Last week, was our official start to the new school year 2020-2021. School is year round for us so as quick as the year ends (3rd week in April) , the new one starts back up. For my class, it’s our last year, the one year where you, finally and at last, know what to expect and what is expected of you, because traditionally your entire schedule is being in clinic 98% of the time. (We would have had 2 classes that met for an hr once a week this entire semester.) You pretty much know like the back of your hand, the ins and out of clinic, bread and butter dental procedures, patient management and all things dental school related. Well obviously, things are looking a little different this time around and honestly, that was a hard pill to swallow. I mean you spend so much of dental school learning, and applying little by little but more so LEARNING literally everything they squeeze in. And D4 year is where you finally are applying all of the knowledge over and over and over again. Of course still learning but just ina completely different way and not to mention finally feeling confident/competent about all the things you’ve learned and done so far. As a D2 and D3, being in a clinic a few times a week, you definitely are applying knowledge but just not with the same mindset or on the same scale and frequency as D4 year. D4 year was supposed to be all these things and more and …. well, now we’ll never know.
Everything has changed, our curriculum, protocol, guidelines and requirements and when “outside opens back up” (as my friends say) Nothing. will. ever. be. the. same…. Literally. Things wont ever go back to normal and when I think about it, I kind of question do I even want it to? I mean yes, normal is our comfort zone, normal is unproblematic but normal is no longer safe, normal is no longer healthy or enough. Especially in the field of dentistry, where we are absolutely the most vulnerable profession in terms of contracting this virus due to proximity and aerosol production. So I really have to change my thinking, and encourage myself to become more open minded and optimistic about change. Change, to me due to covid -19 , seems so scary and thinking of how it could change how we practice dentistry is so daunting. But one random thing I keep thinking about lol, is how dentists used to not wear gloves, mask and goggles like 35-40+ years ago (GROSS) and for health concerns and safety, now it’s a mandated universal practice. Im sure for those dentists, they thought it was the end of the world too, but dentistry carried on just fine.
So despite my attitude, Im hopeful. Each day brings me new perspective, some days have highs and lows but I’m trying to push through. All last week I was in a funk in terms of school because everything, i mean EVERYTHING was completely uprooted and changed. It’s different and different kinda sucks. . But Im adjusting, well at least trying. Administration definitely has some kinks in our course-load that they need to work out but overall it seems … doable, I guess. Right now our workload is pretty heavy every week, with multiple online treatment planning cases, small group meetings, small group research, covid-19 online training, at least 5 CE hours, (thats all for 1 class) then online lectures which we’ll have midterm and a final on, and other “engagement” in the field per the specific course director for the other classes. It’s. a. drag. and its weird. And with no real date for school to open back up, probably going to last a while. So I have no choice but to get used to it. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures, so Im being a little kinder to everyone (including myself) these days. After all, everyone is doing the best they can and just trying to establish a new normal.