Thoughts on Change

Hello, sorry it’s been a little while! I have been busy living and adjusting to my new life as a social work graduate student at VCU. So much has changed in the last two months and I haven’t been able to sit down and put it on paper. Shaking up my life and my career was the best decision I have made in a long time.

grad friends

(bits and pieces from life lately)

I was in a job that did great work, but I never felt fulfilled. The environment wasn’t healthy for me and I felt like all my hard work in school wasn’t being used the way I wanted it to. It started to eat at my confidence and I never quite felt good enough. When I would mention my frustrations to people, they would say things like “welcome to the real world” or “a job will always be just that, a job” or “join the club”. Despite graduating from UMD with honors in nutrition science, matching the first round for a dietetic internship, passing my RD exam, and obtaining a respectable job with a good salary and benefits, I always felt inadequate. Many people just accept 8 hours of unhappiness in exchange for a decent salary and health benefits and I get it. That is the society that most of us find ourselves trapped in. Sometimes we have other goals or responsibilities beyond our career that make the sacrifice to change  a lot harder, all of us have different challenges, but all of us all have choices.

“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” -Alan Cohen

I’ve always been passionate about food and nutrition and helping people create and restore healthy relationships with food and I am finally in a position where I get to do that. I am excited to go to my classes, to go to my internship, and when I get home, I find myself researching things still on my mind from my internship. Originally, I chose to get a graduate degree in social work because I wanted counseling skills and an in-depth knowledge of theories like cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotherapy. I wanted a license in clinical social work so that I could understand the behavior behind food choices. I still want those things, but what I didn’t anticipate getting was an in-depth knowledge of society and poverty and how environments disproportionately impact health and wellbeing. I didn’t anticipate being inspired in my classes and getting to turn right around and use that motivation for action the next day in my internship. It sounds cheesy, but I really feel that way. I’m working obese children many of which have never known what if feels like to go for a walk and not get out of breath, there are no grocery stores near their homes, and many can’t identify vegetables in their natural forms. They are teaching me to be a better person and clinician every day. Putting back on the intern hat and burying myself in debt is worth every step back I have to take before I can jump forward.

This time last year I sat up at night researching graduate programs, emailing people in psychology and social work fields and most importantly admitting to myself I was unhappy. Being unhappy is not something you have to accept and it’s not a normal symptom of grown-up life. There are people that will tell you to deal with it or try to normalize it, don’t listen to those people.

steve jobs great work


And if you haven’t listened to this speech you should…just saying…

“You cannot connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever, because believing they connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path and that will make all the difference.” 


Sorry, I’m done with my rant and Jobs obsession for the moment.I promise to make an effort to be more present in this space if you keep reading!


  1. Joyce Bortnick says

    Fantastic analysis Amy. As always I ‘m so proud of you. You are embarking on a fabulous opportunity to do something meaningful that “rings your Bell.” That could never be a mistake. Your passion and energy are inspiring. What a fabulous year you are having.

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