I’ll never forget the fire that was burning inside of me when I left a thesis meeting the spring semester of my freshman year. I had decided that a career in medicine was not where my heart lied, and I was going to pursue my passion for nutrition as a registered dietitian. I threw the money, status, and fame of a doctor out the window to do something I loved, and I couldn’t have been happier. The reality of working for my heart instead of simply working for money was a concept many of my friends and family did not understand, but my flame was too bright to extinguish.
Fast-forward two years, and I landed a nutrition assistant position with USF Dining’s registered dietitian, secured a path in an exercise science research laboratory, and made a plethora of graduate school connections. I even received a full-ride offer to one university without applying! By the fall of my junior year, I had quit my job as a nutrition assistant and began my own nutrition consultation and blog “Break Free Nutrition”. I was doing living my dream. Life couldn’t have been better, except for one small issue: developed Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) due to stress and lack of sleep stemming from the shear fact that I was spreading myself too thin. I had an excellent diet and exercise routine, which I thought were the keys to health. This clearly was not the case.
It was not until I was working with one of my clients that it became clear to me: health is so much more than eating chicken and broccoli. It’s more than running and lifting weights. Health is about the whole person. It’s about the mental, physical, and emotional aspects. A lapse in any one of these will surely bring you down, as my experience demonstrates. With this realization, I had a change of heart. While I still loved nutrition, I felt a deeper call to help people with their mental health as well.
On my blog, I began writing self-help articles instead of posting recipes. Nutrition advice soon turned into mental health awareness. I was unsure how people would receive this, but the comments poured in. People loved what I had to say, and they found it inspiring and helpful. Most importantly, it put a smile on my face to help people realize that caring for your whole body is the only way to true health.
Months of contemplation and deep thought has steered me to a future path in health psychology. I hope to attend graduate school to earn a PhD in clinical health psychology, so that I can assist individuals with chronic health issues in coping and inspire them to transform their lives. Whether they are recently diagnosed cancer patients, weight loss clients, or mentally affected individuals, I want to help them achieve their definition of happiness and wellness. It’s only when you pursue your goals that you will be happy and healthy. My goal is to show people this and give them purpose, just as they have done for me.