Reflections of an Online Student: My First Grad Course

Crystal Dee author of this post and online student in the Master of Science in Applied Nutrition program at UNE Online

Crystal Dee, author of this post, and online student in the Master of Science in Applied Nutrition program at UNE Online

For a while now I have known that {for me} going back to school was absolutely necessary. It took some time to get to the point where I was comfortable pulling the trigger and picking a program. It also took a lot of soul searching. I looked at topics everywhere from Psychology/Counseling to an MBA. Nothing really seemed to fit.

That is until my love for health and nutrition seeped into my work life. From scratch, I started our company’s first step challenge. We did a trial run in our office and it really took off. There were “walking meetings” and “walking lunch breaks” taking place. All so their team could achieve the most steps and so that they had an excuse to get up from their desks! After the step challenge was over, I received so many wonderful emails telling me how it positively affected their lives. One woman even lost 20 pounds. My heart was full and I was just so happy.

That’s when I started doing some research on becoming a wellness professional. In that, I found the University of New England {and their online program}. The process of applying to the program was straightforward. There were some requirements like an undergraduate degree and some experience in the field was recommended. I soon found out that I was accepted, so I bought a new laptop and celebrated.

My first class Trends and Issues in Nutrition and Global Food Systems started in August of this year. The class was a really great introduction to the world of nutrition {which is a whole lot bigger than I realized}. I was also instructed on how to interpret MEDICAL scholarly journal articles, which was new to me since my Undergrad degree is in Criminal Justice.

I studied the historical background of the USDA and the FDA and how they both influence our general health guidelines. I also gained a better understanding of the various types of relationships that we as people have with food. Since the beginning of time, food has transformed into more of a luxury than something we were just grateful to be able to find on any given day. This has really skewed our basic understanding of food and where it falls in line with our health.

“You are what you eat”

Online grad courseAnd boy is that ever true. The biggest lessons that I learned in this course is that when it comes to food, DO YOUR RESEARCH. Don’t fall for the marketing that big food companies throw at you.

“Low fat”

“Low sugar”

“Sugar free”

“Cholesterol free”

It’s all nonsense. It’s okay to be that person in the food aisle that reads all the labels. It’s your right. What you put into your body is YOUR decision. So why not execute that right by being more selective with what you allow yourself to eat?

The two biggest assignments we had {but not the ONLY two assignments}, were a position paper and a blog post based on our position paper. One of the things I really enjoyed was having to write a blog post that translated scholarly medical research into language appropriate to a more beginner audience. In other words, to an audience who don’t have multiple degrees in the medical field! My position paper was on a topic that I really enjoyed and wanted to research further. It was a great way to learn more about something I already wanted to gain knowledge about and THEN write about in a blog post!

If you’re considering the idea of going back to school, I would definitely pursue it. Online programs are a great option if you are a working professional.

Crystal Dee is a student in excellent standing in UNE Online’s Master’s of Science in Applied Nutrition Program.

Get more info on the Applied Nutrition program!

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