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Career/identity crisis!!!

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by emilystaffer, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. emilystaffer

    5+ Year Member

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    I have worked as a teacherfor five years at the high school level. I’m good at it: best new teacherin my state. My students like me. I havemade some of the best friends in the world at work. My principal is great. It’s a secure job with steady pay. Life is good. So, what’s the problem then? INEED YOUR HELP. I need to bounce thisoff of people to see what other people think mainly because I will have a hugedecision to make.



    I had originallywanted to be a dentist. I went to anitty-bitty high school though with a joke of a science teacher who just had uswatch movies. Even though I was “Valedictorian”(of a 45 person class), I felt utterly unprepared in college. I chickened out of taking difficult scienceclasses because I had never had a B in my life. Sad, I know. Moreover, althoughteaching is not an easy profession, the classes to get in to it are lessdifficult that pre-dental classes. So, Ichose the route that I knew would guarantee my success: teaching with a 4.0 GPA in my BA and Masters.



    Now, I feel unsatisfiedwith my job. Every day I wake up andthink, “I’m a dip****. I could be adentist.” I come to work with a smilebut all I can think about is becoming a dentist. I failed to do this because of my own dismalfear of failure. However, at least I canadmit it. I’m 25 years old and finallyable to confront this character flaw of mine.



    To make sure I wasn’tcrazy and that I really did indeed want to become a dentist, I startedvolunteering at two local community dental clinics. I’ve amassed approximately 30 hours shadowingand volunteering with them so far. Dentistry is what I want to do for sure. The only thing is that I’vealready signed a teacher contract for the 2010-2011 school year and that is abridge that I’m unwilling to burn at this time. So, I’m going to teach another year.



    I know that I stillneed some prerequisite classes to take before I can apply to dental school. I took two night classes last year at acommunity college (not good for dental school, I know….but they were free forteachers). This summer I’m taking anupper level science course at the local university. Then, the only classes I still have left totake are Chemistry 1, Chemistry 2, Organic Chemistry 1, and Organic Chemistry2. These courses are the ones thatoriginally stopped me in my tracks from pursuing my dream. Because these courses all build on each other,this is a whole year of school.



    They aren’t offered inthe evening. So, I’ll HAVE to quitteaching to take them. AHHH. The earliest I could take Chem 1 would beFall 2012. Then, I would need to takethe DAT in the summer of 2013 at the earliest. I would apply to dental school in Fall 2013 a the earliest.



    Here’s what I needhelp with. AM I CRAZY?! If I don’t get in to dental school, I willhave screwed up a perfectly good job. Oh, and I’m married too with a baby. Puts a nice lil twist on things, doesn’t it? ANY positive advice would be appreciated. I’ve never shared this whole scenario withanyone except my husband. I figured theInternet was a good place to start though. Lol




     
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  3. UCF FINatic

    2+ Year Member

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    Is there a problem with your space bar?

    There isn't really anything we can help you with in my opinion. You have to decide whether or not to switch careers, no one else can or should make that decision for you. It is a huge risk, but if you feel it is worth it then that is your answer.
     
    htorres89 likes this.
  4. Dusk

    Dusk Member
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    There are many like you, many older nontrads, who even left jobs with equal pay as a dentist, to become one.

    No one here can help you. But I do want to say you are still very young, and the dream you have is very attainable to say the least. It will not be easy, you will have to sacrifice a lot, and so will your significant other. If it doesn't work out, you can still become a teacher at some other district correct?

    I say do some more thinking, talk with your family, plan the next few years.. Don't live with regret, I say go for it.
     
  5. Blue87Fiero

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    You have to do what is best for you and your family. It needs to be discussed with you and your husband... we are not in your shoes. Best of luck with your decision.
     
  6. bing12

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    How many 4-year schools and Community colleges are within your range?
     
  7. katyaava

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    I fully think you should do what makes you happy, but it's definitly only you that can make that decision. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that Chem 1, 2, and Organic will be four semesters. If you do a class per semester and then two summer sessions, that will be minimum a year and a half.
     
