Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Tutelage of Rupert - 1

Four posts in a day!? ARE YOU KIDDING!? Well, I actually type these up in word first, so I had the first three done already – just too lazy to post (the internet at my school would also make this take about 30 minutes unless on a weekend).

Back on Track though – I have come upon a serious decision/undertaking. I will most likely need the support from my family and closest friends. Of course, I am talking about something of utmost importance that is, dare I say, vital to my survival in dental school. Yes you guessed, I am going to toilet train Rupert.

For those of you who don’t know Rupert, he is small, orange, and messy as hell – hence the decision.

Come next fall, I hope to never clean a litter box again!!!

I am being realistic, I know the odds of this working are not in my favor, but I have done research and I believe Rupert is quirky enough to learn.

Of course because this task is so very important to my dental school success, I will be keeping you all updated with my new mini-series, The Tutelage of Rupert. I won’t be starting until I move, so don’t expect any updates for a bit.

And for all you naysayers, BEHOLD!

Pluggin’ away: Student Doctor Network

Once you become desensitized to the crop of uninformed-know-it-alls that exist, SDN becomes a viable resource. You simply need to know how to sift through the loads of manure and find what you want. Here are a few tips to surviving in the jungle:

1) Don’t feed trolls. If you don’t know what a troll is, you shouldn’t be on an online forum.


3) Don’t presume what you know to be fact, we are all clueless

4) Learn to not let others convince you that they are speaking facts without citation

5) Put on your sarcasm defense suit or you may suffocate amidst the nerdy realm of pre-professionals and their collective rapier-like wit. Notice the sarcasm? That was training.

6) Please re-read number 2 a few times.

If you follow this guide, you will actually find SDN to be fairly useful in certain instances.

Pluggin’ away:

While I realize my intents for this blog have greatly evolved, I still do have that initial desire to help future students. With this in mind, I would like to point my more serious readers in the direction of Created by Ben, a D1 at Temple, this site offers a plethora (did he just plethora?) of great information for pre-dents and dental students alike. Not only is the information great, but IT HAS PICTURES!!! If I learned anything in kindergarten, it is that pictures make reading so much better – especially pertaining to a lot of the pre-clinical stuff we all will be having fun with. Becuase of the great visuals, I deem it the curious george of dental blogs. Keep on shinning man with the yellow hat, keep on shinning.

The site is organized really well and provides a wealth (better than plethora?) of information that is available for anyone interested.

Go forth! Read! Oh yea and before you ask, there is no difference between the DMD and the DDS, so don’t ask unless you want to get killed by sarcasm.

Why No Comments!?

Comments sections are like answering machines – you get all excited when you come home to check, and then cry when there is a big fat zero. Conversely, you want to pull out your hair when some hog starts gabbing away and wasting valuable space and more importantly, YOUR TIME.

It all comes back to anonymity, by making you work a little more to contact me; I am greatly reducing the amount of jack-assery that usually floods comments sections. So if you are dying to comment on something, if you have a genuine question, hell even if you have a grievance, feel free to contact me at I will most likely respond in a somewhat timely manner - unless you are deemed frightening.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Come Forth O’ Mighty Molars

So there are 4 oral surgeons near my school. The catch though, is that they are all in the same building – and three of them are related! So I found their website and shot them an email explaining the whats and the whys.

The very next day, I get a phone call from the office telling me to just come on over and get some teeth..YAY!! Well, this office already had them packaged and sealed away with the cool biohazard symbol as well. They also made me realize that my glass jars were probably not as practical as plastic; however, if Dr. Frankenstein can put organs in glass, than why shouldn’t I?

Still, instant teeth were nice, but clearly I need a bunch more. They told me they have other students asking so that I probably wouldn’t get any more soon. Oh well, at least it is a start, and I do have a jar back home (hopefully beginning to fill).

Oh and did I mention how disgusting these things look? They are mostly molars..but I can definitely pick out a few anteriors, so at least I’m getting some variety!!

And now I’m off, to waste away in comparative anatomy. I am so tired of learning about things that aren’t human. I don’t care how thick the dermal layer of an aardvark is, I just don’t.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Oh The Things You’ll See!

