So you’ve read my Grocery Guides post and when your at Hy-vee, Dillons, Sprouts, Whole Foods or Save-A-Lot you’re getting into your rhythm and really working on creating vegetable centered meals. However, you’re a young professional/grad student/cooking for a family or just sick of spending a ridiculous amount of money on groceries, plus Aldi is the closest store to you, BUT the vegetables are in the far back corner and you have to walk through all the snacks to get there.
For all the reasons listed above, outside of cooking for a family, I do most of my shopping at Aldi. When you first enter Aldi, you have to walk though the chips, crackers, cookies, cereal, and granola bars before you get to anything else. The first thing we need to do, which we should do regardless of the store you shop at, is really think about why walking through this area first stresses you out, then work towards addressing these feelings in small steps.
If your are trying to stick to a strict grocery budget, despite it being something that is not a strength of mine, go ahead and skip that section and come back later. I know that can be a challenge if your store is super busy, so if you don’t think that’s an option then pick up what you think you’ll need and feel free to drop it off later in the store after you’ve gotten the essentials. If Aldi etiquette is something you’re very attached to, you’ll have to ask yourself what’s more important; being judge in Aldi or your budget? Overtime, you’ll know exactly what you can get for your budget, and you’ll be back to being a respectable shopper.
Maybe you just don’t know what you’re going to need until you figure out what other foods you want to bring home, if only we had infinite pantry space. My advice is to stop over thinking. Pay attention to how often you normally eat snack foods and how many times you’re wishing you had more or had to back to the store. I almost always buy crackers, the Triscuit style are my favorite, but because they don’t go bad, I would air on the over stocked side, and who really cares if you have to leave a couple of boxes out on the counter until the space opens up? If you’re having a party, you can always stash them in a closet for the night. This goes for cereal and granola bars as well. Again, it’s a process and it takes time.
A lot of people may feel out of control at the store because they don’t want to by foods they see as unhealthy. Start by asking yourself what is causing the stress and anxiety at the store, then work towards addressing these feelings in small steps. Like, if you’re worried about buying “junk” food when it’s not on your list, put it on the list! If you plan to buy it, you set yourself up for success rather than failure. Small wins like this will create larger victories and you can then work towards a place where Oreo’s may not be on the list, but they sound delicious, so you can buy them, eat them, and move on with your life, because you won’t be compelled by foods you have labeled as forbidden. If we can let go of this notion that we may be out of control with these foods, and instead focus on showing ourselves grace when we do buy them by allowing ourselves to enjoy without guilt, then you take away the power of the forbidden food.
Regardless of if you’re budgeting, worried about a lack of pantry space, or concerned about the type of food you’re bringing home. I want you to feel comfortable around food in any setting. Grocery shopping can be a situation where you may feel like you don’t have the control of the price or confidence to bring home the foods you want to enjoy and nourish your body with. The process takes time and starts with grace. Just relax, no one is grading you on your ability to grocery shop except maybe yourself! If you throw out all you’re preconceptions on how you shop and the kinds of foods you “should” eat, over time you’ll be confident and efficient in any grocery store.
Your future is here, you just have to pass the RD exam first.
It may feel daunting, but don’t let the exam get the better of you. The exam is pass fail so the worst thing that can happen is that you’ll fail. That probably doesn’t sound reassuring to our high strung, wired for perfection, Type A, RD brains, but there are so many successful RDs that have failed and it hasn’t hurt them one bit. Like most things in life, it’s not worth the anxiety, but because our entire education has primed us for perfection, let’s talk about ways to not fail!
1. C O N F I D E N C E
I have no data to back this up, but I would say that anxiety about the RD exam is the biggest reason for poor performance. Truthfully, I didn’t study much for the exam outside of what I needed to do for our internship exit exam, but I a few things that I think were instrumental to my success. First, I retook a CDR sample exam the night before my test date. I had taken this same test at the beginning of the summer when I started studying, when I retook it about a month later (I didn’t remember any answers), I had improved which really boost my confidence. The kicker here is that despite the better score, I still missed some questions that I had gotten right the first time! The second thing, which I attribute most of my success to, is that I just kept telling myself that after the exam, I would be an RD. “Tomorrow, I’ll be an RD.” “In two hours, I’ll be an RD.” Focus on the positives.
