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

Stephen Raines, Tennessee ’17, created the winning D4 video in ASDA’s 2016 “Day in the Life” video contest.

Brandon Berman, Howard '13

Brandon Berman

This year has been more exciting than my third year. You are in the clinic more and the classroom less. There is also the transitional feeling from dental student into doctor as you approach the end of the academic year.

I wish I would have known how critical it is to have all of the patients you need to complete your clinical requirements lined up as you go into your 4th year. Once you start to factor in all of the clinical days you will miss because of board exams, holidays and extra-curricular activities, you realize how precious each clinical period is. Additionally, if you plan on taking the NERB, line your patients up in your 3rd year. It will eliminate many sleepless nights from the spring of your D4 year.

The most challenging part of this year has been the pace at which everything moves. At times it can feel overwhelming but realize that with the proper planning, you can handle it if you approach things systematically.

My favorite part of the past school year was the first few days after passing my board exams, finding out about residency and taking license exams. You have this dream-like moment when you realize all of your hard work is finally paying off.

My involvement in ASDA has given me another look into the professional world outside of my dental school. It helped me grow as a leader and allowed me to introduce my fellow students to the benefits of being an active ASDA member.

Over the past year I have begun to think and act like less of a dental student and more like a student doctor awaiting graduation.

After graduation I will attend a GPR program at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.

Looking back over the last four years, it has been an amazing journey. The blood, sweat and tears feel like a distant memory but I remember every minute of it. I am incredibly satisfied with my decision to enter this profession and am eager to see how wonderful the future will be.

During the summer before my D4 year, I participated in an externship to the Dominican Republic. It was the first time that I was able to practice real dentistry all day for multiple days in a row. At the end of the trip, I reflected on how surreal it was that this was the prize that I had been waiting for since I was 17, when I began thinking about becoming a dentist.

My advice to current dental students is always keep your eyes on the prize. If you really want something, you have to work hard for it.

My favorite ASDA memory is from my first regional meeting. I went to Buffalo as the sole representative from my school. When I showed up,the warmth and immediate acceptance I received was indescribable. From that moment on, I knew this organization was special.

I spend my free time working out or being outside. No matter how much I have to study, I will always make time to get a workout in. Fishing and kayaking are also favorite activities.

Christopher Dudzik, Western '13

Christopher Dudzik

This year has been enjoyable. With limited classroom time, I have spent most of my time in clinic treating patients and working on more complicated cases. I enjoy coming to school everyday to see my patients who I have bonded with while being able to provide them with dental services.

I wish I would have known how many things outside of school you must worry about. You have to think beyond your graduation requirements and your classes. You’ll have to find patients for your licensing exam, understand the criteria and paperwork for the exam, decide where you wish to practice after school and find potential employers.

The most challenging part of fourth year is ensuring you finish all your graduation requirements. It is exciting because you are close to graduating but also stressful because everything is coming to an end.

My favorite part of this past school year was working as an intern for a month at a local community dental clinic. I saw 8-10 patients a day working with dental assistants while providing quality work. It was comforting to know that I am able to see more than the 1-2 patients a day that you see in the school setting.

After graduation I want to work as an associate at a dental office in California. I plan to work a couple years under a dentist and within 3-5 years, own my own dental practice.

Looking back at the last four years, it was a lot of hard work with many late nights of studying. It’s taken up most of my free time. With all that, I would go back in a heartbeat and do it all over again. Caring for a patient is such a privilege. It is rewarding to be able to help another individual and see the impact you can have on their life.

My favorite ASDA memory was when ASDA at WesternU hosted its first annual toy drive. We donated more than 150 toys to underserved and abused children. Many of these children would not have received a toy for Christmas without our efforts. Organizing this event was very rewarding to me, especially seeing the faces of the children when they received their gifts.

What advice would you give to future and current dental students? My dentist and mentor told me before entering dental school, “The first two years of dental school will be the hardest two years of your life.” I went into school with this expectation and it was not too bad. My classmates who came into school thinking it would be like undergrad found it much more difficult. Always prepare for the worse and it can only be better.

I spend my free time playing in a bowling league and basketball league with my fellow classmates. This past semester, I rescued a 6-month-old beagle-shepherd-mix puppy named Duke, with whom I enjoy running and hiking.

Go to A Day in the Life of a D3.

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