Sunday, December 28, 2008

The D-2 Experience IV

My break has been enjoyable and lazy thus far, now as I sit here on a quiet evening, I decided to start filling in my weekly planner for next semester. This is my first time using a portable scheduling device and it probably couldn’t have come at a better time. I have tallied a total of 28 opportunities to schedule my own patients. This is about twice as many chances as last semester and I intend to try harder to fill those blocks. Partly because my time won’t be AS consumed with pre-clinical lab work, and partly because I will be treating patients FULL TIME starting in the summer. So yea, a bit freaked out. I only scheduled TWO appointments last semester and one of those failed. Part of this is due to having a very poor patient pool (only 6 or so patients and most of them are VERY unlikely to come in for routine work), but I must admit, I didn’t try contacting everyone multiple times either because passing all my pre-clinical courses took precedence. So now I will have to make a much stronger effort to contact patients straight out of the gates.

As I filled in this planner, I also took a closer gander at the actual classes I will be taking. The semester looks beefier than last (no more half-days), but I refuse to believe that anything could be worse than the fall. Here we go. I will talk about last semester afterwards so skip ahead if you are still interested in that crap. Keep in mind that the semester won’t start for another week, so this is my PRE-game analysis.

Comprehensive Care II – C : 6 credits
-This is largest value comp care has carried since my first D-1 semester. I fear getting an ‘A’ will be EXTREMELY difficult as much of our grade will probably be determined by treating real patients. Unless I get a hefty boost to my current patient pool, I will DEFINITELY struggle to fill my blank schedule. It appears that there is a large implant component with this course. I am pretty sure that we are the first class where placing implants is required to graduate – so with this in mind, we are getting some good exposure to it next semester. I’m not sure if the current D-3’s had an implant course or not – I hope they did, otherwise we will be the inaugural class…and that usually equals unorganized mess. We have the implant module on Mondays. I will have my clinic sessions/rotations on Tuesday afternoons as well as all day on Fridays. While I still get a bunch of open clinic time, I will also be going on a myriad of rotations such as radiology, endo, perio, pedo, ect.

This is my last opportunity to really get used to the clinics before I become a D-3, I hope to take advantage.

Treatment Planning: 2 credits
-We meet on Monday and Thursday mornings for 2 hours. This is a lecture based class that essentially teaches how to treatment plan. I REALLY wish we had gotten this course LAST SUMMER as there have numerous occasions during several courses where knowledge in this area would have been VERY helpful – not to mention it is mandatory before doing any real work on patients. I really hope they finally explain some of the ins and outs on using the axium computer system this school utilizes.

Ortho: 2 credits
-My first experience in orthodontics begins next semester. We have 2 hours of lecture on Tuesday morning and I will be doing the lab portion on Thursday afternoons. Seeing as ortho originally got me interested in dentistry as a child, I am quite interested to see HOW it really works. I don’t see myself specializing in the field, simply because I am not a huge fan of working with kids – but we will see how it goes.

Oral Surgery Lecture: 1 credit
-Pretty much a lecture based class that meets for an hour on Wednesdays. I assume we will be talking about Oral surgery..yea? My first clinical rotation in OS begins in the summer.

Endo Lecture: 1 credit
-Yes endo continues next semester, but only in lecture format. I assume we are to continue learning about endo! Self-explanatory no?

Fixed Prosthodontics II: 4 credits
-Bleh, I really did not like this class at all last semester. I suppose it had its good moments, but the director spends no time with us in the pre-clinic – yet she grades all our practicals (really tough by the way). It would be nice if there were a correlation between what our instructors in clinic say is good, versus what the actual course director thinks is good..because believe me..there is variation. I also am just really sick of working with plastic teeth and imperfect dentechs. What is truly terrifying though is that last semester we didn’t even have to temporize for performance exams, and I still averaged a 70.5% on them. I think we have to do a three-unit bridge prep/provisional for the final… I don’t want to think about it anymore right now…moving on. We meet on Wednesdays again.

Pharmacology: 4 credits
-This is a very D-1ish like class in that it is all lecture based. We meet for 2 hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I know this will be a tough class that has the potential to really overwhelm even the best student. I intend to keep up with studying, even if there aren’t quizzes. I have proven to myself that lecture based classes are VERY manageable with proper studying – so I would be disappointed if I don’t do well. It will also be nice to finally have at least a rudimentary understanding of all the drugs people seem to be on – especially in our clinics.

Despite the feeling that things will be less stressful, I still doubt I will do much better grade-wise. The subjective nature of the clinics is not worth getting flustered over – as long as I am happy with my own growth and development, I will deal with average arbitrary scores.

So there you have it – the preview of Spring 09’ – My final test before moving on to the proverbial Xanadu that is D-3 year.

Now for the Fall 08’ memorandum.

I can’t say this enough, but the fall semester (or second D-2 semester) is the champion of tough asses in my book. Everyone seemed to struggle a bit – which made it less frustrating of course. I actually did a bit better than my pre-semester prediction. The only true surprise was that I somehow pulled out an ‘A’ in endo. If anyone has actually been keeping up with my haphazard writings, you may recall I saw NO chance of an ‘A’ in that course before we even started. So that definitely took the sting off of my failure as a prosthodontist. I fortunately locked a ‘B’ in fixed prosth despite pretty much failing both performance exams – this is why studying for written exams is ALWAYS important. However, grades aside, I know I am better at crown preps than those grades show – my practice preps were miles ahead of both exams – I just can’t keep botching up when it counts.

I’m not going to rattle off every class grade, but I ended up doing well enough for my own satisfaction. I didn’t burn any bridges in terms of specializing, which has been my goal since day one. I am proud of my work ethic during the last months and hope it carries over into the years to come, making me a better professional as a result.

While this semester was the toughest, that doesn’t make it the worst. That title still goes to the second semester of the D-1 year. At least now, we are working are asses off towards something of merit – and not biochemistry.

Ok, this post has dragged on long enough; I got some more relaxing to do.

Have a fun and safe New Year celebration!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Eve of Another Finish

At around 11:00 in the morning tomorrow I will have completed the most arduous academic semester of my lifetime. Words cannot begin to express how much I actually learned this semester and how much I worked my proverbial tail off. I spent time in the school every weekend this semester. This is not an exaggeration. Granted, this time would not have been unnecessary if I stayed super late on a few weekdays each week, but I think that would have been even harder. 8-5 is more than enough for me.

So while things were definitely more hectic, I found this to be one of the ‘better’ semesters in terms of feeling like I am finally progressing as a future dentist. The first year is so very difficult to associate with clinical dentistry because we spent so little time learning dentistry. So yea, it is quite refreshing to finally be a dental student. Again, the volume of dental skills I have picked up this semester is more than all three previous semesters combined. I honestly feel like I could do procedures on REAL people at this point. Really though, that is what I need to be doing now, plastic teeth and ‘ideal’ preps really aren’t doing it for me anymore. I still have one more semester as a D-2 and I hear it is a bit lighter than the current beast I am about to finish. Unfortunately I will be jammed in the lecture halls a bit more with courses like pharmacology and treatment planning, but I will get to the schedule at a later date.

Basically I am procrastinating from studying for my final tests tomorrow. My last exam was on Tuesday and I unfortunately have somewhat slipped into vacation mode already. This happens to me EVERY time during finals…I just run out of gas. I of course WILL study more tonight…lest I fail dentures, but at this point, I just want to pass and get the hell on with the next wave of classes. This entire fall routine has gotten very old.

My GPA will definitely take a hit this semester..but that is all relative, barring a terrible showing tomorrow, I won’t get any ‘C’s which is my bottom-line goal. The only course where I seemed to excel above average was endo, but I still am happy with my progress in the other courses. Fixed prosth was the only course I would consider a bit of a failure this semester. I nearly failed the second performance exam despite the fact that my previous two practice preps were near perfect, I just wasn’t bringing my ‘A’ game for the exams (I had to remediate the first). Luckily I destroyed the final written exam which allowed me to secure a ‘B’ despite the sloppy performance exams. Only one remediation all semester really isn’t that bad either considering how tough some of these classes were – but it would have been sweet to get through un-scratched.

I also didn’t do so hot in the restorative portion of comp care which is a bit disheartening as these are the procedures I should be good at by now – but again, what you do on a given day on plastic teeth seems a bit variable depending on WHO actually looks at your work. A ‘C’ from one teacher could very well be an ‘A’ from another. What matters is how YOU feel about your work. I feel pretty good about things at this point – but I obviously have a LONG way to go.

I can tell this semester has sucked because my right eye has been twitching uncontrollably at random intervals throughout is time for a BREAK.

I have my wireless internet hooked up, my PS3 raring for some usage, my bottle of JW blue label just waiting to be sipped, a fireplace yearning to be sat by while it snows; old friends needing some hang-out times, Christmas cookies to devour, New Year’s champagne to toast, and most importantly - zero time in the dental school for 16 days. How’s that for a run-on?

Good to go folks, good to go.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm Not Dead...Yet

Missed an entire month..oops. Things have been horribly busy and stressful and frustrating and fun all at once.

Since I still am getting plowed by school, I will sum it up real fast.

1. Had to remediate my first performance exam ever (crown prep)

2. Succesfully finished my last endo performance exam and would have had a near perfect score if my x-ray didn't get destroyed in the grading bag prior to evaluation. Regardless, I did not have to remediate any endo exams which is great. In all honesty, I find this specialty to be the most interesting so far.

3. Had my first patient appointment for a recall exam (and she showed up!) It went about as perfectly as one could hope. She was young and clearly had been taking great care of her there really wasn't much work for me to do! I unfortunately was unable to get any other patients in this semester...oh well, next semester will provide even more opportunities before hitting the clincs full time as a D-3.

