Life as a Dental Student: A Personal Account
Interviews are done, offers have been accepted, University has begun, the hard work is now over, or is it?…
I had spent the last few weeks of summer mentally preparing myself to study a degree as challenging as Dentistry. However, looking back a few months on, there were a few misconceptions I had, of the course and of university life in general. You see, as much as you try to prepare yourself, it’s almost impossible to be 100% ready, you’ve never had this experience before, and that’s the beauty of it… you must learn as you go along.
I thought Dentistry was going to be a lot of work and a lot of long nights in the library, but if I’m being honest, so far, it’s not as bad as I initially perceived. At the start, you’re always going to be keen, to at least prove to yourself, if nobody else, that you deserve to be here. Lectures may start to get more boring but the practical aspect to our course helps us stay intrigued and at least stay awake. The more I learned the skills on how to practically become a dentist, the more I genuinely wanted to continue with the course. Even if you’re attention span fades throughout the year, when it comes to exams, every screw in that brain of yours needs to be tightened. Exam season during Dental School is nothing like GCSEs or A-levels, the intensity is like trying to force a football through a mouse-hole. As much as you may try, all the information just isn’t going to fit, well, at least that’s what you think, until you’re in the exam hall writing page after page for every question; thanking God for Red Bull and all-nighters. But then again, I guess it never was going to be a walk in the park, a career as rewarding as this must have a good few obstacles in the way, as large as they may be.
However, life’s not all exams and teeth, don’t be fooled into thinking the degree may be “too demanding”, as demanding as it is, there’s more than enough time for social events and activities to keep up with. I remember during Fresher’s week, it was all the Dental students that would be going out and partying every night. Obviously, we all have our stress relievers, for some it is partying but for others, as myself, it is by having quiet nights in amongst new friends. Either way, there was enough time to relax and enjoy yourself whilst attending lectures and seminars; this new-found independence gave me the chance to build a home away from home. Then before you know it, you’re awake for your 9 o’clock lecture, having only had five hours sleep, regretting why you ever stayed up so late the night before, but repeating the same routine the following night… I guess we all have our own unique university experiences.
To sum up, the first year had been a roller coaster of a time, I’d found some new friends, found some people I’d like to live with for the next four years, and met a lot of new faces that I would probably ask for some sort of help in the coming years. There are no teenage-like friendship circles, you may talk to someone for 5 minutes all year but could spend hours helping them out when it comes to final exams. As cringe as it may sound, there’s an eerie feeling of togetherness at university and there is absolutely nothing I would change about my first year as I eagerly await the second year to start.