Posts Tagged ‘ School ’

The Doctor Is In (At Last)

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

I always wonder if people can tell it’s my first time.

Come on, not that kind of first time.  (I have a child.  I think the jig is up.)  My first time with dental stuff.  I’ll never forget my first patient, my first injection, my first filling, my first extraction, my first crown, and so on.  I was never sure if they could tell it was the first time I’d done whatever I was doing on a real live person.  It was probably pretty obvious when my hands would shake or I would stumble over my words.  Luckily, the patients I had in school were nearly always very kind and patient with me.

Yesterday was my first day treating patients as a real dentist.  I didn’t think too much of it until I actually got into my operatory and then I realized how nervous I was to finally be treating patients without supervision… and about the expectations my new patients would have of me now that I was no longer a student.  (Let’s be real, I’m no more of a dentist than I was three months ago, before I had the official title.  In fact, I’m probably worse off, since I haven’t held a handpiece since April!)

But it went surprisingly well.  I don’t think they knew that they were my first, and introducing myself as “doctor” is definitely gonna give me a thrill for quite awhile, after all the hard work I’ve done to get here.  I can tell, though, that being a resident is going to be an interesting experience:

First patient: “I hate these dentures I have now.  They’re so ugly.  Can you make my new ones look like yours?”

Me: “Um, oh… no, these are my real teeth.”  (File that under Things I Never Hope To Say Again.)

Second patient: “I came here to the university hospital because my dentist has been practicing for thirty years and he can’t figure out what the problem is with this tooth!  I hope you can help me.”

Me: (thinking) Well, I’ve been practicing for all of, uh, ::checks watch:: 45 minutes, sooo…

But overall the day couldn’t have gone much better.  I finished up and tore out of there at top speed (as I usually do) to get to daycare on time.  I haven’t quite gotten a routine down yet, so I’ve been doing a lot of rushed daycare dropoffs and hasty meal preps and just generally racing around in my scrubs with Caroline on my hip and all of our bags flying out behind us.  That’s to be expected, though, I think.  I’m gonna get there.

Of course, I haven’t had to be on call, yet… but I’ll figure that out, too.

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Start Here: My Story

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Mom and toddler

Hi!  I’m Julia, single mom to Caroline, age two, who I adore but did not plan for.  I got pregnant with her unexpectedly about halfway through dental school.  I was married at the time.  I continued with school until I went into preterm labor around 28 weeks, at which point I took a year off.  I went back to dental school in January 2010, when Caroline was 11 months old.  That summer, I filed for divorce from my husband, and our divorce was finalized this past February.  I finally graduated from dental school just last week.  My blog is about the challenges and joys of being a single mother and a dental student… and now that I’m done with school, a brand-new dentist.

I’ve been blogging for about three years and just moved all my old posts here to Parents (after much effort and HTML editing and breaking and fixing of tags, which probably would have been no big deal if I actually knew what a tag was, which I don’t). Since most of you reading this are probably new to my blog, I thought I’d put together a list of the posts that summarize my story the best. For the rest of you who already know me and followed me here… a little walk down memory lane. Or skip this post and wait for the new stuff!

Pick and choose and skip at will!

Shock: The day I found out I was pregnant.

The perils of unplanned pregnancy: The start of the troubles between me and Tyler.

Preterm WHAT??: Preterm labor begins at 28 weeks.

Suddenly a stay-at-home mom: Temporarily leaving school and going on bedrest.

It’s a girl!: Caroline is born at 36 weeks!

My birth story will have to wait: NICU trials and tribulations.

Birth story: This one’s self-explanatory.

A paper cut on the eye: Struggles with breastfeeding and pumping.

My “I-will-never’s”: It’s so much easier to parent before you actually become a parent.

See you in 10 minutes!”: I was so not a newborn kind of person.

Life is good: Just kidding, I was so totally a newborn kind of person. That day.

Whose leg do I have to hump to get a referral around here?: Issues with reflux.

Diagnosis: I am diagnosed with postpartum depression and PTSD.

Quitting time: I quit pumping in order to save my sanity.

Single mom’ing it: Tyler’s long and frequent absences take their toll.

I can do this: I return to dental school after my year at home.

Milestone anxiety: Caroline’s gross motor delay and resulting physical therapy.

May 16, 2010: Was once supposed to be my graduation day… but was still a good one.

Overly personal statement: Thoughts on having a baby during dental school.

I think I need to clarify: Explanation of my decision to file for divorce.

Empty: Tyler officially moves out.

Dear Caroline: A letter to my daughter about why I left her father.

“I don’t think she smiles like that”: Finding my happy place.

Off-limits: Struggles with dating after divorce.

Same team: My roller coaster plunges down again, and stories of divorce counseling.

Irretrievable breakdown: Our divorce is finalized.

“How do you do it all?”: Well, as it turns out, I really don’t.

That which angers you, controls you: I struggle with Tyler introducing his new girlfriend to Caroline.

Control freak: Continued struggles and introspection.

Alone: Thoughts on being single.

Prayer for my daughter: Reflections on what I want for my daughter, based on my own trainwreck of a personal life.

DMD… finally: My graduation from dental school… at last.

Whew. Long list. But it’s way shorter than reading all of my past posts. And if the past three years of my life have been anything, they’ve been eventful. Enjoy, and welcome to my blog!

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DMD… Finally.

Monday, May 16th, 2011

I graduated from dental school yesterday. I’m a real doctor now. (Well, as much of a real doctor as a dentist can be. If someone has a heart attack, you should probably still call 911.)