This post is long, and has little/nothing to do with dentistry, be forewarned!

Ah, I have returned from spring break and am midway through yet another full week of my last undergrad semester. Today I realized that senioritis has really settled in. The benefit of being in Illinois is that the weather usually sucks, but these last few days have been gorgeous. I bet if somebody did a legitimate study regarding senioritis, they would definitely find a connection between weather and studying.

There are several interesting points I have crossed this semester. I have also found myself a bit more reflective as the true transition creeps closer.

My average evening now does not consist of studying for immunology; I am usually sitting on my couch or porch enjoying fine ale and counting Cadillacs. Being the observant individual that I am, I have come to the conclusion that the majority of people at this school are completely insane.

Was I ever this completely out of control and obnoxious? Case in point, the girls that live next door are the most decadent and disgusting sluts I have ever met. Actually, I really haven’t met them even though they live RIGHT next to me. I knew I wouldn’t like them when I saw them moving in. One of the girls had a garbage bag FULL of cigarette boxes. I really don’t mind people that smoke; they know what they are doing…but a GARBAGE BAG!?

These are the typical college girls – giant boots, goofy looking skirts, whorish makeup, scent of STD, and worst of all… thunderously loud. These girls next door are really nothing more than a bunch of attention whores. These girls are in their early 20s, and still have the intellect, maturity level of a 16 year old. At times like this I ask myself..will they ever change? Or is partying on Tuesdays, smoking 10 packs a day, having sex with passer-byers and being on an endless binge really how one should live?

And when we have decadent sluts, of course we have your typical college guy (aka douchebag, stroke, bro). These girls attract them by the thousands. So now I have drunk loud girls, and violent drunk guys parading around my porch at all hours of the night (pretty much every night), stealing my chairs and littering shit everywhere.

I really am digressing, I was pretty stupid my FRESHMEN year, but I quickly realized that parties where you barely know anyone and the music is too loud to really talk to someone without yelling is not fun.

Allow me to elaborate:

(enter crowded apartment, Incessant rap with thudding bass blasting)

Guy A: Hey!!! Guy from math class, what’s up bra!?
Guy B: Nothing much bra, how about that test!? That shit was insane yo!!
Guy A: For sure! Where are the cups!?
(music suddenly gets louder)
Guy B: jarbled nonsense
Guy A: Where!?
Guy B: More inaudible noise!
Guy A: What!?
Guy B: ectera.

Girl A: What’s up jody!!!
Jody: What!?
Jody: No thanks…but thanks for asking!!

(you realize that the only beer available is keystone, vomit in your mouth a little at the thought of drinking it, and proceed to exit)

Random guy: HEY, I know you, what’s up maaaan!?
You: Actually, I have never seen you before!
RG: naaaaa, you are on the softball team guy!
You: Nope, not really
RG: uhhhhhh, cool though man, live strong!!
You: ok!
RG: what?
You: I said OK!!
RG: WHAT!!??

(walk onto front porch)

crying girl: ohhh, I just love him so much, but he has cheated on me with my best friend for the third time!!
Sympathetic Guy with Ulterior motives: That’s ok Tracey, you can do better.
Tracey: But I love him!
SGUM: Whenever I get low, I like to take a nice drive out to the cornfields and just look at the stars..wanna come?
Tracey: Yea, yea lets go.
SGUM: Wait, let me grab some keystones!
Tracey: GOOD IDEA!!

Walk home count:
Public urinators: 5
Random fight: 1
Clearly drunk people getting into cars: 11
Different places blasting shitty music: 7
Backward upside-down visors: 19
Huge snow boots in spring weather: 8
Popped collars: 15
Broken beer bottles: 14
Girls about to get raped: 5
Guys about to get bro raped: 9
Creepy middle-aged dudes asking you for party directions: 2
Townies leering across the street: 4
Pants sagging past the ass: 4

That is my example of a typical party night around here. I remember going out all the time freshmen year and thinking this was normal activity. I don’t know…it just doesn’t THRILL me and got old pretty damn fast.

