Thursday, May 30, 2013

make positive + significant interpretations

This post has been sitting in my draft box for a long time. I haven’t written “It’s personal” posts in a long time. Sometimes I overthink things!!! You’ll see what I mean…


“Can I think about that for a second?” I had to stop a conversation I was having with a stranger on the subway.

She pointed out something and I needed to really chew on a point she had made. I’m going to share it with you and hope that it changes the way you think too:

look up

Nothing has meaning intrinsically- until you attach meaning to it.
You have the power to say something or… nothing.

I attach more meaning to events than the actual event themselves, which cause me to freak out over them! These are the facts first:

- I got a C on an exam.

Internals (with internal locus of control) feel more anxiety and guilt when dealing with failures. For exams, my classmates will say, “That was a hard exam! Don’t be so hard on yourself. Professor asked a lot of questions she didn’t emphasize in lecture.”

But I’ll take this C really personally, like this:

- I am a lazy person who obviously doesn’t care about my dental career. I am dumb and my classmates will think that I’m dumb. I’ll never get anywhere with this lackadaisical attitude. I am not disciplined enough and this is a huge personality flaw. I will never learn from my mistakes and I keep sabotaging myself. I have my priorities messed up.

I can say instead: I had some bad luck. I didn’t do well. Let’s move on. It’s a huge shift in thinking coming from me who overthinks everything… and I’m not completely there yet, but I’m on my way.

Much love and thanks to Laura who invited me to her special evening. And for starting this “nothing has meaning…” conversation with me. Do I sound a little existentialist? What I mean is that you need to give events significant positive meaning. :)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

so close- two weeks to go.

After a long and leisurely Memorial Day weekend, we’re back in the game. I’m waiting for my practical grades and enjoying this beautiful weather. The Penn campus is so lush and green this time of the year. And a little bit abandoned…


I bought my tickets to Dallas for reunion with my college friends. Six weeks to go until we’re spending Fourth of July weekend together in Texas! (And I am on summer break from dental school!)

Until then:
- Nine days of class
- Four exams- we have dental materials today.
- One essay

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I’ve also been reading a lot more than I should. I know, it’s so close but sunshine in warm 80’s weather equals reading in my book (oooh I sneaked in a pun). Ran to Chinatown this week after a long running hiatus, ate a ton of delicious foods at potlucks, hot pot night, and my birthday picnic. I’m 24! And almost a D2.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

summer reads.

I love that the Penn bookstore is a real bookstore! I walked around this casual morning to sip on coffee and make my reading list for the summer.


I think I associate summers with reading because I always had so much reading assignments over summer vacation… did you guys have twenty books to read over the summer too?

I have a couple of books I need to wrap up & Brothers Karamazov which a classmate and I are going to tackle together. He says I should text him and hold him accountable chapter by chapter! :) I also want to read My Week with Marilyn (love biographies and this is also a romance) and more Hemingway. I think Hemingway books are perfect for the summer when you’re traveling from place to place and maybe feeling a little cut loose…

What’s on your reading list this summer? Or are you more of a movies-and-television kind of person?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

last practical exam for D1!

We took our last practical exam Thursday!!! All week I needed to make sure I was feeling top, ready to perform on game day- like an athlete! That meant getting enough sleep and eating healthy things and not pushing it too much in lab. If I felt a little achey or my eyes were getting fatigued, I knew I had to go home.

But first, getting there. When all I wanted to do was plop down on my bed and curl up into a reality-denying ball, these things brought me back to dental school.

- A kickass GRD playlist! mostly made up of Glee songs.
- Thinking of that iced coffee to pick up on my way to dental school.
- Adding more teeth to the “Bag of Shame” now renamed “Bag of Getting Better” !

bag it up.jpg

- Remember that it’s still light out at 8PM… walking back to dental school in darkness is the saddest.


- Knowing I can take my frustration out on these ivorine teeth. (And soften out some new burs in the process!)


- Knowing I’ll get better with practice. And lots!!! of patience.

I need a conditioning coach… or just GP to tell me what to do with every moment of my life. Happy long weekend! Usually memorial days are for road trips and pool parties but I’m still having dental school classes this year.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

throwback thursday

This is a trend now? #tbt? I don’t use instagram so I’m behind on these hashtag trends. I dug up these two-year-old pictures from facebook as breaks. Just clicking through them I had so much fun. Although I think half of my pictures have already been untagged…

Here are some throwback pictures from 2011!

I forgot how many hours I used to spend in lab! I made fish fly filet’s. I presented my research at the undergraduate research fair at the end of the semester and said bye-bye to our seventh floor lab.


I used to have a red-pink-then blonde streak in my hair! You can kind of see it under my ear on my right side… I completely forgot about that. Somehow everyone matched colors this day.


Summer after graduating I visited Korea for two weeks. Short break, but so so so sweet. My parents lived on the beach with a huge backyard garden. Naturally we ate a ton of delicious seafood and spent many hours on the beach.


I’ve been in the nostalgic mood lately. I’ll randomly message my fam and ask things like, “do you remember the cornbread from that farmers’ market?” Thankfully everyone else in my family has an incredible memory.

Quick: what’s your favorite summer memory from 2011?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Alligators’ infinite teeth

Grow-your-own teeth!

A research team led by Professor Cheng-Ming Chuong from USC are studying how alligators turn on the control to regenerate their teeth. They replace their teeth throughout their lives. Researchers believe that dental lamina- which is also present in human teeth- may play an important role in teeth regeneration, suggesting/hoping that maybe this is a possibility in our own mouths when teeth fall out.


As always, the connection between research and application takes a long time but this is exciting. Also because of this comment under this article:


Between watching Nikita (Michael got a new hand made from his own cells!) and this news, I wonder what century I woke up in…

Have you played Where’s My Water? You tweak valves and levers to get water to an alligator waiting to take a shower. I played it all the time when I was babysitting and usually the kiddos would be so much better than me.

Monday, May 20, 2013

suburgatory teeth sabotage

I love this show- that’s no secret. I’ve talked about Noah’s sunny beautiful office before.

I just about died watching this episode Apocalypse Meow:

Untitled2UntitledLooks like someone switched over to digital radiographs… Winking smile

Here Noah brings in his therapist for a “free cleaning”. Bob who is his therapist started dating someone Noah was interested in. So Noah takes his revenge in the best way he knows how: with evil restorations.


Power of composite, yeah?

Vampire teeth were actually a trend in Japan. Some offices specialized in creating this “Yaeba” look. The fake fangs are attached with a non-permanent adhesive.


A quick comment about cosmetic dentistry: I commented to my orthodontist that my mamelons are really prominent. She said, “yeah, and they make you look younger. Some people really like them.”

I guess you could fabricate mamelons on Class IV restorations for that younger look? I had no idea mamelons were something to want. To me it’s like… your hairline or your fingerprints. :) They are just there.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

last lab final

I haven’t been writing as much- I know! It’s been a little hectic around here with dental school exams (the usual), summer approaching and my weird sleep snoozin’. I’ve been waking up in the morning feeling a little too groggy even after seven full hours of sleep. I take a lot more naps but I don’t know what’s going on...

This week we have our final GRD lab final exam! It’s a practical exam and we get four hours to complete two procedures. Now that we’re working on composite materials, I appreciate amalgam a lot more where we don’t have as many shaping-carving-polishing steps. Plus you can distinguish tell where the amalgam ends and where tooth structure begins. Not true for composite.


That’s the biggest pro of using composite though. It’s almost indistinguishable from tooth structure. I had to look in my mouth a long time to figure out which molars had composite restorations.

Only a few more weeks in this basement dental lab with my seat lonely up against the corner.


If you are already out enjoying your summer, congratulations!!! I’m daydreaming about beaches, sundresses, iced coffee runs, and train trips. Or probably really snooze-dreaming.

Let’s get through the last few weeks everyone! Ready, set, go!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Vegan-ing in Philly

I’ve been eating delicious vegan foods lately! To be honest, deciding to go vegetarian was a little bit stressful with dental school going on. What do I buy? What do I eat? Am I getting enough nutrients? But now that our schedule is loosening up a bit, I can take time to explore. And I’m so glad I have beautiful friends (like Laura and Barbara) to support me and answer all my questions. ;)

I finally tried pizza from Blackbird Pizzeria- I loved the harvest pizza with brussel sprouts and leek. Fake cheese freaks me out (not to mention it never melts the right way) but this was delicious.


