As Spring semester comes to a close, I have to confess things haven’t been as great for me this semester as they were last semester. I’m not sure if the content has gotten harder or if I may have lost a little motivation along the way, but I’m finding myself hustling faster and working harder to make the same grades (if not, a little lower). That’s the main reason these diary entries have been few and far for the past couple months.
So many of the 2nd year dental students told us, “the first semester was definitely harder” for them, but a lot of we 1st year students have been feeling quite the opposite.
For one, this semester came with our first pop quiz. Let’s just say…most of us were ill-prepared for it.
I can’t help but laugh because there was a strong sense of “What was THAT?”, and, “at least we’re all going down together.”
But still, it’s a bummer to not do well. The truth is, we know we are going to fail sometimes. It’s inevitable. In fact, when we got accepted, the admissions committee told us somewhere around only 2% of the class might make it all four years without bombing something. But knowing this is one thing; accepting it in the moment is a little easier said than done. Nevertheless, accepting it is important.
Every single one of my classmates is brilliant and intelligent, but it takes one bad day on an exam or one wrong move on a psychomotor to make the nick that fails you. Fifteen people failed our second psychomotor. Students who are smarter and more skilled than me. We are talking straight-A students failing, and that can come with a lot of tears and beating oneself up. Obviously, that can easily distract someone from making it through the other assignments and exams they need to get done. Things will pile up if you spend too long wondering what you could have changed to do better that day.
That’s why I’m telling myself, “I’m setting myself up for failure.” I’m not aiming to do poorly of course, but I’m mentally preparing myself not to dwell when it happens. I have my group of friends I’ll go to for support. We’ll probably get ice cream and then they’ll convince me to get back on the horse I got thrown off of. And in four (woah…now three) years, I’ll be a dentist. And my patients (hopefully) won’t scrutinize me for the exam I failed that day.
I’ll get off my soapbox now and tell you about a couple fun things:
We got CPR certified together! Hence the “Stayin’ Alive.” This three-hour course was right before an exam, so we were a little dreary about being there, but it actually wound up being really fun. I got to partner with Karley to save [plastic] babies and put my muscles to work. I don’t know how it happened, but I smacked a screw so hard that my hand was actually bruised for a week. Ouch
We had a “Family and Friends Day”!
The school put on an amazing day where we could show our loved ones what a day in our life was like. We did breakfast, a self-guided tour, a presentation and even let them try out the drill in sim lab! I originally RSVP’d 7 people in my family, but so many things came up (my fiancé was in Texas for work, his mom was in Alabama, my nephews had a speech competition to attend) so I thought I’d be showing up solo. My mom (who originally couldn’t come) made the three-hour drive and surprised me the night before. Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to care if nobody could come but it made me so happy to see her there!