Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Reflections: Two weeks left in gap year's academic calendar

We have two weeks left in this spring semester. Two of the five lectures are quizzes and exams, so I only have three more classes left to TA.

We had a huge project meeting last Thursday. After the meeting, I chatted with one of our dentist advisors who may be the dental god himself. He was not only knowledgeable on the topics we discussed (including microbiology, electrochemistry, surface chemistry, mineral dissolution...) but also very quick to pick up the presented data. He gave us priceless feedback while I observed in awe.
Dr. H asked if I was in graduate school and was surprised to discover I was going to dental school. We discussed some concerns I had about our samples. (Could someone donate their complete set of 32 teeth in the name of science?)

What I actually wanted to tell him was that he is my role model. He collaborates heavily with a scientist at another dental school I'd seriously considered attending.
Dr. H noted, "This year must have been great for you." This gap year has been the perfect bridge for someone like me with a genetics background crossing over to dentistry, exposing me to the research side of dentistry. And to think this opportunity came from a random class Lo and I decided to take together.
As discouraging as research can be sometimes, I've learned so much from this gap year. How to ask critical questions that can be answered and can lay down stepping stones for further questions. How to interpret presented information with a careful eye. How to give presentations and make the most out of group meetings. To take initiative and be resilient. I think these are important life lessons I only vaguely explored as a student.
Plus, I get to wear these cute booties at work:
Let’s power through the last few weeks. I’m giving myself the entire summer off. It will be my first free summer in a long time.