NutritionJobs Interview

NutritionJobs.com InterviewSometimes it feels like nothing changes, and then suddenly, something happens to make me reflect on the many changes that took place in a short period of time.

Back in August, I was interviewed (via email) for a blog post to be published on NutritionJobs, a job hunting resource for nutrition professionals. They published the interview earlier this month, and you can read it here.

It surprised me how different things are now.

At the time, I had a part-time job for PapayaHead, a weekly dinner plan website. I was testing a new feature that has yet to be released. I was also in my last quarter of classes, struggling to find balance between responsibilities for school and the rest of my life.

Now, I am a full-time dietetic intern (at various locations/rotation sites, see here for which ones). I have fewer assignments so I have more time for hobbies and my Goal List.

It was also good to reread the answer I gave to the question “What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?” (This was my favorite question). I was very convicted by the answer I wrote, because I feel like I lose track of that sometimes (no spoilers here, you’ll have to read the interview to find out what I said). Also, I like this question because I didn’t know what advice to give of my own, so I shared advice I got from people I think are “successful and fulfilled”–my parents. I appreciate their wisdom and I hope you will too.

Related: Lessons from my first year of grad school

Lessons from my first year of grad school

A very small selection of my many textbooks for the past year, with a page from my very full planner. (C) 2012 Shelly Najjar
Only a few of the textbooks I have from this past year, and a glimpse of my overly packed planner.

I have officially finished Year One of grad school. During that time, I wrote papers, took tests, stressed about deadlines, and learned some things about nutrition and public health.

But I expected that.

What I didn’t expect was to learn so much about myself, about the way I work and think, and about life in general. Here are the three biggest lessons I learned this school year.

1. Choosing something means not choosing other things.

This is difficult for me to remember, because I really want to do everything. Then I remember to practice saying no, and think about this quote, which I saw when passing by a church marquee:

You can do anything, but you cannot do everything.

After talking with some people who know me and whose opinions I deeply respect, it seems that knowing my priorities is possibly the best way to make choices that I won’t regret, or that may even allow me to manage time well enough to choose more than one option.

2. Don’t procrastinate when facing things you don’t want to do. You won’t want to do them any more later than you do right now.

Speaking of time management, the temptation to procrastinate has become a big challenge for me, so this lesson is extra important. When I have something I don’t want to do (but must do), I find that it is better to just suck it up and focus on finishing, even when I don’t feel like it, so that I have more time to do something that is appealing later on.

I’ve also found that for this past quarter, it works better for me to choose one or two things to work on the entire day, instead of choosing eight things to work on for one hour each. (I used to do this so I wouldn’t get bored, but while learning about doing unpleasant things now, I realized I often used this “one hour” trick to procrastinate.)

3. You can do more than you think.

I have never been more academically challenged than I was this past year. It is frustrating and overwhelming, but it produces the best feeling of accomplishment. If I hadn’t been given as many assignments, as much responsibility with my fieldwork, or as much encouragement, I wouldn’t know that I could accomplish all that I did.

It has been a crazy experience so far, but overall, I’ve made progress toward my goal of focusing on learning (instead of focusing on getting good grades). Thank you to everyone who gave me encouragement and advice over the past year!

-Shelly