2. S T U D Y M A T E R I A L S
There are so many different study materials out there. I mainly used VisualVeggies software that we used to take our exit exams in my internship. I tried to use RD in a flash flash cards and the Inman Review (very popular), but I really struggled to get through it and I felt like I was behind because I couldn’t get out of the first domain. Other people love the Inman, I think it’s a great resource because it outlines everything from your last 4 years of school, but I didn’t really know how to use it to my advantage, until I got to the questions. I also took a few CDR practice exams so I could get used to the style of question that would be asked.
3. S T U D Y T H E W A Y Y O U S T U D Y
Set a date and study like you would for any other exam. We take exams all the time. Even though there is a little more at stake with the RD exam, there’s a reason you’ve been successful in all of your other classes. Studying in a familiar way will boost your confidence and help you feel calm and prepared. I found that setting a date, and making that final in my head (with 48 hours notice, you can change dates), I was motivated to dedicate time to studying. In class, you don’t get to decide when you have tests, so make it a priority and try and schedule it during a week where you don’t have a lot else going on, then keep it that way!
The last 4 to 6 years of course work and you internship have prepared you more than anything for this exam. You have the knowledge and skills to pass. It’s just like seeing patients, some recommendation are based on research, others are based on past experience. Utilize everything in your tool box and you’ll be successful.
These food deserts contain 13.5 million people with low access to sources of healthful food. The majority of this population—82 percent—live in urban areas.
It’s been a long week. Preparing to start your dietetic internship (DI) means hours on hours of orientations. However, we did get a break for community service. At the University of Kansas Medical Center they have a Community Service Day during orientation every year. So I spent my Thursday morning pulling weeds and hoeing rows in an urban garden in a Kansas City suburb.
This garden addresses a serious problem that can be found in both rural and urban communities across the United States, the Food Desert. Food Deserts are areas where access to food of any kind, especially produce, is severely limited. In some foods deserts, access to a grocery store may not be the issue, but many times it is impossible to by fresh food because the produce is either spoiled or not in stock as was often the case in the rural community I was living in Western Kansas. In Kansas City, I have a problem that I have never encountered before; needing to drive at least 20 minutes to a supermarket that carries a variety of food for a reasonable price. Don’t get me wrong, downtown Kansas City does have a few options, however, one of the markets which is mainly produce closes at 4:30 pm, and the other is too expensive to regularly shop at without blowing my entire food budget out of the water. Despite the inconvenient distances for me, I also have to think about those who do not have a vehicle to travel in, or the means to pay for both gas and groceries.
After living in D.C. over the summer, where most people walk or use public transport to get around because it’s impossible to find parking, my eyes were opened a little wider to this issue. I lucked out because I lived caddy corner to a supermarket that was fairly well stocked but you could only buy what you could carry home. This was fine for me, because I was living on my own, but I can’t imagine how this would work if I were shopping for an entire family.
Rich or poor food deserts effect a large number of people and community gardens are a great way to help a variety of people. Not only do they ease the burden of inconvenience but they can help reduce the cost to the consumer. Imagine cooking dinner and realizing that the produce you thought you had is now spoiled, or you weren’t thinking about picking up fruit or vegetables at the store and are just now realizing your mistake, you could just stroll down the street and grab a few zucchini’s or tomatoes from the community garden instead of forgoing the produce all together. Additionally, you could take one or two items at a time and come back as often as you need to prevent food from spoiling in your fridge.
I will say that increasing access to produce alone may not have a large impact on the community as a whole, but if it will make the difference in the lives of a few that’s another drop in the bucket to influencing the many. The main point is that it’s preposterous to think that people can take control of health by improving their diet when the underlying issues is that they don’t have access to food in the first place. Moreover, community gardens aren’t the end all be all to eradicating food deserts, but until we have larger players in place, like this proposed legislation by Virginia Senator Mark Warner, creating these gardens across our country, and raising awareness on what they offer is a small step that we can put in place today.
