Jump to content
Premed 101 Forums

Is Dental School More Or Less Stressful Then Undergrad?


Recommended Posts

Now that we're entering midterm season and stress levels are high it lead me to wondering if dental school is more or less stressful then undergrad. The reason I ask is because for someone like me who just wants to be a GP it would seem like that as long as you meet the minimum expectations in order to pass then you should be fine since there really isn't a need to excel like you do in undergrad. It also seems like the stuff you learn in dental school is also MUCH more interesting and rewarding/applicable then all the random stuff you learn in undergrad, anyways I'd like to know what you dental students and grads have to say about this.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Our class is 1.5 months into dental school so far and I've heard many people say this is the most overwhelmed they've ever felt. None of the material is difficult and most of it is very interesting and relevant. The issue is the sheer volume of the content and the 9-5 classes. It can be very draining. 

I'd say it's a different type of stress though. Instead of worrying about your future and how one bad test will ruin your chances, you're stressed about keeping up with classes and balancing school with personal life. A bad test is a bummer, but it does not have a substantial consequence. (PS I'm saying this as someone who isn't keen on specializing)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say it's a different type of stress though. Instead of worrying about your future and how one bad test will ruin your chances, you're stressed about keeping up with classes and balancing school with personal life. A bad test is a bummer, but it does not have a substantial consequence. (PS I'm saying this as someone who isn't keen on specializing)

 

Ya, for me the stress right now doesn't come from the difficulty of the course work because like malkynn said I can easily get a 80-85+ with little to no effort other then going to class and studying a few hours a week. The real stress for me is from the anxiety and worrying about if I'm doing everything I can be doing to get into dental school, I'm sure that the sheer volume of work in dental school can be stressful but I don't mind that kind of stress.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In my opinion, its very subjective. Personally, I haven't really gotten too stressed so far in dental school. Its true, the hours of class time are much, much more. Very long days. But Im still finding it pretty easy to keep sane and get very good grades with minimal studying. Im getting 80s and 90s with pretty lax schedule and finding free time on the side to hang out with friends etc. That being said, we're only a couple months into 1st year. I feel that, so far, undergrad was more stressful because I was always wondering if I was going to make the cut getting into dental school. I was constantly panicking about it. 

 I've heard it gets a lot hard in later years too and Im sure that once we get out final exam schedule, the anxiety and stress will increase dramatically. It should also be noted that Im notorious for not getting too stressed out about school, which is where the subjectivity really comes in. 

 

All the best, and good luck :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Undergrad had an additional stress factor since you were uncertain about wether you're ever going to make it into dental school. 

Dentistry program is also as stressful, but in a different way. The workload is way bigger than undergrad and the fact that you have 2-3x more courses and many more exams, it forces you to make many compromises. You're gonna have to accept the fact that sometimes, you're gonna enter an exam without fully mastering all the notions (which is really stressful since you're used to knowing everything perfectly in undergrad in order to ace your courses).

 

You obviously can know everything and ace all your exams if you cut all your social life. But personally, I did not enter DMD to follow a stressful lifestyle. I understand my courses, I pass my exams relatively well, and I make sure I enjoy my time during dental school (through a very active social life). As long as you make sure you're gonna become a good dentist, you're good to go. Don't stress yourself more than necessary.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Great points so far in this thread. What makes dental school difficult is the volume of material and the time commitment. People always told me that it was easy to pass but very difficult to do well. This is wrong in my opinion. Some people in my class study like crazy and still barely pass. It's hit or miss. I was always the type of student to cram the day or two before every midterm/final in undergrad and come out with 90+. In many of my dental school courses, this is simply not possible. There's way more information and just going over it once is not enough. I'll give you guys some insight with an example:

 

At Temple in the first semester of second year, we have a class called "Human Systems and Disease." This course is an absolute beast and covers the anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, microbiology, and clinical management of every system in the body. We get lectured 4 hours a day for this class on top of 3 hours of lab and 1-2 hours of either restorative dentistry, perio, and oral surgery (so basically 8-5 days). We have an exam every 2 weeks for Systems, so each exam covers roughly 36 hours of lecture material with each hour of lecture covering around 60 slides of information (and no we don't have a lot of pictures to take up space). In October, we had midterms in the other classes in between these exams. Along with daily lab projects and practicals every week.

 

So let's just say this has been the first time in my life I have actually felt burned out and mentally exhausted.....and there's still another month in the semester. But like I said, every school is different but all probably have around the same workload.