In fact, going to these idiot-fests is really just a form of social-masturbation (props to my cuz for that one). They always degrade into some cheap soap-opera ripoff too, with someone getting REALLY upset at someone else – which is soon followed by lots of yelling and incoherent babbling. I grow weary of these scenarios. I want to have a REAL party with people I know and playing music that actually sounds good. I also want to have REAL beer and not this crap that literally tastes like city water and induces headaches like no other (I am talking to you miller light).

So what inspired me!? A few guys yesterday on SDN were arguing that people with low GPAs will make superior dentists because they got out and had fun during college which makes them more social. Binge drinking does not equate to social skills. The smartest people I know here are probably the most social people I have ever met. I just never knew that GPA correlated to social skill...amazing what you learn on the internets!

To cut this rant down, I leave you with this. Would you want this guy greeting you while you sit anxiously in the chair, waiting to get your teeth worked on?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Already Irked

As I was frustratingly speeding about 75th street, trying in vain to find the office suite of the OMS I was going to pester, I began to question what I was doing. I nearly got broadsided by a short-bus, I was flicked off by a 12 year old in the back seat of an SUV, and almost rear-ended by the ugliest yellow hummer you ever did see driven by some high schooler that clearly was learning how to kill people in her unecessarily pretentious and retarded 'car.'

Why? I began to question why the hell I had to go through all this trouble. I had to find some jars, get some bleach, get a headache while pouring the bleach/water ratio into the jars. Buy labels to put my name/number on the jars. Look up random phone numbers, awkwardly ask secretaries for some teeth, and clumsily follow map quests directions in vain.

I am paying about 30,000 dollars for tuition this year, and they have me scouring the earth for teeth. Don't you think, given all that money I am forking over, that they could maybe get some teeth themselves? After all, this is a dental school, I bet they have LOTS of teeth lying around. I just figured out that I had my first bitter dental school moment... AND I HAVEN'T EVEN STARTED!!!! I am going to be a bundle of joy come next fall.

I did find the office. I awkwardly carried my bottle into the suite and handed it to the secretary. She clearly did not know who I was, but I also brought a copy of the UIC letter so that they wouldn't think I was some creep with a molar fetish.

Got out and what do you know? A bird crapped on my car. What an exercise in futility..

Can I get an amen?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Saga Continues

OK, so I have somewhat given up on collecting teeth up in Downers Grove. I have a few other Oral Surgeons to call...but it seems they only pull thirds out here. No surprise either, its not like there are lots of periodonal disease ridden people living in suburbia. I decided having one jar full of thirds can't be half-bad. Despite the fact that I remember one student claiming not to bother with thirds, the letter for collection says nothing of the sort. So technically I could bring in three jars of thirds and they couldn't say I didn't try. Seems like it would be good just to go to town with the highspeed on some large teeth at first to get a better feel for it. I also am pretty sure I can just buy them at the school as well, which may end up happening because this is so pointless. But wait...

Suddenly the little cartoon lightbulb went off in my head. I am so rushed and stressed to get these bottles going because I'm going to be back in school for 2 months to finish my degree. Then it hit me...townies!...yes..horrid...horrid..teeth. I have hit the jackpot. I instantly revised my search to periodontists and oral surgs down at my undergrad. There are a LOT of periodontists....I wonder why? Townies down there have some pretty nasty teeth, so I should be in good shape. Yes I am generalizing, but that is what people do!

Now hopefully one of those perios will be kind enough to help a brother out and get me some anterior teeth. HUZZAH!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pre-Professionals and Teeth Collecting

I encounter pre-dents/vets/meds/pharms/ect all the time at school and over the internet. I go to a small SMALL liberal arts school. In fact, I am pretty sure I am the only pre-dent that got accepted and there were only three of us. Of the 20-some odd pre-meds, only 5 or 6 ended up taking the MCAT and only 2 got in anywhere. Granted, I am only referring to kids in my class, so who knows. My interactions with these students are usually quite normal and often fun.

However, once one enters the mysterious void known as the internets, things get frightening. The Student Doctor Network is a prime example. Whilst it provides a vast amount of information for the generally clueless pre-professional, it also contains numerous pitfalls that are often difficult to ignore. Namely the population.

