Don't fall behind

The week of October 18th was a rough week. It was the week of mid-terms. Whilst they may be well behind me, the journey continues. In anticipation of my mid-term examinations, I developed serious tunnel vision, essentially, neglecting my classes and assignments. As a result, once my examinations were over, I was left spending most of my time catching up with sleep, coupled with understanding concepts that I should have already covered and understood. In retrospect, I thought that neglecting my current classes and assignments in order to prepare for my mid-terms was not a great idea after all. I've come to realize in my short tenure in dental school thus far that there's a lot of concepts to understand and apply in a very short amount of time; hence, I've learned that I must stay extremely focused and develop the art of staying on task despite having to prepare for major examinations. In addition, I've come to the realization that in professional school, major and minor examinations are an integral part of weekly life. Furthermore, I do also recognize that if a person allows one week to go by without carefully reviewing power-point slides, notes, and assignments, they will forever be playing catch-up all semester, which can make for a difficult journey. Rather, I would suggest that it is imperative to stay on top of all your classwork despite the pressure of having examinations. If you do, you will definitely be in control of your journey.

Hindsight is always 20/20 vision. Again in retrospect, I wish I had stayed on top of last week's classes. Nevertheless, being the astute and determined student that I am, I was able to "catch-up," with most of my work, albeit modifying my approach to my studies mentally and physically. Take home message and note to self: never allow yourself to fall behind. Build multitasking skills, it's very important.

Mental Gymnastics

I'm starting a new trend here on Stu-DENT Diaries - Mental Monday, where every Monday I share an activity geared towards enhancing your cognitive abilities. Who's with me? (Lets just hope I can keep this up).
Due to the gazillion amount of information I receive everyday from my classes, it seems my brain is continuously working - even in my sleep! However, the brain cannot function at optimal capacity without exercise and of course, hydration. Water is extremely important to the brain's function. Did you know that the brain is approximately 90% water? Many parts of the brain draw much of their energy from water and also uses it as a communicator between nerves for neuro-transmission.  Physical exercise is also important as this increases circulation and consequently oxygen and glucose to the brain, which in turn enables mental clarity.

As physical exercise strengthens your body, exercising your mind strengthens your brain. I like to refer to this as brain-ercise or simply, mental gymnastics. We should all try to engage ourselves in small activities such as Sudoku, puzzles, drawing, and math quizzes as all these stimulate the brain, helping to create and maintain important neuronal connections critical to cognitive abilities.

Now, our first activity for Mental Monday...Write with the opposite of your dominant hand. It may be difficult initially, but with a little practice and some neuronal connections, you will get the hang of it.

My practice:

Do your best, forget the rest

Aaah! Gees Louise! every time I promise you guys I'll write more here I slack off. Dental School has me down under. I literally have no time for anything but school and a little sleep (sometimes). It's pretty bad, considering I'm only taking 4 classes. What am I going to do when I have to take 8 classes next semester? and 12 the next? ay caramba!

Anyhoo, I turned my tv on for the first time in months last night. It felt soo good. I had a chance to catch up with my fav. shows (well, the only ones I watch really) House and Lie to Me. If only everyday was like yesterday...not to mention the full 8 hrs sleep I got, heavenly!

In more serious news, it's the week of midterms. I had a super stressful weekend studying for Anatomy, which I got through in one piece on Monday, phew!  But hold your horses, this only means I have a stressful week ahead since I have to also get through the rest, sigh.

It's week 9 and I have seen, heard and learned many things. One of which is that...I need a life! Seriously, it's my next big goal (besides doing well and passing all my classes of course). I cannot continue at the rate in which I'm going if I ever want to make it through first year without being burnt out, or if I want to make it out of Dental School being a normal human being. I must make time for other things, find a balance.

That's my spill for now. I'm off to study now, and remember; do your best - forget the rest!

Wish me luck!

Interview Season

My! how time flies. It seems like just yesterday since I had my interviews for Dental School. A whole year has passed and I am now seeing people from the 2011 cycle come in for their Interviews at my school.

I still remember the day I interviewed at my school. I was nervous, terrified and the fact that it was during winter made the matter that much worse. However, I got through my interviews by following some very simple guidelines.

Going back to previous posts, here are some guidelines/ground rules to pay attention to when getting ready for your interview(s):
1. Look the part, dress for success! 
2. Be ready for the Questions. Do your research on each of the schools and answer your questions intelligently.
3. Last but not least, relax - breathe - be calm.

Good luck!

PS  Any business students in the house? I've been given some GMAT prep. books that may be beneficial to you. If interested Contact me.

