I started off as a Pre-Med Student at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) because I thought I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up. Around my sophomore year I decided to compete in Miss El Paso USA. It was then that I first stepped foot in a gym and worked out consistently and began eating healthier. It felt great to be moving and being active again and I experienced first-hand the role nutrition played in living a healthier lifestyle. This great experience sparked a little excitement inside of me and I decided I wanted to become a dietitian.
At UTEP, a nutrition degree was not offered at the time so I decided to switch my degree to Kinesiology: Exercise Science with a minor in General Business. I fell in love with fitness and how our bodies are meant to move. Shortly, before graduating l looked further into Dietetics. I convinced my parents to let me move out approximately 18 hours away to Manhattan, KS.
About a year before making the big move, I made sure to ask around and research this study of Dietetics. I met with the sports dietitian at UTEP, a clinical dietitian in a dialysis center and a professor who did a little bit of everything from teaching at the college level, worked at a rehabilitation center and the WIC program. I also took a couple nutrition courses that were offered to make sure this was something I wanted to pursue. After all, this was going to be a major yet exciting change in my life.
Once I obtained my degree in Kinesiology I decided to one day become a registered dietitian so that I could later make a business of offering not only fitness services but nutritional services as well. First I had to accomplish smaller goals along the way. I became a certified in personal training and later a group fitness instructor. Another short-term goal was to apply for a job related to nutrition. I worked at Mercy Regional Health Center for over two years where I received experience in food service and clinical nutrition. A short-term goal I have yet to accomplish is to obtain a certification as a health coach so that I can have more experience in dealing with clients’ fitness and nutrition goals.
I have learned throughout my life that things don’t always happen like we may plan them. I thought I would come to K-State and graduate in two years. While studying here I have had financial issues, time management issues, learning how to cook and being on my own for the first time and still try to achieve another degree. There have been times where I almost gave up and decided to go back home or move in with my sister in Kansas City or just work to be able to make enough money to feel safe and pay for rent. Being independent was all new to me but I made it happen. I worked hard, because that’s how much I want a future in fitness and nutrition.
Over the years I have learned to make the most out of a situation because things may not go as planned. Working at the hospital, that was a common occurrence and I feel like me living on my own and my position as a nutrition assistant at the the hospital has prepared me to be able to handle difficult situations when they arise. It has helped me to think on my feet when things don’t go as planned and make the most out of a situation. Be being president several campus organizations from League of United Latin Americans (L.U.L.A.C.) to Sensible Nutrition and body image Choices (S.N.A.C.) I have gained leadership skills and communication skills.
Taking on a huge load is perhaps a great weakness. I want to do it all and be a part of it all. But I have learned to cut back on some things and be involved in what will help me in my future. I have had trouble with time management and find myself continuously working to improve it. I have noticed that I just need a lot of things to do to keep me engaged and moving but not too much that I overwhelm myself and burn myself out. Scheduling clients for personal training has helped me better improve my time management.
With all the stress of being a student and working full-time I try to take a break and visit my sister and her family when I can. I have already influenced them to eat healthier and be more active but I want to do more. It breaks my heart to see some of my family members be overweight and not being able to last through one Zumba song. I want to be a better influence for them and others so that they can truly live their lives to its full capacity regardless of their age. I want to help them understand that they have the power to make a lifestyle change and with my background in fitness and nutrition I know I can help.
While at Kansas State University, working full-time as well as part-time, and being active in organizations I have learned so much and met so many people. I have gained skills and experiences that I never would’ve experienced if I never made the big move on my own. There may not be enough hours in a day to do it all but I still make time to stay fit and eat as healthy as I can. That’s my passion. I hope to continue to share my passion with others as I become a proud graduate of Kansas State University.