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Developing Your Success Strategy

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Among the countless paths that dentistry has to offer, it is easy to become disoriented. The future of dentistry is bright, yet interlaced with patches of uncertainty. Lingering in the back of each student’s mind are questions such as: 

  • “How will I really pay back all of these loans?” 
  •   “What kind of job should I look for right out of school?”
  •   “Which avenue of dentistry will bring me the greatest fulfillment?” 

Many students look for answers, yet do not know where to find them. Once graduation approaches, confusion leads to fear and then fear leads to panic. As we seek to develop our own success strategy, wouldn’t it be nice to have a little help along the way?

 

At Midwestern University, I have been involved as our ASDA Path to Practice Representative. Many of my efforts have been devoted to helping students find answers, and thus feel more prepared to enter a career. Together with other ASDA members, we identified that our school would benefit greatly from a website dedicated to career planning and development.

 

I quickly began to learn web design through a user-friendly application known as Google Sites. This enabled me to build an online resource library, complete with helpful documents and links. While similar to online forums such as THE NEXTDDS, our website is built collaboratively by students who upload things that they have found helpful. Newer students can correspond with upperclassmen for valuable tips and insights. Dental school doesn’t have to be all about tearing each other down—forget about your class rank. Look for ways within your school to build a constructive community and to help each other along.

 

One of the most effective ways to develop dental business sense is through shadowing those who are already in practice. Our program recently established a shadowing network with Pacific Dental Services and Aspen Dental, giving students access to over 50 locations statewide. Our new website has already proven to be an effective tool in marketing for and coordinating these opportunities.

 

Success in dentistry is not entirely based on what you know, but also by who you know. We work closely with our state dental association to host an annual Holiday Happy Hour event with local dentists. This event serves our students twofold—to network for future job opportunities, as well as to develop conversation skills with dentists in a social setting. Interactions like these are fundamental to building a successful career and should be sought after.

 

Take advantage of the resources that are available to you and share them with others. Graduation will come sooner than you think. Start today by setting goals, working hard, and moving forward. What will be your success strategy?