 

And to add on to what malkynn said, a ton of questions are in the style of A and B, A and C, all of the above, etc. which is an absolute pain in the ass, but a ton are also in the form of "which of the following is true?" or "all of the following are true EXCEPT:" .....which is also a complete pain in the ass. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Undergrad is chill.  First year dentistry is busy and far more demanding than undergrad.  I'm in 2nd year now, 14 courses this semester + practical laboratory components that demand additional hours of lab time just to keep up with.  In short, dentistry right now is extremely busy but also extremely rewarding as you learn the field's various disciplines and hone your skills.  Make no mistake, undergrad does not compare.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing that bothers me about what I'm hearing is that I sacrificed a lot to be where I am right now. It kinda feels like I'm working really hard, just to work even harder. I have so many more dreams and aspirations other than being a dentist. I want to be in shape, I want to learn to cook, I want to indulge in yoga, I want to have a social life. I want to be a dentist really bad, but what I'm gonna have to put my life on hold until I'm out out of dental school? I thought I only had to put my life on hold until I was in cause well.. you're in. All you have to do is keep up and the grades aren't as important anymore it's just about taking in dental knowledge and learning the skills. Don't get me wrong I know that's still a lot of work but what I'll have no skills other than being a dentist by the time I'm 26? I'm a human being that wants to be a dentist, I don't want to be a dentist that wants to be a human being... I don't care about the money so I can see some people who push through because they know they'll be better off than most of the population, but I just wanna be a dentist because that's what I wanna do, but I wanna do a whole lot more than just that.. especially while I'm young.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in my first year at UofM, and going in I was fully prepared to have no life given the rumours of dental school being terribly difficult. It's only been a semester, but I've had so much free time it's ridiculous. I know second year is busier. Third and fourth year are just different.

 

Things I've learnt so far in dental school, about dental school

-if you want to be that A+ student, you will stress, have no time, and probably lose 5 years of your life trying to understand and memorize every little thing.

-if your goal is to graduate very competent, you can do so while maintaining other aspects of life

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that's the trade off. I'm not sure how anyone can imagine dental school and think that they'll have a bunch of leisure time for hobbies and activities??

I thought is was common knowledge that medical and dental school are punishingly brutal???

 

Also, 26 is still suuuuper young and once you're a dentist you can choose to work as much or as little as you want.

 

Life is a series of trade offs. Nothing comes without a cost.

I just want to breathe. That's all. Thanks for sharing how punishingly brutal you felt dental school to be. That means (if I feel the same way when I'm in) that I need to do a good job of managing my stress and have a good balance with my leisure time. I fail to believe that dental school is SO punishingly brutal that you need to dedicate your 6am-10pm day every single day to dentistry. I don't doubt there will be longer weeks but I should be able to make it work. Some people like Sidney Crosby (current stanley cup champion and 2x gold medal olympian) have even said they've had it pretty lax for the first year so maybe it's just dependent on what school you go to. Maybe McGil is much more punishingly brutal than U of M. Maybe you just had it rough at a tough school. All I was looking for was a little "yeah dude it'll be okay", but I guess I need to do a better job of doing that for myself.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing that bothers me about what I'm hearing is that I sacrificed a lot to be where I am right now. It kinda feels like I'm working really hard, just to work even harder. I have so many more dreams and aspirations other than being a dentist. I want to be in shape, I want to learn to cook, I want to indulge in yoga, I want to have a social life. I want to be a dentist really bad, but what I'm gonna have to put my life on hold until I'm out out of dental school? I thought I only had to put my life on hold until I was in cause well.. you're in. All you have to do is keep up and the grades aren't as important anymore it's just about taking in dental knowledge and learning the skills. Don't get me wrong I know that's still a lot of work but what I'll have no skills other than being a dentist by the time I'm 26? I'm a human being that wants to be a dentist, I don't want to be a dentist that wants to be a human being... I don't care about the money so I can see some people who push through because they know they'll be better off than most of the population, but I just wanna be a dentist because that's what I wanna do, but I wanna do a whole lot more than just that.. especially while I'm young.

You definitely don't have to give up everything else during dental school! I actually have similar hobbies as you and managed to fit in 1-3 yoga classes per week (depending on midterm schedules), spend almost an hour cooking every day, and keep in touch with non-dental friends. 

You do have to work hard though, most of us do a few hours of studying every weeknight plus a big chunk of the weekend. Nobody said becoming a dentist is easy, but it doesn't have to be brutal and soul-sucking! Message me if you have any questions! 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know dentists who graduated uwo in the past 6 years - they all unanimously underline that they went from being top of the heap - near 4.0 gpa's in undergrad (yes working hard to get them in order to get accepted into dentistry in the first place) - to working significantly harder in dental school just to pass/survive. They would corroborate what has been repeated above --- it was the volume of material that created the workload --- on top of all the practical skill-building done at one's own discretion. Hours and hours in the sim lab piled on top of staying on top of the studying was overwhelming - particularly when there were some exams focussed on minutae within the volume of material. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

It's a different type of stress. the uncertainty is gone so it's less stressful in that sense. Your class as a whole is supportive (at least in mine) but the study load and class time is stressful. 8:30am-5:00pm everyday at uwo is draining and then u have to somehow study lol. then you have 12 exams in december...so it's a different stress lol.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a different type of stress. the uncertainty is gone so it's less stressful in that sense. Your class as a whole is supportive (at least in mine) but the study load and class time is stressful. 8:30am-5:00pm everyday at uwo is draining and then u have to somehow study lol. then you have 12 exams in december...so it's a different stress lol.

 

But nothing worthwhile is free - probably worth it in the end when practicing in a fulfilling career that you love and where you can pick a very reasonable work/life balance

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...