4. Finished my first gold is purty

5. I've decided that dental materials is the most drab topic ever to grace a power point presentation. Maybe if I wasn't expected to cram so much other crap into my head while learning a million new clinical skills I could find some of it useful..or interesting...well...probably not.

6. Lots of other random things, but those were the major events of november...the month that flew by.

2.5 weeks left to this hell of a semester before I get a real vacation. Today was a looooong day..tomorrow should be better aside from the oral path final.

This semester is without question, the hardest academic semester of my existance.

I enjoy it more than D-1 year though, because it is practical to my career.

Now I'm off to watch top chef with my lady and not study because my brain refuses to allow one more sentence of pathology inside.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The D-2 Experience III

While I find time extremely stretched thin at this point, I have had two remarkably relaxed days in a row. I decided to add another chunk of thoughts towards the second year of dental school. This week began as an utter pile of feces. Monday was absolutely the worst day of the semester, by far. Based on my interactions with other classmates, I would venture to guess that I am not alone in this sentiment. It opened with a performance exam in RPD (removable partial dentures). We had to prep rest seats on plastic teeth. These seats essentially help the RPD stay in place and help resist forces. The preps themselves are not too difficult – however, we had to prep four of them with guiding planes in about an hour AND evaluate everything. For those not in the know, a guiding plane is established by shaving the sides of the teeth a bit so that the RPD can fit better and not lock into place in some sort of undercut. So I basically just ran low on time and had to speed through the last prep – which ended up looking pretty damn crappy. I still don’t know how to ‘evaluate’ a guiding plane on plastic teeth without surveying them, but whatever. The director says he is going to go easy on us, but we will see. I smell my first remediation.

So we get all cleaned up around 12:45. We have to be back for restorative at 1:30. Now here is where things begin to suck. I have already vented enough with my peers, so I will avoid becoming immature in my writing, but simply put – Monday afternoon was poor form. I was specifically told the week before, that our most recent project would be turned in NEXT week. I was also told that Monday’s work would be an all-ceramic crown prep and provisional. So what happens? We are told that EVERYTHING is due by 4:00 and that we are doing a VENEER prep and COMPOSITE provisional (something I very vaguely remember doing back in May). So I had zero time to prepare for this change in events, and a lot of my other work was still unfinished because I assumed we had more time because I was TOLD that we did have another week. So ok, they want to simulate the ‘clinic’ and how we are going to be evaluated. I can tell you right now, I won’t be jammed back in a tiny corner about 1 mile away from any materials when I am in the clinic. I won’t need to climb over about 25 units with classmates blocking the isles to get to materials that aren’t even out when I’m in the clinic.

The disorganization was absolutely terrible. And the best part is that if we didn’t finish in time, our grade is automatically a ‘C.’ Incredible. I get that they wanted to try something ‘new.’ But leaving me horribly uninformed about events is not fair considering how much money I pay for this education. It also is a disservice to my own morale as I felt like a horrible excuse for a dental student because everything turned out like crap. This is completely understandable, given the circumstances and simple lack of materials compounded by that horrible excuse for a pre-clinic. The class feels unorganized in general. I hate not knowing what I need to do. I also hate being rushed. Yea I get it, speed is important, but let me freaking get the basics down before you start shoving me to hurry up. If I don’t learn to do it right slowly, how the hell am I ever going to get good at doing it fast?

The grade impact isn’t all that significant, but that’s not the point. My confidence was completely and unnecessarily obliterated by an unorganized and attempt to scare the shit out of us.

Everyone hates pop-quizzes….but pop-performance exams?

So naturally, Monday left me a bit pissed off. Fortunately, the last two days have been complete cake-walks and I have been home by 2:00 each day. I finished up my first full crown wax-up for a #18 FGC. It actually looked pretty good. We sent them off to the lab and they will come back as shiny gold. I am not really doing much school work at home these last few days. I am just trying to relax and mentally prepare for the next big hurdle – endo performance exam #2 on Friday. We are doing full root canal therapy on one maxillary pre-molar that has TWO canals. I am looking forward to working on ONE tooth for a change and putting all three steps (access, cleaning/shaping, obturation) together at once. My only concern is that two-rooted pre-molars seem bit fragile and extracted teeth aren’t the sturdiest of things. So I am a little worried about the crown breaking. Luckily, I have a even the worst-case scenario should be manageable.

I haven’t really practiced, but they have us doing SO much homework and lab-work in that class that I feel like I could get by ok. Still, as with most performance exams, I can feel my nerves slowly creeping up on me.

If I make it through Friday, next week will be a completely breeze.

So enough on current events. I have gotten positive feedback for the class-by-class breakdowns, so I will give a mid-semester update on the fall D-2 curriculum here.

Comprehensive Care IIb
-The grading distribution in this course is a bit confusing, and as always – there are SEVERAL modules.

a) Restorative - 37.5%
-well from my earlier rant, I’m sure you can guess how I may feel about this course. This would be a little off though, because I have enjoyed this module for the most part. It has essentially been mock cases that we work out on our dentechs – applying techniques previously learned and attempting to get them done quickly. Again though, I don’t feel ready to get ‘rushed’ just yet – and sometimes, this is VERY detrimental to my learning. We have done a lot of composite work, as well as some crown preps. Made some models, mounted them, and created custom trays. Nothing really new, just more practice (which is always a GOOD thing in dental school). Aside from last Monday, I have liked the pacing and cases. We had to write an Evidence based-dentistry paper, but aside from that – the grades are based on lab work.

b) Clinics – 12.5%
-this is interesting because we are the first class to get in the clinics with our own patients so early. I would be willing to wager that the current D-1s may get their own patients in the summer rather than just shadow like we did. It is very intimidating to get a list of patients that you are responsible for calling and arranging appointments. Seeing as I am only in the clinics on Thursdays, communication with patients calling in gets cumbersome. For example, one of my patients called and left a message for me. It said “please call back.” So I called back and got the ol’ voicemail. Patient called back AGAIN the next day, left ANOTHER message: “call back in PM.” So I called back…VOICEMAIL! I have called this patient about five times now and she has NEVER picked up her damn phone. I left her my email address last time praying she might attempt another avenue at communication…nope. I will call her once more tonight, but after that, she’s on her own. She is young too, so I’m sure she knows how to use email. Who knows. Thankfully I have gotten ONE appointment for next week. However, from my observations, there is a 50% chance she will cancel. Days we aren’t in the general clinic are spent on rotation. I have had urgent care, radiology, and pediatrics already. Pedo was awesome because we essentially got hopped up on nitrous the whole time. One of us would learn how to set everything up and adjust the gas while the other would enjoy its effects. I am convinced that nitrous SLOWS DOWN TIME.

We also have some random assignments to turn in regarding Medicaid and how we plan on being ‘organized students’ as D-3s.

c) Communications - P/F
-I enjoyed this brief module. The information was quite relevant and while some aspects were a bit drawn out, I did learn a few good techniques towards communicating better. We had to attend all the classes and I still have a paper to write about my first patient interview (even though I have already done this in Urgent Care a few times).

d) Periodontics - 50%
-The grade savior of comp care. Although I fear that this semester’s exams will be tough in comparison to previous semesters. We had to find our own patients to come in back in September for the basic perio exam with prophylaxis (cleaning). Once we wrapped that up, we have been doing lectures on Tuesdays for 2 hours every week. Not much else to add.

Ok..enough comp care already…

Removable Partial Dentures
-This class is pretty good. The mid-term was not as easy as I would have liked, but by no means was it unfair. The practical was not horrible, but I definitely didn’t do that well. You basically started out confused as hell during the first month. Then eventually, everything starts to make sense and come together. I feel pretty good about this class so far, but who knows (especially if you didn’t skip the early portion of this post…ugh).

Oral Pathology
-Pathology has been a part of my life since last January. I am ready to part ways. Thankfully, the information this semester is relevant to dentistry.

Fixed Prosthodontics I
-Frustrating at times, ‘ok’ at others. If it wasn’t for provisionals, I truly wouldn’t mind this class. HOWEVER, I think I may have finally got the timing down with the acrylic so that they are beginning to turn out a LOT better. I still need practice of course. My only concern is how bottom-heavy the grading is. We have only had TWO quizzes all semester. There is no mid-term, and only two performance exams packed in late November and early December. Our row instructors are grading our weekly work, but this amounts to very little of the full course grade. The final exam is going to be insane. We have an average of two lectures every week. Some of them are DRY as hell (dental materials). So we are looking at around 30 some lectures to study for the final exam.

-I like that I am learning..A LOT. But I don’t like how long it takes to set up the unit, how annoying teeth are to allocate, x-ray, mount, x-ray again…THAN work. It is VERY tedious..which is appropriate, given how tedious endo is in general. However, I have enjoyed the work more than most courses (namely because working on real teeth feels far more beneficial). Doomsday is this Friday though..I am really fearing that something out of my control will go wrong. I got through the first one unscathed, but I feel like I am due for a catastrophe. Damn I am negative.

Complete Dentures
-This class is simply not organized. That is really all I can say. I don’t feel comfortable doing pretty much anything and everything related to dentures. Your learning experience seems based on two factors out of your control. The instructor you get, and the patient you get. I feel like I get the big picture, and a lot of the lab stuff makes complete sense to me when I see it. However, do I see myself remembering all of these little things when it is my turn to make them? Probably not. The only saving grace is that we have plenty of outside resources and reading to refer to. So I shouldn’t be completely lost. I bet my first patient that isn’t on recall will need complete dentures. Throw me in the fire!

OK, that is it. I figure the bigger the post, the more off-time I am allowed. Fair? I think so.

