Dental School Coach Success Story: Alexis kicks ass at Penn Dental

– Hi everyone, my name is Zia, And I’m the Dental School Coach. Today I have an amazing guest with me. Her name is Alexis, and she
just finished her first year at Penn Dental. She was one of my student two years ago, and now she is gonna share her journey to dental school with you. If you’re on the brink of
applying to dental school, I want you to pay attention
to this, for a few reasons. First of all, Alexis goes into details about her journey to Penn Dental. She goes in detail about her DAT, her personal statement
writing, and her interviews. Number two, she talks about
her long distance relationship and balancing it with the dental school. And finally, she goes in
detail about Penn Dental. So if you’re interested
in attending Penn Dental, she gives you a lot of
insider secrets about it. So without further ado, let’s
jump right in to the interview and let me introduce you to Alexis. – Hi guys, I’m Alexis. I currently go to Penn Dental Medicine. I’m actually from
Arizona, so it’s just like a really big transition moving
basically across the country. Yeah. I like to just hang out and be pretty low key, just chill and everything, but
I am enjoying the city. It’s a big difference for me so, yeah. That’s pretty much me. (laughing) – Penn is actually a very
close place for me because I went there for undergraduate. How are you liking Penn so far? – It’s a lot different. I like the aspect that it’s like very university city-like
’cause it’s a lot of the college experience that
I didn’t necessarily have, ’cause I went to community
college to start off with. – OK. – Pretty cool. It’s cool being in a
place where it’s like, you know that you’re getting the top, I guess the top education
that we’re getting, all these really cool
instruments that we get to use and since we’re in a new
curriculum and everything, we got our own curing lights,
we got all this really fancy equipment and everything. And it’s nice to know that
when they’re teaching us they tell us, this is
top-of-the-line research and we’re following it, so,
I think that aspect of it is really cool. The city itself is really different. I don’t know if I’d stay
in the city for sure. But I definitely enjoy
being here, it’s cool to like experience a
different aspect of the world. – Nice. I mean I don’t think many
of the Penn Dental students would live in Philadelphia
after they finish. Many of my undergraduate
friends went to New York or San Francisco so, or DC, so that’s the split that usually happen.
– Yeah. – But anyways. How did you become interested
in dentistry to begin with? – So, it actually was a long journey for me. First it started off with me not really enjoying the dentist when I went there. I always had issues with them. They were always kinda mean to me and, for some reason I had a really
nice hygienist once and she, I came out of it and I was
just like you know what? I’m gonna be a dentist. So I started doing
research classes in school that were open ended,
and I started doing them orally related, and so, I got really interested
in the whole periodontitis causing cardiovascular disease. And so, that really interested me
a lot because it kind of played a role in how the
public doesn’t really, they don’t see dental
health as a big deal. They see their regular bodily
health as like a big deal, but they didn’t see oral
health as a big deal. I worked in restaurants for a long time, there’s a lot of people that
I worked with were always, like oh yeah, I haven’t been
to the dentist in forever. They had horrible teeth all the time and no one ever really brought that up. And so that became a big issue for me just like the public
health aspect of dentistry. And
– Yeah. – So I think that’s how
I kinda got involved and excited about it and wanted to do it. – So you mentioned that you
went to a community college. So where did you school, and how was your undergraduate journey? – Yeah so, initially I came out of high school, I had a good GPA and everything. And I was like I’m never gonna go to a community college ever. And then, finances told me yeah you are! So I went to Mesa Community College, ’cause I’m from Mesa Arizona. And went there for two
years, got my associates. And then I transferred to
Grand Canyon University, and that’s right in Phoenix. So it’s a private
Christian institution and, it’s kinda funny because at the
time when I was going there, I didn’t really like it so
much and I was like man, I don’t think I’m getting a
good education and I think I could be getting a better education. But, now that I’m here, and a
year into dental school, I realize I got a really
good education because I took classes like pathology
and pharmacology and anatomy and I think those
classes particularly really have helped me
a lot in dental school. A lot of areas where my
classmates, I think are struggling to get up to where we’re
supposed to be is somewhere I’m very familiar with and so I think the learning aspect of
undergraduate was really good. I liked the undergraduate
school I went to just because GCU has, it had a lot of
Christian fellowship there and that was something that
was really important to me and I met some of my closest friends that I’m still really
close with even though they’re all the way across the country and doing their own thing.
