Facing Times of Transition in Your Dental Career

By: Savannah Craig

Throughout our lives, we all face times of change and transition.

While reflecting on the completion of my dental residency program and the end of my formal education, I’ve been thinking about how many periods of change I’ve encountered on my journey.

The big milestones of life were met with celebration but were also surrounded by change. From high school to college then dental school and now residency—my life has been filled with transitions.

While change is a fact of life, it can carry a lot of mixed emotions. Change can feel exciting, but it can also feel scary.

Ways to Best Handle Times of Transition

Fear of the unknown is something most humans struggle with.

Here are some tips I have learned along the way on how to best handle these moments in life.

1. Trying to Live in the Moment

Times of transition can be filled with To-Do lists that force us to look toward the future and what is coming ahead of us.

Living too much in the future gets overwhelming. There are too many unknowns in the future and too many things out of your control.

I’m not recommending you ignore your To-Do list, but try to ground yourself in the present moment.

Times of transition can teach us a lot about ourselves and can provide a moment of reflection. These moments are unique and should be lived in and not just glossed over while looking for the next phase of life to begin.

Yes, the transition moments can feel uncertain and unsteady but they are still important parts of your life that are worth living to the fullest.

Slow down and enjoy this time for now. The future will be waiting for you when the time comes. 

2. Allow Yourself to Feel all of the Emotions

Times of transition can be filled with a whole host of emotions all at once.

There may be sadness that this phase of life is ending, excitement for what is to come, and nervousness for the unknown happening inside of you all at once.

Different moments during your transition phase might bring up different emotions and that is okay.

We are human and emotions are a part of our make-up. Allow yourself to process each moment as it comes and don’t put pressure on yourself to feel a certain way about this transition.

Additionally, it might be hard for many people to understand all that you’re experiencing during this time of your life.

You don’t owe an explanation to anyone, but it can be helpful to have a support system that you can lean on.

Having people and mentors around you who have experienced these transitions before you can provide a wealth of comfort knowing that you’re not alone in this experience. 

3. Celebrate Along the Way

During times of transition, it can be easy to want to move forward to the next milestone—starting your new job, starting your new program.

However, it’s really important to take a moment to live in this moment and celebrate how far you’ve come before moving on to the next phase of life.

It took hard work and determination to get to this point of transition and you should celebrate those smaller moments that are leading toward the bigger goal. 

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Savanah Craig

Savanah Craig

Savanah Craig obtained her Doctorate of Dental Surgery from The Ohio State University before pursuing a one-year General Practice Residency in Columbia, SC. Dr. Craig is passionate about patient education and utilizes her advanced training to provide excellent care for her patients as a general dentist practicing in Columbus, OH. In her free time, Dr. Craig enjoys reading, exploring new restaurants, and traveling with her husband, Adam.