An Update on School & My Future as a CDE


Maria, me, Liz, Alecia, Tracy, Andy, Scott, Carl and John

Last night, I attended a meet-up at the New York City chapter of JDRF. They launched this meet-up for adults with type 1 diabetes who live in the tri-state area last fall. As always, I had a super amazing time. I met a few new people and caught up with some old friends. Only the best people have diabetes. You didn’t know that? Yep. It’s like a rule or something.

Anyway, several people said to me, “So, how’s school going?”

So here’s how school’s going:

Spring semester was awful. Hey, you wanted to know. I took three classes: Statistics, Anatomy & Physiology 2 and Microbiology. Statistics was a class I barely skated by with a B, mostly owing to the fact that I didn’t try very hard. We were allowed note cards for all of our exams, which should have guaranteed me an A like my Algebra class in the fall, but I accidentally skipped an online component of one of my tests and then completely misread the directions for a Stats project, which lowered my score. Whoops.

Anatomy & Physiology 2 was extraordinarily hard, which I wasn’t expecting since I did well in the Fall. I felt that I put a lot of effort into studying for A&P 2, but it just wasn’t gelling with me for some reason. That reason, I believe, is Microbiology.

I hate Microbiology. It has two things I don’t like: icky creepy-crawlies that you can’t even see coupled with laboratory work involving dozens of test tubes, Bunsen burners and the aseptic technique which I always forgot to do. I was a ball of stress for three hours every Thursday for sixteen weeks. We had to memorize about a billion Latin names for microorganisms that will kill you in various ways. And we had to identify an “unknown organism” by performing the aforementioned chemical tests using test tubes, Bunsen burners and the aseptic technique and lucky me (!) my “unknown organism” did not conform to any known organism. I performed most tests more than once, and it just didn’t fit. Trust me, I tried. I even asked three people who majored in biochemistry and they didn’t know.

Needless to say, I didn’t do so hot in A&P2 or Microbiology, scoring a C and a C+ respectively.

On top of all that, I was rejected from both nursing schools I applied to. Whee!

Okay, technically, I was only rejected from one (NYU), but because I didn’t get a B or better in my classes, I was automatically kicked off the waiting list at Concordia College.

Knowing that I needed to re-take classes, I started off my summer with A&P2. Five hours, four days a week. So much fun. In the end, I left with a respectable B+.

But while all of that was going on, I started to debate whether or not the nursing path was really what I was meant to do. Not getting into nursing school really threw a curveball for me, because up until that point, I was very methodical in how I was approaching this next phase of my life. I had quickly dismissed becoming a Registered Dietitian because I felt that it would take too long to accomplish that degree (twice as long), and I wasn’t sure if talking about food all day was something I wanted to do. Once I learned I wasn’t getting into nursing school, I started to reconsider my options.

As it turns out, I’m actually developing a real interest and passion for healthy eating and fitness, as demonstrated over at my other blog, With Faith & Grace. My husband and I participated in the Whole30 challenge in January and we’re both pursuing our interest in running (although he’s lightyears ahead as far as actual skill is concerned). I’ve been doing a lot of reading in nutrition and fitness, and it seems like an area that fits perfectly with diabetes education for both type 1s and type 2s.

I know, I’m a genius for figuring that one out.

In fact, the interest in being an RD first appeared while at an ADA Expo earlier this year. I was attending a cooking workshop with a celebrity chef (it was not Paula) and a black woman from Brooklyn stood up to ask where she could get all these fancy organic foods this chef was using. His food was great, but this woman and a lot of the audience rely on bodegas (basically a large convenience store) and small grocery stores. When he suggested that they simply “petition for better food,” I knew that what these people really needed was someone to teach them how to eat healthy with what they had to work with. Not some pipe dream food that they didn’t have access to.

After I was rejected from nursing school, Hannah commented on a blog post asking if I’d looked into being an RD. I decided I really needed to investigate this option, rather than just brushing it off because it seemed “too long.”

As it turns out, all the classes I’ve taken so far are pre-reqs for dietetics as well. Huzzah! The bummer is that I actually need more pre-reqs for dietetics than for nursing. This summer, I’ll be tackling Biochemistry as an online, self-paced class through UC Berkeley’s Extension School. This fall, I’ll be back at my local community college to take Principles of Organic Chemistry, Intro to Nutrition, and one of two Food Service classes that are required for the RD exam.

I’m also preparing to take the GRE at the end of August, which is required for the two Master’s programs I’m interested in. The first Master’s program is at the Teacher’s College at Columbia University, which I think would be perfect since it’s part of the same University system as my diabetes clinic. I met with the prospective student adviser a few weeks ago, and she told me that a student who graduated from their program several years ago was hired as an RD at my clinic!

The other school that I’m contemplating is NYU. Unfortunately, because I applied for NYU’s Nursing School, I have to wait a full year before I can apply for their dietetics program. I could start Columbia in January, but I would have to wait to start NYU (if I got in, of course) until September.

The last option is a Bachelor’s program at a college in Queens. It’s pretty expensive to get there (tolls here are a nightmare – $15 everyday!), but tuition itself is cheap because it’s a public school. It’s also a Bachelor’s which would work as far as the end goal, but I personally think I’d rather get a Master’s at this point. Several people I’ve talked to agree, but it’s debatable what’s really the best. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

So that’s basically how school’s going. Kind of a long meandering process to find the right angle for me, but I know in the end that my eye is on the prize. I’ll do what I need to do to get there.

Except mess around with the invisible creepy-crawlies.


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6 Responses to An Update on School & My Future as a CDE

  1. Cara says:

    I’m sorry to hear about the classes this year. I am NOT a science person, so I’d have no hope at all of passing classes like that.
    I think an RD is s good thing. I wish there were more people around that would teach people how to eat. AND help them petition for better foods. Rural areas are notorious for not having a decent selection of foods. We aren’t the best eaters (health wise) in the South. :)

  2. Laddie says:

    Allison, good for you for continuing to stay positive as you meander into your future. You’ll make a terrific CDE and maybe being an RD will be the route for you. There is no doubt that the diabetes world needs more dietitians with real-world diabetes experience. You’re a Super Star!

  3. Amanda Bauer says:

    Have you thought about maybe doing an LPN program once your pre recs are done? I did a one year LPN program graduated and passed my NCLEX and now I could get my RN online in 7 months! Its a little bit of a quicker route!

  4. Kelley says:

    Aww thanks for sharing! Sorry about this past semester but it sounds like you have a lot of great options going forward! Keep us posted on the RD path :)

  5. Pingback: Last Semester of Pre-Requisites (And Then…) | The Blood Sugar Whisperer

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