Thursday, October 29, 2015

Road to Residency: I'm Going to Be an Orthodontist!

After careful thought and a week of deliberation, I'm proud to say that I've accepted a pre-match offer from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine Advanced Graduate Education in Orthodontics!

It was a big decision to withdraw from Match and cancel my other interviews. But I'll admit that it's a huge relief to have an acceptance under my belt. To know that, at the end of the day, I'm going to be an orthodontist. I've definitely come a long way since my time applying to dental school. The setbacks I experienced motivated me to work my ass off for the past four years to prove the doubters wrong. At one of my ortho residency interviews, I was asked if I was satisfied with the trajectory of my professional/educational career. "Yes," I answered, without hesitation. I've grown so much as a person, as a student, as a leader, and as a professional in the last four years at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC. Even though I'm satisfied with my trajectory, it's important not to succumb to complacency. So here's to another three years of unbridled curiosity and intellectual growth. Here's to another three years of personal and leadership development. Here's to three years of becoming the best orthodontist and healthcare professional I can be. 

Boston, here I come! 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Social Skill Hacks

Understanding people is an important life skill to have. It can help you get a date, lead an organization, negotiate a deal, or influence others around you. But have you ever wondered about the science and psychology behind human behavior? Read my Mingle Monday post on ASDA's Mouthing Off blog to learn more!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Road to Residency: An Emotional Rollercoaster

It happens every year like clockwork. August rolls around the the sheer panic to collect letter of recommendations, mail out secondary applications, and submit the PASS application ensues.

"How many schools are you applying to?"
"How's your personal statement coming along?"
"Who's writing your letter of recommendations?"
"Has the Dean submitted your letter of recommendation yet?"
"What's a PPI...?"

As the application deadline looms closer, you max out your $1900 credit card limit and press "submit".

Last summer, a friend (and current ortho resident at USC) warned me about how traumatizing the residency application process was. I simply nodded.

It's difficult to empathize until you've been through the gauntlet. The nausea-inducing feeling of checking only to realize that you didn't get the interview call from your top school. Refreshing your email every 5 seconds, hoping an interview offer will magically appear. Going through emotional hell to cloud nine when you get five rejections in a row and then one interview offer from a highly regarded program. Then, there is the gut-wrenching and sobering thought of not matching into any programs. The fear of failing and shame haunts you.

We go through our day-to-day lives putting on a nonchalant facade. But deep down, we are all navigating the same emotional roller coaster. All we can do is wait, hope, and pray.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Return from Blogging Hiatus

It's no secret that I've taken an extended vacation from my blog. One year, one month, and twenty-one days, to be exact. Between starting my third year of dental school and juggling my list of extracurricular activities, I lost my passion for this blog along the way. Blogging felt like another item on my increasingly long to-do list. It was adding unnecessary stress to my already stressful life.

I felt compelled to churn out blog posts even when I had nothing to say about the mundane events of day-to-day dental school life. I felt compelled to find perfectly curated words for each entry I wrote. After sending out hundreds of emails and dedicating hundreds of hours to soliciting authors and editing posts for Mouth, ASDA News, and the Mouthing Off Blog, the act of blogging simply lost its appeal. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE being an electronic editor and contributing editor for ASDA. But when your passion becomes your job, the novelty and excitement slowly fades.

If there's one thing I've been trying to focus on this past year during my blogging hiatus, it's finding balance in my life. I won't call myself a success story yet. But I'm making steps (however small) in the right direction. Last weekend, I found myself at an odd juncture. It was my last ASDA editorial board meeting at the ADA building in Chicago. As I scrolled through my editorial calendar, I realized that my time as ASDA's electronic editor was winding down. I've spent the past two years giving a voice to dental students across the nation. It came at the expense of showcasing my own voice through my blog.

As my year on the ASDA editorial board winds down, I've come to realize that I miss blogging. I miss writing for a captive audience. I miss chronicling my roundabout (but well-intentioned) path to becoming a full-fledged adult and young professional.

Mirror and Explorer has been a part of my life through my undergraduate days. It's been an integral part of my story on my way to becoming a dentist. I want this blog to accompany me as I embark on my journey to becoming an orthodontist.

I'm not going to make any promises, but I won't let this blog die. I'm taking away the pressures and expectations that comes with this blog. But if you'd like to join me on the next chapter of my adventure, I welcome you with open arms!