Secrets to success in dental school?

Discussion in 'Dental' started by 2quik, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. 2quik

    2quik Junior Member
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    For those in dental school, what are the secrets to get that high class rank? I know time management and hard work are important. But what are you guys doing more specifically that makes you guys "rockstars" in dental school?

    Im just worried b/c i feel that ive worked very hard in undergrad and dont have much of a gpa to show for it, and i know dental school will be even harder! So any tips/tricks or anything would be greatly appreciated!
     
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  3. beannaithe

    beannaithe Bionerd
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    all i can say is play the game.

    learn the way to study (oldies or learn the material or both?), learn the way to take mc exams, learn when to speak up and when to stay quiet. learn to make friends you can rely on and poeple who you can get advice from. also try to learn as much as you can in class, there's usually NO time to study sometimes!

    if you have advice, don't tell everyone. because then people will constantly come to you fo rit.

    my key to success is you help when it's your time, so that you can be helped when you needed. ie - i'm good at anatomy/biochem/physio so i would help people out with those classes and explain things/help study so that when i needed help with how to wax a tooth/drill a prep/etc people were really willing to help me when i asked.
     
  4. Typo

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    How do you get a high class rank? You have to study harder and smarter than almost everyone else. Studying smart is the key, especially depending on your school. At my school, you simply have to memorize the powerpoints and old tests for almost every class to do well. There are very few classes that are exceptions. Figure out what the pattern is at your school and use it.

    Another "tactic" to consider is skipping what you could call "worthless" classes in the sense that the teacher reads the powerpoint and adds very little to it. This will depend on your learning style, and on your school as well. During my freshman year, I skipped classes frequently and studied instead. Since I'm juggling a family at the same time as school, this was essential because time is extremely limited. I also learn best when studying alone and from the book/powerpoints, rather than learning material through lecture or study groups. Figure out your best style and use it.

    Above all else, though, having a compelling goal for why you are putting yourself through all this extra effort is essential. There will be those on SDN who will poo-poo the idea of wanting to specialize from the start of school. While it is admirable to say that you should go to dental school primarily to become a good GP first, some specialties are just too competitive to make this the best way to get in. OMFS and ortho are two good examples. It's far more motivating to excel in dental school when you have a definite, concrete goal from the start - "I want to be an oral surgeon, and here is how I am going to do it" or, "I want to be an orthodontist, and here is how I am going to do it," than it is to say, "I'm going to focus on becoming a great dentist, and I'll just keep my options open and see what interests me." Don't get me wrong - I'm NOT saying there's something wrong with this approach, but it is simply far easier to attain a concrete goal as mentioned above, and to imagine yourself in that specialty, than to say, "I'm keeping my options open," or, "I'm doing it for my patients." During the first two years you are going to be memorizing a sizeable amount of information that you will likely never use for anything other than getting a good grade, and wanting to specialize will keep you going when you're reviewing the Krebs' cycle for the tenth time, or when you're memorizing lists of Gram positive and Gram negative bugs and lab tests used to identify them.

    Good luck!
     
  5. DrJeff

    DrJeff Senior Member
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    This one just doesn't apply to success in dental school, but is more of an important "life skill" that will help you after dental school in practice. Learn the benefits of multi-tasking as soon as you can. It will not only help you as you're trying to balance the didactic material being thrown at you ad nauseum in dental school with the pressures of d-school test prep and extracuricular events in your life, but after graduation in practice, you'll be better able to handle managing a patient (or 2 in) the chair with your hygenists needing a check and your receptionist asking you where you want to put "Mrs. Smith" who broke her front tooth, and that your spouse is also line 3 telling you that your child's school just called becuase he/she is throwing up and your spouse can't pick them up for 4 hours!:eek: Learning to multi-task is crucial!
     
