Disappointment and Self-Worth: The Most Important Things I Learned In Undergrad

Disappointment and Self-Worth: The Most Important Things I Learned In Undergrad

Hello! Welcome to Feed That Nation!

My name is Natalie Nation. I am a grad student, future RD, educator, content creator, and mac and cheese expert. I love talking about college student issues to help college students to be more successful, confident, and happy with their student experience.

In this episode of Feed That Nation, I am telling you the story of the time that I did not become commencement speaker.

About the Episode

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Almost a year ago, I was days away from graduating from college. I should have been flying high: I had an on-campus job I loved, I was a newlywed LOVING married life with my husband, and I was nearly finished with an amazing final semester of undergrad before preparing for graduate school in the fall.

But I was really struggling to see that anything I had done was worth it. Because I’d been nominated to be commencement speaker, and I hadn’t been chosen.

I recorded a podcast last year talking about that experience and putting it into words. It felt so vulnerable to admit that I hadn’t been chosen and that I was disappointed about it.

I told very few people that I’d been nominated, that I’d written a draft of a speech for consideration. That it was one of the proudest pieces of writing I had (have) ever written.

I was afraid of the shame of having to admit that I was not chosen. I was protecting myself from feeling other people’s disappointment in me at not getting chosen. But I couldn’t protect myself from my own disappointment.

I slowly came to the realization that my self-worth is NOT defined by this or any other experiences in my life! What a powerful realization! I’m still fired up from it, 1 year later!

The struggle to prove that you are “good enough” is a struggle I see in so many of my friends and peers, and I want to break the cycle!

The theme of the speech I wrote was “What did you learn?”. In it, I talked about what I learned at St. Kate’s. Through my time in college, I learned the obvious (nutrition), and the not so obvious. I gained confidence in realizing that I have a voice, and that my voice MATTERS.

The most important thing I learned throughout my time in college was that the most POWERFUL thing I can do with my voice is lift up the people around me.

When I was feeling so disappointed with myself, I started to realize that while I can and do use my voice to lift up others, to validate and encourage them, I can also validate and encourage MYSELF.

Reflecting 1 year later, I still carry that realization with me. It boosts me up, keeps me going. I LOVE using my voice to lift up the people around me, and I’m learning everyday how to use my voice to do the same for myself.

Watch this episode of Feed That Nation on YouTube


Minnesota-based grad student, future RD, educator, content creator, and mac and cheese expert! Natalie is currently a Masters of Public Health student and dietetic intern at the University of Minnesota, and is on-track to becoming a registered dietitian-nutritionist. She earned her bachelor's degree in Dietetics in 2019 from St. Catherine University.

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