I'm currently finishing up my first year of dental school. Exams hit in a week or two. A full week of tests. I get my first patients in a month or so. And deep down, I'm a little nervous about it. My classmate and I were joking yesterday about having to call for a surgical consult after we let a polishing cup runaway and pierce our first patient's cheek. Interestingly enough, I've never been happier. See, I didnt pick my school because it's the "best" (according to some magazine or some researcher or some dentist). Nor because it was the easiest to get into (unfortunately it was not). I didnt do it to save money. It didnt move me closer to my family. All in all, on paper it was not a very wise decision. I picked my school because it fit me. Where it's located makes me happy. The curriculum is right up my alley. The lifestyle and attitude of the students I met with during interviewing was exactly what I wanted. Clinically, the school's record shows that I will likely graduate as an excellent (relatively) practitioner. My class will probably not raise any eyebrows with their board averages. And that suits all of us just fine. People that want to specialize will. And, if someone TRULY loves a specialty, they will find a way to get in. It might take a few extra years, but they WILL get in (FYI this is the case anywhere). And so, I chose the school, that is me. Might as well be the Ehop24 School of Dentistry. Turns out my classmates are alot like me. I've never been a part of such a large, cohesive group. It seems that we all genuinely enjoy the inordinately large amounts of time that we must spend together. I wake up every morning, and I dont mind having to go sit through 8 hours of lectures. I get to hang out with with a bunch of great people all day. I dont have to kill myself to keep up with my classes because our class shares notes and study aids. Who can complain? SIDENOTE: Your classmates will be with you all day long. ALL...DAY...LONG. Several years. You will spend more time (hours awake) with these classmates than you will with your spouse (if married). Or parents. Or dog/cat. That girl that heard you pass gas in class yesterday afternoon? You sit next to her at 8am today. and 9am. and 10am...11...12.......yeah, until 5pm. Like them or not, your classmates will be like your family. We should be able to interview our future classmates (take notes at your interview). You can't imagine how much fun dental school can be if you match the school to the individual. I've been reading this board for years. I can't tell you how many times i've seen "I hated the city, but I just have to graduate from XYZ university" or "gosh, their facilities suck and they arent very nice to their students, but their board scores are so darn high!" Etc. Etc. Etc. Likewise, there are a ton of posts on dental town about how dental school is the worst experience on earth, comparable to torture. It's the general consensus. "Get in, get out, ASAP." Screw it. Forget all of that mumbojumbo. 4 years is a long time for a twenty-something. Enjoy it. Ask the questions that are important to you. Discover who you are. Don't pick the best school you can get into. Pick the one that you FIT into. I'm sure my formula isn't perfect, but here's to hoping everyone can enjoy dental school as much as I have.