Ami Pandya is finishing her fourth year at Indiana University School of Dentistry. If you’re on your way to completing dental school as well, you should read Ami’s blog titled Tips for Finding a Job After Dental School. In the interview below, Ami discusses what drew her to dentistry as well as the challenges she faced in dental school. She also speaks about her plans after graduation and her experience as a Student Ambassador for THE NEXTDDS.
THE NEXTDDS: Why did you choose to pursue dentistry as a career path?
AP: I told my parents I wanted to go to the dentist because I wanted braces at a really young age, and that stimulated my love for dentistry. I really wanted a career that would integrate helping people and art. Dentistry allows me to provide valuable healthcare to those in need and also hone my artistic ability at work every day.
THE NEXTDDS: What aspect of dental school is the most challenging?
AP: Time management. Especially in the first two years, there is a lot didactic and lab work that needs to be done. A lot of students want to be involved in different activities such as ASDA and others. It really is a time management thing for a lot of us.
THE NEXTDDS: Do you think “digital” is important to your exchange and relationships with your peers?
AP: Yes, it’s very important. Most of my colleagues and I at dental school are on social media quite often. We use our class Facebook page pretty religiously to communicate and stay in touch with our peers.
THE NEXTDDS: What clinical topics do you find most intriguing?
AP: I really like technology. I like to see different innovations that are occurring in dentistry. It’s really nice, especially THE NEXTDDS--the website has great webinars, articles, and resources that discuss different things regarding technology, as well as operative dentistry and endodontics.
THE NEXTDDS: What clinical topics would be most beneficial to illustrate in online articles/images/videos?
AP: I think operative dentistry and other topics--like extractions perhaps? --that have an element of technique sensitivity should be illustrated with videos. You can follow certain dental groups on Instagram that showcase instructional videos regarding root canals and things of that nature. These videos are beneficial to clinicians as well as patients.
THE NEXTDDS: Were you nervous or excited when working on your first patient?
AP: I was really excited because I was finally working on a patient. I was nervous but the Indiana University School of Dentistry had prepared me really well for these types of situations. I had really good preparation but there was some nervousness there as well.
THE NEXTDDS: How has your experience as a Student Ambassador for THE NEXTDDS helped you network with your peers?
AP: I had the opportunity to get to know other students that are involved with ASDA like me. We conduct conference calls with my fellow ambassadors and discuss what the other students are doing. It’s nice to talk about different ideas with my peers.
THE NEXTDDS: Besides student loans, what is a chief concern for you regarding dental school?
AP: Practice management is my biggest concern. There are aspects of this that we haven’t really learned in dental school. Understanding dentistry as well as a healthcare provider and a business owner are both important.
THE NEXTDDS: What do you envision your next five years of dentistry to look like?
AP: I’m really looking to take a ton of CE courses and mentorship programs. I’m focusing on my skill set and seeing where that takes me.
THE NEXTDDS: What did you enjoy most about being a dental student, or dental school in general?
AP: I really like the community of dentistry. When I think about my colleagues, my classmates, the people that I met through ASDA and THE NEXTDDS, these are relationships that will foster a life-long connection in learning. It’s really nice to know that I’ll have 100 peers from my class that I can call for advice professionally or simply to reconnect on a personal level.
It’s a great network that I’ve been able to build over the last four years. I’m really grateful for the mentors that I have, the faculty I’ve interacted with, and my classmates as well.
All of us at THE NEXTDDS would like to extend our gratitude to Ami Pandya. For the 2014-2016 academic years, she has been a great THE NEXTDDS Student Ambassador at Indiana University School of Dentistry. Congratulations! We wish you all the best in your dental career!