May 20, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Getting accepted into dental school is a huge achievement by itself and the thought of graduating as a dentist and starting your own practice can be very exciting. However, between these two highs, lies a long and tough road involving endless hours of classroom lectures, clinical practice and exams. There are times when you will just want to give it all up and you will wonder whether you made the right decision.
Hang in there. As anyone will tell you, dental school is tough but don’t forget your application was accepted because the admissions authorities believed that you could do it and now it’s up to you to live up to those expectations, not just for them but also for yourself. You CAN do it. All you need is a little bit of planning and focus to make your journey through dental school a rewarding experience instead of one filled with angst and stress.
When you join medical school, you are likely to take time getting comfortable with the campus and the staff and be preoccupied with making new friends and trying to fit it. While this is expected, don’t waste your entire semester doing this or you will find yourself struggling to catch up towards the end of the year as the exams approach. Your coursework should be your main focus. Start paying attention in class from the very beginning. Make time to study regularly and stay up-to-date with what is happening in every class. Stay on top of your projects and assignments and don’t keep them on hold till the end. You did after all join dental school to become a dentist so keep that goal in mind and expect to make a few sacrifices along the way.
Don’t expect to use the same study methods that you used in school. From the more intensive course work and the rigorous curriculum to the frenetic pace and higher expectations from you, dental school is far more challenging. You cannot afford to have a lackadaisical attitude. The need of the hour is to learn how to work quickly and smartly.
Stop learning by rote and instead start understanding concepts. Ask lecturers for help when needed. Stay on top of your work and learn how to distribute things well so that you can manage your time better. Get the hang of multi-tasking and keeping deadlines.
Medical school is not a competition between you and your classmates. There will be a number of times when you feel that they are better than you. Don’t worry; they are probably thinking the same thing. Stop trying to compete with them and instead focus on you. Getting the best grades in class will not make you a better dentist. Instead, it is understanding what is being taught and being genuinely interested in the whole profession that will make you the better dentist. Be consistent and keep your grades up.
Last but certainly not least, keep aside some time for hanging out with friends, indulging in your favourite pastimes or just chilling out. It’s the best way to re-energise and avoid burnout.