What or who inspired you to become a dentist? When I was a kid, I would spend a lot of time at my grandparent’s home, and my grandpa would always let me help him put his dentures in. This process always fascinated me, and I loved looking at those beautiful pearly whites! So I was interested in dentistry from a young age, but my wonderful general dentist and numerous shadowing experiences were really what solidified my decision to pursue dentistry.
Before starting dental school, I wish I had known… Everyone is going through the same crazy emotions in dental school. It’s easy to isolate yourself and wallow in your own anxiety during dental school, but I wish I had realized early on the peace in knowing everyone is as confused, scared and clueless as you are!
What is your favorite thing about your current year in dental school? I love interacting with patients. Whether it’s a new patient exam, prepping for a surgical procedure, or just small talk – getting to know my patients and forming those great relationships is the greatest part of third year.
What is your least favorite thing about your current year in dental school? Easy – lab work.
What has been your toughest lesson learned in dental school so far? It’s ok to say “no.” In college, I was super-involved in a lot of extracurricular activities, volunteering events, plus held two jobs. In dental school, I’ve had to learn to prioritize my time (and even say no a few times) and focus on activities that will be a stepping-stone to my final goal – to be the best dentist I can be!
What is your favorite place you’ve traveled and why? During college, I was in a musical ensemble and we were invited, in 2012, to travel to Europe and perform at the London Olympics. Not only did we get to perform a concert in Olympic Park, but also stopped in Paris and a few other concert venues in London to perform. One of my favorite experiences performing was our concert in Paris. The audience was lovely and excited – they were popping champagne during the event! We may have played three or four encores. It was a blast and reminded me why I enjoy playing music. it speaks in every language and to all people.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done? During second year of dental school, I was taking a notoriously difficult class – general pathology. For our second exam, we were studying the cardiovascular system. My mind went to my father who, I knew from previous chats with him, had a bicuspid aortic valve that he had not had checked out in about 40 years. My dad is a loving man, but extremely skittish when it comes to physicians. I decided to have a conversation with my dad about getting his bicuspid valve examined by a cardiologist. He was vehemently against even the idea, let alone the action, of going to see a doctor. I thought about it for a few days, then called him back and demanded he go see a physician (there may have been tears involved). Standing up to my dad was definitely the bravest thing I have ever done. However, the story does not stop there. He reluctantly went to a cardiologist, and they found an aortic aneurysm that was on the verge of rupture. To give you a reference, his surgeon said they usually operate when the aorta expands 4 cm and my dad’s was at 7 cm. He had two heart surgeries after that to stent his aneurysm and bypass a few arteries, but he is alive and well today! If I wouldn’t have had the courage to stand up to my father, he may not be alive today.