Time Management and Priority Recognition are Key
As a first year dental student at Touro College of Dental Medicine, I was hesitant to join student organizations on campus when I first started the school year. Despite being a graduate student for two years prior to beginning dental school, starting professional school was a new endeavor like no other. A dental school education can be challenging for anyone. I was ready for this challenge because graduate school taught me how to alter my study methods from what worked for me during my undergraduate career. My style of studying, organization skills, time management, and critical thinking have prepared me for dental school, especially in terms of handling the large workload in dental school on an almost daily basis.
However, I was still not sure about being a part of student organizations. But, that idea changed once I started school. In the beginning, it might be difficult to make new friends and socialize in an unfamiliar environment. I believe this was a major reason why I chose to join different groups in school. As a result, I decided to be a part of ASDA (American Student Dental Association) as well as few other organizations, which now turned out to be a great decision as it made my transition into dental school much easier and smoother. In addition, joining student organizations helps to foster the social interaction and professional development of students, as we get to discuss issues in dentistry as well as how we can contribute to the dental community as professionals. In September, I had the opportunity to attend the District 2 Meeting in Saratoga Springs, NY. Despite the fairly short duration of the meeting, I felt that it was a great experience overall. First, it was an enjoyable to meet other young leaders from different schools in New York and New Jersey. The breakout sessions we had at the end of the conference where ASDA leaders guided us to discuss deep and important dental topics were a good, informal way to share personal opinions and experiences and to learn more about how other students think about and approach each matter. Lastly, I have come to appreciate the wide range of benefits ASDA and its active members bring to others whether at these conferences or within their schools. In my opinion, time management is a critical skill and an essential key to success. Setting priorities for the assigned tasks is what makes dental school more manageable. Dwight Eisenhower said, “planning is everything, the plan is nothing.” The plan might change once it is put into motion due to variables and obstacles, but that does not change its core value. With that being said, daily time management and being flexible is a vital part of our routine. As I mentioned in the beginning, dental school can be challenging but that is the beauty of it. Being able to make time outside of academics might be hard, but it is necessary. When I joined ASDA, I got to meet students from other classes who were really helpful and made it feel like home to me, starting from sharing notes to having lunches together. As it turns out, if a student can manage their
time, they can multitask. I believe this is also important, as studying all of the time is not healthy. Sometimes, I feel a break is needed and the only way I get to enjoy my little free time is to be surrounded by people who have been or are still going through the same experiences as me. Since I got involved with ASDA, I now have access to regional and national professional networks where I have the chance to connect with other dental students and learn about key issues facing our profession. Lastly, I have to treat dental school as an opportunity to learn, while also making it an enjoyable opportunity. I believe that if I own this experience and try my best to get the most out of it, I will succeed and have a valuable and meaningful experience. At the end, my career, no matter where I practice, will be predicated on my initiative and ability to seek out learning opportunities, as well as being a leader.
Balance is key; classes are the number one priority, but they should not be the only priority.
Blog Contributor: Abe Hashim '22
-Traveling and amateur photography
-Fun fact: used to be an Auto, Homeowners, Life and Health Insurance Agent