– Yeah. – Yeah. – That is important
because when I was at Penn, I was taking mostly classes
that are not related to dental school, or kind of
unrelated to dental school. My first year, if I had
gone, it would have been a bit of a challenge of kinda filling that gap of biology classes that you have been talking about. So that’s really important
that you mentioned that. Did you face any challenges transitioning from community
college into dental school? I’m sorry, transitioning
from community college to a four year college to dental school? I know sometimes dental schools are not particularly interested in taking community college courses
and we have a lot of audience that are going to community college and they are interested
in becoming a dentist. So what advice do you have for them? – Yeah so well, one of
the things that I did, and one of the things that
I did wanna mention was I think that the ADEA puts out a book on all the dental schools,
and all the information, and it gets updated every year. So you can buy it off their website. I think it’s only like $40 or something. So I went through there, and
any school that even said we don’t accept community college, or we only accept up, I
think I had like 70 credits from community college. So I think anything that
said, that gave me the vibe that they didn’t accept
community college credits, or they only accepted like
60, that was obviously unacceptable for me, so, I
basically just kinda went through and was able to cross off a
lot of schools because of that. But it helped me narrow
down my choices a lot. But to me it wasn’t realistic to try to apply to a school
that had their notions, and for me, I loved community college, and I would recommend it to anyone, even if they’re trying to
go to dental or med school. And so, I think it’s a great
learning environment, but, so I would just put that in mind, like you don’t necessarily
want to go to a school that doesn’t appreciate that maybe, if you’ve already went through it and are in community college. So that’s what I would say. – So a lot of my students,
they got to community college not by choice, sometimes
because of circumstances or because of financial needs
and it’s completely acceptable that you go to a
community college and then you go into a dental
school after two years of four year college. Some schools may not take your credit, but a lot of schools
will take your credits, so make sure that you check the ADEA book. I’m gonna link it below so
that on the YouTube video you can go directly and buy the book from the American Dental
Education Association website. So let’s talk about some of
the courses that you have taken as an undergraduate. You mentioned a few of
the biology classes. Do you have any other recommendation for pre-dental students who are interested in going to dental school? – Yeah. I think all the other
ones besides those three that I mentioned are ones
that you’re gonna have to take anyways regardless of which
school you’re applying to. But I know anatomy is a big
one where a lot of students they’ll apply to schools
because they didn’t have to take certain courses of anatomy
and I would recommend taking it anyways because
you’re taking it anyways in dental school, and it’s
gonna be super helpful to have that in the back of your mind as something that you’ve done before. And I actually, I think
in my biology course, in community college,
we had dissected a cat. And so now we’re doing
dissection on a human cadaver, in the past couple weeks we have been. So for me it’s nothing new,
and everyone’s asking me how are you so good at this? And like I’ve done it before, and I’ve taken anatomy before so, I think anatomy is a huge
thing that people don’t give it enough credit.
– Right. – My undergrad, my program
was emphasis on pre-medicine. So that’s why I had the pathology course, and that’s why I had
the pharmacology course. But those definitely are gonna
pop up again in med school, or dental school, sorry. And med school too but, so I think that’s a big thing for me. Those three courses are what
I would definitely try to get in there, and they
may be hard at the time but they’re gonna put
you so much more ahead of the game when you get
there and kind of relieve you of a lot of the stress that
you would have in dental school that you already have, so
that would be my advice. – Right. And I totally agree with you because a lot of my students who got
into dental school last year they have come back and
said the same exact thing. So this is a great advice, and
thank you for sharing that. Let’s talk about
application process overall. When was the time that
you started studying for the DAT and when did you take it? – I set aside six months
for myself to study. So did it in May, so I think I started studying in December? Actually I studied five months, so I started studying January fifth, and I took it on May fifth. I set aside that specific amount of time because I was also in school time, so I set aside a lot of time
to start studying for it. – OK. Was there any particular
strategy that you used to study for the DAT? – So what I did was I
got the Princeton book, the big Princeton book.
– OK. – I also had the Kaplan
book but I never used it. I read through it like once. I skimmed it a little bit,
but I didn’t really like it. But I thought the Princeton
was really good because all the pages were colored and shiny-ish. (laughing)
So bearable. And I read straight through
the whole entire book. I took the practice questions in the end. When you buy the Princeton
book, they also give you two practice exams.
– OK. – And practice exams are
a huge thing I think. I think I also used Kaplan’s practice exam from the book that I bought from them, and they weren’t even up-to-date. They were like a year
or two behind because I couldn’t afford to buy
all these super expensive, everyone’s doing the classes,
I was just like I can’t. And so I was even using a
book from a couple years back. And I also, I think I ended up caving and getting, it was called DAT Boot Camp. – DAT Book Camp? – Yeah.