I don't know about you, but when I post on the internets, I'd like to think I was sending an email or having a normal conversation over long distance. However, the anonymity of the internets for some reason empowers people to be, quite frankly, total jackasses. You ask for some friendly advice and suddenly you get bombarded by all these faceless pricks berating you and talking as if they actually hold some authority.

A great personal example would have been my first post made about a year ago. I was asking for information about OMFS and Ortho and what were some ways to get exposure in dental school early enough to rule one or both out. I was simply curious as these two fields initially drew me into dentistry as a whole and you can only get so much from shadowing. The first response came from some kid who was JUST admitted to dental school and he essentially told me I was a clearly only in it for the money for being interested in those specialties and that I shouldn't even consider specialties until my third year of dental school. Seeing as you usually have to apply to specialities during your third year, having an idea if you are interested might be something you want to know beforehand..but hey, I might just be insane.

The best part is that this douchebag, who had the audacity to insult me, made a post in the residency forum about getting into OMFS a mere ONE WEEK after attacking me. I would hardly consider the spring/summer before starting Dschool as "the third year." This is the kind of crap you must be prepared to deal with. The hippocracy is almost painful.

For every genuine, helpful, friendly person you find; there will be 10 other complete assholes that try to demoralize and belittle you. Don't try to fight them online either, you will end up looking just as stupid.

Note that most of these people are PRE-dents/med/ect. In fact, you will find that while sarcasm still runs rampant amongst residents (particularly OMFS), they will actually back up a statement with sources. If you ask "what are my chances" in the pre-dent forum, you will get all these random responses from supposedly learned 20-year olds telling you what is right and wrong.

Granted, I will admit that I too have offered advice to the next wave of applicants. However, I try not to overstep my bounds. I don't answer specific questions about dental school because..well..I haven't started. I usually like to leave a disclaimer that I am merely stating OPINION not FACT. You also will get drained really quickly if you spend too much time on the SDN forums. The level of incompetence and downright mean-spirited behavior is very disconcerting seeing as these are my potential peers/colleagues. I simply reassure myself in knowing that the only real brats online are the PRE-whatevers while the actual students seem too busy to really post much of anything.

On another note: Collecting extracted teeth is getting me stressed. I already hate calling random strangers on the phone for pretty much anything - lets just say its a minor phobia. I am fine in person, fine over email, but something about the phone gets me uncomfortable. So imagine the joys I had calling random OMS offices asking if I could collect teeth.

Well I only called two so far...that is how many it took me to realize that most oral surgeons play golf on wednesdays so nobody is open. However, both messenger services reps were very friendly and gave me better times to call back and took down my info.

I just don't get phone etiquette. This was really the last dental school thing I wanted to get started before break ended and I still have a few days, so hopefully I'll get at least 2 jars going tomorrow. FUN!

Remember the immunology snafu? Well I got all the records from the last physician that was supposed to send them to the NEW physician, and signed a release for some copies. Of course the secretary forgot to give me the Hep B report so I had to go back after realizing it was missing. Than she couldn't find anything official - aside from some scribbled log notes that one could barely distinguish the dates for my 3 vaccinations. I hope those are official enough for the current guy to sign off.

Speaking of which, I had to leave all these papers at the new office, and pray they don't get completely mishandled/lost before the doc can sign them and mail them back. I was so nice I even left an addressed envelope to inspire them to get it done and sent, hopefully this isn't just wishful thinking.

The temperature is great outside, too bad it comes in tandem with a thunderstorm.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Wendy's V McDonald's

So I just got a job at Wendy's. It is exciting, I can't wait to start, we are on the cutting edge of the fast food industry. However, I keep hearing discussions from fellow Wendy's employees about how we are becoming just as distinguished as McDonalds. We get really defensive when those Big Mac flippers come around claiming how wendy's is just for Mcdonald's rejects.

Most people fail to realize that both places require similar training and resumes. I could have gotten a job at McDonalds if I had volunteered more at McDonalds-based charities or if I had shadowed some McDonalds employees.

