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A Day in the Life of a Dental Student - First Year

Kayla and Adrien tell what it's like to be a first year dental student:



Kayla Macri, LECOM '16

Kayla Macri

I always knew I wanted to be a dentist but it was confirmed when I shadowed dentists and dental students in undergrad.

The application process was a little tough and discouraging. I applied for the first time as a senior in undergrad to several different schools and did not get accepted. One of the schools recommended that I get a master’s degree.

I moved to Washington, D.C., to pursue a master’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology at Georgetown University. Looking back, it was probably one of the best things that happened to me. During my studies, I did research at the NIDCR located on the NIH campus. After graduation, I retook the DAT, reapplied and moved back to Florida. I did not get into my first choice school, but I can say that I am very pleased with the way everything worked out.

The first week of dental school was exciting and motivating. I had worked hard to get to that point. It was surreal to finally see my name printed on a nametag on orientation day.

The biggest difference from undergrad is that in dental school you are held accountable for every piece of information that you come across. In undergrad, you may have to learn about things you may never come across in your career, but in dental school, everything you read or learn has the potential to show up again. This creates a lot more excitement to learn the material along with the pressure to be sure to stay on top of everything that you are learning so that you are able to treat future patients.

I wish someone had told me that while studying and staying on top of the material is a priority, you need to take a break. It is easy to get bogged down with the stresses of dental school. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is take a little personal time and “re-boot.” Dental school is a marathon, not a sprint.

I am most excited about learning more dentistry and having more patients to treat. We are very fortunate at LECOM. By the end of my first year, we were given the opportunity to provide treatment for a patient that needed a complete denture. Having this experience early on helps to clear the fog that begins to form when you are buried in the books and reminds you why you are in dental school.

My advice for first years is to be open-minded, keep a positive attitude, be confident and care about what you are doing.

I found out about ASDA through other predental friends of mine at the University of Florida. I tagged along to a meeting within a few months of starting undergrad. I was immediately excited about the fun atmosphere and interested in what the club had to offer me as a predental student.

In my free time I try to go to the gym or do some sort of physical activity a few times a week. It helps to keep me in shape and relieve some tension from working in the simulation lab or from studying.



Adrien Lewis, Houston '16

Adrien Lewis

I always knew I wanted to be a dentist, even as a child, I would get so excited to have my teeth cleaned because my trips to the dentist were so fun! I worked hard from elementary school all the way through college in hopes I would one day become a dentist.

The application process was stressful because I was waiting for a reply that could possibly open the door to the future. I took all of the dental school prerequisite courses during undergrad, studied for the DAT through Kaplan and took the DAT the summer before my senior year, which was when I applied.

The first week of dental school was fun and overwhelming! We started waxing teeth on our first day. It was an adjustment from undergrad in the volume of courses I was taking. Despite that, I loved getting to know everyone.

The biggest difference from undergrad is that dental school is more time consuming. I worked part-time and was very involved in extra-curricular activities during undergrad but the increase in class time takes up more of my schedule.

I wish someone had told me to relax and rest the summer before dental school. I worked full time and wish now that I would’ve have taken that break to catch up on sleep and relax before the storm.

I was most surprised by the generosity of my classmates! I thought that in dental school everyone would be so competitive and want to study alone, when in fact, everyone is very generous with exam reviews, notes, group studying, etc.

My advice for first years is to manage your time and build relationships with your classmates. Friendships motivate me when exam schedules become heavy and sleep is lacking.

I am most excited about entering the clinic! I can’t wait to have patients and be one step closer to becoming a dentist.

I found out about ASDA in undergrad. I connected through ASDA with Dr. Adam Shisler (then president) and he was a great role model and mentor when applying for dental school. I joined because I saw how involved in service and shadowing the members of Baylor ASDA were. I am so glad I became involved as a predental – it carried through to my membership now in dental school.

I spend my free time sleeping, watching movies and going on walks.

Go to A Day in the Life of a Predental.

Go to A Day in the Life of a D2.

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