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.