  8. Saddleshoes

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    I don't know if this helps but...
    My DS class of 40 had 4 former teachers, 3 of which had stories just like yours. The other one was way smart and his idea of "taking a year off" was teaching high school for a year.
     
  9. doc toothache

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    It sounds like teaching and family are not taking enough of your time, leaving plenty for daydreaming. It is not clear what possible upper division science courses you could be taking other than genetics. While it is possible to finish general chemistry/organic/physics in a year and two summer sessions, taking two organic courses during the summer is a pretty tall challenge for anyone. So what's the rush? Why not wait to see how you do in chemistry at least to make sure you have left your fear of sciences behind you?
     
    #8 doc toothache, Jul 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011
  10. JOoa0ky

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    I believe the doc is saying to take things one step at a time :)
     
    DentalLonghorn2014 likes this.
  11. youknowthedrill

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    I don't think its feasible to apply in 2012. It is possible, but you need to find a way to take Chem I this fall and Chem II in the spring. You can take Organic I & II over the summer but it won't be easy. On top of Organic, you'll also need to study for the DAT. Don't give up on your dream. Just realize it requires sacrifice by both you and your spouse.
     
  12. Msmouth

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    I do agree it's best to live life with no regrets.

    Did you take biology 1 and 2 yet? Do you remember the ins and outs of algebra? You will need that for Chemistry and the DAT.

    DISCLAIMER: I tell my story over and over again here with these types of posts, so if you know me, disregard the following story retold once again.

    I am a 39 year old dental hygienist, mother of 2. I make a good living and I work about 30 hours/ week. My husband is a teacher.

    I regretted not becoming a dentist for many years but I never looked into how it could be done as I thought my time had passed and who wants to stop working and lose all that income?

    About 2 years ago RDH's were allowed to administer local anesthesia in this state. I took the course and that's what threw me over the edge. I took on this big responsibility and I realized that I wanted it more than ever.

    Many conversations were had with my husband and other family and friends. I got nothing but positive feedback. I even saw a therapist because I thought I was crazy to take on this huge endeavor at my age with kids and a mortgage to pay. Although I'm convinced I'm crazy and it is probably a midlife crisis, I don't care, it's the good kind of crazy. With everyone's blessings I decided it's better to try than to live with the regret of not.

    It was time to get my feet wet. I decided to retake algebra. That was a great decision because I had all but forgotten it and it was a good stepping stone for what's to come. Then it was on to Gen chem 1. This was a litmus test to see if I had the smarts for it. Now I'm nearly done with summer Gen Chem 2.
    I start school full-time in the fall and I will be working very part-time. By next summer I will take the DAT and apply. My chances? I don't know but I'm doing my best and that's all that I can do.
    In the end I will still have dental hygiene, plus I will have my bachelor's.

    Good luck with your decision. You are young and have many years ahead of you. If this is truly your passion then go for it!
     
    Incis0r, Keklel, Skyrising and 2 others like this.
  13. DrRoyal Pains

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    Do what makes you happy. Just keep in mind it is going to take A LOT of hard work and commitment. The chem classes you have left to take are no doubt going to take up many many hours. Also, did you take physics I and II, with labs (its a pre-req if you did not know)? I visited a dental school last week and talked to an adcom. He told me they recently accepted a 50 year old lawyer who had a change of heart and his wife was nothing but supportive. In short, like I mentioned earlier, its going to take much dedication. If you really want to be a dentist, than nothing will slow you down (the same goes for the rest of us on here). Best of luck to you!

    Also, you should take into consideration how expensive it is to go through the application process (in addition to having a family to support). The application process is very pricey, and what if you dont get accepted anywhere your first cycle? Your going to have to re-apply and spend those thousands of dollars again. If you have the money, be my guest. Just something to ponder.
     
  14. emilystaffer

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    Well, I just wanted to fill everyone in. I did in fact get accepted my first round. I will start in the fall! I got a 20 AA on my DAT. I wasn't able to quit working, so I took my prerequisite classes in the evenings and during the summers. Follow your dreams and you will get there!
     
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  15. NMC2010

    NMC2010 τετέλεσται
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    Well done! Where are you going to attend?
     
