If you have seen the meme that compares dental school to riding a bike that’s on fire, that is exactly what dental school was for me before I learned how to stop comparing myself to my classmates.
Do you ever think that your success is just a result of luck, or you didn’t really earn your achievements? Do you feel like you tricked everyone into thinking that you are smarter than you really are, and it is just a matter of time before someone discovers your secret and exposes you as a fake? Do you believe that your accomplishments aren’t that special because you think “anyone could have done that”? If so, you may be dealing with imposter syndrome, like me.
We know a tremendous amount about how our body works. We can identify important landmarks in the oral cavity, distinguish the differences between types of diseases and even recite step-by-step processes of metabolic reactions. With such a great deal to absorb and memorize, we sometimes need a reminder to observe the health of our own bodies. Staying physically and mentally active is an essential part of a student’s everyday life. But with classes, lab projects and a whole lot of studying, it can be easy to skip your standard gym workout or even a mundane run around the block.
In our work, we see many recent dental graduates with huge debt loads — $300,000, $400,000 or even $500,000 right out of school. They end up in our practice, often overwhelmed with how to pay down their debt. And while most of them know that their income is solid and poised to grow, they still grapple with whether it makes sense to pay off their debt, or to minimize their loan payments and, instead, set aside money for the future.
Navigating dental school is challenging. Between the long hours in the classroom and training, there’s little time to think about your finances. However, now is the best time to start saving. Whether your goal is to pay off debt, increase your savings or start investing for the future, there’s no time like the present to get started.
Your ability to generate revenue is your greatest asset. If something happened to you, it would have a significant impact on your cash flow. Whether you’re just starting your training or you’re already in practice, one of the first things you need to do is protect your ability to earn an income. While health insurance will help pay to get you back to good health, an entirely different type of insurance is required to replace the income you forego while you are unable to work. This insurance is called disability income, or “DI” for short.
There’s no punchline here. When my patient care coordinator Kenna invited me to attend the 100th anniversary of her church, I didn’t know what to say. Should I tell her that I was raised as an atheist? Maybe explain the whole Irish-grandpa-rebelling thing? I decided to spare her the details and accepted the invitation with a smile and an assuring, “I’ll be there!”