Michele M. Collins

First Impression - Predoctoral

Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana

Chapter: Meharry

Graduation Year: 2020

Position Held At Chapter: Vice President


Who inspired you to become a dentist?
I was inspired by my pediatric dentist. I remember his office always being fun, with its different-themed operatory rooms and the 90s-style green carpet with the roadmap. He was gentle and kind, and I knew that when I grew up, I was going to be just like him.

Before starting dental school, I wish I had known…
That there isn't a set path to dental school. I took the unconventional route and participated in two master’s programs before being accepted into my dream school. At first, I was disappointed that I didn't stick to my ideal plan of going straight to dental school — there were even times when I was deeply discouraged. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self that it was OK, and my time to enter dental school was specifically destined for me. My classmates represent a mixed bag of all ages with their own stories on “how I got to dental school.” Those stories increase the uniqueness of this field and should encourage any student who feels lost on their path to dental school.

What is your favorite thing about your current year in dental school?
Seeing patients! Finally, I am in the clinic treatment planning and performing procedures. I definitely believe that last two years have prepared me for my upcoming years in the clinic.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in dental school so far?
Preparation. From studying for a test to extracting a tooth, preparation is key to performing and succeeding to the best of my ability.

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled and why?
Seminyak in Bali, Indonesia. At this specific beach resort, the tide is too high and rough to swim early in the day, but the water is such a beautiful blue that sparkles in the sun and the beach has crisp white sand. As the time slips by, the tide recedes, so much so that by sunset, coral reefs and marine life are within reach. At one point, I felt like I was narrating my own Discovery Channel “Blue Planet” episode.

What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
Volunteering to be the first-year class president. At the time, I did not know much about the internal workings of Meharry, but I knew that I wanted to be at the forefront in changing class structures and influencing the perspectives of how the deans handle student-related affairs. Being an introvert who was willing to stand up and put myself in that position (and then be elected) was something I never planned on doing.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t stop! You’ve made it this far — what’s the point in quitting now?

What are you looking forward to most after graduation?
Living life without restraints. I understand that the years as a student are supposed to be the most free in terms of time, but everything seems to always be scheduled around classes and tests. I can’t wait for the day I can choose one of those Groupon getaway packages and randomly fly across seas and explore new territory.