Monday, January 30, 2012

Dental School Update, Revised Edition

My friend Brenda and my roommate Heather, both of whom are going to medical school next year! Brenda is planning to attend OHSU while Heather recently interviewed at UCLA, UCSD, and UCI. 

I feel like I should give an explanation for my last two blog entries, for fear of coming across as a whiny ingrate. I'm honored and so excited to have been awarded interviews at ASDOH and the Dugoni School of Dentistry at the University of the Pacific. In fact, I will be flying up to San Francisco on February 13 for my University of the Pacific interview and I will flying flying down to Arizona on February 21 for the ASDOH interview. It will be a rather busy February, allowing me to forget about the gaudy comercial holiday otherwise known as Valentines Day.

I smiled when I saw the map of San Francisco that the University of the Pacific emailed me in their interview packet. I could just imagine how exciting it would be to live in the city of San Francisco. A city with a vibrant culture, a public transportation system that functions, and so many fun things to do, sights to see, people to meet, and food to eat! I could envision myself as a first year student at the University of the Pacific, trying to balance my academic life (due to a condensed 3-year curriculum) with my social life. And the humanistic approach that they espouse at the dental school - respect for everyone, celebrating achievement, and just being an overall good person - is everything that I value as a human being.

But then I look at the interview packet from ASDOH and suddenly, I am conflicted. Here awaits a wonderful four year program with an emphasis on public health, an area that I seek to become more involved in through public health research and lending my services to the community. It is situated in Mesa, Arizona - a smaller city with a more laid-back approach to life. It is a mere 2-hour drive from my aunt and uncle's house in Tucson and the best part of all? No traffic. I can finally live in a place with low cost of living, NO TRAFFIC CONGESTION, and beautiful weather year round. Yes, even the scorching 115F summers. The tuition is also significantly cheaper and they have an interesting externship program for fourth year dental students.

And then there is USC, where my heart lies. Having lived in southern California for the majority of my 21-years, Los Angeles is my home; it is where I'm most comfortable at. It is where all of my friends are at and where the majority of my friends are staying. While my brain realizes that the extravagant tuition compounded with PBL and a frustrating clinical situation isn't  ideal, my heart yearns for me to stay.

Thus, my situation has become a bit confusing. I know that all of this mental battle doesn't mean a thing until I actually get accepted to the University of the Pacific and/or ASDOH but I hope beyond hope that I will eventually receive an acceptance letter from those schools. In any case, the possibility of having to decide between Pacific/ASDOH/USC will be a tough choice.

For the disenchanted population, my dental school application process was not a story of rainbows and butterflies. Within the past month, I have received three rejection letters: University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, Western University School of Dentistry, and Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine.

Additionally, I did not submit the secondary application for UCSF, UCLA, UNLV, Boston University, and Tufts.

I still have not heard anything from NYU, Temple, Creighton, and University of Louisville.

I will admit that I have been pretty fortunate during this application cycle. From my list of top choice schools that I submitted secondaries for (UoP, ASDOH, Midwestern, and USC), I have received one acceptance (USC), two interviews (UoP, ASDOH), and only one rejection (Midwestern).

Friday, January 27, 2012

University of the Pacific Dental School

Just got a call for an interview on either February 13 or February 16. How did life get so much more complicated within a span of two days?

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Received an interview invite from Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health this afternoon. What to do? What to do?

What if I end up falling in love with that school? How would I be able to choose between USC and ASDOH?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Life Post-Dental School Acceptance

Life post-dental school acceptance is pretty sweet, I have to admit. So much of the pressures and expectations are suddenly lifted off your chest with one swift, fortuitous letter from the admissions committee. Make no mistake - I did work very hard to get into dental school. Although in my opinion, a portion of this dental school acceptance deal can be attributed to sheer luck. You know, simply striking the right chord with the right people at the right time? I've also already finished all of the prerequisite courses for dental school. I'm currently taking two courses to fulfill by kinesiology degree and one course for my public health minor.

Senior year of undergraduate is a deja vu of senior year in high school. I received my acceptance packet from the University of Southern California, College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences around this time exactly four years ago. Now, it looks as though I'm going to be an eight year Trojan. Fight on!

And I'm still trying to learn how to relax this semester. I'm stuck in a perpetual mental battle between my two halves:
"You don't have to study! You just need to pass the class with a C or better so go out and have fun before dental school. Your exercise physiology course is useless for the purpose of dental school. Why are you working so hard still?!!!?!"
Then there is my good Asian student side:
"Get a grip Steph. You can't slack off this semester and party. It will reflect terribly on you as a student, as a person, and it will completely deface your undergraduate transcript."
Apparently my "good Asian student" side is winning because I'm stuck in my room, working on lab reports, blogging, and studying on this fine Thursday night.


Monday, January 16, 2012

For the Love of Blood Oranges

I have this obsession with blood oranges.

It was literally love at first sight last year when I sliced apart the blood orange to unveil its rich red/purple hues. I couldn't describe what it was - it looked like an orange, though smaller in size, but the fruit within was completely different. The tangy sweetness of the fruit compounded with its exotic nature (aka. not found at the local Ralphs) made the blood orange an instant star on my list of favorite fruits.

So I braved the terrible, terrible Los Angeles traffic and drove to the closest Whole Foods in search of blood oranges. Word to the wise: don't shop at Whole Foods if you are operating on a student budget. Also, don't shop at the Whole Foods (Fairfax) on W. 3rd Street unless you want to die from traffic congestion and pedestrians. I ended up spending $50 at Whole Foods, which is double what I usually spend at Ralphs.  It completely killed my grocery budget for the month. On the bright side, I did end up with a nice selection of exotic (not-found-at-Ralphs) food: blood oranges, butternut squash, naan, beet chips, organic kefir, chocolate covered Goji berries, etc.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

In four years, I'm going to be a dentist

I'm still overwhelmed with excitement and gratitude over my acceptance to dental school. The good news is inspiring me to rejuvenate this blog, which has sat dormant for some time. I'm kicking off this new chapter in my life with a new banner. The goal is to create a new banner every month - so this is my January banner!

I'm still amazed that I was accepted to the USC Ostrow School of Dentistry Class of 2016. After the fiasco of December 1, I had been talking to family and friends about my future and my available options. I had already started to plan out a course of action in case I didn't get into dental school this cycle - an informal post-bacc program to improve my GPA, perhaps finding a job as a dental assistant, more volunteer activities, and getting involved in research. I even seriously flirted with the idea of moving to Arizona to open my own cafe which would feature Taiwanese shaved snow (modified for American taste buds), dessert crepes, and Urth Cafe-inspired latte art coffee. I actually ran this idea by my mom, who blew up at me.

"I didn't pay four years of tuition at the University of Southern California so you could open a shaved snow store!"
She'll be glad to learn that my dreams of selling desserts are temporarily/permanently put on hold.

My goal is to work diligently in dental school to:
  1. Ensure that the admissions committee won't regret selecting me as a member of the USC Dental School Class of 2016

  2. Become a skilled and educated clinician so that I can successfully help people

  3. Prove to myself that I am as capable or even more capable than others of becoming an excellent dentist and dental student.

Have a beautiful MLK holiday!

USC Ostrow School of Dentistry, Class of 2016

I'm officially going to be a dental student!