In which I had my last first day of school

I’ve had a few first days of school:

Kindergarten at Ball Camp Elementary School in Knoxville, TN

Kindergarten at Ball Camp Elementary School in Knoxville, TN
(thanks Mom for sending the picture and for dressing me in a appliqu茅 ticking stripped dress).

Not pictured: My first day of school in a new town, third grade at Woodland Elementary in Oak Ridge, TN.

First day of college at Duke (ugh, yes, I really was that pale)

First day of college at Duke (ugh, yes, I really was that pale)

First day of dental school (Yes, I know it's my badge, but I went to a concert the night before and didn't pull myself together the next morning enough to take a full shot and this was taken on the first day. Coincidentally I made great friends with Kevin Ricker, our future class president, because we bonded over having gone to that concert).

First day of dental school
(Yes, I know it’s my badge, but I went to The Hold Steady concert the night before and didn’t pull myself together the next morning enough to take a full shot and this photo technically was taken on the first day. Coincidentally I made great friends with Kevin Ricker, our future class president, because we bonded over not being able to hear anything since he too had gone to that same concert).

And my other last first day:

First day of residency with my awesome co-residents.

First day of residency with my awesome co-residents.

First day of classes in residency - all dressed down to go to anatomy lab.

First day of classes in residency – all dressed down to go to anatomy lab.

And now maybe, just maybe.. really, my LAST first day of school:

photo 2

Starting MPH classes at the School of Public Health

Advertisements

In which I’ve had a year to try it out

It’s been a year since I graduated dental school. After a year of trying it out, I can reaffirm that becoming a dentist is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Here’s to many more years of learning, serving and loving.

Chris Vo made an amazing video of our class that he played at graduation. Every time I watch this I love them all even more.

DSC_0208_2

 

Congrats to the new dentists of the Class of 2013! Good luck to you all!

In which it’s interview season

We had our first round of interviewees for new residency positions this weekend. Seeing their bright, shiny, nervous faces made me so happy and thankful to be on this side of the process!

To be a dentist you have to go to dental school, pass several boards and get licensed in a state. This qualifies you to be a general dentist and practice “within your scope” or in other words, do whatever you feel you have the skill and desire to do. To be a specialist in dentistry you must complete a residency program which can last between 2 and 6 years AFTER dental school (which is 4 years of school AFTER college – we define “professional student”). Currently there are nine recognized specialties聽in dentistry:

  • Dental Public Health: These individuals focus on controlling dental disease on a community wide scale
  • Endodontics: Root Canals
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology: Head and neck cancer and other weird things
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology: The radiologists of the dental world
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: Focus on wisdom teeth removal and putting your face back together
  • Orthodontics: Concentrate on braces and wearing golf shirts
  • Pediatrics: Pediatricians of the dental world
  • Periodontics: The deep cleaners and gum gardeners
  • Prosthodontics: Implants, crowns, bridges and dentures

We closely mirror our medical colleagues who are required to do a residency after medical school in how we are accepted into our specialty programs (if we choose to pursue them). In the summer (sometimes in your senior year of dental school, sometimes after you’ve been out into the work force for a while and want to specialize later) you send out your application to a bunch of programs. In the fall you interview at programs that have invited you.

Some specialities (prosth, perio, endo) offer you an acceptance or rejection within days of the interview. Others, at a predetermined day in the winter, rank everyone they’ve interviewed and you in turn rank them in order of where you would like to go. All these rankings go into a magical computer program and a week or two later the computer spits out that you either 1) “Matched” which means you made it into a program and it tells you the ONE program you’ve been accepted to or 2) “Did not Match” which means you didn’t get in and need to apply again for the next cycle. Very much like sorority recruitment.

Name tag from my Yale interview last year.. they did not win points for geography.

The interviews in the fall are stressful – you’re constantly on the road, in airports, staying in overpriced hotels, juggling whatever senior year responsibilities you need to graduate and study for boards. It’s also fun because you get to see new places and meet new people (ostensibly the colleagues you’ll have for the rest of your life and who you’ll be running into at conferences for years to come).

Last year sitting in an airport, studying for boards.

Pediatric dentistry has become more competitive in recent years. Last year, the year I applied, 604 people applied to “match” for 343 spots.聽The cost of applying, flying around the country and attending interviews is enormous, but so is not getting in and spending another year applying if you don’t match. The stakes are high. So I get why these well qualified professionals were a little nervous this past weekend – hell, I was when I was in their shoes last year. That’s why I’m so thankful I’m on this side of it.

To help the applicants get a feel of our program beyond the number of operating room cases we do, number of patients we see, types of degrees we offer, rotation schedule, etc, my fellow residents put together a powerpoint on each current resident. Your fellow residents can make or break a program regardless of the other amenities it offers. I’m so fortunate to now only have found brilliant future colleagues here in Seattle, but folks that’ll be lifelong friends. They are the people who celebrate my bright days and pull me up during the tougher ones. My new study partners and lab mates. I love each and every one of them. If I could tell anyone interviewing what to look for in a program I would tell them to look at the residents and how they get along. It is an excellent predictor of future happiness in a program.

My slide from the powerpoint.

We gave two truths and a lie to have the applicants get to know us as people better in a more relaxed format – I think I learned almost as much about the current residents as the interviewees did! You can see my lie is that I speak Spanish.. I’ll leave all the espanol to mi hermanita (had to look that up).

Good luck to all the applicants out there! Smile, relax, be yourself. You’ll do fine 馃檪

Welcome!

Welcome to our blog!

Jeff and I are so excited to head out west this summer and start our new lives in Seattle as newly weds! We’ve started this website so that our friends and family can keep up with our journey, see our pictures and keep up with us despite the time difference.

To recap the crazy past few months:

I matched for the three year MSD/MPH program in Pediatric Dentistry at UW in Seattle in January…

…we got married in March at the Duke Chapel…

… and had a fabulous honeymoon in The Bahamas…

…and in May I passed my boards and graduated from Dental School at UNC!

We are so fortunate for all these wonderful events and we’re excited to see where this next big step takes us!

P.S. I don’t always stand on the right and Jeff doesn’t always stand on the left despite what the picture above indicate…