PDSA's Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom From PDSA’s Future DMDs
Welcome to PDSA’s Wisdom Teeth blog! UCF’s Pre-Dental Student Association is collaborating with it’s alumni to bring our pre-dental members some “wisdom” from past members already in dental school! Here you can get each white coat’s wise words for pre-dental students looking to achieve their dental school dreams! Two times a month, on a Wednesday, PDSA will feature a new dental student as a part of their “Wisdom Tooth Wednesday” series. Stay tuned to see our latest posts!
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Hi, PDSA members! My name is Alli, and I am a proud past member of UCF’s Pre-Dental Student Association, and currently President for NYU’s ASDA chapter. I owe this title to PDSA. So my advice- take full advantage of every and all resources PDSA has to offer you. In the past four years, I have grown from general member to president because of the positive impact this organization played in my decision to pursue the amazing profession that is dentistry. More specifically, PDSA truly opened my eyes to the potential to grow as a leader, and how important organized dentistry is. Aside from being president of my school’s ASDA chapter, I am also Advocacy Chair for ASDA’s District 2, as well as the liaison for all organized dentistry societies that make up New York and New Jersey. My point in bringing this up is to show you that your time and energy invested in PDSA will be well worth it. I will always be grateful for this organization and their motivating members who have helped me reach where I am today- I would not be here without you guys! If any of you ever have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at any time. I wish you all the best, and welcome to the best club at UCF. Go Knights!Allison Rascon | PDSA c/o 2016
It’s hard to think of one single great advice so I’ll share different pieces of advice that helped me in my journey of being accepted to dental school.
1 Stay involved. PDSA offers every opportunity that you need to become a competitive applicant. I am one of the few people in my class that had the opportunity to attend a mission trip before dental school and I owe that to PDSA.
2 Consider taking iPrep to prepare for the DAT. Certainly not the only way to prepare for this test but it’s an amazing resource.
3 Don’t be afraid of interviews. It’s not as bad as you might think and interviewers just want to get to know you. In addition, pay close attention and take notes when you are at a school. You will be thankful for that when deciding which school to attend.
4 Get to know as many PDSA members as you can, you will most likely benefit from their advices, especially those applying before you. On the other hand, even if you don’t know a past PDSA member, don’t hesitate in reaching out as our goal is to help each other.
5 The most cliche, yet best advice: Be yourself. You might think that you don’t have anything unique about you, I know I thought that… but you are wrong! Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine.
6 Lastly, congrats on choosing the best profession ever. I promise you, all of your sacrifice will pay off.
UCF PDSA has opened so many doors for me, it guided me in the direction I’m heading into now to become a dentist. If I could give anyone advice about this club it is to get involved, there are so many leadership opportunities and resources to help fortify your application for when the time comes. PDSA also allows you to network with students & dentists with the same passion as you in the many events offered. Be active in the club and take advantage of all of these events because they can grow your connection with the community & the dental field.Victor Daza | PDSA c/o 2018
The best advice I can give to people who are currently in PDSA or will be joining soon is please DO NOT SLEEP on the amazing opportunities that this organization works so hard to offer you. One of the biggest regrets I have from my undergraduate career was that I waited so long to get heavily involved with PDSA. Do not be scared to put yourself out there and take advantage of the community outreach events, dental workshops, social events and leadership opportunities that are constantly there for you to partake in. When I decided that I was going to take all of these things more seriously, my pre-dental career took off, and I can genuinely say that it is because of these experiences in PDSA that I am currently sitting in dental school today. I promise you that if you are truly passionate about this profession, you will find a place in this club and gain a new family along the way. There is a very ambiguous formula that comes along with trying to get into dental school, but by truly being apart of the PDSA family, this formula will suddenly become a lot easier to both solve and conquer.Edward Uliani | PDSA c/o 2018
My best advice would be to be yourself. You are your own worst critic, but never change! PDSA gives you so many amazing opportunities, so take advantage of it all! Don’t be afraid to reach out when you need help or have any questions. Have multiple people read your personal statement, make connections at conferences/dean visits/dental days, and always stay hopeful. You may not be the first one to get an interview, you may not be the second one to get an interview, but you will get those interviews, so keep your head up high and never feel defeated. If your “dream school” doesn’t accept you that’s their loss because you will be amazing at ANY and EVERY school. You have so many people rooting for your success, including myself! You got this!Caylin Levin | PDSA c/o 2018
