Management + Leadership

First-year dental students: How to network and build leadership skills

Networking is an integral part of dental school. We often carry the connections we build in school with us throughout our careers. Our current classmates are our future colleagues. Our current faculty could be our future colleagues. Networking starts with conversations. Through conversations, you build connections and learn more about yourself and the people around you. You can share ideas and create an environment where both parties feel heard and supported. The connections you develop early are ones that may assist you in the future, but also help you while in dental school. It’s never too late to start networking, but it’s ideal to begin during your first year in dental school.

Make time to get to know your classmates, faculty, and second-, third- and fourth-year students. Ask questions. Listen to and learn from your classmates’ and teachers’ experiences, and share your own.

Attend any and all networking opportunities. These include “meet-and-greet” events, hosted by your school’s state dental societies or dental school career fairs where dental companies including private practices, dental service organizations, and community health centers, are present. Introduce yourself to the representatives at these events and initiate a conversation.

Attend leadership conferences hosted by your ASDA district or ASDA’s annual National Leadership Conference held every fall. You will meet dental students from your district and throughout the United States. These conferences are also a great way to connect with first-year students at different schools.

Read more in Contour magazine.

~Joan Daniel, New England ’22, ASDA Contributing Editor

Joan Daniel

A Massachusetts native, Joan Daniel is currently a student at the University of New England (UNE) in Portland, Maine. She's an active member of her chapter and loves photography, traveling, spending time with family and friends, and trying new coffee shops.

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