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There’s No Perfect Plan

Hey everyone! My name is Jordan, and I am a fourth-year dental student at Louisiana State University. I received my undergraduate degree in Biology from Louisiana Tech University (Go Dawgs!). Helping predental students is something I love to do because I so easily remember what it was like to be in their shoes. The nerves of applying, interviewing, and waiting for acceptance are still fresh in my memory. When things get tough in school, I like to remind myself that I am now where I once hoped I would be.

Words from the Dean of Admissions

When I was in my junior year at LA Tech, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with the Dean of Admissions at LSU. By this point, I had taken the DAT and not scored well enough to be accepted into the program. I was in the middle of telling the Dean about how disappointed I was when he simply said, “Jordan, there is no perfect plan.” He continued to tell me how I knew the material on the DAT, but I needed to learn how to take the test. He also told me that if I wanted to do dentistry then I would have to work hard for it. The next year I took more practice tests than I could count, and I achieved a higher score, which led me to LSU.

Everyone has Struggles

That’s what I want to talk about today – failure. This is a foreign concept to most of us. In high school, we were one of the “smart kids.” Then, we arrived to college where we take classes with people who are all trying to reach the same goal. Though these people are our friends, they are also our competition. Therefore, we don’t like to talk about our failures; these could range from the test you didn’t do so great on, the DAT, or acceptance/rejection letters. I am here to tell you that everyone has struggles. For example, I literally received a rejection letter with the email subject line “Regrets.” Sometimes all you can do is laugh.

It is Okay to Fail

I am also here to tell you that it is okay to fail. Let’s say the plan you had to take the DAT once and get into the perfect dental school gets derailed by a low DAT score. That is okay because there is no perfect plan. Everything depends on how you overcome adversity. If you have to take a gap year, that is okay, but you should make the most of the year. You can get a job in a dental office, volunteer more, and travel the world. Learning how to pick yourself back up after you get knocked down will help you prepare for professional school more than you could possibly know.

Learn from the Process

So, don’t believe the perfect dental Instagram accounts – they all struggle too. Each user has had to remediate a competency or study harder for the next test. The moral of the story is to learn from every success and every failure. There may not be a perfect plan, but there is the plan meant for you. Good luck to everyone going through the craziness that is the predental life! You are entering the most wonderful profession!

Jordan Caldwell

LSUSD Class of 2022

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