Surviving the first week of dental school!

Penn started interviewing applicants for class of 2017!  It’s hard to believe I am now one of those dental students I formerly stared at with envy. Whenever I walk by our admissions office (and see Corky!), I smile remembering how I ran to my interview across cobblestone streets in heels. Since many of you are future dental students, I wanted to start off with two pieces of advice.

1) Sync your smartphone with your dental application email account. Most dental schools will email you about interviews. If you check your email at the end of the day, early spots may be filled already. And since dental admissions uses rolling admission, earlier interviews are better. Once your phone rings/chimes/sings, call the admissions office right away for the earliest interview spots!

2) Take pride in your accomplishments. Maybe this one isn’t as practical as the first but I think it’s just as important. Don’t compare yourself to others (especially on a certain website forum…). You’ve worked hard the past few years to get to where you are. Reminding yourself of your perseverance will keep you going on days when you start doubting yourself (e.g. my first rejection letter). This confidence will also shine through in your dental interviews- where you are supposed to brag.

Onto my first week of dental school. First of all, I survived! The moment our professor announced the end of class (Our last slide said “It’s Miller Time!”), we cheered and ran out of the classroom. I was exhausted but happy, heading out after my first week of dental school.

I still can’t believe I’m a first year dental student- a “D1” in dental school lingo. The hardest part of dental school has been our class schedule. After having 75 minute classes throughout undergraduate, it is hard for me to concentrate for two-hour stretches at a time, let alone sit still for seven hours.

The highlight of my week was the first session of Freshman DentSim Lab. At Penn, first years get to use the drill – I mean, handpiece- during the first semester. There I was on Wednesday morning: I sat up straight in my chair, pushed the carbide bur #330 into my handpiece, put my foot down on the pedal and… I went for it.

I drilled a hole in my first tooth.

Okay, it was a plastic tooth (and my Simulator beeped at me for going in too deep) but I couldn’t stop smiling. After all those hours shadowing dentists, refreshing the AADSAS application page, and dreaming about dental school, I was finally here.

Here’s our staircase going up from the dental library to Penn’s main clinic:

I would be lying if I told you I am not overwhelmed. But somehow, I think we’ll be all right. I can’t promise I’ll be this calm two weeks from today when we have our first Embryology test but- for now- I feel pretty good about this adventure.

Fellow Dental students: what advice would you give predental students?
Predentals: what are you most looking forward to in dental school?

~Yesle Kim, UPenn ‘16

Read more of Yesle Kim’s dental school adventures at her blog, D is for Dentist.


Comments (3)

    • Yesle Kim

      Best of luck to you! I always looked at how happy/tired they seemed! It’s motivating to see dental students on your interview trips and know that you’ll be there one day.

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