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Kingston_Dent

Curious about the first year of dental school

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On 4/14/2018 at 3:00 PM, Sherbert said:

How has your perspective on life/character changed from the summer before dental school till now?

Up until dental school, a big motivation for doing well in school is just to get good grades. In dental school, you're studying to become a healthcare professional. Thus, you start realizing that learning is not just about doing well in school but you're also trying to learn how to best treat and help your patients. It's not so much about the grades anymore as it is about learning what is relevant and important to your future career. What you learn, a lot of it will be applicable down the road unlike in undergrad.

On 4/14/2018 at 3:00 PM, Sherbert said:

What was the experience like (the good and the bad) compared to undergrad?

Academically: Everyone is pretty bright in dental school and were top students in undergrad. It means many are amazing memorizers, test-takers, and are very detail-oriented. You may end up being average and this requires some getting used to. Just do your best, pass your courses, and try not to compare yourself too much to others. Also, people may be book smart but their hand skills may not be the best. Some people are good at both. Understand that hand skills and clinical judgement are key as a budding dentist. Even if you have memorized all the requirements for an ideal prep, if you can't use indirect vision and drill this prep to the ideal specifications, then it leaves a bit to be desired. Another thing is that you will have less time to study more content. Often I went into exams not fully confident/ready - just do your best.

Socially: Amazing. You will have a wonderful group of classmates of which many will be your friends for life. Always so much going on and it's so easy to get to know upper years. Upper years are so helpful and will help find you extra teeth, good patients to assist, shadowing opportunities, etc.

Faculty: Super approachable and they treat you as equals/colleagues. Learn as much as you can from them.

Professionally: From dental conferences to companies wining-and-dining you (insurance and financial advisors, etc.), you will have a lot of opportunities to learn about life after graduation. This means a lot of free food, dressing up fancy, and networking.

On 4/14/2018 at 3:00 PM, Sherbert said:

What are some new things you learned about yourself?

Maybe it won't be today, tomorrow, or next week but as long as I work hard every day, I will eventually be a good, competent dentist. I am very lucky to study a field I enjoy and attend a school in one of the most awesome cities in the world and I wouldn't trade it for anything else. I have made so many new friends but I also cherish time with non-dental friends, family, and myself. I make sure to work hard but also play hard. 

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I also wanted to add a few more insights that are a bit more personal but maybe also helpful:

Even though I generally really enjoy what I do, I sometimes overthink and overanalyze if I'm truly happy where I currently am. I remember a friend (currently at an Ivy League for dent) who said I was stupid for not applying to Ivy League schools just because it was a lot more expensive. But I remember that by going to U of T, I'm saving a lot more money, I get to spend 4 more years with my family, and can build a good network in and outside of the GTA. So maybe grass is not greener.

Sometimes I also wonder how life would be if I went to medical school because I worry that I might get "bored" working in the same office every day with the same staff and doing similar procedures every day on the same area of the body. But then I remember that general dentistry has much more variety of work than many other healthcare professions which often are very specialized and that I would work fewer days in dentistry and spend other days pursuing other interests because financially I am going to be stable as a dentist.

So all in all, I am not happy-go-lucky every day about dentistry but I think dentistry is one of those very customizable careers where you can practice in many different ways and do the procedures you want. And I recognize that dentistry is a job. Jobs can get boring and undesirable at times but that's why you get paid for doing them. And dentistry happens to be one of the more tolerable fields for sure.

I have had a classmate withdraw from the program (he had been in an established career before dental school) so make sure you figure out if this field is right for you. It is a very expensive decision to make and the earlier you know it is not right for you, the better.

Also, mental health is a real issue in dental school. The levels of stress in first year can get very high.

Anyways I am rambling by now but I just wanted to present a more honest side of being a dental student. If anyone is unsure of dentistry, feel free to PM!

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14 hours ago, Steins;Gate said:

I also wanted to add a few more insights that are a bit more personal but maybe also helpful:

Even though I generally really enjoy what I do, I sometimes overthink and overanalyze if I'm truly happy where I currently am. I remember a friend (currently at an Ivy League for dent) who said I was stupid for not applying to Ivy League schools just because it was a lot more expensive. But I remember that by going to U of T, I'm saving a lot more money, I get to spend 4 more years with my family, and can build a good network in and outside of the GTA. So maybe grass is not greener.

Sometimes I also wonder how life would be if I went to medical school because I worry that I might get "bored" working in the same office every day with the same staff and doing similar procedures every day on the same area of the body. But then I remember that general dentistry has much more variety of work than many other healthcare professions which often are very specialized and that I would work fewer days in dentistry and spend other days pursuing other interests because financially I am going to be stable as a dentist.

So all in all, I am not happy-go-lucky every day about dentistry but I think dentistry is one of those very customizable careers where you can practice in many different ways and do the procedures you want. And I recognize that dentistry is a job. Jobs can get boring and undesirable at times but that's why you get paid for doing them. And dentistry happens to be one of the more tolerable fields for sure.

I have had a classmate withdraw from the program (he had been in an established career before dental school) so make sure you figure out if this field is right for you. It is a very expensive decision to make and the earlier you know it is not right for you, the better.

Also, mental health is a real issue in dental school. The levels of stress in first year can get very high.

Anyways I am rambling by now but I just wanted to present a more honest side of being a dental student. If anyone is unsure of dentistry, feel free to PM!

Thank you for the honest answer! You da REAL MVP!

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