About ten days before orientation, an optional hand skill tutoring workshop was offered to students who wanted to start exercising their psychomotor skills. In one of our first courses this year, Dental Anatomy, we will become familiar with every dip and curve of all 32 teeth.
The dental wax-up is a clinical technique that allows us to model what a restorative procedure should look like for a patient. Apparently, dentists similarly use these in esthetically challenging cases (for example, a front tooth) to ensure that the result is as close to perfect as possible for the patient.
A wax-up involves heating a metal instrument over a flame and dipping it into a block of wax to melt a small amount onto the instrument. In tiny portions, wax is added to the model to build the basic tooth structure. The wax is shaved and shaped with a variety of other tools before finally being polished. It was a serious challenge and impatience led to me starting over, but I came up with a result I’m pretty happy with for my first try. 😊
On August 21, we began orientation week, which lasted four days. It was so much fun and UFCD really worked hard to put on a great time for us. I’ll admit that some information felt long and repetitive, but I really needed this week-long transition back into school since our typical school days will be from 8 am to 5 pm (before studying at home!). Orientation consisted mostly of bagels and coffee, presentations, and resource reviews, but there were also some hysterical and exciting activities.
One event that stood out was a massive rock-paper-scissors competition between all 93 of us until only one student was left standing! Once an individual lost their RPS duel, he or she became the “cheerleader” for the classmate they lost to. It ended in two sides of the room wildly cheering for a win and was an amazing ice-breaker. We also had a field day full of team-building games at a near-by lake, which was completely worth running around in the humid heat for a couple hours because I went home smiling so hard my cheeks hurt. And of course, we did get to go outside to catch a view of the solar eclipse on the 21st!
On our last day of on-campus orientation, we got to see our decorated lockers from our Class of 2020 Bigs. Every D1 (first-year dental student) gets matched with a Big from the D2 class.
My Big, Andrew, did an AMAZING job and I cannot get over how cute my locker is!!
Overall, I am beyond excited to continue getting to know my classmates. I know it’s only been a week and true colors might not quite be showing since classes haven’t started, but almost everyone I met is so full of life and seems genuinely friendly. Of course, there will be some natural competition as tests approach and pressure rises, but my class seems to have a general sense of “helping each other along”.
Well folks, class of 2021 is off to make smiles brighter!