Live, laugh, love. How many times have you heard that phrase? It encompasses the core components of “wellness,” but at times we find difficulty achieving it. In dental school, we can become so busy that we forget to eat. How can we balance life, work and happiness? One easy answer is pets or animals in general, especially the cute and furry ones.
Are you ready to take on the job market or residency interviews after dental school? If you still have questions, you’re not alone. Many dental students crave more information on how best to prepare for their career transitions after dental school.
As a busy mom myself, one of the phrases I hear most from others (and think often to myself) is “I don’t have time for this.” It is natural instinct to “push things to the back burner” if they do not require your immediate attention. However, making a financial plan while in dental school and after should receive the same attention as practicing dentistry. This can be difficult when you are prioritizing a career that you have invested so much time and money in. However, if you do not prioritize your finances along with your dental practice, you may find yourself quickly approaching an inflexible financial situation when you least expect (or least need) it. Making a financial plan may not come naturally to you, as you have focused years on dentistry and not finances. Most dental schools offer very little (or nothing) in the way of financial education, which makes it even more important for you to be financially proactive yourself.
Explaining dental procedures in an understandable way to patients can be trying at times. During treatment planning appointments I often find myself talking to a patient that appears completely lost. I try to search Google to find the perfect image to depict what I am talking about. Many times I am unable to find that image. Searching the internet can be time-consuming and fruitless. Discussing treatment options with patients can be increasingly difficult for dental students entering the clinic. The difficulty lies in the details. As students, we spend years learning fancy vocabulary that oral health professionals understand. Simplifying treatment to aid in patient understanding can be challenging for even the most experienced dentists. However, there are resources available that can aid in conversations with patients about common dental procedures.
Dental school can be incredibly stressful. Even the healthiest and most confident student can succumb to hard days, external pressures and self-doubt. Depression and burnout are real concerns. In spring of 2014, ASDA lost our past president, Jiwon Lee, to suicide. Later that year, then-president Dr. Kris Mendoza wrote, “We wished we would have known that she was suffering. Everyone wishes they could have helped her. But she kept her troubles to herself.”
One of the most well-known ideas in the business world is: “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” What this really means is that when you decide to do something, there is always something that you could have done instead, but chose not to. The “thing you could have done” is a lost opportunity. You gave up something to do or get something else. This idea is known as “opportunity cost.”
I am at the start of my third year, wondering how I am going to survive through all the clinical requirements, when I am asked to be a student representative for the New Dentist Committee of the Southern Nevada Dental Society. I hesitated at first, having so much on my plate already. In the end I decided it would be a very good opportunity to get involved in a different aspect of dentistry. A year later, I can officially say I am glad to be a part of this group.