7 Useful Resources I Use as a Dietetics Student

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In an ideal world, you’d have all the time in the world to study, a few tutors and direct access to your teacher. But, you’re changing careers and time is sadly sparse.

 

Unless you have the best textbook and lecture notes in the world, you’ll need some outside resources to survive your career change and become a nutrition professional.

 

Here is a list of 7 resources that will make your time as a nutrition student easier.

Let’s get started.

 

Math and Science

Being a nutrition major means doing a lot of math and science. If you’re like me and don’t consider yourself good at either, this is alarming.

 

You can do it though. Decide you’re going to be good at these subjects. Or at least good enough to pass (No one passed organic chemistry thinking they couldn’t do it).

 

Setting realistic expectations of yourself is crucial. For me, getting a B in chemistry is my goal because I have to put a lot more effort into it than I would a writing class. I would happily write 5000 words a day over doing 20 chemistry problems.

 

But, I’m not a writing major. I’m a nutrition student. Like you.

 

So, after you set realistic goals, practice your math skills. Math is the foundation of your science courses, so if you’re struggling with math, you’ll struggle with it all.

 

I learned this the hard way because I didn’t take math before I jumped into chemistry. Then, I quickly realised I had to double my study time learning both chemistry concepts and the math to do them. General chemistry 1 was a speed bump, but I made it through.

 

Chemistry is taught with the idea that you understand basic algebra. Although some schools let you take chemistry and your math course at the same time.

 

Gen. chem 2 is a different story. Someone once said to me “it was like being in an advanced math class disguised as a science). They were right. In the first few chapters on kinetics, collision theory and equilibria, you put your math skills to work.

 

Resources for Math and Science

 

How do you pass general chemistry? Use the right resources. My top two resources for studying math and science have been YouTube and Khan Academy. These have been absolute lifesavers.

 

YouTube Channels for General Chemistry 1, 2 and Math:

 

  1. The Organic Chemistry Tutor: I watch this guy’s videos for almost everything. He covers both math and chemistry from beginner level through organic chemistry.

His videos are my go to when I don’t know how to solve practice problems because he has good explanations. There are few topics where the explanation is shaky, but for the most part, this guy knows chemistry.

 

He also has a practical approach. He gets straight to the point and tells you what you need to know. Then, he solves a lot of practice problems with you. I find that helpful because chemistry problems are always moving variables around.

 

I struggle to do that successfully.

 

For example, if the example problems ask me to find the concentration, I can do that. When the practice problems suddenly wants the volume and I have to move the formula around, I don’t know what to do.

 

So, this guy’s videos have been incredibly helpful. He covers the whole problem step-by-step. Shows you how to move things around and identify key information.

 

You can find in-depth videos on specific topics or watch his hour-long reviews. He has a complete 2-hour review for gen chem 1, gen chem 2 and algebra that are useful for final exams.

 

2. Tyler DeWitt: Tyler’s videos are great for gen chem 1. They give a digestible overview of concepts and he walks you through some problems.

Here is an example of how he covers topics.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxebQZUVvTg

 

3. Wayne Breslyn: Balancing equations and Lewis structure were deceptively easy for me. The concepts were straight forward. Executing them was a different story.

I used this channel for balancing equations and for Lewis structures.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmdxMlb88Fs

 

Khan Academy

 

Have you ever sat in a lecture and thought, “why can’t my teacher just explain this in a simple way?” The Khan Academy heard you and made you a bunch of videos. The cover entire units piece by piece so you have a thorough understanding of a topic.

 

I watched a few of their videos when I took gen chem 1. Now that I’m in gen chem 2, I watch them all the time.

 

I cannot imagine being a nutrition student before the Internet or Youtube. Reading about solving a problem confuses me. I need to see it solved and the steps in action.

 

Writing

 

What does writing have to do with nutrition? Everything. We are supposed to leave university with solid writing skills, critical thinking and knowledge about our major.

 

Prepare yourself to churn out thousands of words as a nutrition student.

 

Good writing is a process, and here are some resources to make that process easier.

 

Top Writing Resources for Nutrition Students

Citethisforme.com

Citethisforme.com: MLA, APA, AMA…these are all citation styles! Welcome back to university and cite all your sources with one of these styles.

 

Nutrition students generally use AMA, although always check with your teacher first. They might ask for a different style. I personally have used AMA and APA in my classes.

 

When in doubt, ask which style to use.

 

I use Citethisforme.com to generate my reference list citations because manually formatting every reference list entry is not a productive use of my time.

 

Don’t make your life harder than it is. Use the tools available to you. After using this citation generator, you can check them against Purdue Owl’s guidelines to ensure everything is correct.

 

I admit, I only do this when I first start using a reference style and then never again, but cover your bases.

 

Purdue Owl has a thorough overview for different citation styles and formatting guidelines.

 

Grammarly and Hemmingway app

 

These online tools are like spell check with an upgrade.

