What to Expect in your First Year of Dental School

In approximately 49 days I'll begin Dental School. I'm extremely excited! nervous and a bit anxious. The exciting classes is what I'm most looking forward to. However, dental school requires long hours of school, long hours of study and as a first year student, getting used to the rigor and adjusting to the varying personalities of the dental school colleagues, I'm sure will be challenging to deal with.
The first year of Dental School is mainly composed of lectures, labs and pre-clinical activities focusing on the basic sciences and dental materials. The structure of classes in dental schools vary but are similar in that they usually span a total of 8-9 hours daily. You will also probably have to put in at least 3-5 hrs endless amounts (what was I thinking?) of studying after wards.

Courses usually taught during the first year include (depending on school):
Introduction to Medicine
Gross Anatomy
Anatomy Dissection
Restorative Dentistry (lecture + lab)
Dental Materials, etc

Of the above, I'm mostly looking forward to Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Occlusion and Restorative Dentistry. Perhaps I'll take a liking to other of the above listed courses. Perhaps I'll lose one of my most liked...
So what should we expect in our first year? Expect a deviation from the norm. You will be transitioning from undergraduate to professional school. There will be lots of competition, and to keep up we have to put in adequate amount of time and effort in order to make the transition easier on ourselves and to ensure a successful journey in this process. Equally important in this process is knowing the type of learner that you are. Recognizing that professional school requires a lot of adjustments, understanding how you learn and what works for you will serve as a platform with which you can spring from in your quest for continuity beyond your first year.

Best of luck to all of us!!

What to Expect in Your First year of Medical School

This post is for medical students, who I have sympathy for because their workload is probably twice mine, but who I am also empathetic towards because I know how challenging this journey will be. It will be exciting, at times fun, it will be testing, it will be grueling and it may make you lose a lot of night sleep. Well, what do you expect, it's medical school and not kindergarten.

The first year of medical school is the most grueling of the four years that is required. This is the case because you are entering a professional environment which is completely different to your previous undergraduate experience. The highest drop-out rates occur during this time. The first year consists of mainly lectures and labs in basic and medical sciences (anatomical, physiological & medical treatment). It is where you will encounter workload that may at first be unimaginable or what would have looked impossible to accomplish before you started medical school.

Though medical schools curricula differ slightly, some courses that may be encountered during the first year include:
Gross Anatomy
Nutrition, etc.

Medical school will not be a cakewalk. It is time-consuming, consisting of hours typically between 8am and 4pm each week day which has to be followed up by intensive studying and self-learning thereafter. It is important to know the type of learner that you are. Recognizing that professional school requires a lot of adjustments, understanding how you learn and what works for you will serve as a platform with which you can spring from in your quest for continuity beyond your first year. Remember, pacing is also a very important part of this process. While this can be said for most graduate programs, the intensity, rigor, and volume of work that medical students encounter is second to none. The good thing is that it has been done by students just like you, so I know that you can, and will do it as well.

Best of luck to you all!
From your Dental School friend -Patrice (See you on the other side)

Things to do BEFORE you start Dental School

There are a myriad of things to be taken care of prior to the start of Dental School. Getting the necessary things done can save a lot of time, headache, and stress that can invariably be avoided.

First things first: It's Summer! A lot of students feel the need to start studying the summer prior to the start of dental school, I may also be guilty of this. However, as many medical and dental students have told me, "It's a big waste of time." Basically, the time you will spend self-studying during the summer, you will probably cover during one lecture. Hence, some may argue that it is simply pointless. What they suggest is that you spend your summer relaxing, as for a long time it will be the only time you will have for yourself.

