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Life as a dental student: 10 things you should know

29 March 2022

By: Nickalia Perry, second year dental student at The University of Technology, Jamaica

Within every institution and faculty, a student gains insight from new experiences as they progress. There are, of course, things that any aspiring or current dental student should know, to grow and make the most of their time in university.

Here are ten things you should know:

  1. Your first year in school is somewhat of a training ground where you will learn to adjust to new expectations and responsibilities. This does not necessarily mean you should be insouciant, rather you should hit the ground running.
  2. Everything you learn or that is taught is a building block for years to come. You should never forget what you have done in previous years, especially in head and neck anatomy.
  3. Every dental student knows – or should know – that being organised and productive is the key to succeeding in all courses.
  4. Commandeer your time – essentially do your best, if you can, to avoid procrastinating.
  5. Making an effort to know and get along with your peers, and even those in the years above you, can prove to be advantageous, as it can help with getting study materials, guidance, and advice.
  6. Asking for help and/or working in groups is much more beneficial than working alone.
  7. Getting as much hands on practice as possible and being familiar with your armamentarium should be your top goal – especially when approaching clinical years.
  8. Get involved in as many clinical observations and procedures as possible (or as much as is allowed).
  9. Properly balancing your school and personal life is key to offloading unwanted stress and avoiding burnout.
  10. Exercise professionalism and assertiveness with peers and patients in clinic.

As dental students, we can be explorative without losing focus or passion towards the end goal. It is up to us to make the most of our time and studies – the experience is what we make it!

As a student myself, I have become more aware and health conscious as it relates to oral health and, as I continue in this program, it is my hope to become more knowledgeable and competent too.

Hopefully this article will encourage anyone looking to pursue this course and show that the life of a dental student involves being well rounded, forming connections, and practicing constantly.