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.
My earliest memories of the dental profession include visiting my dad on the Air Force base and watching from my mom’s arms as he worked just beyond the operatory window. As I grew older, I remember looking through the AAOMS journal that would arrive in our mailbox and, despite some of the unpleasant pictures, being amazed by the before-and-after transformations that were possible in dentistry. It amazed me that a patient could go in with numerous problems with their teeth or mouth and within several visits, be transformed in the way they look and feel.
My family supports and encourages me in everything I dream, and one of these dreams has been becoming a dentist and continuing a great and rewarding family legacy. And part of this legacy is the strong focus on helping people through dentistry. When there were families who immigrated to the United States years ago, my grandfather provided dental services to help those in need. My dad has provided oral surgery services to priests and the St. Vincent de Paul Society through our church. Through the mentors I have had in my life, I learned that with the practice of dentistry comes the responsibility of giving back to my community. Whether it’s by providing dental education or low-cost services to those in need, giving back is one of the greatest gifts this profession offers.
Growing up around dentistry also has allowed me to observe the overall balance and stability it provides. I hope to one day have a family and give them what my family has been able to give me, as a result of the profession.
The journey throughout dental school continues to be rigorous. I am grateful to have the familial support system that I do. My family is able to relate to the intensity and pressure that dental school often demands. The legacy and tradition this profession has within my family often fuels my passion even more because I strive to uphold the ethics and values I have been taught throughout my life. Upon the completion of my second year, I am ready to accept the challenges and successes of my impending clinical experiences by serving my community as the best possible dental student.
~Anne Shedlosky, Texas A&M ’21