Saturday, March 23, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

Day 198: ASDA Annual Session 2013

From March 6-8, 2013, I had the distinct privilege of representing my school at the 2013 ASDA Annual Session in Atlanta, Georgia. Otherwise known as "Best Week Ever", Annual Session was jam-packed with events. There were events such as House of Delegates Meeting, free product samples at the vendor fair, informative workshops, networking events, sponsored dinners, award ceremonies, and executive board elections. 

Our first meal in Atlanta - southern styled baby back ribs! 
The week started on an inspirational note with a moving speech from keynote speaker Kyle Maynard. Kyle is a congenital quadruple amputee – meaning he was born without arms or legs below his elbows and knees. Despite his apparent disabilities, he made a name for himself as an award-winning mixed martial arts athlete. In addition, he became the first quadruple amputee to reach the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro without assistance. “No excuses,” he stated as he recounted his 19,340 feet crawl up to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Everyone has a disability. Some are more apparent than others. Kyle Maynard challenged us with a powerful question – “what is one excuse you have that is keeping you from reaching your highest human potential?”  

An important component of Annual Session is the election of your new ASDA Executive Board. After many rounds of speeches and stringent interviews, During Annual Session, we elected the members of the 2013 – 2014 ASDA Executive Board. Congratulations to president Jiwon Lee (Columbia ’14), vice-presidents Tyler Rumple (Washington ’14) and Martin Smallidge (Pittsburgh ’14), and speaker of the house Gabriel Holdwich (Detroit Mercy ’14)! In addition, we also elected our new District 11 Trustee – Kris Mendoza (UCLA ’15). These elected representatives will be working tirelessly during the upcoming year to serve as the a voice of for dental students on a national level.

My friends from the Western University ASDA Chapter won the "Rookie Chapter of the Year" award!

Annual Session also gave me a glimpse of democracy in action. During the House of Delegates meetings, we debated for hours on end about important policies pertaining to ASDA. In these sessions, we also voted on and set association policies. Important policies that were adopted during Annual Session include:
  • Establishment of three new ASDA chapters: AT-Still University (Missouri), University of New England, and University of Utah.
  • Amendment to ASDA’s L1 Licensure Pathway policy, which supports the creation of a universal non-patient based licensure examination.
  • A $5 increase in ASDA annual membership dues to be implemented in 2015.
  • Policy encouraging all US CODA-accredited dental schools to provide instruction on effective dental assistant utilization.
Voting on resolutions at the House of Delegates meeting
The University of Southern California ASDA delegation.

With over 400 dental students from 62 dental schools across the nation in attendance, Annual Session provided an amazing opportunity to expand our network. I met a variety of diverse dental students from all over the country. I also got to spend quality time with many of the dental students from District 11. The highlight of the week was definitely the President’s Gala, which was held on our last night in Atlanta. The gala honored our ASDA immediate-past president, Colleen Greene (Harvard ’13), for her work on behalf of ASDA throughout the past year.

Hanging out with awesome friends from Pacific. 
Then there were the intangibles - the unique experiences that made annual session so amazing. Meeting a variety of amazing friends from across the country. Watching an Atlanta Hawks basketball game from the lower level for only $15 (this DOESN'T HAPPEN at the Staples Center). Walking through "Underground Atlanta" with a bunch of dental students and stumbling upon a gold grillz shop. Sitting by the hotel pool and eating gyros at 4am in the morning with new friends from dental schools across California. Dancing the night away at the President's Gala on our last night in Atlanta. 

I won a new high speed hand piece courtesy of Patterson Dental.
District 11 dinner at Der Biergarten
Strolling through Atlanta at night with friends from UCLA, Pacific, and Loma Linda. Some random girl (the one in the front) popped into our picture. 
Saw a ton of Cinderella carriages in Atlanta. Is this supposed to be a thing in Atlanta? 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Day 192: No Excuses

"No excuses," said Kyle Maynard, a congenital quadruple amputee and keynote speaker at the ASDA Annual Session that I attended last week. Despite the disability that he was born with, Kyle managed to pave an accomplished live for himself. In addition to being an award-winning mixed martial arts athlete, he became the first quadruple amputee to reach the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro without assistance. It wasn't an easy endeavor. His motto during the 19,340 ft crawl to the summit of Kilimanjaro was "not dead, can't quit".

Class II composite restoration
Practice class II composite restoration on the middle tooth.

It was a motto that I really took to heart this past week. Since I had midterms two weeks ago and spent the last week in Atlanta at the ASDA Annual Session, I was at least 2 weeks behind in lab work by the time I arrived back at school on Monday morning. I knew it was going to be a bad week - playing perpetual lab work catch-up throughout the week and staying in sim lab overtime until midnight every night.