Most students going off to Dental School are leaving home. One of the most important things to do when moving to a new city is to scope the place out. Make sure you know where your school is (of course). You should know how to get to school from where you'll be living. If you'll be using public transportation, ensure you know what buses and/ or trains to take and know the schedule. Most train and bus stations will have a pamphlet with the schedule that you can keep with you. If you have a car and will be driving, scope out at least one route that will take you to school (the shortest, maybe). You can depend on your GPS (if you have one) but, they do mistakes too and often times give you the longest route (I've proven that time and time again). You should also take care of parking on campus, get the required permits and space. You do not want to be fighting for parking on your first day. Scoping out your city will also give an idea of where the local coffee shops, books stores, libraries, restaurants, grocery stores and hang out spots are.

Go Shopping!! This is by far the part that's most fun. For most, we're starting a new life and that means new things. The different things we need to shop for are, of course apartments. Make sure this is to your liking and that it is some place that you feel you'll be most comfortable living. This also means that you should stay within your budget. Skip the luxury for now, that will come later - unless you find one close enough for reasonable enough. You may also need to shop for furniture. You have a chance to be yourself, decorate how you want to but be mindful not to go overboard. Try shopping at places where you get these for reasonable, like IKEA. They have some really nice things for really low costs. Check their site for inspiration. Other things you may need to shop for are household items. You'll need pots, pans, utensils and what-not. You'll also need to shop for school supplies and stationery.

Another thing you'd want to do is, make living arrangements; get a room mate that you can put up with, but most importantly one you can live with (if going that route). Decorate your place! make it home, make it comfortable, and don't forget to stock your cupboards! Once school starts you will literally need to start studying from day one. You need to be comfortable, you do not want to have to split your time between studying and unpacking boxes. Neither do you want to be living off Ramen noodles (yuck!) Get these squared away for a seamless start.

Get your finances in order. Most students will be living on financial aid. Make sure tuition and fees are taken care of first, then plan a budget for your living expenses. Live within your means, live within your means, live within your means. I can't stress that anymore.

Doing all these things  prior to the start of school will save you a lot of time and headache. You want your first day to be as hassle free and as stress free as possible. Arrive to school light, pleasant and ready to soak up all the new information that will be thrown at you.

How to Apply to Dental School

It's application season. I know many people are confused and may be a little frustrated at this time (as i have been). Because of this I decided to run through a step-by-step process of how to go about applying to dental school. The best part about today's post is...it's a VLOG! by yours truly. Hope it helps.

You can also find said topic here.
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I feel like the Unicorn just took me on a ride to a magical palace, to the land of the blueberries

Nitrous Wednesday!
Your weekly dose of Nitrous Oxide...

HILARIOUS!!                            LOL!!                             LMAO!!                              ROFL!!

Out with the old, In with the new! (Part 1)

It's hard for me to fathom how people are still afraid of the dentist! I mean, I understand why you would be say, a couple years ago; but look how far it has come.
Did you know that Dentistry dates all the way back to 7000BC? This was the time when individuals believed that a "tooth worm" was the cause of cavities (ha!) However, Dentistry wasn't a profession in itself yet. Later, about the 19th century, you could stop by your local Barber Shop to get a tooth extracted! Yep! Barbers use to be take on the role of dentists (yikes!). Dentistry has come a very long way and has advanced so much over the years. Just take a look at these instruments from back then:

 < Picture taken at The Old Red Museum in Dallas, TX>
Yeah, scared me too!

Almost unfathomable how they'd use these huh? The design of the instruments themselves have remained the same but are now simply more advanced and more approachable. Like these:

< Shiny and all, makes you wanna extract a tooth! no?>

Now, in an effort for me to really understand - tell me, why are you still afraid of the dentist?

