What or who inspired you to become a dentist?
In high school, my pathway to dentistry began when I had the opportunity to shadow an incredible dentist and family friend. Dr. Hoang gave me a glimpse of the dynamic work of a dentist. Each day, I observed her meticulously restore teeth, securely deliver crowns and bridges, and win battles of tooth extractions. I admired her graceful ability to lead her office and empathize with her patients. I continued to volunteer and shadow at other dental clinics, and my younger self exclaimed, “Wow, dentistry is awesome. I really want to be a dentist.”
Before starting dental school, I wish I had known…
My most efficient way to study and retain information. The transition into my first few classes of dental school was tough for me because I felt that I was relearning how to study. I realized group study and discussion helped because I’m an auditory learner. Our group being accountable and in solidarity with one another also motivated me. I would not have survived the heavy work load without my classmates.
What is your favorite thing about your current year in dental school?
Being able to connect and laugh with my patients. The transition into clinic during third year has been challenging, but truly rewarding.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in dental school so far?
To not let our mistakes and failures define us or hinder us from moving forward. Some of our biggest failures can be the greatest catalysts to growing and becoming the best version of ourselves.
What is your favorite place you’ve traveled and why?
Manila, Philippines. Growing up, I loved it when we were able to visit my family in the Philippines. These summer trips included huge reunions on both my mom’s and dad’s sides of the family and lots of food, laughter, karaoke and dancing. I cherish the moments I am able to spend with them since they live halfway across the world.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
As a native Floridian, I am always amazed by the sight of mountains, yet I have a huge fear of heights. Living in California has given me opportunities to go hiking and bouldering for the first time — literal stepping stones to conquering my fear.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
To never doubt the power of authenticity and kindness. One of my favorite quotes is by Maya Angelou: “My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.”
What are you looking forward to most after graduation?
Fulfilling my dream of becoming a dentist and joining a team of providers who inspire, serve and transform their communities!