I do have a pretty good story of my first urgent care experience last week, but I will save it for another time. I got some relaxing to do.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Patients Ahoy

Done deal, I have officially scheduled my very first patient. While I am overwhelmed with the heaping pile of work that the D-2 year is, I am glad they throw us into the clinics so early. Granted, I am not expected to do much outside of recall exams, but my group practice manager said if the patient needs work done, we will be doing it. There are plenty of procedures I could attempt competently on a live patient. However, obviously there is plenty I can’t do yet either. Mainly prosthodontic business. I could also do ½ a root canal (haven’t learned obturation yet).

Basically, the school is trying to ‘get our feet wet’ early so that we aren’t as awkward with patients once we hit the D-3 year. So we only have Thursdays this semester to see patients. We also have rotations through radiology, pediatrics, perio, and urgent care. So there really aren’t even that many opportunities to see real patients. There is only so much we can do though because we don’t have the treatment planning course until NEXT semester. This limits us to recall patients.

So come November 6th, at 2pm – I will be examining my very own LIVE PERSON…whoooo. I hope to schedule a few more as well but we will see.

In other news:

Endo has actually turned into a good class. For all of my griping leading up to it – I have learned a pretty good deal and feel pretty damn comfortable with the basic concepts. The worst part was the mounting of teeth (which mainly occurs during the first month). I still spend a LOT of time doing homework teeth and practicing, but things are going smoothly.

Fixed prosthodontics is giving me trouble. The crown preps are coming along just fine, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to make a provisional successfully. I spend hours and hours and they always end up looking like crap.

Dentures also sucks big (mainly because I feel lost trying to set teeth).

All the other classes are going fine. Now by fine, I am not implying that I am going to be busting out A’s in every class, but I am learning SO much more than I did last year. The things that I am learning are also relevant and PRACTICAL towards what I am doing with my life. And as I’ve mentioned previously, the grade feels less important to me at this point. I am plenty competitive for GPRs which is what I see myself doing in 2.5 years.

The work is hard, I am far busier, but I am enjoying WHAT I am doing so much more. This is a good sign.

This semester is blazing by. I am going to be a D-3 before I even realize it.

Hell, I’m going to be a dentist sooner than I think.

Scary right?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Making the Transition While Returning to Kindergarten

I have finally reached the point where the arbitrary letter grade assigned to me at the end of the semester takes a backseat to actually learning and growing as a student. Freaking out about missing one question on a quiz is completely unnecessary and holds no outcome on my professional future. I am also thoroughly convinced that if I simply relax a little, and try to learn rather than memorize – my grades probably won’t change all that much.

There is just too much going on to fret over everything. Far too many projects, with very subjective grading coupled with the actual need to KNOW most of this stuff. I’ve also been assigned my first batch of patients and I have to call and make appointments with them. All while taking endo, fixed, complete dentures, RPD, oral path, restorative, and perio. C’mon now. Granted, we aren’t getting our ‘own’ fresh patients. These are all from the ‘recall’ pool and all we need to do is give them their ‘periodic oral evaluation’ (poe). Still, the stress of entering the unknown world of the clinics is not a welcome addition to this semester. Not to mention how difficult it will be to convince any patient to come in for a simple exam. The demographic we serve is not the type to come see the dentist unless they are in pain or want something done.

I have also decided that this semester blows away all previous semesters in terms of stress and work. Five weeks in, and I have contemplated hurling myself from the school’s roof on several occasions. With that said, I enjoy what I am doing for the most part. Endo has actually become one of my favorite classes despite all the annoying busy work. We had our first performance exam last friday– access/working length on both an anterior tooth and a premolar as well as an access only on a molar. I was pretty stressed out about this exam simply because I really had nothing to practice with. Not to mention the workload was pretty hefty for 2hrs and 45 mins. So essentially, I just jumped in with the little experience I garnered in class. Thankfully, no major disasters occurred. Many of my classmates had issues with their teeth popping out of the mounting stone. A few had burs break off in the canals, and there were also many perforations – so I feel very fortunate to have had a little luck. This exam is weighted 70% self-evaluation and 30% product. So you really can butcher the hell out of the teeth and still do pretty well. I ended up doing ok, nothing to write home about, but no remediation means it was good enough to work in a real person – and that is the real goal nowadays.

Last Friday was a bit of an anomaly. We had the performance exam until 12:15, and we were next expected to attend a dentures lecture during our lunch break. I mean, that is a TERRIBLE idea. We are all drained and stressed from hauling through a long PE, and are now forced to miss the one break we get during the entire day? Poor choice. It was a good lecture too, but our focus was non-existent. After this lecture, we were all piled into the wet lab and expected to mount our anterior denture teeth. Needless to say, I left at this point – with no guilt either (a rarity for someone who goes to essentially every class).

So now for today’s fun news:

This morning we had our RPD lecture interrupted by one of the head honcho’s of our school. He proceeded to scold the entire class about how filthy we have been leaving the pre-clinic. After he leaves, all the professors started acting pretty snotty towards us as well and essentially treating us like little kids. We all go down to help clean up, and another ‘power’ enters the room screaming at us that THIS CLINIC IS CLOSED!!! Somebody explained that we were told to enter and clean and he quickly replied with “oh, OK!”

Let me preface this gripe with a simple statement: I completely agree with the administration that the pre-clinic is disgusting. Yes, it shouldn’t have gotten that bad – but NO, chewing out the entire class is the wrong approach. The mess is created by probably 25% of the class – the people who didn’t have mother’s that taught them the values of ‘cleaning up after yourself.’ Also, they are telling us how patients won’t stand for this mess. They are right, but this is NOT a clinic. The pre-clinic at this school is an architectural nightmare. The room is crammed, has only one real entrance, and 2 trash cans located in the same spot. What the hell do they expect?

I hope to be a sterile-friendly student in the real clinics. I try my best in the mess they call a pre-clinic – but I don’t need to be talked down to because other individuals can’t clean their own crap. How difficult would it be for instructors to take notes on who actually cleans their units after a class? It is pretty easy to narrow down the resident pigpens. No, it is much easier to blame everyone and alienate the people that actually follow your rules.

But hey, they did what they needed to do to get the room clean. Hopefully it will stay that way because I still have another 8 months of crap to do in there.

I’m not really that churned up either, I just found it a ‘different’ experience and was truly reminded of being in grade school again. I know several friends in other schools that have had similar experiences. I guess it is just part of the process.

The white sox have now forced a one game tie-breaker with Minnesota. I will not be studying tomorrow night..that’s for sure.

Out I go.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Part I is ‘Officially’ Finished

I got my results yesterday and celebrated by spending 5 hours at the school doing lab work. The amount of physical work is simply staggering compared to last year which was essentially 100% mental. Several of my closer friends got them as well, and everyone so far has passed. Good day.

This is simply a quick post to assure all the curious minds that I will be continuing progress through dental school uninterrupted. I actually surprised myself with the score too. I scored higher in pretty much every section than I had on any of the old exams. Of course, the actual scale for scoring is much more difficult than it was a few years ago, but I definitely have a solid score. So the GPR/specialty route is still a realistic possibility – assuming I don’t suddenly start failing classes. I’m however beginning to feel like I’ll want to kill off some loans first after four years here.

So the first true milestone of getting that big fat degree is officially finished. I wish I had a mini-vacation now to really celebrate but there is just too much to do. I currently am enjoying doing this work over studying though. Everything feels more relevant at least and my speed at doing basic lab tasks is 1000x faster than it was last year.

I may go in again today to catch up in dentures, but I think I will just use my wonderful Tuesday afternoon time to do that. I also told myself that I would try to ALWAYS have one day out of the week that I never set foot in the dental school. So we’ll see how that goes.

Congratulations to all my classmates that passed, and good luck to everyone still waiting for scores or preparing for the test.

It feels great to be done!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Holy Crap

Here is a perfect example of how crazy D-2 year is.

Wednesday was our first day of fixed prosthodontics at 8am. We had a bunch of busy work to do which eventually had the entire class crammed into the wet lab trying to pour up models and mount them on an articulator. There are 6 sinks, 4 or 5 vibration mounts, 4 cast trimmers, and 6 index pieces for mounting the maxillary cast. There are 67 students. This room is NOT large.

Now I'm not whinning too much because I actually got a lot done but the atmosphere is just unbelievably stressful with everyone hovering around trying to use the various equipment. Everything was finished around 6pm. Unfortunately as a D-2, the day doesn't end so easily like last year. I went out for dinner with classmates and promptly returned to mount my teeth for endo on friday. Thankfully the instructor approved the molars I had collected so things should be workable.

So we mount the teeth which actually takes forever simply due to lack of experience (I hope to get efficient as we do more). Unfortunately, the stone takes longer to set because we mix it with acrylic (so that you can still see the roots with radiographs). So we finished all our pour-ups by 9:30ish but now have to wait awhile in order to safely get them out. After the chore of mounting them in the first place, nobody is interested in taking them out early.

I ended up staying at the school until midnight with a classmate taking radiographs of other teeth, followed by the same on the mounted teeth once they had really dried up. Students are supposed to be out of there by 10pm I think, so we had to carefully dart around avoiding the random security patrols. If anything, this kept my mind awake enough to finish all the work.

So my day essentially was 16 hours with a 1 hour dinner break (skipped lunch).

The hilarious part is that today, I was done at noon with nothing really left to do until endo. We have two quizzes tomorrow but I don't really feel like studying. It just is nice to essentially have a chill day in the middle of this rollercoaster week. The first week of the semester I might add.

