Dealing with an unexpected personal commitment while starting dental school. Is it going to be okay?

toothdriller2k17

2+ Year Member
Jul 16, 2014
243
202
Status
Dental Student
defer for a year. private about your personal life or not, you need to let the school know because they gave you that seat with the expectation that you'll pass all 4 years. let the school know asap and ask to defer for a year is what i would do

there's no point in putting yourself through emotional hell, only to find yourself dealing with your home situation and doing poorly in your classes/labwork. what if things go south and you're on the brink of failing the year? what happens then? dental school is very demanding so it may not be the best idea for you to start this year. my 2 cents.
 
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hannah_hoac

2+ Year Member
Aug 20, 2014
650
599
Status
Dental Student
One of my close friends in dental school was diagnosed with breast cancer and it had spread to the lymph nodes. She's doing radiation 5 days a week now and is still going to school like all of us. Another classmate of mine's mother passed away when we were 2-3 months into first year. She took a couple weeks off and got back on track. She's still in our class now. It's really up to you. If you're really easily stressed out or have anxiety history then taking a little break is not a bad thing. Talk to the school. They will help you and I'm sorry for your mom's news. I hope you guys will stay strong and beat it together!
 

whaleofatale

2+ Year Member
Mar 10, 2015
148
122
Status
Academic Administration
I will be starting dental school this month (yay!). Recently, I have grown anxious as to whether I will be able to balance school with a recent family health crisis.

I received the news last week that my mother has been diagnosed with a moderately aggressive form of stage 2 breast cancer, and will begin chemotherapy within the next couple of weeks (not sure how long the treatment will last before she receives a mastectomy/lumpectomy).

I know the option to defer exists for these sorts of situations, but I have the feeling that it might be too late for this, and I'm just too afraid to mention it, as I'm sort of private about my personal life. I know that my mother wouldn't want me to do this, as well.

I'm just curious, for those that have been in similar situations during their dental school enrollment, is it going to be manageable to go home (about a 2 hour drive) a couple of weekends a month to help clean/cook for my mom? I hear students talking all the time that dental school is just completely overwhelming in terms of its effect on personal free time. I'm nervous and very scared.

Do you find that the professors at your school are forgiving of the very occasional absence from class for family medical circumstances? I've never been the type to miss class before, and I am worried that it would be difficult to make up some of the more "practical" coursework without being present in class. Is this the case, or is it easy to catch up on things like waxing or tooth preparation after missing only one class?
Defer and spend the year with your family. Your school will understand.
 

Saddleshoes

10+ Year Member
Oct 28, 2007
618
388
Status
Dentist
I might have something to share on this matter, as my mother went through the same issue when I was in DS.

I know the option to defer exists for these sorts of situations, but I have the feeling that it might be too late for this, and I'm just too afraid to mention it, as I'm sort of private about my personal life. I know that my mother wouldn't want me to do this, as well. I too am a private person. I may have shared a little bit of the story (but not much) with my two roommate but that was all.

I'm just curious, for those that have been in similar situations during their dental school enrollment, is it going to be manageable to go home (about a 2 hour drive) a couple of weekends a month to help clean/cook for my mom? In my case my folks had recently moved to a state 900 miles away so my visits were minimal. You do not mention your Father. In my case my Dad shouldered the burden. I can tell you that there are all kinds of social service programs to handle the physical tasks at times like this. However, emotional support is something different...
I hear students talking all the time that dental school is just completely overwhelming in terms of its effect on personal free time. I'm nervous and very scared. YES!! the first year of DS is all consuming! However, that was a GOOD THING for me. I was able to compartmentalize my school work and my family issues and by working hard on my DS stuff I was able to escape my Mother's health struggles.

Do you find that the professors at your school are forgiving of the very occasional absence from class for family medical circumstances? I did not share anything with those jerks!
I've never been the type to miss class before, and I am worried that it would be difficult to make up some of the more "practical" coursework without being present in class. Is this the case, or is it easy to catch up on things like waxing or tooth preparation after missing only one class? See the note above... I did not miss a minute of class or lab. As stated above, I found school to be my relief from the situation.
My story ended quite well. My mother's treatment was successful and she lived a great life for another 30 years. My studies were not effected too much. I wasn't the head of the class but I don't think that was in the cards for me anyway.

Toothinator
I have 3 things to tell you in a fatherly way...
1) Your physical presents at your Mother's side will not make one bit of difference in her medical recovery. In fact, it might weigh on her that she holding you back on your life path. (No parent wants that!)
2) We have a prayer list at our house. I will put you on it for this week.
3) Welcome to adulthood! You will turn out OK no matter what you decide to do.