Nutritional medicine graduate, Samantha Gemmell, shares her experience finding her own career path beyond clinical practice.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost
When I graduated from my degree in nutritional medicine, there was that momentary feeling of freedom. I felt fulfilled and proud of myself.
But that feeling doesn’t last forever. I was overcome with self-pressure to make something of myself, whispers from the little voice in my head that told me I had to be ‘successful’. I neglected to stop and tune in to what my intuition had to say. Despite advising many others they did not have to follow the conventional career path, I completely forgot this fact myself.
My final semester was not an easy one. In the final few weeks of my degree, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo surgery and preventative radiotherapy. This meant my plans for a post-degree holiday on Hamilton Island, complete with hours of meditation and super dosages of vitamin D-packed sunshine, went out the window entirely. My enthusiasm for beginning my career became my prison, as I had already committed to beginning my clinic in July.
So I found myself two clinic rooms with wonderful practitioners. I got the business mobile and insurance, the business cards and flyers. But although I successfully opened my clinic, and began to see clients, I was exhausted and uninspired.
A ray of light started to break through the clouds when I began writing articles for Natural Beauty Expert, an online magazine. I would be given a general topic, and then it was up to me to write an article from a nutritionist’s point of view, including doing my own research. Slowly, my energy and enthusiasm edged up.
As I wrote, I realised I had the chance to reach so many people with my message. The people who needed my words most were often the ones who can’t afford to see me privately, but so many of them search the internet for health tips, education and support daily.
The final breakthrough was when I attended Utopia, a women’s health summit. Passionate speakers had a chance to reach hundreds of health conscious women. My heart was yearning to support and serve these beautiful women, just as the speakers were.
By the end of the day, I realised my pathway was not solely clinical nutrition, but a beautiful blend of nutrition with writing, speaking and research. It was my responsibility to follow this truth right to the end.
Nowadays my work life is balanced between seeing clients one day a week, writing for online magazines and sites, and continuing my part-time job at Petbarn. I’m launching a series of affordable workshops in the new year with the help of a holistic GP and other like-minded health practitioners. I’ve also applied for Endeavour’s Summer Research program – fingers crossed!
I continue to write for my own website regularly. As a big advocate of nutrition in mental health, I was asked to share a series of articles for Mental Health Awareness Month with the Hat Day initiative. One of my most popular recipes has been shared by a recipe page that has more than 800,000 followers – no small feat. But most importantly, I feel good about my choice.
And to all students, new graduates, and even experienced practitioners – I hope you trust in yourself. I hope you follow your passion, even if your mind tries to talk you out of it. Believing in yourself is the path less travelled – but it is the path to fulfilment.
Sam is a qualified nutritionist (BHSc), health writer and mentor for prospective health writers. Her goal is to give practitioners a voice and presence in the online world, so they can make the world a healthier place. You can find her tips, tricks and thoughts over at www.samanthagemmell.com
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