I finally got to put on that cap and gown and cross the stage to have someone drape me in that lilac hood.

And I was so proud to stand next to my friends and my colleagues while I was granted that degree that I have wanted and worked towards for so long.

I had so much support, yesterday and always… my family who has loved and supported me through 22 long years of schooling, and finally got to watch me complete my doctorate…

One of my best friends Lauren and her husband Dan, who drove six hours to sit through a very long day of speeches, just to be there for me while I got my degree…

And of course Caroline. Who was my biggest motivation throughout the second half of this really difficult program. My mom handed her to me as I marched out of the convention center with the other graduates, and I carried her through the receiving line of faculty and VIPs, in her little lilac dress. She put her arms around my neck and laid her head on my shoulder and I whispered to her that mommy was a dentist now, that I did it for her. She said “Mommy dentist? Happy ‘wation, mommy.” (Which I assume meant “graduation”, and my mother taught her to say.)

She is only two, but I think she is proud of me. I know, for sure, that I am proud of myself.

Allow me a moment of what I hope is more pride than conceit… I have been through so much over the past year and there were so many times when I wanted to lie down and quit or give up. But I did not. I kept going and I didn’t just finish this program, I did well, and I stayed true to myself and the things that I always knew that I wanted. I hope I have set an example for my daughter when she is old enough to understand what I did for myself and for her.

And I hope that if you read this and you are a mother, or a single mother, like me, and you are in school or are thinking about going back… that you believe that it’s not what so many of my classmates say, that they don’t know how I could ever do it when I had someone else’s life to put before my own. She was not an obstacle to this achievement, but my biggest motivator and the single most important reason that I never lost sight of my goal.

I once was afraid that because I got pregnant halfway through school, my career was over. But it wasn’t that way. I can have both. Now I have my DMD, and I have my daughter. I am so happy, proud and content. There is nothing more that I need.

And to everyone who has ever asked me how I could do it with her, I guess I would say that the real question is, how could I ever have done it without her?

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So Close, I Can Taste It

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

My graduation from dental school is almost here. Countdown: T minus 4 days.

There were times when I never thought this day would come. I know people say stuff like that all the time, but really, there were a lot of bad times when I never thought this day would come.

So much has happened since I started dental school back in 2006. Engaged, married, pregnant, Caroline’s birth, my year off, separation, divorce. But my trainwreck of a personal life aside, I passed all those classes, took all those exams, cared for all those patients, finished all those requirements, passed all those boards.

I finished my requirements a few weeks ago, and last week I tied up all the loose ends, transferring my patients to third-year students and completing all my paperwork. I cleaned out my desk and brought home all the piles of dental stuff in my lockers. (It sat there in boxes on my living room floor for a few days… burs and fake teeth and impression material and spatulas and wax and drills and dental instruments… before I finally found the space to stash it all away.) I did my exit counseling for my loans (and man, was that ever depressing), squared up with the prosthetic lab and the bursar and the record room. Signed out, officially. No more responsibilities to the school. Ever.

It made me feel sadder than I expected it to. Don’t get me wrong, that entire program was immensely stressful, and I am glad to finally have gotten through it. But I guess I’m a nostalgic kind of person and I will miss all the people that I will never see again. Of course I’m starting there as a resident at the end of June, so I’ll be right back in the same space, but most of the people won’t be there. I was originally pretty upset about switching classes, but I really, really like my “new” class, and I will miss them.

Regardless, I’m still so excited for Sunday that I could jump up and down and scream. I’ve been wearing my cap, gown, and hood around my apartment for the past entire week. (Which is normal.)

My degree. Doctor Julia, DMD. It is so close, I can taste it. It is something that no one will ever be able to take away from me.

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On Blogging.

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

A blog post about blogging. It’s so meta.

I’ve been blogging for almost three years. For the first year to 18 months, no one knew about my blog except Tyler, and the girls in the “community” on the Nest, which is where I started blogging. Shortly after I moved to blogger, I told a few of my close friends at school about it. Now, a lot of people I know in real life know about it. My friends read it, Tyler’s friends read it, and judging from my sitemeter, a crapton of people have linked to it from Facebook and read it now too. Soon a lot of other people will read it too, when I move to Parents. And my full name will be listed there as the author.

Which is fine. I’m a pretty private person in real life, and there’s a lot of really personal stuff on this blog, but I put it on the internet; I put it out there. I don’t post anything I wouldn’t tell anyone if they asked. People are welcome to read about my life, whether I know them in person or not.

Still, it’s weird to think about. This is like my diary, or something. I’ve always used it as a place to write about my struggles and for introspection. Recently, writing about my divorce brought me a lot of peace when few other things did. I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about people I see every day reading about it, but I guess what’s done is done and anyway it’s ended up pretty well for me. My friends say they love my writing and even though I know they’d say that even if it were shit garbage, because they’re awesome, it makes me feel more confident. So I keep writing.

I wrote once that blogging is like therapy for me. It’s still true. I don’t know why, but when I click that “publish post” button and whatever I’ve written gets sent off into the internet, for friends or classmates or ex-husband’s new girlfriends or fellow moms or random internet people to read… I feel better. It’s cathartic. It’s therapeutic. I sure do need that, regardless of any nasty comments I may get in return. (I try to ignore those, although I do always publish them.)

So I’ll keep writing, and I try not to let anything affect what I choose to write about. If I have some crazy shitshow going on, which let’s face it I usually do, I’m going to write about it regardless of whether I have to walk in to school and face 20 people who may or may not have read about it on my blog.

So, fellow bloggers who read this– do you keep your blog secret from people you know in real life? Why or why not?

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