My path to #ASDAfever is a wild one. I believe dental students are “wild” in so many diverse ways — we are wild about Friday nights, wild about advocacy, wild about self-reflection and wildly focused on creating a brighter future. Together, we are all wild about dentistry.
“Lead. Live. Laugh. Love. Learn … Leave a legacy.”
These are the words hand-printed and signed by Dr. David Maloley on the inside cover of his 2018 book, “Titans of Dentistry: How the Top Performers Think and Act Differently,” co-authored by Dr. Justin Short. The book includes interviews with 39 “titans” in dentistry, providing the reader with insight into how they think and behave differently from the average practitioner.
Navigating your career can be overwhelming, but having a mentor who can help guide you through it can be powerful. Even if you currently don’t have someone you can call a mentor, it’s never too late to find one.
April 2018. I ventured to Washington, D.C., for ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day. The first day prepared nearly 1,100 dentists and dental students for the congressional meetings that followed. While sitting in the grand ballroom of our host hotel, I listened to questions and comments about our legislative issues. Some issues were simpler to understand as a first-year dental student. Others, such as those regarding insurance and its marketplace, seemed more complicated. It was then that I realized my lack of understanding on the intricacies of some legislative issues. I knew that to better understand the issues, to feel confident advocating and to further my advocacy involvement after lobby day, I needed a mentor.
As they drove home to New York City from Rutgers University nearly a decade ago, Dr. Marcus Johnson and Dr. Edly Destine may not have imagined they would one day consider each other family. Their relationship is a testament to the power of mentorship, friendship, common interests and following through.
You know how every chef movie has an aspiring sous chef who admires the head chef, but the head chef either doesn’t have the desire or can’t seem to find time to mentor the sous chef? In this regard, the dental profession is no different from the food preparation profession.
Everyone talks about mentor relationships. Some people have them, but would like more. Some people would like to find just one. No matter how you slice it, if you’d like a mentor, you will probably have to do something to initiate the relationship. So how do you go about creating a mentor relationship with a faculty or senior colleague?
While I was studying at a coffee shop, I happened to meet a dentist. After chatting for a bit about his experiences in private practice and public health, I asked him if he had any advice for a current dental student. Without hesitation, he said, “It’s important to have a mentor who is willing to teach and guide you.”
Out of the many relationships that are created and maintained in the dental world, I believe that mentorship is one of the most vital and rewarding relationships. A mentor can teach and provide insight to the mentee that isn’t found in the classroom or a group setting. Having someone who is already doing what you’re working toward is beneficial throughout your journey. This one-on-one relationship allows the mentor to provide personalized advice for their specific questions or worries.