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Beyond BMSc - interviewing University of Toronto's Dentistry

Hey everyone! Welcome back to Beyond BMSC. Today, we'll be hearing from Artemis, a student at the University of Toronto's Dental School! So let's skip the chitchat and hear from Artemis herself!

To hear the audio version of the following conversation, please visit us on Spotify:

U of T Dental School

Interviewer: Kaitlin

Interviewee: Artemis

Kaitlin:Hello, and welcome to Beyond BMSc, where we interview past medical science students who are pursuing graduate programs to answer your questions for post BMSc pathways. My name is Kaitlin and today we're joined by Artemis. So Artemis, why don't we start off with you telling me a little bit about yourself.

Artemis:So, I go to U of T for the DDS program at the Faculty of Dentistry. I did on Honours specialization in microbiology and immunology in undergrad, although I did get it after third year, so that like terminated it and then I ended up with a three-year bachelor in medical sciences. So, I guess fun fact about me I like cooking and a sport that I like would be ultimate Frisbee.

Kaitlin: Oh, that sounds so fun. Okay, so we'll just dive right into what the listeners really want to know, I guess, tell me all about dental school at the University of Toronto.

Artemis:So, what I really like about dentistry at University of Toronto is that, like, we have a small program, we have like 96 people in our program. So, it's very tight, like we have a tight community. And then people are like, we help each other out a lot. So, in general, like the environment is very, like, positive and, like, there's not that many toxic people. And I also like that, I guess another thing I really like is like in dentistry, I feel like, um, your professors like they view you as colleagues. So, it's like, easier to talk to them. And they kind of see you as like someone who would become one of them in the future. So, they like look at you from a different lens. And it's like, I don't know, like, I find that like a lot easier to, you know, connect with professors, like in your professional career, and everything. And then and then of course, like, the exciting part about dentistry is, is that you get to do like a lot of like labs and hands on stuff, which is really close to what you're actually going to be doing like in the profession. So, I guess that's like three things that I really like about our program. And as in terms of how it would compare to my experience, at Western, I would say it's like different, like I like them in different ways. Like for example, I guess, like socially. One good thing about undergrad is like the sheer amount of people there are and then there's people doing different programs, and you get to like meet people who’s different from you. And it's like, interesting to hear about, like, you know, people passionate about something that's like, kind of different from your passion. And it's also like because of how many people there, it's like, you're easier to meet someone that you can really vibe with or become like really good friends. Whereas a dental school, there's only 96 people. So, it's kind of like already filtered. In general, like, I feel like people have very good vibes. And then in general, like people are pretty chill. But again, it's like harder to find people who are like, they can really vibe with, if that makes sense, because they're just like less people.

Kaitlin: Yeah, definitely. That totally makes sense. Okay, and I guess what drew you to both dental school, but also U of T specifically as opposed to other dental schools?

Artemis:So, I always knew that I wanted to dentistry. Personally, I ran into an accident when I was a kid. And then I had to go to dentist like every single month for like seven years. So I always knew I wanted to do dentistry. And in terms of U of T, I didn't, because I applied like in third year and like I wasn't sure if I'm going to get in I thought I just give it a try. And after I got accepted, I was wondering like if I should just go or like apply to schools in the States, because that's kind of how I geared my whole application towards before the before application season. So, I guess why I would choose U of T over potentially in the States would be first like, like it's like that, I guess tuition wise, like it's like a lot cheaper than the States. And then I'm personally very interested in research and I feel like U of T offers the same opportunities in research as some of the schools that I was interested in in the States. And then also, like, Toronto's, an awesome city. So, I guess like these factors combined, I was like, like excited to move on and go to U of T.

Kaitlin: Yeah, well congratulations for getting an after third year. That's huge. Is there something that really drew you to apply that as opposed to waiting to finish your degree? Or what prompted you to apply early?

Artemis:Yeah, that was just like a, I guess a spontaneous decision. But I went to this like seminar in first year. About like, how to get into med school like I never interested in med school, I just went with my friend and she was interested in med school. And then the guy who gave this speech was like, oh guys, like always apply in third year, because then you'd like walk through the whole process once. And then you could like, see which part of your application, you need to, like improve on in fourth year. So, it's just like, helpful to like, go through the process once and then you get the experience, you can learn from it so that when you actually apply in fourth year, you'd like, you know, you have a like a head start in a way. And if you get accepted, then it's kind of just like, you know, prematurely. So like, why not?

