Personal Statement, Aquaponics, and Other Musings

Can I just say how STRESSFUL it is to put together the application for a dietetic internship?!

There are so many components: resume, cover letter, 3 letters of recommendation, all of your course history and GPAs, mailing your transcripts, describing your awards, activities, and achievements, ranking the programs you apply to, paying a buttload of money, and HARDEST OF ALL (IMO) is the personal statement. This application is the culmination of all I have been working on for the last five years and working toward for the last, well, 10 years or so of my life. The one document that makes the difference is the personal statement. Your personal statement is your time to shine (and basically gloat on yourself). You must make yourself stand out to through all these other applicants by making your personal statement stellar.

As a result, this basically makes me paralyzed. I am not a terrific writer. Sure I can write research reports and formal documents requiring absolutely no personality or voice at all. But making something interesting to read and stand out with a lot of voice? Not my expertise. You may be saying, “Why Caitlin, you’re doing a great job though on this here blog!”. And to you I say, NO. This is completely informal and stress-free. Very different 🙂

So the program I most would like to get into is the Montana State University program in Bozeman, MT. The reason for this is their focus on sustainable food systems. Yes, I want to be a Registered Dietitian but something I always KNEW I was going to include on my life was focusing on sustainable living. I was -THIS- close to getting a certification in Science, Society and Sustainability from TWU but decided it was too much coursework load.

I guess the reason I want to focus on sustainable systems is because it seems like our society is extremely inefficient the way we are run now. ESPECIALLY when is comes to food production and distribution. You’d think it would be easy to get healthy, fresh, REAL food to hungry people in need because where does food come from? From the ground, for free. Our gift from Mother Earth. But due to all the economics and politics etc etc, getting food to grow and out there is just so darn complicated. And it’s a damn shame because it shouldn’t be that way.

As a poor college student myself who knows how difficult it is to pay for fresh, healthy WHOLE foods, I understand the dilemma of those without much money to pay for healthy food. I can’t tell you how many times I have wished to be able to go outside “gathering” to collect wild food. Just think, what if fruit trees were most prominent and you could go anywhere and pick an apple when you were craving one (and maybe a few more to take home)? What if you could go outside to some local bushes and collect some wild growing berries? Or what if you had a community garden that you had to help out with regularly but got to collect free food from?

Do you know what aquaponics is? This is my favorite idea regarding sustainable food systems. Basically, aquaponics is the cultivation of fish and plants together in a constructed, recirculating ecosystem utilizing natural bacterial cycles to convert fish waste to plant nutrients. Here is a visual to make it a little more clear:

How cool is that? Completely sustainable, and cultivates both plant and animal food at once.

Here is a neat little at-home aquaponics system:

Anyway, my original point was that writing a personal statement is stressful because I feel like it has to be perfect.

Here is what I need to write for the Montana Dietetic Internship:

  1. Why have you selected a career in the field of dietetics?
  2. How does your background and experience strengthen your ability to succeed in the internship and the food and nutrition profession?
  3. State your professional goals: short-term (1-3 years) and longer (3-5 years).
  4. How will the MDI program help you achieve these goals?
  5. In your words how does a sustainable food systems background benefit a dietetic professional?
  6. Describe your potential to contribute to the profession of dietetics.
  7. Describe how you would be successful if working with rural and/or Native American communities in Montana.
  8. Address any weaknesses in your application.
  9. Why should you be selected as an intern for the MDI program.

A formidable list, indeed. Very important questions, very important answers. Since I am having trouble getting started, I decided I shall answer these questions over the blog, where it is easier to write, and converge them into a personal statement.

Wish me luck 🙂

Love to you all.

Personal Statement, Aquaponics, and Other Musings

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