The Run-In

Monday marked the Official day I started taking my fitness regimen seriously. I ran 2.whole.miles - non-stop. I can't believe I survived to write this post! You don't know how much will power that took - when your knees start to buckle, your muscles start to spasm screaming bloody murder!, your lungs decide to tighten in an effort to suffocate you, and your heart forms a fist and start to pound as if to punch a hole through your chest. It's grueling, you have no idea! (or do you?).
That run taught me a really good lesson, especially towards the end. Besides showing me how out of shape I am, it also taught me that no matter how difficult or impossible something may seem, no matter how many adversities lie before you; with will-power, perseverance and determination you can certainly do it (not that I didn't know that before, theoretically). Upon that last leg of my run, I'd sworn I'd have passed out, I swore I felt my muscles give up on me and I think I heard my lungs holler "to hell with this sh***! The last leg is always the most difficult and it's at that time that you prove your strength and soldier on. Never mind that now my legs feel like rubber, my right knee feels like something's missing from it and my chest feels like I'd been diagnosed with angina. The fact is, I completed a goal that at first was very difficult for me, and you know what? I'm pretty darn proud of myself =).
It's funny the feeling you get after you've accomplished something major, like you're invincible! With that said - next on the list: hard rock abs!


Nitrous Wednesday!
Your weekly dose of Nitrous Oxide...


LOL!!                        LMAO!!                         ROFL!!                                LOL!!

That gotta hurt!

PS: The Personal Statement

Now would be a good time to be writing your AADSAS Personal Statement. The 2011 cycle has opened and you want to ensure that it is done and ready to be placed with your application to be sent off... early.
The Personal Statement typically answers the questions: Who are you? What are your hobbies? What experiences lead to your decision on a career in Dentistry? Where do you see yourself in the future? It is important that you be truthful in your essay and keep it real. Don't try too hard to be impressive-it might have the opposite effect. Ensure your essay is free of grammatical errors and that it flows and holds interest.
Through the Personal Statement, you have an opportunity to sell yourself. Be truthful, be humble and keep it simple.

Here are a few personal Statements for an idea:
Personal Statement #1 - 4 interviews/ 4 acceptances
Personal Statement #2 - 8 interviews/ 3 acceptances
Personal Statement #3 - 11 interviews/ 5 acceptances

If you're already in Dental School, help others and donate your Personal Statement for viewing. You may email them to me at Patrice@stu-dentdiaries.com.

**Remember, Plagiarism is a crime**

If iPods were Books

The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination. ~ Elizabeth Hardwick.
 Listening to music is a favorite pastime for many of us, but the average teen or young adult spends way too much time boppin' to their iPods rather than getting wrapped up in a good book. Case in point: A few days ago I went to the hair salon to get my hair done. This ordeal takes anywhere between 2-3 hrs so I  decided to take a book with me. What better way is there to spend 2hrs under a hot dryer than with a good ole Robin Cook book, or something? I also brought my iPod with me, and somewhere between trying to block out the Novelas (Spanish soap operas) on the flat screen in front of me and wanting so badly to listen to Toni Braxton's new album, I succumbed to the iPod. Needless to say, Robin Cook was never cracked - FOR 2 WHOLE HOURS!
Interestingly, as I left the salon I said to myself, If only iPods were books, this world would be full of scholars! or at least my generation would be more academically advanced.

Food for Thought!!
*Post also featured on Climb.Reach.Achieve

K-Y Jelly

Nitrous Wednesday!
Your weekly dose of nitrous Oxide...
 K-Y Jelly
 The wedding date was set and the groom's three pals, a carpenter, an electrician, and a dentist, were deciding what pranks to play on the couple on their wedding night. The carpenter figured sawing the slats of their bed would give them a chuckle or two. The electrician decided to wire the bed. The dentist wouldn't commit himself, but wore a sly grin and promised it would be memorable. The nuptials went as planned and a few days later, each of the grooms buddies received the following note: "Dear friends; We didn't mind the bed slats being sawed. The electric shock was only a minor setback. But I swear by God almighty, I'm going to kill whoever put Novocain in the K-Y jelly!"


Why did the guru refuse Novocain when he went to his dentist?
-Because he wanted to transcend dental meditation

LOL!!                          ROFL!!                        LMAO!!                        LOL!!
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