You are more than just a dental student

By: Savanah Craig

When you spend 9+ hours a day at your dental school and are surrounded by people doing the same, it’s easy to let your whole life as a student of dentistry gobble up. It can feel like your worth is coming from your grades when all of your free time is spent studying or practicing drilling.

Dental School requires hours of classroom work, clinical time, and lab work to be successful, and it can be easy to lose track of everything outside the walls of your school. However, one of the best pieces of advice I got before going to dental school was to prioritize my other relationships outside

Make time for relationships

Finding time to check in with the people in your life can be a challenge with busy school schedules.

I’ve found it helps to coordinate a time that works for both of us and block it off my schedule. I can schedule my study or lab work around our call or lunch date so that I can be fully present during our time together.

Sometimes it can be daunting when you look at your schedule and realize your next free time for a phone call is in a few days, but it helps to have time built in to prioritize that relationship.

stay energetic

One of my favorite phrases is “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”

As an extrovert, I get my energy from my relationships with others. I can also become exhausted when I talk to someone who demands a lot of emotional energy from me. Dental school can be challenging and stressful enough, so prioritize those relationships in your life that lift you up and give you the energy to get through school.

Talk to friends and family who remind you that your worth is greater than your grades or test scores. Dine with the people who make you laugh and support you. Focus on those people answering your efforts, rather than dragging you down.

Share experiences

Share your life now to give your friends and family perspective, but don’t spend all your time complaining about dental school. It can be difficult to explain to someone outside of school what you’re going through, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share the experiences you’re having with them.

People will always ask how school is going and you can be honest, but limit how long you talk about it or ask the people around you if they can avoid that topic for the rest of the conversation. There’s a balance between explaining what you’re going through and spending the whole dinner complaining about dental school.

Life Beyond Dental School

Let the people around you remind you of life outside of dentistry, it can really put things in perspective and prevent you from being sucked in too much negativity about school. Dental school is four years of your life, but it is not your whole life.

One day when you graduate, you’ll want to look around and see that your support system is still there. Relationships need maintenance and care. Don’t push those you care about during the stress of school. I promise you will be happier that you have built relationships outside of dental school and that your friends and family have supported you on this journey.

You’re more than just a dental student, so surround yourself with people who remind you of that.

Next: Benefits of Becoming a Dentist

photo by Vlada Karpovich

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