I was 17 when I left my family behind in the Philippines. I vividly remember tirelessly crying on the plane, only to wake up 14 hours later to the starry lights that lit up the San Francisco hills. By the time I got out of the terminal, it was 3 a.m. I anxiously waited for my ride, clutching onto the two bulky suitcases I packed my entire life into.
“Start fast. Finish strong.” These are the words around which my college career revolved. My 5 a.m. alarm frequently came as a scare to me Monday through Friday. My nights were spent falling asleep while reviewing lecture notes from organic chemistry and physiology as well as our football team’s weekly game plan installed that week.
When most people hear my path to dentistry, they think that I’m a glutton for punishment, yet the truth is, I am actually just a normal girl who, like any 18-year-old at the time, didn’t quite know herself yet. The story starts with high-school Connie, who knew she was meant …
Growing up, my dream profession stemmed from watching “Grey’s Anatomy.” I thought I wanted to explore a career in medicine, yet when I got to college, I started to rethink this. My father is a dentist, and I would visit his practice when I was younger, which gave me a sense of what this profession was like. The opportunity to impact people’s lives in a profound way and still enjoy a lifestyle that permitted individual growth appealed to me.