Posts tagged DS1
Getting Involved in ASDA - Yes, Even as a First Year

reanna blog As a first year dental student, orientation is the first time you hear about a cascade of topics including class expectations, financial aid, student health insurance,  and campus resources.  Then student organizations are introduced, with each group talking about the focus and mission of that association.  Feeling a little overwhelmed but following along, I had a question, “Which group will aid my success throughout dental school and into my career?”

I found my answer within ASDA. My appreciation did not instantly come over a cup of joe with an ASDA leader. Instead, I used the first semester of dental school to test out a multitude of events hosted by a variety of societies. I found myself supplementing my classes with ASDA-run lunch and learns on dental issues—financial stability, corporate dentistry, dental saturation in Denver, etc. As a first year, practicing dentistry can seem like a dream with a very long day of work before that prize. ASDA’s frequent meetings remind me that it is important to become aware of the issues and changes surrounding my career now, even if my reward of practicing is three years away. These lunch and learns also clarified the importance of continuing involvement as a dentist, so that when I’m able to practice, I can transition from being a voice in ASDA, to being a voice of an involved, contributing dentist.

I guess I went to more ASDA events than I realized because in December, our ASDA president notified me that I had earned the most diamonds out of our chapter members. Diamonds are a form of ASDA currency for attending events, and with them, I was able to receive funding for the ASDA Annual Session in Dallas, TX this March. Before Annual Session, I saw ASDA as strong presence at CU for its ability to inform students, encourage community involvement, and provide networking experiences.  After, I saw an even bigger community.

Annual session introduced me to ASDA’s ability to unify dental students’ opinions and concerns into one powerful voice that, as I saw first-hand in Dallas, brings about change for our current position as students and future career as dentists. That’s power. Becoming involved in ASDA is not becoming involved in a CU Dental organization—it’s building yourself as a professional through becoming an active part of an influential, national voice.

For me, the days of orientation are over.  I don’t need to look around at student associations and wonder what each one offers. ASDA allows members to be as involved as you want, whether it’s in social media, community outreach, pre-dental involvement, business chair, social events, health and wellness, etc. It is an environment to excel, specifically in an area that interests you. For me, ASDA is the student organization that most allows me to grow my professional career outside the classroom. “The how” I got involved was a process accelerated by the many opportunities ASDA provides, and “the why” continues to grow as my involvement with ASDA increases.

Baby Dentists

12119502_10207403679632335_268881570_o Sometimes it’s hard to imagine the days before dental school- before the navy blue scrubs, the “conscious incompetence”, the juggling of patients and their demands [“I can only come every other Tuesday… and only in the mornings… oh, and can I come at 9:45 instead of 9?”].


In this sort of tunnel vision, I forget the days when I wanted nothing more than to know the direction my future was headed in Operation: Getting Into Dental School. Where would I live for the next four years? What would I do if I didn’t get in? What the HECK am I doing?


Untangling the confusing web of dental school requirements: prerequisite classes, letters of recommendation, writing a personal statement, studying for the DAT, interviewing…is enough to make my head spin, even to this day.


Although I didn’t decide I wanted to go to dental school until the semester before I graduated from college, the few resources that I took advantage of through my pre-health advisor and club were invaluable. I still have a copy of my mock interview on a DVD tucked away in a drawer in my desk [I’m not sure why I haven’t thoroughly disposed of it-few things are worse than watching yourself on camera].


Somehow I managed to finagle my way into a couple of dental school acceptances, and here I am today, three years later. During my first year, I began volunteering at the ASDA Pre-Dental Committee events and absolutely fell in love. There is no better motivation than to be surrounded by groups of eager pre-dental students dying to be in your shoes, picking your brain, and looking up to you as the All Knowing dental student. For the next two years I filled the role as the ASDA Pre-Dental Chair and continued planning events- wax nights, mock interviews, personal statement reviews, simulation clinic activities…anything and everything that could help these “baby dentists” grow and flourish in their quest to dental school admittance.


Seeing familiar faces in the incoming classes, getting email updates “I got in to dental school!!”, and following the paths of students that I have met during my own “Pre-dental” journey in dental school has been one of the most rewarding.


Bottom line:  You never know who you can inspire. Or who can inspire you.


NLC Experience as the DS1 Essay Scholarship Winner

12028746_525042934317332_2280680843332817981_o As a student of the Dental Medicine program of Colorado, I was lucky to have been chosen to attend the National ASDA Leadership Conference in Chicago. I had never even heard of ASDA before entering dental school, and was honestly apprehensive of the passion and excitement many showed for this organization. As an undergraduate, I was apart of the Biology and Chemistry club, but they were never the most exciting parts of my undergraduate career. I was really mostly excited to see Chicago, which was about to change.

Before attending, I had written a paper on the word “leadership” and what it meant to me; this put me in the running to be fully funded to Chicago NLC. I was then informed that my essay was chosen, and I was lucky enough to be fully funded. I was so ecstatic, but had no idea what to expect. With my anatomy exams the following week, I was worried that attending NLC would take away invaluable study time.

Nevertheless, I attended NLC and can truly say I regret nothing. I arrived at the gorgeous Hilton Chicago and I was in awe. I attended the sessions and it was so exciting to see so many dental students from so many places in one room. These people were like me, and all were hungry for knowledge of the career they are pursuing.

Sessions I attended included mostly post-grad options and ways to be smart financially while owning a business. While I still have a while until I have to worry about these things, it’s never too early to start having a plan. As a first year dental student, I think a lot of us lose sight of the reason why we’re here; many of our beginning classes have nothing to do with dentistry. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day tests and studying that sometimes it becomes the question “why am I doing this”, rather than “I’m so excited I made the right career decision”.

NLC brought back the motivation I came into this semester with, fresh out of being accepted into dental school. I’ve heard many times that these conferences “aren’t for first years,” when ASDA NLC has so much for first year students. The great thing about this conference is that students of ALL CLASSES can take home information on study strategies, residencies, practices, budgeting, and so much more!

As if all of this information wasn’t good enough, I was able to attend  so many events to interact with other dental students from in and out of our district. Hearing that another student 2,000 miles away was going through the same worries and fears as me was comforting. I was also able to bond with my own classmates, reassuring each other that our missed study weekend was worth it.

Chicago NLC was one of the most fun, informational, and motivational trip I have ever attended.  I would recommend ANY dental student that has a desire to be successful to attend next year. I may have missed a weekend of studying (which ended up not mattering because I did great on my exams), but I gained a an endless amount of knowledge about dentistry and becoming a business owner.

Thank you ASDA!

DS1 Summer Orientation

10549732_873428916020330_3152139720206762133_o Over the last few months, new students have been anxiously awaiting the start of dental school, and at last, Friday concluded DS1 summer orientation.  Students got a chance to learn about their new classmates via daily ice breakers and fun interactive activities, while also getting to know the staff and support offered at the School of Dental Medicine.  Highlights from the week include Apple support day, where IT staff helped students set up their new MacBook computers, a scavenger hunt which allowed students to work together to find important places around campus, and a barbecue in which upperclassmen had the opportunity to speak about different student organizations on campus.  DS1s also had to opportunity to attend a Colorado Rockies game and mingle with their classmates, professors, and SODM staff.

With a week of orientation under their belts, the Class of 2018 has officially begun their journey through the next four years.

On behalf of Colorado ASDA, good luck and have fun!