I didn’t want to stay in my little bubble from high school and while the University of Maryland was an obvious choice, I didn’t really want to go that route. I got into Rutgers and earned acceptance into the Honors College. I went to their information session, really liked it, and became part of the inaugural class. The Honors College offered a lot of resources, from mentors, residence life staff, faculty members, and programs every night. Most of my friends I made during my freshman year were out of states students as well and I ultimately chose to become an Honors College community liaison.
On the Honors College…
Being an honors college community liaison…
Getting the position really opened a lot of doors for me and during my sophomore year I was able to get much more involved. As a community liaison I helped make sure upper class students stayed connected to the Honors College. I was also in charge in creating and running different programs and collaborated with my resident assistant (RA). I really started to love programming and I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed it until my sophomore year. I was also able to get more involved with the Residence Hall Association (RHA) and through them I was able to meet a lot of people from the leadership living-learning community.
Becoming an Resident Assistant (RA)….
The biggest factor in my decision to become an RA was that I had a really great RA during my sophomore year. Having someone who is really invested in all their residents’ lives and who goes out to their way to ensure they’re all happy and feel secure in their hall can make a powerful impact. I really wanted to make sure my residents had the same experience.
Being an RA…
All of my residents are really highly intelligent and really sociable. Whenever I interact with them, it’s always really fun and I enjoy spending time with them. It has been an amazing experience. When I first started I was really scared people would only look at me as an authority figure and less so as another student who was trying to help them on the way.
I have been able to connect with my residents on a really personal level. I don’t portray myself as perfect and as someone who has their entire life figured out. I think being able to show my residents that it is an ongoing process and there is no set path to follow helps. That’s something I share about myself and something I think they really connect with. Some of them are undecided and some go back and forth between different things that they want. I really want them to feel comfortable knowing that they might not know what exactly their future is.
During my first year, that was always something that I was really concerned about. I’d worry about what I was going to do after I graduate and I remember wanting to figure it all out right away, but that’s really not the case. Things change all the time. I want to make sure my residents understand that as well and that its okay to not know everything just yet.
On interest in nutrition…
In high school I was on the volleyball team and one of my coaches was diagnosed with Lyme disease. He told me he had to make a lot of dietary changes because of it since the food he intakes can affect how much energy he has and how he’s feeling overall. It was something he had to be really careful about after he was diagnosed. I’m interested in learning about how food intake can impact your body and how it changes when your body experiences new things.
I also used to work at Chipotle during high school. My manager was really passionate about clean eating and making sure everything was sustainable. One of the main things my manager wanted to focus on was changing the way people think about and eat fast food. That really resonated with me because I know there’s a huge stigma surrounding the fast food industry. I want people to know that just because its fast food it doesn’t have to be bad food. I want to start my own business, specifically a food chain, and I want to center my business around healthy eating that’s also quick because the American lifestyle is very fast paced.
This year I started a job as a student nutritionist. We write newsletters every week that go out to dining halls about healthy eating. We have nutrition booths every few weeks to interact with students and teach them about different aspects of health eating and what’s possible here in the dining halls. We also conduct research and just submitted our abstract to the Food and Nutrition Conference Expo (FNCE).
We were studying student perceptions on different types of fats and we had different sets of food items containing either: no fats, unsaturated fats, and saturated fats. We wanted to see what students thought were healthy and most of them chose the no fat option We really want to encourage the consumption of healthy fats which are really important for our body to function as far as absorbing fat soluble vitamins and other processes. We’d like students to not think about healthy eating as something that is non-fat, but something that includes healthy fats as well.