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Entering the world of nutrition after graduating

Written by Endeavour College of Natural Health | Thursday, 5 May 2022

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Leilani – known as Lani to most – is an accredited Nutritionist (BHSc) passionate about teenage/adolescent health and female wellbeing. She graduated from Endeavour in 2020, having studied her Bachelor of Health Science in Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine (full-time) straight after high school.

Located in Cronulla, Sydney, she offers in-person and online consultations at her By Lani Nutrition Clinic and frequently visits schools for nutrition talks, as well as doing group workshops and cooking sessions. She also previously worked as the Nutritionist and Content Creator at SWIISH, a leading Australian wellness and lifestyle brand. Today, she shares her journey into the world of post-grad nutrition and what it’s like to navigate the ever-growing health industry.

How did your time at Endeavour prepare you as you transitioned into your career?

Going from student life to work-life can be a tough transition. The whole I-now-have-a-degree-and-am-a-full-time-adult notion is scary – especially if it’s your first time entering the industry. For me, starting my degree straight after school meant I had only ever done part-time work. I’m sure I should have felt a little more overwhelmed than I did (and trust me, I had my moments!). However, I was nothing but excited to be entering the industry – and I have Endeavour to thank for that.

I distinctly remember having conversations with some of my other friends (from different universities and fields) around the time of graduation, and the one common denominator for most of them was that they felt incredibly nervous about the next steps ahead. Relieved that their degrees were finished, but anxious about the reality of finding a job and moving on. Putting their skills into real life.

Endeavour helped instil a confidence in me that made me realise, no matter what area of the wellness industry I was about to take my nutrition skills to, I would be just fine. In regard to clinical practice, I had just spent the last year of my degree working with real clients in the Endeavour Wellness Clinic and couldn’t have felt more prepared to enter the industry. I think that, and the ongoing support from fellow students and lecturers (through Facebook groups, mentor programs, etc.), is why I felt so supported, prepared and well-equipped as I left Endeavour.

What, if any, were some of the hurdles you faced when transitioning from student to practitioner?

I’d say it’s all the bits that fall outside of the nutrition scope – more the legal side of setting up a business. That can be overwhelming for anyone, especially if you’re as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as I was starting it all at 21. Nonetheless, I’ve always been someone that likes to just be thrown in the deep end. That’s the best way to learn! And as I mentioned above, the Facebook group I have with all my fellow 2022 Endeavour graduates has been a godsend. We ask each other anything and everything. How much should I charge for my initial consultations? What invoicing system do you use? What software are you guys using for bookings? These are just some of the classic midnight thoughts posts you’ll be seeing. We all help answer one another's questions. That has given me so much assistance that I am truly grateful for. I also will frequently reach out to lecturers I was close to throughout the degree who have become mentors for me if I ever am struggling with my own clinic. In short, there’s all kinds of hurdles that will pop up along the way – but the people around you, your fellow alumni, lecturers and industry contacts – they are your support network, and a damn special one at that.

What habits did you adapt as a student that you still use today?

I love this question. It’s like another question I frequently get asked by Endeavour students about what my best tips to absorb all the new information are. My answer is this: Listen for the nuggets of gold and write those down.

By that I mean that you are fed a lot (and I mean a lot) of information throughout a degree. That’s its purpose. But I think the biggest mistake you can make as a student (and in life!) is focusing too much on what’s there – such as the abundance of information on the lecture slides – and spending your time trying to frantically write down or type up all the info in front of you. You know what this does? Detracts your attention from what’s being spoken by your lecturer. You have all the information that’s on the slide, you can download or re-read it later. What’s more important is listening for the ad-lib: the moments where the lecturer shares an invaluable piece of information from their own clinical experience and years of expertise that isn’t on the slide. These are the golden nuggets of information and are more priceless than anything else. They are worth listening for and writing down. This is a habit I incorporate into my day still. Whether it’s when I’m listening to another professional talk, or even if I’m with a client. I try not to get bogged down writing things for the sake of writing. Listening to the client with my full attention so I don’t miss important information they share is imperative.

What advice would you give students who are on the cusp of graduating/hoping to move into the professional realm?

Intern! If you aren’t sure of the area you want to get into, reach out to a company and offer to intern for 1-2 days a week to gain some first-hand experience. You can do this even earlier in your degree! I began interning at wellness company halfway through my degree and ended up working there. Even if a company you are wanting to work at isn’t hiring an intern or position, just reach out and offer! What’s the harm in asking, right? Even if not an internship you’re reaching out for, reaching out to anyone to collaborate is essential. That’s how connections are made and opportunities are built.

My other advice is to just back yourself. Trust your skills. You’re so well-equipped and ready, and you’re about to help so many people – more than you know.

What is your self-care routine today and how does it differ from what you practised while you were studying?

My morning and night routines are always pretty set in stone, no matter how busy the day is. They’re not elaborate 2-hour long situations – but they’re structured . For instance, I do one minute (literally just one minute) of yoga upon waking to stretch out my body. I can’t leave the house without making my bed. I wear my black hematite crystal necklace to bed to reset after the day. But as much as we frequently call these “self-care routines”, they should just be essentials.

Instead, the thing that I class as my number one self-care practice (now and when I was studying) is switching off. For me, that means switching off from the responsibility of being available all the time everywhere. Humans weren’t designed to be accessible 24/7, contrary to what our mobile devices insist. I’m a firm believer in this. So by switching off, I mean not feeling like you have to reply to anyone that messages, texts, Snapchats, DMs, calls, facetimes or *insert your modern communication media here*. You can answer when you want to. Nobody owns your time. We need to stop placing so much demand upon ourselves at all hours. There once was a time when the only way to speak to someone if you weren’t physically with them was by written letter – and I’m pretty sure the world kept spinning.

Modern communication mediums and social media are fabulous – within reason. Just remember to protect your sacred alone time as well. I often will receive texts throughout the day from all people – friends, family, strangers in my DMs, group chats on messenger, etc. At times I will peruse through what’s being asked/said/shared (typically it’s a TikTok or two), but if it doesn’t require my immediate attention right there and then, I select a moment that more appropriately suits me and my energy at a later point to respond.

This is self-care. And it is necessary. You’re not being rude by not replying, you’re just respecting yourself and your boundaries.

Interested in Nutrition?

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Endeavour College of Natural Health

Endeavour College of Natural Health is Australia's largest Higher Education provider of natural medicine courses.

The College is known as the centre of excellence for natural medicine and is respected for its internationally recognised academic teams and high calibre graduates. Endeavour offers Bachelor of Health Science degrees in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine, Acupuncture Therapies and Chinese Medicine, Undergraduate Certificates, a Diploma of Health Science and massage courses.

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