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Our Not So Perfect (But Special) Wedding Day

The day has finally come. I got married to the man of my dreams!

After delaying the wedding until 2019 and changing the date around multiple times, we finally decided to have a courthouse wedding on November 30th, 2018. We invited only our closest family members and had an intimate dinner reception after the ceremony.

Our wedding day was overwhelming to say the least. My now husband and I spent the morning relaxing and picking up my cousin from her house so she could spend the day with us and attend the wedding that night. I underestimated how quickly the day would go by. The wedding ceremony was supposed to be around 3:30 p.m., and we spent the beginning of that day running around doing last minute errands such as picking up the wedding cake and going to the venue to make sure it was set up for the dinner that night. When we finally got back to the house to get ready, it was around 1:45 p.m. I still had to take a shower, attempt to do my hair and makeup, and get last minute things to…

Getting a Nutritional Science Degree

These past couple of months after graduating college have been so hectic. A lot of people seem to think that simply having a bachelor's degree will be enough to land a good job, but that doesn't seem to be the case for many jobs these days. The workforce is getting more and more competitive, so having a bachelor's degree is often just meeting the minimum requirements. Having experience in the field you want to go into is so important, but this is easier said than done. Although many of my undergraduate nutrition classes required me to volunteer in different nutrition settings, including community nutrition and foodservice, many hospitals and other institutions want you to have paid experience before applying for the job. As a full-time student taking six classes and volunteering many hours each week, having a job didn't quite fit into my schedule.

After graduating, I really wasn't sure where to go from there. When I started the nutritional science program at Cal State Los Angeles, I was confident that nutrition was the field I wanted to go into. Although I'm still confident, I didn't realize how many obstacles I would face along the way. When getting into the program at CSULA, we weren't told that my school no longer met the ACEND (Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics) requirements and was not a DPD (Dietetic Program in Dietetics). In simple terms, this meant that my school was no longer accredited by ACEND. All of the students who completed this program would not be able to get a DPD verification statement by ACEND, meaning we couldn't apply for an internship after graduation. Also, there are many jobs that would not consider hiring us without that verification statement.

While in my last few months of my undergraduate degree, I decided that I was going to apply for a master's program. I had major doubts that I would get in, but I thought I would apply and see; I had nothing to lose, especially because I knew I wouldn't be able to apply for jobs or intern without that verification statement. I only applied to one school, The University of Arizona. This school caught my eye since it didn't require the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), unlike many other graduate schools. Also, this program in Applied Nutrition was all online, which was awesome since I wanted to be able to work at my own pace and from the comfort of my own home. Since I live in the middle of nowhere, I knew I would have to relocate to physically go to a school that offers a master's program in nutrition. This was not something that I wanted to do. To apply for this program, I needed two strong letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a résumé along with my application. As someone with no job experience, I had little hope that I would get in.

Some time went by, and the coordinator for the graduate program reached out and asked me whether I had received a verification statement from ACEND for my undergraduate degree. Unfortunately I did not, like I discussed earlier, which is when she let me know that U of A had just been approved to offer a dietetics program online. I would be able to get a verification statement after completing extra classes; I needed to take about 8-10 classes just to get verified. It made no sense to me that other schools in California, such as Cal Poly or Cal State Northridge, had similar programs to mine at Cal State LA, but they were able to get a verification statement after getting their bachelor's in nutrition science.

I went through a period of time where I was rather frustrated that I would have to spend a year taking these extra classes, but what option did I have at this point? After being told the classes I needed to take through U of A to get verified, the coordinator informed me that I had been accepted into the Professional Science Masters (PSM) in Applied Nutrition, and that I could just complete the other courses on top of it. I was relieved that I got into the program, especially since I wasn't sure what I was going to do after graduating. I started this program in August and am really enjoying it so far. It's much different than taking classes at Cal State, since the majority of my classes are 7.5 weeks instead of 16 weeks. So far,  I have been taking two to three classes every 7.5 weeks.

After completing my first quarter at U of A, I received emails from CSULA that they were meeting with ACEND to try to get students the verification statement for completing the program. After months of deliberation, ACEND decided that they would give CSULA students graduating before December 2018 a verification statement. Once again, this was another big relief for me. This meant I did not have to take another full year of classes just to get a verification statement and that after completing my master's degree, I would be able to apply for an internship, getting me closer to becoming a Registered Dietitian.

For anyone wanting to get a bachelor's or master's degree in nutrition, make sure the school you plan on attending has the necessary program you need to get you where you want to be. Just because a school offers the degree you want does not mean it provides everything you need. All of this information I just discussed may seem pretty confusing, which is understandable. I didn't understand the point of ACEND or a verification statement until a few months ago. If you have questions, concerns, or want to know more about obtaining a degree in nutrition, feel free to ask. As always, thanks for taking the time to read my post. I hope it helped you out and cleared up some confusion about nutrition programs.

Kinsey

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