I still remember the first ASDA event I attended. It was the District 2 meeting during fall 2014. Since Stony Brook’s ASDA chapter was hosting and that’s where I attend undergrad, it made sense for me to go. To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Despite the fact I had been a predental member of ASDA for two years, I hadn’t attended any district events. However, by the end of the meeting, I was motivated to do more with my membership. I had officially caught “ASDA Fever.”
At the meeting, I had the pleasure of interacting with current dental students from all of the schools in District 2: Buffalo, Columbia, New York, Rutgers and Stony Brook. From those interactions grew mentorship opportunities. Upon leaving the meeting, I gathered contact information of at least one student from each school and felt comfortable enough to reach out to them for advice. Over the next few months, that is exactly what I did. Whether I had a question about what study materials they used to prepare for the DAT or what attributes they believed their respective schools exemplified most, my relationships soon strengthened. In time, they became more than just mentors to me. They became my friends as well. Soon, we were checking in with each other periodically. They would ask me how the application process was going and I would ask them how they were handling classes or studying for the boards. They represented everything I wanted to become—a dental student—and helped me gain confidence in myself that I would get there too.
On that brisk fall day in 2014, the importance of being actively involved in organized dentistry became evident. Dr. Chris Salierno held an inspirational breakout session on how to not fail miserably in a private practice. Personally, the task of opening a practice was, and still is, a distant thought in my mind. But the broader overlying themes in his presentation were nonetheless applicable. One piece of advice Dr. Salierno stressed was the importance of making a long-lasting impression on your patients. He discussed how each time a patient is added to the office’s Rolodex, he sends them a handwritten follow-up note welcoming them to the practice. Because it’s the “little things” in life, like a personalized note, that resonate with people most. Realizing the effect such a small task can have on others, I decided to bring this idea back to my own predental society. We strive to connect with everyone on a more human level, and now send thank you notes to any guest speakers or presenters we bring in. While this may represent a small piece of the networking pie, it helps to ensure relationships with others stay strong and intact for the future.
After attending that district meeting, my ASDA Fever propelled me to get more engaged on the local, state and national levels. Over the last year, I have made an effort to attend monthly chapter meetings and events at Stony Brook’s ASDA chapter. This past fall, I attended the District 2 meeting in Buffalo, New York and ASDA’s National Leadership Conference in Chicago. Above all, the connections you make and lessons you learn as a result of attending such events prove to be invaluable. Each afforded me the opportunity to expand my professional network of friends and colleagues, and even caused Dr. Salierno’s and my paths to cross again. This led to me securing him as a guest presenter at a Stony Brook Predental Society meeting this past year.
If you’re seeking greater advantages from your membership in ASDA, then I encourage you to attend an event this year such as a chapter meeting, district meeting, National Leadership Conference or Annual Session, because trust me, you won’t regret it!
~Jack Lupfer, Stony Brook ’16, member, ASDA Predental Advisory Committee
Don’t forget! Predentals who join ASDA during Predental Week will be eligible for prizes, including an Apple iPad mini, $250 Best Buy gift card and $100 Amazon gift card.
2016 Predental Week is sponsored by: