It’s almost here — the start of another new era of ASDA. Annual Session is a historical event, marking a change in leadership, adoption of new or revised ASDA policies and offering the opportunity for all in attendance to grow personally and professionally. This year will continue to exceed expectations, and as students from all over the country bear the cold in Pittsburgh, there is much to look forward to.
As chair of the Committee on Sessions, I, along with all members of the committee, aim to make this the best Annual Session yet. The breakout sessions may last an hour, but the relationships and experiences last forever.
I attended my first Annual Session as an alternate delegate in 2016 in Dallas. I expected a typical CE-style event, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. It was a time for the best minds from the best dental schools in the world to come together for a few short days to drive the direction of ASDA. Yet it’s more than that, and it’s more than powerful keynote speakers and cutting-edge, technology-focused educational sessions. It’s a time for us to escape a world where all decisions seem to be made for us. It’s the time to come together and decide what we want to focus our efforts on for the upcoming year.
At Annual Session, the House of Delegates will select who will be the voice for dental students and determine what our policies should be. Whether this is your first or fourth time attending the event, be excited. If you’re nervous, that’s OK, too. Get prepared by reading about the resolutions and candidates before Annual Session. If you are a first, second or alternate delegate, it’s your duty to attend each portion of the meeting and put forth your opinion to represent the students back home.
Even if you’re not a delegate, your opinion equally matters. The best way to prepare yourself? Attend reference committee hearings. Discuss the resolutions with your district trustee. If you disagree with someone, that can be a good thing! Remain confident in your opinion, and voice that opinion at this meeting. Disagreement creates discussion, which acts as the currency of progress.
To say that I am excited for this year’s Annual Session is an understatement. We’re traveling to a thriving city with a lively downtown scene, nightlife that is second to none and history worth reliving. Personally, this is a meeting that will always remain special to me. We will make big decisions, and we will celebrate the past year’s successes. As the soon-to-be former vice president of ASDA, I’ve spent the past year planning what I hope to be a memory-making event that serves to better dentistry for all.
This will be my fourth and final Annual Session as a student. This meeting is a place for great personal growth, building incredible relationships and so much more. You never know what you’re going to learn or who you will meet. (Take it from me — I met my fiancé in Orlando at Annual Session 2017.)
~Jeffrey Kerst, Louisiana ’19, ASDA Vice President