But why? I want to work at Wendy's, I like Wendy's a lot more. Is it a crime to like Wendy's over McDonalds? Surely you cannot debate the superior taste of the double stack with cheese. However, Mickie D's does offer the McChicken...but that will not sway me!

Bottom line though: if you already have a job at Wendy's, or McDonalds for that matter, why the hell are you so interested in comparing the stringent pre-reqs that each has, or the rigors of training for two completely separate fields.

The only thing wendy's and McDonalds have in common is that they both serve fast food. If you work at wendy's, you probably need to realize that the general public will always view wendy's as a baby mcdonalds - get used to it.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I am making a colorful analogy of the pointless debate that continues ceaselessly amongst pre-professional students. Namely dentistry versus medicine. I am not kidding when I say I could have gone to med-school. It would have taken another year though seeing as I have NO extracurriculars geared towards medicine. I also am not interested, is it that hard to believe? Yea my favorite three shows just might be M*A*S*H, Scrubs, and House, but I guarantee if they made a show about dentists, I would be ALL over it!!

It is true that there are some who use dentistry as a 'back-up,' but these truly are exceptions and not the rule.

I could debate with anyone until I am blue in the face about the drastic increase in the academic qualities of incomming dental schools, but these cries would be falling on deaf ears.

This morning during my pointless physical, the nurse said: "Oh you are going to d-school? What is that, another 2 years?"

The physician followed suit: "Good luck in the future, you have 3 years right?"

NO people, it is actually FOUR (with the exception of UoP). My point is that people are generally uninformed and I don't expect that to change. However, anyone that is close to you, or important in your life will figure out that dental school is not some night class completed at a community college and that you worked your ass off. Nobody should need anymore validation than that.

If you got into dentistry, or even medicine simply for prestige, you should quit now. Get a Phd in biochem and cure cancer - get a nobel prize, that is where the glory is at. Not wearing some coat and using "I'm a doctor" as a pick-up line.

Give me a break.

I almost started ranting about pre-professional students in general, but that is a can of worms I will save for tomorrow or maybe later tonight.

Freezing spring break with all friends back at their respective campusi = lot's of time to putz around on this blog.

Destination Chicago

So spring break thus far has been anything but vacation. Sure I don't have any school work to do, but I still have paperwork to fill out and other odds and ends to sort out. On top of that, the temp hasn't gotten above 40ish and it is windy and cold. Supposed to get into the 60s by the end of the week - but of course it is also supposed to storm. So here is what has gone down:

I already mentioned getting the financial aid stuff sent in, so next on the list was getting a physician to sign off on my immunological records. I have no idea where my medical records have been kept, so I enlisted my mother to scour the house and contact whichever doctor has my file. So of course my brother and sister's reports are filed away nicely, but we can't seem to find mine.

No worries, the official immunological record has been sent to our new primary care physician, and I had an appoint this morning. But wait! Apparently the records were never sent, so I end up getting an absolutely useless physical and still have blank papers that need signing. But my mom just contacted me and apparently she has tracked down the physician that has the I'm going to head over there in a few.

Note to future dental students: Get this crap done ASAP, you never know how many problems will spring up.

On a better note, I got to see the condo today. It is nestled in nice and tight with many other fairly new structures. The school is only about a 15 minute walk so that is great. The condo is deceivingly large. It looks like the rooms are pretty small, but the place is just REALLY long with more closet space than I know what I'll do with. The current resident still had a lot of crap lying around, so it was hard to get a full feel of how I will set up - but the wheels are in motion.

I can't even begin to describe the deck, it is fantastic with full view of the chicago skyline. I definitely will have to host some gatherings over the next few years.

It also looks like I may be moving in early. UIC has shot me an invitation to apply for a summer research program and I am going for it. Only 10 spots are offered to the incoming D-1's so I hope I get a spot. More on that later. I have to go get these forms signed!!


Sunday, March 18, 2007

I Sold My Soul Today

I know that I mentioned not getting financial info until May. Well, apparently that was a load of droppings as here I sit, with a massive pile of papers to file away. I am in no way complaining though, because I wanted to get this over and done with.

