Guess what? In case you didn’t already hear the news from Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram – I’m officially a Registered Dietitian!!!!!! 3.5 years ago, I walked into day 1 of my Chemistry 1 prerequisite course and really never thought this day would arrive. But it has, and I couldn’t be more proud.
As you know, I’ve been in Chapel Hill since last Monday studying for the RD exam with my grad school classmates Elle and Maria. Originally, I signed up to take the exam on February 20th in DC and I was just going to come down here to study for a few days (last Monday through Friday), then finish up studying on my own in DC. Elle was also thinking of taking the test in late February, but then Maria signed up to take the exam on the 12th (yesterday). And then she convinced Elle to sign up for the 12th too to go ahead and get it out of the way sooner.
…And then they set to convincing me to just stick around a few more days and take it with them down here, too. At first, I wasn’t sure. I didn’t know if I’d be ready, and it was a long time to be gone from DC and Matt. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense to just go ahead and get it all over with. Plus, I decided it would make so much more sense to finish this the way we started it at UNC – together. So I changed my exam from DC on the 20th to Raleigh on the 12th and forwarded the confirmation email to Elle and Maria with “eeek!” in the body. It was happening.
When I arrived on last Monday, we hit the ground running. Throughout the week, we worked our way through the Jean Inman study guide, which is a beast but definitely prepared us well for the test.
The test itself includes questions related to medical nutrition therapy (e.g. nutrition for complicated disease states – stuff we used in our hospital internships), food science (this was hard since we hadn’t seen it since our first semester of school), food service/management (also hard – lots of math and random theories to memorize), and biochemistry/nutrition basics, with some public health and epidemiology/stats thrown in there, too.
All I have to say about studying for this test is that I’m SO glad I didn’t do it alone. Not only did a learn everything a million times better by discussing it with the girls – if one of us was confused about something, someone else generally could explain it – but it made it a million times more fun and less stressful, too. Making sure we fit in some fun in the form of workouts, dinner dates, etc. really helped to keep us all sane. I’m actually kind of sad it’s over – I’m going to miss hanging out with these two all day every day!
I didn’t announce here on the blog when I was taking the test because Elle and I wanted to surprise you guys! We also figured that meant if we failed, we could at least have a few days to ourselves to dry our tears before announcing that we were going to have to take it again.
By the time Monday rolled around, the girls and I were ready to get this test over with. We felt as ready as we could after studying for a week straight, and we were doing a lot better on the practice exams, too. Visual Veggies sent me some study materials to review and their practice test was great. The other practice tests we were doing were paper, but the Visual Veggies practice test is a CD program so it much more closely simulates the real test. You can select a short or long random test (e.g. what the real test would be like), or focus on questions from a specific domain (e.g. food science). I especially loved that it told you if you were right or wrong immediately, AND included an explanation of the answer, which was super helpful for questions we got wrong. Awesome program – highly recommended for any of you who are studying for this exam! Use the coupon code FANNETASTICFOOD to get 15% off the software.
Elle and I spent Monday night relaxing – we watched TV, did our nails, and went to bed early. The next morning, before the test, we were up bright and early at 5:30 a.m. to fit in a short HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout in her living room. We wanted to get the blood flowing before the test!
We were out the door and on our way to the testing center by 7:30 a.m. Our test start was 9 a.m. in Raleigh; we met Maria there. All of us arrived early and they let us start early, which was great. The test flew by! It’s 125 multiple choice questions and you have up to 3 hours to complete it, but all of us were done in 2 hours or less. Elle and I actually finished and walked out of the room at the exact same time and then sat, hearts pounding, waiting for the attendant to print out our results. When my paper came up on the screen before she printed it out, all I saw at the top was “Congratulations!” and a huge smile broke out on my face.
Elle and I literally ran into the hallway with our “Congratulations” papers and started jumping up and down and hugging each other. We did it! We were officially RD’s. Maria was waiting down at her car – she passed with flying colors, too! The three of us couldn’t have been happier. Our hard work paid off.
We spent the rest of yesterday celebrating! After a fun lunch and a little shopping, we met a bunch of our classmates and friends at a bar in Chapel Hill to continue the celebration.
What an awesome day – one we’ve all been working towards for many years. I’m so proud of all of us.
I’m off to get cleaned up and hit the road back to DC, triumphant. Have a great day, everyone! And thank you, as always, for your support, well wishes, congratulations, and love over the years. Knowing you all believed in me helped me to better believe in myself, too.