– OK. – And that was really super
helpful especially for the PAT portion of it because, just
to get my speed up with it. And just because you need a
lot of practice questions. So I think one huge plus is doing a
lot of practice questions. And then I think also it’s
important to take the DAT right after you finish the
courses that you need to finish. Try not to wait super
long because it’s all fresh in your brain at that time. And then, I think I probably took, off the ADEA website, I
bought their practice exam that they allowed you to get. So I think I probably took
four or five practice exams. I took two of ’em like a couple
days before the actual DAT. So I was very well
prepared, I was totally fine with the five and a half
hours or whatever it took. And I knew the flow of the exam, I wasn’t caught off guard by anything. And I think knowing the
exam and knowing how they’re gonna ask the
questions is important as well. – OK. What was the most challenging
sub-topics in the DAT for you? – I wanna say biology was, just because it was such a wide range of biology. It wasn’t just one certain focused area. ‘Cause the PAT was just, you figure out how you like to do it and
you just do it that way, and it’s fine. I feel like it’s the
same for O chem and chem, we just kinda learned
context you need to learn. But biology was a really
broad spectrum, so I mean, be really familiar, when you’re
studying in your classes, study to know everything,
don’t study to pass your exams because that’ll affect
you on your DAT later. And then one thing I think I
was caught off guard by was I didn’t have a lot of
time for the math section. I don’t think I actually
finished that section because it was just like, there
was a lot of little tricks that I didn’t know, and I was trying to do everything out by hand. So I think biology and
math were the two sections that I struggled with the most. – OK, that’s good to know. So when did you take it? Did you take it after you
applied to dental school or before you applied? – Before, so, 2015, May fifth, it was when I took it. So actually two years ago today. I think I saw on Facebook memories. And then the applications
open June second so I took it a full month beforehand. That way, so that way it was over and done with, and I could start focusing on actually other things about
applying a month before the June deadline. And I think that’s how
I planned it originally. So, when I was a sophomore, I was
like OK, pick out schools! And when I was a junior I was like, OK continue picking out schools. And then I was like all right, when am I gonna study for the DAT? And I’m like OK, I need this
much time to study for it, and it needs to be before
the application dates open. And then as I was studying
for that also making sure that OK, I’m gonna need this
many recommendation letters. OK, am I shadowing enough? Am I gonna have everything
prepared so I can turn in my application on June
second, that type of thing. – OK, so, you have done it in a very
methodical and deliberate way which is what you should be
doing, because a lot of times students tend to delay applying to schools and they end up applying to schools in August or September, and sometimes they don’t
even receive any interviews. So, make sure that you do things systematically
as Alexis mentioned. Make sure you select your
schools and take the DAT and apply by June first or second, or the first week of June I think. That’s the best time to apply, and gives you the highest chance of getting an early interview
from many schools. So in terms of applying to schools, how many schools did you apply to? – I applied to 10. – That’s a low number. But, why was that? Were you sure that you were
gonna get into some places? ‘Cause most people apply
to at least 15 schools. – Mm hmm. A lot of what I did was financially based. So again it was like, how many schools can I apply to and still, you know. So that was a big part of my decision. – OK, so take us deeper
into that decision. What did you think about when
you were applying to schools? – OK so, like I said, I went through
that ADEA book that I had, and I knocked out all
the schools that didn’t accept community college. I knocked out most Texas
schools just because their acceptance rate
of people out-of-state is very, very, very low, I mean
like in the one to 3% range. So I knocked out a lot of schools that, right ’cause I was applying
to a low number of schools. So I was trying to maximize
my chances of getting in. So schools that had high
out-of-state acceptance rates, especially ’cause Arizona
didn’t have the in-state, per se schools. So all the schools that
had higher acceptance rate for out-of-state, more like, out-of-state acceptances, a lot of those schools were
the schools that I kept. I also went through and read
all of their mission statements and looked at their courses
that they had you take and other things like that. I researched a lot of the schools. I looked at location, location, location, knocked out all the Midwest schools ’cause that wasn’t
something that was for me. And so pretty much that knocked it down to California schools and
then some choice schools on the East coast. – OK, that’s great. In terms of writing the personal statement which is a big part of your application. What strategy did you use? – I think the personal
statement’s really hard for me. I think that’s what held me back the most. I think my goal was to
be genuine about it. I didn’t really care so much about, and I probably should have but, I didn’t care so much if
it was written perfectly or if it was, my goal was to catch ’em with a good hook and then
to be really personal and to be really open about why
I was doing what I was doing and why I was gonna be good at it. And so I think that
worked out well for me. I used a really personal story
and I think that it worked. (laughing) – So what kind of
structure did you follow, what did you talk about, I’m
not gonna ask you to share specific stories but what
kind of stories did you tell? And for the audience,
