Category Archives: September 2014

Birthday entry

It’s been 3 weeks since I’ve started dental school and everything has been going so fast.  I now fully understand the saying, “like drinking water from a fire hydrant” when medical/dental/pharmacy students describe their health professional school experience.  The material itself isn’t impossible to understand, but it’s the fact that these health professional schools expect you to master a large quantity of material in a short amount of time.  Dental school is no joke and you have to bring you A-game everyday.

In this brief moment of respite, I wanted write about a particular date.
Yesterday was a special day.
Yesterday was my birthday.

Usually, I don’t really bring it because it lands at an awkward date.  It comes at a time of great inconvenience to people (especially during the school year) and I usually have some massive exam or homework assignment that I have to get done.  However, despite my intense dental school schedule, I wanted to take this time to really appreciate where I am today.

Since my last entry, I have been super busy and average only 3-4 hours of sleep per night.  Yes, it’s true.  I am very tired.  However, despite all the stress and sleep debt I’ve accumulated, I am very determined to do well in school.  For once in my life, I am satisfied.

This is what I want.

There were times when I wondered what life would have been life had I really figured things out earlier.  Had I gone into dental school right after graduating from college in 2009, I would be a practicing dentist right now or starting a dental specialty program.

But things happen for a reason.

The past 5 years (post-college life) was more than just improving my credentials and science foundation.  It was a time when I really grew up.  Not just physically, but mentally as well.  This isn’t to say that I was a party animal in college.  In fact, I was very hardworking in college.  When I say that I “grew up,” it was about becoming a man (I’ll save this topic for another entry).

To think that it was only last year that I was dwelling sitting at my computer and applying to dental school (for the 3rd straight time).  Sure, I was busy finishing up my last year in graduate school and working at the same time, but I remember the feeling I had back then.

I was miserable.

 

Some of my friends often joke that I had it good.  That I wasn’t trapped working an monotonous 9-5 job.  That I lived an “exciting” life of doing different things everyday.

No, it wasn’t an adventure.  I was worried.  I worried about my future.  Worried what I would do if I couldn’t get into dental school.  There was no back up plan.  Even with a master degree in biology, it was extremely discouraging to realize how hard it was still hard find a good job.  Thanks to support from family and friends, I was able to hold myself together without breaking down.  Thne December rolls around and…I think you know how the rest of the story went (see earlier entries).

Now that I’m where I want to be, I want to show you a few snapshots of my time here in dental school.
Without further ado, here are some glimpses of my dental school life.

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My skull for studying head & neck anatomy. When I was in college, I took anatomy as a prerequisite course for nursing school. While it has been 5 years since that time, learning anatomy here in dental school comes to me much easier than my colleagues who have never taken it before.

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This the part that differentiates us from medical students. Yes, we take the same science courses, but dental students have a dental lab in the school curriculum where we learn how to carve teeth.

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While it is time-consuming and hard work, this is probably one of my favorite parts about dental school. Working in the dental lab is like art class where you learn how to carve and make things!

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Can you believe that I actually made this all by myself? This is one experience where you can only get from a dental school.

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Many assignments so far involve using dental instruments to carve a tooth from wax. While everyone has different science levels (depending on their education background), everyone starts from scratch when it comes to dental lab work.

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This is an example of a completed wax tooth assignment that I did. It requires a lot patience and time. You need to make the wax look like a tooth as much as possible. How does one go about doing this? Practice! Practice! Practice!

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This is one glimpse of my dental kit. I have a lot more other instruments stored in a locker, but this is my work thus far (check out those maxilla and mandible stones in my box!).

There is a lot at stake for me to succeed at dental school given the amount of time and effort I had to invest in getting into dental school.  For me to move on to the next stage of my life, I need to do well here.  While all our instructors have constantly told us that dental school will be over before you know it, I try not to think about post-graduation life or even next year.  During the post-college years, one of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is to NEVER take anything for granted.  Never assume anything.  Many will say that I worry too much, but my past life experiences has taught me otherwise.  Therefore, I will always take it one step at a time here while always giving it my best effort.

Many of my colleagues ask why I work so hard at dental school everyday.
My reason?

Well, I guess you could say…

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Just kidding.
This is the real reason why I try so hard everyday at school.

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