trusting your gut: robyn coale

I had it all planned out. 

Living in New York City, completing my dietetic internship at NYU and getting my masters in Clinical Nutrition. I had worked hard in college and thought I had a pretty competitive application.

But a good resume and transcripts don’t impress God. And it surely doesn’t change His plans. 

I applied to six schools. And on match day, I opened up my letter to read ‘Congratulations, you’ve been accepted to the University of Virginia Health System dietetic internship.”

I sat there in Starbucks in complete and utter shock. Everyone around me continued on sipping their coffee, typing away on their Macbooks while my world came crashing down.

My eyes welled with tears. Leaving my computer unattended, I ran outside to call my mom. I needed someone to hear my disappointment. My heart ached.

It was a bit dramatic, but I was crushed. Everything I had been hoping for and planning on was wiped away in the click of a mouse. After lots of tears and talking to my brothers and mom I tried to pull it together. After all, I had actually gotten an internship- something only 50% of applicants could say. 

That day I told my mom I didn’t want to go, I didn’t want to move to Charlottesville. That wasn’t what I had planned and I struggled to rearrange all the pieces of the puzzle.

But over the next month something in my heart changed and I felt a pull. I called the internship director at UVA to accept the internship and began planning my move to the east coast.

And I went. With my Honda Civic full of everything I owned, I drove to Charlottesville not knowing a single soul. Excited yet terrified. Unsure yet hopeful. Anxious yet assured.

Inside my head, I was hot mess. But something inside my heart felt settled. 

This was a new season, and I was ready to embrace it. Whatever that meant.

Thankfully, I am an extrovert. But moving to a new city without knowing anyone forces you to move out of your comfort zone. Say yes to things you wouldn’t normally say yes to. Do things you wouldn’t normally too. To get a bit uncomfortable. Two months after moving, at an attempt to meet anyone and everyone, I ventured downtown to a movie screening for Forks Over Knives that was followed by a panel discussion. 

And on that panel was a brilliant doctor. I was passionate about nutrition [like, I like food a lot- especially vegetables] and I couldn’t believe there was a doctor out there that shared that same passion. So that day I asked him if I could work for him.  

And a week later he called with a job offer. 

A job I thought didn’t actually exist, but here I was 700 miles from home in a place I thought I’d never be. But I was so thankful I was. 

The past two years in Charlottesville have been a fierce yet beautiful transformation. Feeling completely lost and lonely, not knowing where you’re supposed to be or what the next step is.  At one moment feeling on top of the world, but the next feeling like your life is a tropical storm. But little by little, I’ve seen the reasons behind the journey out here. I’ve been blessed with such rich community, and amazing job, and sweet, sweet friends. The ones you’ll have in your wedding. The ones you call for favors that seem absurd yet totally okay to ask for. The ones you feel so grateful to soak up and do life with. And ever so slowly I’ve planted my feet and this place has become home.

Sometimes it takes being stripped of everything you know to trust in the plan for your life. To lean into something bigger than yourself and take a step out in faith. 

But it all began with the pull in my heart to move. To say yes. And go all gas, no brake.


Read more of Robyn's posts on her blog, The Real Life RD.