First weeks as a D1!

Our first two weeks of dental school are complete!

We had orientation for one week, and then classes for the past two. It is amazing how quickly time flies by. It seems as if just yesterday we were sifting through our dental kits. (Pictures below.) Now, we are already using instruments in simulation lab, dissecting cadavers, and learning so much material!

When I asked a handful of my classmates to describe our first week in three adjectives, many responded with “exciting”, “exhausting”, and “eye-opening”. Some other descriptors included “adaptation intense”, “ergonomics”, and “an organizational disaster”. The past three weeks have been filled with activities and events, from the moment we clipped on our dental school ID badges to the moment we donned our white coats. We walked to school together, and we shared meals. We tied each other’s lab gowns, and we went to BBQs to commemorate the beginning of our dental school careers. One of my classmates recounted that orientation was “the most social week of [her] life!”

My favorite afternoon during orientation was labeled ‘discovery’. ‘Discovery’ makes the activity sound incredibly novel, which it was, but the afternoon could probably have been more accurately be described as ‘inventorying’. We opened up over $13,000 in tools and equipment at our lab benches. The most thrilling part of the dental kit excavation was when we found (and subsequently slipped on) our UCLA scrubs. Go Bruins!!!

Boxes on each of our benches, ready for ‘discovery’
There were many boxes. It was as if we were opening matryoshka dolls.
UCLA Dental School scrubs!

Before we knew it, however, orientation was over and classes began. This is where ‘ergonomics’ and ‘adaptation’ come in. UCLA emphasizes the importance of good posture to avoid developing injuries. It was an entertaining lecture, especially when we saw photos of our fellow classmates craning their necks during our first wax-up! Dental school also requires a willingness to adapt. We take classes during the day, and studying is expected at night. Over the weekend, we are allowed to enter lab and review material before our Monday (or Tuesday) anatomy quiz. I know some classmates who went in on Saturday at 8AM, and others who didn’t leave until Monday at 12:30AM! That is serious dedication, and it’s great to see people truly interested in learning.

Creating a weekly schedule is near the top of my priority list. If there was one piece of advice that I heard many times over during orientation, it was to make time for our non-dental school hobbies. Looking back, ‘exciting’, ‘exhausting’, and ‘eye-opening’ hit the nail on the head, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Until next time!


One Comment Add yours

  1. TeaAndTeeth says:

    Hello from Michigan! I’m a D1 at University of Michigan. We’re learning the same stuff you are right now except we started school mid June so we took head and neck anatomy and a couple other classes. I totally feel you in having to get used to adapting to these full lecture days and studying at night. Looking forward to reading about your adventures!


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