W H A T I S A N R DN ?
A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) is a nutrition expert who has studied nutrition extensively and is up-to-date on nutrition trends and research, allowing them to provide you with evidenced-based nutrition knowledge. Not only do they learn about nutrition but how people from all walks of life can live a healthy lifestyle. In doing so, they are trained to understand how food affects the body, and how to help you overcome any barriers that might be keeping you from living the healthy life you want. RD's want to work with you to find the solutions you have been looking for to stay healthy whether you are on a budget, have a busy schedule, or simply don't know where to start. An RD helps you address these barriers and any others you may be facing that keep you from living a healthy life.
W H E R E D O R DN ’ S W O R K ?
RD’s can be found in a variety of different settings that fall under three categories: clinical, management, and community. RDN’s in clinical settings work predominately with inpatients and outpatients with medical issues that require special diets. However, clinical RDN’s also see people looking to lose weight or looking for guidance on a healthier lifestyle. Management RDN’s can usually be found in foodservice settings, making sure the people that they serve are receiving the food they need with the highest quality possible. RDN’s in management are not limited solely to foodservice, but they can also be found running hospital departments and several other food-related organizations. In a community setting, you can find RDN’s working with a variety of different people promoting healthy lifestyles, providing nutrition education to at-risk populations as well as anyone else who would like nutrition information. Community RDN’s may also be found putting together weight-loss programs and working one-on-one with clients to meet their nutrition needs. An RDN could work in one or all of these settings at any time.
W H A T ’ S T H E D I F F E R E N C E B E T W E E N A N R D A N D A N U T R I T I O N I S T ?
The difference between an RDN and a nutritionist is knowing what you are getting. With an RDN you know you are getting an educated professional who has taken board exams and answers to a credentialing agency whose goal is to protect the public. You can be assured that you are working with someone who will do research on different dietary approaches and will create a nutrition plan based on your wants and needs. Additionally, if you have a medical condition, you know you will get the appropriate care from someone who understands that nutrition can be life threatening in these situations. None of this can be guaranteed with a nutritionist. Furthermore, all RD’s are nutritionist but not all nutritionists are RDN’s. The Registered Dietitian (RD) credential is equivalent to the RDN credential; additionally, many RDN’s go by the title nutritionist because it is a familiar term to most people. Even if they go by nutritionist, all dietitians will list their credentials as either RDN or RD.
Now that you know a little more about RDN's, I hope you will be inclined to seek their guidance for your nutrition needs. This way you won't have to spend hours online trying to work your way through the dietary fads wondering what will work. You'll have an expert at your fingertips with your best interests in mind.
Why get involved in your campus Student Dietetic Association?
There are so many benefits to being a member of your campus Student Dietetic Association (SDA). Not only is it good to put on your resume and show your passion for dietetics but it can also help you explore your interests with a supportive group. So I’m going to break down my top 5 reasons to get involved in SDA.
1 . N E T W O R K
First and foremost, SDA is an opportunity to network with your professors, peers, and other professionals. In the SDA chapter at K-State, we had a variety of speakers come for multiple different avenues of the dietetics field, opening the door for students to interact with other dietitians and find additional opportunities, such as shadowing or work experience. It’s also a great way to interact with the academic sponsors, giving both of you a chance to get to know each other outside of class. This will be very beneficial down the road when your looking for academic letters of recommendation. Networking with your peers can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of SDA. It give to a chance to socialize outside of the classroom and get to know each other and you dietetic interests. After all, they are the future of the dietetics profession, and I’m sure more than a few of them will be doing some spectacular things so you might as well connect now.
2 . E X P L O R E
As I have already mentioned, take advantage of the speakers who come to the meetings and other activities you might do. This is one of the easiest ways to explore different fields of dietetics with absolutely no effort to you. From private practice dietitians to eating disorder dietitians, I was able to get some insight on different areas of dietetics to see what areas I may want to pursue and what additional skills I may need to be successful in those areas.