I know I say this all the time, but dental school is bipolar. You have intense moments where you feel like there is no way in hell you will make it out, followed by euphoric days when you actually have the time to sit back and acknowledge how much you have actually learned.

However, I'm pretty sure that Saturdays will officially become 1/2-days of school for me this year..

good times.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The D-2 Experience II

Quick note: I took the boards but I haven’t gotten my scores yet. I don’t really have much to say about it. The difficulty for me was similar to the released exams however many of my classmates found it much harder. Seeing as there are different versions and of course everyone has different goals going into the exam, it isn’t surprising to see varying opinions. Many of my classmates have yet to take the test, and every time I see someone going through decks, I shudder a little bit. But thankfully, I am through it (hopefully!)

Back to the D-2 year I go, this second semester is going to be challenging for sure. The shift in curriculum is more blatant than ever now. The only lecture based class is oral pathology; everything else is straight up lab work. This opens up an entire new world of frustration. I am tired already and it has only been 2 days. However, the freedom I have to relax once I actually leave the school is MUCH greater than in previous semesters. Sure we have midterms, finals, and quizzes – but there really is no constant need to study random factoids. Rather, one must spend time preparing for the many performance exams on the horizon. I have been a D-2 long enough to realize that this will be harder than the D-1 year. The stress of performance exams crushes sitting in a giant lecture hall filling out bubbles. The constant lab assignments and projects just wear on you. The bipolar nature of dental school becomes even more blatant as you succeed and fail countless times over.

I still am glad to be in it though, and as my wise father has proclaimed “At least there’s an ending.” So true – yet we must all carry on.

So let me break down this fall semester:

Comprehensive Care IIB – My fourth comp care class…mm they are getting old. This time our grade is 50/50 between restorative and perio. We also will be in the clinics in a similar fashion to last semester although I believe we will get to do more. We haven’t had the orientation for this portion yet so I’m not sure.

We only have one performance exam for restorative and we are slowly being assimilated into the glories of treatment planning. Pretty much all of our restorative work will be ‘mock’ cases in preparation for the actual treatment planning course. My first REAL patient will be in perio this fall. I have enlisted my own mother to come in for a perio exam/cleaning. It should be fun!

Removable Partial Dentures – First class Monday morning. The lab work is all pass/fail which greatly reduces the stress (although it is still a LOT of work). This course, much like most of them this semester, will eat up a lot of time. The title explains what I will be doing – learning how to fabricate removable partial dentures. This caters to people that are missing a few teeth, and would like them restored without implants or removing all the good teeth for full dentures. We have a few performance exams, as well as quizzes and tests. I already failed to complete our first lab assignment during class time. Saturdays here I come!

Complete Dentures – We started this class with about 5 weeks left in our summer semester. We will finish it at the end of this semester. Basically we get put into groups of 10 or so students. Each group gets a patient. While the instructor does all the ‘official’ work, we get to practice and observe pretty much the entire process of fabricating complete dentures. In return for getting pawed at by many students, the patients get their dentures for free. I really like our patient, although I feel like having 10 students per groups really puts a dampener on how much hands on experience I actually get. Without repetition, I really can’t learn many things. So I doubt this course will make me all that great. I will at least be familiar with the steps necessary when all is said and done. We meet on Fridays for ½ the day.

Fixed Prosthodontics I – This class will be the beast of the semester. All of the upperclassmen claim it is tough – namely because the instructor is VERY particular about perfection. However, everyone also claims that you really learn the material and develop the all important hand skills. I’m going to learn a lot about crowns and bridgework for sure. We meet once a week on Wednesdays…ALL day.

Endodontics – This class makes me want to puke and we have never even had a lecture/lab yet. I guess it is the most frustrating because nobody really explains to you HOW important it is to collect a TON of teeth from a TON of dentists/specialists. Yea they tell you once you get accepted to start collecting, and I certainly did get a jar or two out. However, you don’t magically get a ton of teeth. Some offices will maybe fill half your jar in a year (if you’re lucky). Also, about 90% of the teeth you get are completely worthless. I mean, most people don’t have pristine teeth pulled out of their mouths. So you end up with a lot of bombed out teeth and crappy third molars that will NOT help you.

If I could do it again, I probably would have put out no less than 10 jars the day I got accepted. I would have constantly kept tabs on them, collected and refilled as necessary. Even then, I may still have not had enough. It is all random luck depending on where you get the teeth. Having no connections REALLY doesn’t help either.

Now after all of that, I am scraping by. I have some teeth obviously, but not enough to practice. So essentially I have to do everything perfect my first shot. Blah. What is more annoying though is that we have been given NO instruction on how to do anything. We had some intro lecture back in May that of course everyone will forget about that quickly ran through this stuff – but that is ridiculous timing. We have to select teeth, radiograph them, pick out the ones with good canals, mount them in acrylic/stone, radiograph them AGAIN. We have to have all our molars good to go by this Friday. I have radiographed everything, but I am not mounting jack shit until I get an instructor to look at the rays and tell me the best ones to use. On the plus side though is that the instructors DO seem pretty cool and I’ve heard that they do a good job teaching once you get through all the busy work.

The thing that sucks is that I am actually pretty interested in this class, and I want to be able to do endo in practice for sure. I will hold off judgment until we get rolling, but I really am concerned that I just won’t have enough teeth to become competent. We meet for ½ the day on Fridays.

Oral Pathology – The class that occasionally makes me miss first year. I mean, sitting in lecture halls may be mind-numbing at times, but ultimately it is still just sitting listening to someone talk. You don’t have to physically DO anything which is something I greatly took for granted. Not saying I would want to do more lecture classes, but you sometimes miss the just sitting on your ass staring blankly into space portion of school. It is the same as general path I and II EXCEPT the material covered is FINALLY relevant. It took three semesters, but things have finally gotten interesting.

The big kicker is that we get Tuesday afternoons off to ‘study for boards.’ Seeing as I already took them, I can use this time to catch up in all my work, prepare endo teeth, or just sit on my ass and watch tv. Any way you cut it, having a designated afternoon off is great.

That about sums it up. Things are definitely tough. I see why most dental students hate second year. But I like to put a nice spin on things – 2 more semesters and I’m in the clinics. No more plastic teeth and unrealistic ‘ideal’ preps. No more taking impressions of my dentech (which is actually harder than on a real person). No more jamming 67 students into a tiny wet lab or cluttered pre-clinic. I’m sure there will be a new host of things that are annoying, but the general consensus around the country is that third year is the BEST year.

Back to watching the sox game. Yea that’s right, I’m not studying. The big perk of year 2 for sure. Although I’m sure there will be moments where things are not this calm.

I will just pretend like that won’t happen. Ignorance is bliss.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hitting The Wall (that was previously closing in)

My board exam is one day away and I find myself posting. Why you might ask? Because I am sick of looking at this shit, plain and simple. I fiddled my entire summer away going to school, followed by evenings of board review. In a cruel twist by Mother Nature, the weather this summer has been unbelievable. I have done very little in terms of ‘fun.’ Will it even be worth it? Seeing as my plans to specialize are currently non-existent, I would say no.

So will I pass? I think so. I feel like failing this test is pretty difficult to do if you kept up in school and studied for a bit. You can get something like 60% right and still pass. However, doing WELL on this test has become ridiculously difficult since the format change. According to the 1998 scoring converter, I am consistently averaging a 91 scaled score on the old exams. This is what one would call, bad ass. However, judging through various unofficial sources and random test taker experiences, a similar raw score by today’s standards will come out in the low 80s or so. So what’s the point? I honestly couldn’t have studied much more this summer, so this is the best I can do given these circumstances. Could others have done better? Of course. I think that if I knew 100% I wanted to specialize I would be motivated a hell of a lot more than I currently am. At most, I could see myself in a GPR which doesn’t really require stellar scores. It is hard to force more hours of studying when I see nothing to gain other than a number that will mean nothing down the road (as long as it’s at least 75).

So I’m not worried about failing, but I also feel like I could have just studied A LOT less, enjoyed my summer, and squeaked by just as easily. I’m stuck in that foggy grey area between amazing and just above average. I have a feeling I’ll end up in the above-average category when all is said and done. And at this point, I don’t care at all. I just want to be done, and then I want to forget that dental school exists for 10 entire days. Who knows though, maybe I am being overconfident in my passing ability.

These last few days have just been a waste. I can’t motivate myself to do ANYTHING. I have studied a bit..but it has all been fairly unproductive and my brain refuses to allow any more information in. My body and mind are simply stalled. I can’t progress with my post-test plans until the test is over, I can’t start cleaning my apartment because I don’t want to misplace all the papers and study books I have lying around. I also can’t study because I just don’t want to. I can clearly still bitch and moan about it though.

This is not the first time I have felt like this. I completely blew off the last 2 or 3 days prior to taking the DAT and thought I was screwing myself in the process yet here I am, 2.5 years later doing the same thing. I did fine on the DAT though, so hopefully this will happen again.

I swear I will be doing cartwheels all the way home Thursday evening. Then I can focus on the important things in life, like how big of an HD tv I should buy as a post-boards/birthday treat.

Well, I better get back to buying vintage Nintendo games on ebay because that is what I do when I have giant exams coming up.

I look forward to the day when someone can ask me about neurofibromatosis and I'll have no clue what they are talking about.

Screw this test.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Walls Are Closing IN

Two weeks away from the end of my first D-2 semester, and less than three weeks from my board exam..things are a bit hectic. Board review is beginning to get clumsy, massively unproductive, and mind-numbing. I almost feel like taking several days off to reboot. Unfortunately, I have already been fairly lazy this last week or so which means I really ought to be more focused. Once you go through the dental decks and most of the old exams, it just becomes hard to figure out HOW to study. I am zeroing in on problem areas (namely virology, bacteriology, and biochem as a whole). I am pretty satisfied with my current anatomy/histo and dental anatomy scores but am truly struggling with biochem/physio and micro/path. It is hard to master material while juggling finals and random projects. I luckily have about a week left after my last final to really iron out the crap.

