Finding my passion

Hi everyone! I’ve been a bit MIA from the blog these past few days because I was back in London, Ontario for my graduation. It’s crazy that after six years, a what-am-I-doing-with-my-life crisis, and a program change, I finally have a Bachelors degree to my name.

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But this piece of paper represents so much more than just a degree to me.

It represents six years of hard work. Six years of turning down party invitations to study. Of countless hours spent in the library trying to find the perfect journal articles to cite in my paper. Of stressing out about deadlines.

It represents the culmination of all that hard work when I graduated at the top of my class and got carry the Brescia banner during Convocation.

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It represents finding independence.

It represents six years of friendships. Some permanent, some only fleeting. But all important.

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Me, Shannon, and Andrea at the Convocation lunch

It represents learning who I am and becoming comfortable with that person.

And most of all, it represents finding my passion.

Six years ago I started at The University of Western Ontario as a shy, self-conscious 18 year old who had only ever felt worthy when it came to her grades. I didn’t think I was cool enough to make new friends, or pretty enough to find a boyfriend, but at least I felt confident that I was smart.

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Me and one of my best friends Allyson on my 18th birthday

I went into Biomedical Science because, as someone with good grades, that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. But it made me miserable. I liked learning about organic compounds and cell biology – heck, I even liked solving complicated calculus problems. But I didn’t see the point of what I was learning, which scared me.

So in my third year I started exploring other options. I didn’t think I wanted to be a science nerd anymore, so I tried to figure out who I actually was. I pictured myself as a quirky artsy type, so I took a comparative literature class. Then I thought maybe I could be an argumentative, political type of person, so I took a law class. I had to continue taking a few science courses, so I took a physiology class too. And that’s where a spark was lit.

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Me and my roommates in the midst of my mid (academic) life crisis

I remember sitting through an endocrinology lecture where we were learning about the relationship between calcium, vitamin D, and the parathyroid gland. And all of a sudden I realized this was what I wanted to do. This is what fascinated me. It turns out I was still a science geek, but I was just learning about the wrong type of science!

So I abandoned my degree and enrolled in Nutrition and Dietetics the following year. This kind of decision was practically unheard of for me. I was never the type of person to step out of my comfort zone and make big, scary decisions like this. But this was one of the decisions I’ve ever made. A few weeks into my new degree I remember making pasta in the food lab after spending a lecture learning about the science of gluten and I thought to myself “This is where I belong”.

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I may have taken an extra 2 years to complete my degree, but it was entirely worth it. There were lots of potential barriers, like paying 2 more years of tuition, staying behind when all my friends graduated, having to make new friends, etc, but those are all just excuses. If you really want to do something, don’t let the excuses hold you back. Once you find your passion, just go for it!

And don’t be scared to lean on your family for support…

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Me and my grandparents

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Me and my parents

Put yourself out there and meet new people…

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Me and Laura, the first friend I ever made in my new program

Get involved and try out new things…

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Local food conference I helped organize for Nutrition Month

And have fun!

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Me and my sister

What did you learn in university?

51 Comments

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51 Responses to Finding my passion

  1. I love this post!!
    I didn’t realize that you were a biomedical science major before – I thought you were always a nutrition major but CONGRATS ON GRADATING! You are going to make one epic RD because you truly practice what you preach, which is what I love most about you/your blog.

  2. I’m so happy I’m not the only one to abandon her science degree. Although I’m only heading into my 2nd year, I’m happy that I did and now have time to pursue my dream, which involves business and entrepreneurship. I would love to weave nutrition in there somewhere, but unfortunately my university doesn’t offer that. I plan to get certified elsewhere in the future! Good for you for finding what you love and having the courage that not many people have. You are truly going far. I wish you well in all that you do, Chels!

    • That’s awesome that you switched into a program you’re happier in. I think it’s so much better to be a year or two behind now, rather than realizing 10 years down the road that we hate our career. Good luck in your new program! :)

  3. Aww love I’m so happy for you! I don’t think 2 extra years matter at all when you look at the perspective from your whole life ahead.

    I’m still thinking of what to study in University next year, and I am honestly pretty terrified of making the wrong decision!

    And you look amazing btw!

  4. Congrats! Top of your class- impressive! I had a very different college experience. I switched my major as well but I did it to graduate early. I only spent a little over 3 years in school and to be honest it isn’t really a big part of my life. The best thing that came from college (other than friends) is my current job- I started working there as a student when I first arrived in my new city and I’ve been there ever since, with lots of promotions along the way :-)

  5. This is SUCH an awesome and inspirational post, CHelsea! Even though I don’t know you in person, I am SO proud of you :)! Congratulations on graduating and going with your gut. Taking risks are scary but you are proof that they can lead to great things! I can’t wait to see how you put your degree to use!

  6. Congratulations Chelsea! Dietetics is a crazy hard major to get through. You should be super proud!

  7. Aww, love this post! Congratulations on your accomplishments.

  8. Congratulations Chelsea! Such a huge accomplishment! You will do great things with your degree as I can tell it is truly your passion. Cannot wait to here more about what your future plans are. :)

  9. You are such an inspiration to so many when it comes to following your heart and passion. I am so happy that you have found yourself in the process of earning your degree. Congratulations on graduating at the top of your class. You did it. I cannot wait to see where your life as an RD takes you. The journey you took to earning your degree has shaped you into an incredible person and I can tell that you are a very mature young lady and probably able to handle life situations more eloquently than most students. Congratulations! Hooray!

