Attending the Summer Medical Dental Education Program at Columbia University during the summer of my freshman year helped me immensely. I got acclimated to the school, met many like-minded individuals, gained clinical and professional experience, and most importantly, I learned how to learn.
On a road trip to New York to celebrate my line sister’s birthday, I finished reading “Gifted Hands” the Ben Carson story. The story was very inspirational and I found out that I had quite a bit in common with the famous neurosurgeon. Right off bat, Dr. Carson addresses the influence of his mother in encouraging and challenging him. Anyone who knows me knows how salient my mother’s influence is in my life. She works tirelessly to support me and my younger sister. I remember her teaching me how to read when we first came to this country, and never being satisfied with anything lower than an A. She pushed me until I learned to push myself and for that, I owe her practically everything.
Permit me this brief aside and allow me to deconstruct this notion of “sneaking in” before I even get into my post. In reality, one does not- can not- “sneak” into dental school. Professional schools are extremely competitive, and the case was no different for the incoming class of 2017, for which I applied. On average, a single dental school will receive about 2200 applications, interview 200 candidates, and select 80-100 (smallest class size is 30- Harvard and largest is 240-NYU, both of which I applied to and was not accepted). So, if you can accept these statistics to be true and relatively accurate (my source comes from ADEA’s Guide to Dental Schools), a single applicant has about a 9% chance of getting an interview, and 3.6% chance of gaining a spot, for a school like say, Columbia, which has a class size of 80.
So, when I speak like this, about “sneaking in”, I do a disservice in down-playing my accomplishments and the work of all the pillars of support that got me to where I am. However, it made for a catchy blog title, and in some respects, is true.
I am an MISS who happens to be an AKA with a BS in Biology pursuing a DDS at Columbia with plans of one day becoming an MRS and later a MOM.
Why do I emphasize these titles? Because there is emphasis on titles. In career and culture, people are at ease when they can categorize you quickly. People are made more comfortable when they can situate you, summarize you and simplify who and what you are.
Do. Not. Let. Them.
The following are my notes from a sermon by Dr. Brian Keith Williams on March 1, 2013:
Dr. Brian Keith Williams
Dreams do Come True: Wearing Joseph’s Coat
Hold fast to dreams, for when dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird, that cannot fly
God has no problems, just plans
The following are my notes from a message preached by Pastor Michael Walrond of First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, NY on November 17, 2013. In reflecting on my school year, the struggles and the successes, I wanted to share what I felt was a critical message that helped me. Not to belabor the issue, the story goes like this: As much as we love to be inspired, share quotes about success, we must remember to hunger after this success; to hunt towards our futures and embrace all the unpleasantries that the journey affords. The bottom line is that school is hard, work is hard, having a career is hard. But poverty is harder, ignorance more painful, and complacency the most crippling of them all. Be blessed, friends.
He Fights for Me