I'm from Canada, and Australian universities have an unmatched international reputation for quality of education, they exhibit cultural diversity, and are located in beautiful, livable cities. Studying in Australia has allowed me to pursue the degree I have always wanted, while also providing me the opportunity to live abroad and travel.
I chose to study at the University of Sydney as both the university and the Sydney Dental School are ranked among the top 50 in the world for academic excellence. I am also drawn to the calibre of research and educational opportunities presented by the University, plus the opportunities to practice and serve in underserved communities around the country.
I found the incredibly fast pace of the degree the most surprising. I am amazed, time and time again, at how much students are able to learn, digest, and apply in short periods of time. It is a fact: dental school is challenging. But you do not realise just how challenging, demanding, rewarding, and wonderful it truly is. You will become more resilient than you could have imagined, and will push yourself beyond your current limits.
At the start of the program, we could barely manipulate our dental drills. By mid-second year, we had gained enough experience to provide basic treatments for our patients. I find myself looking back in awe at the months and years that have passed, at how much information we have covered, and how confident we have become with our clinical abilities. And through it all, you have the most outstanding community supporting each step of your journey.
Every year of the program is different, but you will spend most your time throughout the degree in and out of lectures, tutorials, simulation clinics, patient-treatment and specialist clinics, problem-based learning sessions, and mentor-led discussion groups. As a third year student, my day begins with an 8 AM lecture. The remainder of the day is split into two blocks—9:30 AM to 12:30 PM, and 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM. You spend these three-hour blocks treating your own patients, assisting other student clinicians, learning from your mentor group, working on your research project, or taking part in any of the other aforementioned sessions. Twice a week, you will have another lecture after finishing up in the clinics at 4:30 PM.
Once home, I often unwind with TV and music. You will likely spend the rest of the evening preparing for upcoming clinics, studying lecture material, or taking a little bit of time off—depending on your personal preference of how prepared you would like to be for the next day.
I have always been drawn to dentistry for the long-term nature of patient interactions, allowing development of powerful and lasting trust. Wherever my career in dentistry takes me, I hope to be recognised as a dentist who is committed to providing holistic care and enhancing a patient’s overall quality of life.
That said, I am interested in pursuing further education within dentistry once I complete my degree, perhaps pursuing a specialty in endodontics or paediatric dentistry. There is something very special in providing care for children, and I would embrace the opportunity to grow with my patients throughout their lasting care. I would also love to provide critical dental care in underserved communities around the world, when possible.
Enter the program with an open mind and be prepared to work hard. You will learn a substantial amount of information in a short period of time, so it is of utmost importance to stay on top of your studies. Manage your time and remember to make time for yourself. Surfing on weekends has become one of my favourite ways to unwind! Reach out to your classmates, students in other years, and faculty members if you ever need support. Though the program may be overwhelming at times, you will absolutely love every moment of being part of the dentistry family at the University of Sydney.