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My Advice to the First Year Class

  1. It’s okay to take time for yourself

Going in to dental school we all are warned of the horrors of how difficult it is. How going to dental school is life encompassing. While these statements were not untrue. I felt that they were warnings that I should do nothing but school. My first semester I got groceries once a month, if I was lucky. I had a next to impossible time allowing myself to do anything but study. Looking back, spending that time on myself would not have only improved my grades but my overall health. As I progressed through school I started focusing on myself more. I tried kickboxing which to no surprise I was horrible at. I also started eating more than Chick-Fil-A daily.

  1. Don’t Panic if you have no idea what you are doing

Starting off in sim clinic, taking your first impressions, dissecting a cadaver, these tasks can make it seem like you are learning in a different language. It is perfectly normal to not know what you are doing. If you are lucky enough to know what you are doing then good luck knowing if you are performing the lab work correctly. The Sunday night before Sim Clinic started I went in to sim clinic to practice placing rubber dams. It took 25 minutes to finally place an acceptable rubber dam. Looking back, I wish I had not panicked because of my lack of knowledge of all things dental. You will get there, at least that’s what I hear. You will learn and understand the information. Who knows you may even be the winner of the “rubber dam rodeo” in transition clinic.

  1. Dental school is humbling

You will not do well on everything. We all got in to dental school because we care about our grades, our school work, and we may be slight perfectionists. In dental school, you must remember you cannot always be perfect, whether it’s a test or a lab assignment. There will be something you just aren’t good at the first, second, or maybe thirtieth time. While we are all accustomed to being top of the class and the best at everything you won’t be. Use this humbling experience to motivate you. Do not let a failure in dental school stop you. Use it to try twice as hard the next time, because you will be humbled. It’s part of the process. Learn from it.

Tiffany Flaherty

Tiffany Flaherty is a second year dental student and serves as Anterior Guidance Chair helping first year dental students navigate dental school. She graduated from The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. When she’s not studying or in lab (so never) she enjoys hunting, hiking, and traveling. She is also fond of writing autobiographies in the third person.

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