Monday, August 24, 2015

Stay Humble, Hustle Hard

I've officially hit a quarter century. My 25th birthday was a couple days ago, and I've got to say it feels a little strange. I'm now smack dab in the middle of my twenties, entering my late twenties, and to be honest, haven't got a clue in the world what I want to do with my life.

Some dental school shenanigans with my birthday twin. 

One of the huge blessings of going to UCLA for dental school is that since we don't have a grading system, and rather are pass/no pass/honors, we're not really barred from applying to any types of specialty programs due to bad grades, etc. At the same time, it's difficult for us to stand out amongst each other if many of us are applying to the same programs. That being said, I was talking to one of my friends at another dental school the other day, and she was saying that she "probably couldn't get into that residency anyway" because her scores weren't good enough.

While I'm definitely thankful for UCLA's grading system, the other side of this coin is that this excessive freedom to choose can be overwhelming. Something I've realized as a dental student is that as long as you have good hands and a good head on your shoulders, you're really capable of pursuing anything - it's just a matter of if it's something you want to dedicate your career to. And I mean, it's a little ridiculous. When I was an undergrad, I had very grandiose dreams of what it would be like to be a dental student. Now I'm here, and I'm over it. Well not over it as in I'm not happy, but the charm that shrouded my oblivion has largely dissipated. Now I know what I have accomplished, and I just want to figure out my next step. But pre-clinical lab doesn't really allow you to see where you're going.. if that makes any sense. It doesn't magically reveal to you what you like, and what you won't.. and you will never know if you made the right choice until you've already made it and it is already shaping your life.

And the way I see it, people have dreams of traveling the world, and of seeing certain places and experiencing certain things - but I have this weird dream to just know as much as possible. It's this feeling that if I've reached a quarter of a century, hopefully about a quarter of my life, that the things I will leave this world having accomplished and having experienced will be a life in full.

Another notable pattern I've seen at UCLA over and over again, is that the female faculty here are BOSS. LIKE SUPER BOSS STATUS. My professors in oral pathology, oral medicine, prosthodontics, periodontics, orthodontics.. there are just so many powerhouse women at this school, and it makes me see over and over again that whatever I do, I just hope I do it well. I hope that one day, I'm like these women who always inspire me to keep going, to encourage others, and to live with grace.

So as if I haven't reiterated enough, I'm 25 now, and I've given myself until 45 to be a rockstar. I have 20 years to do whatever the hell I want and just be awesome at it. So until then, just gotta stick to the motto - stay humble, hustle hard.