on other responsibilities whenever possible. When arguments took place between nursing and the kitchen due to confusing diet orders, I smoothed out the conflicts using management techniques. When staffing shortage occurred at work, I volunteered to take on outpatient tasks, which enabled me to practice public speaking by teaching diabetes management classes and allowed me to sharpen my counseling skills via one-on-one sessions with children who were struggling to attain a normal weight. I gained a tremendous amount of growth professionally and personally during this process, yet something was missing. There were always times when I wished my speech was more inspiring, when I wanted to comprehend a research paper better, and when I longed for a deeper understanding about a disease so that I can explain it to my patients in a more concise way. I need knowledge that can bring me up to a higher level.
That is where I developed my motivation towards graduate school. I see graduate school as a great place to gain new knowledge and upgrade my skills. By doing my own research, I aim to learn more about some of the topics that I am very interested in, such as nutrient metabolism and the pathophysiology of nutrition-related diseases. At the same time, I want to enhance my skills in critical thinking, professional communication, leadership, and networking. In the long run, I hope to utilize these valuable skills to help more people from both the individual and the population level. Additionally, as a form of gratitude and a way to give back to the community that nurtured me, I plan to teach at the college level and inspire more young people to spread positive impact to further grounds.