  10. A HUGE congrats, Chelsea :D It’s so inspiring to hear about people following their passions despite all the hardships that might arise, and I think that you’re going to make an amazing RD because it’s so easy to see that your heart is really in it. You’ve also got the unique experience of having overcome your own struggles with food, which is an invaluable asset when it comes to helping others overcome theirs.

  11. Congrats my dear! It’s incredible that you decided to follow your dreams and pursue what you really love, despite the implications it had (extra years, extra tuition). You should be incredibly proud of yourself! Anyone I know that’s looking for an RD, I will of course be pointing them in your direction soon. <3

  12. CONGRATS CHELSEA! This is so exciting – and it makes me so happy to hear that you’ve really found your passion. I learned quite a few lessons in college, and unfortunately I haven’t really found my passion. I have found what it is NOT, but unfortunately it was too late for me to change my degree. There wasn’t any other course of study I could change to and still graduate in 4 years – and I was already so burnt out on school that I didn’t want to take a few extra years.

    I plan to go more into detail about this on my blog at some point (she says, a month after graduation…). Yay! Time for real life now!

  13. I’m SO excited and proud of you Chelsea! This post made me smile so much!
    It’s amazing you went with your dreams even though there were some tough times and moments. You must be so proud!
    You’re going to be such an amazing RD! All your informative posts always inspire me.
    And I can always feel your passion in your work.

  14. Awww, congratulations!! So happy for and proud of you!

  15. kimathungryhealthygirl

    What an awesome and truly inspiring post!! Way to go for seeking out your passion and going after what makes you happy! Congrats!

  16. Oh my goodness, love!! Congratulations on such an amazing journey thus far!! I love that you had the faith in yourself to take a risk and that it ended up paying off so well for you!! I can’t wait to see what you do next :)

  17. thehonoursystem2013

    Nice work! I’m a bit older than you but can totally relate with the confusion of finding your passion…I’ve changed my mind numerous times on ‘what I want to be when I grow up’ because I wanted to find something I truly enjoyed. I have also found my calling in the nutrition field and am now studying to be a RHN (registered holistic nutritionist) and finally feel I’m on the right path.
    All the very best to you for the future:)

  18. HUGE CONGRATS Chelsea!! It takes some serious courage to jump into an entirely new study/career path midway through school, especially when it involves switching departments, taking extra years, making new friends etc – but you did it and obviously came through on top and ready to take on the nutrition world! SO happy for you and proud of you :-) I definitely went through a similar experience – I was pre-med up until senior year of college and then I realized 1. I didn’t want to be a doctor and 2. even if I wanted to, my grade/MCAT/extracurricular combo did not = med school admission lol. It was tough to admit to myself and I’ve spent the last 3 years (though I still graduated with a degree in biology, which I loved!!) trying to figure out what I want for a career. Now I finally feel comfortable with and excited about physical therapy – it’s going to take me five years, I won’t be a D.PT till 2018, but it’s SO worth it!

    • Thank you so much Kate! Haha I went through the same problem – I was like “Ok, I’m in a program that is meant for going into the medical field… but labs bore me and the idea of blood makes me want to faint. Probably not the best career path for me…” lol. I’m so happy that you’re now headed towards a career that you love too! :D

  19. First of all, congrats!!! SO happy for you. You will be amazing at what you do :) Also, it makes me feel so much better because I was a third year and JUST switched completely from journalism to exercise science. Scary, but I have a feeling it’s going to be worth it! :D

  20. This was SUCH a great post!! You did it!! And 6 years was totally worth it to get where you wanted to be!! And you are pretty awesome ;)

  21. this is so exciting and such an amazing point in your life. I can’t wait to see how far you go from here! because it will be so far.

  22. That’s amazing that you’re at the top of your class! All that hard work paid off, girl! It’s also great that you feel like you graduated from the right program and you’re following your dream. I know so many people who switched programs, but they were so much happier in the end. xoxo

  23. P

    Congrats Chelsea! You worked hard and am so glad you were able to come out happy with what you’ve accomplished :)

  24. Yay Chelsea, congrats! It is always exciting to have the accomplishment of graduating, and looking back on all that has happened. When I graduated last year I found it exciting to think about the whole next chapter yet scary to think about what I was leaving behing. Congrats on the incredible accomplishment!

  25. I loved our email when we talked about your journey to dietetics! Girl your passion is something rare in this world and I hope you truly realize how amazing you are! Graduating top of your class? AMAZING! I am so glad you found something you love because turning down parties to study is never fun, but it is worth it if you get to do something else you love in the long run!

  26. I absolutely LOVED this, Chelsea! I can definitely feel the passion behind your writing…in this post and in all your others! This is what you were meant to do for sure! I remember not having a CLUE as to what I wanted to major in when I was in college. I thought I would have PLENTY of time to find myself and discover my calling but then, in my sophomore year, I felt the pressure to decide. I knew if I didn’t chose a path then that I would be there longer than four years. Luckily, I chose right! Honestly though, I don’t think it was until I declared my major in radiologic technology (sounds so much smarter than just saying x-ray, huh? ;)) and started in my first anatomy and physiology class that I actually realized how much I loved biology and learning about the human body. It really is amazing how everything works synergistically to move us through each day, isn’t it?

    You look amazing in your graduation pictures…your GLOWING!! :D

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