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How to Survive D1 Year

“Naps are key! That and starbucks. D1 year is not as bad as it seems once you get into the rhythm of it. Each person in our class has their own specific regiment on how they get through the week, aka: There’s no right or wrong way to get through, so do you! Learn what works best for you in the first few weeks and you will slowly start up a routine. As some classes seem more hectic than others, make sure to give yourself some alone time to breathe, meditate, self reflect or whatever keeps you at peace. The weeks are intense but go by quickly so make the most of your weekends! Hang out, laugh a lot, and take something off the old bucket list :)” -Michelle Heal

“D1 year is non-stop exams, so don’t stress over every single one! Do your best to study, don’t forget to sleep, and once the exam is over, MOVE ON. You’ll find that after the first couple months of school that giving yourself the night off from studying after a final is completely doable and well deserved! Lastly and most importantly, sometimes you must prioritize your mental health over your grades. Do activities you enjoy and surround yourself with people that keep your stress levels low!” -Lena Masri

“The first few months of dental school can be stressful, overwhelming, and relentless. But remember that other students have been through the same thing and succeeded in becoming dentists! Do not be afraid to ask for help. If you do not understand the basics, the next class will be harder and more challenging. Ask your instructors, classmates, and mentors for help. Make a study schedule and stick to it. Everything will go so fast that you need to use your time efficiently. Find a good balance between school, family, extra-curricular activities, and a social life. The most important thing to remember is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Make sure to maintain healthy eating habits, exercise, and to take a break from studying occasionally. Work smarter, not harder!” –Alice Choi

“Dental school will be one of the best experiences of your life, but only if you take advantage of your opportunities! The beginning can be a struggle, as you find your niche and rhythm. However, before you know it, your routine is set and time flies! Find a study program that puts school first, but doesn’t consume you. You need to have a social life, and locking yourself in a room to study 24/7 will not do you any favors when it comes to keeping a healthy mental stamina. Whatever works best for you and your balance of life is how you should approach school! Do not worry about what everyone else is doing, because we all have our own strengths and ways we study and learn. Dental school can be intimidating, but don’t let fear keep you from diving into all of your interests, whether that means becoming part of a club, or taking on a leadership position. There is plenty of support everywhere you turn, so do not forget that there are people that are always happy to help and have been or are in your position. Make the best of this exciting time, and do not forget to reflect on how far you have come!” -Casey Valimaki

“Dental school is what you make it to be. I personally love every single day of this journey, even the long exam nights that I was are stressed out. One thing I have learned is that you learn so much about yourself and that you have no limits and are capable of so much. However, I do believe that you need to be organized in order to do well and enjoy your time while in dental school. I personally did not change my studying skills or habits, I stuck with what worked for me in undergrad and while I studied for the DAT, I just had to put in more hours of studying during dental school. Don’t compare yourself with anybody else in your class, always compare your performance with yourself because everybody is different and you know yourself the best. It is very important to have a good time and take care of yourself while you are in dental school because there are times that the stress gets to you. Your classmates will become your second family and you will learn that you love them more and more everyday and sometimes they become your biggest support system. Afterall, I believe that if dental school was easy, everybody would be going to dental and if you are in dental school, you are made for it and can handle it.” -Leila Shahbazi

“The first year of dental school definitely has a learning curve, but so does everything else! My best advice is treat it like a job. You are scheduled to be there 8-5, so do your best. Stay on top of the material. If you study everyday you will keep up just fine. I have found that if I schedule then I have time for the most important things in my life. I find it extremely beneficial to schedule recreation into my day and week. I try and work out a couple times a week. I go out with my wife on the weekend as well as spending time with my wife and my daughter every evening. I go to church on Sundays and dedicate the whole to family and worship. These are important things that I need to have a healthy body, mind and spirit. I am actually more productive studying when I have done all of these other things. My last bit of advice is to ask for help. Classmates, teachers, and faculty are all there to help you succeed, however to tap into that resource you have to ask.” -Marc Johnson

“I survived D1 year through hard work and perseverence. Never give up! There were so many sleepless nights where the material became greatly overwhelming. Sleep deprivation became ordinary, and I found my emotional, mental, and physical health draining. Everyday, I reminded myself of all the obstacles that I have overcome to stand where I am today. My experiences as a D1 helped me develop a sense of camaraderie among my peers through many late night study sessions. To survive and become successful in dental school, I knew that I could not do it alone. The support of my family and friends kept me going. My personal motivation to succeed and persevere through hardship helped me push through the most challenging courses. I reminded myself that my success is dependent on a positive mindset, and so I stopped comparing myself to others. With a stroke of luck, positive attitude, great support group from my peers, and gallons of perspiration – I can proudly say that I now survived my first year of dental school!” -Kaveh Behbahani

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