Once you are accepted into a dietetic internship program, you will need to go through orientation. Some orientations are a few days, others are a week. It will all depend on the type and location of your dietetic internship.
Since my internship was a distance program, I flew out to Utah for 4 days. I wasn’t expecting much out of the orientation. I figured that people had their friends and cliques and it would just be awkward. I couldn’t have been more wrong about it.
Orientation was probably one of the best experiences I have had. It is such an amazing feeling to be in a room with 60 other interns who come from all over the US, but, have similar goals as you do. I really got to bond with my fellow interns and my internship directors. While some lecture was involved, the atmosphere was still open and relaxed. We had multiple team-bonding activities, which really had a positive impact on me (And I am sure other interns).
During lunch and other free times throughout the day, the interns would get to share where they came from, excitement about rotations, and goals for their future career. Although everyone was ultimately there to pursue their RD status, we all had very different paths that we wanted to take.
One highlighting moment of the week for me was when I went hiking up the mountains with a few other interns. As we started our hike, I felt pretty good. The trail we took was tough and very slanted. About 20 minutes into the hike, I was trailing at the end huffing and puffing. As I looked ahead at the other interns, none of them seemed at all phased by the stifling air or hot sun. (Utah is already a higher elevation than I am used in Pennsylvania). I, on the other hand, felt out of shape and close to passing out. I was surprised at myself. I mean, I go to the gym, walk, do resistance training, yet, I was panting like a dog. I kept thinking to myself that I should just give up, walk back, and wait for the driver to come. I didn’t want to hold anyone back, and I felt embarrassed that I couldn’t keep up.
As more of a lag formed between the other interns and I, one stopped. She offered me her water, which I of course forgot to bring. That perked me up for a few more minutes. As we continued uphill, I was ready to quit and I stopped. Then, something happened, which I felt was pretty amazing. They all stopped with me for a break! Everyone was so nice, offering me water and telling me that if I needed a break they would all stop. Although many people might think this is trivial, it really had an impact on me. Here was this group of women who don’t even know me. They could have laughed at me or joked around at my laborious breathing; however, they did exactly the opposite. They were caring and understanding. Something they didn’t realize, was that they motivated me to keep going. A few minutes after we continued walking from our break, we reached flatter ground and it was much easier to continue the hike.
We hiked for about an hour and a half up to 9,000 elevation. The view from the mountaintops was absolutely amazing. I felt amazing, like I conquered the mountains (yes, that’s very cheesy). I was so glad that I kept going and was able to experience the beauty around me. This was just one moment that really made me feel close to the other interns.
I never would have expected to form such a strong bond with some many people, so quickly. We talked like we had known each other our whole lives. It felt great to be able to have such a strong support system behind me for when I started my rotations.
My orientation was such an amazing experience. The conversations, events, and nightlife were something I will always remember.
If you already had orientation, share what positive experiences you had!