Monday, March 7, 2016

Third Year Life Thoughts

I was just eating dinner with my roommate when we realized that 1) our kitchen is very messy and 2) our table has a lot of random things on it that don't typically belong on kitchen tables. But it's not weird because it's just our life.
Third year is full of surprises and changes. At UCLA, it's when you start rotating through each of the different specialties and get to see how all the different facets of dentistry fit together. This was one of the most identity-challenging aspects of dental school for me, because this is where I started to see, and maybe even accept, that some aspects of dentistry just aren't for me.

At some point, you finally have to let go of that "hard work" card, and just realize that you're a fish. Sure, being a bird would be wonderful. While hard work may help you feel more and more like a bird, and maybe you'll have small victories where you can propel your body out of the water.. you're simply better as a fish. Maybe it's actually braver to understand that, and use that to your advantage. I have difficulty coming to terms with the idea that hard work doesn't solve everything. Sometimes, happiness is the answer. Probably most times. But then my roommate reminded me that maybe it's better to be mediocre at something you love than amazing at something you don't. (Also, you should check this out because all of it is so real.)

Other third year surprises: You start really caring for your own patients for the first time, and I think its quite life-consuming. I often find myself wondering how that filling I just did is doing. As a student at UCLA, you are operating a one-woman (or one-man) dental office. You are your front desk staff. You are your dental assistant. You are your own in-house psychologist. And of course, you are the dentist. I gotta be honest, it's rough. But.. rewarding. Funny at times. And always very revealing about your character, as well as the nature of people.

Other thought, I've learned its absolutely necessary to find ways to be happy every step of the way or else one day, this huge mountain of expectations will come crumbling down because you've deferred happiness for such a long time.