Monday, March 31, 2014

mandatory yellow scrubs

Oiiii. Almost had a heart attack when I saw this email. oi

Yellow is NOT a good color on me. We at Penn will now have mandatory scrubs- exact policies are still in the works- but now we have a class color that is not yellow. I was looking forward to dressing up every day but scrubs means easy laundry.

Does your school have a mandatory scrubs/dress policy?
What would you prefer?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

productive procrastination

Happy Sunday!

Yesterday we had our Philly Oral Cancer Walk. Penn School of Dental Medicine has been hosting this event for the past six years and it’s been getting bigger every year! I got to chat with volunteers and oral cancer survivors/patients at the event while volunteering yesterday morning. I’ll write about it soon.

Onto procrastination. When I have an exam coming, I find myself doing everything not studying to pass the time. Everything from my to-do list gets checked off while studying? Not so much. Instead of studying, I walked to and from the kitchen grabbing tea and coffee and water.


So I finally attacked the pile of GRD supplies and extra teeth in the corner. It was actually really fun to shuffle through the plastic teeth I’d practiced on: those acrylic provisionals, vacuform shells, crowns and veneer preps…


I remembered the joy and fear and anticipation I felt all the while in lab & the amazing sense of accomplishment when it all wrapped up. I also had a moment of immense pride when I thought about how BIG and LOOMING our preclinic GRD seemed at the time. But I did learn so much & now I am moving onto clinic! (TWO MONTHS!) This break was more of a conscious pause than lazy procrastination.


I also clicked around to read this article on Levo League which reinforced something the lovely Juliana had recently told me:

And our work is very much an extension of a very deep part of ourselves: our personality, experiences, desires, dreams, values and fears… We receive feedback on a piece of work and we feel bad because we believe we are bad or not good enough.

So after “procrastinating” for a bit, I have some inspiring words and an organized tidy corner of my room. After all, I think it’s all about reframing the situation- like how Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin are “unconsciously uncoupling”.


How do you “productively” procrastinate?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

favorite lecture slides

Sitting in class can get irritating boring and dispensable (in the imagination) but never not-exciting. I've decided I’m not a class skipper. Here is evidence-based dentistry in the making:


Also, look at this CT scan. This is King Tut- with an implant! (Our professor photoshopped it in there).


Lately we’ve been ooh-ing and aah-ing (and maybe gagging) at some of the clinical pictures of neoplasms in our pathology class. On one slide showed a lesion that was as big as my fist was sticking out of a child’s mouth and it had leftover teeth stuck in it. Ahhhh.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

tie floss around everything

I accidentally dropped something in my toilet this week. My deodorant fell in as the toilet was flushing and I just watched it go. I didn’t think it would flush, but it did! Then everything was broken.

When I told Lan this, she suggested I tie dental floss around everything, like we do with the rubber dam clamps so that the patient doesn’t aspirate it accidentally.

floss everything

This idea is ridiculously funny to me. I laughed out loud in class and I’m still laughing just thinking about it. Like this:

floss it uptoothflossed

We are done with exams for this week and next! I’m doing some major spring cleaning and catching up on my reading. Some shifting around of furniture makes the whole apartment feel different.

Monday, March 24, 2014

give and take

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. -Job 1:21

Earlier this week, I wrote a frantic email to a friend listing the ELEVEN things that were stressing me out right then. I just went back and read it. It is 940 words long and the most frantic thing I have written. It makes me anxious just to read some parts I wrote.

Getting back from spring break was difficult to get back into my dental school routine. We had an exam on pathology this Friday and I was so thoroughly exhausted after the exam.

To keep you updated on my RA adventures it had been causing me a lot of grief. I’ve been questioning my strength and ability in light of this possible new role- a lot. Right before my interview, I scheduled coffee with one of my favorite people in the world, Laura. She fills my world with positivity and clarity. I look forward to hanging out with her all week and I think of our conversation fondly for days afterwards. She got me in a “can-do” attitude for my meeting.

In addition to Laura, there is someone who has been helping me out with the entire process. He’s the one who recommended I read about Job. When I came upon 1:21 I couldn’t believe it: I’ve heard the first part of the verse, but not the second. I would have said something like “This sucks. But it’ll get better.” or “This sucks. But it’s part of life.” and console myself somehow. Definitely not “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Like, how would I know what I’m craving if I didn’t feel the pain? Spring break is sweet because it’s unlike my regular dental school routine. Waking up late upsets me because I crave efficiency and productivity. If I didn’t care for someone so much, whatever they do could never hurt me.

