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“Why dietetics?” This is one of the most frequent question that I have to answer since I made my decision to take Dietetics as my major during post graduation. Time to time I would hear people (especially the busybodies aunties who have nothing better to do than gossip) ask: “Why did you choose to take dietetics? Your results can get doctor what, why not doctor?” “What is dietetics a? Not the same as Nutrition meh?” and when I patiently tell them dietetics is different from nutrition, their next question would be: “Whats the difference between dietetics and Nutrition?”
So yea, this post is something I wanted to write long ago, to tell you why did I chose this path, and to tell you how much I love it, from a first year student’s perspective. I am sure the reasons and my perspective to why I chose to be a dietetian would definitely changes more or less with time. Lets hope this blog would still be alive after years, which by then I would be a final year student and can tell you the reasons why I chose dietetics from a graduating perspective. ;)
As a start, I always wanted a job in the health-care related industry, preferably in the hospital. The idea of helping people entice me because I know that by planning an appropriate diet for my patient, I could save a life in an indirect way. Although I love saving people, but no, I don’t want to be a doctor. Because I know myself better than anyone else and I know that I am too emotional to be one. I definitely can’t think straight if you want me to choose between saving a baby or mother when emergency occurs during the delivery of a child. I can’t bear to cut a person’s limbs even if it is needed to save his life. I can’t abandon anyone in emergency just because he has a lower possibility to stay alive to save another person instead when resources is limited and only one can be saved. I just can’t. Thus, when it comes to choosing my future career, doctor is definitely out of my choice. Oops, I already deviated from my topic today right :o Okay back to the point! Why do I want to be a Dietitian? Apart from the reason I mentioned ealrier, I have to admit that sometimes it was because I thought its real cool to work in a hospital with the white robe on.
Besides, it was also because of my love for food. :D I love food and dietetics is related to food! I enjoy eating and therefore learning about what is in the food that I ate everyday is interesting to me. By taking Food Science as one of the core course the semester, I have the chance to learn more about the contents present in the food we consumed everyday. Why does the hard boiled eggs have grey ring around its egg yolk sometimes? What is the difference between parboiled rice, brown rice and white rice? Which fat-free content in the ice-cream give it its creamy texture? What does enriched and fortified means? These are some of the examples of what I learnt for the past few weeks and of course more difficult ones are waiting for me at the end of the semester. I love this subject simply because all these are interconnected to our everyday life, thus it is definitely a fun subject to learn as I can relate well at all the situations and examples mentioned in class. There’s a saying which goes like this: we are made of what we eat. I do want to have a better understanding towards all the food that made me me. :)
Also, dietitian is different from nutritionist whereby our future job are more to facing the crowd and patients in the hospital. Nutritionists will work more in the lab for researches while dietitians will meet the patients and help them with an appropriate diet plan in order to cure their sickness. Being one who loves talking and facing people in everyday life, the job of dietitian suited me well. Meeting new people each day means there would be surprises waiting for me everyday (hopefully!) at work, which in turns means that I won’t have a typical boring office job from nine to five everyday in my life in the future. This is something that I always long for, having a spontaneous and fun job whereby I can meet people from every walk of life each day. I am sure I am going to enjoy it.
Okay, now here comes the part where I should explain whats the difference between a dietetics and nutrition. Basically, Nutrition focuses on preventive advice for healthy people, while dietetic focuses on sick people. Therefore nutritionist usually works in private sectors and spend more time in the lab while dietitian usually works in hospital. In India, during the first 3 years of the Bachelor degree of Dietetics/Nutrition, the courses for both nutrition & dietetic students are very similar. This is because nutrition is the basis of dietetics, we have to gain knowledge towards all those nutritional values present in the food in order to plan an appropriate diet for our patients. (In fact, overseas at US, one have to first take a degree in Nutrition then only he/she will be allowed to take a Master degree in Dietitian. A dietetic internship has be to done at the same time before one can graduate from the Master degree of Dietetics. To become a Registered Dietitian over there, one have to sit for an examination for credential purpose at the end of his/her Master degree.) When it comes to the last 1-2 years, our courses intersect less. By this time, nutrition student learns more about community nutrition while dietetic student learns more about therapeutic nutrition such as nutrition for kidney failure patient/ nutrition for cardiovascular disease patient etc.
Well, because it is cool to wear a white robe to help people at work everyday; because I love food and wants to know more about the food I consumed everyday; because I want a job where by I can face the crowd but not the square box of computer each day, I chose to be a dietitian. This is pretty much what I can think of now to why I want to be dietitian, and till now I am enjoying every single minute of my decision. Yes, I am very proud of what I chose to be, and I love it very much. :))