Friday, August 24, 2012

The Beginning of the Rest of Our Lives

Hearts pounding. Eyes glowing with excitement. We're anxious. We're ecstatic. For the USC dental school class of 2016, August 20, 2012 marked the first day of orientation - otherwise known as the first day of the rest of our lives as health care practitioners. After so many years dreaming of this moment, it is finally here.

We are all distinct, hailing from different states and vastly different ethnic backgrounds. We have different interests and extracurricular pursuits. But there are moments when all 144 of us are united with a common goal - becoming an extraordinary dentist. Dental school is a challenging experience. Some say that it feels like you are standing aboard a sinking ship. Yet there is small consolation knowing that there are 143 comrades with you on the sinking ship. We are all in this TOGETHER. 

Dental school orientation is a novel yet draining experience. After three months of vegetating during summer break, I'm still trying to adjust to the rigid 8-5 school schedule. Like waking up at the crack of dawn every morning. Or inhaling my lunch while running from one lecture hall to the next. Or sitting in lecture halls for more hours than I care for.

Information sessions comprised the bulk of our orientation experience this past week. Some lectures were spirited, some made us laugh out loud, some were less than useful, and others were frankly depressing (think financial aid information session). Inevitably, our eyes glazed over at the prospect of countless hours sitting in a lecture hall. 

Yet there was one information session that stood out distinctly in my mind. 

One of the fourth year dental students shared with us his dental school curriculum vitae and his accomplishments throughout his four years in dental school. Let me just state that this guy was a complete BAWSE. Despite how intimidating his CV looked, it was, by far, the most inspirational information session to date. He allowed us a glimpse into the realm of possibilities at the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC. 

His speech was essentially a reiteration of my post on The Epilogue of My Undergraduate Career. The opportunities present at the University of Southern California are endless. The only limitation is the person's willingness to seek out the opportunities and become involved. His speech helped reaffirm the goals that I set for myself before dental school started. I want to seize every opportunity presented to me. I want to become actively involved in the dental school community. I want to learn from highly successful mentors as well as inspire others. I want to gain "real world" experience. I want to travel the world, live in different cities, experience different cultures, and meet people from around the globe. I want my educational experience at the University of Southern California to transcend books and lecture halls. I want to maximize my experience throughout my four years of dental school so I can look back with no regrets. 

I want to fully embody the Trojan ideals: faithful, scholarly, skillful, courageous, ambitious. 

Fight on

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