Kaitlin: And you also mentioned, um, you have an interest in research, is there something specific that you're interested in researching?

Artemis:Um, I guess, like, right now, I'm about to join a lab, starting January, but I don't know how it Omnicron like affected it. Right now, like I'm researching on I will be researching on enamel, which is like, kind of like a type of bone. But it's like, the outermost layer on your teeth. So I guess I was, I'm, like, interested in like, bone. And like, you know, like, bonding, like, how would that apply to like dental materials? In terms of like, bonding it to your actual teeth? If that makes sense?

Kaitlin: Yeah, definitely. That sounds really fascinating. And what final words do you have to say to the BMSc students listening who might be going through, you know, some confusion with the whole post grad process and deciding what they want to do?

Artemis:I guess, like, there's like, three things that I'd like to say. I guess one thing was, it was kind of something that helped me like through the whole process. It's like, obviously, like going into dental school is like a big goal. And just like thinking about it, really, like it really stressed me out. But I realized that's like, very, like, unnecessary. So like, what I did was like, I knew that was my goal, I just like put it, I don't know, I put it down on a piece of paper and then put it at the back of your mind. But essentially, you'd like break down the big goal into like, smaller steps in terms of like, what would you want to achieve, like every year? And then, like, you break it down even smaller, like, what would you want to achieve every week. And then having those like tangible goals in mind, it's like a lot easier to I guess, like, go through life without too much stress, because you you are like, on your track on the track or like taking the necessary steps to achieve that, like, big goal. So, I guess that's like one piece of advice that I would like give to, you know, like people on the path of like pursuing dentistry, which is to break down this big goal into tiny steps. And then make sure you complete those tiny steps. And that will make you feel assured that you're like, on your way, like, you know, to your goal to your dream. And then the second, I guess, final piece of advice would be to, like, not be afraid to reach out to people. Cuz I know like, I would, I can say that, like, 99% of my classmates are very, like kind people. They're like, super down to help like, just don't be afraid to reach out to anyone who's like gone through this process. Before you have any questions, you want to like, message me feel free to DM me. But yeah, I just find that like, by doing research, before you go and go through like a process or even like the DAT, it's like, a lot easier, like because you gain a perspective on what to expect. And then when you walk through it, it's kind of like nothing will be too surprising. Yeah, so it's just like, don't like be afraid to reach out or even just like, make a post in the Canadian DAT group chat. You know? Yeah. And then the last piece of advice would be like, I feel like as long as to just like, give people like some like, calm, like, like, calm your heart down. I guess. I don't know if that makes sense. But essentially, I feel like, if you have a goal, this is like what my one of my supervisors told me too, it's like, once you like, as long as you have a goal, and then you work towards it, like you will achieve it. Like, there's no doubt that you will achieve that goal. And like in terms of how, like how your path is, like, before you reach that goal, I feel like that kind of just like makes you who you are, like, I know, this sounds really cliché, but I noticed like a lot of my classmates were all in different ages. We all did different things before, but like people, some people they might like take, they take time to really figure out like what they want to do in life. And it's not necessarily like if you entered the stage at a later step in your life, it's like a disadvantage or anything like that. In fact, I find like some people like by doing something else, like in between, like they really like figure it out like their passion, or like in dentistry like what exactly they're passionate about, and like, you know, just have yourself more like figured out like, I just feel like every experience like it happens for a reason and then it will help you like, figure out what you're passionate about and like who you are. And then still, eventually, when you do get to, like do dentistry, like, if that's your goal, right, like you would be more figured out. So, I just feel like, like, take it easy, like everyone do stuff at their own pace. And I feel like it's never like, you know, it's never a bad thing to just like, like, do it your own way. And don't feel too stressed about like, people around you, I guess.

