Tuesday, April 29, 2014

more free time 8-5

In my last post about blooming like flowers, I mentioned the “too much free time” problem. My friend texted me and said, “What do you mean, free time?”

This is what my academic calendar looks like the rest of the week:


We went from 8-5 classes/lab/assisting to this! Granted, all this free time is to help us study for the huge pathology final- which we will be taking as third year dental students since it’s after dental school graduation. But who says I can’t study in my bed? Wearing my PJ’s, sipping hot tea, and propping my papers on my pillows.

I found this new artist Zac Gorman. This cartoon’s kind of relevant aka I don’t need no more 2PM coffee stops! But maybe I’m trying to hard. I just like his drawings.


I love going grocery shopping at 8AM when everyone else is going to/at work. It’s such a student-specific luxury to have flexibility in my schedule like this.

Monday, April 28, 2014

bloom where planted

Are you a big complainer? Or do you consciously try not to complain? I find that I’ve been on a whine-fest lately. This week it was this: too cold, too hot, it’s raining, too many exams, and even this- too few exams (“I don’t know what to do with all this free time!”).

Sometimes I complain out of habit. Like if I’m bored, I’ll text someone and whine- “Hiiiii just wasted three hours instead of studying for tomorrow. Ughhhhh.”

Yesterday at church, my group leader said something that really hit me. She said, “There are plenty of people smarter than us and more hard-working than us. And those people didn’t make it to where we are right now.” Me being here-in this moment and at this place- is a blessing.

This got me thinking about flowers. It’s officially spring and I see these gorgeous flowers EVERYWHERE. Here in Philadelphia each season changes the scenery drastically. My heart sings joy seeing these beauties all around, this gentle contrast against the blue spring sky.


There’s a reason I love flowers. It’s because they bloom no matter where they are. Sometimes they may be stuck in a vase somewhere but they make best of their situation, spreading beauty & joy wherever they happen to be.

S Philly 9th Sprucesnapshot (640x427)

This is something a friend told me at CMDA Retreat last year & really developed while listening to Joel Osteen a few weeks ago (I used to drive by his church every week!).

picture sourcebloom

Bloom where you are planted.

I love this. A different emphasis on each of these words are profound in its own way. I’m saying it like this right now: bloom where you are planted.

And for me, it’s here in Philadelphia. In dental school. Here’s to another blessed week.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

it’s finals season

Though maybe not for us! We have ongoing exams until we finally start clinic in early June. (I’m going to officially halfway done with dental school & at a major transition from preclinic to CLINIC!!!!) But for the rest of Penn campus, classes are wrapping up and finals are coming up.

This is from Van Pelt Library. It says, “Can you sum up your paper in one sentence?”

finals season

- “During war, people are awful.”
- “Train rides suck.”
- “ENGL”
- “Get money. Get paid.”

If I had to summarize in one sentence the periodontics exam tomorrow, it is quite literally this:


Those of you taking final exams or writing those last papers, good luck! Hope you reap what you sow.

Monday, April 21, 2014

any given saturday

What I love about Philadelphia: any given Saturday, there are 5k’s and fundraising walks around Philadelphia Museum of Art. It’s so inspiring to see so many people out and about working it for their health.

race daying art museum

Since Broad Street Run is coming up, I’ve been running further and further along the river. This Saturday I went up to Fairmount Park. SO many joggers and so many puppies! I was in running heaven. I also got that puppy fever again.

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Oh and this weekend, I saw what is probably every dentist’s worst nightmare. Chocolatey, sweet, sweet nightmare… I included my water bottle in the picture for comparison.

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Hope everyone’s had a wonderful Easter! I don’t know how this week just swished on by, but it did. It’s getting warmer & the days are getting longer. It’s nice that the day stretches on even after I get back from dental school. It feels like I have more hours in the day.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

ASDA Lobby Day in DC 2014

Last weekend, a group of us from Penn Dental went down to DC to lobby as part of ASDA’s Lobby Day. If you follow me on Twitter, you saw real-time updates of our DC pictures.

Turns out, it happened to be prime time cherry blossom week. These finicky flowers only bloom for a week or so. It was super fortunate timing on our part.

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I caught up with my life guru Apoorv who is now working in DC. He of course had words of wisdom (and tough love) for me. We all went out for frozen yogurt at Pinkberry after our dinner.


After being primed on the issues we were to lobby for (it included two bills on student loans and one on funding for pro bono dentistry) all of Monday, Tuesday morning we headed to Capitol Hill to meet up with representatives from Pennsylvania district offices. I have to admit, I was nervous to meet with these people who had so much power. One bill- S. 1066 Federal Loan Refinancing Act- if passed, could mean savings of thousands of dollars for us dental students.


penn delegates

I love ASDA because we become strong in numbers. By organizing concerted initiatives like this annual Lobby Day, we as the dental profession have a voice on Capitol Hill. As for me, I learned tons about the details of law-making and lobbying efforts. Plus, ASDA’s introduction on Monday was so efficient and so well-organized- I was so impressed by the immense amount of work ASDA put into this important event!

