Dental School – Thrive or Just Survive?

Posted Jul 25, 2022

Dental School – Thrive or Just Survive?

Dr. Kate Brouwer (Dental Ministries Manager)

The goal was to get into dental school and you did it. Now it’s to get through dental school, a whole other challenge. Anything beyond that is viewed a bit like a cheesy movie, “and they lived happily ever after” (maybe a topic for another blog) as you struggle to check all those boxes that lead to graduation day.

I have no advice for you – only suggestions and they sound very “Captain Obvious”, but they weren’t all obvious to me as a dental student.

I wish I had asked more questions. Even after working for 27 years in private practice, I still have questions – every dentist does. And in school you are surrounded by people who have so much knowledge and it’s their job to help you learn. You have this brief time to get as much information as possible to make the rest of your career easier, more enjoyable. So ask away. Think of it as a lifetime of learning.  Because when you leave dental school you will need to keep on learning. And you are paying for this – so get your money’s worth.

Ask your questions – but with humility. Body language speaks volumes and arrogance from someone seeking guidance is obnoxious.

If you are going to make the most of these 4 years you are paying for, you will want to make it as easy as possible to learn. You’re in this for the long haul – pace yourself. You need time to do your classroom and lab and clinic work and you need time to keep body and brain healthy with enough sleep, exercise and good food. As a Christian, you need some time to feed your spirit as well, and having God’s presence in your life is quite a resource. You need time to connect with the people in your life. You need someone that you can be real with, honest about your struggles. Know your limits and pace yourself. Ask for help when you need it.

There were things I wish I had done differently as a student, but one thing I got right was connecting with Christian friends. I went to a CMDA meeting in my first year, no idea what to expect. Three other Christians came out to that meeting and it was the start to the best support system I could have hoped for. Other students with similar hopes, fears and goals, all influenced by their faith. As the Director of Dental Ministries, I want us to explore what it looks like to a Christian and a dental student – because you have unique needs.