Kaitlin: Yeah. Well, that's amazing advice. I hope you don't mind if I backtrack for a moment, but just talking about, you know, the pathways and breaking down the big goal into smaller ones, do you mind just maybe giving kind of like a brief overview of what that process looked like just for you for applying to dental school? So, what's necessary for your application? And all those kinds of things?

Artemis:Yeah, of course. So, when I applied to dental school, there was like multiple components. So, the first was obviously your GPA. So just like comes down to every single year, I mean, each school has a different, like, like, they drop different drops, like grades in different ways. So, but in general, like, you still got to keep a high GPA. So that's something that you got to consistently plan throughout the years. And then there's the DAT, like, I would suggest doing it as soon as possible. I started studying for it after I did after second year, so the summer after second year, like I would recommend, like getting it done before, like, third year, first semester, so that you would have, like more time in third year summer to apply to schools or like, so that you would be able to, like apply for in the third-year cycle. And then for the DAT It's like, like, I mean, there's like a lot more like detailed advice, if anyone, it just like DM me, but I guess you got to plan just like some time for that to happen. And then besides that, there's like recommendation letters, I don't think I don't think that's required for U of T but for a lot of State schools in the States that's like required. So, um, since first year, like reach out to professor's like, make that professional connection. If you're interested in research, like talk to professor's ask if they would be willing to accept you as a research student. Basically, think about like developing like your professional connections, like early on, I would say would be very helpful for those letters. And then when it's closer to application season, there's also your, like, personal statement, and Casper. And in terms of those, it's just like, I feel like Casper, you don't need that much preparation, going into it just like know what is expected of you and then get used to typing. And then that'll be good enough. And then personal statement like you could like if you finished the DAT in your third year, then you could get the whole summer to really reflect on yourself. Like, what brought you to this point, like figure out who you are, like what your values are, and like, you know, then you could spend some more time on crafting a stellar personal statement. Yeah, that's all I remember for like going into like the first round, like when you submit your application. And then afterwards, there's like, interview. And for interviews, like a lot of people are going through this process. So again, like don't feel afraid to reach out like check online, like people will be practicing together. And don't be afraid to ask people who've done it in previous years, what questions they got. And like stuff like that. I feel like that would really help you prepare or like just like see what's coming. And then yeah, I think that's all I could think of for the application process. Just like break it down a little bit more, like timeline wise. I hope that's like helpful.

Kaitlin: Yeah, that's great. That's perfect. And just before we wrap up, I always like to ask, and I know you kind of mentioned earlier, but was there any one opportunity or experience you had prior to applying to dental school that really helped you decide that Dentistry was for you?

Artemis:Yeah, so like, like I sort of mentioned before, when I was a kid, I kind of ran into an accident and I knocked on my front tooth, it was horrible. Also got me to I guess, like, go to the clinic like every single month and develop this relationship with my orthodontist. I think he's so cool. And I guess that's where like my interests kind of for dentistry, kind of like started from and I just always knew that that was like what I wanted to pursue. And yeah, so that's that, actually, can I add on a point to like, comparing Western and like U of T Dentistry? It's like such a big part that I failed to mention. Anyways, I do think like, in terms of course load and everything like dental school is like a lot harder in the way that first like every day you go to school from eight to five like either lectures or labs. So, you kind of have less time to study for exams because you got it you really got to plan out like your like personal like time, and then there's also like more courses, there's eight courses and everyone's taking the same courses. There's no work versus paid. Oh, I kind of realized, like, one of the reasons it's like harder is because I can't take bird courses anymore. Yeah. Yeah. So, they're all kind of hardcore. And there's like a lot of material in the courses. So, I guess that would be a conversation to have like, after you get in, like how to adapt and stuff. I'm working on it myself, too. Like I wouldn't say I'm fully like, adapted. But yeah, it's just like another like, like difference, I guess, between undergrad and dental school is like, the course load and everything. I feel like you really got to like manage your time very well and do stuff efficiently to help a lot.

Kaitlin: Well, that's great. Thank you for adding that. And I do feel like that was definitely of importance and great for people to know, you know, before applying and going through the whole process. So, thank you so much. Artemis. This was BMSA’s podcast for dentistry at the University of Toronto. Check back on our website and social media platforms for episodes for other programs with new students each week. Thank you for listening, and we hope this has been helpful.

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