Embracing Failure

Yesterday I got rejected. I opened my email and found out I did not get a writing position that I had wanted really badly. Immediately, my heart sank and I felt crushed. Rejection truly does sting. I was on campus having a pretty good day, but all of a sudden it was as if I resorted to age 7, where all I wanted to do was go home and crawl under the covers. Funny how a simple email could do that to a person.

I called my family and the BF and confided in them how crummy I felt. That helped a bit. However, I initially did not feel comfortable opening up about this rejection to anyone else. Isn’t it strange how we can’t wait to tell everyone the moment something good happens to us and we plaster our successes all over every social media outlet, but the second a failure happens, we close up? We keep failure within ourselves, or confined to a small circle of confidants. No one posts about a rejection on their Facebook status.

But we should. We should embrace the failure as a chance to grow. As a chance to get stronger. As a chance to become better.

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As the day went on, I began to count my “wins.” These are seemingly small things that sometimes get overlooked by the “losses” that seem humongous. A student went out of his way to tell me how much my review session helped him on the exam (win). I didn’t have to bike in the rain (win). I was having a good hair day (win). I needed to not allow this “loss” to make me lose sight of the “wins.”

I opened up about this rejection to my professor, my lab group, and my friends in my program. I was overwhelmed by the amount of support I received. The “loss” became a lot smaller as I changed my mental mindset to realizing not getting this opportunity was going to teach me more than actually getting the opportunity itself. I am embarking on a career path where rejections and failures are commonplace. I am no stranger to rejection, but embracing the failure is something my perfectionist self still needs to work on. Not getting this position doesn’t mean there’s something internally wrong with me, but just that I wasn’t the best candidate for the job. Now, I can work on becoming a stronger applicant for future endeavors.

I have a rejection to thank for that.

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Gaining Perspective

The nutrition world is funny. We are all trying to work towards an end goal of enhancing health, but the approaches taken to do so vary tremendously-it all comes down to perspective. Researchers sometimes adopt a different approach than health professionals. However, even within research, there are those focusing on the biochemistry and those working on the social aspects of nutrition. It is overwhelmingly fantastic how there are so many angles to view nutrition, but all these viewpoints can make the job of creating a healthy world challenging, since sometimes conflicting messages emerge. I am looking forward to the day where these different perspectives begin to come together. Until then, we have to be aware of the types of messages the nutrition world sends the public (check out that link to my latest blog post about nutrition messaging on the American Society for Nutrition blog).

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In other exciting news, the proposed Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) 2015 is now open for public comment. The major suggested change is to nix the cholesterol recommendation due to lack of supporting evidence. This is a big one! Hopefully the price of eggs doesn’t continue to climb after this…;). My personal favorite change is the recommendation for COFFEE!

For my program, we have to take a big oral exam the summer after our first year and present on a nutrition topic of our choice to an assigned committee of 3 faculty members. I did mine last summer and my topic of choice? Coffee, of course! Specifically, the impact of coffee on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Through my research, I learned there is certainly conflicting evidence out there for coffee’s benefit or risk to CVD risk. Some research suggests coffee may enhance insulin sensitivity (i.e. decrease risk of Type 2 Diabetes), while other research found that boiled/unfiltered coffee (i.e. my beloved french press coffee) increases blood cholesterol. The DGA is not saying there is a benefit to coffee drinking, just that around 3-5 cups of coffee a day can be a part of a healthy diet. So don’t adopt a coffee habit just because of this proposed recommendation. However, for the habitual coffee drinkers out there, rejoice!

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