You’ve registered for the event, made travel arrangements and are counting the days until the kickoff arrives. If this is your first time attending ASDA’s National Leadership Conference, then get ready for a lifetime of memories.
Whether you’re a dental student or predental, we can all agree that school life is a roller coaster filled with a lot of high and low moments. There may be times when you feel defeated, stressed or unmotivated. But imagine spending three days with hundreds of passionate peers celebrating and appreciating the very same goal that you have. NLC teaches you more than you could ever imagine and further ignites your love for dentistry. It’s an event that will make you laugh, cry and feel inspired.
Last year, I had the opportunity to attend NLC in the grand city of Chicago. Since it was my first time, I had no idea what to expect. For two years prior, I’d heard stories of how amazing the conference was and all the knowledge and opportunities you could gain from it, but being the money-conscious, skeptical human being that I was, I passed on attending — a decision I now regret.
At this conference, not only do you get to meet and network with hundreds of guests including dental students, business owners and entrepreneurs, but you also get to learn from keynote speakers and session leaders who offer creative and innovative perspectives on several categories, such as career planning, ASDA chapter management, leadership enhancement, personal development and wellness, and advocacy.
If you’re a predental student with a fire to learn more, there are sessions uniquely created for you on topics such as what to expect in your first year of dental school, interviewing and planning your last six months as a predental. There’s also a hands-on tooth impressions and chalk-carving workshop. Last year, I picked a variety of predental and predoctoral sessions that covered topics such as CV writing, networking and ethics in dental school. There were also sessions that taught me more about dentistry itself, along with some that emphasized mental and physical wellness. At NLC, you have the flexibility and autonomy to craft your own conference experience.
The amount of growth you receive from these three days is immeasurable. For me, listening to the keynote speakers and participating in the breakout sessions made NLC beyond worthwhile. There have been times when I felt as if I was running into a brick wall over and over again, but after listening to the stories and wise words of individuals from all walks of life, it really put my life in a whole new perspective. You can’t help but feel a sense of pride, happiness and motivation to do bigger things despite the obstacles ahead of you.
NLC is not just a conference, but an investment in yourself and your future. So, if you’re attending, congratulations on taking the next step for self-improvement. Bring a pen and notebook, a packet of tissues and get ready for the experience of a lifetime!
~Andrea Nguyen, University of Central Florida ’19, Predental
About Andrea Nguyen
Andrea Nguyen is a senior biomedical sciences major and health sciences minor at the University of Central Florida. She has been interested in dentistry from a young age and has been in leadership positions in the Predental Student Association at UCF and the 2018-19 ASDA District 5 Predental Committee. Outside of dentistry, Andrea enjoys going to new restaurants, visiting her friends and family, and watching cat videos.