  16. Kate Upton

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    Where did you get accepted? Was it one of the new schools like Roseman?
     
  17. sjv

    sjv
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    Nice success story, congrats.
     
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  18. wb1

    wb1
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    That's a pretty good story to tell all your children. You are setting up a great example 'show and tell' about setting goal and pursuing them.

    I had a teacher who was very talented and taught many subjects.

    One day, he told us that he will be quitting. We were dumb founded, LOL turned out he was going to med school.

    Congratulation!
     
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  19. techyguy

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    .
     
    #18 techyguy, Feb 14, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2014
  20. Saddleshoes

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    GOOD FOR YOU!!!!!
    Now go make us all proud and knock-um dead in DS.

    ----Now some additional thoughts for a "teacher-turned-dental-student".
    1. Your maturity and teaching background will help you to succeed in DS (More then you can know!) so be proud of who you are and were you came from.
    2. Keep your teaching credentials up to date while you are in school. After you get out, you might find that your teaching credentials will open doors for you that are closed to most other dentists. (It worked for me!)
    3. You have had a REAL JOB and all of the responsibilities associated and took night classes. When DS gets overwhelming just remind yourself, "I have had a real job and this is stuff isn't so tough!"
     
    Incis0r likes this.
  21. Sublimazing

    Physician Dentist 5+ Year Member

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    Rocky says "you have to figure out what you're worth and go for it"

    I recently transitioned into more training for similar reasons...my thinking was, you get one life (unless youre hindu) you cannot live it with significant regret...there comes a point when self respect and fulfillment become more important than economics and in my opinion, you gotta go with what will make you feel like you accomplished something with your life.

    Dive in and go for it....make sure you commit all the way though, you'll fail if you halfass it.
     
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  22. Bottle

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    what's the point of life if you are not doing what you like? you act like you going to live forever, and that you need money to live luxury lifestyle. Unless you have responsibilities such as kids, or a family to feed, there is no reason to limit yourself on something so that you can be on the "safe side".
    I say think about it carefully, and if you decide to do it, do it with keeping in mind that if you ever fail, it's not the end of the world. You are still 4 GPA person with master degree and can always go back to teaching with the exception of relief from the thought "I could've became dentist if I tried"
     
    Sublimazing likes this.
  23. emilystaffer

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    Year one completed! I got A's and B's and never failed a practical. I gained about ten pounds but then lost it again this summer. I never found time to exercise, so that's something I need to improve on for next year. But, I'm most proud of the fact that my relationship with my husband stayed strong. I treated dental school like a job. I picked up my little boy from daycare every day by five, played with him, cooked dinner, read him bedtime stories around 8 at night, and then BAM>>>>back to studying until who-knows-what-hour of the night. It was a hard year, but it was totally doable.

    I start my second year next Monday! Wish me luck!
     
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  24. emilystaffer

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    Saddleshoes, you posted to my homepage about a year ago, but I just now saw the message. I wrote an update on here so that you could see it. After I graduate, I hope to work in a community clinic setting and then get my foot in the door to work as a professor. Your encouragement has always stayed in the back of my head. I appreciate you very much.
     
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  25. Saddleshoes

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    Thanks for the update.
    I'm so glad you took my words of encouragement to heart.
    Well kid it is still going to be a slog but you got though the toughest year and kept you family as a top priority! You are going to pull this trick off.
    Knock em dead in year 2 also! I'm cheering for you!
     
    Incis0r likes this.
  26. Blackhorse90

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    [FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman]
    ...........That space bar game strong though
     
  27. scammingladdy

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    Hi Emily,

    This is a beautiful success story. I am in a similar situation (but at 23) and I actually just made an account because of this thread.
    With only a BS in Applied Psychology -- lacking many of the prerequisites for dental school -- it's going to take 6 or more years and a lot of debt!

    But this has inspired me to take the dive!

    Best of luck to you.
     
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  28. TheFutureIsNow

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    What made you not want to pursue applied psychology?
     
