Friday, February 15, 2013

The Perks of Being a Recent Graduate

Greetings from NYC!

First of all, I want to say that I am excited to contribute to this blog and sincerely appreciate all of your feedback and support. Although my time spent in private practice has been limited since I graduated from dental school in 2010, I hope to offer a unique and relevant perspective.

When I attend a CE course in this city, the speaker often mentions their area of practice (complete with photos of local attractions), commenting that they love it so much and how overwhelming it must be to work in a place like this. New York can feel that way sometimes. Living here, you forget to notice the crowds of people on the subway and sidewalks, the trash on the street, and the general sense of urgency that flows through the air. New Yorkers are neurotic, overbearing, and impatient. Fortunately, I am a native, so it takes a lot to intimidate me. Most days, I love it. Other days, I day dream about moving to the country, having a huge house and opening up my own practice in a place where there aren’t entire skyscraper floors devoted solely to dental offices.

In dentistry, as in any other professional field, you will have some great days. You will also have awful ones. While many of us like our jobs, there are many who hate it, too. In my limited time out here in the workforce, I have been fortunate enough to find a great job in my favorite city; I don’t have much to complain about. Blogs like these can be a great outlet to rant about the little nuances of our jobs, but they can better serve to shed a positive light on our profession. As a newly minted dentist, my most inspiring moments have been attending educational conferences where I meet and learn from great dentists who absolutely love what they do. If you are right out of school and are hesitating spending the money on attending a conference, it was well worth it for me. Many organizations offer large discounts for recent graduates. It will motivate you to become a better dentist.

I am almost 30 years old, and I am finally starting to feel like an adult. Dental school and residency are behind me, and I have just celebrated my first-ever job anniversary. I realize I am a little old for this, but unlike my college friends that have been working since they were 22, I have only recently begun to maintain a steady income. Weekends do not involve full day study sessions in the library and weeknights can be filled with watching way too many medical TV dramas, guilt-free. When I get invited to a party or a destination wedding, I no longer dread checking my calendar to make sure it is not around a hectic exam period. A word of encouragement to all dental students out there: there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Private practice is tough, but in my humble opinion, dental school is a lot worse.

There are many perks of being a young dentist right now. One is understanding the power and importance of the internet, particularly social media. In our industry, technology is constantly evolving and we have to be able to evolve with it. I find that this is the number one advantage someone like me may have when comparing myself to a dentist that has logged many more clinical years. One of the downsides - and a big frustration of mine - is the lack of experience. Nothing can replace those hours of patient care that older doctors have under their belts. All these fellowships and credentials seem so far out of reach at this point. But I am trying to set realistic goals and be patient. Even with the amount of continuing education that is available, from hands-on lectures to podcasts and videos, it cannot replace the years of real life experience you gain from being in private practice for a decade or more. Maybe I won’t have all the answers when I am older, but I am looking forward to not being questioned about my age and experience by new patients.

Until next time, friends! I will be posting about various topics once every six weeks or so. If you are interested in connecting with me on a more regular basis, you can follow me on Twitter @LilyaDDS. If you do not already have an account, I highly recommend it. Then you can follow the AGD, too. The AGD has two Twitter handles. Follow @AGDadvocacy for the latest on local and national advocacy issues affecting you, and follow @AGDevents for the latest information on upcoming AGD events.


Lilya Horowitz, DDS

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