Hello blank word document that I have been staring at for 9 months. I could have had a baby in the amount of time it has taken me to blog. I could have popped out quintuplets and received gift vouchers from Toys R Us for my amazing overactive womb. If I was magical I could have grown a Gandalf beard. Heck Frodo probably went to Mordor and back in the time it has taken me to FINALLY POST ANYTHINNNG ON THIS SOCIAL MEDIA OUTLET.
I’ve been bad.
Allow me to explain. So I’m officially a fourth year dental student (a woop dee doop) and it feels well snazzy. All these first years are walking around looking lost and I’m like WHOSE YOUR DADDY. In my second year I lived with a fourth year student and I swear when it came to finals she would just sit on the sofa and uncontrollably vomit clinical information out. It was like her brain was exploding. It was the most frightening experience of my life. Now I’m sat here thinking “I can’t wait for my brain to uncontrollably vomit.”
Seriously though, I can’t wait for this year. I want to get to the point where clinical stages are embedded well and snug in my long term memory, and my treatment checklists just become reminders rather than guides. At the end of third year we were at that stage where we could happily formulate treatment plans, restore teeth, extract teeth, and diagnose orofacial pain. It felt magical.
This year though is like third year on Red Bull. It’s a happy tsunami of clinical experience. We have almost two full days a week on clinic. Top that up with labs, seminars and the odd lecture thrown in and you literally have a 9 to 5 full week of PAINNNNN. (Kinda like jelly legs after leg day. Feelin’ satisfied, yet agonised.) Not only that, but with the thought of competencies weighing on my shoulders I feel the panic poops returning. Yum.
A wise old graduate once told me the key to fourth year survival. “Manage your time wisely little one” she croaked. “Make a list of all the treatment numbers you have to do, and manage your patients systematically. That my son, is the key to success.” I did try to point out that I was a woman but she just dismissed me with a flap of the hands and a mucus filled shriek of “Be gone child!” She then proceeded to disappear in a puff of smoke.
The above was highly exaggerated. But you understand my point. Everything becomes manageable with careful planning and preparation. Cardiff is wonderful in supporting its students. It accepts that we all work at different rates and some need more practice than others. We have drop-in sessions running where you can pop into a lab and make sure your operating skills are up-to-scratch before tackling procedures you haven’t done in a while, and clinicians are there to give you guidance and feedback as you go. Hands on, active learning is invaluable in a career like Dentistry, and Cardiff’s method of clinical seminars and discussions helps us to really apply and develop the information we’ve learnt in the past three years to the patients we see in fourth year.
It should never be ALL work though. “Everybady gatta chill ya knows.” I’m currently in the process of finding my chill. Last year I found my chill in food…but that made me fat. You can probably tell from my Instagram that I’m still in the process of weening off my coffee shop crawls. Literally every month I’d find a new café and will happily plague it with my presence until I’ve got enough loyalty cards to paper a wall. It’s bad. And sad. Don’t do it children.
I’ll keep you posted on the extra-curricular I shall partake in this year. Right now I’m torn between lots of things. Last year I went cray and joined all sorts of wonderful societies, but I’ll leave that for the next blog. For now, I shall proceed to trek through my fourth year days whilst REGULARLY blogging to you beautiful readers about the wonderful life in the ‘Diff.
For now my little ones…
Brush your teeth, floss dem interdental spaces and keep-your-sugar-intake-within-the-recommended-guideline-daily-allowance.
Hugs and Pugs