Thursday, July 31, 2014

NBDE part 1. down.

Hello and good morning, rest of my life.

I am done with my NBDE Part 1! I feel like I did when I conquered the pathology monster. Invincible. In disbelief. The last week after clinic I have been power-studying. I'd been so anxious about this whole experience that I kept waking up at 4AM. Then I would wait until my favorite coffee shop opened at 6:30AM.
Kathryn sent me this hilarious card which arrived the day before my boards. I kept it on my dinner table for laughs. She also sent me the perfect study songs so... if I pass I owe her a lot. ;-)

About boards: I definitely did not study as much as some people did. I chose to take it one week after clinic ended, which gave me about five intense study days. If I had to do it over again, I would study the ASDA released exams more & go over key concepts (muscles of mastication, TMJ, occlusion). I really had to know the minute details of key topics to navigate through the treacherous multiple choice answers.

Before heading out: SO excited to never have to see these Dental Decks. 

Sweet, sweet freedom. I got so many texts & fb messages from those who remembered my test date amongst their own busy lives. Thank you!! Now I'm going to finish decorating my new apartment (I took a 6-hour study break to IKEA last weekend- oops).

Last tip for the NBDE: bring a sweater!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

braces update- it's been a while.

This is my study break! Trying to make this quick then back to focus foxing. ;-)

I haven't written about my braces in a long time- since this May when Dave sent me the snake picture, I'm in month 21 of my orthodontic treatment. Meanwhile, I have bent wires, made lingual retainers, and gotten enough blisters to be a real orthodontist. 

Some of my classmates have gotten their braces off and they look so great. They are also able to eat apples/greens/chips freely without a toothbrush on hand. I love the experience of having braces (the luxury of snoozing in the dental chair once a month) and my orthodontist Helen is awesome as always. But I am getting a little impatient- sometimes I think I am never going to get these braces off.

Lots of things have changed: I am able to "bite the lettuce out of the sandwich". My sibilant sounds are crisper. I show a lot more upper teeth now (this makes me look younger).

I got some new elastics at my last appointment and realized that the 3M Elastics all have person names. I've moved on from Elliot to Bill and Fred (there's also Louie, Joe, and Cathy). So what does a girl have to do to get new elastics named after her?

I'm going to try to get some before & after pictures so I can show how much everything's changed. My astute dental classmates come up to me all the time and tell me my teeth look so much better, but I wonder if regular non-dental people can tell the difference. For me, the biggest improvement has definitely been function (over aesthetics)- pizzas, I'm not afraid of you anymore.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

This is THE exam.

Alex gave me some wisdom when I texted to whine about studying on a Friday night. She said this:

I am officially done with the summer clinic portion of dental school- for this year! Best part about the summer is no smurf blue scrubs. Although I have to admit that I kind of love us all wearing matching blue scrubs. I tried to sneak up on my friend Liz and she saw the neon blue reflection from a store window- dental student alert!


Now, for the next few days I'm going to be reviewing everything I've learned over the last two years of dental school. Then I'm going to rock the boards to get that big P.

I was inspired by this post from The Man Repeller about splurges to daydream about I'll do once I pass the boards. I'm thinking: flowers, bath bombs, and CVS flavored waters (those things are addictive)!!!!!!! I can already see that letter with the giant PASS in all caps. Can you tell by the number of exclamation points that I'm kinda sorta excited for this?

I'd love more fun ideas to celebrate! Maybe I can fill up my living room with balloons and pretend it's a ball pit. Okay- so what is the etiologic agent of amebic dysentery?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Scenes from summer dental school life

I am officially ten days away from taking my NBDE Part 1- the boards! This post is picture heavy so I can finish up my Dental Decks before going to bed tonight. 

I studied outside this morning and the weather was unbelievable. It was in the 70's and I was almost chilly with my iced coffee! Perfect running weather... but I was studying. :-(

One of our dental school rotations is Admissions/Emergency. It is exactly what it sounds like: we admit patients who come to the dental school to become patients or to have their emergency pain address. We do a very thorough medical history work-up with these patients and everything we learned the past two years come back: drug interactions, modifications for diabetic patients, intra/extraoral exams, and cancer screenings. I'm learning a LOT.

Bri came by my clinic one day and snapped some pictures of me working hard. I wish I'd been doing something cool like gold inlays and looking intense but I think I'm just doing a medical update... Most of what I'm doing this summer is prophylaxis and scaling/root planing. 

I did laundry this weekend and it was all: our neon blue scrubs, cami's and socks. Wearing scrubs (and not business casual) makes doing laundry extremely easy. 

That's it! Back to memorizing the tooth eruption sequence. This week I'm excited about seeing the art in my back yard progress. My new neighbor is an artist and he's working on a new piece this week. Oh and of course my last week of clinic!!! and all my August-clinic friends coming back in town- ;-) They may be sad about their vacation ending but I'm excited to have them back in Philly.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

settling into my new apt (starting last week of summer session)

We have one more week left of clinic! And then I’m officially done for the summer. I love my new apartment although there’s no pets allowed. Good thing I have friends with beautiful furry guys who’ll let me walk them. Like this Milo here (he has the sweetest face!):


I love taking care of little doggies! Although I won’t have a dog for a long time, maybe it’s good that I can return said dog at the end of the day. 


