Today officially marks the start of my rotations! I started my dietetic internship in Food Service Management at an elementary school. The food service company I am working with has a contract with the whole district, which includes 16 different schools from grades K-12. I was lucky to begin in FSM before the school year started. I felt as though I was able to ease into the rotation, rather than just being thrown in mid-stream.
Going into my first day, I was pretty nervous. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the managers, schedule, or workload. (Just a side note, I was so worried about being late that I got to my rotation site an hour early. My preceptor had a good laugh about that one. :)) Everyone I worked with today, my preceptor and additional staff members, were really great. My preceptor lead me on a tour of the school, gave me little tips about the co-workers and what to expect on a daily basis, and allowed me to ask as many questions as I needed. She also had tons of resources in her office for me to refer to when I worked on assignments.
I really felt that it was helpful to have all my assignments printed out for quick reference. A lot of times when my preceptor was talking, she would touch on a topic that related to an assignment I had. My director had suggested that I sit down with my preceptor in the first week to review the assignments and get a plan together on how to tackle them. Today, my preceptor and I worked through my assignment list very thoroughly. This really helped us both to understand all the assignments better and bounce ideas off of one another. My preceptor was open to any ideas that I had, which helped me feel more comfortable about what I was doing.
One of the major topics for today was the school lunch program. With all of the new guidelines in place for the school year, my preceptor has to work to update the menus to fit all nutritional requirements. I had reviewed the school lunch program prior to starting; however, it was very helpful to go in depth with my preceptor. I was able to look at menu templates and the programs they used for their schools. I had a little bit of down time (expect that when you begin your FSM rotation), so I was able to get working on my school lunch menu planning assignment. Planning a school lunch menu with all of the new guidelines is a lot more complicated than I thought. It helps to have charts printed out of all the grade group requirements and food component regulations for quick reference.
I was surprised at how many phone calls the office received when I was there today. It seemed as though the phone never stopped ringing with parents asking questions about the school lunch program, new employees asking about trainings, and potential employees calling about positions and job offers. With the students starting next week, a lot of food ordering had to get placed today too. I expect that I will be a lot busier once next week rolls around.
Overall, today was quite a success. Over the next few days, I will be meeting the principals, managers, and employees from other schools in the districts at the meetings and trainings they have scheduled. I am very excited to continue my journey to RD status!
I now leave you with my “laughable moment of the day”:
I packed a lunch and some snacks for today which consisted of: carrots, celery, dressing, chickpeas with ranch, 1/2 sandwich with natural peanut butter and nutella, turkey jerky (made in my dehydrator), an apple, raw cashews, and 2 rice cakes. Now, I don’t know about you, but besides the sandwich and jerky, I picked some noisy food. Let’s set the scene. While the phone does ring a lot, when it doesn’t ring, the office is dead silent. So, lunch rolls around and I break out my sandwich and my veggies. Starting with my quiet food first, I have no problems. I then move onto my carrots and celery sticks, which are not very quiet foods. I begin laughing because all I can hear is the obsessive crunch when I bit into my food. Let’s face it, there is no quiet way to eat celery and carrots. Anyway, I don’t think anyone else notices, or cares that I am crunching and chomping. I, however, begin to crack up at myself, and proceed to choke on my food. This wasn’t a heimlich maneuver type of choke; however, I had one of those slight panic moments where you suck in too much food with air and do a cough-cough-large swallow. I think tomorrow I will will be packing cucumbers and grapes 🙂