  6. Guiness34

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    keys to being top of your class in dental school-
    1. The smartest and hardest worker does not equate to #1 in the class, whoever plays the game the best always wins.
    2. It doesn't matter if you know the correct answer to a question, you just have to know the answer the professor wants.
    3. Be extremely shady (this is sad but I have witnessed this firsthand in my class. People who I thought were friends constantly use people for old tests and notes and never give them any help in return. Basically the objective here is to do whatever you can to put yourself at an advantage over your classmates by hording information/ notes/ old tests- and then make it appear as if you are friends i.e. doing whatever you can to get ahead of everyone.
    4. Kiss ass- all the top performers in my class constantly suck up. You'd be amazed at how political dental school is, and the lengths people will go to to brown nose professors.
    5. Run for President- As president of the class your goal here is not to stand up for your class, but to use the position to make yourself look better to the faculty. This is what happened in my class. The president used his position first and foremost to get in good with the faculty (extra time during meetings for him to suck up and build relationships with the Docs). Whenever our class had an issue, when we were at odds with the school, our President would always present it as "they" have a problem with this, instead of "we" have a problem with this like he was in it with us. He always agreed with the chairs- kissed up to them and they loved him, never stood up for our class and basically made our class look like whining babies if we had a problem. It's actually quite genuis because he was able to make himself look good by agreeing with the chairs and at the same time make the rest of the class look bad in the eyes of the most important people in the school- making it easy for him to get the specialty spot over another student in the class. What's not so smart is the fact that the rest of the class has recieved wind of his tactics and he will likely lose his position in the upcoming semester. I for one will never do business with him outside of school, but I have to give him credit for sheer caniving ability.
    6. Be extremely competitive- in my dent school it is a bunch of people who were all one time top of their former classes, so be ready to compete.

    On a side note, you will learn more in 3 months of private practice than 4 years of dental school. Do what it takes to get the degree and get the hell out.

    Disclaimer: Sorry if this seems bitter, but from everything I've experienced this is what it takes, and I have been screwed over by shady people in my class.
     
  7. drben

    drben Member
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    Take this post with a grain of salt...if you want to take the road this person is describing you will probably put yourself in a position at the end of dental school to specialize in one of the competitive specialties. That being said, you can still succeed the old fashioned way (provided that you have above average academic and clinical aptitude) by working hard, and being honest.

    It' hard at times...I remember my freshman year of dental school when one of my classmates needed two consecutive 100's in operative dentistry to get an 'A'. She was attractive, and flirted with the instructor and got her two 100's for the A. In the end, it made the difference in her being ranked ahead of me and going on to a more desirable location for her residency (Baylor Ortho) while I went to a less desirable one (Indiana U.). Ultimately though, she is an associate in someone elses practice--single with no prospects, and is treated like a bitch by senior doc. Meanwhile, I am in my own practice, making an awesome living, happy with 3 kids, and loving life. Incidentally, we are still good friends and she admits that she got an unfair leg up :)

    The older I get the more I believe in Karma--treat people well, work hard, etc. and good things will happen.

    --Ben
     
  8. Typo

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    Man, that is some high quality advice. Forget everything I said, it's not about hard work and having a goal, it's all about backstabbing, lying, and being shady.
     
  9. afrosheen

    afrosheen Junior Member
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    this thread has scared the **** outta me
     
  10. shamrock2006

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    so dental school is like Laguna Beach...got it
     
  11. dinesh

    dinesh Senior Member
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    Sleep with your professors.
    Even if it's a 60 year old woman, it'll pay off in the end.
     
  12. dentalman

    dentalman Senior Member
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    Watching My Name is Earl right now. You can help other people and still do well. It's better to be a good person everyone likes and be #5 than #1 and someone every one hates. Just ask Earl.
     
  13. rocknightmare

    rocknightmare Senior Member
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    oddly enough that almost sounds like people in my class.. didn't know it happened in every school
     
  14. QCkid

    QCkid Member
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    Ya this is what people do who actually aren't smart or talented enough to do it the honest way. I worked for IBM for 5 years and Chase Manhatten Bank for two years and the same type of shady stuff is rampant in the corporate world. In other words, their are a lot really high quality people (read sarcasm) no matter where you go or what you do. The funny thing is that these people don't seem to see it the same way. To them, they are just doing what it takes to get what they want.

    Do the right thing, even if you don't get what you want. At least at the end of the day you won't have any regretts, you will be able to look in the mirror with confidence, because you gave it all you had without resorting to compromising your values or morals.
     
  15. DrJeff

    DrJeff Senior Member
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    Bottom line, you have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror each morning and not be disgusted with who you see. Playing the game "fairly" all the time may put you at some short term disadvantages over those that play the system actively, but in the long run, you'll win.

    When dealing with professors, put yourself in their shoes for a minute. If you come upto them and fire questions away/talk to them like some "god complexed" arrogant a$$, you'll likely not end up on their good side. If you treat them with a normal degree of respect (remember, they have the DMD or DDS that you want, and as is such atleast have earned some degree of conversational respect), you'll in the long run have alot less potential problems with them, and they'll look at you with a fair level of scrutiny as opposed to with a fine toothed comb. Bottom line, your professors look at you as some one which they'll be having a longterm professional relationship with, now consider how many classmates you have over all the academic years in d-school at that time, and that's ALOT of people they're dealing with. Who are they likely to really remember and give a hard time to, the arrogant one or the "normal" one??? Think about it
     
  16. Guiness34

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    I totally agree that you can make it the honest way, without compromising your integrity. In my class I figure that would get you into the top 10- from there on out though it can become an ugly fight to #1. After I graduate I plan on running a general practice for about 5 years, then possibly coming back to specialize. I'm too burnt out on school already to stay for another 2-3 years. From what I understand, correct me if I'm wrong, once you get out in private practice for 5+ years, class rank really goes out the window if you want to come back to specialize. This suits my plan, I don't have to scrap for a top spot in the class and I can leave school with my character in tact- and I can honestly say I never compromised myself and I was not a brownnoser. What's more important to me is the relationships I can build with my classmates, the honest ones that I trust. These are the people that I look at as potential business partners after school. To me, this is invaluable.
    To summarize, I plan on getting a DDS, building solid relationships with honest people in my class and then dominating the shady backstabbers in private practice.
    Class rank means nothing in private practice, I have heard many stories of the last ranked in the class going on to have the most successful business in the class. That being said, one kid in my class who definitely went down the shady path I described previously doesn't even plan on specializing. His dad owns a large practice which he'll work for and eventually take over after school. I guess he was just born with a "do anything to put yourself ahead of others" gene.
     
  17. DrJeff

    DrJeff Senior Member
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    Just remember if you're positioning yourself for a residency situation, class-rank and board scores are just one factor, and they are often used as a tool to "open the door" for acceptance. What program directors really take into account is a) recommendations (here's where your reputation amongst the faculty as either an arrogant a$$ or a good, solid person comes into play) and b) the interview at a program - basically this is where the residency crew (director, faculty, staff and other residents) get a quick first impression chance to see if they essentially want to put up with you for however long the residency program is, and at this point, if you get an interview, your board scores/class rank/ recommendations are only about 25% of the final descision, most of it is what type of person are you/what type of personality do you have. Then residency directors if they like you/think they can put up with you, will very often call somebody from your school that they know, and ask that faculty member point blank if the person that they saw/met in the interview is the same person/personality that faculty member has seen for the previous 3+ years. Hence, play nice, it will pay off!
     
  18. hona

    hona Member
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    At my school here are some techniques you can use that i observe people using that keep them at the top of the class
    1. have no social skills, do not be able to hold a coversation about anything other than school
    2. hide all your old tests and tell people you have no extra material
    3. Visit professors right before exams and ask detailed questions about the exam
    4. visit professors right after exams and challenge their knowledge and let them know that you know more than they do
    5. Be really selfish and go grab instructors working with other students in pre-clinic and clinic...don't wait patiently for them to circle around to your station

    Just a few things I have observed...but they should help
     
  19. DDSY

    DDSY Bright Lights at Night
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    Some of you guys are hilarious. . . I might as well be a very pretty anti-social female since most professors are males. . :lol:
     
  20. domonas

    domonas Junior Member
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    +1 :scared:
     
  21. TucsonDDS

    TucsonDDS Senior Member
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    It doesn't take backstabing and cheating to be in the top of the class. It does take a lot of hard work though. My first year I was in the top 10% through pure hard work. Lots of studying and shutting down the library during the week. It does take tracking down old tests and many would consider that cheating but there is no way you will be in the top ranks without old tests and I think most would agree. Hard work and lots of practice in the lab will definitely get you there. Forget what other people said about backstabbing your friends and constant ass kissing, both your classmates and the faculty will soon figure you out. It may work the first semester or 2 but you will quickly get a reputation. Being 15th in the class while working hard and being honest with your classmates and faculty will get you further than being 5th and having a hard time getting a so-so recommendation from an instructor when it comes to getting a good residency.
     
  22. DDSY

    DDSY Bright Lights at Night
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    :thumbup: :thumbup: Personally, I don't understand how some people can be so ruthless and yet not feel guilty. It seems like a very self-destructive way--psychologically and socially--of accomplishing a certain goal.

     
  23. OceanBlue

    OceanBlue HA! I knew it.
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    You don't have to be fake to have that partner relationship! I mean, you can get to know people and ask them to share notes with you, and you can study together. You don't have to be friends if you don't want....you can just be studying partners. I do it all the time in my undergrad years, I find a couple of people who i think are nice and be their studying partner.
     
  24. 1992Corolla

    1992Corolla CheerioKing
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    Find out which students are holding the spots in front of you and beat the snot out of them...
























    ...on test scores.:D

    Or just become a really great GD and make 400K take home.:thumbup:
     
  25. vaio

    vaio Senior Member
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    people reeaaallly want to get into ortho....the things ppl do for money
     
  26. pacbum

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    hey, let's leave laguna out of this.

    so in my undergrad experience, in which i was pretty successful i would say, i learned to be as unselfish as possible. by that i mean, help everyone, friend or not. forget about all this competitive garbage. go out of your way to help your classmates. the friendships i gained in undergrad are way more important that any one grade. my school is extremely competitve, and i see the backstabbing all over the place. not only will people not help others, they will go uot of their way to tell them wrong information and wrong answers. that makes me sick! to counter all those people, i'd try to be the exact opposite. i still got into my top choices, as well as remained true to myself. nothing will change in dental school.
     
  27. Guiness34

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    :laugh: nothings gonna change in dental school huh? Wow your world is about to get rocked. I loved undergrad- dental school is different on so many levels I don't even know where to start.
     
  28. fightingspirit

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    this is a great thread. i wish i had read it before d-school started. Typo and bennaithe are right on!!!! guiness's post is a stretch but it is not a big stretch because there is a lot of truth to it.

    having said that, it is sad that some professors do not change questions. not changing questions puts those who study at a disadvantage when compared to those who memorise the heck out of the old exams. not to mention the extra old exams that the in-crowd may possess!

    above all: DO PLAY THE GAME!
     
  29. fightingspirit

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    your naivety about the culture and dynamics of d-school is refreshing and even a bit endearing. it gives you a particularly pleasant image of d-school. you remind me of myself before d-school started. i am inclined to say that that is a good attitude to keep, and that you should not change this d-school image you have before you start. sadly though, you will at some point have a different image, albeit more realistic, of d-school. at that time, this thread will make more sense to you. wait till you experience the stress of d-school. wait till you realize how some get better grades due to better resources. wait till your very classmates start spreading the most malicious rumors about you in the class without any evidence to back up their statements.

    i whole-heartedly wish you the best of luck in d-school. and i hope you're able to keep the sanguine attitude towards people and d-school.
     
