What We Really Learn In (Dental) School…
On a good night, I will sit down after the kids go to bed and knock out a four hundred word article in less than thirty minutes. Often, something happened over the weekend or previous week that inspires an interesting story. If that doesn’t work, I mentally review the last few days of patient visits and muster a half dozen dental questions or issues that our patients have had to deal with. It is helpful to gain wisdom from the experience of others. My goal on these topics is to translate that wisdom and make it interesting to read.
When the above fail, I turn to the internet for dental related articles or blog posts. The world’s largest database always has something of interest. I browse until inspiration occurs.
Minutes ago, I stumbled upon a dentist message board discussing the useless knowledge we doctors are forced to acquire and regurgitate in order to succeed in professional school. In and of itself, that discussion is quite boring to anyone who has never dealt with rubber base impressions, curmudgeonly professors, or polished amalgam core build-ups. Nonetheless, it did get my wheels turning. Not about the useless things that I had to learn to become a dentist, but more about what I did learn that has helped me to succeed in life.
School taught us the value of hard work and perseverance. We were not forced to memorize every blood vessel and nerve from the waist down to become better at fixing teeth. We did not learn to read microbiological tissue slides of the liver to help make better dentures. We did not experience exams where the best grades were in the forties to teach us dentistry. The combination of these taught us to study more effectively and to never give up.
Dental school teaches the basics of fixing teeth. After four years of supervised clinical training, there is still a lot to learn. The true lesson is in knowing what you can and cannot do…realizing what you do and do not know. Those who strive to be great in life will keep learning, keep developing, and keep moving forward. To be good at anything is a journey, not a destination.
And those mean, relentless curmudgeons? They taught us something, as well. Success in life usually boils down to dealing with people and their personalities. For every situation, the parties involved enter with different expectations, life experiences, attitudes, and desired outcomes. To thrive, one must recognize and acknowledge other points of view and ways of doing things. Then, move forward on a path by which everyone feels like they have won.
Maybe we should not worry about all of the useless things we learn in school.
Looking back, I learned a lot more than I realized at the time.
Until next week, keep smiling.
-Please send comments to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.