It’s so much fun trying new vegetables and fruits. Especially in Philly with all the farmers’ markets and CHINATOWN, I get to develop my palate. When we went to Vedge earlier, we ordered whatever sounded good and had a blast trying different things. We were having so much fun tasting & chatting that I forgot to take pictures but here’s one from after dessert.


And I close on a sappy note: I was talking to my dad and he told me that he looked up vegan restaurants near our house. For when I come home this summer! :) This comes from my biggest eating partner-in-crime.

The thing about Korean food is that although many meals are vegetarian, many of the big party meals have meat: bulgogi, kalbi, etc. But there are so many delicious greens dishes in Korea with lots of root vegetables and fresh mushrooms! I can’t wait to go home and make delicious vegan meals for my family. Cooking for people you love has got to be the best feeling in the world.

By the way, if you are interested in trying out vegetarianism/vegan, read The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. It’s incredible with information on veganism and practical tips to make that transition.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Graduate! onward.

Here it’s been raining in the most wonderful way.

I’m sorry it’s Penn’s graduation weekend but I just love this rain! Friday night I went to bed listening to a loud thunderstorm outside my window and woke up to a cool breezy morning. Does it count as a workout if you had every intention of running but fell asleep in your workout clothes ?


Seems like dental students are the only ones walking around with backpacks on this campus. Not that I mind because the weather is so pretty it’s hard to be grumpy and well, we’ll be done in FOUR WEEKS!

This end of the semester is like a cliff. I keep flipping weeks on my Google Calendar and before I know it, my calendar is empty.

Have you watched this commencement speech by David Foster Wallace on the power of attitude? It’s called “This is Water” and it’s brilliant. This is advice we can all incorporate into our everyday lives and I love that. At my commencement speech we were told to choose happy marriages over happy careers. And I love all the ongoing talk about women and careers and partnerships.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I just swallowed an elastic from my braces while eating an apple... I really hope these are biodegradable. That might be my cue to sign off.

What are some good advice you’ve gotten upon graduation?
Are they relevant/useful yet in your life?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

April: thank-you friends.

There is a fine line between feeling truly grateful and feeling entitled. Sometimes I cross that line because sure, I’m thankful for what I have but… don’t I sort of deserve that anyway? With that said, I’m genuinely grateful this month for the one BIG thing I certainly didn’t deserve: my wonderful supportive friends.

Here’s for panic g-chat sessions in the computer lab. And some things never change: Laura, I’m sorry for Skype-crying (… awkward) but you didn’t just shut the screen and go bye-bye. For friends that can make me feel loved from thousands of miles away. And my friends in Philly for opening up to me, sharing their struggles and inspiring me to take on things I could never do on my own (run for two hours straight?).

If that’s too mushy… I’m also thankful for Pitch Perfect, Spotify, Philadelphia public libraries and Georgetown Cupcakes.

I leave you with this. Also I have officially stained my shirt yellow eating a mango with my fingers… Bad idea. This illustration is from Lost Cat by Caroline Paul and Wendy MacNaughton as featured on Brain Pickings.


All the things we’ll never understand. Things we know we don’t know, things we don’t know we don’t know. (I thought this comment was brilliant?)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Q+A with Dr. David Magid, Penn D’98

It’s always fun to talk with current dentists. I realize that everything we are learning is to help our patients out there one day… you know, when we graduate from dental school. Dr. David Magid- Penn D’98- answered a few questions about his dental career & even gave some advice for current dental students. As someone who’s not sure about specializing (should I? what field?), this was wonderfully insightful.

How did you decide to become a general dentist?

I decided to become a general dentist because there are more things to do as a general dentist. I wouldn’t get bored of doing the same kinds of things over and over again. I also wanted to start working immediately. Loans were a big issue for me and I would have needed to take out another 100k. I was ready to be in the working world after graduating.

What area of general dentistry do you enjoy the most?