3 . L E A D E R S H I P O P P O R T U N I T I E S
In some of my other posts I talk about the importance of leadership. Lucky for you, SDA has several officer positions you can run for. Although I never held a position in SDA, I think those who did really helped themselves out. Some positions take more effort than others but there is a position for everyone where you can best utilize your skills.
4 . R E S U M E B U I L D E R
Of course you can put SDA on your resume to show you pursued an extracurricular but what did it mean to you? If you really want to utilize the space SDA takes up on your resume make sure you made the most of the experience. If someone asks you what you did in SDA you’ll want to be able to talk about the events and how they have impacted you. Additionally, if your are applying to a specific internship or even a job and a speaker or activity from SDA relates you can give it it’s own space.
5 . F U N
My last reason for encouraging you to join SDA is because it’s fun. Dietetics curriculum is tough and we are held to a very high standard, so use SDA to hangout and relax with people who get it. You can talk about your loathing for Dr. Oz and fad diets with people who understand where you’re coming from. Never pass up an opportunity for fun that also helps propel you in your career.
Something else I want to mention here is that you can also apply to be your SDA chapter’s liaison to the Academy. It’s supposed to be a phenomenal experience that will open many doors. You serve as the connection between the students at your school and those who are active in the profession.
I totally understand that there are things you might prioritize higher than SDA, like work and studying, but take some time to utilize an opportunity that will help you understand the practice of dietetics a little bit more. It’s worth it.
With the national acceptance rate to dietetic internships at fifty percent it can be daunting trying to figure out what will set you apart from the dozens of others applying. As we go through programs people always ask what they need to do to secure an internship and there is no right answer, but this post covers many things I did and other things I find important. If you use my suggestions talk to a mentor to be sure it matches up with your goals. My approach looks at opening yourself to several different aspects of dietetics to show a well rounded experience that highlights your specific passions. Remember, we are all stretched for time, many of us must work, and we are all held to a high academic standard so when building your resume take advantage of all possible opportunities but keep in mind the idea of quality over quantity.
W O R K E X P E R I E N C E
We all like getting paid, but we don’t always have the option to get paid for dietetic experiences. Not to mention a majority of dietetic internship applicants are seeking or have have the exact same experience as you. The key to setting yourself apart is how you utilize these experiences, both dietetic and other work experiences, to explore the field of dietetics. Here's an example from my life: I worked in an after school child care facility and at a teen center neither of which relate to dietetics. However, I believe that this is where I had my greatest dietetics experience. At both centers I was able to take charge of cooking club and incorporate nutrition into everyday activities. Additional, I oversaw snack everyday and got to talk to the kids about their opinions on food. I was also able to use some of my foodservice management knowledge and fill in for the cooks when needed and check orders in for the kitchens.
Although this isn’t a personal example, let’s look at the position of a dietary aide. This position is widely suggested for dietetics students but to set yourself apart it’s more than just holding the job. Think about ways you can show your passion. Maybe that's incorporating a short education session for the patients or residents you work with, while overseen by the dietitian on staff. Or even decorating the cafeteria to show the menu in an interesting way or highlight specific nutrients and their benefits. Just find a way to give a little extra.
Despite the setting you’re working in, find a way to involve all three major areas of dietetics: management, clinical, and community. Management doesn’t always have to be getting the the kitchen, but it’s definitely an easy place to start. And community is as easy as finding a way to give general nutrition education with the oversight of a Registered Dietitian. Clinical can be tricky but if you are in a hospital or long-term care facility take advantage of having an RD nearby to get some shadowing in or even just asking questions. If you can’t get all of the experiences in one job it might be worth considering adding another to your plate. In my case I worked as a Certified Nurses Aide for my freshman and sophomore years, then I took on more community and management experience. So don’t feel like you need to do it all at once.
V O L U N T E E R E X P E R I E N C E
Work experience isn’t the only thing that looks good on a resume. Volunteer experience is an opportunity to get experience that you can’t find employment in and and is a great way to integrate new and different experiences into your repertoire. If you’re interested in working children volunteering is the way to go. There are several opportunities to provide nutrition education in schools and other organizations. If your school doesn’t send out opportunities, reach out to you professors or mentors for ideas, or you can always contact these organizations on your own. Just remember that it is important to have an RD approve the education you plan on giving.
