By: Nora Minno, RD, CDN
These days it seems like people only share the high points. Whether it’s on social media, small talk in the hall with a colleague, or that holiday card your mom loves to send out, it’s like we’re sharing one long highlight reel of only the good stuff.
While I love the good stuff, I also love the stuff that makes us feel human — that makes us struggle and dig deep to really find out what we’re made of. It’s in the moments when we’re down that we’re forced to find our inner warrior.
I went to college to become a dietitian, so it seemed only natural that come senior year, I would apply for my dietetic internship. I aimed high and applied to several internships along the East Coast, but on that early day in April when several of my classmates were cheering over their acceptance e-mails, I found myself sitting in my room in front of my computer reading “We regret to inform you…”
I didn’t get matched. I was devastated. The past 4 years felt like a complete fail. My post-graduation plan was completely shattered and I left college with no job prospects and wondering, “what am I going to do?”
I moved to New York because, well, it seemed only logical that a jobless young graduate should move to the most expensive city in the country, right? I was determined though, to get some type of job and I just played the refrain in my head “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” Challenge accepted.
My first week in NYC, I printed out a dozen copies of my resume and made a list of businesses around my apartment that I would want to work at – I didn’t even know if they were hiring. One of the first buildings I went into was the Beth Israel Comprehensive Cancer Center. I walked in and asked if they were hiring any nutritionists. They said no, but said that I should meet their lead dietitian. She came out and after a brief chat, she ended up hiring me (unpaid) as an intern right on the spot. There began my clinical dietetics career.
The same day I walked down the street and saw a New York Sports Club. I was previously a dancer and loved fitness, so I walked in thinking, “hmm maybe I can get a job here too.” I asked the same question, are you hiring? The manager must have liked my fearless, go-getter attitude and told me that if I get my personal training certificate in 3 months, he’ll hire me. Another challenge accepted and there began my personal training career.
A few months passed, and while I was working long days with little pay, I loved it. I was working in NYC. Then, in late September, I got a call from my advisor at U of A. She told me that a spot for a dietetic intern opened at Stony Brook University on Long Island and that if I was interested I should call them right away. Call them I did. Within one week I had 4 interviews, gathered all my college and high school transcripts, filled out countless forms, and was told that Friday “you’re in, and you need to move to Long Island in a week.”
Move I did and despite all of the fears, doubts, and not knowing a soul out there, it was the best decision I ever made.
I ended up completing that internship 10 months later.
During the graduation ceremony, they started listing off the awards and calling up each recipient one at a time. Not expecting an award of my own, I cheered as my classmates went up to receive theirs and take a photo with the director. The time came to present the Directors Award, the final and highest award for the intern that demonstrated excellence in all areas of the internship. Much to my surprise, it was my name they were calling and it was me who was walking up to receive it. Me who didn’t get into my internship at first. Me who had no job prospects after college. Me who came late to the program and always felt like I did everything just a little different.
It was at that moment I felt like a true warrior. I fought from the bottom of the barrel, worked my butt off making little to no money all summer, getting no glory for many of the tasks and jobs I did, and there I was, being awarded for completing the task that seemed more than impossible 14 months prior.
I now live and work in New York City in a job, well jobs, I love, using both my nutrition and fitness expertise. Yes, there are a lot of days that are filled with the good stuff, but there are definitely days that I would not want to share on that highlight reel. But on those days when things get hard, I think back to that time when I moved to NYC, almost 9 years ago, with no money and no job and how my hard work, determination, belief in myself, and lots of good people in my corner got me through and made me a true warrior.
Nora Minno, is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Dietitian/Nutritionist, and NASM Certified Personal Trainer Based in New York, NY. Nora graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutritional Sciences and went on to complete her dietetic internship at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. Nora’s work and advice has been featured in several national publications such as Shape, Self, Women’s Health, and Daily Burn LIFE and she currently appears as a trainer on the Emmy-nominated web-based show, Daily Burn 365 and also serves as Red Bull’s Product Communications Manager. She was recently named the #5 fitness trainer to watch on Instagram in 2018 by Self Magazine. As a former professional dancer, Nora remains active in the New York dance community and also enjoys surfing, sailing, and cooking for friends and family! Follow her on Instagram and her website.
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