My parents covered me in undergrad. I also had a lot of money from working during HS and over breaks to handle the miscellaneous expenditures. So really, going from no debt, to being in the hole 40k is more than a little bit overwhelming. Granted, nothing is official until the checks are sent, but I have pretty much signed and given the OK for those checks to come. The really scary part is that this 40k only covers ONE YEAR! I am no math major, but 40 x 4 = 160k. Ouch.

Luckily, I am on spring break right now because all my mailings still come to my parents house. I was greeted with a nice fat evelope brimming with financial joy. I had my dad help out seeing as I didn't want to get "screwed" and wanted alternate opinions. He was actually really surprised with how much aid they offered. I qualified for FULL amount on Direct Stafford loans (subsidized and unsubsidized). I also could have gotten a GRAD plus loan for another 6k. However, they have really crappy interest rates and a 6% initial loan fee (no thanks). Seeing as tuition and all other school related business cap out around 30K, I think getting 40 will be plenty. Also getting 8k as subsidized is really boss. That's right, I said boss.

Thankfully, my parents are giving me the ridiculously nice rent of a mere 700 a month at a place that could very easily go for twice that. Gotta love the family discount. They are also letting me just build up a rent 'tab' so that I don't have to start paying them back until after I graduate. I really can't wait to check this place out come Tuesday.

This first year is going to be a trial/error experience financially. I am already somewhat frugal with money, but I have never really kept tabs on everything I buy. I'll get a better feel of the monthly bill once I see how much the utilities are running for.

I'm also really hoping to knock off the interest on the unsubsidized loans as they accumulate. I really need a filing cabinet for all this crap. Needless to say, I'm glad I got this taken care of today.

I consider this like a marathon game of tag. I send the school some info, they reply by asking for more. I send more, they ask for more. Well UIC, the financial ball is now in your court.

On another note, while musing over the firepit out back with some friends in frigid Illinois spring break conditions, I have decided that I will be hosting two major parties on a yearly basis at my new lodging. I originally only wanted one, but that was new years eve. I soon realized however, that I have a rooftop deck that will not be fun to stand on in frigid Chicago. So I also will be having a summer time bash. More on these in the future.

My blog will most likely evolve on my own personal whims. Sometimes I feel like talking about the world as I see it, other times I feel like bitching. I know the begining posts were very autonomous, but that was present-day me, trying to recap the past 1.5 years of my life in about 14 posts.

However, like I posted in the beginning; the main purpose of this blog is to help future pre-dents/dental students. But hey, if I can chronical some cool experience to look back on, why not!? Let's face it, I am bound to meet some interesting characters while living in the heart of Chicago for at least the next four years.

Now I must go, other things need doing.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

When it Rains it Pours

Well the dry-spell of zero information has finally lifted. And boy did it ever lift. I was bombarded with UIC information. I already feel as though I am getting bossed around – a feeling I better get used to for awhile.

Aside from the friendly hello and congrats from the dean, I received a large letter from exec associate dean of student affairs. UIC sends everything via email too, so it was pretty convenient to just save everything into one nice folder rather than sort through piles of paper.

Here is what I have to do:

-Collect as many decent extracted teeth as possible

-Get my radiographs from my dentist to use for educational purposes (full mouth and panoramic)

-Need a computer with meeting minimum specs (PC preferred; minimum specs are not very demanding). I’m getting a monster PC this summer anyways. Screw laptops.

-Fill out an immunization form and make sure I have all vaccinations. Mail it away.

-Get hepatitis type B vaccinations, mail away proof.

-Contact housing if needed (feels great to already have living arrangements done)

-Get a parking permit (think I can walk, but I’ll need one from Chicago anyways)

-Get a UIC I-card. (I think this makes public transport cheaper for students but I am not sure yet.)

-Need to wait until May for FAFSA info…sigh

Spring break starts this week. I already contacted my favorite orthodontist/mentor, hopefully he can drop some names and I can get the ball rolling on this teeth collection thing. I will probably end up going straight down the phone list.

I wish I knew more oral surgeons : (

Well I was complaining about being bored and impatient, and now I have a full list of crap to take care of. Checking out the condo over break as well. Things are coming up fast!