would you mind sharing some of the examples of
things that you put down? Not anything specific, just
from a broad perspective. – Yeah. One of the things I was told a lot was don’t just say oh I’m loyal, or I’m smart, or I’m committed, it was like, let me tell you this short
little nitpicky story that shows you that I am committed. And let me show you
this short little story that shows you that I
am smart, or whatever. And so, I think what I
first did was just like bring in what got me
interested in dentistry, and then I went through why
it personally mattered to me and why it was really important. And I always like to end with, I know I’m great and you think I’m interested in dental school,
but here’s why I can do it because I know dental school
is a very rigorous thing. And for me, being a waitress
and going to school full-time, and working 40 hours a week
and doing all this stuff, I was like OK. So here’s why, I can already multi-task, I can already do all these things. I did talk about shadowing. Like my most favorite
experiences in shadowing. And just like very briefly
and things that I thought tied really well together
with my reasoning for wanting to be a dentist. And I think that was beneficial
as well because it shows that you had a lot of
experience shadowing. I would definitely, if
you shadow a lot, include. And if you hadn’t, include
something about shadowing in your personal statement. – Yeah I always recommend
that you have to have a story about shadowing because
that shows that you have kind of been there, done
it, or been there seen it before you go to dental school. That’s great. How did you handle the
secondary applications? – I think I tried to be
a little more nonchalant just because the application process is
very long and it’s very, it takes a lot out of you but, just again, try to be as honest
and as real as you can. And I feel like, obviously, have good grammar,
have good writing style. But I feel like when you’re
real it kinda shows through and, if you going to a school where
the school sees who you are is important to you, then I think those are the schools
that are gonna accept you ’cause they’re gonna see your
realness through your writing. – True that. One thing I do wanna ask you,
with regards to secondaries, a lot of the schools who ask
for the secondary statement, one of the common question
is why this school? Like why Penn, or why NYU? So let’s say Penn or NYU, those are pretty brand name schools, they have, I would say
better than average websites, you can find materials to
talk about and write about. But schools like ASDOH
or Midwestern Illinois, some schools like that, random schools, I don’t know if you
applied to any of those. What was your experience trying to search through the website and find out why would you like those schools? How did you handle that? – Yeah. Definitely yeah look at their website, see what kind of words they use. See how the website’s set
up, if they have a lot of pictures, and just literally spend like 15, 30 minutes on their
website trying to get a feel for what that school is like. And then one thing that I didn’t do that I would definitely do if
I had to do it over again was reach out to students that
are already going there. I think that’s a huge
thing that can get you to have a feel of what the school is like. Because for me, yeah, I could’ve visited a
couple schools in Arizona, but that was kind of about it. And I wasn’t really
visiting other schools. So it was mostly based off of, what I saw on their website,
and if I had a student, and now I realize how
welcoming dental students are, that they’re all just like,
yeah ask me questions, ask me questions. They want you to connect with them, they want you to ask questions. And so I feel like that
would be a really good way to find out what a
school’s all about without just putting stuff off their website like in your secondary
responses to make it sound like you know what’s going on. – So, how would anyone reach out to a student
like you or someone at Penn? Is there a Facebook page? – I wanna say that for Penn specifically, you could probably get in touch, call the academic office and
ask about that kind of thing. And I’m sure they would direct you to the student council and student council would reach out to you. I’m not really sure as to how, all the D zeroes that are coming in are all in contact with us already. I don’t know how they got
our info, but they did. So, (laughing) I don’t know. I guess be resourceful,
but I definitely think, there is Facebook pages out
there, and there’s other things where certain people have
blogs that you can find. But I would say maybe just reaching out to academics affairs and asking
if they can put you in contact with the student council
of the year ahead of you or something, I think that would be good. – I think that’s a good idea. I asked you because some
schools are not like Penn. And Penn is a very specific place. I’ve been there so I know
how the school functions. Most schools are not gonna be
as active in terms of reaching out to people, perspective students or someone who is interested
in dental school there. So in that case what I recommend doing is kind of searching
through their Facebook page. Sometimes the schools have
their own Facebook page. So let’s say Penn Dental, and
then you can always request to talk to someone and, I’m sure that someone
will reach out to you and talk to you about their experience at that specific dental school. – Mm hmm. – So let’s talk about the
next phase of the process which is the interviews. How many interviews did you do? And I remember specifically because you and I did a mock interview together. And you were one of the
more polished students, so I didn’t have to give
you too many feedbacks or give you any guidance on doing dental interviews, but what
are some of the schools that you have interviewed, and what has been your experience? – Yeah, so I got interviewed
at five out of the 10 schools that I applied to.
