Sunday, November 29, 2015

Application progress update

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Every day this long weekend I woke up and thought, I don’t have school again? A treat every morning. I also got to catsit this beauty for a classmate.

Interviews are coming along! My classmate and I had a happy conversation about how interviews encourage us to reflect back on our time at Penn Dental. Somehow, somewhere along the way, we filled our days with meaningful moments and now they want us!

Fourth year itself is great. It’s the getting-ready-for-next-year part that’s been hectic. Like Bri warned me, there are pockets of stressful moments, a series of roller coaster up’s and down’s throughout the entire year. Nothing is too stressful yet, but everything requires a little bit of fuss.

And then the little things. I had an incident in clinic couple of weeks ago, which reminded me of two things: 1) not everything happens for a reason, but you can assign that reason and 2) bad s- happens to good people. The second point let the event roll off my back because I was mostly plagued by this question: “How could this happen to me?” (That is me singing this Maroon 5 song) Because I didn’t deserve to be treated like that.

And then I thought about resilience and grit. How can you become stronger in face of adversaries? By introducing mini challenges then facing progressively bigger ones (just like weight training). Better to have things happen early in my dental career and learn from them.

Bay window or balcony?
Deck or backyard?
(All my free time's now spent looking at apartments in my candidate cities....)

Monday, November 2, 2015

self-discovery in residency interviews

Central Pennsylvania is SO beautiful this time of the year. Winding roads, single lane highways, mountains in the background and all. that. deer. This weekend I got to drive around Pennsylvania and see the beautiful fall scenery. Oh, and attend an interview. The entire hospital team showed up on a Saturday in full Halloween gear for us applicants, it was an unbelievable atmosphere altogether. I could work in a place like this.

I woke up the morning of my interview to this. I had to dig out my hotel key and scrape through the ice before driving to the hospital. There is a first time for everything but I am glad this little pup was with me for this moment.
I'm realizing how exploratory and self-reflective interviews are. I got asked some interesting questions that made me reconsider facts about myself. For example, I was asked about my “city girl background”. I have never thought of myself as a "city girl" and yet I've only lived in cities- is it going to be strange for me to live in a small town? Yet I am confident I know what I like about cities and that I can translate those components into my life elsewhere.

Trying ginger beers at the country's fourth oldest brewery

Also, as I unpacked my toiletries for my two-night stay, I thought to myself maybe I'm not so low-maintenance. As much as I wish I were a rugged ("crunchy") outdoors-loving cool girl who can rough it up in the woods, I am not. 

Some other facts I've learned this weekend: I am a bit of a speed demon, ahem, I'll leave it at that... I also love grocery shopping (First stop of any vacation: the local grocery store!). I took full advantage of having a car and dropped by ~*WEGMANS*~ on my way home. Being able to buy tons of groceries and effortlessly wheel it into the trunk is such a wonderful luxury I missed from Houston. 

I also love house shopping. I asked every applicant about their living situation, the size of their backyard, the architecture style of their houses, porches and roofs, all those wonderful details that get me going. Oh, and the lush wallpaper at the brewery- I was in heaven. 

As a solo driver, this is the one photo I was able to snap in slow traffic.

I passed the mannequin portion of my licensing exam! Just got the email. Now I'm going to slather on some Egyptian Magic and go to sleep. Celebration in all forms, and for me, it's the cozy warm bed.

What interview question really made you stop and think?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

one thing I'm going to look for in residency

I reluctantly call myself a runner: I rarely run races, I don't time myself, and I rarely know how far I'm running. Each run is spontaneous, unplanned. But when I find myself turning to my running shoes- to decompress, to breathe- I remember how lucky I am to be a runner.

Like last weekend after the phone call when we decided it was all over, next morning I found myself lacing up for a run. Instead of sleeping in, my body needed to go running and blast music in my ears as I was sprinting onward.

I didn't know how much I would turn to running in dental school. I ran my first 5k in my gap year with Enstin and decided that this was kind of fun. I ran my first half marathon in first year of dental school and gradually learned to embrace running as part of my life.

Running is time for myself. I like running alone because I can be spontaneous. Feeling strong and there's a cute dog? I'll follow it up to Fairmount. I remember crossing the Franklin Bridge to New Jersey during one training season and feeling so empowered. The idea I can carry myself to a different state was incredible. (Now I can always run away to New Jersey.)