As a recent graduate of UCF this past year, entering dental school was quite a transition. Beginning this new chapter is the equivalent of trying to fly a fighter jet when you only know how to ride a bike. My best advice would be to maintain an open mind and stay involved during your time at UCF, but strive to be balanced. It’s tempting to develop tunnel vison to be a “perfect applicant,” which can cause us to lose sight of the big picture. While academia is critical, dental schools are looking for well rounded, confident, and compassionate leaders with unique experiences that have contributed to their personal development in being successful future healthcare providers. Trust yourselves and let your motivations drive your passion because the time and energy will be worth it once you receive that first acceptance. Good luck to everyone in this upcoming application cycle!Scott Block | PDSA c/o 2018
My best advice would be as follows: My advice to anyone who wants to achieve their dream of getting into dental school would be to approach the process with passion and dedication. Getting into dental school isn’t as much about being good enough as it is about working hard enough. If you trust the advice that is given to you and make the sacrifices necessary to reach your goals then you will end up right where you want to be when it is all said and done. If you believe in yourself and your potential there is nothing that can stop you from getting into dental school as long as you’re willing to work for it.Brett Silvers| PDSA c/o 2017
Surround yourself with like minded friends, and you can achieve the dreams together! Getting into dental school requires years of hard work and persistence. Some might take longer than others but it would be all worth it! While it’s important to keep up with your academia, don’t forget about your personal development, such as communication, professionalism, leadership etc. Utilize the available resources, that includes your peer, PDSA, advisors, or dentists. Sometimes you may get inconsistent advices among different people, however, you’d need to find what works for you. Lastly, don’t feel like you’re competing among your classmates/peers, help each other out when needed, because one day you might be their colleague.Kai Huang| PDSA c/o 2016
My advice would have to be…Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there when you’re applying for schools! It gets so easy to get tunnel vision about being the perfect applicant, having the perfect scores, and having a lot of leadership roles or impressive things for your application but it is important to take a step back and look at the whole package as well! Dental schools are looking for mature, well-rounded individuals that will be capable students that will succeed in dental school and who will go on to be passionate and kind dentists. A bad grade in one class or a less than ideal DAT score will not make or break you! Be transparent about your journey, how you learned from these obstacles/challenges/disappointments and how these experiences will help you succeed in dental school. We can all achieve our goals, keep working hard and don’t let anyone tell you differently!Linda Lavadia | PDSA c/o 2016
I am a third year dental student at UF College of Dentistry, Class of 2019. To those of you that are interested but still not 100% certain that this is the career for you, my advice is to shadow more and get more involved! Also, ask a lot of questions! The way I see it is, if along the way, something sparks your interest then it’s worth exploring! For those that are studying for the DAT or taking the DAT and also for those that are applying to dental school, my advice is to keep up the good work. From my own experience in dental school, I faced challenges that I’d never experienced in college. And the fact is, dental school is tough; that is not changing any time soon. However, what you can change is how perceive this fact. Would you take it as a challenge or would you let it define you? Last but not least, for those who have been accepted, congratulations, you have made it this far, you will make it through, one way or another :).Long Nguyen | PDSA c/o 2015
I joined PDSA when I was a sophomore back in 2012, after shadowing at a local dentist’s office. It felt like an epiphany, I had finally found my calling and purpose in life. I was astounded with the various activities and education PDSA provided. I became fully devoted and involved in this organization, in fact, they became a second family to me. PDSA will provide you with a lot opportunities to to fulfill your goals of getting into dental school. Not only all the volunteering and valuable information that this club provides you with, but also the amazing people that make PDSA. My best advice is to stay involved, take advantage of the opportunities that are provided to you and do not be afraid tp ask for advice because we are all here to help each other.Pinky Vanmali | PDSA c/o 2017
