How to Prepare for Dental School Graduation

By: Savanah Craig

If you’re anything like me, the goal was to go to dental school. I never really thought about what would happen after dental school graduation.

From an early age I knew I wanted to pursue a career in dentistry, so my path was defined by what I
thought i would be able to go to dental school.

How to Prepare for Dental School Graduation

Now I am only a few months away from graduating. My classmates and I are faced with several options to make a career out of this education that we have devoted so many years of our lives to.

In addition to making decisions about our future careers, we also still manage our dental school responsibilities and try to enjoy the last few months that we are all together. We’re a group of high achievers (with a touch of perfectionism) and we’re going through a big transition period, and I think there are a few lessons we can use to help us survive this unique time in our lives.

Don’t compare yourself to others

Dentistry is unique in that there are so many different paths to choose from and yet have a very successful career.

Dental school can be a highly competitive environment, and with graduation approaching, it can be tempting to compare the path you’ve chosen with what your classmates have decided to take.

Some people choose to specialize. Others choose to look for work after graduation. You can be an employee, or you can become a practice owner.

However, there is no perfect way to be a dentist and we are no longer compared or judged on our decisions. We’ve come this far together, and now, instead of comparing our choices to those of others, we should be delighted that our future colleagues have found an opportunity that fits their career goals and life aspirations.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

It would do us good to remember that the flexibility and uniqueness inherent in the dental profession is why many of us have chosen this career path.

Celebrate every win, no matter how small

Every year of your dental school trip is filled with hoops to jump through, and senior year of school is no different. It can be daunting to stare through the list of tasks and requirements to complete.

I often find myself checking something off my to-do list and saying “on to the next one”. It can be hard to stop and celebrate the 2 refills you did today when you still have 10 more to meet your graduation requirement. Yet that is exactly what we should be doing.

We need to take a moment and realize how far we’ve come and consider how difficult it was to pick up an exercise for the first time four years ago. Delivering dentures, finishing your final exam and passing your regional board exam all deserve a party!

Don’t let the monotony and stress of dental school take away from your achievements, no matter how small they seem!

Stop and smell the roses

It’s easy to be focused on the finish line and it’s safe to say most of us are excited to be done with dental school. Yet this is an experience that we will never have again.

Many of my classmates and friends are breaking up. We will no longer have lunch together every day or have the bond of shared experiences that connects us in the same way.

It’s easy to wish dental school away and focus only on what comes after graduation, but we need to take the time to live in the moment. Take the time to chat with teachers, attend your graduation dinner, stay up a little late to have a laugh with your friends. The days are long, but the years go by so fast!

Appreciate all the dental school moments from friends brought into your life while still living close by!

Next: You are more than just a dental student

photo by ekrulila

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