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

Alexandra and Michael tell what it's like to be a third year dental student:



Alexandra Martella, Detroit Mercy '14

Alexandra Martella

To prepare for the transition to the clinic I started working out to get into better shape. I also forced myself to maintain a more “normal” sleep schedule. I knew that clinic would be more strenuous and physically grueling than our previous two years of lectures and Sim Lab. I was not used to being on my feet all day. Clinic is quite different: going to and from dispensary to replace that mirror I dropped on the floor, chasing down faculty for signatures and going between different departments for patient consults. There is hardly a minute to relax! Being in better physical shape helped manage long clinic days more efficiently and with a better attitude.

My favorite part of the past school year was finally treating patients. I have a great family of patients and I have learned a lot about myself over this past year because of them and the interactions we’ve had.

I look forward to a quicker pace in clinic. In third year clinic, the faculty members keep a watchful eye over us. Next year we will have more freedom. I am looking forward to making decisions on my own and being in an environment that is more similar to private practice.

Over the past year I have learned not to sweat the small stuff. There are days when clinic can be frustrating and overwhelming. Although it is difficult at times, I find that I am more productive if I’m not worrying about the little things and focusing more on what is best for my patient.

The most challenging part of this year is managing classes and clinic. It's hard to study for quizzes and exams because all I really worry about is managing my patient family and keeping up on lab work!

I wish I had known that I would be averaging 2-3 perio maintenances per week.

Next year I hope I have an opportunity to work on more difficult cases, especially in oral surgery and prosthodontics.

In my free time I practice yoga and love cooking.

My involvement in ASDA has helped me learn how to manage my time. As chapter president this past year, I have developed and honed my leadership skills, and I know I will use these skills for many years to come.



Michael Saba, Temple '14

Michael Saba

There is no way you can be prepared for clinic on day one. I read up on my clinic manuals before each procedure. Also, Temple does a great job with the transition by having second years assist students in clinic in every department prior to entering clinic on their own.

My favorite part of the past school year was delivering dentures to a hopeless case. The smile on my patients face was so big that I thought her teeth were going to fall out.

I look forward to no classes next year! Seriously, we have no classes and it’s the best feeling. With more down time, I find myself picking up books and reading dental articles more often. There’s something about that “don’t-force-me” way of learning that is enjoyable. I’m also looking forward to Annual Session 2014 in Anaheim, Calif.

I’ve become considerably more involved in the past year, especially with ASDA and the AGD. My network of peers, mentors, friends and colleagues has increased greatly. I've been exposed me to new methods of dealing with people (and patients) and how to better enhance my professional career. My experiences with my newfound involvements have helped me become a more effective and efficient leader.

The biggest challenge of the year was the first week of clinic. Second to that, balancing clinic, lab work, 10 courses and a social life has been incredibly challenging but doable and rewarding.

I wish I had known how important it was to read the clinic manual provided by the school. I also wish I knew how to utilize my resources more effectively sooner. Sometimes as students we look at faculty and clinic leaders as the enemy, when in reality they are there to help us and make us better dentists. There is a misconception that is passed down to underclassmen to stay away from certain faculty or that some others are stuck in “old ways.” The truth is if we don’t listen to those “old ways” we will never learn about them at all.

Next year I hope there is less coursework, more clinic time. Our school is in the process of starting a new cluster system. I hope it’s more efficient and easier to book chairs to manage our busy schedule.

My involvement with ASDA has helped me network. It also helps me keep up with dentistry’s issues and then I keep the students at my school in the loop.

When I’m not in clinic I spend lots of time with my friends, eat at restaurants and write lots of Yelp reviews.

Go to A Day in the Life of a D2.

Go to A Day in the Life of a D4.

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