This week was all packing and all moving. I have a HUGE closet and my excessive wardrobe fit in completely- with room to spare. At my old apartment, my dresses and wardrobes always seemed to be overflowing with clothes- but here, my clothes don’t seem as many. That might be dangerous. ;) Same clothes, different closet. It makes them seem smaller here in my new place.

My brother Mark told me to listen to Kevin Smith’s smodcast: “What is Kevin Smith Thinking?”. He talks about “cognitive reframing”. After his first movie was a disappointment (he thought so anyway), Kevin Smith was saying things like, “I made a movie and it failed”. But then he started seeing what had actually happened: he had made a freakin’ movie! In the 10,000 you’re learning to be good at something, you’re bound to fail. 

So… the mistakes I’m making in clinic are all part of me becoming a dentist. From competent to proficient to exceptional.

Here’s something beautiful to end my post: I celebrated my new apartment with these mixed flowers from the farmer’s market. It’s so beautiful in Philly this week! Studying indoors is hard when it’s gorgeous sunny 80’s. One and a half weeks until my boards!



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

all moved in!

The day has finally arrived! I'm officially moved into my new grown-up apartment.

My classmates Henry and Gene agreed to help me out at 7AM on a Sunday. Moving is so much easier with muscle, speaking of which, I need to get back into BodyPump. My living room was filled with boxes paused in "mid-packing" mode for days before I moved everything into my new place.

As much as I'm excited to live alone, I'm going to miss random chats with my ex-roommate. And coming home to delicious meals he's cooked!!! I've always been so lucky with roommates and Ze was no exception. He always gives people the benefit of the doubt. I am learning to extend that grace to others.

My new place is sunny with high airy ceilings. I can't wait to decorate the place and make it look homely and lived-in. Although, however creative I try to decorate my living places, they always end up looking like a page out of Pottery Barn kids.

I love this Austin apartment from Apartment Therapy. Neutral background with tons of fun details. I love it when friends' apartments have tons of stuff to look at. 

tons of fun patterns and unique textures

(Most of their stuff is from Target and Ikea!!!)

The first night I moved in, it thunder stormed like crazy. My phone actually beeped three times really loud (the weather warning for flash floods) and I jumped a foot. But it was so lovely watching it rain and thunder from my window: a perfect welcome gift from Mother Nature.

For the next few weeks, I'm going to be focusing on the NBDE Part 1. I feel like I've gotten a huge task out of the way with completing my move!

What phrase would you use to describe your apartment?
Where do you find your decorating inspirations?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

get angry

I like to think I'm a calm person. I have clarity about what I have control over and what I don't. I don't get angry often. But this week I'm fired up. It's uncomfortable.

Here we have the HIPAA-hippo again but some of the things are in my personal life too. So I'm more angry because I'm seeing a pattern of injustice. It makes me fired up and shake my first! And then I slouch my shoulders and tell myself this is just how it is.

Green is a calming color, right?

I found this quote by Malcolm X:
“Usually when people are sad, they don't do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.”
This sort of anger can inspire you to say "ENOUGH!" and move on to create changes- including personal goals.

I think most of the uncomfortableness comes from the unfamiliarity of this feeling. It's new. Like when I go to BodyCombat and we're supposed to pretend we're beating up someone we're mad at, I think "but I don't want to beat up anybody." I turn over this burning coal in my mind and it doesn't sit well. But I am inspired to do something about it. Fix the problem instead of moping about the situation as-is.

When's the last time you were fired up about something?
How do you like to dissolve that tension/passion/power? 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

learning to pace clinic/"work"

Happy July everybody! I got a new Macbook over the weekend and while I love most things about this computer, I haven't been able to find a Mac substitute for Windows Live Writer. So my posts may look a little funny next few weeks as I figure out how to work with Blogger. 

(Okay, this to me already looks a little funny. But we'll keep going...)

I started referring to dental school as "work" to everybody. For example, I'll say things like "I have work early tomorrow!" and "Work felt really long today", etc etc. I think I've said this already but I'll say it again: it's pretty wonderful being in clinic. Having an entire body- a whole person- attached to the mouth we're treating is so great. That sounds weird, but here's what I mean: I have people who bring me puny jokes and family pictures and travel stories. It's not just #15 MOD amalgam please.

Some of my patients are quickly becoming my favorite people. Today I scheduled my patient's next visit for September and was sort of sad doing that. ("So... we'll chat again in two months?")

In addition to clinic, I'm squeezing in study time for my boards too. Some people (like Sharon!) are already done with their boards. I'm going to really enjoy my August when time comes.

There's so many cool things I'm learning about clinic, dentistry, and patient care I want to share with you guys! But I don't want to provoke the HIPAA (I always picture a big hippo when I say this) and I sometimes wonder if my excitement is a little bit premature. I've only been seeing patients for a month. But I'll say this: clinic is a whole new ball park altogether. Sources of frustration arise from things I can't change such as insurance, money, or even just plain anatomy. 

Lan sent me these firework pictures from Florida. Nothing's new about fireworks. But everything's different.
And that's sort of how I hope to feel about clinic. Every day may be the same. Or every appointment is different. 

It's so windy outside right now! I'm pretty sure all of the papers in my living room just flew everywhere... Hope everyone's enjoyed their Fourth of July weekend! And for those of you working hard on dental school applications, hang in there.