Job shadowing isn’t necessarily volunteer experience but it’s an pressure free way to get involved in the clinical side of dietetics. However, with HIPPA regulations it can sometimes be difficult to find places you are allowed to shadow at. To overcome this I would suggest looking at smaller community hospitals and clinics. Although they are still held to the same HIPPA regulations they will have less corporate hoops to jump through. Job shadowing is more of a benefit than just padding your resume. By seeking out these experiences you are discovering what you enjoy doing with dietetics. Not everyone is meant to be a clinical dietitian so don’t draw the line there. Look for dietitians in all aspects of dietetics and see what they do on a regular basis.
L E A D E R S H I P E X P E R I E N C E
Another suggestion I have is to get into involved in a leadership position. Believe it or not dietetics is all about leadership. People are looking for dietitians who will lead the profession as we seek increased billing opportunities and other ways to show our value to healthcare teams, community organizations, to society. Therefore, leadership positions should be highly coveted and increase your chances for internship selection.
R E S E A R C H E X P E R I E N C E
My final suggestion is to get involved in research. Research is an asset to you as a dietitian because it will teach you about how research is conducted and how to better interpret research. Throughout your time as a dietitian you will need to be able to consult the research to learn about new methods to better sever your patients. Any type of research will work. I work in an entomology lab where the primary research preformed in on brown recluse spiders.
Marketing yourself for internships goes way beyond all the practical application we’ve talked about so far. It’s about showing your commitment to what dietetics looks like for you. Try a little bit of everything and stretch your boundaries. Some things that I’ve have really enjoyed that are outside of the typical scope of dietetics practice are attending public policy workshops and wasted food workshops. Attending events like FNCE or your state AND conference are perfect for getting your feet wet, so utilize these experiences and use them to find leaders in the area that you can connect with.
The bottom line is, use your extracurricular’s to continue to learn about yourself and dietetics. Use them to set yourself apart and show an authentic experience. As a dietitian you will have to do countless hours of continuous education so show future internships your commitment to learning and commitment to the profession.
This post is a little late considering that match day for dietetic internships was on April 2nd but the delay has given me a little time to reflect on what has happened.
The short story of my match day is that I actually had class all day and when I finally got home I was starving and not really thinking about matching. It wasn't until about ten minutes to 6 pm (the time results are posted) that the anxiety set in (I also forgot my password to the matching site, D&D Digital, so I had to reset it). I wasn't really worried about matching because there is also the opportunity for second match. Second match is an option to reapply to internships that haven't filled all of their spots. And I knew if I didn't match in the first round there would be some great opportunities that followed. But I really just wanted to know what my plans were for next year so I could find a place to live.
My anxiety levels about the whole thing have been very minimal because I have a great confidence that I will end up where I'm supposed to be.
6 pm rolled around and I logged in to D&D, and I was very pleased to find out that I had matched with my first choice, The University of Kansas Medical Center. To be honest, when I was first looking at internships KUMC was kind of my fall back. But after I attended their open house I fell in love with their program.
The first thing that got me is how helpful their staff and current interns were. They answered countless questions and gave each one an honest answer. Then I discovered all of the opportunities I would have. Not only is there the option to pair your internship with a masters but you can finish both in just two years. Plus, the practicum rotations are very diverse and can be very tailored to your interests. They have an option to do a rotation in India over the summer, that was a huge selling point for me! And the interns are required to volunteer a few hours a semester at a free clinic that is mainly Spanish speaking, a unique opportunity to work with translators! There were a ton of other things that compelled me too, so I hope what you get from this is to not write anything off until you find out what they're all about.
I'll do another post about choosing internships sometime but I wanted you all to know that I matched and why I'm so excited for the next year. Match day wasn't so bad, and everything happens for a reason. If anyone out there reading this didn't match, I just want to tell you that there are a host of other opportunities for you!
