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Truth be told, I came to the realization that dentistry was my calling a little later than most. Unlike my colleagues who were inspired by a mentor or career day way back when, I was not completely sure of my destiny in dentistry until my last semester of undergraduate studies.
While I wasn’t really a “predental” student for very long, I did pick up a couple valuable tips that I wish someone would have shared with me.
- Don’t worry that you’re doing it all wrong. I spent the summer after graduation studying for the dental admission test (DAT) and working as a dental assistant. I think I read the American Dental Association’s (ADA) DAT page at least 10 times throughout the summer and didn’t even start applying to dental school until late summer/early fall. As a predental applicant, my biggest fear came from the pressure I was putting on myself. I worried all the time about how I didn’t know another person my age applying for dental school and that I’d done things backwards. Now, I see that I was forging my own path, which for better or for worse, is a big part of becoming an adult. So keep calm, really try hard NOT compare yourself to others and be sure to read the DAT guide thoroughly (or in my case, at least 10 times)!
- Use FREE resources. Once you’re in dental school and join ASDA, you will also become a member of the ADA. Until then, you can look to the ADA to help immerse yourself in the profession. I didn’t get to benefit from these tools when I was a predental, but wish I’d known they were there. Check out ADA News and the ADA’s New Dentist Now blog to learn more about the profession, and visit org/student for information on scholarships, career options, professional ethics, and more!
- Enjoy the camaraderie. My favorite part of dental school was being with 110 other people every day who could relate to the ups, downs and hoops that come along with working tirelessly to achieve your dreams. The friendships are vital personally and professionally, which is why I cherished my classmates, my ASDA chapter and now the ADA. Today, the network of seasoned ADA dentists that I know have encouraged me as mentors and connected me to dentistry as a whole. They frequently inspire me to do great things in the community and on those rare but real times, help me through tough days. It’s truly worth your time to make the real-life connections with classmates, colleagues and mentors that social networks could never replicate.
Trust me, dental school and everything after might not happen as quickly and as smoothly as you hope, but be confident that this is your calling. Eventually things will work out the way you’ve planned.
~Dr. Emily Hobart, Midwestern-Arizona ’15
Dr. Emily Hobart is a New Dentist Now guest blogger and an estranged Canadian who grew up in Glendale, Arizona. Dr. Hobart attended dental school at Midwestern University and is now finding her way as a new dentist in Columbia, South Carolina. In her free time she loves running, rock climbing, pub trivia, karaoke and traveling!
2016 Predental Week is sponsored by: