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Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by Neil45, Mar 7, 2007.

  1. Neil45

    Neil45 Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2005
    This may sound dumb, I'm 18 years old and am in second semester of my first year at university. I've been getting great grades so far. I've been introverted most of my life through elementary school and high school and have had few friends. I feel that my introvertness can be a disadvantage if I were to be a dentist. Sometimes, I have trouble communicating with others, and find it hard to carry on a conversation. I like dentistry because I would like to be my own boss, run my own business and help others, but I just feel that I can't do it because of my introvertness. Anyone else feel the same way about themselves? What can I do to solve this?
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  3. amichail

    amichail 5+ Year Member

    Nov 9, 2006
    I don't know if this is exactly relevant, but I used to be deathly afraid of public speaking, and it hurt me accademically as well as personally... But one of my professors asked me to become a TA for her, so at first I was **** scared, but I took the job and it helped me get over my fear... Basically what I'm trying to tell you is... Just try working on it, you don't have to be a loud a$$ center of attention type person, you just gotta be semi sociable! So don't trip, you'll be fine ;) and ohh yeah... try to get a job where you sell stuff, that will pick up your hustle and will force you 2 talk 2 people, and when your getting commission or tips for sales or for pleasing your customers, believe me your introvertness will go right out the window! LOL
  4. PennPB

    PennPB 2+ Year Member

    Nov 9, 2006
    I sense a bit of sincerity in your question, so I'll answer it as clearly as I possibly can. I addressed my introvertedness in my personal statement and had the following things to say - it's nothing that you have to solve, just learn to adapt with. Being more gregarious may help some initiate dialogue with others despite little common ground. Instead of throwing myself out there going on chatting sprees and talking out of my @$$, I did as much as I could to diversify my experiences by travelling and broadening my hobbies- whereby increasing the possibilities of finding common grounds with others.

    I took some time off after graduating from college to travel - a dental relief trip to Peru, rock climbing in Fontainebleau and Chamonix, and volunteering at a dental clinic and oral medicine office with minorities. I had very limited social interaction with minorities growing up, so the latter was by far one of the most influential experiences I have ever had. Overall, my advice would be to dive in - if you have the urge to try something and you're not hurting anyone else, just dive in. The urge to gravitate to corners of the room never really goes away, but there are ways to stand your ground and converse openly with others - ultimately, that lies in finding experiences that are worth talking about.
  5. Ex_EE

    Ex_EE 2+ Year Member

    Sep 23, 2006
    I think that one thing that helped me the most was working for 5 years before going to dental school. I was forced to interact with a lot of different people, and I am much more social now than I used to be. I honestly don't think my personality would have allowed me to be successful right out of school, but now I think I will be fine.
  6. BirkChick

    BirkChick 5+ Year Member

    Jan 24, 2006
    That is exactly what I was going to say!

    To the OP: In addition to being introverted, I am extremely shy and self-conscious. I used to hate talking to people I didn't know, be it calling utility companies, asking questions at the grocery store, or any other experience that involves strangers.

    By working for the past five years, I have gotten over a lot of my shyness, mostly by pushing myself into situations that I normally would have avoided. At times, I have trouble communicating and tend to stumble over my words and speak in my stream of consciousness (if that makes any sense at all) -- but I'm to the point where I can calmly (i.e. without getting all flustered and wanting to cry) start the conversation over and get my point across in an understandable manner.

    I guess my advice to you is to put yourself in situations that you find uncomfortable, be it a job or a club or whatever, and try to be an important contributer. Work on your self-awareness and stop being so critical of yourself. If you're having trouble communicating, try not to get all embarassed and flustered. Instead, try to calmly say something to the effect of "well, that didn't make any sense at all; let me start over..." and work on explaining yourself a second time.

    Good luck to you. I hope I was helpful.
  7. Lesley

    Lesley Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    The ability to socialize is not a stagnant thing. A great part of successful interacting can be learned. As with any learned skill, you have to have the desire, and there's a curve. Learning requires patience and an allowance for personal setbacks. We all put our foot in our mouths more often than we like and many of us are self conscious. You are not alone. But realize, that not everyone wants the same level of interaction with others. So, while you may want to interact better, you may now and always prefer and feel comfortable in the company of small groups, and there is nothing wrong with that. Larger groups can be overwhelming. The risk of being judged is a problem for many. I think with dentistry it is easier to have one-to-one relationships with your patients than other fields of medicine. I recently watched an episode of "Scrubs" where the main character compared working in a hospital to being in high school. This is not so in a dental office. Most dentists work in smaller offices with a smaller staff. It is much more conducive to connecting and speaking with patients and employees on a non-judgemental level. You may find you are more robust and social than you realize under this circumstances. I think introverted tendencies don't necessarily mean that you can't connect with others, you may just prefer and feel more comfortable interacting in a smaller group. The quality of a personal connection may be very much the same. So, while you are anxious, realize that almost everyone is anxious about something. Have confidence, accept yourself, understand your needs, and know that, regardless, you can grow and adapt. Just getting older will give you an ease that you will benefit from in the future. Getting older is not all that bad! But at the end of the day, you may still just enjoy the company of you, a close friend or a good book...and that is very okay. Best Wishes.
  8. eleminopee

    eleminopee I've got 2 infractions! 5+ Year Member

    Dec 5, 2006
    Read some self-improvement books. Check out Winning with People by Maxwell, or The Success Principles by Campbell (I think the names are right). They will give you some self confidence and help you.

    Just remember that you have more to gain from maybe embarrassing yourself or feeling uncomfortable than from never stepping outside of your box and progressing. Social skills are really what make people successful in life so they are worth developing just as any other skill. Especially in dentistry they are necessary. I've observed quiet dentists who don't talk to the patients or make them feel comfortable and I've never gone back there to observe since because it was AWKWARD.

    Be proactive. Analyze yourself constantly and make achievable goals. You can do anything you really want to.
  9. litldime

    litldime D2 Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Jul 11, 2006
    I became an ambassador at my school... I had to go to high schools to recruit students, have to give campus tours, college nights etc...
    I gained great leadership skills and got 3 scholarships...not bad...
    now i cant shut the f* up...

    seriously though, try to find an activity that forces you to speak. That's what I did and have never regreted it..
  10. drpduck

    drpduck Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 1, 2001
    I agree that being able to talk to people, and hold a decent conversation will help you a lot in dentistry. Most people know nothing about how good your dental work is, but rather how much it hurts and how much it costs. If you can make your patient feel comfortable, then they will come back.

    Once we are out of dental school, how well we do is up to each one of us, its a business and people can choose whether or not to come to you or the next dentist in town. Talk to your patients, listen to them, hold a conversation. I've shadowed several dentists, from quiet to ones that can hold a decent conversation. Regardless of their ability as a dentist, the ones that could converse with patients tended to have much more happy patients. More happy patients=them talking to their friends mentioning how nice Dr. X is and referrals.

    Bottom line, try to make yourself comfortable around people, the patients are going to be a lot more scared of what you're doing in their mouths if you don't try to talk to them and take their minds off it.
  11. djeffreyt

    djeffreyt Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 2006
    Well, you know what the answer to your "What is one of your weaknesses?" question will be. The good news is, you have identified it and have 3.5 years of school (at least...unless you're a genius) to work on it.

    So work on it...if you think it could hurt you in your probably will (even if it's only cause you think it will).

    Being introverted is tough to overcome, but toally doable. Like someone else said, being a TA could help. Try getting a part time job tutoring something too. Try to take on leadership roles in organizations...and I mean leadership roles that make you interact with people and lead people...not just secretary (taking minutes and emailing) or treasurer (cause a checkbook and spreadsheets don't talk back and have issues and personalities you need to learn to deal with)

    It's not easy to do, but the only way to stop being introverted is to build confidence in your ability to lead people and communicate...and that happens, most often, through time and experience.

    I too was pretty introverted at the start of college (10 years ago) in fact, one of my first professors (art professor) wrote me a letter of rec and she showed it to me and said in it "He's a shy modest person." I laughed because that's nothing like what I am anymore, but she was commenting about how I used to be. Another letter by someone who only knew me a year and a half kept talking about my loud, commanding nature (person only knew me as a student leader).

    For me, a lot of things helped me get over the shy introverted nature. I played music with friends and played a lot of live shows on stages. I took on leadership roles in student, and eventually, national organizations. I tutored people. I became a teacher, etc. I made art and put it out there into shows and stuff (nothing like learning to take criticism from complete strangers to harden you).

