Thursday, November 19, 2015

Interview Trail Travel Diaries | Mesa, Arizona

Mesa, Arizona (October 5, 2015)

Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health Campus 
Flying to ASDOH for an interview was rather nostalgic. It was the exact trip I had made four years ago for dental school interviews. Everything was still the same, down to the blazing hot Arizona winters and the list of hotel recommendations they emailed us. I remember staying at La Quinta Inn. I remember booking a shuttle service from the airport to the hotel and to ASDOH (Ubers didn't exist back then). Thinking back, my dental school interview at ASDOH was the first time I traveled to another state by myself. Four years and 509723 ASDA trips later, it's funny to see how much I've grown as a person. Traveling alone to Arizona? That's nothing! Try flying to Chicago or Atlanta by yourself.

LAX | brand new terminals at Southwest Gate 1 
I flew from Los Angeles to Phoenix on Sunday via Southwest. While roaming around the terminals, I was pleasantly surprised to see that LAX is finally coming out of the stone ages. As you can see in the pictures above, they updated some of the Southwest gates at Terminal 1. Now the seats boast sleek modern designs, individual charging stations and cupholders.

I didn't get to explore Arizona the last time I was there for an interview. I didn't have any friends in Arizona to show me around. My last trip to Arizona was a rather lonely experience. I remember walking around in the barren desert streets in search of dinner. There was a paltry selection of restaurants within a walking radius. I ended up awkwardly sitting at P.F. Chang's, eating dinner by myself (this is probably why I've never eaten at P.F. Chang's again. Such bad memories). This time around, I had some friends to hang out with in Arizona thanks to the cross-country friendships I've formed through ASDA. We ate at Postino, a very chic wine bar in a hipster area of Phoenix. Who knew there were hipster pockets in Arizona?

Postino | A delicious assortment of flatbread
I mean, let's be honest here. Californians don't believe civilization exists outside of California. But the truth is, there is so much going for Arizona that most people don't know about. For one - affordable housing. I'd kill to live in my own apartment for $700 a month instead of paying $1800 for a closet space in Los Angeles. Surprisingly, there's a decent nightlife in Scottsdale (or Tempe, if you're into the undergrad party scene). Arizona also boasts fabulous winter weather (as long as you're willing to put up with their blazing hot summers). Of the ortho programs I interviewed at, ASDOH (by far) has the most gorgeous state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.

Can I also add that AirBnB is the best thing that ever happened to students on a budget going to 304509 cities for interviews? I started using AirBnB when I flew to Boston for my first interview. If you've never been to Boston before, apparently hotels don't exist for less than $300 per night. As much as I wanted to get into orthodontics residency, I wasn't prepared to drop $600+ for hotels in one city. So I booked a room on AirBnB for $74 per night. It wasn't great. It was a dinky house with six bedrooms on one floor and one bathroom for the entire floor. Which meant that shower time and makeup time was severely rationed. I actually started doing my makeup in my bedroom using my iPhone as a "mirror". But for someone who saved over $200 per night on housing, I can't complain TOO much. In Arizona, I paid half of what I paid in Boston for housing and got my own bedroom and bathroom. Definitely recommend looking at AirBnB for housing!


  1. Hi Stephanie,
    I just want to say that I've been following your blog since I was a predent, and I'm now a third year dental student also applying to ortho! I hope you keep updating this blog as I would love to continue following your residency adventures!