I may forget my coffee mug or my apartment keys on my way to school, but I will always have my backpack with me. It’s my Mary Poppins bag of dental school essentials, everything I need to help get me through each day. Here are a few things you’ll find in my backpack.
Dentistry has long been a family profession beginning with my great uncle and my grandfather. This led to both my dad and my aunt following in their father’s footsteps. As I embarked on my first year of dental school in fall 2017, my cousin did as well.
“What will you do with a music degree if you’re going to dental school?” “Do dentistry and music even tie together?” These were two of the many questions I would hear every time I told someone I was pursuing an undergraduate degree in music. I studied music because it is one of my passions. However, as I progressed further into the course of study, I realized that music and dentistry may not be so different after all.
Like every fourth-year dental student, Farhan Momin, Midwestern-Illinois ’19, hopes to graduate soon and begin his professional career. But how many dentists can say they took a semester off during dental school to hone their culinary skills on national television? Here, Farhan discusses how he combines both his professional and creative passions.
You may be thinking, “How could skills with a pen translate to skills with a perio probe?” It may sound tongue-in-cheek, but journalism had me convincing people to open their mouths years before dentistry. Hear me out. The central focus for both dentistry and writing is people. There is no story without a person, nor is there a procedure without a patient. Yes, that can be said for anything from business to baseball, but what dentistry and writing share is unique.
Both medicine and dentistry are aimed at preventing deleterious health conditions, addressing and tackling health disparities, educating communities and patients about taking charge of their health, and diagnosing and treating malformations and diseases. Yet how often do doctors and dentists — better yet, medical students and dental students — work together? How can we learn from each other and, ultimately, work as a cohesive team?
Anacristina Chapa is more than just a dental student. She is also a poet — and a well-recognized one at that. She was named the 2016 Poetry Slam Champ of Laredo BorderSlam and has competed in various regional competitions. Last year, she was a member of Houston’s Write About Now poetry team and competed in the National Poetry Slam competition in Denver. She has received media attention for her work illustrating modern life, especially for college-age students and Latinos.