Sunday, July 10, 2005

Dental School, (Day 1 of 1085 (or so))

I can't believe I'm going to be a dentist.

Friday was the first day of UOP dental school. For the next three years, I will be in shirt and tie, shoes and slacks, studying teeth.

It didn't really hit me until I was sitting at my station in the Simlab. Each student was given a set of tackle boxes, some random bins, and two packing boxes full of dental supplies and equipment. This is all the equipment that we will be working with for the next three years. It took us four hours to unpack everything, sort them into our boxes and bins, and finally place everything in our cabinets and our shelves.

Dugoni spoke for two hours at our matriculation. A lot of his advice was prescriptive, but he had such a grandfatherly way of saying things that it didn't really bother me. Don't wear sunscreen. Always sit up front. Keep learning. Go to your classes. Always take notes. Take care of your ears. Don't smoke. Very inspiring, from arguably one of the most influential dentists in the past 70 years.

One thing he kept on stressing was the quality of education at UOP, how we would be getting a whole lot more clinical experience than our colleagues at other schools. He was telling us about the things we will do that most other graduates will have no idea about. Extensive education in dental practice management, drawing up a business plan, implants, Invisalign (!), endos galore...

The past few days, I've been meeting a lot of my classmates and some 2nd and 3rd year students. This, of course, entails a lot of eating out and bar-hopping. Although I enjoy a good beer as much as anyone, clubbing and bar-hopping have never been things I've done with any regularity. My guess is that it has to do with living with Asian Christian guys who (1) don't have much of a tolerance for alcohol and (2) don't really go bar hopping. Still, I've been really enjoying the past few days. I'm still self conscious when I dance, but it's fun. At least, I should say, it's fun when you're going with a bunch of people you know, or sort of know. I feel like I need to learn how to enjoy bar/club culture before I grow too old for clubbing. I already feel too old for raves, and that was after going to just one.

One image that sticks in my mind comes from the New Year's Rave at the Cow Palace (drug free rave, with the resultant low attendance). I never want to be one of those 50-year old men married to hippie chick wives with LED-bejeweled/glow-in-the-dark pacifiers in their mouths. I mean, come on guys. It's over. Unless you're a journalist covering the event, or you're a concerned parent chaperoning your children, you shouldn't be going to raves. And if you do, you are absolutely not allowed to suck on pacifiers with blinking lights. Save that for the fetish clubs, I tell you.

Anyway, apparently it's now a tradition for the 2nd years to organize a clubbing night the first Friday of the new year. We spent Friday night at the Dirty Martini, which was an interesting experience. At first, there were only UOP students lingering around the main stage. As the night went on, there reached a point where it was unclear who was who: UOP students arriving fashionably late or random folks coming in off the street. Once they started necking each other on the dance floor, or the men started dipping their dance partners and burying their faces in their date's breasts, it was pretty safe to assume that they were not UOP students who had just met for the first time 12 hours ago.

A lot of Mormons at UOP (BYU is a feeder school), a lot of married people, and a lot of guys. This year's class is 67% men, 33% women. Normally it's closer to 50/50 or 60/40. 142 in our class total, 96 are men. I predict a lot of drama will play out as the single unattached guys start jockeying for position among the few single unattached females.

More thoughts later...


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