Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Assimilation

I think I can safely announce that I have adapted to the life of a dental student…at least somewhat. Getting up at 6:30 am feels normal to me now, not coming home until the sun is setting feels commonplace, and posting in this blog once a month as opposed to once a week feels natural. The strangest thing is how I have completely removed the little things I always did in college…like lying on a couch for a few hours watching tv…ah how I miss it. I simply come home, eat dinner, and study until I go to bed..which is usually around 11 pm. Take your 10 hours of cramming before a midterm in some pre-health course and multiply that by every day of the semester and you may gauge what being a dental student is all about, because we are pretty much forced to cram 24/7 just to stay afloat – let alone get ‘A’s.

Now I promised candid posts regarding difficulty, and I intend to own up to that. Dental school is manageable – it really is, however – if you are unwilling to compromise your social life somewhat and make major sacrifices in personal free time, you may think otherwise. The material is NOT difficult to wrap your brain around. HOWEVER, the QUANTITY of material is staggering. I have never learned so much, yet felt so ignorant at the same time in my entire life.

Yes, we can question the validity of some courses and some material. Shigella probably isn’t going to be a big dental issue, neither is knowing what muscles the ulnar nerve handles, but there is still a bigger picture to grasp. All the extra stuff simply makes you appreciate the intricate complexities of the human body, and leaves you completely astounded at how insanely fascinating the entire body is. How we get sick, how we move our thumbs, how our skull develops – it is all unbelievable.

My point – if you sit through all these didactics wondering WHY (and I have at times) you won’t get anything out of it. Your desire and motivation to learn is a trait you MUST nourish and embrace, or else you will drown in a sea of seemingly useless factoids.

I’ve gotten used to having at least one major exam per week…anatomy practical tomorrow…histo exam Friday. The only thing I haven’t adapted to is not having time for all the ‘extra stuff.’ Ya know, groceries, cleaning the kitchen floors, vacuuming all the freaking cat hair that accumulates, teaching the cat how to use the toilet (ha bet you thought I forgot about that)taking out the garbage..ectera. I seriously haven’t cleaned anything forever..it's just that when I finally get a night off from studying…I am very unlikely to bust out the mop.

I’m single in a world full of non-single women. I know the 80% of my classmates that are in relationships/engaged/married will state otherwise, but I think being single is fine. This is a time in my life when I need to be selfish; I need to look out for me. I wouldn’t turn away a great opportunity of course, but I’m not out hunting like many of my peers. This is rarity for me – the eternal pessimist, to actually be optimistic and a ‘glass-is-half-full’ kinda guy. You have to be optimistic about as much as possible – or else school will destroy you.

In summary: School is hard. It is mentally draining. It is physically draining. You will get pissed off. But you will be alright. You will learn stuff...lots of stuff. And if you feel like you can’t remember something very important..just repeat after me.

Oh, Oh, Oh, To Touch And Feel Veronica’s Glossy Vagina, Ah, Heaven