I really like doing cosmetic dentistry. Some of the cosmetic cases I do involve straightening people’s teeth using short term braces and invisalign. It is great when someone doesn’t want to be in braces for 2+ years and you can fix their teeth in a fraction of that time. Using veneers, I can often fine tune those results to make them even better.

Cosmetic Dentistry

I also enjoy doing immediate bonding for patients who come in with a broken tooth, giving immediate satisfaction especially if they have a wedding or big meeting the next day.

I truly enjoy the relationships that I build with my patients. It’s not just a single appointment; it’s a life-long relationship that I’m building.

What about practicing dentistry that you find the most challenging?

One thing that I have found most challenging is starting your own practice. I wish dental school would prepare you more for the business side of dentistry, which is equally as important as the clinical side. Dentistry is such an exacting and challenging profession by itself and satisfying your patients is important. But getting to understand the business side of dentistry- and understanding how to start a practice- would be really helpful in alleviating stress on the doctor.

Keeping up with all the technology of dentistry can also be challenging. Technology is always changing and you need to keep up it all-- as well as staying abreast of your continuing education and filling out all the forms and memberships you need to be on your A game every day.

What advice do you wish you were given as a dental student?

To use the dental school and the teachers and faculty and everyone there to the fullest. Ask as many questions as possible. Try to shadow your clinical professors to learn as much as you can. Once you are out of dental school you don’t have as many resources at your fingertips. Look at dental school as a short window of time in your career. Even though it is very difficult and not an easy process there is a light at the end of the tunnel, you will be rewarded with a wonderful career after much hard work.

Dr Magid

Lastly, I would advise current students to befriend a dentist while they are in school. This will help you see what real life dentistry is all about. Sometimes the things you do in school are intimidating and you don’t like them or you don’t see the point in learning them. If you talk to a dentist you could see real life applications and how useful those will be when you are a dentist one day.

Dr. David Magid of Livingston Smile Design grew up in South Florida and received his DMD from University of Pennsylvania. He also completed a dental residency at Columbia University School of Dental and Oral Surgery. David also loves to cook and is a real foodie. He recently took his wife to Zaatar restaurant in Philly and says it was one of the best restaurants they’d ever been to!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

daily school wear.

Undergraduates wrapped up their finals today! Lately I’ve been wearing the same formula of clothes over and over again: scrub pants, a (free) T-shirt, and a sweatshirt… and fitting right in at the library.matchitup

After my dental materials exam today, I had the most delicious dinner today at Vedge! We went a little crazy with ramps (“RAMPS!!!”) and Vegan cheesecakes. This restaurant made GQ’s best list and everything here was wonderful: the conversation, the drinks, and not wearing scrub pants for once.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Get happy: Q+A with Sharon

This is the first of the Get Happy Series!

Today I am excited to bring you some wisdom from Sharon. She ran the DC Nike Women’s Half with me last weekend & motivated me to push through the SHAPE challenge- which she won by the way.

gethappyUnder the guise of writing a blog post Winking smile I got to ask her some very personal questions about fitness in dental school and staying healthy even when school gets crazy. We chatted walking back from a delicious Russian Easter brunch courtesy of our classmate Tanya.

First, as a HPSP recipient in the Air Force, are you required to be fit? Are there any special fitness requirements as an HPSP scholar? (Sharon went to the Air Force Academy but for those who didn’t, they will be attending Officer Basic Training camp this summer.)

You have to run two miles under a certain time period. And something like 42 push-up’s in a minute and certain waist measurements… They are realistic and possible goals.

Let’s talk priorities. How do you prioritize fitness while in dental school? Is fitness a big priority in your life among other priorities? (Ahem- sleeping and movies and cupcakes?)

I actually enjoy going to the gym! If I am sitting all day in class or studying, I can’t focus as well. This year I also started studying at the gym on the elliptical or on the bike, so I could multitask and study at the gym. You really have to enjoy it- it shouldn’t be something you feel you have to do.

Me-Jackie-Sharon at the Nike Expo in DC (photo from Jackie)yeslejackiesharon

Tell me a little bit more about the role fitness plays in your life.

It’s a big part of my life! It’s important that that I can take care of myself. When that guy was in my face, I knew that if something were to happen that I could handle it- and I felt confident I could. (A little background on this- Sharon and I had a scary-strange interaction with a crazy person this weekend.)