Another exam on Wednesday but I’m taking it slow, watching Moonrise Kingdom on this school night.weeknight

I love the lush, gorgeous colors and the whimsical characters. And of course, Sam and Suzy. Their love story is just too cute. Look at this scene, for example:


I was trying to get back to focus mode- and having a hard time. Then Laura just texted me- she suggests I meditate for five minutes before getting started.

It’s a great Monday. Tomorrow in Philadelphia we are expecting snow.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

the wrong dental school?

One suggestion I got from Juliana about my blog was to include the everyday details of my dental school life. So I’ll tell you what I had for breakfast first. Since we didn't have class this morning, I ate a leisurely breakfast with okra- it is one of my favorite vegetables in the world.

Today I had a conversation with a dental school classmate which startled me and provoked me- in a good way. She said, “I think you should have gone to a Pass/Fail school. It’s more your personality.”

I laughed it off and we jokingly talked about how I’ll transfer to Columbia University and get a DDS there. But what she said lingered on long after our conversation- had I chosen the wrong dental school?


As you know, Penn dental is not a Pass/Fail school. We get letter grades for almost every class. Here’s what she meant: from her point of view (probably compared to herself), I don’t study as hard. I don’t have a 4.0, I don’t clear my schedule if I have an exam that week. I take long trips before big exams. I sleep eight hours a night, every night. I’m not going to make Penn’s top 20. I’m not even top 20 percent.

It’s true I would have stressed out less at a dental school with a Pass/Fail grading system. But who knows if I would have been pulling all-nighters for that elusive Honors? Everything is relative. Is it because we have letter grades for the other classes that we see P/F classes as relaxing?

I’ll never know. Somewhere out there maybe is a parallel universe with a parallel Yesle who went to that P/F dental school.

Double twins in North Carolina- this was Laura’s screen saver in NOLA!twinsiesdouble

I can keep wondering how different my life could have been. But I choose to be happy today with the Yesle that chose Penn dental with its H/A/B+/B/C+/C/F’s. It’s an alphabet soup but it’s one that I know and live in.

Have you ever thought: I chose the wrong school?
What did you do?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

other people’s (teeth) problems

This week I Skyped with my little brother (who’s recently turned 21!). He’s going through ortho treatment of his own and was telling me all about his teeth problems fixing his Class II Division II occlusion.


He told me all about his current treatment referring to them in Universal Numbering System. He also told me: “I found my teeth doppleganger!” He then played me a clip where Emily Kinney is talking and proceeded to point out how her anterior teeth are reclined.


I am impressed because Walking Dead’s Emily Kinney does indeed have Class II Division II. I don’t know who the dentist is in the family anymore. ;)

Also on my vacation, we got to discuss teeth! Bite problems, gum showing on smiles, young/old smiles, all that crazy occlusion orthodontic things I’ve learned in dental school.

Finally in my life, my school/career/work is something people find interesting and conversation worthy. When I was a budding biochemist, I talked about mice strains and fruit flies and all these complex gene regulating systems that were too basic to draw out a bigger conclusion or have an engaging discussion.

It was great to talk about smiles and occlusion in concrete terms. People intuitively know when a celebrity’s smile is “off” or something about their bite is different but can’t attribute it to concrete concepts. So… enter me the dental student and we talk about teeth for an hour.

Friday, March 14, 2014

meet juliana, this blog’s biggest fan.

I am back from spring break! It was the most rejuvenating week a girl could ever ask for. On the last night, Juliana and Laura read through my pre-spring break blog post to make sure we’d done everything I’d been anticipating. So I got my group hug morning before we left for the airport!!!

Okay, so this blog is about Juliana. We joked about some requirements she must pass (become a dentist/ marry a dentist/ touch a dentist?) to be “featured” but here it is. Here is Jules, me and Laura at Chuy’s in Houston.

2014-03-07 16.04.24

Here is how to be this blog’s biggest fan (aka Juliana aka Julsiepops):

- Quotes “D is for Dentist” directly? Check.
- Has a “D is for Dentist” theme song? Check.
- Checks “D is for Dentist” in her law school classes? Check.
- Typing D in her browser pulls up “D is for Dentist”? Check.

