Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Living the Dream

I wanted to clarify that the "Ahhhh" title of the last post was a relaxing one, not a screaming frenzy one.

Seriously though, I love life. I love that I am doing things in dental school that I will do in my career. It is really an odd experience. I love that I am in Pittsburgh. I love that I have some great friends already here. I love that I did well on my tests. Things are just going really well.

As a way of update, dental school is cool. It really has been very manageable. So far more manageable than undergrad. I think part of that is because we have a set schedule almost every day from 8 - 5 rather than one with all these holes in it. About 2/3 of our class time is devoted to basic sciences or dental classes. The other 1/3 is clinical rotations, sim lab work where we use typodonts (fake torsos) to practice skills, or waxing lab where we make wax teeth. The ironic thing is that they take our teeth, grade them, and then throw our little pieces of art out so we can't sell them next year's class.

Our Biochem test was super easy compared to any test in Chem 481 at BYU. Let's hope it stays that way. Histology was tricky, but overall still not bad. I think I did end up spending a good 20 hours studying for it though. But it was our one midterm (block class) so that's not too bad.

No one was running for vice president when we were voting as a class, so I threw my name in and ran unopposed. So did the positions of secretary and treasurer. I thought it was odd. I would have thought that more people would have run if only to increase their chances of getting accepted into a specialty program. But then again, I'm not so sure that too many of my classmates want to specialize. I think everyone is just trying to make it through these 4 years. But, I am excited about being VP. I hope that I can help our classes and the classes that will come after. We had a advisory counsel lunch yesterday so it was nice to meet other student leaders.

So we've got 25 credit hours of class. It doesn't feel like it adds up as BYU credits though. There is very little reading this semester, which is really nice. The work load seems manageable. Classmates seem helpful and nice.

The most frustrating thing so far has been this "conflict of interest" policy the whole university has. Basically, we can't accept any free gifts from corporations. So, $50k a year, and no free Sonicare :-(.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I didn't know there was an alternative

I read a headline yesterday that said "Uninsured have 40% higher risk of dying."

That's it. Just a ridiculous statistic.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Life has been interesting. I still don't know what to make of it, so I am just going along with it. Maybe I will never know what to make of this period of my life.

Anyway, it is interesting because it is such a huge transition. After being out in Utah for a few years in undergrad, I finally had to take the next step of my life. In Provo I didn't keep the same friends the whole time, but transitions were gradual. Even when I moved to Alta, I moved with Barney and into an apartment where I knew most of the guys from the BC.

But this move was different. Surprisingly it hasn't been as hard as I expected. I haven't been as depressed as I thought I might be having to leave all of my friends. The new ward I've moved into is pretty nice. I've made friends with several people here and so that has been positive.

I find myself trying not to look back too much. I struggle with the tendency to be nostalgic, but I've tried to get over that during this transition. It is sad though, because I almost feel as though I have turned a corner and am giving the past over to the forces of mental entropy. I still want to be friends with those I've grown close to over the years, but I also recognize that there is a great physical distance between us and it feels as though that places certain limitations. Also, about half of the close friends I have out here are married. Even that difference in life situation sets up a bit of a barrier, at least in the pursuit of the type of friendship I feel like I am missing right now. So sometimes I feel alone. My close friends from years past are in Utah and have other lives to live. Many of my friends here have families that are very justifiably their first priority. So, I find myself longing for a friend here that I can confide in and just spend hours with. I need someone that I click with. But I've found in my life that one of those type of friends will come along every year or so. I can't hold my breath. But hopefully I will find a friend like that here.

That being said, there are some really great people here. Interestingly enough, moving away from Utah has also caused me to be more willing to get in contact with and maintain friendships with friends who had moved away from Utah earlier. I guess now that instead of facing the option of socializing with friends in town or out of town, they are all out of town. I don't know if that made sense.

Don't get me wrong, I am liking it here. It is exciting to be in a professional school. I was wearing my scrubs and white coat today and doing a rotation in the emergency clinic with the 4th year I am paired with, and when I was interacting with the patient it hit me that I am almost a dentist. People now treat me much more like a dentist. Especially because some of those I interact with don't know how far I am in school. So, it is exciting to feel more and more like a dentist. I feel kinda important as I walk to and from campus in my scrubs. Lame? Maybe, but oh well :).

This last weekend I spent about 12 hours putting all of my syllabuses into Google Calendar for myself (about 7 hours) and then modifying it for my class with their alternate schedules (the other 5 hours.) Then I sent it to everyone. I was surprised at how grateful people were. It made me feel good to help so many people, even if it does make me feel a little awkward getting all these "Thank you's" at school. I've toyed with the idea of running for Pres too, just because I've served in a lot of leadership positions like that and so I feel comfortable in that role. So, I would probably have a good chance, but I will still think about it.

Anyway, yeah. Life is kinda weird. I'm on my way to being a dentist, I'm making completely new friends, and I'm in a brand new place. I hope you all know that I miss you.