By: Savanah Craig
When you spend 9+ hours a day at your dental school and are surrounded by people who do the same, it’s easy to let being a dental student consume your whole life. It can feel like your worth comes from your grades when all of your free time is spent studying or practicing drilling.
Dental School requires hours of classwork, clinical time, and lab work to be successful, and it can be easy to lose sight of anything beyond the walls of your school. However, one of the best pieces of advice I received before starting dental school was to prioritize my other relationships outside of
Make Time For Relationships
Finding the time to check in with the people in your life can be a challenge with busy school schedules.
I’ve found that it helps to coordinate a time that works for both of us and block it out on my schedule. I’m able to plan my studying or lab work around our call or lunch date so that I can be fully present during our time together.
Sometimes it can be discouraging when you look at your schedule and realize your next free moment for a phone call is several days away, but it helps to have time built in to prioritize that relationship.
One of my favorite phrases is “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”
As an extrovert, I get my energy from my relationships with others. I can also become drained if I’m talking to someone who requires a lot of emotional energy from me. Dental school can be challenging and stressful enough, so prioritize those relationships in your life that lift you up and give you the energy to get through school.
Talk to friends and family who remind you that your worth is greater than your grades or test scores. Have dinner with the people that make you laugh and support you. Focus on those people who reciprocate your efforts, rather than drag you down.
Share your life now to help give your friends and family perspective, but don’t spend all your time complaining about dental school. It can be difficult to explain to someone outside of the school what you’re going through, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share the experiences you’re having with them.
People are always going to ask how school is going and you can be honest, but limit how long you talk about it or ask those around you if they can avoid that topic for the rest of the conversation. There is a balance between explaining what you’re going through and spending the entire dinner complaining about dental school.
Life Beyond Dental School
Allow the people around you to remind you of life outside of dental school, it can really put things into perspective and prevent you from getting sucked into too much negativity regarding school. Dental school is four years of your life, but it’s not your entire life.
One day when you graduate, you’re going to want to look around you and see your support system is still there. Relationships require maintenance and care. Don’t push those you care about aside during the stress of school. I promise you’ll be happier that you cultivated relationships outside of dental school and allowed your friends and family to support you on this journey.
You’re more than just a dental student, so surround yourself with people who remind you of that.
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Photo by Vlada Karpovich