Today I attended the Kansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (KSAND) Public Policy Workshop (PPW). I want to share my eye opening experience with you all. The PPW was in Topeka, I had an exam this morning and I was very rushed to get there with the 45 minute drive. But public policy is extremely important to me and I think it should resonate to some extent with everyone. Public policy is what makes our world go round. We typically think of policy as something is only influenced by the big wigs in Washington, but I want to emphasize that no matter what you are doing with your life you can make a difference in policy. My only ask is that you are educated on the goals you wish to achieve and look at both sides of the coin when thinking up solutions.
As much as my interest in policy has grown since I first attended a public policy bootcamp on campus back in September of 2015 I was honestly not very excited to attend the first two sessions, they were about insurance. I feel like my excitement levels are self-explanatory. However, they turned out to be very interesting and I learned so much in that hour and a half. The first speaker was the Kansas State Insurance Commissioner, he turned out to be a very compelling speaker, and not just for someone with that title. Because you might not be as interested in the topic as I am I'll bullet some of the highlights.
The second session was also very beneficial to me as a future Registered Dietitian (RD), it covered the ins and outs of billing insurance for your practice. But I won't bore you with the details if you have no ties to dietetics, and if you do I wouldn't to the presentation justice.
To finish the day we focused on advocacy for the dietetics profession. Even if you aren't affiliated with dietetics this next bit will still be benefical if your looking to create a positive change in the world.
Advocacy is one of the biggest reasons I cannot wait to become an RD. It seems like everyone is interested in nutrition information, but we all ask google instead of a qualified professional. How often have you googled your symptoms for a medical problem, and how often have they been accurate when you actually consult a physician? The same goes for nutrition information, you can google the best diet, the best way to lose weight, and a host of other things you might be interested in but how often do you consult a dietitian to determine the accuracy of your search? My guess is not every often because there would be a lot fewer people spreading nutrition MISINFORMATION. This is why I'm interested in advocacy.
My career goals include working in public policy on a national and a global scale but there is no need to overlook the power of a grassroots movement. In fact, I believe that this is one of the most beneficial ways to make a change, but so many people look at the work it will take and turn away. Many people also believe that a movement has to start at a national level for it to have an impact, but in reality the opposite is generally true.
Before I get to carried away, lets cover what grassroots advocacy is, because it has nothing to do with your lawn. As implied above, grassroots advocacy is something you start in your own community. It's all about finding a way to make a change that works for the people around you. It takes a person who sees a problem and proceeds to make a change. Grassroots advocacy was only covered breifly at our workshop but it's importance should not be overlooked.
Now let's talk about large scale advocacy. This usually involves talking to either your legislature or your congressmen. The best way to get your point across is to be concise. Political figures have a lot on their plate and every second counts, so you'll want to write down your main point that if all else fails you want them to leave knowing. Then put together either 3 or 4 supporting points that all relate to your main point. This way, no matter what you are talking about you can relate it back to your focus. Then you need to find something that is going to create an emotional response, this can either be a personal story, the story of someone you're close with, or you can bring someone who can share their personal story. Never forget to bring the numbers. Asking for a change just because it's your opinion isn't very convincing. Find some stats, write them down if you have to and maybe even leave them with your representative. Along with the numbers, come up with a solution for the problem you've identified. It doesn't hvae to be perfect but like I said, they don't have a lot of extra time so help them out and do some of the leg work. Bottomline, give them something to work with. By putting all of this together your odds of impacting your legislature or congressman increase drastically.
Now not all of us have time to speak directly to our reps but when I was at FNCE, a national confernece for dietietic professionals, I learned a few alternative ways to get your voice heard.
U T I L I Z E S O C I A L M E D I A :
- Friend your representatives on face book and follow them on twitter.
- Politely share your thoughts and opinions on what you would like to see them do.
- Be consistent.
- Take the time to hand write a letter (keep this to a state level though, the amount of time it takes to screen a letter in D.C. is ridiculous!)
D O Y O U R H O M E W O R K :
- Research the person you want to connect with, theres no point in taking them your story if that's something they are already working toward.
