Ever since my undergraduate years at NYU, writing has always been a passion of mine. I wrote for news site Odyssey Online and had the opportunity to interview NYU students, singer Luke Wade and even ask a question to Sarah Jessica Parker. I loved the concept of journalism and writing because of how often I got to meet new people and write about their stories.
In a recent leadership seminar, I heard a phrase that stuck with me: Writing can be scary because there is no place to hide, but that is what makes it so powerful. I felt that phrase completely and knew I wanted to take away that fear and turn writing into something hopeful and safe. I never thought about creating a student club that graciously combined writing with dentistry until the pandemic gave us all more time. Personally, the pandemic gave me more time to self-reflect and hold on to what is most important: family, health, friends, aspirations, intentions, and our well-being.
As a third-year dental student in the middle of quarantine, I wanted to start a club that could unite dental students, faculty and alumni. In a time where we could not meet up with each other for months, I wanted to encourage students to stay connected. In a school as large as NYU College of Dentistry, it felt crucial to create a common place and a sense of belonging, especially during a time such as this.
Since my first year at NYU College of Dentistry, every individual I have gotten to know on a more personal level has been warm and welcoming, and I wanted to embody those feelings in our online publications. I remember contacting numerous professors and students for weeks, and after a few months, I finally got the approval from student government to start this club. I wrote a constitution, created a Wix website and founded my executive team. Together, we edited and published monthly articles written by our peers. Unexpectedly, from our executive team to our editors to our webmaster, our first year as a student club was built on the foundation of strong and inspiring women.
Each piece published begins with an idea and a poll. Every month, our executive team asks for topics from our club members. Thus far, we have published content on wellness, growing from failure, precision medicine and more. We have also interviewed NYU College of Dentistry faculty who were once in our shoes.
The process for a student writer involves a lot of teamwork. First, the executive team will edit the writer’s piece, and then send it over to our faculty mentors. If the article is approved, from there, the writer will implement the changes and send the revised edition back to me for publication. Our webmaster then uploads all approved articles. With our monthly publications, our goal is to publish only respectful and authentic pieces, and we want to always hold true to that value.
This student club has given us all a place to freely express our thoughts and get to know our student writers beyond dentistry. As we start our second year as a club this year, I hope it continuously serves as a platform for student writers to express their own voice. If given the opportunity, we’d love to help other programs adapt this same format, as it’s been such a gratifying experience for us all. I’m forever thankful for the mentors who believed in us from the beginning. Dentistry is a profession that is so versatile, and there is so much that can be combined with it. Writing happens to be one of my many passions that seems to flow well with my passion for dentistry: to have the ability to help people in the clinic and to also help others by publishing relatable, helpful pieces, demonstrating how grateful I am to be in this profession.
~Yunah Caroline Chun, New York ‘22