Orientation, First Few Weeks and My Daily Schedule

Well, I have officially completed week three of dental school. Sorry it has been so long since my last update, I have been busier than I was expecting.

Four weeks ago, we had orientation. It was Tuesday through Friday, 7:30am to around 6:00pm. Yep, that is quite a long day to be sitting in the same room. We also had building tours, get-to-know-you lunches and other things like that. The most helpful activity was the current student panel. The D2’s told us all about our professors, how to handle some differently than others and what books to buy (basically none of them so we saved a lot of money) and other info you can’t get from faculty. It was really helpful.

Even after almost a full week of orientation, a lot of introduction activities needed to be included in the first week of classes. That made days drag on a little bit. But, we are through it and officially in a routine which I am happy about.

Here is what my daily schedule looks like:

I get up either at 5:30 or 6:15am depending on the day. Tuesday and Thursday I work out from 5:30 to 6:30. After that, and every other morning, I take the bus to school at 7:15 and arrive at 7:30 then study the notes for that day as a kind of preview. Class normally starts at 8:30 with biochem on and then physiology. In the afternoon we have dental anatomy Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 1 to 4:30 which consists of quizzes Monday and Friday as well as practice waxing teeth in the simulation clinic for competencies. The rest of our schedules vary from day to day. We have Problem Based Learning where we analyze the handling of a case and research relevant topics. We also have ethics where we look at different scenarios and decide the best course of action. I normally get home around 5:00pm, sometimes earlier because they are starting us out slow and adding classes as we go through the semester.

Studying has also been quite a transition. In high school and undergrad, I did not study much. I got in the bad habit of studying for o-chem and biochem the day before the test. It wasn’t until the DAT that I really buckled down and studied ahead of time. That’s not going to fly in dental school. So far, I have studied anywhere from 2 to 5 hours after class. I fell a little behind in keeping up with physiology and biochem notes but I spent 6 hours yesterday (Saturday) catching up in phys. We have our first phys test this coming Friday so I wanted to be up to date.

In case any of you pre-dents are wondering what I do to study, this is my strategy:

I read an article about a Harvard study that showed that writing out notes after class by hand as you say them out loud can result in over 90% retention due to the use of multiple senses at once. If participants either wrote out their notes or read them out loud, but not both, it resulted in a huge decrease in retention. So that is what I have been doing. I look over lectures in the morning before class, take notes in class and then write out those notes while reading them out loud to myself at home that night. This much repetition in one day as well as using so many senses at once is actually giving me great retention of material. I wish I had done this through all of undergrad.

Well, I think that is all I have for this post. I will put up another soon about the iPad app that I cannot live without.

Good luck!


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