    And then, after doing a bunch of stuff to help overcome your have a great answer about weaknesses and how you worked on that weakness.
  12. Ukti

    Ukti 2+ Year Member

    Jan 26, 2007
    r u Indian Neil?
  13. Neil45

    Neil45 Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2005
    Thanks for the responses everyone. Very encouraging and helpful. I appreciate it alot. I thought I was going to get blasted for asking this question. :oops:
  14. Neil45

    Neil45 Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2005
    Yes, I am. I am Punjabi.
  15. 997GT3

    997GT3 There is no substitute. 10+ Year Member

    Jul 28, 2006
    Where exactly is the line that divides introversion and extroversion? Is one considered an introvert if he only talks when it is necessary? Is someone who talks out of his ass an extrovert?
  16. hotrod0917

    hotrod0917 Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 9, 2006
    Ann Arbor
    Now I'm being serious when I say this; when you age your have more experience and have more things that you wanna share and converse about. Plus you can drink and you'll soon forget that you're doing quite bit more than just talking with a complete stranger.:)
  17. pmantz

    pmantz Member 5+ Year Member

    Jul 3, 2006
    I would definately be an extrovert. Talking out my A$$, thats me.
  18. amichail

    amichail 5+ Year Member

    Nov 9, 2006
    I can always carry on a conversation no matter the subject... However I still consider my self an introvert... I can be by myself and enjoy the company!:D
  19. BirkChick

    BirkChick 5+ Year Member

    Jan 24, 2006
    There is no 'line'; it's a continuum.

    An introvert receives his/her energy from within themselves. An extrovert receives his/her energy from interactions with other people.
  20. PennPB

    PennPB 2+ Year Member

    Nov 9, 2006
    If by necessary, you mean screaming "Hey!!" when someone is about to run over your foot, then no.... but seriously though, not really... :oops:

    I don't think there is much of a line between an introvert and an extrovert. It might be more of a swaying spectrum that people oscillate between, depending on certain factors: familiarity with those present, comfortability in your surroundings, and etc.
  21. lifeisgood

    lifeisgood the original 5+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2005
    San Clemente, CA
    True. I have definitely become more open and outgoing with age. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that the older you get the more comfortable you become with yourself (sweeping generality, I know).
  22. supraman

    supraman Boston Celtics 7+ Year Member

    Oct 30, 2005
    No offense guy, but you better learn how to. Everyone had great responses, try to get a job at a place over the summer break where you have to interact with a lot of different people. For example, at subway or at a restaurant. I was in the same boat but more in Highschool. Luckily I had a very outgoing freshman roommate, that basically forced me to just be able to talk to anyone. Pretend you are talking to you family member, and just make it flow. You'll be alright
  23. dds_sdc

    dds_sdc dds_sdc 2+ Year Member

    Nov 4, 2006
    getting a job and dealing with customers is what did it for me.

    some introverts that i know of are so scared to talk because they're too busy worrying "what if no one laughs at my joke... what if they think it was a stupid question..or like.. dammit that was stupid why did i say that?!"

    dont think too much. if no one laughs at your joke, who cares. thats happened to all of us.

    be more comfortable with yourself and you should be fine. hang in there. :thumbup:
  24. dudewhensmydat

    dudewhensmydat You stay classy. 2+ Year Member

    Aug 30, 2006
    To the OP: I understand your situation; you're probably very good at putting your thoughts on paper, but you get "caught up" when speaking to others.

    The good news is that you'll have a lot of opportunities to interact with students in your science labs in college (as well as giving oral presentations).

    Furthermore, I agree that you should seek a job that will force you to interact with customers, who are initially strangers. For example, I recently started working at Starbucks, and although I am a little bit shy, I have learned how to initiate a conversation, direct it, and even get tipped at the same time. I believe this will help me tremendously as a dentist.

    You have a lot of time to get better at it. Great thread.:D
  25. SHC1984

    SHC1984 Banned Banned 5+ Year Member

    Feb 1, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Work at a restaurant as a waitress, it will really help you out alot. I worked at Hooters for 2 years and it HELPED, I am NOT shy anymore after working there. LOL... not to mention it was fun working there and I made a lot of friends. so my point is, get a job as a server! :D

  26. shane.

    shane. Get ya' hair did. 2+ Year Member

    Sep 10, 2006
    I didn't have time to read all the other responses, and i'm sure you've got some good information to work with but,

    .. Check these guys out, they delve into social dynamics quite a bit (don't think it's just for guys who want to improve their "game" with women) and I found some interesting things in it such as how important body language is when conversing with others. Make eye contact, smile, and show general interest in the individual you're talking to.

    Play with it a bit and see what kind of results you get, you might be surprised.

    Good luck.
  27. IzzyMarieDMD

    IzzyMarieDMD Member 5+ Year Member

    Apr 5, 2006
    I agree with the above posters who said that getting a job where you interact with people will make you more comfortable.
    However don't worry too much because there's much more to being professional than being chatty. Patients will be more comfortable with someone who is quiet and confident rather than a dentist who is nervous because he/she is trying too hard to make small talk (but if you can become more comfortable with that then great). Good Luck :)

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