Class II composite restoration
Practice MO class II composite restoration on the middle tooth.

It also didn't help that we have a final practical exam for our composite course next Tuesday. Here's the thing - I was really bad at composite restorations. Like, REALLY bad. I couldn't get the anatomy of the restoration to look like real tooth anatomy. I couldn't get the margins to be undetectable. I couldn't get the proximal contact areas right - there would always be excess composite and tight contacts. I couldn't get the marginal ridge to look like a marginal ridge. It was frustrating because amalgam preps and restorations came intuitively to me. I didn't have to work hard in amalgam last trimester to get decent results. 

So I bitched and moaned for an entire day about how much composite sucked, how hard it was to manipulate composite material, how much I hated composite, etc. But at the end of the day, I knew that I couldn't fail the composite final. Even more pressing, composite is the bread-and-butter of general dentistry. I had to learn how to do composite properly. "No excuses," I said to myself, "there's no way I can allow myself to fail the composite final". So I sucked up my pride and asked a few upper classmen and TAs for help with my composite restorations. 

Class II composite restoration

"Not dead, can't quit," I repeated to myself all week. It didn't matter how many hours I had to put in, I was going to learn how to restore composite properly.

I'm proud to say that after a few hours of practice, my composite restorations look significantly better than they did on Monday. I won't even post pictures of my composite restorations from Monday - they were THAT bad...

So our final practice exam for composite is next Tuesday. We have to make a Class II prep on the natural tooth in the middle of the block and complete a Class II composite restoration. We're also doing a Class IV composite restoration on tooth #9 (the maxillary left central incisor).

We have to do a class II prep and restoration for our final (on the tooth in the center). 

We also have to do a class IV restoration using composite on #9.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

For the Avid Blog Readers Out There

As a blogger and an avid blog-reader, I was devastated to hear that Google Reader would be shutting down on July 1st, 2013. The move to retire Reader shocked me, as it is probably one of my favorite Google products alongside Google Chrome, Google Maps, Gmail, and Google Drive.

Luckily, I found a exemplary replacement for Google Reader in Feedly. Go check it out! The esthetics of the Feedly interface is clean and sophisticated. I have to admit that I already like it a lot better than Google Reader.

For the avid blog readers out there, make sure you have your Google Reader replacement set up before July 1!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Random Food Adventures in Los Angeles

Restaurants around Los Angeles that I have ventured to recently:

Ocean Star Restaurant
145 N Atlantic Blvd, Ste 201
Monterey ParkCA 91754

Chinese New Year dim sum with a few of our Asian dental school classmates! We had a plethora of delicious Chinese food and I got to put my VERY limited grasp of Cantonese to good use. 

Rays and Starks Bar
5905 Wilshire Blvd
Los AngelesCA 90036

We ventured out here at the end of January for DineLA - a three course meal for $35. The restaurant is also conveniently situated inside LACMA, so of course we had to take a few gratuitous LACMA lamp post pictures!

Son of a Gun - Lobster Roll 
Uni + Burrata
Son of a Gun
8370 W 3rd St
Los AngelesCA 90048

Came here with my childhood/high school best friend, who was visiting from New York. It's located in a really quaint/interesting/lovely area of town situated between The Grove and The Beverly Center. The food is awesome but pricey - a single lobster roll costs $7 and a plate of uni with burrata (3 slices) will cost you $18. 

In-N-Out (Westwood)
922 Gayley Ave
Los AngelesCA 90024

Random spontaneous nighttime Westwood invasion! We hit up all the classic places - In n Out and Diddy Riese - then meandered around Westwood for a little bit. It's kind of nice to be able to walk on the streets at the night without the fear of getting mugged. 

Seasons 52
3333 Bristol Ave, Ste 2802
Costa MesaCA 92626

Tried out this restaurant before watching Wicked at the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa. Good wine selection, appetizing flatbread, and an irresistible selection of dessert shots. 

The Lab Gastropub at USC
3500 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90089

Right across the street from campus, this place is our default "post-exam" or "post-morphology lab" drinking venue. They have happy hour everyday from 3-6pm along with an amazing spinach-artichoke dip with pita bread. 

Half & Half Tea House 
141 N Atlantic Blvd, Ste 112
Monterey ParkCA 91754

One of my all-time favorite boba places in Southern California. I came here randomly on a Sunday afternoon and still waited about 25 minutes to place my order. The line was out the door and around the corner! Still, it's worth the 10-15 minute drive from my apartment in Los Angeles because there are simply NO quality boba shops around USC. 

Four Leaf Tea and Crepes 
318 E 2nd St, Ste 8
Los AngelesCA 90012

My favorite boba place close to my apartment in Downtown Los Angeles. It's located in Little Tokyo, which is an amazing place to explore and get good Japanese food.