Juliana seriously showed me so much love for this blog! She made me laugh SO MUCH every time she referred to a fact about me as “Oh, I read that on ‘D is for Dentist’”. Haven’t you heard? It’s the quotable authoritative source on all things Yesle and all things dentist.

Since both Laura and Juliana are wrapping up their final semester in law school, they were nostalgic/reflective about these last three years. (Also, watching “Law and Order” takes on a whole new meaning when you watch it with future lawyers…)

Selfie waiting for Usher at the rodeo- thanks to Jules’ long arms ushering

It was also a chance for me to think about my past two years at UPenn dental too. What skills have I learned in dental school? What life lessons and what about myself? Something Laura said that’s been on my mind ever since we left:

Right now, it’s fine for us to say “school is my life!”. But it’s sad when someone says “work is my life!”- or at least, we don’t want to live that way. So sometime between now and graduating, school is going to transition into work and it will no longer be the most important piece in our life pie chart. So how to make that change?

I say this always, I’ll say it again. These HOMEWORK OF LIFE are huge. I don’t know if anyone truly has it figured out. But with friends like these, I feel like everything’s going to be just fine.

So here’s to my fellow ENFJ (I just wrote “I feel” the sentence before!!!!), future prosecutor, my favorite Colombian and the sexiest voice in all of the South, Jules. Thanks for being this blog’s biggest fan.

bfastingHere’s me with double Jules. (Sorry Laura…Smile with tongue out)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

spring break just in time: Texas

Sometimes there is no way to flip your weaknesses. Especially when they make you unfitting for something you really want and someone you really want to be. Impulsivity does not befit a parachute jumper. Impatient bakers will never bake the perfect bread.

I am nothing without my emotions. I feel more than I think. I am applying to an RA-of-sorts next year for undergraduates and at my interview, got too emotional at an imaginary scenario. I teared up at an imaginary person!!! Doesn’t get much more emotional than that… The details were just too real and hit so close to home, the feelings of inadequacy, here’s an imposter.

I like that I feel with my entire being. It’s what makes me ME. But when this gets in the way of what I want, it pains me. Do I need to change who I am if I want to get certain things? I don’t know.

But it’s spring break. And I’m leaving to Texas. It feels like a homecoming.

sb it up

In less than twelve hours: margarita’s, drive-through coffee shops, group hugs, green grass and open road, funnel cake in sunglasses, DANCING. A breather in the middle of dental school.

Monday, March 3, 2014

do you have what it takes to be a dental student?

So you shadowed your favorite dentist. You took a tour of your dream dental school. You start writing “D.M.D.” after your signature. Well, is dental school right for you? More importantly, do you have what it takes to be a dental student? Take this quick 5-minute quiz to find out.

1. Imagine it takes you four hours to prepare these two teeth (you will learn about these Class II preps in dental school). The average dentist does them in fifteen minutes. Your neighbor does them in thirty minutes. How do you feel?

outline is questionable but still clean cut happy

A. “I’ll get there someday! I just gotta practice.”
B. “Hold on while I cancel all my weekend plans… GARHEWEWE@#.”
C. “I’m never going to get better. I’m going to refer all my Class II cavities to this classmate here.”
D. “This is my quarter-life crisis. Time to find another career!!!”

2. If you folded the pattern on the left to a 3D figure, what would it look like?

dat-ques-9question source

E. “Hold on, I’m grabbing my scissors and tape…”

3. How thick is this line?


A. 1mm
B. 0.5mm
C. 0.25mm
D. 0.49 apples

4. How do you feel about acrylics in your hair?


A. “I don’t mind getting a little messy- I can use my triple syringe for a mini blow-out!”
B. “Now people will think my dandruffs are just acrylic bits!”
C. “Unless it’s part of my intentional styling, definitely no.”
D. “ACRYLICS? I think I’m allergic.”

5. Now imagine your preparation on from Question 1. You unintentionally drill through the tooth, breaking into two. How do you react?

A. A little upset but back to work like a busy little bee.
B. Take a fifteen minute break (turned 2-hour Neflix session). Come back. Breathe.
C. Cry.
C. Start saving up for a 3D printer.


Except for Question 2, none of these questions have correct answers, although some are more appropriate than others. ;) There are bad days, and then there are good days. Hopefully you start twisting enough bad days into good days to keep going. Dental school is a lot of learning, like the first time you start learning how to ride a bicycle or how to swim freestyle. It comes to you in waves- in time. Keep patience and gratitude in handy.