After discovering my passion for dentistry, I went on to explore the field by participating in the Weill Cornell undergraduate externship program in the department of oral surgery and maxillofacial and general dentistry. Shadowing residents and attendings gave me the opportunity to learn more about health care from a different prospective outside of the classroom while working in a dynamic and diverse environment.

On the first day, I met a dental student from Columbia University who was also part of the program. After learning more about her experiences, I understood better what it’s like to be a dental student. She gave me tips on which areas to improve on my application and advice for interviews. I was also introduced to ASDA to gain insight on the application process and to meet predental and dental students outside of my university.

Through shadowing oral surgeons, I learned that being an oral surgeon not only involves hands-on skills, but also requires compassion and empathy. Before they perform surgery, surgeons need to comfort patients and reassure them. Dentistry is a field that combines human interaction and critical-thinking skills. The satisfaction of seeing patients recover and go back to enjoying their routine lives makes me value becoming a dentist even more.

Being a dentist will give me the chance to meet people of all ages. When you are a dentist, you’re not only educating patients, but learning from them as well. The skills that I have gained from the externship make me more versatile and have enhanced my critical thinking skills and ability to adapt to changes. Through this experience, I learned more about what it means to be a healthcare provider and how to carry out my goal of becoming a dentist one day.

~ Shuning Liu, Cornell University ’18