If you want to do amazing things with your life, you better start hanging out with some pretty amazing people. UCF Pre-Dental Student Association is where I realized that education is not just going to class; it’s about the people who show you the way. While my roommates were out partying in the clubs, my pre-dental group was creating our own party. We relished our time volunteering together and studying for our ridiculously hard exams. Our comradery was simple: we knew that we could party now and study later, or study now and party for the rest of our lives. Now that I’m a dentist, I can tell you that I’m living my greatest party. I’ve got a fabulous life doing the dentistry that I love, surrounded by the people that make me the happiest. I still make an effort to hang out with the people who are doing things better and differently. My education is just beginning, and I am so thankful for the people in my life who continue to show me what I’m capable of personally and professionally. Sometimes it feels like life continues to get more cut-throat and it’s easy to start thinking like you’re going at it alone. But the truth is, we’re so much better together. Hang in there, guys. Your party is just getting started.Dr. Dawn Wehking DDS MAGD | PDSA c/o 2006
I graduated from UCF May 20, 2014 and I’m currently a fourth year dental student at the University of Florida. My best advice would be to do what you love throughout your time at UCF. Numbers are something we can all strive for but you want to interview in dental school with passion. Set your goals and organize your academics, but don’t forget about your life outside applying to dental school. When applying to schools, also keep your options open! You may think you only want tog o to a certain school but you won’t know where you’re really meant to go until your interview. Your biggest regret will be not doing something or not trying, so just apply. Once you get in, take advantage of that break because dental school is a lot of work and you’ll need all your energy. Good luck!Natalia Besada | PDSA c/o 2014
Entering dental school and dental school itself can be likened to trying to take a sip of water from a fire hydrant. There is such a vast amount of information, time, and energy that goes into the almost decade-long process of undergraduate and dental school itself. I think the advice I feel was the most beneficial to me, and what I would recommend to anyone halfway through the journey, is to trust the process. It is tempting to give up, lose patience, and think of worst possible outcomes, but everyone will end up where they’re meant to be. If you work hard, trust in yourself, and keep the faith, you will end up exactly where you’ve always dreamt of. I congratulate everyone in PDSA for choosing such a rewarding and fulfilling profession. “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11Andrew Dermarkarian | PDSA c/o 2017
UCF really stands for opportunity. I want to encourage each and every one of you that is considering dentistry to be very proud of our university. The PDSA club is a force that cannot be stopped and admissions committees know this!!! Dental schools look for confident, involved, compassionate individuals that have critical thinking skills. Aside from the PDSA club, make sure that your extracurricular activities are enrich you as a person. When you interview, talk about your activities with passion! While at UCF, challenge yourself. Dental school is nothing like undergrad, so getting used to academic challenges will provide you an unparalleled skill-set that will mold you into a future healthcare provider. I am currently a 3rd year dental student at the University of Florida and I just received my white coat. I wouldn’t be here without PDSA!! Good luck to everybody who is applying this cycle :)Joanna Borissova | PDSA c/o 2015
Being a part of PDSA was one of the best choices I made in my undergraduate career. The workshops, guest speakers, volunteer activities and assisting opportunities really helped me stand out as an applicant. But what I would have to say was the most meaningful position, was when I was director under the president of PDSA. Holding a director position allowed me to broaden my level of responsibility within the club. Through this position I was able to run workshops and build relationships that I know will continue past dental school. When applying for the Navy HCSP it was extremely easy to turn to one of my many mentors through the club to receive letters of recommendations. And as far as the friendships I made, I still talk to quite a few members form the club and it’s fun to catch up and compare and contrast our current dental schools. Put yourself out there and apply for that director position!
Best of luck guys, it’s a lot of work but 100% worth it.Mason Fortuno | PDSA c/o 2015
My journey with PDSA began back in 2012. As a freshman, I knew that I had the desire someday to make a lasting impact on PDSA. This is what drove me to want to lead. After being a director, followed by Secretary of PDSA; in 2015-2016 I was honored to have been announced President of this organization. Being a leader for PDSA turned out to be the highlight of my time at UCF.
This position came with endless responsibilities and challenges but they all shaped who I am today. The responsibilities along with being accountable for so many members enhanced my leadership qualities and translated into my transition in dental school. I want to give back by stressing the importance of leadership and stepping out of your comfort zone. I encourage all of you to obtain roles in the organization and give it your all because the most meaningful aspect of this experience is the opportunity to motivate, inspire, and educate students with the same passion as yourself. And now as a dental student and miles away I believe the ultimate test I had, as President was not what I did during my term but instead what will continue to grow long after I am gone. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to give some insight on the importance of getting involved in leadership!Kiara Garcia | PDSA c/o 2017