Why do you want to be a dentist?
I chose to pursue dentistry because it is the perfect blend of my passions for health, art and esthetics, and personal connections. Being a dentist provides us with such a unique place in the health care realm – dealing with acute, often esthetic, problems while also diagnosing chronic issues – that I feel is remarkable. I place such a high value on getting to know my patients, their story and their concerns, and allowing them to feel comfortable with me, because I know that that relationship will have a significant impact on their dental experience. Nothing makes me more sure that I want to be a dentist than my patient walking out the door with a healthy mouth, a happy heart and a smile on their face.
What do you think is the most vital quality in a leader?
I believe humility to be the most vital quality that a leader can possess and develop over time. I think as leaders, it is far too easy for us to feel as if we must always have the right answer, the perfect idea or the million dollar solution. I’ve learned that the most successful leaders know that they don’t have to be the best or brightest in the room, but rather the people who encourage and empower others to be just that.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in dental school so far?
Early on in dental school, I learned not to take dental school too seriously. While the thought of this may make some of my classmates and colleagues cringe, I truly think it is the lesson that has been most impactful to me in my three years. By no means am I implying that we shouldn’t pay attention in class or study for exams or prep for appointments, but rather, that we need to remember our lives outside of dental school. Our hobbies, interests, friends and families that we had coming into dental school still exist during our four-year tenure, and I think it is so important that we not lose sign of them amidst the chaos of preparing for our futures.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
Performing CPR on a gentleman who suddenly collapsed in the middle of a grocery store is bravest thing I’ve ever done. Although I didn’t debate helping for a second, looking back on that night, I know I’ve never acted in a more courageous manner. I’ll forever be grateful for my training and preparation that allowed me to take action when it was most needed.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I remember being told that if something scared me, it probably meant that I should do it. I try to live each day with this in mind, because it’s too simple to become content and complacent, or to rely on the safety and familiarity of our comfort zones. Whether it’s applying for a new position or doing something to test my physical limits, some of my most cherished experiences have come from doing things that once scared me.