  29. emilystaffer

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    I was curious about if you got in or no


    Best of luck to you! It does take a lot of time, money, energy, and dedication. But, it's worth it. I'm finishing up my first semester of second year. I have A's and B's, work my butt off, have a great relationship with my husband, and still very much honor my time with my toddler-aged son. The things I've lost are sleep and exercise. I don't have time for either. However, life is going well. It was worth it for me.

    One suggestion though: find out if you have good hand skills somehow through soap carving or some other fine motor skills. We have a dad in our class that is repeating a year because he couldn't pass lab classes. He was a marriage counselor before coming to dental school.
     
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  30. emilystaffer

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    [FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman]
    ...........


    I literally have NO idea how my original post ended up looking so crazy. Oh well. Third year dental student here in the top 30% of her class. Haha. I'm happy to know that a little mess-up in an online blog post has no weight on anything.
     
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  31. setdoc7

    Dentist 10+ Year Member

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    I am a GPR director. Send me an app this coming cycle. Always looking for good students with commitment.
     
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  32. Incis0r

    Incis0r I LOVE Dental School
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    You are a rockstar, @emilystaffer !! Keep it up!!! I love how you keep updating the thread :)
     
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  33. Faefly

    Faefly I am a Naruto fan Now!
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    Awesome!

    Great Job Emily.


    Sleep and exercise will forever be missed I guess.
     
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  34. Frank Kennedy

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    Love seeing great stories like this..Congratulations and Good Luck!!
     
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  35. Saddleshoes

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    Emily, I got to you newest post late.

    Emily, I feel like I have a little bit more invested in you then any body else on this board. So let me say, I too work with a GPR program. If you wish to go the GPR route please contact me FIRST!!!!

    (Sorry, setdoc7. I saw her first!!!)
     
    #34 Saddleshoes, Apr 13, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
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  36. emilystaffer

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    Wow, I just came back to this forum after a long hiatus. I saw the kind messages that you all wrote to me. Thank you so much for taking the time! Thank you for the invitations to your GPR programs as well. What an honor!

    I am happy to announce though that I got accepted in to my first choice for a pediatric dental residency program though. 200 people applied, and I got one of the two spots. So, I'm very thankful and so happy that I pursued this career path. Pediatric Dentistry will be a beautiful mix of my love of dentistry and my past career as a teacher. @Saddleshoes, I followed your advice. I kept my teaching license renewed and will continue to do so. It may open doors to someday work as a faculty member in a residency program. Who knows where the future will take me? As I have proven, I'm a daydreamer. An efficient daydreamer......but a daydreamer nonetheless. Haha

    So to anyone reading this thread for the first time, I again apologize for the space bar nonsense of my original post. I think it was typed on an old cell phone. I don't know what happened. The morale of the story though is to follow your dreams. If you're a female and have a child, you can still be a very successful dental student. You can still get in to your first choice of residency program. You will be fine. And if someone mocks you, dismiss them by proving them wrong.

    Dental school is such a long journey. It certainly is not a sprint but rather a marathon. My first post was in 2011. It is now 2018. Since that time, I raised a child, became pregnant with a second child, had tenants burn down a rental property, dealt with my husband's schedule sometimes not coinciding with mine, processed the recent death of my beloved father, performed needed dentistry on a dental mission trip, finished my graduation requirements before anyone else in my class, been named my dental school's highest honor, graduated, been accepted in to my residency program, and now taken my first vacation in years. I wouldn't change any of it for the world. It is all part of my story.
     
    #35 emilystaffer, Jun 20, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
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  37. thenextcarnegie

    thenextcarnegie D.D.S. Candidate
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    This is probably the coolest and most amazing story I have EVER heard to date! Keep up the amazing work @emilystaffer. Best of luck to you in pediatric dentistry!! You've definitely come very far in life.
     
  38. Saddleshoes

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    Emily! Your are amazing! I am so proud of you.

    I would love to have you send a PM to my personal page with the program you will be going to next. Maybe we know some of the same people.

    Now go out there and Knock Em Dead in residency!
     
  39. BasicG

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    This is such an awesome story. There are many people who play it safe and stick with what they know, even though they want something more out of life. Congratulations on your success!
     

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