The first move I made for my career was from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia to complete my undergrad in an accredited dietetic program (at Acadia University). Lucky for me the move was super smooth-sailing. I was more than happy to be there and honestly, I just lucked out. I ended up in the Annapolis Valley – a beautiful place full of farms, vineyards, and good vibes. It’s the type of place where you know your neighbours, your baristas, your professors, and your bartenders. Yup, I could walk into Joe’s Pub mid afternoon on a Summer’s day and be greeted with, “Hey Acacia, your cider?”. Yup, I had a ‘usual’. It was a freakin’ dream.
I say I lucked out because I did not anticipate any of the wonderful-ness prior to the move. In fact, I think I might have googled the place like, once? And I obviously didn’t do a very good search because I didn’t even realize the town I was moving to was a part of the Annapolis Valley – LOL. I learned that in my hairdresser’s chair in Newfoundland – she was familiar with the area and was super excited for me to move there. Me? Well I was excited to get my career moving. In short, I felt so dedicated to the profession that it honestly did not phase me where I’d have to go to pursue it.
My excitement was in getting accepted into the program and knowing I would become a dietitian. Where that happened, it really didn’t matter.
I moved with 7 other girls all accepted into the same program, and I was surprised to see that sometimes didn’t feel the same way as me. There were times that they wished they were home, and though they adjusted well for the most part, I could not at all relate to the home-sickness. In fact, admittedly, I couldn’t help but frown on them a little. I’d think, “Why waste time wishing you were somewhere else? Live in the moment – make the best of it – see all the positives of being here!”
Sometimes, for a moment it’d cross my mind that they must not be as dedicated to the profession as I was. Don’t get me wrong, I loved them to pieces, but there was something about being homesick that I associated with weakness. If you’re reading this guys, I love you and I’m sorry I was judgemental. I now understand what you must have been feeling, because I am now the girl who wants to be somewhere else.
When I finished my undergrad and had the opportunity to move to Toronto for my masters, I treated it much the same. I put all my time and effort into researching the program and, like, none thinking about the actual city I was moving to.
And like I said, now I’m a girl who wants to be somewhere else. And at first, I was a little hard on myself… thinking, “Toughen up, it doesn’t matter what you think of the place, the program is going really well and that’s all that matters.”
But you know what? That’s not all that matters. There is a lot more to life and your quality of life than your career.
Does that blown anyone else’s mind as much as it did mine when I realized it?
Or can you hardly believe that I am only just now realizing it?
Just for the record, I don’t regret my move to Toronto – in fact, despite my struggle to adjust, I am thankful it all panned out this way because I’ve learned a hell of a lot about myself.
I wanted to share this story because I think that other dietetic students out there can relate. Our profession is SO competitive when it comes to internship that I think sometimes we become so focused on that small part of our lives that it is all we see. (Yes, I said small). Nothing else matters and we must work ourselves into the ground and do anything possible to get one step further.
Like dish out loads of money we don’t have, study and work at every waking, [and sometimes sleeping] hour, live in a box, eat nothing but kraft dinner – come on guys, you know the sacrifices!
So where do we draw the line? What are we not willing to sacrifice for this almighty internship and golden ticket to a successful, fulfilling career and ‘real life’?
I really, really, encourage you to think about this before you make any drastic decisions for your career.
Because it is okay to value other parts of your life other than your career.
You ARE allowed to prioritize other things over your internship.
And you know what? It doesn’t make you any less dedicated. It doesn’t make you any less worthy.
It just makes you human.
And we are all human. Please don’t forget that.