News + Issues

Non-traditional journeys to dental school [videos]

A few months ago, my co-chair for the UCLA ASDA Predental Outreach Committee and I decided to join the rest of civilization in the 21st century: we created Instagram and Twitter accounts (@ucla_asda_predental). After learning new words like “hashtag” and “handle,” I proceeded to follow three other accounts: American Student Dental Association (@dentalstudents), UCLA ASDA (@uclaasda) and Justin Bieber (@justinbieber).

Though we’ve all heard of ASDA fever and its associated symptoms, after a few glances through Justin Bieber’s Twitter account I quickly came down with something the kids these days are calling “Bieber fever.” Woven between relentless shout outs to his herds of hallowed followers (aka #Beliebers), I found my inspiration for the direction that I wanted to take our Predental Committee.

On Oct. 19 Justin Bieber tweeted: “A lot of times we are worried about our destination and forget to focus on our journey.”

Every day, I am inspired by the many unique journeys that are traveled and that ultimately converge at dental school. I’ve literally never met a “traditional” dental student. I am in a constant state of awe when I hear about classmates who earned Master’s degrees and Ph.D.s prior to dental school. There are fathers and former pharmacists sitting next to me in oral pathology right now. From Peruvians to pageant queens, my classmates are no exception to the diversity that dentistry demands. However, we maintain one commonality: at one point in our journeys to dental school we were all predents.

My classmates and I chose to share our stories with predental students in hopes that they too may recognize the inestimable value of their own distinct discourses. In a 25-part video series produced by UCLA ASDA’s Predental Outreach Committee, you’ll hear about some of these traditionally untraditional journeys to dental school. I hope they will inspire you to catch #ASDAfever and #Belieb in your journey, because after all it is the only road map you have to your destination.

~Neikka Fareid, Los Angeles ’17, associate, Council on Communications

Neikka Fareid

Neikka is a second year dental student at the UCLA School of Dentistry. She currently serves as a national ASDA leader as an Associate for the Council on Communications and as the chair of UCLA ASDA's Pre-dental Outreach Committee.

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  1. Very insightful post here. It’s great to see the diverse people who come into the dentist profession. Thanks for sharing this awesome video!

  2. Laura Nelson says:

    You are a great writer, Neikka! I agree with you that there are no traditional dental students. I didn’t really think about it, however, until after I read your article!

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