Hello! My name is Camaria. When Christabel first reached out to me to be featured it was around the time that I was finishing up my dietetic internship and preparing to take the RD exam. Truth be told, I’ve struggled with how to share my experiences as a person of color in the field of dietetics in a concise, honest, and meaningful way. Here’s an attempt:
When I first started my journey to become a dietitian in 2013, many people spoke of the challenges of getting matched and how difficult the major would be. To say that this journey to become a dietitian was ‘difficult’ would be an understatement. Beyond the difficulty of organic chemistry (which I’m sure we have all faced); the ‘difficulty’ I struggled with the most is becoming okay with “being the only one” and overcoming the microaggressions. I’ve wrestled internally with whether or not I belong in this space (dietetics). As a first-generation college student, learning to navigate the world of higher education was a challenge in itself. Moving into a major in which black students probably accounted for 1-2% at my institution was even more unsettling. Imposter syndrome was real! Early on, I felt very isolated until I found my ‘group’…even still I was the only black female. Reality set in one day when someone commented on people making everything about race. I became very aware of the privilege of some of my peers; both in-person and the social media community.
After undergrad, I anticipated matching to a combined MS/DI program. Although I didn’t match to an internship on that attempt, I did end up pursuing a master’s. After finishing my master’s, two years later I pursued a dietetic internship. Ultimately, had it not been for a GoFundMe I wouldn’t have been able to pay my internship tuition.
A total of seven years later, despite the highs and the lows, I am officially a dietitian. The odds were surely not in my favor, but I can say I made the most of what I had. More importantly, I asked for help in my lowest moments. In hindsight, this is the most financially and emotionally draining process, but I’m hopeful for the future. I love the work I do and so many people stand to benefit from our expertise.