– Oh wow. – Yeah, thanks. I got interviewed at Penn, I got interviewed at USC, UNLV which is Vegas. Midwestern, Arizona.
– Mm hmm. – UOP, University… – Pacific.
– Yeah. In San Francisco and, there’s probably one
more that I’m forgetting. But, yeah! So, what was the rest of the question? How did I… – Yeah what was your experience like? – Yeah. So, for the most part it
was kind of interesting ’cause I think all the
schools that I applied to, the application process was like, or the interview day was very similar. And it’s kind of interesting
’cause I heard from, now my classmates that
they went through all these weird, crazy things,
and I just had normal, either one or two person
interviews everywhere. So all those places
have normal interviews. But so, my interview
experience was basically, you walk into a room, you
meet a bunch of people, there’s food there. You don’t wanna eat any of it
’cause you’re super nervous. You’re sweating the whole time. You’re very uncomfortable for eight hours. But then you usually meet with a, an advisor of some sort, and they’ll like tell you about their school
and they’ll try to wow you because they want you too. And then you’ll either go
on some tour of the school, or you’ll get a chance to talk to students which is usually during lunch. So, you’re also not gonna
want to eat during lunch ’cause you’re trying to talk to students. But eat anyways, it’s
not worth it to not eat. And then you’ll basically
get a one-on-one interview. I had one on one interviews with a student which was really awkward. Had one-on-one interviews with, advisors and things like
that and different faculty. So pretty much it was all pretty similar as far as everything. I think the weirdest one
was Midwestern Arizona where they had two or three
people in the room with me. And they would ask me a question
and I would start talking, and I felt like they were
waiting for a key word, then when they heard the key word, they would click something
on their computer. And so I’d be like OK. But, that was pretty much
my interview experience. They were always really long days. They were fun but long and
always kinda stressful. Yeah. – So, in terms of the interview, do you have any specific advice for each specific school that you’ve been to? – For specific schools? For Midwestern Arizona specifically, definitely know what
kind of school they are. Know things about their mission statement. They are a school that works to make you the best general dentist that you can be. Definitely know that, they’re gonna ask you questions about it. They’re gonna wanna know
that that’s what you want out of a school. I think schools in general
also, most of the schools like to know that you
know what their school is. And it’s gonna come off as
very awkward if you don’t. And they’re gonna ask you
very pointed questions like why you wanna go to their school. And I think it’s very
important that you know, I would recommend going on
their website and making a list of all the reasons that you
wanted to go to their school because you’re gonna
(laughing) really dumb if you’re sitting there
and you don’t really have an answer and you
give ’em a general answer. That really turns them off. Yeah. – So, I had a few students who were interviewing at Midwestern Arizona,
and also in Illinois. Their website does not
have much information. So what did you do to prepare for it? I mean, it’s your home school, so right? It’s in the same state.
– Yeah. – Arizona. You probably have had a
chance to visit the school. For the people that didn’t have the chance to visit the school, what are your advice? – I would say the same thing. Attempt to reach out to students through one of the ways
that we’ve mentioned before getting there. And, I think they do other
programs as well, and maybe, I wanna say this now,
assuming that it’s helpful, but just calling the
school and talking to them and getting a vibe for what’s going on and asking them questions. I’m pretty sure that’s totally OK. But yeah if you can talk to
students, ask them about, what I actually did because when I went to the
interview, I didn’t know that they ask pointed questions like that. And one of the other
interviewees told me that. And so I was like, hey dude, what is this school all about? What’s the mission statement? And, I just kinda asked from my experience, the
people that interview at Midwestern are pretty chill people. So, I don’t know, use all
the resources you can until the very last second,
even if you’re unprepared. So, yeah.
– Cool. So, we did a mock interview together, I think in August 2015. What did you take away
from the mock interview? How did it help you? – It helped me to know what not to do. Which was, I thought important. ‘Cause I think you told
me one very specific thing about, I think I talked
about something like, something about my smile or something. Like I liked to smile. And you were like, yeah don’t say that. And I was like OK! I was totally gonna say that. That was on my list of, I basically made a list of key points, not like exact phrases, ’cause I thought that was gonna keep it too
strict and not personable. But I made a list of key points and I was gonna talk about them, and that was one of my key points. And so I had to go back and
think of another key point. And so I think that really helped to not keep that, I think
it’s important to hear people say what you are bad at. (laughing) – That’s true. Lotta people don’t know
what they are bad at. And also what they’re good at. So sometimes someone else
have to tell them that this is your weakness and work on that specific things. So you’ve done interviews at five schools. How many schools did you get into? – Five. (laughing) – So all of them? Well.
