A few weeks ago, I attended the ASDA District 9 Meeting, informally known as the “ASDA Ski Trip”. I loved every minute of it, and not just because I got to take my brand-new snowboard and GoPro out for a test run, but because of everything else that I got from the meeting. In fact, snowboarding wasn’t even close to being the best part and here’s why.
Networking. Or as I like to call it, "building relationships." I don’t like the word “networking” because it is the relationship that I build with people that is most important, not what I can get from the people I meet. To me, the dental profession is all about relationships— relationships with patients, relationships with the community, and relationships with other dentists and specialists. One of the reasons I don’t want to specialize is because of the strong relationship that I know I can develop with my patients as a general dentist that I personally couldn’t do as a specialist. This is also one of the major benefits I see in ASDA. I have been on 8 ASDA trips so far and the people that I have been able to meet have made missing classes, rescheduling patients, and postponing studying all worth it. This trip was no exception.
Idea Sharing. If there was one benefit of ASDA meetings that gets overlooked, it is idea sharing. I am constantly either contacting or being contacted by people from other chapters looking for ideas or seeing what has worked well in different chapters. The only problem is that it is hard to explain a lot of things over texts, emails or phone calls. The chance to get people in the same room to talk about anything from chapter engagement to boards study strategies to staying healthy is absolutely essential for surviving dental school and for building resources for the chapter. If it wasn’t for the advice and resources that I got from others at ASDA events, there is no way I would have passed boards.
Inspiration. There is no doubt in my mind that we all, at some point, get bogged down with dental school— sometimes even to the point of depression. Have no fear, ASDA is here. Not only have I been inspired by the sheer fact that I am surrounded by others who have gone through, or are going through, the same struggles that I am, but some of the presentations that were given at the District 9 meeting can only be described using that word. David Rice, founder of igniteDDS, is one of the most inspirational people I know. He not only gave two amazing presentations, but he also stayed up past 3am one night answering every question that we could throw at him on topics such as running a business, how to hire, how to lead a dental team, how and where to set up a practice and more. That kind of face-time with someone so successful in a field that we are seeking to become a part of is just unheard of. What others might consider educational, David Rice can make inspirational.
Now I know what you are probably thinking: “wait... why didn’t I get to go on the ski trip and experience all of that?” And here is what I can tell you: you don’t have to attend the ski trip to get all of this... you just have to be involved in ASDA! The only thing that you missed out on by not attending the District 9 Meeting was the skiing—and we live in Colorado so you can do that anytime you want! Becoming involved in ASDA was the best decision I made in dental school and it can be yours, too. Next month is ASDA’s Annual Session in Boston, MA and another opportunity for an amazing experience similar to the one at the district meeting. I would encourage anyone who is even somewhat interested to talk to Christian or me about the options you have to attend... you won’t regret it.
~Kyle Luis Larsen, Class of 2017, Colorado ASDA President-Elect