  30. psiyung

    psiyung 1K Member
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    Dental school is probably one of the most unprofessional places you will ever encounter in your life. People honestly get away with some pretty crazy ****. Believe me, there is more ways to make money than to kill yourself for four years just to "specialize." I know a GD who does implants, ortho, partial bony's, and is making a truckload of cash every month. Believe me though guys/gals, you'll get to a pint in life where the difference between 200 and 400K becomes minimal knowing that family and happiness is what truly matters in life. Dental school will sometimes make you hate what you do. You will be ridiculed for bull**** that really doesnt matter. Success in dental school is finding that you actually enjoy most aspects of your job, and saying to yourself, "Who gives a flying **** about some dip**** professor who will probably spend the rest of his life in school."

    Just make it out and start living a life. That's just my opinion, I could be wrong.
     
  31. psiyung

    psiyung 1K Member
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  32. armorshell

    armorshell One Man Freak Show
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    I don't know if the rumors about the kind of crap described in this thread not existing at UoP are true, but reading this makes me really hope they are...
     
  33. DDSY

    DDSY Bright Lights at Night
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    Put a bunch of ambitious people in a high-stress environment w/ severe time constraints and the fact that a large number want to specialize but only few spots are available and voila. . .
     
  34. 1992Corolla

    1992Corolla CheerioKing
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    I am glad my class hasn't totally disenfranchised me from reality...

    +1 for Temple 2010:scared:
     
  35. afrosheen

    afrosheen Junior Member
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    does anyone know if tufts is like this? i must know!
     
  36. pacbum

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    well, as a dental student, i'm sure you know exactly what you are talking about. i am not. i do not know what to expect, and i'm sure it is very difficult. i'm not comparing dental school to undergrad. i am speaking about myself. i will stay true to myself, regardless of what the people around me are like. people said that college was a completely different world from high school, and to some extent it was. trust me, i went to a competitive school, i know what people do to others to get on top. i will simply not resort to that for success. that's why i'll never be an amazing business man, it's not in my nature. i'll never be a multimillionaire, i don't have the shrewdness to do so. but i'll be content with my life, and myself, because it's all i know how to do.

    i may be naive about my vision of dental school, but i know who i am. i'm sure you see all types of backstabbing and cutthroat competition all the time. i'm sure i will to, i'm not denying that it exists. people resorted to this to get into dental school, there's no reason to think that it will stop in dental school. they got into dental school, but so did i, i just didn't have to take the same route, you know what i mean?

    you guys talked about "playing the game." well, i played the game in undergrad, just not at my classmates expenses. i learned how to take tests without studying. i learned how to use different resources. the difference is i also shared my secrets with my classmates. i didn't have to depend on their failing for my success. it really just a game, my point is you don't have to step on others to get on top. and i hope i am able to find people that agree with my philosophy. i'm sure i'll be in the minority, but i can't really do anything about that.

    thanks for the warm wishes though, i'll strive hard to maintain this attitude.
     
  37. dinesh

    dinesh Senior Member
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    Sleeep...with...your ...lecturers.
     
  38. DDSY

    DDSY Bright Lights at Night
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    I'm sure there are intelligent people who are not backstabbers. The trick is to find genuinely nice people who are willing to share the same way that you are and to, in turn, avoid people who simply take advantage of others. And not to get too emotionally vested by encounters with people who "play the game".

    I know that I'm probably not the best person to answer this question since I am, after all, predent. However, I can't see how the students at dental school can be that much different from those in classes I've taken in undergrad and grad. Personalities don't change drastically, and you can always know which person to trust and which not to.
     
  39. fightingspirit

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    sensible but you're in for a surprise. d-students are surely not inherently bad or wicked people. in a newly entering class, the percentage of shady students is not different from that of any other school or professional school. what usually happens is the exact opposite of what you stated in the part of your post that i quoted. indeed, d-school DOES change you drastically. also you CANNOT ALWAYS know whom to trust. believe it or not, the stress and the indescribable amount of material that is being thrown at you, along with the mandatory attendance, the intensity, and idiosyncrasies and insensitive remarks of your classmates, all of these combined do things to your psychology. you truly change. i do not know whether the change is permanent or transient, but you do tend to change. and if you are in a small class, multiply all factors i listed by 10. but like i said, d-students are not bad people; it's just that the system, the difficulty of specializing, the limited specialty spots, and the amount of material that is thrown at them change them into a less endearing but more temperamental version of themselves, myself included. all of a sudden, the things that did not bother you before, start bothering you. all of a sudden, you feel that you are litterally good at nothing; all of a sudden you feel that you're alone eventhough you have friends elsewhere; all of a sudden, the minor personallity flaws you have (as everyone else does), and that you've always been able to conceal, become salient and major. there will be confrontations, framing, and bad-mouthing. since you are not a dental student yet, my best advice for you is to try to avoid being changed by the factors i mentioned; and remember this: silence is golden!!!.......also read my signature below
     
