A Day in the Life of a Dietetic Intern from Cal Poly State University

Hello, world! I’m Joyce, a University of Vermont alum and current dietetic intern at Cal Poly SLO. A dietetic internship is a required step in the process of becoming a registered dietitian. It’s comprised of over 1200 hours of supervised practice at various rotation sites. I spend Mondays in class with the other interns; the rest of the week we work at different rotation sites in the area.

I’m currently at my second community rotation where I’ll be spending four weeks with my preceptor, Melissa, the nutrition program manager at the SLO Food Bank. It’s only been a week, but I love it already. Every day is exciting and different. My very second day was action-packed.

Here’s a taste of what it’s like as a dietetic intern!

6:15 AM: My alarm rings, I hit snooze about 3 times, and eventually roll out of bed. Breakfast is the usual: two fried eggs, salsa, spinach, and cheese in two corn tortillas. I guzzle down a healthy dose of cold brew (black) and saunter out the door.

7:30 AM: I arrive at work. This morning, I’m going on a home delivery route with Chuck. The Food Bank has a small home delivery program for people with limited mobility. We deliver groceries to those on the program every Wednesday. I search for Chuck to the best of my ability. (We’ve actually never met and I’ve never seen a photo of him.) As I’m walking towards the loading docks, a red pickup truck parks nearby. A tall man wearing a GleanSLO baseball cap steps out and asks if I’m Joyce. We found each other! Chuck and I head into the warehouse to make sure that we have everything we need and load up the pickup truck.

8 AM: We hit the road! The radio’s on, the windows are down, the truck bed is filled with good food, and we’re chatting away. There are many stops, but Chuck’s a pro – he’s worked with the Food Bank for years. At each stop, Chuck parks the truck, we hop out, get together the bags of groceries, walk up to the door, chat with the recipient, ask them to sign their initials, and head back out. It’s a wonderfully positive experience. Most people are truly grateful and there is no shortage of smiles and laughs.

11:30 AM: Chuck and I get back to the Food Bank. We unload the truck and part ways. I head upstairs to tell Melissa all about my experience. Then, I work on my ECHO nutrition education project as I eat lunch.

1 PM: Melissa and I leave for a Children’s Farmers Market in Paso Robles. It’s a bit of a drive, but I relish the opportunity to get to know Melissa better. She’s an incredible person and we have a lot in common. We talk about life, running (one of her passions), craft beer (a mutual passion), and more. We arrive in Paso with a mystery box and various produce as the nutrition activity. The concept is simple: hide an item in the closed box and ask the kids to guess what it is by feeling it. The kids can’t get enough!

3 PM: We get back to the Food Bank. I work on some food safety flyers until it’s time to head home. Graphic design is a newly discovered interest of mine, so I jump at any chance to work on flyers or brochures. Making bold, eye-catching graphics with cohesive color schemes is oddly satisfying. Plus, the perfectionist in me loves making sure that every text box, border, and image lines up seamlessly.

4 PM: I drive home with a big smile on my face.

Thanks for reading! I look forward to seeing what other adventures I’ll have during my time here.

– By Joyce Huang, Dietetic Intern, Cal Poly SLO