Grammarly

I haven’t used Grammarly before, but it’s the talk of the town in my writing groups. It helps with editing your paper for accuracy and clarity. It will check errors like a basic spell checker and it then suggests ways to improve your writing.

 

If you need to write something assertive, it will highlight your use of passive voice. And when your academic sentences get long and complex, it will suggest a clearer version.

 

Download it as a plugin for Chrome (or whatever browser you use) and use it for assignments, emails or anything else you write.

 

Good writing isn’t supposed to be complicated. That includes academic writing.

 

Hemmingway App

Hemingway app is similar and it’s the online tool I use. You can download the desktop app for a fee or use the free online editor.

 

I write my essays and blog posts in Google docs first. I copy and paste the text into the Hemmingway app and edit it within the app.

 

 

Screen Shot 2020 10 25 at 1.50.33 PM

 

I edit differently depending on whether I’m editing my essay for class or a blog post. I get rid of all “very hard to read sentences” in my blog posts and decide on a sentence-by-sentence basis in my academic papers.

 

Those complex noun phrases are called “complex” for a reason. They are also considered “good academic writing”.

 

For school, I limit my use of adverbs and passive voice as much as possible. Academic writing does require some use of passive voice and hedging language (like could, may, might, potentially). However, we only want to use this type of writing when it’s necessary otherwise our position is weak and we sound like we’re not confident.

 

Grammarly and Hemmingway app can give you an idea of where your writing is at, which is useful to know. You can’t fix what you don’t know is a problem.

 

One drawback to Hemmingway is that it doesn’t look at the overall structure. I’m not sure if Grammarly does, although I doubt it.

 

If you have difficulty structuring your writing, go to your university’s writing center. They have writing counselors who can walk you through the writing process and figure out how to present your ideas in a logical way.

 

Staying Organized as a Nutrition Student

My biggest challenge as a career-changing nutrition student is staying organized. Planners, spreadsheets, apps–I’ve tried it all.

 

Organization and time management are skills I constantly need to work at because I’m not organized by nature.

 

I like the idea of being organized, but ideas aren’t the same as being organized. My best advice is do what works for you because at the end of the day, it’s all about you. Also, learn this early. You’ll be a nutrition student for 3-4 years depending on your program.

 

Your life will be more manageable if you get and stay organized in your first semester back in school.

 

Online Organization Tools

 

Excel/Google Sheets

The tried and trusted spreadsheet. It has served me well.  I consider it a staple in my effort to be organized. This is a screenshot of my Google sheets I use to keep track of my tasks.

 

Screen Shot 2020 10 25 at 2.41.10 PM

 

I tried some pre-made template planners, but I spent more time trying to figure them out than using them. I like simple and easy-to-use organization methods.

 

I have a system. All of my commitments go at the top so I have a clear overview of what I’m working on this month. Below, I list my weekly tasks. At the end of each day, I color-code each task. Green for finished and orange for in progress.

 

This system helps me reflect on what I’m doing and how I’m spending my time (ie: too much on work or not enough time studying). I put both personal, school and work tasks on this sheet so I don’t forget anything and I remember to balance my life.

 

Since the start of the pandemic, I could work morning to night and not even bat an eye. That’s not how I want to live my life though, so I put my “other” tasks on there to do things for my personal life.

Like read. Get a haircut. Exercise. Those things.

Get my template here if this system works for you.

While I love my spreadsheet, it’s missing one thing–reminders. That’s why I’ve recently switched to using tool #2.

 

ClickUp

ClickUp is a project management tool. I started using it for my freelance scriptwriting and copywriting projects, but I realize I can use it for everything.

 

My life feels like a project, so I think it’s fitting. ClickUp was recommended to me because it’s like using a spreadsheet with reminders. How perfect!

 

There are pre-made templates you can use, or you can create your own. Basically, it can be as simple or complex as you want it. I appreciate that kind of flexibility in organization tools, so I gave it a try. So far, I love it. There are some tweaks I need to make to my lists, but I’m switching to ClickUp to organize my life.

 

I have a “list” for each project I work on. Right now, I only have my work-related tasks. I’ll be adding one for my school-related tasks soon.

 

Screen Shot 2020 10 25 at 2.54.03 PM

 

Inside of each list, you have a “to-do list”. Type in the task, set a due date and you’re done!

 

Screen Shot 2020 10 25 at 2.51.07 PM

 

I highly recommend ClickUp to any entrepreneur or freelancer who is studying at the same time.

 

Takeaway

Being a second career nutrition student comes with its challenges. Use the resources that will make your life easier. To recap:

  • For self-studying math and science, use YouTube or Khan Academy.
  • Practice your writing skills and edit with Grammarly or Hemmingway App.
  • Learn to get organized and stay that way. Use whatever methods work best for you and whatever you can reference often. If that’s a spreadsheet, you can try my template here.
  • Online tools like ClickUp might be better if you’re juggling a lot of projects. Or, you want some added organizational features, like reminders.
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