If this is your first year of dental school, ask yourself the question: did I meet my GPA goals last semester? Do I have a firm foundation and a good understanding of the fundamental core coursework in which to move forward and build on? If your answers aren't a resounding Yes! then this is the semester to really hit the books hard and try to make a "come back," so to speak.
If you're in the clinic, are you on track with your requirements or fulfilled your yearly/quarterly requirement goals? and If this is your final semester of dental school (at long last!) are you on track for graduation? Have u taken/passed your boards and are you on track with the myriad requirements to graduate?
At whatever stage you are in dental school, this time of the year is crucial and is always met with high energy and a get sh*t done attitude. The goal is not solely about making a long to-do list of things you need to do but to keep momentum. How many times do we start the new year off with dieting and work out goals to only have them fall by the wayside by mid-january??
I've had my share of new year resolutions while going through dental school and I have curated a short list of the key principles to follow to make your year successful:
1. Stay Motivated - Remember why you chose to become a dentist. Dental School is not easy and there will be times when you feel like giving up. Don't! Dig deep and keep your eyes on the finish line. Perhaps you can schedule to shadow a local dentist just to remind you of the reason you chose this great profession. Stay focused on you juicy vision and that will increase your motivation and energy to take the necessary actions to see your vision through.
2. Stick-to-it-iveness - That to-do list that you have, get to it and keep going until all your tasks are complete. Develop the habit of following through. As you strike things off that to-do list you are building momentum which will be the motivational force that will sustain you to the end.
3. Time Management - If you struggle with any of the above, managing your time will be a problem as well. All these three points go hand-in-hand and one really does not go without the other. Here are some tips to help you with these:
- Keep you energy levels high!
- Make your goals exciting. Follow the SMART rule and make your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.
- Stay Positive. Check yourself from time to time. What kind of self talk are you having? If you think you will fail, you probably will. If you think you can do it, you will be unstoppable.
- Avoid procrastination and think of creative ways to reward yourself. Perhaps a mani/pedi if you get all your week's goals complete?
- Don't put off for tomorrow what can be done today! Self explanatory. In other words, JUST DO IT!
- Get support. Don't be afraid to ask for help - closed mouths do not get fed.
- Balance your life. Dental School can be stressful, find ways to decompress. Do not ditch your hobbies; you still have a life outside of school!