– USC took a little while. But I eventually did get in there as well. – So were you wait listed there? – Yeah, they had wait
listed me on December first or second or whenever
it was, and then I think by March they had accepted me.
– But by then, you already had your deposit down at Penn. – Right, yeah. – So why did you choose Penn specifically? – So I chose Penn because, so they have a very high rate of specialization, a lot of opportunity for specialization. They have five dual degree programs that you can get involved
with, you basically apply kinda like 3/4ths of the way through
first year and you get, you basically get a scholarship, and you would do your
master’s at the same time that you finish your DMD. And so I thought that
was a really cool thing. So those were two of
the bigger reasons that Penn had something different
than the other schools did. Another reason was just like the name. Just Penn, it was an ivy league, you know? And it was kind of
amazing for me coming from a community college and barely expecting to get
into dental school that, an ivy league wanted me, and
so that was really crazy. And so it was almost like I
couldn’t even say no to them. So, yeah, I think that’s why. – Penn is a tremendously
great school, no doubt. But you also had other good
options so I’m sure that the decision that you made is
definitely worth it right now. So let’s talk about something
completely different from the application process
and I wanna understand your journey through the
first year of dental school. So let’s talk about good bad and ugly. (laughing) Well, what are some of the
good experiences that you had? At Penn. – Good experiences. Definitely working together, and here’s the word camaraderie. I don’t like that word
but, just the fact that our class has really come together, and, for everything, you know. We don’t hang each other out to dry. You may think that going to an ivy league means competition, it doesn’t. You may think that since we’re graded it means competition, it doesn’t. It’s really, the vibe that
we set for our own class and that was to work together,
to share information, and I think, honestly
that’s the best part. I have a really great study group which has really
contributed to me doing well in dental school, for me personally. So I think that’s one of
the (mumbling) things that’s been a really big deal for
me is just the fact that we’re so good at helping each other
out ’cause I don’t think that any of us would’ve made it if we didn’t help each other out. So I think that’s one of the good aspects. – That is true, that is very true. So in terms of some of the
challenges that you faced. What were they? And how did you overcome them? – Yeah. I think one of the first
challenges was moving out here from Arizona and I basically did it with a
couple friends, came out here, I lived at my parent’s house
until I came to dental school so it was living on my own now, it was living in the middle of the city which I was not used to. The weather not being
100 degrees all the time which is really weird. – It’s super cold in
Philadelphia sometimes. – Yeah. (laughing) I’d never seen below
50, so I was confused. But I think it was just, for me, it was a lot of getting used to doing the dishes and cooking and, figuring out how do I do life, but then also going to dental
school at the same time. Another challenge is my
boyfriend’s still out in Arizona. So, that’s obviously a lot of work
that you have to put into it, it’s a lot of communication,
it is possible. We’re still together, it’s great. And then I think, not that dental school’s necessarily, the material’s hard, it’s just that the amount of information
that we get on a weekly basis is like, astronomical, like we basically, I like to tell people
that it’s basically like we’re taking a mid term or
a final every single week. That’s the amount of information,
’cause it’s usually like, 10 to 11, two hour lectures and the classes, the way
that they do it is like, it’s always two hour lectures,
and they’re back to back, and you get little five
minute breaks in between. So it’s very, if you have four or three lectures a day, that’s six to eight hours
you’re sitting in class just trying to focus and
trying to pay attention. So I think that all that cumulative is what made the transition difficult. – Do you have to go to
your classes or can you watch them later on on
some kind of video network? – Yeah so, I don’t go to class. – That’s fine right? That’s completely fine ’cause
– I think it’s fine. At Penn, it varies from, that’s another good thing to
ask when you’re interviewing. ‘Cause another school that I interviewed, they made it seem like no one
ever showed up to class ever and it’s totally fine, and
faculty were OK with it. Here at Penn, you have renowned
people that are teaching you people that are doing
all this crazy research and people that get
offended, quite frankly, when you’re skipping class. And so, it’s seen as more of a rude thing when 75% of the class is gone. But yeah we do get it recorded. Sometimes there’s issues with
it, so it’s not a failsafe. But for the most part, for me, I can watch it on two times and I can take breaks and eat
food or pause it and rewind it if I’m getting confused so, I think that’s a good aspect
too is like having that background, I think that’s a
really good question to ask in an interview. Not to the interviewee but
to the students is just like, are things recorded, do professors care if you don’t go to class? Can you actually not go to class? There’s only been one or two courses where we’ve had mandated – Attendance.
