The making of a dietitian

As I embark on this new chapter of my career I thought it would be fun to go back to the beginning. Despite having grown up in a health conscious family, teenaged Andrea would never have imagined that I would be getting paid to talk with people about food.


I'd love to be able to say that I enrolled in the degree misty eyed, with a noble intention of making the lives of others better. But that just wouldn't be true. With the belief that I was bad at science and no clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life (other than make enough money to support my equestrian obsession), during my final years of high school, I purposely selected humanities subjects (english, geography and history).


After high school I enrolled in a teaching degree in my home town. Was I wildly excited about becoming a teacher? Absolutely not.

But it did mean that I was able to keep riding while living at home. I finished that first year with great marks and even completed a practical placement which I didn't hate and at times even managed to enjoy.


Just after I finished this placement my family moved, meaning that I needed to transfer to the University of the Sunshine Coast. During the process of transferring I discovered that only two of the nine subjects I had completed would be credited at my new uni.


What was initially extremely frustrating turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It gave me the space to acknowledge that I absolutely didn't love teaching. You are probably still wondering how I went from not loving teaching to being a dietitian. Over that summer, I had been seeing a chiropractor for a mild scoliosis and was told that the white bread I was eating (which was a lot back then) was contributing to back pain. She provided a theory, which I won't go into now, as I am highly skeptical about its validity. However, I did start to feel generally better, this doesn't surprise me now given how much white bread I was eating at the time. It was this experience that sparked my interest in the way that the foods we eat can make us feel.


The next stumbling block was that the University of the Sunshine Coast had a rule that you could not transfer degree's until you had completed one year of study with them. What followed was a year of high stress and pressure as the dietetics degree at was popular and therefore had a high academic cut off. Hedging my bets I also put my name down to study Occupational Therapy. Fortunately, I did well enough in my subjects that I was accepted into the Nutrition and Dietetics course and haven't looked back since. Welllll... thats not quite true. After completing a gruelling six years at uni it took me well over seven months to secure my first locum contract at The Townsville Hospital - buts thats a story for another day.

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