Zach Meunier, '19

Life in Dental School 

What did you do to prepare for dental school? I began studying for my DAT at the very end of my junior year and took it in August. I recommend taking it earlier as applications open June 1st, so it would be beneficial to be one of the first applicants. I had wonderful recommendations from professors at ithaca and dentists outside of the school, so making those relationships is critical. That being said, I spent my sophomore summer collecting over 150 shadowing hours across 15 different offices. This is not an easy path, so a lot of free time will be consumed. In terms of applying and interviews, I always researched the school's mission statements, research programs, and community service opportunities so that I could correlate my experiences with what they value. Oh yeah, DO COMMUNITY SERVICE. 

Describe your day-to-day life in dental school? I am more or less up every day by 6:30 (for exams, which are every Monday and Thursday) or 7:30am (normal days). We have an hour for lunch at 12pm, then the day normally ends around 3 or 4pm. You're packing in semester work in 4 week periods, so its extensive, but definitely doable. Right after classes I go to the gym and make myself dinner and clean, so it's around 6:30 or 7:30pm where I begin extensively going through as many lectures as I can extensively on my whiteboards and committing them to memory. The goal here is REPETITION. Start the very first day of graduate school running, and if you do so you'll find time to do the things you love doing (socializing, playing an instrument, etc). For example, I take Fridays completely off (which I highly recommend finding a day to not study a thing, you need it). 

Describe your day-to-day life outside of dental school? I am a part of the Leadership in the Reaserch of Dentistry group here at midwestern as the "Research Coordinator" (I highly recommend clubs or research).... And as i mentioned before I workout (Monday-Friday) and go out on Fridays. I am even apart of a flag football and basketball club team which meets 1-2 times a week. (THERE IS TIME, you just need to schedule yourself well) . For example Saturday and Sunday afternoons are perfect for letting off some steam. 

Is there anything that you wish you would have known before entering dental school? Everyone will tell you you're going to make it, and that everything is going to be okay. Well, those first exams (and nights beforehand) make you think very differently. But then, you end up doing way better than you thought you ever could. This is important; there will always be people above you, and below you. As long as you are trying you're best, you will do well. And if you don't, it's okay, because everyone here is dedicating to making sure you graduate.

Is there anything that you’d go back and do differently? I wish I could get back all the sleep I lost being nervous about Dental School. It is an amazing, one of a kind experience that goes by in a flash (ITS ALREADY BEEN 4 WEEKS). No matter your preference (MD, DO, OD, DMD, DDS, PA etc), you will succeed because you were prepared by some of the best professors in university history. If you try hard, you will succeed. Soak in every second :).