– Attendance yeah out of like 15. – So, in terms of classes, what has been the most challenging class, and what made it challenging? – I think the most challenging class, so our curriculum’s weird now so, I don’t know how to describe
it but, probably we have a class called foundational
sciences which is pretty much like a mixture, so for example
in the first semester it was genes plus proteins plus immunology plus metabolism, so metabolism
like sugar, carbs, protein all that, so
all of that put together was a course. – That sounds more like a bio 101. – Right, so foundational science
is like bio 101 and then, so yeah, and now that’s
just carrying on into pathology basically, in
FS two it’s now pathology. It’s called FS two. Foundation sciences two. So I think the FS courses in general
are hardest for me just because it’s not my favorite subject. It’s a lot of material,
and it’s personally kind of boring for me. I think a second behind that that I don’t personally think, but I think a lot of my
classmates would agree is like just our pre-clinics, so our lab. Just because you’re doing something you’ve never done before, you either walk in and
you have hand skills and you can do it, or you
walk in and you realize you suck and you have to work
really really hard to get up to the point where
other people just start because it’s just happens,
so I think just lab, and learning new things
and trying to prepare for lab all the time while also studying. I think that’s what makes
pre-clinic, lab difficult. – What is the new curriculum like and how is it different
from the older one? – I don’t know much about the older one. All I know is it’s very different. Because we’ll talk, so the second years were the first ones to go into it. So it’s still very new,
it’s still going through a lot of changes, there’s a lot of surveys that we have to take all the time. Because it’s still needs to be tweaked a little bit. Overall, I see the really,
really awesome side of it. But it hasn’t been perfected yet. But I think as long as
you go with the flow and are accepting that
it’s gonna kinda be good, it’s a good thing. It really builds on itself,
the way that it’s built is to basically, you start from scratch, you start from all the little stuff, and everything builds on top of it. And so instead of having
one giant anatomy course, you take both like the
histology and the physiology and all different aspects of muscles, and you learn ’em all at once. Whereas you normally wouldn’t do that. And you build on it and so
I’ve seen a lot so far that, like for example we learned immunology and then now we’re learning pathology. And so it’s like, if you
didn’t understand immunology you’re gonna have a
difficult time with pathology because that plays a
role in certain aspects. So it’s meant to build on itself and it’s meant to really flow really well which I think it does. And so, the difficult part though is now you don’t have a
straight pharmacology course. Now you have, right it’s like some pathology with a little bit of biology in there, with a little bit of pharm
that matches up with those specific diseases and like, that kind of pathology instead
of having one big course. So I think an issue with that is that at first it’s confusing because you start going to class and expect to see Dr Smith with this course, and you expect to see Dr Joan with this course. But instead you see Dr
Smith and then Dr Joan and then Dr Blank and the X and Y and Z all in the same course,
and you get really confused ’cause you’re like what is happening? But I think once you get through a round of all the professors and
you kind of know them all then it’s fun to see them
reappear in another course and like, oh I like this professor. I understand how they
teach and how they test and things like that. So I think they’ve gotten
better at making the tests more even spread, ’cause
right, it’s coming from different professors
’cause different professors will put in their questions
from their lectures. So overall I think it’s a good idea. I hope it gets continually better. I know that it’s gotten
a lot better for us than it was for the D twos ahead of us. – OK.
