Dentistry is a rewarding career where we are given the opportunity to improve the quality of life for each patient. It’s also a profession where our back, neck and hands are constantly strained. As each day passes, the effects are additive, potentially causing long term and detrimental issues. Our bodies undergo an immense amount of stress, both mental and physical.
Believing that dentistry was my dream job, I knew that I needed to discipline myself to maintain a healthy lifestyle by training my mind and body. Staying fit wasn’t just about succeeding in dental school. I viewed every workout session as a personal battle and challenge to endure, persevere and test my limits. I began with lifting weights such as bench, incline, squats and leg press exercises. Then I veered off into other areas such as calisthenics. Personally, I wanted to push the limits of my own strength to body weight ratio. As I began to improve and see results in different aspects of my time in the gym, I wanted to challenge myself further. That’s when I decided to try out for American Ninja Warrior.
American Ninja Warrior is a television show that calls competitors from all over the nation to complete in grueling obstacles. Each competitor competes in their own assigned region. The top 15 athletes qualify for the chance to compete in the finals in Las Vegas, Nevada. The finals consist of four different stages, each with its own obstacles that become more difficult. Stage 4 consists of an 80 foot rope climb in 30 seconds that no one has yet been able to complete.
I began to branch out into different areas such as rock climbing, training my forearms, and making time to learn and practice at gyms made specifically for Ninja Warrior training such as Iron Sports in Houston and Obstacle Warriors in Dallas. I made it a personal goal to be on the show. Although some may have perceived my training to be intensive and extreme, I was inspired to advance even further in my discipline, endurance and strength. Despite the demands of dental school, I knew that this challenge would be a constant reminder to break out of my comfort zone and fearlessly try something new.
I’ve already submitted a video in hopes of a call back. If I don’t receive a call, I will try again next year (with DDS behind my name). Oddly enough, the process of training was a reminder of my journey of matriculating and now graduating dental school. From doing my first Class I filling to completing my last endo requirement, it almost seems unreal that I’ll be graduating this May. I am thankful for the support I’ve received and this new avenue to challenge and push myself. Want my recommendation? Put down those notes every once in a while, find the nearest playground and go have some fun!
How do you deal with stress in dental school? Comment below!
~Matt Doan, Oklahoma ’15