Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The D-0 Experience II

So what’s it like? Ya know, school on the horizon, transpositioning yourself into a foreign territory, attempting to quickly form a social network, take out loans?

For me it hasn’t been bad at all. Anyone who knows me will quickly remember how much I hated undergrad by the end – and despite being a creature of habit, I welcomed this change with open arms. As I mentioned before, your time as a D-0 will be completely dependent on whom you are as an individual. We aren’t IN school yet, but I can already smell the formaldehyde.

I have noticed recently that several schools seem to offer summer activities for their incoming class. Some, like UIC, offer a research program, some have get-togethers, and others appear to have mini boot camps. Regardless of the situation, I would recommend seriously considering signing up for anything your school offers. But again, that is dependent on you.

If you are married and/or have kids, you probably have a lot more responsibility and obligation than others. The transition still exists, but you are a team, not a solo flyer – adapting is not your responsibility alone.

However, if you are like me – in your early 20s, single, and living alone – these summer deals are great. I grew up in the suburbs around Chicago, that didn’t make much of a difference in terms of getting used to living IN Chicago. By moving out here earlier, I am already comfortable. I know how to get to good places, the school takes exactly 12.5 minutes to walk to at an average pace, and Fridays = 5.00 Foster oil cans at the local tabernacle. What else could one ask for? Maybe Cheaper Guinness.

I went out with a few fellow dentites the other night to a White Sox game. Of course they blew the game, but it was still a fun time. If the rest of my classmates are this great to hang around, then these next four years just might not suck as much as they could.

I don’t care who you are, or what type of school you attend – professional school is going to be a TON of work. Making some good friends is a pure necessity simply to have people to lean on when you need it most. I could not imagine trying to get through this journey alone – I don’t think I could do it.

So yea, what about ‘the other?’ Ya know, those imminent feelings of dread. Please note, I am not trying to say that this D-0 time is really stressful – because it isn’t. But there is some other feeling afoot, one that can’t be compared with school-related pressure. A culmination of your entire life spun into this decision because once you take out those loans – there is no turning back. Is this really what I want to do for the rest of my life? If you haven’t asked yourself this question, then you must be a robot. The best way to stay sane is to ask yourself: “Well, what else would I rather do?” I seriously can’t come up with anything realistic. Yea rockstar or astronaut would be fun, but I prefer to be grounded in reality. Besides, rockstar dentist sounds better.

I am not the first, and will not be the last pre-dent to think that all my worries will vanish once I got that acceptance. They did for a week or so, but the mental shift is quite a dramatic twist.

I am 50% done with this summer research program. As mentioned before, I still have the right to say it was not worth it at any point until completion. However, I still stand by my original statement – getting out here early was a great idea.

Happy 4th of July to one and all.