At our final fitness assessment, I asked what the record-high of push-ups for girls was. The guy said 45 and I told him I expected it to be higher! And then I did my push-up’s. (Sharon did 75 push-ups in a row without stopping… I squeaked- more on this squeak! squeak! coming later- at sixteen and barely made it up on the last one.)

Can you give practical healthy tips for people like me who have every intention but don’t make it out to the gym sometimes? Or even for people who haven’t made fitness a top priority on their life?

Find a gym buddy! Bring a buddy for that extra motivation. Don’t be intimidated and don’t think of it as competition. See that it’s good for you. Make plans with to work out with someone and keep it! Even if it’s something as small as texting someone to say, “I’m going to the gym”, have someone keep you accountable. Find the right person who’ll make you come out and go to the gym.

It’s hard for me to not see it as competition. I like to run alone but every time I run with someone else I’m glad I did. But I need to work on that. I also want to start working out in the mornings but I never make get out of my bed in time. Any tips?

I actually have a routine every morning: 75 jumping jacks, 20 air squats, and 10 push-up’s every morning to get my day started. Two-minutes then your stomach is growling and you’re ready for breakfast.

That sounds great. It’s realistic and I can do that in my apartment. Let’s talk life after SHAPE challenge: what specific lifestyle changes have you made you’ll continue throughout?

A change in attitude. For example, when people asked what I was eating I used to see it as competition, like they’re keeping tabs on what I’m eating. Now I take it as a compliment! That people see me as a model for healthy eating and working out, people seeing something they like in me and trying to copy that, is great.

Find Sharon & me listening intently at the herb healthy eating workshop from our SHAPE challenge (Photo from Penn GAPSA):


I also don’t buy sugary things. I’ll buy fruits instead and eat them when I’m hungry. I eat something like four bananas and three apples- I still have to work on proportions but it is much better than eating Skittles! I also drink a lot of water. I’ll first drink half of my 32 ounce Nalgene bottle when I’m hungry. I like to flavor my water which makes me drink So. Much. Water.

What fitness goals are you working on now?

I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon this November! I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon (For our age it is 3:35 for those 26.2 miles). There is also a certain type of pull-up where you do another push-up on the bar after a pull up: I want to be able to do it!

I love that her fitness goals are performance-based. And having a conversation about health deeper than just numbers or times was great.

I’m working through some personal health challenges right now and talking to someone like Sharon who’s figured out what works for her is inspiring and motivating. Plus she gave me practical tips I can incorporate into my life. Anyone want to be my gym/accountability buddy?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Time to shine at Penn.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of things. I went to New York, I went to DC, I finished my half marathon, and I wrapped up my bible study class. Campus is emptying out for the summer (I see parents loading up their kids’ dorm rooms every day now!). Things are definitely winding down as my first year at Penn is coming to an end.

One month to go!

Some pictures from the Time to Shine celebration:

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Train and John Legend performed some rockin’ music against the backdrop of Philadelphia downtown. We grabbed some free foods, sat down in the grass, and enjoyed the beautiful weekend.

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Why didn’t anyone tell me how beautiful Philadelphia is? Especially in the spring. Flowers, the sky, cobblestone streets. When I have time to look around and actually take in the scene (situational awareness haha) I fall in love with this city all over again.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

suburgatory dentist scene.

My legs are still sore from this weekend’s race. Walking downhill is THE worst and there’s a mini-hill/bridge on my way to cadaver dissection lab! I’m still walking around smelling like formaldehyde but soon enough, Friday means freedom.

I had this on my screenshot of Suburgatory on my desktop for a long time because I love so many things about this picture. I can stare at this picture for thirty minutes.

- Sun-filled windows with trees outside! Prettiest dental office ever.
- Sharps container: do these set designers pay attention to detail or what?
- Manual radiographs in the background: Noah can probably afford an upgrade I think?
And some missing standard precautions: for Noah the dentist and for Tessa. Plus some barrier tape. (I love that stuff.)


But really, I just love the bright and sunny look of this dental office. And that in this episode, Tessa discusses a controversial topic in dentistry- third molar extractions (there’s an entire ADA course talking about this)- makes me happy.