  40. DDSY

    DDSY Bright Lights at Night
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    Read your signature. Makes sense--> With a demanding schedule, it's better not care too much, if you get what I'm saying. Just do the work.

    Otherwise, you risk emotionally draining yourself.
     
  41. livinthedream

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    As a future classmate, I hope you're not serious :eek:...the class of 2010 is way too cool for that! :D
     
  42. armorshell

    armorshell One Man Freak Show
    Physician Dentist Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Wait, no, I hope the kind of crap in this thread doesn't go on there. That's what I was trying to say...
     
  43. livinthedream

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    Glad to hear...that's two for the count :)
     
  44. SuperC

    SuperC SuperC DMD
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    Stay off the BOOZE
     
  45. eapleitez

    eapleitez Senior Member
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    Well, it's unfortunate you are in a class like that, but not all of them are like that. In my class, we share notes online all the time, and we always are helping each other. I love it. We have a pretty good president who definitely fights for our causes. And since we don't have grades, there is virtually no competition here. It's pretty laid back. No real jerks either.
     
  46. DDSY

    DDSY Bright Lights at Night
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    You do realize that you just revealed what type of school Stony Brook is. I'm not saying that the cold, competitive atmosphere is not found at other dental schools. Of course, it's always good to save a bundle of $$$:)

     
  47. I'mFillingFine

    I'mFillingFine Pulptastic
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    Also, don't forget that fightingspirit is deeply unhappy with his choice of dentistry in general. It's hard to separate the big picture if there are a lot of doubts in one's own life, understandably!


    Not every dental school has backstabbers and steals your soul. You can let your soul seep out anytime you're under stress, but find a school with a supportive administration and less competition. My classmates are always studying together in the library, sharing notes (and *cough cough* old exams *cough cough*). Maybe it'll change in future years, but it doesn't look like it when observing the upperclassmen.
     
  48. fightingspirit

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    no!...i just revealed what type of school every small dental school with high admission standards is....small dental schools tend to be like that regardless of whether or not it is stony brook. stony brook is not unique in any of this at all. besides, the administration is very supportive and we do get treated very very well here. also, it is not that cold. it is much colder in other places. and stony brook has waaaay more to offer than just an affordable education. there are other posters in this thread who mentioned comparable issues. they are not in stony brook and yet there are similarities. this is just part of the nature of dental schools. i suspect you 've applied to stony brook!....lol....good luck if you did. and keep in mind that stony brook offers much more than affordability! since you've already probbed into my past posting history, i am assuming you read my post about the advantages of stony brook... ;)
     
  49. fightingspirit

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    doubtfull? yes. deeply unhappy? no, at least not anymore. things are getting better. being doubtfull is uncomfortable but it is not a very bad thing....
     
  50. Billy Gilmore

    2+ Year Member

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    In response to those asking if certain schools are more cut throat or have more shady activity, I think it really depends on the composition of each individual class and the attitudes of the students who desire to specialize and be at the top of the class.

    I've found the people in my class who were at or near the top were generally likeable and extremely intelligent and thus didn't require the shady activities proposed to maintain there position. It seemed to me these individuals knew they were exceptionally gifted and weren't willing to compromise their character to gain a slight advantage. That said, doing well in dental school is ultimately a game of risk and reward; those that discover where to skimp and where to put in extra effort early on in their education seem to rise to the top.
     

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