Philadelphia is just incredibly beautiful. I'm so lucky that Penn happens to be located in Philadelphia because I did not know how much I would love this city. I took that photo on our very last date. We went to the zoo by walking our way up the river. There was a rowing competition that day. It was so beautiful out and I remember wishing we had run up instead of walking.

As I begin my interview trail, I'm looking for a place I can call home, where I can run and be me. The happy, strong, and empowered Yesle to power through her residency program. And you guys know my life motto can be summed up like this: good dentists are happy dentists.

A good running trail, the open air, music in my ears. A personal escape, just one pair of running shoes away.

Friday, October 9, 2015

interview season begins.

I'm already getting a little nostalgic about Philadelphia. We survived Pope Weekend 2015!!! People running/biking on the empty streets with military cars along the side felt surreal. Listening to mass amplified over the speakers (through the security fences, a mile away from the Pope) was sorta cool.  I was running around the city thinking: I might not be in this place in seven months. 

Interviews have begun for GPR/AEGD programs! I'm well on my way to preparing for this crazy hectic thing we call interview season. My classmates have already attended their ninth, tenth interviews and have been offered positions for their specialties. 

After I got my first interview invite, I pulled out my interview outfit from 2012 - I wore the basic pantsuit/blazer with silk ribbon top. Everything still fits but I don't have the abs of a 22 y/o babysitter anymore... Dental school will do that to you. I think it's fun to have a completely new outfit for this new phase of my life. I have a new navy blazer I LOVE and it would make me so happy to wear this to my interviews. And happy = confident.

In other life news, I did evening night clinic with my favorite patient... the one who brought me a HUGE chocolate bar at her last appointment. Things got out of control until we were the last ones on the clinic floor, laughing at the absurdity of the situation at 8:30PM with nobody around us and our amazingly patient faculty reading his newspaper. I learned a big lesson: temporary provisionals play a big role in gum health.

I got this shade guide from the instrument window and everything was organized so nicely in order. I had to snap a picture. Little things that are just so satisfying, ya know?

It's incredibly fun to imagine my new life in a new city somewhere. Even if that happens to be Philadelphia, I want to move to a new apartment (more in the city) and get a meow-y roommate. But I may be living in a spare bedroom in Texas or waking up from my tiny NYC shoebox to take the subway every morning. The possibilities! But first, I need to put in the work. 

What big project are you working on right now?
What's your perfect interview outfit?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Running around (literally)

Dental bits: 
1. Your bone starts to resorb once teeth are lost. Wearing dentures (and applying constant pressure) adds to this resorption. This is why we encourage patients to get root canals to save the teeth or get implants.
2. If you don't have enough bone, you can't place implants. Think of bone as the foundation for implants!

All of a sudden, the weather's become gorgeous. The heat in the air is gone and Philadelphia evenings hold the perfect running weather. Philadelphia is gearing up for the upcoming Pope Francis visit! Penn is officially closed on Friday but everyone is nervous about Monday too. The traffic is being rerouted all over the city (as far west as 38th street!) and people are told to prep for the weekend as if for hurricanes/snow emergencies.

Look at this new stage! Mark Wahlberg is hosting the concert on Saturday. Unexpected choice to say the least...

The essentials lined up on Chestnut St. 

After an entire summer of studying for the boards and seeing patients 3.5 days/week, I had crazy back pain when I first got to Botswana. I couldn't even do some of the moves in Zumba! I've been determined to move around more and enjoy the beautiful Philadelphia nature before I (possibly) move next year. Besides, it is SUCH a luxury to be running around outdoors- with music, in the dark, along spontaneous routes- none of which I could do safely in Botswana.

Inspired by our Zumba song: "Whistle "While You Work It", I'm trying to have more fun. For example, one day I went on a hunt around the dental school to find triple trays. These trays which eliminate the need to take three impressions: PVS final impression, bite registration, and counter model. We don't have any in our regular clinics, so after peeking my head into several clinics, I was super tickled when I finally found one. We ended up not using it (plastic is too flexible), but this mini treasure hunt was super fun.

I will say: fourth year has been pretty crazy so far. I've been busier time-wise my first two years of dental school. But there are tons of things to keep track of: residency deadlines, licensing exams, competency exams, patient things, that are solely my responsibility. I can't turn to my classmate and ask when X is due... because everything is different for everyone. For example, my residency app deadlines are just coming up while my classmates have either gotten accepted (!!!) or are interviewing right now.