But enough on that, I will do a good board post after I have finished. I have decided that this semester is almost too different from the first two to really even compare. I really have only studied for classes at two intervals (midterms and now for finals). Last semester I was studying almost daily for the barrage of exams. However, this statement leads one to believe that things were easy – they most certainly are not. I am actually IN the school a lot more than I was as a D-1. There is no free time or early dismissal and we do a TON of pre-clinic and lab work. The positive is that I actually enjoy this aspect. Granted, I usually suck at something the first few tries, but I gradually become decent enough to satisfy my own perfectionist attitude. The negative is that the school seems to have forgotten that we have a board exam to study for. So I come home drained from an entire day of cutting preps, making temps, or soldering wires to bands and am somehow expected to come home and master all of the material covered over an entire year. It is an impossible task but I am trying my best.

The only reason I get excited for weekends is because I know it gives me entire days of time to catch up on board review and not have class work to do. Perhaps the most annoying busy work we are doing this semester is getting teeth selected for endo. Let’s just say I need more…A LOT more. I am really not freaking out about it too much though because there is no reason at this point and really nothing I can do about it. The teeth I get are the teeth I get. I have already resigned to not doing well in the class either so I don’t really give a shit. It is a true pity that a lot of your grade is essentially decided by complete luck and not your work ethic.

But ranting aside, this is the first semester that I feel like a DENTAL student. Aside from pathology II, all of the coursework is relative to dentistry and mostly important to know. Last Friday was my first experience as the sole provider of anesthesia to a patient. Buccal infiltration on #1 and a mandibular block on the right side. I was nervous when the D-4 began drilling on the mandibular teeth, because I still haven’t really developed confidence in my ‘accuracy’ namely because this was my SECOND Inferior alveolar block. But I must have nailed it, because ½ a carp of lidocaine had the patient comfortable for the duration of the procedure. These types of experiences are fun and rewarding. Unfortunately, I sit through a lot of boring-time-wasted stuff as well. But you always need to find the positives in order to get yourself out of bed every morning.

These next two weeks are essentially finals and performance exams. I am not too stressed because I feel comfortable with most of the classes and am just relieved to get a break from the endless assault of lab assignments. Tests feel like a vacation at this point. I am getting antsy and freaked about the board exam looming ever nearer, yet quite glad I decided to take it early and be done with the whole mess.

I just wanted to squeeze this post in before taking another hiatus while I prepare for the biggest test of my existence.

Good luck to the incoming D-1’s. I could have volunteered to give you all a campus tour, but opted to drink copious amounts of alcohol instead. Please don’t take it personally.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

NBDE I = Good Times: Vol 1

I promised to address the first national board exam in a sort of log-esque fashion so that is what I am attempting to do. In all honesty, it seems passing this test is not that hard if you simply get the ‘Dental Decks’ and review them twice over. As I have mentioned time and time again, I have no idea if I will end up specializing or not. There is no dynasty waiting for me after I graduate, so the path I choose will be my own making. I currently plan on that path leading to general dentistry – but the only specialty I have been exposed to in school is periodontics. So the bottom line is that I don’t currently plan to specialize, BUT – I do not wish to burn the bridge while I am here. So in other words, I would like to do well in school and on this hopelessly pointless standardized test.

For those unaware, the National Board Dental Exam I (NBDE) is the first major hurdle for dental students to pass that is not run by their own school. The test encompasses all of the basic sciences that students should have taken before entering the clinics. Anatomical Sciences (anatomy/histology), Microbiology/Path, Biochem/Physio, and Dental Anatomy/Occlusion are the four major areas. The test used to be divided strictly into these four sections with 100 question batteries. In the last year (maybe 2) they changed the format. There are still 400 questions total, but now they are mixed up and there is no definitive ‘anatomy section’ which I feel makes the test more difficult. Not going to complain though, the questions are still the same in will just be tougher to jump from topic to topic. One MUST pass this test to continue with their dental education. One MUST do VERY well on this test to specialize. Like the DAT, it is the only way to ‘level’ the playing field of post-doc applicants. But this is going to change in the 2010. The NBDE is being changed to pass/fail which will render it worthless for post-doc applications. Specialties will probably end up creating their own standardized test for potential anyone interested in specializing will have to prepare for ANOTHER giant exam during their third year. Nothing is written in stone yet, but I am quite glad to be in the old format still.

Here at UIC, we are eligible to take the exam from August of our D-2 year, until the following January. I believe you aren’t technically supposed to get your own patients until it is passed. We are given no extra time off outside of our break between semesters so the only logical time I can find to take this test is between summer and fall, or fall and spring (we get 2 weeks). I think I will enjoy my fall semester loads more with this monster out of the way so I am aiming for a mid-August test date (August 14th to be exact). I envy the schools that get the first summer off. Granted, we have gotten a whopping 5 Friday afternoons off for ‘board review’ this semester, but that really isn’t enough. Not even close.

I started looking at the dental decks in mid-may, and I hope to be completely through them in the next week. These cards seem to be the best study tool I have purchased thus far with the exception of practice exams.

Review material:
Dental Decks
Mosby’s Review
First Aid
Kaplan: Dent Essentials
Released exams
Class notes and books

While I began some light reading at the end of my D-1 year, I really didn’t hit the books regularly and with scheduled time frames until mid-may.

The routine so far has been to bounce between various topics in the dental decks. I tried using the text books at first, but realized that this is a bit inefficient given how much info we have to get through. I now use all the review books as simple references or to clarify topics I am extremely weak in (ahem..bacteriology and virology).

For those unaware, the dental decks are a series of flash cards (about 1300) that cover all the major sections of the NBDE. The front side of each card has a multiple choice question. The back side has the answer along with an often lengthy explanation that covers everything the card was attempting to convey. So getting through these cards takes some time if you read the backs which I am doing. I will go through the decks again as well (but will only read the backs if I get the question wrong).

Once I roll through them the first time, I plan on doing a ton of practice exams to just get a better idea of timing and adapting my brain (and ass) to sitting for long sums of time doing question after question. The real challenge is working all of this into my schedule while maintaining some vestiges of sanity. It is, after all, the middle of the summer, and I can think of MANY things I would much rather be doing.

So that is all for now..speaking of decks…

Acromegaly is a chronic metabolic disorder of adults caused by an excessive amount of:
-Thyroid hormone
-Growth hormone
-Parathyroid hormone

(Easy enough right? None of the questions are ‘hard’ is simply the volume of information tested on that makes things tricky.)

Off I go.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Stab Lab

You know something is going to be fun when it is affectionately referred to as stab lab. As a D-1, you hear about this experience quite early on, you know it is coming, and eventually it is upon you. Delivering anesthetic for the first time was an absolute positive experience. Don't let upper classmen horror stories convince you otherwise. No you don’t want to hurt your classmates, and yea, getting prodded and needled left and right doesn’t feel ‘good.’ But this is the first ‘doctorly’ thing you ever really do. You grab a giant syringe, load up your lidocaine, pry open your partners mouth, and slide that sucker on in, hoping to hit your mark.

We met up in groups of four in one of the school’s clinics. A brief demo is provided by the instructor, and then you pretty much just go stab happy. As easy as loading a syringe, capping and following all the safety precautions is, everyone is kinda clumsy and bumbling about.. it is the first time after all. I got to go first; I set everything up, administered the topical and took a stab at it…quite literally. We were going for inferior alveolar nerve blocks first. For those of you not in the know, a mandibular block injection or IAN (inferior alveolar nerve) block is a very common procedure performed in dental clinics across the world. Essentially, we deposit anesthetic around the IA nerve which will effectively cut off all sensation (aside from pressure) to half of the mandible. The anesthetic infiltrates the nerve fibers and blocks sodium channels from opening which consequently keeps the nerves from sparking action potentials (sending/receiving info).

The inferior alveolar nerve is a ways back, so we used a 27 gauge long needle. You palpate the coronoid notch of the mandible and pull the buccal mucosa taut so you can clearly see the pterygomandibular raphe. You inject just lateral to the raphe because the m. pteryoid muscle is just behind it. The major interior land mark is the lingula, a small hill of bone that crops up just anterior to the opening of the mandibular canal (which is where the IA nerve travels). The goal is to contact the lingula, re-angle slightly to cross over it, aspirate, and inject. Aspirating is a safety precaution to make sure the needle is not inserted in a blood vessel. The lingual nerve is also in close proximity so half of the tongue is commonly numbed up as well. It really isn’t that complicated, but even simple things feel difficult with zero experience. Sorry for all the technical babble, but this is helping me prepare for tests and the boards.

I needed to reinsert the needle a few times on my partner because I was failing to contact the lingula (or any bone for that matter). I was not aimed laterally enough, although I eventually found my target and provided a successful block. We next performed a much easier maxillary infiltration over the first pre-molar. An infiltration could be performed by a monkey. You just pull back the lip, and slightly stick the needle in just enough to get near the root apex. Easy.

Afterwards, we switched and I got jabbed by my partner. Note: never go out drinking the night prior to stab lab. Even if you aren’t hung over, your body will not enjoy being invaded and hopped up on lidocaine early the next morning. I felt a bit crappy for most of the day, but I attribute that to the drinking, because my partner did a good job. Shaving with a numbed face is pretty cool though. Aside from this, the entire experience went quite well.

In other news, I am studying for boards a lot still…trying to keep up with my classes…and practicing for a performance exam on Tuesday. Class IV composite restoration and Class III prep on #9. Pedo midterm on Thursday... fourth of july on the way.

I will be taking the boards before I know it


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wasted Time

The most important tip I could give to anybody concerned with getting through dental school would be ‘time management.’ Nothing is hard to understand, there is just so much information coming from every direction. If you know how to manage time, you will be successful in your school; this includes developing hand-skills.

It is a pity that dental school education in itself is a horrible failure at time management. I have wasted so many hours with poor curriculum coordination and fluff classes that I could have applied to practical things, like NOT being at school for once. This summer has been much worse in the organization department compared with the bulk of our D-1 year.

First off, the schedule we were given is unreliable. I have showed up at 8am only to be told that this is ‘study time’ or ‘there is no class.’ We also are spending too much time just putzing around the clinics. I was excited at first, but after my 4th trip of ‘assisting,’ I would much rather be studying for boards. Basically I always get assigned to a corner in the clinic that has no room to squeeze a chair in on the other side of the operatory. So I end up standing. By the way, I’m taller than average, so I can see jack shit while observing. At least I get to provide suction while not being able to see, and having to bend over awkwardly whilst every muscle in my back screams in agony. Let’s not forget how fun it is to fetch instruments and equipment for the upperclassmen. Seriously though, I can’t blame them – I’d be doing the same thing. The faculty never told them we were coming, and what the hell are they supposed to do? I know I wouldn’t want some newbie slowing down the appointment (which already proceeds at tortoise speeds). But to put a positive spin on it, every student I have worked with has been really nice, and the faculty in my group practice are fantastic (at least so far). This greatly eases many of the concerns I had about entering the clinics full time.

I am completely digressing though. Yes, sitting in a hot clinic wearing full PPE for several hours essentially watching nothing and suctioning teeth you can’t see isn’t very enlightening. HOWEVER, I at least am seeing what the clinics are like..and getting a basic idea of how smooth (or un-smooth) things go. This is the positive I take.

I draw the line however at this week. Thursday afternoon, a few classmates and I had planned to attend a luncheon with all the incoming D-1 research students. I am not really doing research anymore, but realize how beneficial it would have been to have any D-2 actually talk to me when I was getting ready to start (for tell me NOT to waste my money buying 90% of the text books). But wait, this commitment had to be cancelled because I was told that all D-2s were required to attend a perio lecture DURING OUR LUNCH HOUR. This wasn’t an ‘actual’ lecture. Essentially, we were given several handouts and told that we need to find our own patient for a prophy exam we will be doing this fall. The handouts explained everything, and a monkey could have figured out what we needed to do if you had just sent him an email. Making us all file into a lecture hall to explain something so mundane is a terrible waste of everyone’s time. Sure people may have questions, but it isn’t that difficult to seek out the department head. Lunch was provided although I didn’t get any because certain individuals take it upon themselves to grab about 5 portions worth of food before everyone has gotten through the line. I was taught growing up that this is a rude behavior, but maybe that’s just me.

So Friday morning we had to go to ‘cultural competency.’ I showed up at 9, was told that I had to take an online course in July that will eat up several hours of my limited free time….and that was it. We were done in 15 minutes. Did I really need to be present for this? Attendance was mandatory…so yes. Again, email would have been a bit more time efficient. It’s bad enough that I am required to take this course during a semester that is already busier than it should be, but do I really need to be at the school to be told these things?

I realize I am bitching excessively, but I am just tired of wasting so much time with unnecessary frills in the curriculum. There is a board exam coming up that we get no time off to study for…pre-clinic work leaves me tired enough as it is – c’mon school, sharpen up please.

Aside from these rants, things are going really well though. I actually am enjoying this semester more than the first two (simply because I like NOT sitting in lectures all day). I am doing ‘ok’ with my board review up to this point…but I have less than 2 months left and a LONG way to go. Take out the studying for boards, and this semester would actually be, dare I say it, fun.

I think the overall mood of this post is reflective of the depression I feel being in school all summer. This last week was the nicest weather we have had all year, and I spent it sweating away in the pre-clinic, followed by studying dental decks at home. I see all these other young people walking around, enjoying the breeze, having fun, living normal lives and I wonder…what was I thinking?

But as mentioned several times before, there is an ending. That is the glimmer of hope that keeps me running through the toughest times in school, it is only four years. Actually, only three more for me now. The time also goes by at such high speeds, you don’t even really realize HOW much you have learned until you start rattling off random dental lingo without a second thought.

I should also reemphasize that I don’t regret coming to UIC at all, dental school itself is just a real pain in the ass – and I’m sure that it is no different anywhere else in the country.

Back to studying on a Saturday in June

Monday, June 9, 2008

Any Way You Want It

So I’ve been meaning to post on this since the summer started but haven’t had time and wanted to remain as tactful as possible. The subject of this post is simply put – on international students. Our class was overrun with them beginning day one of the D-2 year. I know UIC has a large IDDP program, but a little notice or reminder that about 30 new faces would be sitting in lecture with us would have been nice.

Much like in any elementary school..err dental school, the new kids are usually not welcomed with open arms. It is actually pretty funny. The lecture hall has three main sections with two stair/isles separating the sections. ALL of the IDDPs are in the middle (first 5 or so rows). ALL of the D-2’s are sitting in the hall perimeter..making a U like shape around the room. It is like that junior high dance scene where all the boys are on one side, and girls on the other.

Now it has gotten a little better since day one, but there are some obvious problems.

Number one being that these foreign trained DENTISTS are ridiculously overqualified to be stuck in a D-2 curriculum that has them cutting preps on plastic teeth. Yes this is unfair to them, but it is also quite unfair to us, because they simply KNOW so much more than us and have actual experience. This isn’t that big a deal right? Well when we get put into small groups, for Evidence based dentistry – things couldn’t be any more blatant. These students know what to look for on radiographs, know how to diagnose a lot more than we do, and pretty much are better at dentistry in general. So do you think there will be equal contributions to these discussions? My group has been pretty good actually, but I have heard pretty annoying stories from others about certain individuals taking over the discussion. The question: is this fair when the EBD grade is based entirely on participation and group input? The answer: hell no.

I’m not sure if our tests are graded in the same pool however..but if that is the case – than the curve is going to shoot up quite a bit.

Still, what I find most unbearable is when we are doing some intro to perio (again) lecture where the professor asks a bunch of questions. Call me insensitive, but there is nothing harder to comprehend than 10-12 IDDPs attempting to answer a question at the same time. Don’t get all PC on me either, you know as well as I that 12 people speaking perfectly fluent English would be pretty hard to understand if they were all just blurting out…well add some accents and you get an almost daily experience of ‘what?’

What makes this worse is that the professor is often standing right by the IDDPs (who sit near the front) can make out the answer, and doesn’t REPEAT it…he will just be like.. “correct.” And EVERYONE sitting around me is simply looking at one another and mouthing…what the fuck?

The point is that this is unfair to both the D-2s and the IDDPs. They simply shouldn’t be in ½ of these classes…but I guess the school needs to make money somehow…as if raising my tuition wasn’t enough. I do like the few of them that I have actually interacted with though, so at least most of them are pretty nice.

Oh, and if you understand the clever title of this post, you are invited to Summer Fest II this august after I take the boards. Last year’s is going to look like a Sunday social compared to this…(hopefully).


Sunday, June 1, 2008

The D-2 Experience I

As the semester gets underway, I thought it fitting to collect my own initial impressions on the current curriculum and whether or not I think we are getting enough time to study for boards.

I most certainly do not. We have graciously been given a whole 6 Friday afternoons off for ‘board review time.’ This will be ample off time to prepare for a test that covers everything we have learned (and several things we haven’t) up to this point. More on that later.
Granted, the course load is less in terms of credit hours - fifteen as opposed to the twenty-four of last semester. However, it seems like I will actually be spending more time IN the school than I did last semester with all the lab work we are beginning to do.

The only saving grace is that pathology II is really the only course requiring studying on a consistent and regular basis which does leave me lots of evening hours for boards, the catch being that I feel less driven to study after spending an entire day doing lab work.
Here’s the skinny:

Pain Control I:
-Meets once a week and goes over everything you would want to know about pain and anesthetic. We will eventually be stabbing each other in late June I believe. I like the lectures so far as they are straight-forward and mix a lot anatomy and physiology that I already know.

Intro Pediatric Dentistry:
-Still attempting to figure out if this class will be a pain or not. We don’t actually treat live patients (thank god) but there is still a lot to learn and we have a full lab component to pile on the work. Seeing as it is worth 4 credits, I’m assuming we will be doing a good deal of work. The course title really is self-explanatory.

Pathology II:
-I was quite sick of this class last semester. Now they have doubled the agony. We meet TWICE a week for 2.5 hours. I cannot learn this way. Period. Fifty minute lectures became the gold-standard for a reason, it is the ideal time to learn and actually stay attentive. 150 minute lectures is obscene and literally painful to sit through… and we have to do it TWICE a week. The only real blessing of this class is that the tests are very manageable if you put forth reasonable effort. Studying for the mid-term and final can pretty much be accomplished by simply reviewing all the old quizzes that you took prior to said test. This class also feels like the D-1 year, still clinging to life and trying to drag me back into utter boredom and futility.

Complete Dentures:
-We start this after July 4, so I can’t give any real commentary yet. I have heard that it is a royal pain in the ass though.

Comprehensive Care IIa:
-What semester would be complete without good old comp care? Again, restorative dentistry rules the day, owning up to 50% of our grade. Periodontics squeaks in with 30%, and (get ready for it) Evidence Based Dentistry has broken the bonds of P/F and taken up 20% of our final grade. Gross. I’m hoping it is an easy hundo, much like perio has been so far. Restorative looks to be quite a beast this time around, but we definitely will have a lot more in-class practice time. Our final performance exam will be identical to last semester, except on the maxillary arch (crap). Tuesday afternoons and all day Wednesday is devoted completely to restorative.

There are several new components to this course that I will attempt to elaborate since the other business is old news. These components are all P/F but will probably be quite a bit more relevant than EBD.

An introduction to endo has been jammed into comp care this semester. The actual course begins in the fall. We have had 2 lectures so far and start some clinical exercises next. We were once again reminded that we need about 25 teeth of varying type and in good condition just to pass the course. This blows hard. I have zero connections in the dental world, so I have no assistance in finding these damn teeth. This means I have to call random offices and awkwardly ask if they can spare me some. This is frustrating as many of my classmates have siblings/parents/other family doing all of this work for them. Yea I don’t hold it against them of course; I would be doing the same thing. Unfortunately 90% of the teeth I collect are worthless broken down third molars…thank god I picked up a bunch in Decatur while I was still in undergrad..those are by far the best I have (several anteriors in decent shape). I have one more jar filling back in the burbs, but I am sick of trying to find them. I haven’t sorted yet, so I’m not sure how many good teeth I even have…better get on that because the fall will be here soon.

We will have a radiology clinic session at some point which I believe will introduce us to actually TAKING radiographs. This will be useful for me as I have no experience.

Now there is a clinical component to both comp care as a whole and the perio subsection. In perio, we get partnered up (7ish times in all I believe) with a D-3 or D-4 for the morning or afternoon. We are instructed to watch/help if they ask and simply ‘reflect’ on the experience and answer some random questions in written format for each session. I have had one of these already and it went fine..aside from the fact that the patient was late and spent ½ the morning in radiology.

Now the other clinical aspect is P/F and involves several afternoon/mornings where we actually just get to hang out in our respective group practice clinic and assist whenever we want. We are expected to make impressions, dish out anesthetic, take BP, and other assorted basics. Nothing is kept track of however and there is no arbitrary number to ‘pass.’ We are simply supposed to get our feet wet in the clinics as it were. I like this no pressure/grade approach, because many dental schools won’t get you in the clinics until the very end of your D-2 year or even wait until the D-3 year altogether.

Interacting with live patients is a very different experience and getting into the clinics can be VERY intimidating. Getting rid of that intimidation WELL before entering full time with real patients is a great idea and I applaud our school for making such changes (we are the first class to enter the clinics this early).

That’s about all I can say for now. I do however believe this year is going to be tougher than the D-1 year simply because you are taken completely out of your comfort zone (lecture halls) and thrown into massive loads of pre-patient and real clinical care. I have already skipped lunch twice in the two short weeks we have completed just to finish the day’s assignment. Lab work is also often completed and graded same day, which adds a whole new pressure as well as frustration (because there sure as hell isn’t enough equipment for all of us).

I have other experiences and topics to discuss, but am finding less and less time to work on this. My original intentions were to be much more organized, but I just can’t keep up.

Obligatory apologies for slowness in email response.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Real People

So today was my first day of actual clinic activity. Last Monday, we had a brief intro to the computer system as well as a tour of the clinic. The true unfortunate aspect of this entire experience is that nobody seemed to know what was going on. I was assigned to a D-3 that had no idea I was going to be hanging around her all morning. So really, depending on your partner, the patient, the chair (some are harder to fit an assistant than others).. made the experience great or meh.

Mine was ok. I experienced the less enjoyable aspects of clinic life as our patient showed up late and needed new radiographs. So by the time she was back in the chair (11:30), there wasn’t enough time to do much else aside from take impressions and the extra/intra oral exams. I didn’t get to do anything this time around. We were in the clinics as part of our periodontics class this semester. We have to observe, help out, and send a reflection to our instructors. We also have another component of the Comp Care class that will have us doing a LOT more in the clinics (at least hypothetically).

Despite not getting to do much, I did enjoy interactions with REAL people. Schmoozing is not my greatest attribute, but I definitely was more personable with the patients than I expected to be. They get left alone so often because the student needs to CONSTANTLY get checked off by the they spend half the day standing around an instructor waiting to grab them once they are available.

Most of my use was keeping the patient company while the student was off searching for an instructor. Just basic chit chat. The patient next to me actually was getting treatment done that I would have been able to really appreciate – an amalgam. It was awkward watching the patient squirm and vocally protest to the anesthetic being applied..but that is something I will just have to get used to. They also couldn’t apply the rubber dam because she would gag. I never even thought about how unpleasant that thing could be if you are working on the posteriors.

Too tired really to say much else. This first week has been a bit of a blur…and a lot tougher than I was hoping. I pray that is just a side effect of it being ‘the first week.’

I’m going to go cuddle up with my dental decks now, before enjoying some nice 3 day weekend. I’ll update what my schedule is like once I actually figure it out myself.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Back In I Go

So tomorrow D-2 year begins with a wonderful summer semester. The schedule looks much lighter than last semester (mainly because we are doing far less lecture-based material and more lab/clinic). I would gladly stay at the school for a few hours longer each day doing lab work with the freedom to come home and relax rather than get out early and have to study all day. Unfortunately that won’t be the case this semester with all my board review materials to go through.

Who knows how it will actually end up. I will do the schedule breakdown later, but we have far less credit hours and the summer is thankfully a shorter semester (12 weeks as opposed to 16ish). However, we really don’t get any time off to prepare for the boards. I will be taking them between this summer semester and fall. We get 2 weeks off in August and hopefully I will manage to prepare enough to do well.

The board exam is apparently changing to pass/fail in 2010 which will render it a useless tool in acceptance to post-doc residencies. I still want to do well on it for my own perverted sense of accomplishment. However, much like my grades in general, I won’t be upset as long as I get through it and do my best. This attitude has worked out throughout my educational career so I may as well not attempt to change now.

I noticed that mid-May is already upon us and all the new applicants are climbing out of the woodwork and being insane. I almost can’t look at the forums anymore because pre-dents are so damn obnoxious. I can’t help but laugh though, because we all have gone through it and have had those same phases. I also remember how much waiting is involved from the day you fill our your AADSAS application to the first day of class..15 months or so, a long time to just sit around with your life essentially on hold.

I am excited for the D-1s to show up in August so that I can see how happy and eager I looked a year ago. It will also serve to reaffirm the obvious fact that I am a year into this educational path and just that much closer to being done. I spent a lot of time with friends of the non-dental persuasion over this break. They are living life in the ‘real’ world, working, making money, getting married and doing all the things young college grads do. I feel stuck in educational limbo. I still couldn’t see myself anywhere else though.

You grow up a lot in a year, especially in a program like this. The scary part is that you still don’t know anything and treating real people is going to be quite a new experience for all of us. As much as lecture halls bored me, at least it was well within my own comfort zone. Getting to interact with patients while attempting to learn new skills will be quite interesting indeed. Granted, we won’t be getting our own patients probably until next spring, but we still will be treating.

So I’m going to pack up my bag and hit the sack. Tomorrow is going to be an orientation day for all the new courses as well as a tour of my group practice. Should be interesting..hopefully learning how to use axium (computer record system) won’t be as boring as I think it is going to be.

Summer is finally here. I’ve lived in Chicago for a year. It feels like I just picked up my degree from undergrad a week ago.

Time flies when you are busy as hell.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The D-1 Experience V

With the D-1 year officially completed, I figured I would provide one last post as a sort of summary of what the first year is like. Mental stamina is probably the most important skill one must possess to be successful. You need to grind out studying night after night once the semesters get rolling. There really are few ‘breaks’ during semesters. It is emotionally draining to spend 9 hours away from home, only to return to books and power point lectures. Nothing we learned this year was what I would call ‘hard.’ It essentially is a chalk-full bag of basic science. BASIC being the key word. We are simply expected to cram a bunch of minutia, pass the classes, and then remember enough to pass the boards. Once we get beyond the boards, we will proceed to forget 95% of the things we studied so hard for – a testament to the gross inefficiency of professional education (it ain’t just dental schools).

HOWEVER, the relevant information we did learn WILL stand on its own. The actual dentistry related courses were sparse this year, but useful and relevant to the career we all have chosen. However, I often felt isolated from dentistry in general as I was stuck in a lecture hall memorizing how fatty acids are synthesized or what a cross section of the spleen looks like. Don’t get my negativity wrong either, some basic science is essential for you to be a functioning individual in the world of human health. However, it felt like a smorgasbord of random facts as opposed to concise and relevant information. Most of the courses overlapped as well and course directors definitely do not communicate with one another. I don’t know how many times I was forced to sit through a lecture about respiration in different classes…the same information rehashed by a different professor.

We are going to apparently get some clinical experience the first semester of our D-2 year, which is frightening and exciting at the same time. I am not prepared at all to deal with live patients, but I would gather most of my peers feel the same. You can talk about treating patients until you are blue in the face, but it isn’t until you get in there and work with them that you will actually develop and learn. I will delve into this as the D-2 year gets going.
Many upperclassmen say the first year sucks the worst, while others argue that second is harder. However, it seems to be the general consensus that third and fourth years are MUCH better.
So for all the type A’s out there…I know most of you reading this fall into that category:
D-1 Summary:

First Semester –

Straight-forward and fairly easy; the only challenge is gross anatomy and this class probably is most important as well once you get into head and neck. Micro, physio, and histo are all manageable for anyone willing to put in a bit of time. If you have taken these courses in undergrad, things will be a bit smoother (but don’t expect free A’s).

