Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Organized Chaos

As I delve deeper into the clinical aspect of dental school, I have a hit a bit of a mental rut. I just have had very little desire to get up in the morning and drag myself to school. Partly due to the depressingly harsh winter and partly due to the overall strain the D-2 year of dental school assumes. Speaking with my colleagues across the country, the general consensus is that the second year just really takes a toll on your mentality. With the changing curriculum, I feel as though the transitory students get caught in the unfortunate disorganization that presents with such drastic changes. As I have mentioned many times, I am still sliding under the closing doors of the traditional curriculum, but even my class has felt some of the stirs of change. The idea of these changes are welcome in my eyes, however, the execution of such change is much easier to talk about behind text and statistics than it is to actually pull off.

We have been getting more and more clinic time each semester as D-2s. Up until now, we have been expected to do what we can in the clinics with no real grading involvement. However, this semester has added the stress of grading to our clinical progress. I wouldn’t mind this so much if it simply wasn’t so stressful to actually get things accomplished in the clinic. It is impossible to standardize such experiences. Some of my classmates have done crown preps, repaired dentures, and extracted teeth. I have yet to get another patient to call me back this semester. It is frustrating as hell. Being completely green and in the clinics is also NOT conducive to asking questions. I feel like everyone is too busy to pester. I have also figured out that asking upperclassmen is the most efficient way to learn.

The fact that we have limited clinic time is also frustrating because we are required to do projects which involve multiple appointments. That is difficult to swing when I have maybe 6 blocks of time a month to schedule patients. Those project due dates are going to come up pretty damn fast.

What is more annoying is that certain classes feel SOOO out of place. Pharmacology feels like biochemistry all over again. I thought we were going to get info on actual drugs that are commonly seen in our patients. But no, we need that time to learn more about pharmacokinetics and doing trivial math problems that no practioner would EVER do. I also hate the transition from 50 minute lectures to 2 hour blocks that occurred last summer. I cannot learn when I have to sit for 2 hours straight – I am not alone.

Another enormous problem I have is with technology taking over in the classrooms. I am all for tech, but it seems like an excuse for teachers to get lazy. I don’t like taking quizzes with a remote control and relying strictly on a computer to store the proof that I was actually in class and that my answers were correct. Call me old fashioned, but what is wrong with pen and paper?

We have so many random odds and ends that need to get accomplished it is just frustrating and stressful as all hell. I just feel utterly and hopelessly discombobulated. Still, despite all of this, I hold on to the best advice given to me by a weary, tired D-4; “Everything works itself out, you just have to be patient and take things one day at a time.” This has to be true; the graduation rate at this school is high enough to make me realize that everything will sort itself out. I will eventually figure out how to get rid of crappy patients and get better options. My instructors will eventually accept me as the new clinic student, and begin ignoring the new D-2s – it has to all work eventually.

It is an organized chaos. Trying to comprehend this only results in futile frustration. Hundreds have come before me, and hundreds will come after. Now if you will excuse me, I need to attempt to call the same patients again that will not want to talk to me or come in.

Bleh. The dog days of D-2 year I suppose. It still is kind of crazy that I will be a D-3 VERY soon.

I am as prepared as I’m going to get at this point. Frightening, no?