Who inspired you to become a dentist?
A routine visit to my dentist in 11th grade resulted in a consultation with my orthodontist to correct my misaligned jaw: I had a tongue thrust and a class III malocclusion that noticeably affected my speech. Several elastic band patterns and a year later, I had my braces removed. The next day, I was sitting in an oral surgeon’s chair, nervously waiting to have my third molars extracted. My oral surgeon gave me the option to stay awake during the surgery and listen to him explain the procedure. Without hesitation, I asked for the detailed version. From that day, I knew I wanted to be a dentist.
Before starting dental school, I wish I had known…
To not take each day for granted. My time in dental school seems to be moving so much faster than high school or undergrad. Looking back, I wish I would have studied more efficiently during my first year so that I could spend more time in simulation lab further developing my hand skills. Every day in dental school is an opportunity to learn something new or develop my skills to become a better dentist in the future.
What is your favorite thing about your current year in dental school?
My favorite part of third year is finally being able to treat patients. Every day I am excited to go to clinic because I know I will learn something new and gain more confidence in my clinical skills.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in dental school so far?
How to effectively communicate with my patients. Whether it is an elementary school child we are treating on a mission trip or a retired veteran, I always try my best to relate to each patient and build trust. A little rapport goes a long way in dentistry!
What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to and why?
The Grand Canyon. Last summer, I went camping and hiking around the North Rim with one of my best friends. We would wake up at 5 a.m. every day to catch the breathtaking sunrise. Nature has a wonderful way of rejuvenating the mind and body, and that experience allowed me to come back recharged for another semester of dental school.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
Hands down, the bravest thing I have ever done is gone skydiving. What better way to bond with brand new classmates my D1 year than jumping out of an airplane together?
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice I have ever received is to maintain your moral compass. Ethics is extremely important to me and in any health care profession. Having a strong moral compass will allow me to practice dentistry with my patients’ best interest and safety in mind.
What are you looking forward to most after graduation?
I am looking forward to starting my dental career as a general practitioner back in my hometown. I hope to serve the community in private practice, as well as in a community health clinic setting. In addition to practicing dentistry, I look forward to going to as many Gator football games as possible!