Human dentition is a very important course and you will probably learn a LOT more than you expect (even without noticing right away). Wax-ups WILL eat up a big chunk of your time. If your school provides you with a torch, take them home to do work occasionally, it helps.

Any other dentistry related classes will be introductory at best. We were only cutting class I preps on the mandibular 1st molars by the end of the semester. The only real challenge is reminding yourself that it is OK to not be perfect right away.

Even more important than class itself is not alienating yourself from your peers. You will be spending a LOT of time with these people over the coming years. You aren’t all going to be best friends, but it isn’t that difficult to be courteous and friendly to everyone. School = stress, which often turns people into cranky, paranoid, and delusional douchebags – so don’t become one of those. You will be surprised how many close friends you make and even more surprised at how fast you make them.

Adjustment is also a key point. This semester is much lighter than the second, so getting into a ‘groove’ or study pattern NOW will save you a lot of trouble in the future. Finals are a royal pain the ass – but get through them you will.

Second Semester –

Much tougher in comparison to the first semester. More classes, more pre-clinical activities, plenty of useless requirements with mandatory attendance. I was disappointed in that much of our pre-clinical restorative classes seemed wasted on procedures we were not equipped to do (composites without any tools meant for them for example). We also did sealants and liners and other things we won’t be doing again for a year or so. I would have rather spent this time cutting and filling preps. I would rather learn a few skills really well than many skills poorly.

Which brings me to something different this semester, you will be coming into the school a lot more to work on pre-clinical activities like restorative. I came in quite often on weekends to practice and I’m not amazing yet, but I am happy with my work at this point. Learning the hand skills part of dentistry is the same as studying for an exam, you have to go over the motions again and again. What makes this hard is finding time. It is easy to lose sight of why you are in dental school when you are swimming through piles of biochem handouts. MAKE time for your pre-clinical work.

Biochem was the biggest bitch of a class I have ever taken. It was not the hardest at all – but it was so so very difficult to focus on. It requires a LARGE sum of time to do well and the material is absolutely dull and irrelevant (for the most part). We had 5 lectures a week and 7 exams (including a cumulative final). I just remember the mental agony of trying to study for these exams and wanting to jump off my roof each and every time.

Physio and histo were about the same as last semester. Gross anatomy was short for us and finished in February (it still was tough..but not nearly as bad as last semester). Neuroanatomy was another class I struggled to study for.. outside of the relevant cranial nerve and pain management info..most of the class felt too detailed for me to care about. This class could probably have been merged into gross anatomy because I have heard it isn’t hammered very hard on the boards in the first place and there is no way the questions will be as detailed (I of course can retract this uninformed guess after I take the boards).

Occlusion was interesting, but a bit confusing at times. The lab work also required too much free time while struggling with all the other courses at the same time. The first half of the semester was much more organized lecture-wise. I was lost after the midterm. The wax-ups were quite possibly the most frustrating experience of the entire D-1 year. Getting those perfect tri-pod contacts while maintaining an esthetically pleasing wax-up is an exercise in futility unless you have done it MANY MANY times.

Pathology started out being the best course of the semester but quickly faded into a cram-fest with lectures that were just too damn long. I would rather meet 3 times a week for 50 minutes than once a week for 2 hours. Next semester we meet twice a week for 2 hours each…ugh. At the least the tests themselves were quite manageable and geared up like board questions.

Radiology was great for the most part. I actually enjoyed the material and wish we could have made this course worth more than 10% of comprehensive care Ib. Given how important this topic is, I am surprised we don’t get more training. I haven’t looked at the schedule beyond this summer maybe we will get more.

This semester is just a marathon of studying. However, you can do just fine if you are good at managing your time and are an efficient studier. It is also VERY nice to get a spring break tossed into the semester to recharge the batteries.

Finals…oh where do I begin? This was the greatest academic challenge I have faced in my entire life. We had 12 total exams in 2 weeks (3 of them being performance exams). It is VERY difficult to juggle multiple topics at once but I had no other choice.

Honestly, I am not going to try to put this into words. It is an experience that I would rather not remember when looking back on these posts years from now. Unless you actually go through it, you won’t be able to relate anyways. You don’t WANT to relate to this either, so we will leave it at that.

They sucked. But I got through it, and many have done it before me, and many will do it after me. Well done to all that have. Have a beer or 10 because you’ve earned it.

2nd semester test count!
Practicals – 2
Quizzes – 32
Bullshit Papers – 3
Performance Exams – 4
Written Exams - 26


The first year is mentally exhausting. You are constantly struggling to cram for the next random test and equally struggling to motivate yourself. Finding motivation to study for something as irrelevant as biochem is more challenging than you might expect – especially after sixty-some lectures.

The first year is also frustrating because you are ‘new’ to the school and a freshman all-over…for the THIRD TIME…bleh. You are pretty much viewed as an ignorant idiot by everyone at the school..which is somewhat fair..because well.. you are.

Another unique aspect is that you are getting used to the community of dental school. You are stuck with the same people day in, day out, for everything…EVERYTHING. They say it is a lot like high school, and I disagree. In high school, you had different classes with different people. In dental school, you have the same classes with the same people 8 hours a day, and no summer vacation.

It is like lord of the flies with hand pieces.

All right, this sentimental rambling has gone on long enough. Seeing as I haven’t had any second year experience, I will save difficulty comparisons and stress levels for the future.

As shitty as things get, you will have your good moments as well – and the time goes by REAL fast. I still feel like I started this blog a few months ago and it’s already been about 1.5 years. My, my, I will be graduating before I know it.

Apologies for late email replies, I am just finally getting back into a normal circadian rhythm.

D-1 year = Fin

And so begins my life as a D-2…crap.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Final Procrastination

Eleven finals down, one to go. This has been the most intense 2 weeks of school I have ever really gone through. It is difficult to compare to anything else because you get so numb to studying all day that you don’t even remember ‘normal.’

The plus side is that I have done pretty well, the verdict is still out in a few courses, but I should be doing about the same as last semester if not better which is plenty good enough for me and definitely not closing the door for specializing in the future (although I am most likely going to go general).

All that is left is histology, and I followed my own advice from a previous post about nailing the first few exams so I have a lot of leeway. Of course, bombing a histo test is pretty easy if you don’t study so I definitely can’t slack off THAT much. However, it is nice to know there is only one left and I survived everything while maintaining my sanity (most of the time).

Back to that post, it really does make a world of difference if you know you have some wiggle room on finals. It lets you allocate time where it is needed and minimizes pointless studying.

Finals week and studying is very much like trying to push back the ocean with a broom. There just is not enough time in the day. You need to study one topic for an hour, jump to another, and another, and so forth. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to do well in classes BEFORE finals.

I survived so far…and don’t foresee a massive choke on histo, but stranger things have happened. I have been working on a final post about the D-1 year, so you can all look forward to that sometime next week.

I apologize for being lazy with emails, I hope to get better next semester.

Good luck to anyone taking finals and to all the new applicants.

Back to the table of knowledge I go

Monday, April 28, 2008

Finals Keep The Man Down

Just a quick reminder of why I am busy and have no life outside of school. However, there is a tiny glimmer of light at the end of this first year tunnel... but a lot still needs to be accomplished. The D-1 you have all come to know and love will soon graduate to the next stage of hoop jumping and gopher running...D-2 year. But more on that later.

Final 2 weeks = 12 tests total

This week:
Restorative written final (done today)
Restorative Performance Exam (tuesday) - class II prep on 30, class II amalgam on 31.
Neuroanatomy Practical (Wednesday)
Radiology Final (Friday)

Next week:
Physiology final (monday)
Occlusion final (tuesday)
Occlusion performance exam wax-up (tuesday)
Neuroanatomy written final (tuesday...this day clearly sucks)
Biochemistry final (wednesday)
Pathology final (thursday)
Perio written final (thursday)
Histology final (Friday)

I am feeling drained, yet surprisingly motivated to actually study and not blow all my grades at the very end. Let's see what happens.

Back to work I go.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

21 Days Left Revisited

I said it was going to happen, and now seems a better time than any (I’m on spring break…finally). Last year I made a post towards the end of my undergraduate career listing 21 things that I would not miss after leaving undergrad forever. Now I feel the urge to re-create that sentiment except in the opposite..things I DO miss.. I’m sure these aren’t unique to me…well some of them may be. In no particular order….

21. Dominoes cinna-stick
20. Being able to leave my apartment over the summer and come back with it magically cleaned
19. Green grass and lots of trees
18. Teachers that know my name
17. Not feeling guilty about watching tv at night rather than study biochem
16. Porch sitting with scotch and cigars
15. Stoner friends (nicest, most un-judgmental people on the planet)
14. Having to go to school for 2 hours on some days or having ENTIRE days off in the middle of the week
13. No 8 AM class every day
12. Classes that grade on more than a handful of multiple choice questions
11. Comparatively no responsibility
10. Dominating all the freshmen when I was forced to take BIO I my senior year because I skipped it
09. Being able to go out with friends without planning it weeks in advance
08. Coming home and drinking a beer instead of cracking open a text book
07. Hot Shots Golf with the Cuz
06. Having time to commit to an exercise regiment
05. Having time to get groceries
04. Extra-credit
03. Feeling like the big fish in the bowl
02. Seeing different people every day
01. Having time to clean

Ahh to be one year younger. I do recall complaining a lot about being bored and ready to get out, and I’m glad it is over still…but damn – you really take things for granted until they are no longer available.

This will most likely be my last post until after the semester. Not enough to really add and the schedule is going to get brutal quite fast. I will recap finals and the D-1 year as a whole in mid-may. I will continue to answer as many emails as possible but again…they are not high on my list of shit to get done.

And so on and so on and so on.