Since I was accepted into dental school, I have had several pre-dental students ask this very question. What do you wish you would have known before dental school? Getting accepted into dental school is huge and is a big life-changer for most of us. There is a lot of excitement in the air leading up to the first semester of dental school, resulting in a small amount of uneasiness and anxiety. The unknown has always been a scary place to walk and all the information we can get will help the unknown become a little more known.
It goes without saying, that each of us has a different background and with that background comes different knowledge. However, my goal today is to present to you things that we, the dental students, wish we would have known before dental school. If you can take just one of the suggestions, and put it to good use, then my duty is done for the day.
The list will continue to grow as more suggestions come. If you are a dental student and have something you would like to add feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below. I cannot guarantee that everyone’s suggestion will make the blog but I will do my best to incorporate as many ideas as possible (keep in mind that it takes me a few days to approve comments). With your e-mail, include a brief description, your name (I will give credit to you for suggested idea), and school.
What We Wished We Had Known Before Dental School
1. Dental School is Awesome!
As a pre-dental student you have probably been told by an advisor, a friend, a dentist, or a dental student that “you are just going to need to get through the first two years” or “the first year is the worst, just get through it” and other such comments. Even when my first year in dental school was almost complete, I would still get those comments almost every week. Is it true that dental school is challenging? Of course, it is challenging. Is it impossible? Absolutely not! Or there would be no dentists in the world today. With that said, your first year of dental school is something to look forward to. I wish I would have known beforehand that I was actually going to have time to make friends and spend time with family! Plenty of time will be spent doing school work but there is going to be time to make new friends, enjoy hobbies, and spend time with your family. Now that is awesome!
DentalDat, IUSD Class of 2016
2. That I would rarely open a textbook
This may not be the case for everyone or every dental school but it is true for me. After I gained acceptance and the start of the semester grew near, the school began sending important things such as book lists. I spent hours looking for the cheapest way to buy the books. The total for the first semester ended up being right around a thousand dollars. I decided that it was not in our budget at the moment and would buy them as each class began. Boy, was I grateful that I did that! After about a month of school, I realized that the professor’s powerpoints were sufficient and if I had a question either the internet or my undergrad textbooks would do the trick. One of the only books that I actually felt like I needed to buy were the anatomy texts. Other than that I have not spent a dime on a textbook. With that said, I do believe that getting the right supplemental books can aid in the study process (as you will read in number three).
Before you go out and start purchasing books, call/contact the upperclassman and get their advice on which classes you will need books for.
DentalDat, IUSD Class 2018
3. Spend your money on useful resources
This goes along with number two on the list. Just because you may not be spending hundreds of dollars on the recommended textbooks does not mean you can’t put that money to good use. There are plenty of good resources that can help make studying a little easier. Generally, these books have quick reference charts or condensed, easy-to-understand text similar to what you used for the Dental Admissions Test. A few suggestions include ADA/PDR Guide to Dental Therapeutics, The Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy, Clinical Neuroanatomy Made Ridiculously Simple, and First Aid for NBDE Part1. Each of these books is reasonably priced and can be a tremendously useful source throughout the first and second year of dental school. Buying these beats buying a textbook any day of the month and makes for an easier and simple study session.
Idea submitted by:
Charli Steiner, IUSD Class of 2014
4. Taking notes
Having good notes and outlines is an important part of going to dental school but where do you start? Do you save all the Powerpoints to your computer and open each one in order to hunt down the slide you are looking for? Do you spend precious loan money printing out every sing slide before class? There are a few answers to this and a thousand different suggestions.
I submit that the easiest most efficient way of organizing and taking notes is with Microsoft One Note. Haven’t heard of it? Then you should check it out! You will have to open each PowerPoint and then print to One Note. Within One Note, you can organize them into semesters, courses, and modules. If you ever want to quickly check back to a previous lecture while studying just click on the appropriate tab. Don’t know which PowerPoint the information is actually in? Do a general term search and One Note will locate all of the slides with that term in them.
I wish I would have known about Microsoft One Note a long time before dental school!
Idea submitted by: