Marie Kwok

First Impression - Predoctoral

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

Chapter: New York University

Graduation Year: 2020


What inspired you to become a dentist?

I was inspired to become a dentist largely by a genetics class that I took during my senior year of high school. In that class, I was a student of one of the most influential educators that I’ve met in my life. He was a retired dentist, and his passion for dentistry and biology drove me to want to find something that I could love as much, and it turned out to be dentistry. Science was something that I had always loved, and being able to engage that with the constant hands-on involvement that dentistry entails drew me towards this career path. 

Before starting dental school, I wish I had known…

That it is OK to not always be the best at everything off the bat. I have been surrounded by amazing and talented classmates, and no doubt, there will always be someone who is better than you at something. However, I have learned to use that as an opportunity to learn from them, instead of picking at my own faults. And oftentimes, you might be surprised by who you end up sparking up a conversation with or befriending by just seeking tips and tricks to improve your clinical skills.

What is your favorite thing about your current year in dental school?

My favorite thing about my D2 year here at NYUCD is that we are now spending more time in the clinics and will soon have our own roster of patients. This is a big change from D1 year, when we were just sitting in the lecture room or working on mannequins. Working in the clinics is what we’ve all been waiting for, and it is humbling to see that everything we have learned so far is slowly starting to take shape.  

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in dental school so far?

This may sound a bit cliché, but the biggest lesson I’ve learned is patience. Dental school is four years of our lives, and there is so much to learn, so it’s not always going to be easy. I’ve learned to be patient with the progression of my clinical skills. This is something new for everyone, and being hard on yourself will just add unnecessary stress.

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to and why?

Copenhagen. I grew up in Denmark, so going back there not only brings back a lot of memories but also familiar sights. I love the calm environment there (a change from NYC), and of course, the food!

What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

Probably riding an ATV out to the beach in the Dominican Republic. It sounds fun — and it was — but the path was super long and rocky. I can’t tell you how many times my whole body flew off the seat. I’d probably never do it again, but you gotta try everything once!

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

The best piece of advice that I have ever received is that just because someone has a different opinion from you, it doesn’t mean they are wrong. I received an education surrounded by the most diverse people and environment since elementary school, and this has helped me become open-minded. It has helped me not only meet people who have had a big influence on my life throughout the years, but it has also helped me to dive into new experiences.

What are you looking forward to most after graduation?

Bringing what I have learned in the four years of dental school to my community. My experiences of shadowing in my community in Brooklyn, as well as going on an international outreach trip, have influenced the way I see health care and my awareness of its accessibility to different populations. Having the opportunity to go on outreach trip throughout NYC during dental school has also shown me the importance of dental practitioners and their influence on public health, and I look forward to being a part of that.