I was told once that most dentists make their career decision in late high school or early college. I made my decision in high school after shadowing a general dentist. Needless to say, it is never too soon or too late to begin seriously thinking about a career in dentistry. Dentistry is a rapidly changing, expanding profession and my life as a pre-dent will prepare me for an exciting dental career.
During the school year, I take many science courses as well as classes in humanities and social science. I’ve almost completed my first semester and the course which every pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-pharmacy, and pre-veterinary student fears the most, organic chemistry. Some people say that organic chemistry is all about memorization – don’t believe them! Yes, it requires a lot of memorization, but what’s more important is practicing to really understand the concepts. As you can see, organic chemistry takes up a large part of my daily routine. I also take biology courses like genetics and physiology. It is really important to balance out your schedule. My plan is to take one or two social science or humanities courses such as anthropology and psychology each semester, to balance out the workload of science courses. In addition to classwork and working part-time, I participate in extracurricular activities with the pre-dental society at my college.
When I have a break, I divide my time between shadowing, volunteering, and research. I really like shadowing local dentists because it allows me to get the feel for the dental profession. I divide my time between general dentists and specialists to see the wide variety of dental careers. Also, I work as a volunteer and participate in community service. I enjoy volunteering at the local hospital and dental school clinics and working with individuals with special needs at the Special Olympics. I’m also very involved with research. Most science students think that research is only working in a laboratory, but that’s just one type. I work at the health center at my college performing data management and analysis for many large-scale research projects that are funded by the National Institute for Health. It’s really exciting! Last but not least, this summer I’m preparing for the DAT! This is just a little bit about my life as a pre-dental student.
Are you also interested in learning more about dentistry? Register for the 2012 ADEA Dental School Virtual Fair at www.GoDental.org. The event will take place online on June 26th and 27th. This is a great place to learn about the profession and applying to dental school. You can contact representatives from the American Dental Education Association, the sponsoring organization of the Virtual Fair, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading, and good luck on your pathway to dentistry!
Matthew Lepowsky is majoring in Biomedical Sciences and Pre-Dental at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. He is a student in the honors program in the combined program in dental medicine. In his spare time, Matthew volunteers at a local hospital, participates in dental school clinics and works with individuals with special needs for the Special Olympics.