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Kayla VanBergen, '16

Kayla VanBergenUnfortunately for me, after I graduated from Indiana State, the studying did not stop.  I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics, but I had to take an exam to become a Registered Dietitian. I moved back home with my parents in Geneva, IL after graduation. After a month or two of job hunting, interviewing, studying, and cherishing what little “freedom” from adulthood I had left, I landed a job as a Clinical Dietitian at a hospital called Lakeland Medical Center in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.

Elkhorn is a town with about 10,000 people, surrounded by farms and farmland (every college graduates dream, right?) But, you take what you can get. This hospital is small- only about 50 beds, and come to find out, I would be the only dietitian working there. Not only would I be my own boss, but I was the only one representing an entire department, and to top it all off, I was moving to a new state, alone. Talk about frightening. So, I moved out of my parents’ house and found an apartment in a college town about 30 miles up the road, called Waukesha, WI. (Also about 30 miles from Milwaukee, so that’s a plus).

I took my registration exam in August, and with a sigh of relief, passed it to officially become a Registered Dietitian. My new job kept me busy. Not only was I seeing patients on the floor of the hospital, but I also saw patients who came in for nutrition counseling. My outpatient population ranged from diabetic patients, weight loss patients, patients needing to gain weight, patients with high blood pressure, etc., and patients who were getting bariatric surgery, which was an entirely new practice for me.

On the weekends, I began to explore my new home and what Wisconsin had to offer. I went on quite a few brewery tours and fell even more in love with craft beer. I ate a lot of cheese, and went to a few Brewers games, as well. Not to mention, I went to Summerfest for the first time and had a blast. I also found a yoga studio that I love. I became more and more comfortable with my new home and my new job, and I even started making adult friends. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of weekends I binged on Netflix, just like in college, but I did try my best to put myself out there.

Adulthood is a new concept. It’s challenging. It’s scary. It’s exciting. But stepping out of our comfort zones and accepting life’s curve balls are what help to shape us as individuals. I won’t stay here forever, but for a first step in my career as a Registered Dietitian and for a first step as an “official adult”, it’s a great place to start. I might be biased, but I think I’m doing rather well for myself post college graduation.

- Kayla VanBergen, 2016, Dietetics major with Spanish minor