Tips for First-Year Dental School Students

Written by  //  2022/04/28  //  Career Planning  //  Comments Off on Tips for First-Year Dental School Students

Tips for First-Year Dental School Students

The first year of dental school is an exciting time, but it can also be a challenging experience for many. Before your first day of classes, check out our tips for first-year dental school students that will make your experience more enriching.

Balance Work With Fun

We all know that you must work hard and buckle down, but don’t overdo it in your first year. You should not spend all your time outside of class studying and learning. Dental school is challenging, but it’s better for your mental and physical health when you take time for yourself with friends and family.

One of the most common causes of first-year students falling behind or failing is burnout. Don’t shirk your responsibilities, but you won’t last long if you don’t find some time for yourself to unwind and relax.

Do Something Other Than Dentistry

Dental school isn’t just about studying dentistry; it’s also about trying and learning new things. It helps to have a hobby or something to think about besides dentistry.

What do you like to do when you’re not studying? Drawing, writing, photography, or sports? Pick up a hobby or join a new club to give yourself an excuse to take your mind off school.

Start Networking

It’s never too early to start networking. It’s one of the best ways to invite advice and counsel from professors and upper-level students. It may be intimidating for a first-year to talk with older students, but many are eager to share their experiences and offer advice.

Consider volunteering or joining a research opportunity to meet upper-level students and professors who know what you’re going through. The sooner you start networking, the faster it’ll pay dividends!

Keep An Open Mind

As you enter your first year of dental school, you probably have an idea about what specialty you want to practice. It’s good to have a starting point, but keep an open mind and learn about other specialties.

There are many types of different dentists. Many will tell you that the dentistry area they practice is not the one they initially envisioned. Take opportunities to shadow research groups and rotations outside of your intended specialty—sometimes, we find what we’re looking for without even trying!

Learn Your Anatomy

If you’re looking for more concrete advice about what to expect during your first year in dental school, we can help with that, too! Much of your first year will be about studying anatomy, a tricky subject that many students struggle with at first.

It’d be a good idea to study a little before your first year, and during class, consider forming an anatomy study group with classmates. Meet once a week to go over notes and practice study exercises to help one another.

Dental school isn’t easy, but it’s not supposed to be. Many students will tell you that the adjustment to their first year was the biggest challenge, so keep our tips for first-year dental school students in mind to have a more balanced and rewarding first year.

Image Credit: Adobe Stock #277371879

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