Dr. Neelab Anwar- Board Certified Orthodontist
As a pre-dental student, in undergrad, I always kept the end goal in mind. I knew I wanted to be an Orthodontist since I was a young girl so I made it my mission to get into dental school right away after my four years of college. Right from the start, I joined different service organizations, shadowed several dentists, and volunteered twice a week at a local low-income dental clinic in San Diego. It was my joy to go and give back to my community with my best friend in college who was also pre-dental. It makes things easier when you surround yourself with like-minded people. Academically, I was a biology major with an emphasis in Physiology. I excelled in all of these courses and made it a point to see my professors during their office hours if I did not understand something. I commuted from home all four years of college and loved it. There were fewer distractions and I always made my study space so pleasant. I am a coffee lover so I enjoyed coming home and studying in my happy space. I always made it a point to stay active- I play tennis and work out constantly to give my brain a breather. Once I got into dental school at USC in Los Angeles, it was a dream. It was great because my family was only 2 hours from me if I needed their support. Dental school can be overwhelming at times because 140 other people are there trying to be the same thing you want to be-dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, etc. You need to stay grounded and believe in yourself. It was tough- the first two years you have didactics AND clinical exams, which means you are in the lab practicing and you have studying to do. Dental school is not like medicine where there is just studying the first full two years. You have a lot of lab skills you need to perfect and excel on, in order to move on to work with patients in your third and fourth year. There were days when I was in the laboratory working on crown preps or filling preps until 12 am. It was stressful but all worth it in the end! In dental school, this was when I focused on my dream of becoming an Orthodontic specialist. This means I had to apply during my third year of dental school to get in right away after my four years of dental school.
All throughout dental school, I was still involved in leadership roles, my Orthodontic study club, working on my CV, resume, personal statement, and building relationships with my faculty. It was tough balancing everything but I made sure I always worked out in my free time, played tennis, the piano, or spent time with my family or friends. The light is truly at the end of the tunnel. NEVER EVER give up!! You need to push yourself and really believe in yourself. There will be many obstacles that come your way. Sitting here as an Orthodontist today is so gratifying and fulfilling. To be doing what you have dreamt of doing every day is such an honor. YOU CAN DO THIS!!! Dr. Cyrus Aghdam- Board Certified Orthodontist
Ever since high school, I have wanted to be an Orthodontist. My first interest in dentistry started when I was young. My grandfather was a dentist in Maryland and seeing him converse with his patients and love what he did every day, I knew I wanted to be a part of that. To be able to build lifelong relationships with your patients is so gratifying. I started shadowing dentists and Orthodontists in high school. As a pre-dent, I was focused in college on getting into dental school right away. I took all the main prerequisites, studied hard, and volunteered in my free time. I made sure to get a lot of clinical hours shadowing different dentists and orthodontists. My recommendation would be to stay focused, study hard and write down your goals. It is a long and tough journey, but the reward is well worth all the sacrifices you make. Never give up, stay focused and believe in yourself.
Do not compare yourself to others during college or dental school either. You yourself are your biggest competition. Do not let other people bring you down or tell you you can't make it.