Students are extremely unique. Of course you’re thinking in your head right now, “obviously, Johanna.” Just think about something as simple as where they come from. Some are from another country, underserved, wealthy, a family of educators, a family of entrepreneurs, a family of dreamers, a family of doers, but the common trait that we all have with one another is that students have an opportunity. We have an opportunity to learn more, do more, and be more, especially being in the health profession. To me, this is what makes UCSF so unique. Our diversity allows us to come together day in day out as a team to help generate ideas on how to best reach our local communities.
During Fall quarter all of our registered campus organizations work tirelessly to layout event blueprints for the students, faculty, and local communities for the winter and spring quarters. This blog will specifically talk about our 12th Annual Student National Dental Association Impressions Conference. Twelve years. For twelve years, our UCSF SNDA Chapter has worked to give back to the underserved/ minority communities in the greater bay area by hosting a day in the life of dental students, providing mentorship and valuable resources on their journeys to their dreams.
This past weekend, a total of 140 pre-dental students willingly spent their Saturday participating at this event. In addition to the 140 students that attended, there were also more than 70 dental students that donated their free weekend to volunteer, leaving the pre-dental to dental student ratio at approximately 2:1. This ratio set up opportunities for pre-dental students to learn about the unique and personalized stories of each of the volunteers. It was our hope to give them an impression of their future. SNDA, Hispanic Student Dental Association, and American Education Dental Association, joined forces to provide interview practice, a personal statement workshop, simulation lab experience, and multiple different guest speakers that discussed the many aspects of dentistry in dental school. On top of that, scholarships were also given out to select participants to help contribute to their educational journey.
Thankless jobs really, but absolutely worth it. At the end of the day pre-dents left excited and inspired to pursue their dreams in the dental field!
We all come from different backgrounds and we all have different dreams, but the coolest thing is that we all have one similar goal: to make a change. Again this is a collective effort from multiple different organizations and none of this would have been possible if those before us had not paved the way. Dental school is just the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. It is a time for us to learn all that we can learn; it is a time to be alive, be positive, be active, remember our journey, and pay it forward.
Like our opening speaker, alumni of UCSF, Dr. Muhaimin touched on, never give up or let anyone deter you from what you want because anything is possible if you dream big and work hard at it.