Hometown: Miami, Florida
Name of Undergraduate Institution: University of Miami
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: B.S. Biology, Minor in Chemistry
Name of Dental School: University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine
Favorite Quote: “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.” – Unknown
Contact Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I am currently a first-year dental student pursuing a DMD degree. I chose this career path because from a young age I always had a fierce interest and love for the health field. As I got older, I started to focus on careers that would allow me to interact with people on a daily basis, allow me to be independent and allow for a good work-life balance. Once I started shadowing dentists, I realized that this was a career that I could do for the rest of my life and feel incredibly fulfilled. Dentistry is a field with so many possibilities, and is ever-changing, which I love so much.
If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell her?
I would have told my naïve self to enjoy college more. The journey of life is all about the experiences and memories that we build, and I probably spent too much time stressing out rather than actually having a good balance between school and social activities. I would also tell my college freshman self to not be afraid of taking challenging courses, and maybe to pursue more minors to broaden my knowledge and be more well-rounded.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar path as yours?
The best advice I could give is “DO NOT BE AFRAID!” So many people are afraid of applying for med or dental med school because they think they won’t get accepted, but let me be the example that you can do it! As long as you put your heart and soul into the process, you can’t have any regrets. Shadow as many different dentists you can, in all kinds of specialties. Take some challenging upper-level biology courses, go on mission trips, take art classes, and get involved in major community service projects. These things are crucial, because these are activities that will be highlighted and encouraged throughout your dental school career.
What is your favorite thing about your dental school?
My favorite thing about Penn Dental is the class body. Everyone is incredibly helpful with study guides, tips, and just encouraging words. It’s great to be in a non-competitive environment that’s all about growth and a collective effort to get to that finish line.
What do you feel is the most challenging part of professional school? The easiest part?
Although it’s only been a few months, I would say the most challenging part of dental school is handling the stress of being in clinic and in lab. Having to be directly accountable to faculty is a bit overwhelming at times, but it’s their job to be critical and to help you grow. It’s not always easy to spend a whole 8 hours being scrutinized, but I’m sure in the long run it’s for the best. The easiest part is probably handling the transition. I thought it would have been so much harder getting in the swing of things, but so far I am really happy with my experience here.
What did you do during the summer before you started professional school?
I spent the summer hanging out with my friends and family, mostly just relaxing, enjoying life. I feel like I got to do all the fun things I felt like I didn’t have time for in undergrad. If I could go back, I probably would have traveled more and spent more time being adventurous, because it was most likely my last long summer at this stage in my life.
What is it like attending school in your city/town?
Philadelphia is very different from what I thought it would be. It has a bit of that big city feel, but is still small enough to feel personal. There is a lot to do in the city, a lot of history, and great places to eat. I definitely try to not be out alone late at night but other than that I really like the whole Northeast vibe.
This is wonderful Sara! I'm happy to hear that dental school has been treating you well so far! Thank you for your advice and for sharing a bit about what you've experienced on your path towards becoming a dentist! It is very much appreciated!
Posted on December 23rd, 2016