First Semester Overview

Alright,  the first semester is done and done! I passed all of my classes! I am so glad to have that over with, it was an insane week of finals.  That is why I wasn’t able to post at all last week simply because school was so heavy and I really had to cram for exams. I never had to study for 31 credits before so that was a crazy experience.

I would like to do a semester overview, to recap what happened during this semester. Not just financial things but also other aspects. It’s going to basically be an open journal for people to read… Just without all the personal stuff.

School

Like I mentioned, I was taking 31 credits (I think that is the conclusion to which we came to as a class). That is a freaking ton. That is more credits than I have ever had in one semester.  Usually, during my undergrad, I would only take about 14 credits a semester. I basically tripled my credit load from what I was used to! So that was a shocker.

The first two weeks and the last two weeks were by far the hardest.

During the first two weeks, I felt completely overwhelmed. Waking up early in the morning, traveling to school, being in school from 8 am until 5 pm almost every single day. It definitely took some time getting used to that.  I mean look at our schedule! These classes basically covered my entire undergrad and more in a whole semester.

So that was fun.

Then when finals came around I seriously had 2 test every single day during the week. This was absolute hell. It wouldn’t have been so bad if a huge portion of a grade depended on these exams.  But the plus side is, I passed all my classes and that is now over!

What I Have Learned

I’ve learned more about the human body than I ever thought was possible for a dentist. Yeah, I know the difference between a direct and indirect hernia (That will be super helpful in practice lemme tell ya).

Yeah, I have some room for improvement

I’ve learned how to drill/fill Class I and II amalgam fillings. Then learned how to properly perform extra and intraoral exams. I also learned how to take an impression (I really sucked at the impression). Sadly this was the extent of the hands-on training we did this semester. Everything else was didactic stuff.

I’ve also become incredibly aware of my chewing habits, alignment, anatomy, and occlusion of my teeth. What’s even worse than being aware of my own teeth is becoming more aware of others teeth. I no longer look at people’s eyes first, I go directly to the mouth to see what is wrong or right with their teeth… I’m sorry!

My wife calls me out on this, she says “STOP LOOKING AT MY TEETH! Look at my EYES!”

Yeah…I don’t think I will be able to stop though. I justify it as studying.

Apparently, this is a very common thing for dentists, so don’t judge me when I judge your teeth… it will be my job to do so in the future.

Colleagues 

I love this school. It is so much more than what I anticipated in every way. The professors are wonderful, my classmates are awesome and even the upperclassmen are friendly to us D1’s.

I anticipated dental school to be extremely competitive. People ruining wax build ups, giving false information, etc. But it’s not! Not the slightest. Everyone has each other’s back, it is amazing. We have a specific google doc for our class to share notes and other tips we have learned just in case someone missed out.

Actually, that might be the whole reason why I enjoy going to school every day, because of the people at the school. Which is good because I will literally be seeing these guys every day for the next 3½ years.

Finances

Nothing too exciting happening here. We live frugally and on a tight budget. We don’t spend more than $1,600/month on living expenses and plan on moving to campus housing. By moving it will cut our expenses by about $200 a month.

I guess I can talk about my loan… Which has accrued $866.84, I took this loan out in August, sad to think it has gained that much in just 4 months.  So that’s fun. Yay Debt, Yay Education. #WorthIT.

Yeah…. Let’s not talk about the debt and just ignore that elephant for now.

I did want to mention that my wife received a 15% raise at work! Which is awesome. We plan on using that raise to pay off her student loans a little more aggressively and have larger contributions to her 401k.

This section feels kind of boring to me so I’ll probably leave it out when I do my Second Semester Overview. Unless somehow something changes.

Um…. I do a side gig when I have time which pays me pretty well actually. I go into a business that needs new computers and set up the new desktops and monitors then transfer all the data over to the new rig from the old one. It is fairly simple and the best part is as the data is being transferred I can just study. It’s a win, win for me. So in a roundabout way, I am paid for studying school material.  I wish I had more time to do this because it does pay really well.

I also threw some money toward cryptocurrencies. Hate me and call me out on it if you want. Just know that if I sell what I have now, I will have made $10k+ from it in less than 4 months. Soooo….

Blog

For some crazy reason, I decided to start a blog my first semester of dental school.  Not sure what pathway in my brain was damaged and caused it to stop functioning correctly (I know a lot of them… there aren’t too many about wanting to start a blog). But I wanted to start a blog!

Maybe it was from reading all the amazing blogs saying “Start your own blog!” Well, it worked and you got under my skin.

After deciding to start a blog, I thought I’ll start it my second year of dental school after I have taken part I of boards. The upperclassmen seem to have a lore more “free time” than we do. This is the only reasonable thing to do. I thought long and hard and knew I wouldn’t have time to write a blog as a D1.

Then the craziest thing started happening. I started to Lose Sleep about the idea of starting a blog! I couldn’t believe that this thought was now preventing me from sleeping!

There was a specific statement that I kept me awake.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.”

Basically, I interpreted this as you need to start the blog now and not after you have taken part I boards when life gets easier.

So that I could start sleeping again, I decided to start a blog… while taking 31 credits.

Now I didn’t expect much to happen with this blog until after taking part I boards when I could really try and market it to the public. But somehow, The White Coat Investor, Physician on FIRE, and Think Save Retire (Steve) found a post of mine and shared it!

Can you tell which dates are the ones they shared on?

This brought more traffic to my site than I ever imagined this first year. For that, I have to say Thank you! Thank you so much for sharing it! (The post is ” The Elephant In The Room” if you want to check it out).

It really fired me up! To see people actually read something I posted, it was exciting. It has encouraged me to keep making posts.

Overall

This semester has been great and I am not regretting my choice of going to dental school at all. Even though I have thought about dropping out a few times, I know if I can keep trudging through these next few years it will be well worth it.

I did burn myself out about halfway through the semester though. I studied long hours every day and neglected other things… which didn’t turn out so well. So, I’m going to attempt some different ways of studying to hopefully be a little more effective and time efficient so that I don’t burn myself out.

If any of you have some good study techniques that work(ed) for you and would like to share that would be great. Mainly how to avoid being burnt out halfway through the semester. It would be greatly appreciated!

2 Comments on “First Semester Overview”

  1. Happy to help send some readers your way! Professional school is a busy time — the fact that you’re writing at all is downright impressive.
    My father and his father were both dentists. I veered a little ways off that path, but I still look in every patient’s mouth, and often insert some sort of instrument, so the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree.

    Cheers!
    -PoF

    1. Yeah it can be pretty busy at times but I’ve found some time to write a post here and there. Sadly, I haven’t been able to read as many books as I would like. I guess I have to make some sacrifices though.
      Oh that’s awesome. You didn’t want to keep the trend of dentists going huh? And I’m guessing it’s just tubing to keep the airway open? Or is there something else an anesthesiologist does with the mouth that I’m just completely unaware about.

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