International Womens Day
As its International Women's Day today I thought would use this opportunity to write about my career journey in nutrition, including where it all began, and where I am now. Hopefully I can use this platform to show young people that there can be careers (particularly in science) opportunities no matter how difficult, or challenging this can be. Sometimes you might want a career somewhere, but find actually you are better of somewhere else; but there are transferable skills to enable us to get there as well.
When I was growing up ( about 7 years old) I always wanted to be a Nurse. Career in nursing (and I still feel the same way) is very rewarding, supporting people to be well again, and get back on their feet. When I was 17 I had the opportunity to do volunteering at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead Heath. I used to be on the infection wards, speaking to patients with HIV and AIDS. Whilst I was there I was speaking to Nurses, and they told me that it is long hours, plus they have to do night shifts. That unfortunately put me off. I was 17 at the time, and I love sleeping (and still do now especially at the weekends!!) so the thought of working at nights did not appeal to me. Looking back I am glad that I really took the effort to make sleep a priority over the last 20 years, as sleep is very important, especially regarding our mental health. Anyway i am digressing now ha ha. So I then had to research other careers. I was then doing AVCE science at the time at college (I did not pass my A-Levels, so was offered to do that course, it is equivalent to 2 A Levels) my tutor and I were discussing career options. I told him about wanting to become a Nurse, but the night shifts put me off. He then suggested a Dietitian or a Nutritionist. I replied to him that I had never heard of that career. He then advised to research it. I spent that afternoon in the library looking into what they are, career opportunities, earnings, where they work, how to get there. I then decided after investigating that this is what I wanted to do. Also my mother recently passed away of heart issues, so that also influenced me to learn about food and nutrition. I worked hard and got my AVCE Science, plus an A Level in English Literature. I then went to Liverpool John Moores University, which is a brilliant university, including new friends, tutors were amazing, couldn't be any more happier, and would strongly recommend going there. I got a degree in Nutrition. Something which I am proud of now, as I was the first person in the family to go to university, and get a degree.
After that I got a job in the NHS Public Health Team, promoting healthy lifestyle to the community. I did that for 5 years, which I thoroughly enjoyed. After that due to personal reasons I left that role, and went online to promote nutrition there. I have been online now for the last ten years. You can see my previous work here on my blog, just have a look.
I have also recently taken the role of becoming a STEM Ambassador. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. These careers are often low in regards to people taking this on as a career. I want to change these ideas, and encourage young people to think about this as a career option. I go to schools, and talk about my career, but also inspire them to think about science as a career. Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, is all out there, is just that we need to find this. This is why I go into schools to promote this, and raise awareness. In particular Women. I want to inspire women to see this as a career opportunity. A prime example of Women in science is the film Hidden Figures. Three black women mathematicians (as we all know are under represented) were involved in making sure that the spaceship went into orbit in the 1950's. I would strongly encourage you to watch this film, its brilliant. Plus I am a huge fan of Taraji P Henson!!
So I want to finish this post by writing that wherever you want to go, make sure you research the career, see if there are any opportunities to do work experience, and finally there are other ways to achieve that career, without going to university. University is not for everyone!
Happy International Women's Day!!