Today marks the most satisfying day of this year.

The day I finished my first semester of dental school.

What a journey it has been.

 

I don't think I can count the exact hours I spent in pre-clinic labs trying to mount my articulator in a right way (which is literally trying to cement your fake teeth model into this thing called articulator to hold the teeth the same way your jaw does), waxing up a molar, drilling more than enough plastic teeth for cavity preparation, while trying to catch up on didactic classes as well.

 

Never understood why people skip classes to make up for the same class until I took classes in dental school. I had to miss as lecture just so that I can teach myself the lecture given to us a week before. I finally experienced what kinds of miracles could pulling an all nighter a day before the exam can bring.

Things I never imagined to do even in undergrad, dental school made it possible.

 

So I thought it will be fun to share some of the funny stories that I got to create during short (yet emotionally felt long) time as a newbie in school and add some of tips I learned through out the way for incoming students right here!

 

So stay tuned!

 

P.S.

For those who already got the acceptance to their schools, CONGRATS!

To those who are still waiting, never give up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been MIA for awhile due to taking couple of prerequisite courses for dental school at a community college. But during those 3 months of studying and working (woohoo to student loans and interest to pay back), I finally decided which school to attend!

 

It has been one crazy roller coster ride to decide which school I will feel most comfortable.

After taking off most of the out-of-state schools from my options due to high tuition and long distance from home, it came down to NYU and Rutgers.

 

Since I lived in Jersey my whole life, NYU and the city life that came with it attracted me more initially. I mean, who would say no to the opportunity to live in NYC?

 

NYU is a great school with large class size and a large pool of patients.

I loved every minute I spent visiting the campus and meeting the professors.

Most of the faculties I got to talk to resembled so much of my professors from Emory.

They really cared about the students, and the clinic seemed to be always busy with various interesting cases.

(FYI, if you ever go to NYU for an interview, always remember that they offer free lunch afterwards. You can get anything you want from their cafeteria and they have steak AND salmon!)

 

However, at the end, I chose Rutgers Dental School.

Many friends and family members wondered why since I set my heart on NYU for awhile.

Well, I went and talked with several dentists in my community, and they opened my eyes; I had been forgetting to think about myself when choosing which school I should go to.

 

  1. I definitely work better in a small class size setting.

  2. I value time spent in community service/outreach more than in lab work.

  3. I want to be able to come home and be with my family as much as I can.

  4. I have an interest in learning about providing medical services to low income community.

After writing down what I want first before concerning about the location, name value, or programs that the schools emphasize, the answer became so clear.

 

Rutgers School of Dental Medicine (RSDM) located in Newark, NJ, focuses highly on community service. Although the campus itself is safe, it is located in the one of the most low income community in New Jersey.

Therefore, the school has been a great resource for those who can’t afford to visit private dental offices for their dental injuries.

Also, it only takes 20 minutes to get back home, which means I can get home cooked meals on weekends. (saving bucks on food cost!)

 

Thinking about what type of a student I am and what I like or dislike helped me to make a decision once and for all.

I don’t think which dental school we end up going to actually matters in terms of affecting our ability as dentists. I believe every school is able to offer the best education for its students. The most important part in making this type of decision is really knowing who we are as individuals.

I was able to figure that out in a given time and I can’t wait to start my journey in the upcoming August.

 

Here we go class of 2022!

 

 

 

Last month, I went to my 3rd interview for dental school.

Unlike my previous ones, this particular school asked students to stand up and introduce ourselves.

 

How this awkward 5 minutes will go on gets determined by the first one to go.

This guy who volunteered to go first shared his name, school, and what he has been doing for this past few months. (why?)

 

So we all answered the same questions.

Everyone seemed to be either finishing their last year of college or working at dental labs and dentist office for their gap year.

Then it was my turn and I don’t know why, but at that moment I thought I’ll just go ahead and be honest. So I honestly told everyone including the head professor of the dental school that for the few months of my gap year I have been on my bed watching Netflix all day.

I finished my 3rd run of Parks and Recreation, 4th run of The Office, all 6 series of Call the Midwife, and an interesting documentary called The Day I met El Chapo.

 

People thought I was being funny. But nope.

Since I finished taking my DAT in August, I have been doing nothing.

I barely stepped out of my house unless it was 100% necessary.

I wished I was doing something worthwhile after all to talk about it during my interviews. But for some reason I didn’t even want to move my finger.

Such feeling went on for days, weeks and months and the new year eventually came.

 

Now I only have about a week left to go back to school to finish off couple of pre reqs for dental school as a post graduate.

And just until last night, I hated the idea of having to do something, an agenda.

 

In about a week, I have to wake up at a certain time to get to classes two times a week.

Both science courses have lab portions.

It is still so cold here in NY.

(I have an ice rink formed after 3 days of snow storm by the front door stairs. Quite funny to watch my family getting in and out of the house)

 

But this morning, I realized this spring semester will be the only time in my life, before starting dental school this upcoming August, that I will get to enjoy learning.

 

Since day 1 as a pre dental, classes simply meant another obstacle to get through to get into dental school. Test and quiz scores were what mattered and not really if I l’iked’ the subject.

 

That was a luxury in the world of competition and especially if you’re a normal biology major.

There was no time to actually understand the subject.

We all just somehow had to go through each semester faking ourselves and the professors that we know what the material is about.

 

When I start school next week, of course I have maintain certain grades, but it will mean much more than getting a good letter on my exam and get the hell out.

I will actually be more relaxed in classes to the point where I might truly understand the topic and like learning about it.

It will be 4 months of rediscovering myself as a learner.

 

As I’m typing up my thoughts, I now realize how nerdy this whole realization sounds.

I thought it will be more dramatic explaining the major breakthrough from my negative/lazy attitude for the past few months, but I guess it only sounded good inside my head. ha.

 

Well so my gap year will continue on but in a slightly different way.

I am now quite excited.

I get to go back to campus where I started my first year of college.

I’ll perhaps make a visit to some of my favorite professors after 3 years and catch up.

A click inside your head with positivity could really be a spoonful of sugar after all heh?

 

I know things may not seem perfect for most of us right now.

We might be in the midst of doing something we hate the most or something we rather not do. But I know whatever task we might face, we can get through things much easier when we put up with it with a smile. Even if you don’t mean it.

 

Hope y’all first week of 2018 went well.

New year means new challenges, tasks, surprises, and new moments with people.

Let’s cherish each day and collect all the good and the bad for next 12 months to look back at it with giggles and some wine later on.

 

I will finish this essay that turned out to be quite like a boring journal with a quote from one of my favorite movie About Time.

(If you haven’t watched this yet, do it now and you can thank me later).

 

Thanks for reading until the end.

God Bless and a Happy New Year Everyone!

 

Sincerely,

Crystal

 

“The truth is, I now don't travel back at all, not even for a day. I just try to live everyday as if I have deliberately come back to this one day, to enjoy it... As if it was the full, final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life.”