– So, yeah. – So how are the exams graded? You said there are like three or
four professor in the same course so
– Right. – Do they take part in
grading the course together? Or is it something like they’re individually grading them for let’s say a first
midterm or second mid term. I don’t know how it works. – Yeah. So typically our class has two exams, so it’s 50/50 basically. But yeah you do have different
faculty sending in questions. But there’s a course director
for the entire course. So, you have one course director who is gonna, once the exam gets turned
in, and it’s all in ExamSoft, so it’s all electronic, gets turned in. And that professor, we
have curriculum chairs that will turn in complaints or questions about the exam, or maybe
things that were wrong. And they’ll go through that with them and, the curriculum advisor will
basically have the last say over all the professors, maybe over like a guest lecturer that we had, or maybe over a professor that maybe didn’t word a question very well, and so that course director will have a
final say over everything. And I think they do a pretty good job ’cause they have understanding
of the entire course. – That is awesome. I think it’s just a new approach so students just have to get used to it. And once it’s perfected
I think it’s gonna be very helpful for the
future students coming in. – Yeah. – What are some challenges that you face outside of the school. You’ve mentioned having to keep up with the long distance relationship. Having to do everything in your house
and also going to school. So how do you deal with those challenges? What are some of the
systems that you’ve built in your first year that
is helping you right now? – Yeah. So at the beginning of the year, I used to leave all my dishes forever. So I used to not take
care of my house as well as I should have, and
now it’s kind of like if you do a little bit at
a time that really helps with you not feeling
like you’re going crazy. I tend to spend after exam days just cleaning up my life instead
of focusing on school. I think I had to make a, with what kind of foods I ate, I obviously wanna stay healthy,
and you wanna be eating healthy foods and not
going out all the time. So I think a big thing for me that has made life easier is
packing my lunch every day ’cause that saves a lot of money. And it helps you to know what
you’re eating all the time. And a lot of people do meal prep which I think is really good because then you know what you’re eating. For me I had to sacrifice
a little and be like you know what, I’m gonna be OK with getting my frozen food because I’m fine with it, and it’s gonna
make me feel less stressed. Like foods that take not
very long to cook, you know, that kinda thing. And then, outside of that I think
just getting involved in the community in whatever way it’s good for you. Like for me, finding a
church is super important. So I’ve definitely made that a priority. ‘Cause it’s been a
struggle to find a place where I feel like I fit in. And then, like you said, yeah, having
a long distance relationship it’s both, like when people ask me
about it ’cause a lot of us do have relationships and a
lot of us don’t obviously. A lot of us had relationships, and a lot of us don’t anymore. So it depends on your relationship. If you’re in a great relationship, and you get along well, and
you have good communication, and that kind of thing, and it’s a serious thing,
then I would say go for it because, the trouble that it’s gonna cause you, it’s gonna cause trouble,
it’s gonna be difficult. It’s gonna be hard. The only thing harder than
going to dental school is having a boyfriend in dental school. But, I think that, that’s definitely doable. You have to have someone
who’s really understanding. But, yeah I think that it’s definitely doable. I was only dating my boyfriend for five months when I moved,
so it was very brand new. But now it’s been a year and three months. So it’s very solid, so I think there’s struggles but
you can overcome them. – Definitely, I mean, long distance is always difficult but I’ve seen a lot of med
students and dental students, even any kind of students in
grad school, they make it work. So as long as you’re committed it works. In terms of community building, you mentioned that about community so what are some of the sort of activities that dental school community does on a regular basis and what are some of the activities
that you are involved in? – Mm hmm. I have not gotten involved in very many activities yet because
I think I was kind of a little worried about
stretching myself too thin during my first year. But a lot of, I think ASDA
helps a bunch with this and the different clubs
help a bunch with this because when you’re part of a club they’ll send out an email and be like hey! We’re doing service on this day or hey there’s a presentation about this or, so you get the opportunity to maybe not tie yourself down to something
but you can definitely respond to an email and
be like hey, I wanna serve and help at this. So the dental school is very
involved with community. They have the big dental truck that
goes around, the Smile Truck that goes around all the time, so you can get involved with that. Even help third or fourth years with their boards. You can assist while
they’re taking their boards. Which is probably crazy. But there’s a lot of outreach that goes on
that you can definitely get involved in through the
clubs and things like that. It’s very easy to get involved. And, yeah. – Cool. Do you have any last minute advice for pre-dentals that
are listening in today? – The clothes that you wear, that was a big thing for me. Always wear the coat. Don’t underdress, overdress
rather than underdress especially for girls. ‘Cause I think it’s easier as a girl to not know what to wear than as a guy. I think definitely talk to students, talk to students that are
already in dental school. I think that’s a huge thing. Plan, plan plan, plan plan. I think that’s one of the
best things you can do is just like know what you’re doing,
do as much research about dental school as you
can, you’re gonna be fine. ‘Cause then everything’ll go smoother. Apply early. And then if you have gotten
accepted to dental school already or doing interviews
season, enjoy that time. Don’t stress out about dental school. It’ll be a learning curve
but you’ll get used to it. – All right, thanks so
much for being on the Dental School Coach Website interview. – Thanks a lot.
– I wish you all the best in the next three years coming. – Thank you. – Hi, thanks for watching
till the end of the video. If you liked the video, please
give it a big thumbs up. And please share and subscribe
so that I can continue to grow my channel. And in this way I can
reach out to a lot more people like you, and
that’s what my mission is. Thank you. (indie rock music)

Leave a Reply

(*) Required, Your email will not be published