by Sarah Luna

This weekend was Parents’ Weekend so naturally every college and organization scheduled their big end of the year parties for those two days. I attended three.

First up was the Agriculture and Life Science Convocation. Nutritional Sciences, rather than go with the rest of the sciences, is in the College of Ag and Life Sciences along with Animal Science, Entymology, Ag Leadership and the like. A lot of belt buckles and boots. My advisors notified me that I was receiving the Senior Merit Award and should attend. I skip my morning Yoga class (luckily it wasn’t my day to teach), straighten my hair, and drive to the Briarcrest Country Club. I was a bit apprehensive since I was unescorted, but Kristin (my advisor) was waiting for me and showed me where the Nutrition people were sitting. Food was excellent: chicken parmesan, linguine with herbs, dinner rolls, and cheesecake. With a full plate, I sit down at a table and introduce myself. We had a good mix of majors and backgrounds, but as soon as I mention that I’m a Nutrition major, I get this look of concern. Which brings me to one of my pet peeves…

Woman: Oh so you’re a Nutrition major? Do you…is it hard for you to come to things like this that have…you know…good food?

Ok, I do not have an eating disorder. I do not shy away from “good food” . I simply appreciate what nutrients do to my body and thus have made it the focus of my studies. But as soon as I mention “nutrition”, everyone becomes aware of what I’m eating and what they’re eating. But of course I am polite and (while generously buttering my roll) reply: Oh no, I enjoy food just like everyone else.

After receiving my award, Poppy and Kristin ask for a picture of all the Nutrition students. I was surprised at how different we were. One girl was going to law school after graduation, one boy was pursuing his RD followed by medical school, and I’m going for my PhD. The president of the Nutrition and Dietetics Club was there too. He introduced himself to me with: “I always see you in my classes, but you’re always so quiet. I didn’t know you were at the top!” Made me smile.

Oh, lots of China people were there which surprised me. I got to see Blayne, Matt, Anna Lee, and Gabby.

Banquet #2 was at the Hilton that night. This was just the Nutrition and Food Science Department. I was seated next to Dr. Turner. She runs the Space Life Sciences program, so we had lots to talk about. I said hello to Dr. Lupton and her husband. Dr. Lupton was the keynote speaker that night. She gave an inspiration talk and shared her path to nutrition. One of her main points was to only take a job or a task if you were willing to give 110%. I needed to hear that because I definitely feel like I’m slipping up this last month. I was so glad to be able to talk with her and Dr. Kubena after and thank them both for all their encouragement over these 3 years. Dr. Lupton practically ambushed me with a letter of recommendation for Cornell. She was determined to see me into a PhD program even when I wavered. Dr. Kubena also offered a recommendation anytime I needed one.  I am so lucky to have had these two brilliant women as role models and mentors.

Banquet #3 was the ASPIRE Awards Banquet. This one wasn’t as meaningful to me because I had only given one year as opposed to four with nutrition. But it was good to see all the freshmen dressed up. I’ll see mine again Tuesday for our small group meeting.

That was my weekend. Sometimes it’s good to look back and appreciate what I’ve accomplished. But only briefly…there’s still so much more to do!