To coast or push? An intellectual question on complacency vs efficiency.

Garett24

2+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2014
137
141
Tallahassee
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Pre-Dental
Hello 2nd year here. Have been studying pretty hard and have got OK grades. I am around 40 out of 120 in my class. I have heard that this next year is the hardest and is a great year to "separate yourself from the pack". It seems that to climb to the specialization range will be an incredible amount of work where I will have to manage my time perfectly and drop some social events/ working out/ relaxing time. I say these sacrifices because I still tried pretty hard to get even this rank. My class is extremely competitive. I am wondering two things:

1.) Do you think I could push into the specialization range if I tried really hard?

2.) Is Trying that hard and sacrificing my quality of life worth it if I am not 100% set on specializing?
Is trying this hard going to make me a better dentist or diminish my quality of life and habits that would ultimately make me a better dentist?

Thanks
 

charlestweed

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Jul 10, 2007
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If your school has note taking service or some kinds of recording service, you can skip the lectures and stay home studying for other classes or for the new ADAT exam. My school had notepool, which assigned each student in our class to take note once or twice per quarter. With the lecture notes and handouts, I didn’t have to wake up at 7 every morning to go to classes. They helped me save so much time. What’s the point of attending every class and can’t stay focused in classes due to lack of sleep every night?

Another thing I’d like to point out is some people in your class are just very smart. No matter how much time you spend to study, you can never be like them. I know because I shared a room with 4 other very smart classmates. They read the material once and they did well on all the tests. I had to read and re-read the material a few times and still couldn’t beat them. I wouldn’t have got acceptance to an ortho program if I didn’t go to a P/F school, where there was no ranking. I only had do well on the Board part I exam and got in.
 
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Garett24

Garett24

2+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2014
137
141
Tallahassee
Status
Pre-Dental
If your school has note taking service or some kinds of recording service, you can skip the lectures and stay home studying for other classes or for the new ADAT exam. My school had notepool, which assigned each student in our class to take note once or twice per quarter. With the lecture notes and handouts, I didn’t have to wake up at 7 every morning to go to classes. They helped me save so much time. What’s the point of attending every class and can’t stay focused in classes due to lack of sleep every night?

Another thing I’d like to point out is some people in your class are just very smart. No matter how much time you spend to study, you can never be like them. I know because I shared a room with 4 other very smart classmates. They read the material once and they did well on all the tests. I had to read and re-read the material a few times and still couldn’t beat them. I wouldn’t have got acceptance to an ortho program if I didn’t go to a P/F school, where there was no ranking. I only had do well on the Board part I exam and got in.
Yea I really regret fulfilling the need to go to classes. The top people in my class don't go to class they just watch the recording later or study the notes. That will my strategy this year.
 
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TanMan

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Jul 21, 2004
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Hello 2nd year here. Have been studying pretty hard and have got OK grades. I am around 40 out of 120 in my class. I have heard that this next year is the hardest and is a great year to "separate yourself from the pack". It seems that to climb to the specialization range will be an incredible amount of work where I will have to manage my time perfectly and drop some social events/ working out/ relaxing time. I say these sacrifices because I still tried pretty hard to get even this rank. My class is extremely competitive. I am wondering two things:

1.) Do you think I could push into the specialization range if I tried really hard?

2.) Is Trying that hard and sacrificing my quality of life worth it if I am not 100% set on specializing?
Is trying this hard going to make me a better dentist or diminish my quality of life and habits that would ultimately make me a better dentist?

Thanks
1. Yes. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. You'll probably have to give it all you got and you will have to flatter/schmooze with the right people to develop the right connections to specialize. Do research and publishing in the respective specialty field helps a lot too.
2. No, but its harder to differentiate yourself if you decide you want to specialize later on. Preclinical doesn't matter unless you want to be a lab technician or work on mannequins all your life (or be a prosthodontist who does their own labwork). Even clinical patient experiences lose their value in the dental school context as you are learning the dental school way, not the profitable dentist way. If you do too many patients under the dental school context, you might lose sight of the big picture and end up picking up inefficient habits. Being a better general dentist is learning how to talk to patients, learning how to deal with difficult patients, speaking with confidence, understanding dentistry in the business context, and understanding how to improve your clinical efficiency. In essence, you just need to know what your school expects to pass then build upon it by improving your technique without pissing off the floor faculty.

It all depends on how you allocate your time. Personally, I recommend trying hard to finish all your requirements by your third year, so you can focus on being the most efficient dentist on your fourth year. This is the start of your path to being a superGP.
 

2TH MVR

Orthodontist
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Aug 3, 2017
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North Scottsdale, Arizona
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What specialty are you interested in? Not knocking anyone here, but it's gonna take a lot more effort for oral surgery than for perio and for ortho than for prosth. I feel like the top 20% is a comfortable place to be for specializing, in general.

Big Hoss

I'll ad this thought to this statement. Sure .... top 20% "may" get you into a specialty program, but you will be going to a VERY expensive private school as opposed to a traditional dental school that has specialty programs. It pays to be in the top 5-10% of your class so you can go to a "relatively" inexpensive traditional dental school. Think long term future debt.
 
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