For many, the holidays bring memories of frosting sugar cookies, spending precious time with family near and far and looking forward to a bright new year. Unfortunately for others, the holidays can look and feel very different. They may spend the season in solitude, or their holiday obligations may bring on unnecessary stress. I know for me, the holidays have been more difficult to celebrate since losing both my mother and father. Those of us who have lost close family members may find if painful to take part in the same holiday traditions once celebrated.
One of the reasons that many of you have chosen dentistry as a profession is to establish autonomy. You’d like to set your own schedule, take vacations when you please and not answer to a boss. However, patients want to be seen early in the morning and late at night, so your workdays will be long. Patients want to be seen during the weekend, so your weekends will be short. While it’s tempting to believe that you will be able to schedule your patients to meet your needs, you may not be able to meet your financial obligations if you do. If you learn to balance your work and your life while you are in dental school, it may be easier for you to continue to do so once you enter the profession. We have some simple suggestions that might help.
I will always remember learning how to cut a crown preparation for the first time. As I sat in class and looked down at my hands, I wondered if they would ever be skilled and steady enough to refine a margin or achieve the perfect taper. I felt intimidated, but the crushing weight and pressure on my chest did not feel like normal school stress or anxiety. At that exact moment, life was literally throwing me a curve ball (or as I later found out, three).
In our lab session following class, I found myself struggling to catch my breath and felt extreme discomfort in my chest and arms. With the help of faculty members and classmates, I was taken to the emergency room, where I waited for hours with many unanswered questions. My diagnosis finally came: three pulmonary emboli. While it felt reassuring to know exactly what I was facing, I had no idea what a long struggle the recovery would be.
As I come to my mat, I inhale my thoughts: “The eye orbit consists of which bones?” “I have 3 assignments due by midnight.” “I work at 5 on Thursday.” Then I exhale, bringing myself to my practice and letting go of the stress.
I picked up yoga and a few other activities last year after speaking with a co-worker, Dr. Michelle Pearson (North Carolina ‘03). She saw me become restless and drained at work as the months passed, and she shared with me the importance of taking time for yourself.
Preparation, proper form and good hand skills – we must be talking about dentistry, right? Well, not quite: we’re talking about sports!
Sports and dentistry have more in common than you might think. If you’ve ever played high school or collegiate sports, you know that success on the field begins before the game even starts, with late-night practices, team huddles, proper coaching and of course, hard work. Similarly, as dental students, we know all too well how pre-clinical practice and adequate preparation before appointments are crucial components to being successful in clinic.
For me, the start of third year was the most exciting part of dental school thus far. Finally being in clinic full-time was the light at the end of a two-year tunnel of intense didactic coursework and preclinical projects. Seeing patients of my own also helped me feel like an actual dentist and at my school, we are lucky to each have our own operatory.
I remember the very first day I excitedly walked into my little office–with my own chair, desk, computer and three windowless walls. But, after a month of sitting in the same small room, day after day, I could feel those three walls closing in on me.
With the constantly looming mountain of studying, lab work, and chart management, it can be hard to make smart snacking choices. Especially when you’re stressed, planning healthy snacks can seem like one more thing you don’t have time to deal with. Here are some of our favorite picks for satisfying munchies that won’t make you regret it later! Calorie estimates come from the USDA’s SuperTracker website, which can be found