Ran outside – 2miles/18:37
Was supposed to be easy, but I pushed the pace a little more than I’d like.
Stairclimber – 15min
My calves wanted to cry.
I mentioned last Monday that Friday was going to hold some life-changing events.
Well, here are all of the juicy deets.
When I was shadowing an internal medicine doctor in June, she asked me about my impressions of the medical field so far and what I liked and didn’t like. The one thing that she caught on to was that I really like surgery because I love working with my hands, but I don’t want the lifestyle that accompanies it.
And then she asked, “Have you ever thought about being a dentist?”
I never wanted to as a child, because “who wants to look at teeth all day?”
After the doctor whom I was shadowing mentioned it though, I probed a little further. There are quite a few dental specialties–everything from pediatrics to surgery. Even a pediatric dentist has quite a few operations that he can do.
And I think that’s the thing that hooked me: I would get to operate and I could work with kids, but I could live a slightly-more-normal life. I could do what I’ve always wanted to do, but still raise kids and go on family vacations and run with my dogs. (Yes, I’m planning on having multiple dogs. And maybe even cats. Might as well throw in a few chinchillas while we’re at it. Sorry future hubby, you may or may not be living in a zoo.)
Kind of like this–except add in a German Shephard, a Husky, a Springer Spaniel, a German Shorthaired Pointer… (Source)
After talking to a few dental students and dentists, I finally called my dentist’s office and asked if I could shadow because nothing really compares to being there firsthand. And I loved it. I love the variety he had in his day–a combination of seeing routine patients as well as operations. I love that he got to both diagnose problems and fix them, rather than just prescribing medication and sending them on their merry way. I love the relationships he formed with his patients–I’ve been seeing him since I was very young, and we always talk about my life and how things are going.
So what does this mean for me?
I have to switch gears, and instead of studying for the MCAT, I now have to study for the DAT. (Dental Aptitude Test. So many acronyms.) The good: the DAT doesn’t have physics, my weakest subject! The bad: the DAT has a perceptual ability section that I’m going to have to study my butt off for. This also means I’ll have to study while school is happening, which I’m a little scared about.
In terms of the application process, I still need good grades, a good DAT score, letters of recommendation, the same prerequisites, the whole shebang. The only difference now is that I’ll have to start shadowing a few other dentists–dental school requires more shadowing hours than medical school.
I never thought I’d ever consider becoming a dentist prior to this summer. I’m scared out of my mind–medicine was always my comfort. I knew exactly what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go, how to get there. I have no idea what I’m doing with this whole dental thing; prior to researching, I didn’t even know which schools had dental schools or that the DAT even existed.
More things I’m scared about:
- Tuition. Dental school is more expensive than medical school, but either way, I’d be under a mountain of debt. It’ll be really fun.
- Possibly not getting into the schools of my choice. After falling in love with the mountains, I want to move out West after college. The downside is that schools like Utah and Colorado aren’t very out-of-state friendly.
But at the same time, I’m excited. Even reading through my books and studying makes me as excited as you can be while studying. I love nutrition, but it wouldn’t give me the opportunity to work with my hands. I love medicine, but I don’t like the diagnosis-only nature of non-surgeons and I wouldn’t be able to operate without enormous sacrifices in terms of my lifestyle. At the same time, I’d still be able to help people, improve their quality of life, and put a smile on their face–almost literally.
I feel like I’ve finally found a career that is right for me, that meets my goals and my dreams for my future. Is this absolutely set in stone? No. I refuse to settle for a job that I don’t enjoy, and if something comes along that I think I will enjoy more, that I’ll be able to use my skills and my knowledge to help people better, then I may switch. But for now, this is where I’m heading.
Do you like your dentist? Love him. He’s so funny and personable and really cares about his patients.