It’s been a while since I last posted because May was a crazy busy month of finishing up rotations of the dietetic internship. I’ve decided to make this post a very personal one, because I’ve realized, authenticity is a powerful tool of connecting with others.
Yesterday I officially completed the dietetic internship. I anticipated having a happy, celebratory day. Instead, yesterday was a day of mourning and deep sadness, as just a few hours before the internship graduation ceremony, my cat of 15 years passed away suddenly.
The internship was challenging on its own, but this past year has been an emotional roller coaster. In December, my Dad’s dog, Keenan, died tragically after a surgical procedure. Keenan’s death affected me because I saw how much of a friend he was to my Dad. Keenan was trained as a companion dog for blind/visually impaired individuals. When he passed, it was like my Dad had lost his son, and I had lost my brother.
No one in my internship class knew that I was so sad all the time. Instead, I isolated myself and focused on my assignments. I felt stressed and alone, even though many of my peers were probably feeling equally stressed by their own personal lives outside of the internship. After these experiences, I’ve realized that it’s helpful to talk to people after tragedy occurs. We can’t help each other if we’re not open.
I have a fortune cookie message that I taped to my laptop that says “If you’re feeling down, try throwing yourself into your work”. Note to self: this is not an effective coping strategy! I hope that current dietetic interns, and those who will be starting their internship soon recognize that we’re all in the same boat. Life happens and we’re all stressed out at times. I’ve learned (in retrospect) that it’s better to lean on each other rather than isolating. I wish I had spent more time at intern social events, but instead I spent most of my free time between cooking (which is my go-to hobby) or feeling “down in the dumps”. I’m deeply grateful for my family and boyfriend who were always there for me and helped me throughout my internship, but I feel like I missed out on making friends during my internship experience because of my depressed attitude.
The next step for all of us interns who graduated is to start studying for the RD exam that we all have to pass in order to become credentialed as Registered Dietitians. I’ve started studying, but admittedly, it’s difficult to focus right now. Hopefully, the pain that I’m feeling will subside, but instead of masking it through work, I’m ready to acknowledge my pain and share my experience. Loss is something we’ve all felt at some point; it is a universal sadness that cuts to the core of our being, yet unites us.
I will update soon, hopefully with a more lighthearted blog post. If you have a pet, hug it tightly, let your furry friend know how much you love him or her. Pets are truly special beings and the love and loyalty from an animal is unlike anything else.