You can read more about Lobby Day on ASDA’s official blog, Mouthing Off.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

everyone’s dental consult

This weekend, I contacted Juliana for some legal counsel. She’s the closest thing I have to my personal lawyer. Like if I were on Law and Order and I’d said “call my lawyer!” I’d mean Jules. (By the way, did everyone see the last episode with Olivia’s stalker??? Crazy!!!)

Then I got asked to consult an orthodontic case. Okay… it was an informal request from a friend. MJ is my oldest friend & she lives in Texas so of course I said yes!!! She even sent me scanned copies of her panoramic radiographs, intraoral photographs, and diagnosis + treatment plans to get my opinion.


I was so flattered. Okay, I’m not an orthodontist. I’m not even a dentist yet. But I have taken an orthodontics class & will soon be bonding brackets onto plastic teeth-ed mannequins. And I love teeth and occlusion- so I’ll talk about these things for hours. It was so interesting to see her current occlusion and think about how I would treat her then compare it with her actual treatment plan.

Today I got the most excited text from Jules who bought Crest’s new Be Unexpected Mint Chocolate Trek toothpaste. I love that I’ve found my niche in my friends’ heads! Teeth? Toothpaste? Dentist appointments? Let’s call Yesle.

Friday, April 11, 2014

most popular painting for dental students

is this:

The Scream by Edvard Munch.inflamma

I can’t tell you how many times this picture has come up in our dental school class slides… or how many times I drew a version of this painting in my notes. (Often next to some gruesome clinical pictures or surgery photos that came on without warning).

What a masterpiece. This painting never fails to evoke my anxiety and uneasiness. Just one look and I’m biting my lip. If I had to describe dental school as a painting… I would have to say yeah, this one.

Okay, I’m kidding. But seriously, this is the most prevalent/commonly observed painting in a dental school setting. Here’s another one- Burkitt’s lymphoma is characterized by these cells that look like the sky in Starry Night.


Looks exactly the same as the original! Too cool.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

puppy or no puppy?

(I’m back from ASDA’s Lobby Day in DC and catching up on everything! First, let’s talk puppies.)

I’d been on a mad hunt for a dog (and a dog-friendly apartment) last week. It was really getting out of hand. I looked up pictures of dogs and puppies in class and after school. I fell in love with all of them!

Then I learned that there’s an instant cure for puppy fever: spend a day dog-sitting. My friend was out of town for a weekend and asked me to take care of his dog. Not that it’s Snowy’s fault. She is the most curious, happiest fluffy dog around. It’s not her, it’s me.

It was super fun until I had to wake up early the next morning to walk this puppy. She takes her daily walk at 9AM, thank you very much. Dogs thrive on regular schedules and me? I love a good snooze button on weekends…



But West Philadelphia felt so much friendlier with a puppy! I chatted with a bunch of strangers and took a longer walk route than I normally would have. This morning I read this NY Times article which echoes this sentiment and also quotes many studies that suggest dogs can enhance your happiness and well-being. I was nodding along and starting to think that I should get a puppy until I hit the last paragraph:

In an interview, Dr. Friedmann emphasized that “pets are not a panacea” to be treated like a drug taken when you feel unwell.

Life in dental school can be crazy. Unexpected things can jump at you. Like when I dropped my provisionals on the floor or had to reset my dentures teeth from the beginning. And I imagine even when I begin clinic this summer, I’ll have responsibilities and commitments I need to make as a dental student- first and foremost.

So no puppy- for now. I’d love one, but it’s not right for me at this phase in life. (I’m still open to the occasional pet-sitting if anyone has an adorable puppy in Philadelphia!)

Do you have pets in dental school? Can you imagine having one?

Friday, April 4, 2014

knowing your worry pattern

Perfect Thursday night- no exams in sight for this dental student for a whole week. I went through my old photos to find this one from graduation six years ago (and here I’m going to try embedding a tweet):

This is a freedom week! For me, at least. Because I worry around stressful events. Here’s what I mean: in talking to a friend about her weekend, she told me she worries when there is free time. There is nothing to distract her (aka exams). For me, I get more frantic when I am already stressed and instead of studying, I grab anything and everything else I can worry about. How does your stress level correlate with your exam schedule?


I love Rubin’s character quizzes, like this one to figure out if you are an Upholder, a Questioner, a Rebel, or an Obliger. I am definitely an Upholder- Rubin says I’m like Marnie on “Girls”. In identifying myself with a certain label, it’s easy for me to recognize my (sometimes faulty) pattern of thinking. It also helps me understand others by seeing that others think (and act) in different ways.


Since I’m an “peri-exam worrier”, I’m thriving this week. I’ve been waking up late, cooking in pans (not microwaves), having text marathons, and even reading luxuriously (without a timer). I’m trying to set up some regular habits that can carry over into the upcoming stressful weeks.

I’m telling you, dental school is a huge lesson in self-discovery- albeit a very expensive one.

Because I know every little altercation will amplify as HUGE with an exam the next day, I’m trying to build up my coping mechanisms to carry me through. Also, it’s a nice trade-off to talk to my “free-time worrier” friends. They calm me down (my crazy text storms!!!) the night before an exam. Then I chat with them when the exam passes.

Do you worry when there are exams (and no free time to spare)?
Do you worry when there aren’t?