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Your dental school career goes quicker than you think. No matter what year you’re in, create a bucket list to ensure you’re doing everything you wanted while there’s still time. Here’s some items to consider:
- ❑ Meet your professors. Ask him or her to grab coffee or a drink. By getting to know them outside of class, you’re building a connection that could be useful to you in the future.
- ❑ Drop the distractions. Dental school is hard work, and anything that distracts you from your goals should be left behind.
- ❑ Get to know the campus. Figure out where the student facilities are – the bookstore, the library, the closest coffee shop to your classes. You know, the important things.
- ❑ Join clubs and organizations, or don’t. Getting involved with dental school clubs and organizations is great, but don’t feel pressured to just because everyone else is.
- ❑ Get a professional headshot taken. If you want to be treated like a professional, you must look like a professional. It’s important to make a good impression in-person and online.
- ❑ Find a study spot. This should be somewhere you can put yourself into study-mode and have a focused mindset.
- ❑ Hang out with your peers inside and outside of class. They’ll become your best friends, and the people you’ll rely on the most.
- ❑ Explore the city. If you’re attending dental school in a new city, spend a day exploring. You may even consider a quick trip to a fun destination nearby.
- ❑ Take advantage of any and all free food. Because, well, dental school is expensive.
- ❑ Find a mentor. Navigating through your career, at any stage, can be overwhelming. Find a mentor who will give you honest, yet positive feedback and guidance.
- ❑ Attend professional development events. Chances are you’ll learn something new at one of these events, and it’s a great opportunity to build yourself personally and professionally.
- ❑ Go to class… There’s no cramming for tests like you did in undergrad. Really soak in all the information. After all, what you learn is what you’ll be doing for the rest of your life.
- ❑ …But be a normal human. Take one night a weekend to go out and have fun. (Or stay in and watch Netflix!)
- ❑ Go to the annual formal. Just trust me on this one, you’ll regret not going.
- ❑ Spend your summer doing something productive. Volunteer for a dental mission trip or apply for a research program.
- ❑ If you get discouraged, put on your white coat. There will be times when you feel like giving up. Put on your white coat to remind yourself you’ve already made it. It will make you feel powerful and give you the motivation you’re looking for.
- ❑ Do your research. Don’t wait until the last minute to figure out what your career looks like after dental school. It’s never too early to begin researching options.
- ❑ Graduate. Congratulations, you did it!
What’s on your dental school bucket list?
~Dr. Carlos Benavides, Heartland Dental