Health Professions Scholarship Program

Alright, so here is the big news of the semester…I found out shortly after Thanksgiving that I was accepted to the 3 year Air Force Health Professions Scholarship Program! For those of you who don’t know, the HPSP is a deal where I will get the next three years of dental school paid for (tuition and fees) and I will be given a generous living stipend in exchange for serving as a dentist in the Air Force for three years after graduating. I will also be able to apply to stay for a fourth year and have 72% of my first year paid back. I couldn’t believe it when I found out. I’ve always wanted to join the military and now I’m getting the chance.

There was a slight problem, though. Originally when I was applying for the scholarship, I was under the impression that I would not hear about a selection until around January or February. I was over the weight requirement at the beginning of the school year (a lot of sitting around and studying can do that) and I had made a plan to get in shape based on January being the deadline. After hearing that I was accepted and would need to pass the physical in December, my diet was accelerated more than I would have liked. Some days consisted of around 900 calories and an hour on a bike at the gym. Not fun during finals week, let me tell you. Well, all in all, I lost 38 pounds, quite a bit of that in the past two months, and easily passed my physical. According to my recruiter, I will be sworn in sometime in the next few weeks and become a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. I won’t have much for duties throughout the rest of my time at dental school. After graduating I will go to Commissioned Officer Training in Alabama for five weeks, then I will be promoted to Captain and then stationed on a base to serve as a dentist to military members and their families.

Thanks for reading and happy studying!


One Semester Down, Seven to Go

Hey everyone. Sorry for the long absence. Dental school is just as busy as everyone tells you. I have probably had opportunities to write through the semester but I have been a little lazy in my free time. After so much studying, when I get a break I kind of check out.

Ok…where do I even begin? I made it through my first semester of dental school unscathed. I ended up getting mostly A’s and a couple B’s. I’m perfectly ok with that. I don’t want to specialize and those are respectable grades anyway. The study schedule I wrote about kind of went out the window early on first semester. It was a great plan overall, but like I said earlier, I’m kind of lazy sometimes so I eased into a slightly more lax study routine. Once we got into the swing of classes, we had a few tests or quizzes most weeks. Studying ahead as I had previously planned became difficult and I just studied for the tests as they came. It worked well for me.

Dental school is definitely hard and a lot of work. Before I started, I was told the worst kind of horror stories about it like, “you better get used to not seeing your wife” or “I hope you enjoyed sleeping in undergrad because you won’t for the next four years.” Obviously those warnings were exaggerated. I kind of let them get to me though. I thought these would be the worst four years of my life and I would regret every minute of it. Since I started school thinking like this, I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of free time I have. It isn’t much most of the time, and nowhere near the amount of free time I had in undergrad but it is more than I was expecting. I have time every night to spend with my wife, watch a little TV or do something not related to school. There were two, maybe three days this semester where I literally had no free time because I was nervous about a test the next day. I think I have test anxiety sometimes and I thought that these might be the tests that I bomb and prove that I don’t belong in dental school. That was a slight overreaction. They went fine. I usually only study until around 10pm but I studied until around 11:30 those days. Usually the night before the test I study until 10, go to bed around 11:15 and then I wake up at 6am, take the 6:40 bus to school and study until the test, which last semester was almost always in the morning. That is what worked for me.

As for classes, we recently started operative dentistry in the simulation clinic after dental anatomy ended, which is great. That is where we practice restorations on fake and pulled teeth. It’s nice having a class that is so focused on dentistry unlike the basic sciences that are just a repeat of undergrad. Using the handpiece and burs is pretty fun. I’ve always really been into art so it just feels like an art class to me.

I’ve officially taken my last physiology and biochem classes, which is a great feeling. We are moving on to anatomy and histology this January. We will be working with cadavers, which I did in undergrad so nothing new there. In undergrad though we kept the face covered. This time, we focus on the head and neck. I’m not looking forward to that part. I’ve never had histology but it shouldn’t be too bad. We start two or three other classes throughout the semester but I haven’t looked for enough ahead to know what those are.

That is all I have for now. Thanks for reading! Hopefully many of you got acceptances in December! If not, there is still plenty of time. Good luck to those getting ready to take the DAT!