Going into dentistry was one of the greatest choices I’ve made, and I want every dental student to know they’ve chosen a rewarding profession in which they’re likely to succeed. For me, dentistry was the plan since childhood. Although I didn’t understand what being a dentist entailed back then, I remember thinking, “I could be a good dentist.” Fast forward about 15 years, and I was in dental school — and it was harder than I expected.
You think you are finished. After surviving your classes and practicals and passing boards, you prepare for graduation and then you realize you have yet to figure out what exactly you’re supposed to do next. That was me in summer 2016. I had been so consumed with my school work and extracurricular activities that I neglected the reason why I came to school — to get a job.
When I present at conferences or industry meetings, new dentists often approach me, eager to know whether there are any opportunities in private practice ownership these days. “Can anyone do a startup?” they ask with some trepidation. After all, the word on the street is that it’s not easy.
Imagine you’re out riding your bike, getting some exercise, enjoying the fresh air and then it happens: You have an accident. What if you’re unable to continue your studies? How would you pay your bills and your student loans?
Detroit is a bustling, rapidly growing city, home to students, young professionals, athletes and a variety of businesses. Unfortunately, it is also home to communities that may be struggling to make ends meet, putting their health care needs on the backburner due to high treatment costs and lack of access. The more I witnessed this dilemma, the more I wanted help give these individuals the care that they normally could not afford.
Early on, we learned that winning a game of Go Fish or Hide-and-Seek was positive. It gave us a reason to celebrate or be celebrated. Without some competitive spirit, few of us would be here. You’ve probably been first (or close to it) a lot. You’ve compiled a list of “wins” neatly into a CV and presented it proudly. It’s part of who you are and why you’re in dental school. But here, all of your peers have similar résumés. Some may be more impressive than yours. An unfamiliar territory for most, this comparison becomes a source of negativity for many.
For established dentists and dental students alike, dealing with stress is an occupational hazard. A survey conducted by the ADA in 2015 found that 75 percent of dentists experience moderate to severe levels of stress. In addition, a 2017 report from the American Psychological Association identified health care, money and the economy to be key drivers of stress among Americans overall.