Deciding that I wanted to become a dentist was easy. I fell in love with the profession when I was in high school. Not many people are lucky enough to find out so early what they want to do for the rest of their lives.
Getting to the point where I am today took a long time! I am currently in my first year of dental school at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry. In the past five years, I have worked part time through college as a dental assistant, worked extremely hard to keep my grades high during my undergraduate studies, and participated in SMDEP in 2010 at the University of Texas at Houston School of Medicine and Dentistry. All of this led up to taking the DAT and going through the grueling admissions process. It can be a long road and can sometimes be overwhelming, stressful, and scary. Trust me, people didn’t think I could make it this far with a business degree. My advice–take it one day at a time. Make those important sacrifices now so that you can reap the benefits later.
My experience with SMDEP was pinnacle to my future success. I learned that I needed to work as hard as I could in college and get as many experiences in the field as possible. Whether that be assisting, being a lab technician, or even just shadowing different dentists, everything counts. I would recommend that any potential dental student interact with patients, hygienists, dental assistants, and office staff to get a well-rounded view of the profession. The more you know before dental school starts, the better off you’ll be. Remember that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses but being a dentist is just as much about hard work, integrity, and social skills as it is working with teeth. Don’t give up, I definitely won’t!