- If so, ask what you can do to help the cause.
- Get to know their staff, if you meet with them take the time to befriend a staff member. After all, they are the ones who do the briefing.
G E T I N V O L V E D :
- Attend town halls. Use what you learn to make your case stronger
- Get connected to your cause. Everyone can have an opinion but the people in charge want to listen to the experts.
- Attend any other events that can improve your network
Regardless of if you want to get involved, it's important to understand the process. All to often we criticize those who are trying when we are sitting at home with no idea what they are actually doing. Advocate for what's important to you. Make a difference.
I know public policy isn't everyones jam, but its how you make a difference on any scale.
As a dietetics student you have to choose one of two paths: coordinated program (CP) or didactic program (DPD). This choice determines how you complete your required 1200 hour internship. There will be more on this choice later, but this post is for all of you who have made the decision to go the DPD route and take on DICAS. This post is not advice on how to increase your chances of getting an internship but to prepare you for the application itself.
1 . S T A R T E A R L Y
I started the DICAS process just after it opened and although I wouldn't recommend stressing about it too much before the portal opens I would definitely have it on your mind as you start the semester before matching. Some things you can do before the portal opens are: perfecting your resume, writing personal statements, and deciding what internships to apply to.
When working on your resume I would recommend having a career center look over it. Remember, it needs to highlight your skills and how they relate to dietetics, so choose your words carefully and keep anything that shows leadership and initiative. Then pick some internships that you might want to apply to, you don't have to be set on them but the more prepared you are the better. Read through the application process they have on their site, this would also be a good time to see if they have a masters program if that's the route you want to take. When reading, look for the questions they want you to address in your personal statement and look and see if there are any supplemental materials required. Pay close attention to the dates, some internships have earlier deadlines than DICAS, and look for recieved by and post marked by dates. Make a list for each internship of what you need and what you should address in a personal statement. If you begin this process now, when DICAS opens you can complete a majority of the application without any effort. For me, the personal statements were the hard part. If you already know what you need to address for each internship then write a personal statement that can be used for as many internships as possible, then make copies and tailor each to the prospective internship. When it is all said and done, find some friends, take it to the library, or have a professor proof read. Have it proof read every time you make changes and use a few different readers. Don't go overboard here, if it gets to the point where they are pointing out small things that are their personal preference, call it good, and upload. Remember personal statements are limited to 1,000 words.
2 . P R I O R I T I Z E
When the portal opens the first two things you should do are submit your transcripts and send out requests for letters of recommendation. Why do these things first? From personal experience I waited until two-weeks out to send my transcripts and was still waiting for the last one to be received two days before the final submission date. Give your self some peace of mind later by sending your transcripts early. It also gives you time to re-send them if they get lost in the mail. You should also send your letter of rec requests first so your references have time to write and submit quality recommendations. Don't hesitate to send reminders as the submission date nears. Just a side note on sending transcripts: you can send electronic copies, click the instructions button under the transcripts tab on the sidebar and it will explain. This is something I found out after the fact. From here you can upload those personal statements your did early and your beautiful resume, fill out the activities sections, register with DND Digital, and finish the application with some house keeping.
3 . D N D D I G I T A L
After the portal opens you will want to register with DND Digital, the matching sight for DICAS. On DND you will want to choose all of the internships you are interested in this way they show up on DICAS and you can connect your personal statement with the corresponding internship. Don't worry, you can always go back and remove internships from both DND and DICAS easily. If there is a program you are no longer interested make sure you remove it from DICAS because they charge twenty dollars per application submitted. However, there is more time to change and reorder your choices on DND.
4 . R E L A X
Throughout our coursework we are programmed to strive for perfection. Every once in a while step back and take a deep breath. You have been working for perfection for so long it's like a second nature now, there's no need to constantly stress about it. Especially after you submit DICAS, there's nothing you can do but wait so focus on learning the rest of Clinical 2 and relaxing because it's out of your hands now.
I hope this guide to surviving DICAS helps you through the application and leaves you a little more prepare than I was.