When I began my journey to become a dentist over 10 years ago, I wasn’t expecting it to be difficult. I figured I could go off to Florida State, get my degree in biology and get into dental school. I was wrong. After graduating, I realized although I had the grades, I didn’t have everything else that went along with being a desired candidate for dental school.
It was at this point that I made the decision to not cut corners anymore. I applied to a medical science masters program at the University of South Florida, got in and within a year graduated with not just a 4.0 and a new piece of paper for my future office wall. I had also expanded my professional network, participated in molecular research and volunteered at multiple clinics and organizations. I worked to gain as much knowledge about not only dentistry, but also healthcare. It was with this new foundation that I re-applied to dental school, and got in.
As a first year at Nova Southeastern University I honestly had no idea what kind of dentist I wanted to be, so I set out to again do dental school in the best way possible. I worked extremely hard to excel in all aspects of school, both didactic and clinical. Was I the best in everything? Of course not, but I was the best I could be in everything. That again laid down a great foundation for me to potentially specialize in the future.
After I slowly gained clinical exposure to the different aspects of dentistry I felt myself gravitating toward pediatrics. It offers fast paced clinical dentistry, a ton of fun and also gives you the ability to set a foundation for oral health success with young patients. I decided this was exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my career and I applied to pediatric residencies as a third year.
Being born and raised in Florida, along with my wife and our entire family being here, I really wanted to stay close to home. Luckily for me the University of Florida has an amazing program. I was fortunate enough to match there, due to the groundwork I laid during dental school. The program gives me the ability to gain amazing clinical experience while learning didactically the information I need to lay a foundation of knowledge I will continue to build on for the rest of my career.
With the addition of my first-born son seven months ago, my thoughts began to turn toward what my future practice will hold. Being one year out from graduation I have begun the process of starting my own practice when I graduate. I’m both nervous and excited for the opportunity to own my own office and be able to provide the best dentistry possible to the children of my community. What is reassuring is that I am again working to lay a strong foundation of knowledge and work prior to opening. I have proven to myself time and again that in doing so you can ultimately be successful and achieve whatever goals you may have.