I officially have two weeks left until I am finished with 4 years of dental school! For many of my friends (and/or their wives), dental school has been the most horrific, miserable experience of their lives. For me, it has been a lot of hard work but I have really enjoyed it. I love dentistry. I like working hard. I enjoy learning. In many ways, it was better/easier than BYU. I have excelled much more academically despite taking 35 credit hours per semester, I haven't had a part time job or BYU lacrosse to distract me.
The first few years were rigorous academically. We had something like 140 quizzes and tests our first year alone. Third year was stressful in trying to incorporate all of my learning into patient care. Applying knowledge and facing new procedures almost every day with a pit in your stomach, pretending to be confident when your patient wasn't quite sure about you.
However, I think senior year was the hardest. It has been very different. Very little class time, only about 4 or 5 tests the whole year. Things that made it hard where mostly jumping through the hoops toward graduation. Things like managing your patient schedule to meet your requirements on time and finding patients for boards. This was my most stressful year of dental school by far, but most of it had very little to do with school.
When I left for my rotations, I had an interview with my instructor who told me I was passing with a "C" and should be very proud of myself. I was below our group average on points and wasn't doing very well on my daily evaluations. I felt far from proud--I felt very discouraged.
My rotations forced me to be independent, to make decisions, and to trust my judgement as well as improve my speed. Now, I am on my way to a "A" in daily procedure points and continue to receive multiple compliments from instructors, including things like, "You should work on my teeth" and "Perfect work, right from the text book," and "You are getting better and better every day." I am so grateful all of my hard work seems to be paying off. I want to be a great dentist not only for myself, but for my patients. And after 4 years of school at one of the most rigorous and excellent dental programs in the country, I am beginning to feel ready. I am so grateful that I have had the many opportunities that have been given me.
Let's see what I can learn in the last 8 days!