In the final year of dental school, we have to perform a live exam completing:
-2 fillings (one anterior and one posterior)
-one quadrant of scaling and root planing
under a total of ten hours (7 for the first, 3 for the second) in one day.
The entire process spans on for weeks preceding. We search radiographs and screen patients for the perfect lesion, one that is big enough to require a filling but not too big. The right patient with a dependable medical history, no uncontrolled hypertension please. Someone who gets numb easily, will put up with the constant walking around to be checked by examiners, someone who can come during the day, be patient, etc etc. Repeat for each of the three parts.
So after spending weeks in this beautiful place- eating amazing seafood and watching the sun rise over the ocean- I came back a bit in panic mode: I have three weeks to find a patient! What if I don't find one? What if I forget some critical thing during the exam? What if my patient gets on the wrong bus? Should I have been recruiting long-distance? (I've heard of people recruiting successfully via dating apps...) What if I break my loupes the day before? (My loupes are going to be on high protection mode until exam day.) Knocking on wood as I type this.
Here's what my friends and I keep repeating to each other (and this applies to EVERYTHING! which in our case has been: dealing with superiors, dating, roommate issues, gaining weight, family conflicts, bridesmaids problems....) how you do one thing is how you do everything. It's the general pattern that emerges.
Instead of freaking out about my future & how I blurted out that one silly thing, I step back and think: is this how I want to be living my life? Is this the person I want to be? Because years are long, but the days are short and everything's happening right now, nothing is practice.
My exam is on January 25th, which also happens to be my Match Day. I'm wearing this nervous smile 😁 as I write this but I know that when that date passes and everything turns out FINE, I'm going to say: "I wish I didn't worry so much", that serenity prayer.