Carving teeth: Initiation

I carved my first tooth out of wax last week, I like to refer to it as my initiation into Dental School /Dentistry. As Dental Students we have to know the details of each tooth in the mouth, which believe it or not is a tedious task. This is what we do in Occlusion class, we learn about the intricacies and details of the different teeth and how the maxillary (upper) and the mandibulary (lower) teeth align with each other in the!
In studying the anterior (front) teeth we got a chance to carve, with all the correct dimensions, the right maxillary central incisor - this was pretty fun but time consuming.

Here's what I did:
I first had to get my tools together: wax, boley gauge, carving knife and a sheet of paper to reduce the mess. I then had to use the boley gauge to mark my dimensions on the wax, after which I drew an outline of the tooth.
Maxillary Central Incisor
Length Crown
Mesiodistal Crown
Mesiodistal Cervix
Bucco-lingial Diameter
Bucco-lingual  Cervix
Mesial cervix/Distal cervix

from left: boley gauge, block of wax with dimensions and outline of tooth drawn, carving knife.
  After that was done it was time to get to carving! The wax was pretty hard, I had to use the carving knife to shave down to the outline that was drawn on the wax.
wax shaved down towards the outline drawn
The aim of this part was to get as close as possible to the outline made, so I had to carve some more.

Proximal/side view: wax carved to the outline drawn
Facial/front view: wax carved to the outline drawn
After the carving to the outline was done it was time to put everything learned in Occlusion class to work! Generally speaking, the mesial surface should be angled acutely, the distal surface more round, cervical line at mesial surface should be lower than on the distal surface,the root should taper distally (how's that for mumbo-jumbo??)
So after carefully carving and measuring and carving and measuring some more I finally had what looked like the right maxillary central incisor with the correct dimensions.
Facial/front view: finished product (not yet polished)
Lingual/back view: finished product (not yet polished)
Carving the tooth was a fun exercise though time consuming. The images above are far from perfect but was my first of two trials. The second was a little better but I took no pictures of those.
Go ahead and add your critique!

Got my own...

**Winner of the Digital Camera Giveaway posted within**

A couple weeks ago after coming to the realization that Starbucks coffee was costing me way too much money, I decided, why not make my own darn coffee? See, I have coffee twice per day - one in the morning to take me through my 9 hr school day and another at night to take me through my countless hours of studying thereafter. If coffee costs on average $1.85 it means it'll cost me $3.70 per day which is $25.90 per week, $103.60 per month and a whopping $1243.20 per year! RI-DI-CU-LOUS!

So being the poor student I am, I took a trip to my local grocery store and picked up a bottle of Maxwell House breakfast blend (medium) roast coffee, mmm! After that it was time to search for a portable coffee cup, so I made my way to Target and after about 30 mins of picking and choosing I finally settled on an aladdin brand cup. I was all set and ready to start my new make-my-own-coffee regimen. The next morning came and I was excited to make my coffee. I put  one tbsp. of coffee in my cup, added sugar, a little milk and water. I was almost ready to go and beaming about the $3.70 I would be saving that day when I realized that I had been mixing for a while but my coffee wouldn't dissolve. Hmm, what is up with this coffee? Figuring I must have made it wrong I poured that away and started to make my coffee again from scratch. 1 tbsp coffee, sugar, milk, water -- mix. Coffee still won't dissolve. I finally decided to check the label on the coffee to see if it was wasn't. What I did realize however that with my inexperienced coffee buying self I had actually bought brewed coffee instead of instant coffee. Crap! I don't own a coffee maker. So feeling defeated I left the house and went on my way to school, stopping by the local starbucks to spend yet another $3.70. 

I did however go back to the grocery store in the evening and made certain to get Instant coffee - man was I happy. So the next day up until today I've been having my Maxwell House Breakfast blend (medium) roast Instant coffee everyday. I have plenty of servings left (90 servings/bottle) and it only cost me $6.11.

Maxwell House Instant Coffee and my aladdin coffee cup

So in summary:
Price of Starbucks per year = $1243.20
Price of Instant Coffee per year =  $24.44
Feeling you get when you realize you just saved  $1218.76 = Priceless!
for everything else there's....common sense?

And now, the moment we've all been waiting for, the winner of the Red Digital Camera courtesy of the sharper Image is.....
Camille Knox!!

When contacted and told she was the winner of this giveaway, Camille had this to say:
" Oh my god! thank you soo much! I've never won anything before, I still can't believe it. Thank you so much and your blogs really help in preparing me for Dental school. I've been following you privately for a while and I like how you make it so fun to read. I've applied for next year and I have you to thank for providing information on how to go about applying. Thank you again! I love your blog even more now :)..."

Congratulations Camille! and you're very welcome. Thank you as well for visiting my blog and for your kind words.. I'm very happy that I was able to help you through the process. Good luck with your applications.

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