Things I’ve learned from a semester of dietetics

No one will understand what you are going through

Friends and family who aren’t in your course will have a hard time grasping just how demanding dietetics is. They’ll wave your stress off and get impatient or annoyed at your constant absence from family gatherings. They’ll wish that you’ll stop complaining about how busy you are or wish that you’ll stop ruminating on that teaching clinic that didn’t go well.

Ignore them. Truly this is the best advice for this situation.

Make sure you regularly set aside time with your classmates to debrief because they are the only ones who are going to understand the stress and the struggles you are facing.

If you’re lucky like me, you’ll have an amazingly patient partner who will always take the time to check that you are okay and genuinely listen to your stresses. Thank them every day; it literally makes all the difference. Just one person on the outside who is willing to listen can be the difference between a good day and a bad day.

You will doubt yourself constantly

Maybe even on a weekly basis.

You’ll wonder if you have what it takes to be a dietitian. You’ll look on the discussion boards and worry that everyone is so much smarter than you. You’ll walk out of teaching clinics feeling deflated. You’ll sit in lectures and feel so bamboozled by all the information they are chucking at you. You’ll submit an assignment and be so sure that you did it wrong and that you failed.

You’ll dread getting that assignment back…

Then you’ll get it back and realize that you don’t suck. You’ll listen to the feedback you get from teaching clinics and realize that its not all bad and that you can do this. What you’re learning will begin to make sense and you’ll walk into your exam feeling prepared and walk out feeling victorious.

You will get there. You will probably experience set backs, but you will get there.

Make friends but be prepared to work with everyone in your course

After the first semester your cohort is split into two groups, and if you happen to be like me, all of your friends will be in the other group. Of course you will have your close friends but it’s important to be friendly with everyone because you never know who you might go on placement with.

Don’t make enemies

Regardless of what you think of the people in your course, they all have valuable and unique contributions to make, especially in group situations and there are many instances where you’ll be asked to work in groups.

Honor these differences. Learn to separate what you think of people personally and what they bring to the table professionally- just because you clash with someone doesn’t mean they don’t have good ideas.

If you find that there are people you don’t like or who are difficult to get along with, don’t advertise this and try not make it known to the other person. As I’ve already said you never know who you’ll go on placement with and you’re going to have a miserable time if you don’t learn to get along with them.


This is not undergrad. Lectures are not recorded, and no class is compulsory. But, you will face a number of assessment tasks that you must pass in order to continue on to placement.

Now that my year has passed these assessments I have noticed something- the people who did not come to class failed.

If you fail the first semester, you do not get to continue the course. You can come back next year and repeat the subject but this is a waste of your time and money (this subject only runs during semester one and costs about $6000)

You still have time for the things that matter

This is an important one. Yes, you are busy and yes, there is always more work to be done but there is still time for you to do things that are important to you.

You still have time to go to the gym during the week and to catch up with friends. The difference between now and undergrad is that there will always be work to do so you have to MAKE time to do other things- even if this means abandoning the books before you’re finished to go for a walk. It might also mean getting up early to exercise or seeing more of your friends on weekends.

Remember that you matter too. Don’t feel obligated to cram every spare minute full of activities so you don’t miss out or to please other people who you haven’t seen in a while. So block out time for that bath or movie, you will thank yourself for it!


4 thoughts on “Things I’ve learned from a semester of dietetics

  1. Elyshia says:

    You have put into words some of the things I have been feeling lately. I am studying Nutritional Therapy at my local community college and the program is only a year long so there is a lot of material crammed into each class session since often we are studying several topics per month. Your post is a great reminder for me when I get stressed and overwhelmed that I am not the only one! Thanks!


    • Courtney says:

      Thanks for the lovely comment!I don’t think I’d be alone in saying that when you do feel so stressed out you feel like a bit of an island because, at least on the surface, everyone else seems to have all their stuff together. But it’s always good to be reminded that you are never alone 🙂

      Good luck with the rest of your course!


  2. Mel See says:

    Just read this again for the 2nd time and I find your post so helpful. I have been accepted into Deakin Dietetics 2016 and I look forward to more advice you could pass one. Cheers!


    • Courtney says:

      Congratulations Mel!! I’m so happy for you 🙂
      I’m also glad that this article was useful for you. In terms of what other advice I can pass on, the topics are endless! So if you have specific questions you can private message me on Facebook or head over to the “contact” page (on the top blue menu bar) and send me a message with all your questions. I’m more than happy to answer any and all questions that you have as I remember how nervous I was before I started.

      I look forward to meeting you in the New Year 🙂


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