Akeadra Bell

Bell_ A Photo

Hometown: Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Name of Undergraduate Institution: Elizabeth City State University

Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Chemistry Major

Name of Dental School: East Carolina School of Dental Medicine

Favorite Quote: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13

Contact Info: bellak10@students.ecu.edu

Additional Links:  Instagram: @_keadrabell

Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?

I am currently a second-year dental student at East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine. For a number of years growing up, I thought I wanted to become a Pediatrician. After shadowing and helping care for my grandparents, I realized that becoming a medical doctor was not for me. I was then invited to shadow my Dentist, and fell in love the first day. I shadowed for the rest of the summer, and was in awe at how quickly patients were relieved of pain.

If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell her?

Growing up, everything with school always came easy. I did my homework and thought I studied. In college I took on those same study habits and though I did really well, I had no real study habits once I started Dental School. I would definitely tell myself to go learn how to study! 

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar path as yours?

Shadow, Shadow, Shadow. Not just so it looks good on your application, but to see if it is something you really want to pursue, and to build connections early. Attend as many pre-programs that you can, get involved on campus, and of course do as well in your courses as you can. Reach out to admissions directors early. Most importantly, it is okay if you mess up in a course, don’t do well on an entrance exam the first time, or even don’t get accepted your first time. Take a moment to regroup, improve your shortcomings and try again—Don’t give up!

What is a major challenge you have had to overcome and how did you do so?

During my first semester of Dental School, I had no idea of how to study. Although I was doing well on tests, I wasn’t efficiently using my time, and felt that I didn’t retain information until the night before. So I kept trying different things, until methods started clicking. It took me almost the entire semester.

What is your favorite thing about your dental school?

My favorite thing about my dental school is that we will get to serve in communities across North Carolina during our 4th year. One of those communities is my own hometown, Elizabeth City, North Carolina. I cannot wait to be able to return home to provide dental care for those who may never otherwise receive it.

What advice would you give to someone getting ready to start their application process to dental schools?

Take the time to prepare for the entrance exam and your application. Get your personal statement reviewed, and re-reviewed.  Don’t rush yourself if you don’t feel ready, and never stop believing in yourself.

Did you take some time off before dental school? If so, what did you do during that time?

I took two years off before entering Dental School. I had the opportunity to teach mathematics and coach step at Fuquay-Varina High School, in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.

Do you have any passions outside of school? If so, what are they?

Children and Fashion. Every break I get, I go back to visit my old students and check on them. I also take every opportunity at school to work with pre-dentals or younger children.

What do you like to do for fun?

Shop, spend time with family and friends and travel!

What do you feel is the most challenging part of dental school? The easiest part?

I think every semester comes with its own challenges. For someone who is a perfectionist like me, I think the most challenging part is not being too hard on myself. You have to realize early on that dental school is a learning environment, and you’re not going to always get everything on the first time. The easiest part would have to be breaks!

How have you been able to deal with your romantic relationship and professional school at the same time?


What did you do during the summer before you started dental school?

I helped care for my grandmother who was battling cancer, spent time with my family and friends and traveled to Europe!

What do you do to get through the stressful nature of dental school?

PRAY and go to church! I also work out, watch something on TV, eat Cold Stone and talk to my friends!

What extra-curricular activities are you involved in at your school?

I currently serve as an academic tutor, Vice-President of our local Student National Dental Association (SNDA) and as a corporate roundtable member for SNDA at the national level. I am also the treasurer for the pediatric club and the newly elected Pre-Dental Committee Chairperson for our local chapter for the American Student Dental Association.

What were some of your involvements in college? Have those involvements helped you in any way in dental school?

During college, I participated in a lot of research through pre-doctoral geared programs. I also became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., cheered and modeled in a competitive modeling group. I feel that research really set me apart from other applicants.  All of my other involvements helped me learn time management skills, how to prioritize things and showed admissions committees that I was well rounded.

This is fantastic Keadra! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your reflections with us! You've given us some splendid advice that will surely be put to good use, and this feature will definitely be helpful to those who are currently in the shoes that you once filled! Best of luck to you as you continue on your journey towards becoming a Dentist!

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Posted on March 14th, 2018

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