Way back in June, I traveled to Nashville to attend my very first AGD Annual Meeting & Exhibits. I am relatively new to organized dentistry, but I have met some great AGD dentists. I decided I should check out the annual meeting and see what it was all about. I did not know too many people that would be attending, but I find this predicament just forces you to be more outgoing and meet new people, so that was okay.
My agenda was not very exciting. I have been eyeing that fellowship award for a couple of years now. I decided I needed to get myself to a meeting, take the review course and the exam right afterwards. I knew most of the meeting would be focused around this exam, as well as some last-minute cramming, dental school style. Several other bloggers have shared their exam experiences here, and I really appreciated that, since they encouraged me to take it. Here is mine.
This review course and exam took up the majority of my lecture time, so I did not get to attend many other courses. I did get to take a full-day esthetics lecture with Dr. Gerry Chiche, who is one of my favorite speakers, but more on that later. I arrived in Nashville around 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday, since my flight for Tuesday after work was delayed. The review course started bright and early at 7:30 a.m. Immediately, I was overcome with dental school flashbacks. The next 48 hours involved full days of PowerPoint slides filled with everything you always wanted to know about general dentistry. The lecturers were given by Region 17 of the AGD, aka military members, so believe me when I tell you they did not mess around. I returned to my hotel room that night, reluctantly bypassing the lobby bar where fellow colleagues were relaxing and enjoying a cocktail. I proceeded to sort through some sample questions and started feeling extremely depressed. I was not having fun like I had at meetings in the past, and I felt like I had regressed to being a dental student.
When I first signed up for this exam, I tried to set some time aside to review topics or, at the very least, review questions on the subway during my work commute. We all know how well that goes. I just did not have it in me to study for this thing in advance. Even though those two days that I was taking the review course and reviewing items in my room at night were not fun at all, I kept telling myself that this would be the last time I put myself through this.
The exam came and went. After a few hours of filling in that Scantron, I felt like my head was going to explode. Being a fairly recent graduate, I have a immense amount of respect seeing fellow dentists embark on this journey. So many of them have been out of school much longer than I have and have families and other greater responsibilities that I do not have early on in my career.
The rest of the conference involved some post-exam bloody marys, a little socializing, and some great lectures. I stayed late on Saturday to catch the full-day lecture with Dr. Chiche. I have seen him do a full-day course in the past, at local study club. At the time, I was not doing any cosmetic work so many things went over my head. I was excited to hear him speak for a second time, and I actually had questions. Another bonus was getting to chat with him in the security line at the airport right after the lecture ended!
Music City Center, where the conference was held, was a great choice. It was brand-new, and located within walking distance of many great Nashville restaurants and attractions. I am not into country music at all, but the level of talent that you can hear live from just walking into a random bar on Broadway was pretty impressive. I attended some social events and made some dentist friends. I even tried to let more members know about our little blog here; as most were not aware that it existed!
If you are an AGD member and would like to get that fellowship award one day, please do yourself a favor and sign up to take the review course and exam either in the fall or at the 2014 annual meeting next summer. Don’t worry if you do not have the required hours; I definitely don’t but I am hoping to complete them in the next few years. If you are feeling extremely confident in your study skills and want to skip the review course, all you have to do is apply for the exam and take it at a local testing center on a computer. How easy is that? You also get your results right away, which I am a little jealous about. I had to wait about 8 weeks for mine, but there was some charm mixed with excitement and anxiety when ripping open that envelope.
I hope everyone is enjoying their last summer weekend. I am looking forward to celebrating my two-year wedding anniversary in Lake Placid, New York.
Lilya Horowitz, DDS