Paying It Forward: Dental School “Real World” Lectures
When I was in dental school, I felt like I was on a sprint to graduate dental school and get out into the “real world.” So, from D1 year, it was all about learning quickly, then cramming for exams, and repeat. Once we got into direct patient care starting D3 year, it was a matter of completing clinical requirements to be able to graduate. Then, D4 year was more patient care and passing all the didactic and clinical board exams to be able to walk across the stage and get my diploma that says Doctor of Dental Surgery. So, now that the sprint is over, what next? Welcome to the marathon that is the “real world.”
Private practice dentistry and dental school are so vastly different that, when I got out into the real world, I didn’t know what to do first, second, or third. It was from the school of hard knocks that I learned what it took to be in private practice. Then, through repetition of clinical procedures, I learned speed and efficiency.
8 years later, when I looked back upon my earlier years in private practice, I had an idea about creating materials for graduating dental students to be able to enlighten them about the first 5 years of private practice and what they should create in terms of a roadmap. So, in 2017, I started lecturing to dental schools and residency programs with a presentation entitled “Hindsight 20/20: Things I Wish I Learned In Dental School.”
A couple weeks ago, at University of Michigan’s School of Dentistry, I spoke to the students about my experience and the roads I have taken thus far. I spent the majority of the time talking about the paths that they would think about for themselves as they sit less than 6 months away from entering the “real world” of dentistry. With all the positive feedback I have received, I sit back and reflect upon the beginning of this journey of being able to educate the next generation of dentists, and am very humbled and proud to be able to give back to the field that I am so passionate about.