After your first week of dental school, it is normal to be bewildered by the level of detail in your introductory lectures, as well as the lofty expectations that your professors will then heft upon your shoulders.
Undergrad, this is not.
Don’t be dismayed if you find yourself in this situation, as Peter Spennato and countless other dentists have had to deal with these pressures in the past; if they get through it, so can you.
Below, we will share several tips that will help you survive dental school with an ease that will make your experience seem easy to the untrained eye.
Dental school is a hectic onslaught of lectures, labs, clinical placements, and exams. In order to manage it all with grace, start developing your organizational skills now.
This means not only knowing what is coming up in the days and weeks ahead, but also scoring each item in your to-do list by its intrinsic importance. This way, you can avoid wasting time on things that can wait.
By being honest with yourself about what activities will move you forward, and the ones that will not, your days will run smoother and your study sessions will be focused on actual learning rather than panicky last-minute cramming.
Schedule regular decompression time
While certain activities may not contribute directly to your academic ambitions, it doesn’t mean they don’t add value to your personal life.
It is important to strike a balance between your studies and your life away from the classroom, as impossible as that might seem to be at times.
By making time for friends, a movie, or at least a hot bubble bath once or twice per week, you’ll take some air out of the balloon that threatens to pop, should you push yourself too hard.
Stay fit and eat healthy
Other activities that can act as a relief valve are exercise and healthy eating, as keeping yourself in shape has been shown to alleviate stress in many studies.
Unlike the weekly events mentioned above, it is vital that you make these acts a central part of your lifestyle. This will help transform your body, thereby allowing it to operate optimally.
Housed in a finely-tuned body, your mind will do a much better job of managing anything a hectic day can throw at it, giving you the edge that you’ll need to succeed.
Learn how to study effectively
There’s no getting around it: there’s a lot to absorb and comprehend when it comes to the art and science of caring for another human being’s mouth.
Instead of procrastinating and then attempting to cram at the last minute in a vain attempt to pass your final exams, taking a methodical approach to your study sessions is the way forward to success.
Craft your strategy based on how you learn best: for example, visual learners will want to refer to detailed diagrams instead of trying to make sense of dry, academic copy, while aural learners will want to record lectures so that they can better understand the subjects they are taking.
Experiment with different techniques, and stick with what works best for you.