Hey guys, my name is Rojin and I’ve been practicing general dentistry since 2020 in Vancouver, Canada. I did my Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology & Health Sciences (BKin) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada followed by my Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) from UBC as well. I remember going through the application process back in 2015 and although it’s been 7 years since it definitely left an indelible mark on me. I learned a few things along the way and I’d love to share them with you here.
You do You
The truth is, it doesn’t matter when you get into dental school as long as you make it eventually. Back in undergrad, everyone works on a strict timeline, and not getting in and having a gap year may feel like a huge failure but you don’t need to work on others’ timelines. You do you. Try your best, work your hardest, study hard for your courses, study hard for the DAT and take it multiple times if needed (nobody’s counting how many times you took that test), shadow local dentists in your neighborhood, look around to see if there are any research projects available. And even if it doesn’t work out the first time, KEEP TRYING. It literally does not matter if you get in on your first try, or second, or third and so on. Once you get in, you’re in. No one will ask or even care what your DAT score was or what your GPA was and how many times you applied. And if they do, well they probably have nothing more interesting going on in their lives…
My First Year of Undergrad
To share a personal story with you all: My first-year undergrad grades were not good. I’d been shell-shocked by the huge class sizes at UBC and how little professors seemed to care about each individual student. As a result, my grades suffered. At the time, if you applied after 4th-year undergrad, UBC Dentistry would drop your lowest year which is what I had to do to have my first year's GPA dropped. That means I had a gap year (5th year) before I could get in. As much as I’d wished at the time that I didn’t have that gap year, I’m grateful for it in retrospect. That year allowed me to learn more about myself and those close to me and ultimately become a better dentist in the long run. I volunteered, I tutored, I backpacked Central America, I read works of great literature which was strange - considering everything I’d read up until that point was textbooks and DAT prep material!
Don't Lose Hope
The moral of the story is: if you get rejected on your first, second, or even third attempt, don’t lose hope. Keep going. Keep trying. If you work hard and if you are honest with yourself in terms of which areas you need to improve to get in, you will get in eventually. I remember, to get research experience, one day in second-year undergrad, I went through a list of all UBC Dentistry professors and emailed every single one of them asking if I could become involved in their projects as a volunteer research assistant. Out of the 52 people I emailed, only 1 got back to me and introduced me to her research projects which involved oral cancer screening and I ended up staying on as a research assistant for 7 years, until 4th year DMD! I would say my greatest accomplishments have come from my hours of despair and the lowest moments in my life - because those are the moments where I’ve been truly honest with myself in terms of how I need to improve, how I need to become better, the best version of myself. Only compare yourself to you yesterday - that’s how you will improve.
Finally, if there are any questions at all or anything else you’d like to share with me, connect with me via my professional Instagram page: @drrojinkiani
I would love to stay in touch with you all in your exciting journey and hope you all make it where you want to be!